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markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 02:09 AM
Long (two-part) post; enjoy.

I enjoy reading the parables of Christ because they contain so much information packed into otherwise simple allegories. Sometimes they teach something found in other parts of the Bible. For example, there are the parables of the mustard seed, and the leavened bread.
The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.
These seem to be pretty simple teachings: the Kingdom of God will get bigger, right? But Christ's parables are more than simple allegories, they often also play into larger parts of prophecy. Read through the book of Daniel and see if you can find what Christ was referring to. And, the longer the parables, the more likely we're to find multi-layered messages. My personal favorites include the parable of the wedding feast, the parable of the Samaritan, and recently, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Which brings me to the primary topic of this post.

I've done quite a bit of studying on this parable over the years, as I'm sure many have. But an article I read recently has, I think given some understanding on the parable, so I thought I'd share some of the key points from the article, as well as a few thoughts of my own (I won't be pasting the whole article; it's a somewhat larger in length than what I've typed up here, and some of the other points of information are eschatalogical, which isn't what I'm interested in sharing).
There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame."

But Abraham said, "Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us."

And he said, "Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

But Abraham said, "They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them."

And he said, "No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent."

He said to him, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead."
It's my belief that not a single detail that Christ gives in His parables can be removed and leave the message intact. For instance, in the parable of the Samaritan—have you ever actually wondered why Christ so specifically said the Samaritan paid two denarii to the innkeeper? Why not one? Or three? Why two? Every detail is important. In the case of this parable, it always seems like people skip over the little details and jump for the bigger things. This parable is often used to set an example on helping the poor, or not letting your morality be influenced by money. Helping the poor? Sure, that's an important lesson to learn from this. Not letting your morality be influenced by wealth? Also a good idea. But most often, this parable is used as proof of what Christ taught about the afterlife. But was this parable actually being used to teach about the nature of sheol/hades and the afterlife, or could it be something else entirely? [1]

Here's a quick rundown of sheol as taught in the Old Testament: (a) it was the abode of the dead, (b) it is heavily implied that both the wicked and the righteous would go there when they died, and (c) it's a kind of gloomy place (no one is thrilled to be there). And that's it. In the Old Testament, nothing really says people will be punished or rewarded in sheol, or that angels would carry them there, or that there was a large chasm between the wicked and righteous. What Christ describes in this parable is almost nothing like what the Old Testament actually says about sheol.

On the other hand, what Christ describes is very similar to the Jewish conception of sheol as it is found in the Intertestamental period: the timeframe that took place after the return from the Babylonian Exile, but before the coming of Christ. During this time frame there was an intense Hellenization of Jewish culture, and this was reflected in their writings. In short: the concept of sheol that Christ gives in the parable most resembles the Intertestamental writings of the Jews, which were heavily influenced by the Greek conceptions of the afterlife (including a guide to the afterlife, torment for the evil, and a chasm dividing the wicked from the righteous), and not the pre-Hellenic [2] conceptions of sheol.

By now, you've noticed that I've called the parable of Lazarus and the rich man a parable. I do not believe this is a true story, but that it is a completely fictitious parable. This is very opposite to what a lot of people think. Most Christians tend to think of it as a true story, usually based on the sole fact that the poor man is given a name (something Christ doesn't do in His other parables). But, one of the main reasons is precisely because of the above information: that Christ was using a (post-Hellenization) cultural myth as an allegorical device to get across a greater message. [3]

So, if Christ was using a Hellenic myth about sheol, and He wasn't actually giving a lesson on the afterlife, what exactly is He getting at? It would be a major over-simplification to say He was just teaching about helping the poor or being a rich jerk. So what's it all mean?

We first need to check out the context of the parable. In the previous chapter (Luke 15), the "tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to [Jesus]". To this, "the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled" at Christ associating with "tax collectors and sinners". In response to the Pharisees, Christ jumps right into telling some parables. First we have the lost sheep being found again. Then we have the lost coin being found again. Then there's the prodigal son... but take a careful note of how that parable ends: the son who didn't leave his father's house complains about not being given special treatment, and he grumbles about the lost son being rejoiced over.

Christ is making a commentary about the Pharisees: they grumble and complain about the lost being found. If it was up to the Pharisees, they would simply condemn or ignore the lost sinners. Then we come to the parable about a master who has a man working for him as the steward of his money. In this parable, the steward is called by the master to give an account for his abuse of the money. In essence, Christ was criticizing the Pharisees for abusing the riches they were given, being the Law and the Prophets. "The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him."

After a quick rebuke by Christ, He then goes into this parable of Lazarus and the rich man. So the context of this parable is the Pharisees and their unrighteous rejection of "sinners" and their unrighteous stewardship of the Law and the Prophets. So, that is the overall context of the parable, but there's still more to gather from it. Remember, every detail in Christ's parables is important. There is a specific reason that the poor man's name is Lazarus, but I don't believe it meant that Christ was referring to an actual poor man named Lazarus who was sitting outside of a rich guy's house.

The rich man is described to us as thus: He is rich. He is clothed in purple. He feasts greatly. He dies, and is buried. He is in sheol, and he is in torment. He calls upon "Father Abraham". He has five brothers. His brothers have "Moses and the Prophets".

From the context of the previous parables, we can easily recognize that the rich man is continuing the representation of the unrighteous stewards of the Law and the Prophets (such as the Pharisees, and other unrighteous Jews). He is rich, because he has the Law and the Prophets. He is clothed in purple, which I believe represents the Jewish priesthood (purple was a dominant color used in the priestly garments and in the tabernacle's veils). [4]

And we infer from the text that the rich man ignored the poor Lazarus, which is why, when he dies, he is buried and undergoes torment in sheol. Further pointing out that this man represents unrighteous Jews is that he calls Abraham "Father"; he is a descendent of Abraham. Likewise, we are told that the rich man's five brothers have "Moses [the Law] and the Prophets". But, yet one more detail helps point out that the rich man represents the unrighteous of the Jews, that is, he represents the unrighteous people of Judah (being the Hebrew version of "Judea"). Since the rich man has five brothers, that means he is one of six sons. In the Old Testament, where can we find six sons? In Genesis 35:23; "The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob's firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun." Leah even states it plainly: "God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons."

Since "Jew" is derived from "Judah", I consider it highly plausible that, in the parable, the rich man, who is intended to convey the unrighteous Jews, that he is, in fact, Judah himself (in an allegorical form, at least); hence, Judah has five brothers (in allegory these would be the other five sons of Leah, but they are intended to represent other Jews/Israelites). What we find is that Christ, in His parable, is criticizing the Jews who would unrighteously wield the Law and the Prophets, and reject the "sinful" and lost, which is precisely what Christ had been pointing out when the "the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled" at His reaching out to them.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 02:10 AM
Lazarus is described as thus: His name is Lazarus. He is poor. He sits at the gate of the rich man's home. He desires the food from the rich man's table. His sores are licked by dogs. He dies, and is carried by angels to be with Abraham. He is comforted.

In the entirety of the parable, Lazarus is not described as being Jewish. He isn't described as wearing purple, or as being rich, or as a son of Abraham, or even if he has family. He's just poor, he sits outside of the rich man's home, he desires even just the rich man's scraps of food, and he is in the company of dogs. The one thing I'm sure most people want to know is, "Why is he named Lazarus?" This is where Christ's multi-layered imagery is so clever. Lazarus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Eliezer. And, while the connection may initially seem like a leap, it does tie in quite strongly. Eliezer, in the parable, is an allusion to Eliezer, the Gentile servant of Abram/Abraham. In essence, he represents the Gentiles. Eliezer was intended to be Abram's heir (Genesis 15:2), but God told Abram that he would have a son of his own (Isaac) who would be his heir. The Gentile Eliezer wasn't in the plan for Abram's inheritance.

Instead, Abram, renamed Abraham, has Isaac, who becomes his heir—and not just to his worldy possessions, but to God's promises. Isaac in turn has Jacob (renamed Israel), who in turn has his twelve sons, the Israelites. These Israelites are to be given Abraham's inheritance, whereas the Gentile Eliezer is cut out of the picture. Well, only technically. Remember that God told Abraham that through him (and his descendents, the Israelites), all nations would be blessed. The Gentiles would be included in the promise. But it would be through Abraham's offspring, the Israelites—who were given the Law and the Prophets.

Hence, in the parable the rich man represents the Jews [5] who were unrighteous stewards of the Law and the Prophets, and did not extend the promise to the Gentiles, and thus were cut off from the promise themselves. And Eliezer, who is restored to Abraham's side and receives his inheritance as he originally would have, represents the Gentiles, who are brought into the promise.

Further evidence of this is found throughout the gospels. First, and what should be most obvious, is that Eliezer is a poor man; this is in direct contrast to the Jews being represented as a "rich man" in this parable, and as a steward of riches in the previous parable. The riches are, of course, the Law and the Prophets, so for Eliezer to be poor means that he does not have the Law and the Prophets, as in, Gentile.

Eliezer is also said to be outside the gates of the rich man's home; again, the Gentiles were outside of the promises that the Jews had. And an even stronger allusion is that Eliezer (a) desires the food that falls from the rich man's table, and (b) is in the company of dogs. Just go to Matthew 15, and we can find both of these details of Eliezer, as a Gentile, found in Christ's conversation with the Canaanite (being a Gentile) woman. Christ says, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." The woman replies, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the their masters' table."

"Dogs" was being used as a euphemism for "Gentiles", and "crumbs ... from [the] masters' table" was used in reference to the great things that the Jews had in store (at least, through Jews' Messiah, being Christ). The woman, a "dog", desired the "food" falling from the table of the rich. Eliezer, in the company of "dogs", also desired the "food" falling from the table of the rich. Meaning, even the Gentiles desire the great things that God has to offer.

And to wrap it all up, the parable ends with an allusion to Christ's future resurrection, and how even when He is raised to life, the unrighteous Jews would not believe in Him, and they would still act unrighteously. (This, of course, is seen throughout Acts, and evidenced in the epistles.) So once we get through all of imagery Christ uses in the parable, we end up with this basic message:

Unrighteous Jews would be cut out from the inheritance of Abraham, while faithful Gentiles would be added on to the inheritance. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? We find this very message preached by Paul in his epistle to the Romans:
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
and
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. ... What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened ... So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
and finally
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
[1] Although the Greek text says hades, it is commonly accepted that since the Septuagint, which was the "official" Greek translation of the original Hebrew scriptures, uses hades in place of sheol that Christ is, in fact, referring to the Old Testament sheol, so I will be using that term instead of the Greek hades.

[2] Just to clarify: when I say "Hellenic", what I mean is "something from the Jewish culture after it had been influenced by the Hellenization". So I am referring to Jewish things, but things that resulted from the heavy Greek influence.

[3] At this point, some of you will likely object at my claim that Christ was teaching using myth to teach: yet how is this any different than the fact that Paul quoted two different Greek passages about the polytheistic-god Zeus when he was trying to get across a message about One God? Paul wasn't verifying Zeus' existence as being true when he quoted passages about Zeus. He was using cultural literature of the Greeks to describe the One God to the Greeks. And likewise, I believe, Christ wasn't verifying the Hellenic myth of sheol as being true just because He used the then-popular mythology in His parable. So I'm not saying sheol is a myth; it was clearly spoken about in the Old Testament, and it makes its reappearance now and then throughout the New Testament as well. But how it is presented in this parable is so significantly unlike the rest of Scriptural descriptions of sheol, and it is so significantly like the post-Hellenization non-Scriptural descriptions of sheol, that I believe this particular instance of sheol is using the stuff of myth to carry the bigger message, rather than the actual sheol.

[4] On a semi-related note, this is one of the many reasons why I believe the harlot is described in Revelation 17 as wearing primarily purple and scarlet, and gold and gems; she symbolizes apostate Jerusalem, which kept up the earthly priesthood and temple sacrifices, rejecting the true sacrifice, which is Christ. The clothing the prostitute wears perfectly matches the description of the priestly garments in Exodus 28, and the message on her forehead is a corrupt parody of the message on the forehead of the priest, found in Exodus 39:30-31.

[5] I know some people will jump on my references to the "unrighteous Jews" and claim I am being "anti-semitic". This is far from the truth; I know that not all of the Jews are wicked or unrighteous. This would be a grossly racist thing to claim; after all, Christ was Jewish, as were His disciples and the crowds He taught to. But many of His rebukes were directed at the Jews who were unrighteous. There weren't any Gentile priests or Pharisees or scribes, and it was not the Gentiles who rejected the Gentiles; it was particular Jews who were greatly mistaken on what it meant to be a follower of the One God.

Fresco
Jan 30th 2009, 02:37 AM
By now, you've noticed that I've called the parable of Lazarus and the rich man a parable. I do not believe this is a true story, but that it is a completely fictitious parable.

Baloney!!!!!!

This story really happened, and so did all the other stuff in the Bible (Samson, Jonah in the whale...etc). The only time I dont think it happened is if its symbolic (parts of Revelation).

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 04:04 AM
Baloney!!!!!!

This story really happened, and so did all the other stuff in the Bible (Samson, Jonah in the whale...etc). The only time I dont think it happened is if its symbolic (parts of Revelation).May I ask if you read the whole (two) post(s), or did you stop reading the moment you got to that sentence?

(Also; I did not say a single thing claiming that the events of Samson or Jonah didn't happen.)

Fresco
Jan 30th 2009, 04:17 AM
May I ask if you read the whole (two) post(s), or did you stop reading the moment you got to that sentence?

I think you see symbolism in the Lazarus story that isnt there, thats my humble opinion.

(Also; I did not say a single thing claiming that the events of Samson or Jonah didn't happen.)
I never said you didnt, I'm just saying that some of the most unbelievable Bible stories actually did happen, and are not symbolic.
eg Samson picking up the Gates of Gaza that surely mustve weighed at least 5 tons or so.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 04:43 AM
I think you see symbolism in the Lazarus story that isnt there, thats my humble opinion.Okey-doke.


I never said you didnt, I'm just saying that some of the most unbelievable Bible stories actually did happen, and are not symbolic.
eg Samson picking up the Gates of Gaza that surely mustve weighed at least 5 tons or so.Alright... but in those cases we're told those events did indeed happen, and we're given reasonable situations to infer that they were actual events. (Such as, the spirit of God was resting upon Samson, which was where he derived his incredible strength from.) On the other hand, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man is immediately preceded by four other parables, all of which (a) speak about the greatness of God's recovery of a lost soul, and (b) rebuke the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and other unrighteous Jews. Though you disagree with the symbolism I believe is found in the parable, the fact that this symbolism brings out the exact same message found in the four preceding parables seems significant to me.

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 04:47 AM
When Jesus spoke in parables, the Word of God said He spoke in parables. Nowhere does it say the story of the rich man and Lazarus was a parable.

That account was an actual event, not a parable.

DaveS
Jan 30th 2009, 04:52 AM
A few thoughts...

I have trouble with the idea that our Lord, in order to teach spiritual truth, would use a "myth" that misrepresents spiritual truth. I can't imagine Christ saying, "One day, Zeus was discussing the destiny of man with the other gods...", etc. in order to convey some higher lesson. And then, to do so without a hint that the elements of the parable themselves were doctrinally incorrect is to leave His hearers with an enormous stumbling stone over which many sincere believers would surely fall. And then to make no mention as to whether or not the account/story was a parable at all... It seems highly uncharacteristic of the general teaching style of Christ, and some might say, even brings His character itself into question.

Second, while I don't claim to know one way or the other whether the rich man and Lazarus is a parable, I do know that an account need not be fictional for the Lord to use it symbolically (the allegory of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, etc. in Galatians 4, for example).

I agree in large part with the symbology brought out by the OP. But I don't deny the truth of a sower going forth to sow. And I don't deny the truth of a grain of mustard seed growing into a large tree. I don't deny the truth of fishermen casting forth their nets and I see no reason to deny the truth put forth in the elements of the rich man and Lazarus.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 04:55 AM
When Jesus spoke in parables, the Word of God said He spoke in parables. Nowhere does it say the story of the rich man and Lazarus was a parable.Would, then, you say that the story of the Samaritan actually happened, or that it was a parable?

Fresco
Jan 30th 2009, 05:00 AM
Okey-doke.

Alright... but in those cases we're told those events did indeed happen, and we're given reasonable situations to infer that they were actual events. (Such as, the spirit of God was resting upon Samson, which was where he derived his incredible strength from.) On the other hand, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man is immediately preceded by four other parables, all of which (a) speak about the greatness of God's recovery of a lost soul, and (b) rebuke the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and other unrighteous Jews. Though you disagree with the symbolism I believe is found in the parable, the fact that this symbolism brings out the exact same message found in the four preceding parables seems significant to me.
How about this:

Ever consider that some verses have more than one meaning??
Perhaps 2, 3, 5 or 7 different meanings??
Just because you find another meaning doesnt render some of the other meanings meaningless.

Make sense?? (I know thats kinda deep)

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 05:03 AM
The Bible does not say the certain Samaritan was a character in a parable.

Look up parable in the Gospels. In every place Jesus spoke a parable, the Word of God indicated it was a parable by telling the reader it was.

In Luke 10 and in Luke 16, the stories were not said to be parables.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 05:09 AM
I have trouble with the idea that our Lord, in order to teach spiritual truth, would use a "myth" that misrepresents spiritual truth. I can't imagine Christ saying, "One day, Zeus was discussing the destiny of man with the other gods...", etc. in order to convey some higher lesson. And then, to do so without a hint that the elements of the parable themselves were doctrinally incorrect is to leave His hearers with an enormous stumbling stone over which many sincere believers would surely fall.Paul, when quoting the passages that originally referred to Zeus, never clarified that Zeus was, in fact, a myth. He simply used the existent passages, and given the context, reapplied them to what he was saying.

Evidence of this type of reapplication can be found in Ezekiel as well. Ezekiel is told to mock the king of Tyre, and so Ezekiel gives a mocking lament over the king. But the description he gives of the king dying and going to sheol highly resembles a passage found in the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which Gilgamesh's friend, Enkidu, is prophesying about his fate. Everything Enkidu says is found in Ezekiel's mocking of the king of Tyre. Should we, then, interpret Ezekiel's words about sheol as being what sheol was actually like, or interpret it based on the context, and time, and place in which it was written; being that Ezekiel was likely using well-known cultural myth - stuff from the king of Tyre's own culture - of the afterlife in order to mock him? I think the latter makes more sense, and I believe the same could be said for what Christ was doing (though not in a mocking sense, but a teaching sense).


Second, while I don't claim to know one way or the other whether the rich man and Lazarus is a parable, I do know that an account need not be fictional for the Lord to use it symbolically (the allegory of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, etc. in Galatians 4, for example). True, but again, Paul does specifically say that he was allegorizing those actual people and events... Jesus doesn't say anything similar.


I agree in large part with the symbology brought out by the OP. But I don't deny the truth of a sower going forth to sow. And I don't deny the truth of a grain of mustard seed growing into a large tree. I don't deny the truth of fishermen casting forth their nets and I see no reason to deny the truth put forth in the elements of the rich man and Lazarus.I somewhat agree with you; the fact that a mustard seed grows into a large tree is something to be verified. And catching fish. But then we read parables such as the king who invited people to his son's wedding feast, but the guests murdered the king's servants, and the king in turn destroyed the guests and burned their city, and replaced them with new guests - and then when a random person showed up, he was thrown into the "outer darkness". Do we demand this to have been an actual occurance?

Or the parable of a vineyard with a watchtower and evil tenants who murdered the son of the landlord, but they were in turn brought to a "wretched end" and replaced with good tenants? Not every parable that Christ used needed to be grounded in actual events. In this parable's particular case, I would lean towards the idea that it is fictionalized based on the the intense, and highly coincidental, symbolism found in it.

And I think that if this parable is arbitrarily isolated from its surrounding context, it makes it almost irrelevant to what was literally just being elaborated upon in the previous four parables.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 05:11 AM
How about this:

Ever consider that some verses have more than one meaning??
Perhaps 2, 3, 5 or 7 different meanings??
Just because you find another meaning doesnt render some of the other meanings meaningless.

Make sense?? (I know thats kinda deep)I didn't say it didn't have any other meanings in it. (Actually, you were the one who said the symbolism was, for the most part, non-existent.) Is there any particular reason you're so upset about this? I might be misreading you, but the excessive question marks gives me the impression that I said something to your dismay.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 05:15 AM
The Bible does not say the certain Samaritan was a character in a parable.

Look up parable in the Gospels. In every place Jesus spoke a parable, the Word of God indicated it was a parable by telling the reader it was.So what you're saying is that a parable is only a parable if Jesus (or the narrating text) directly said so? I'm just checking. (By the way... the text doesn't say it was a "certain Samaritan"... sometimes stories can be just that; stories, even if Christ didn't outright specify ,"This is a story.")

DaveS
Jan 30th 2009, 05:17 AM
The point is not that the elements of the parables actually happened. It's that they are representations of real life events. In order for the rich man and Lazarus to be consistant with the "other" parables, the elements of it themselves would have to be real. The mustard seed is not mythological, so why would we assume that of the flames?

Sirus
Jan 30th 2009, 05:17 AM
The Bible does not say the certain Samaritan was a character in a parable.

Look up parable in the Gospels. In every place Jesus spoke a parable, the Word of God indicated it was a parable by telling the reader it was.

In Luke 10 and in Luke 16, the stories were not said to be parables.True, true....excellent!!!

Sirus
Jan 30th 2009, 05:21 AM
So what you're saying is that a parable is only a parable if Jesus (or the narrating text) directly said so? I'm just checking. (By the way... the text doesn't say it was a "certain Samaritan"... sometimes stories can be just that; stories, even if Christ didn't outright specify ,"This is a story.")
Yes! Just as Jesus said how to interpret ALL parables in Mar 4:13. He wasn't joking! To apply different definitions and terms to the words is to go against Christ. The parables are very specific kingdom mysteries with specific meanings and are not just some spiritual principles to be applied to any current situation on any particular day.

Fresco
Jan 30th 2009, 05:22 AM
I didn't say it didn't have any other meanings in it. (Actually, you were the one who said the symbolism was, for the most part, non-existent.) Is there any particular reason you're so upset about this? I might be misreading you, but the excessive question marks gives me the impression that I said something to your dismay.
LOL...not at all, not sure where you got that from :confused

I meant if there is symbolism in the Lazarus story (which I dont think there is), then it could be one of multiple meanings. Verses often have more than one meaning, thats all I'm saying.

And I'm not upset at all, please disregard any excessive use of my grammar :)

Sirus
Jan 30th 2009, 05:29 AM
The point is not that the elements of the parables actually happened. It's that they are representations of real life events. In order for the rich man and Lazarus to be consistant with the "other" parables, the elements of it themselves would have to be real. The mustard seed is not mythological, so why would we assume that of the flames?Not so much in name but in thought or desire is the point. Not just these two....
All those on either side had this disposition and thought towards one another.

mustard seed is a parable
It's not mythological but a parable...the kingdom of God is not a mustard seed and neither is the kingdom of heaven.

Fresco
Jan 30th 2009, 05:35 AM
Even if the Lazarus story were a parable, that doesnt mean the actual story didnt happen. Nor should the lesson of the actual story be taken lightly. Treat poor people like dirt and bad things can (and will) happen to you

Thats what I got out of it, tell if I'm wrong please :hmm:

bennie
Jan 30th 2009, 05:38 AM
Even if the Lazarus story were a parable, that doesnt mean the actual story didnt happen. Nor should the lesson of the actual story be taken lightly. Treat poor people like dirt and bad things can (and will) happen to you

Thats why I got out of it, tell if I'm wrong please :hmm:


i dont think you are wrong, but there is a object lesson Jesus wanted to teach every body there.

bennie

Fresco
Jan 30th 2009, 05:49 AM
but there is a object lesson Jesus wanted to teach every body there
Which is?? ..............

My heart's Desire
Jan 30th 2009, 06:22 AM
I think it a real story. (u knew I HAD to say that!:)

Regardless, discussing it I just thought of something. God knows everything, right? So He knows everyone, right? I thought it interesting that the rich man was referred to with no name and was in flames, the poor man with Abraham, had a name, Lazarus. You know, it could have been the other way around with the rich man in flames having a name referred to and the man with Abraham without one referred to or even both could have had names spoken, but they weren't.

The rich man in flames reminds me of....Depart from me, I never knew you! Nameless? He had one but it is not mentioned.
Well, just something that sounded interesting to me.

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 06:24 AM
So what you're saying is that a parable is only a parable if Jesus (or the narrating text) directly said so? I'm just checking. (By the way... the text doesn't say it was a "certain Samaritan"... sometimes stories can be just that; stories, even if Christ didn't outright specify ,"This is a story.")

It sure does say 'a certain Samaritan.

Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

My heart's Desire
Jan 30th 2009, 06:28 AM
Real stories can present spiritual truth just as much as parables can relate spiritual truth. Anyway, staying within the spirit of the OP, I also find this story to be very much from a Jewish perspective. It doesn't have Jesus as a character but has Abraham in it who suggests that the brothers of the rich man listen to the law and the Prophets. This brings to mind John 5:39-47.
You search the Scriptures (O.T., the new wasn't written yet) because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.

Verse 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.

Moses - Law


What is interesting though is that Abraham (in the story) is our Father of Faith, yet it is he who tells the rich man the brothers are to listen to the Law and the Prophets. But as we see in the verses above that the Law and the Prophets point to Jesus.

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 07:25 AM
Real stories can present spiritual truth just as much as parables can relate spiritual truth. Anyway, staying within the spirit of the OP, I also find this story to be very much from a Jewish perspective. It doesn't have Jesus as a character but has Abraham in it who suggests that the brothers of the rich man listen to the law and the Prophets. This brings to mind John 5:39-47.
You search the Scriptures (O.T., the new wasn't written yet) because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.

Verse 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.

Moses - Law


What is interesting though is that Abraham (in the story) is our Father of Faith, yet it is he who tells the rich man the brothers are to listen to the Law and the Prophets. But as we see in the verses above that the Law and the Prophets point to Jesus.
I think Abraham said 'They have the Moses and the Prophets' because they knew the writings of Moses and the Prophets.' Abraham was telling them to study the Word they had and if they studied carefully, they would see that the writings of Moses told them exactly how they should live, told them God punishes for sin, and that eternal hell was a reality for those who did not live for God.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 07:59 AM
It sure does say 'a certain Samaritan.Hm, I apologize. This must simply be a difference in translations...

(I checked the Greek, and the word used, tis, gives me the definition of "an indefinite pronoun", and it is used as "a [kind of], any [man, thing], certain [thing], diverse, he [every] man, one [X thing], some [man, -body], what [-soever]". These definitons convey to me a generality, rather than a specificity... so though, I suppose, the word could be translated as "a certain Samaritan", the definition of the word being used, I believe, doesn't really allow it to be referring to a specific individual. And besides, the use of "a certain ..." doesn't automatically mean "a real ...", especially in the context of a story being given.)

Now, regardless of these digressions; would you consider the symbolism described in the OP(s) as being a part of the story, whether it was true or fictional? Are they plausible? Nonsense? What's your take on the actual topic of the OP, rather than the irrelevant bickering over "'It was real!' 'No, it's parable!'" The major bulk of my two posts almost had nothing to do with this point (it was merely a personal belief I expressed early on). How about dealing the the symbolism? Do you think it's reading too much into it? If so, why is it that the message drawn out of the alleged symbols so perfectly matches the lessons Christ was teachings throughout that whole chapter and the chapter previous, and it perfectly meshes with what Paul taught in his epistles regarding the "breaking off" of the Jews who were unrighteous and the "grafting on" of the Gentiles who had faith?

threebigrocks
Jan 30th 2009, 03:40 PM
Could it then be said that Eleazar/ Lazarus is representative of the spirit and the rich man the flesh according to our lives now, before death? And that our spirit fights the flesh which should be counted as dead now? Now, they are inseparable, we "drag" our spirit through this life according to the flesh, waiting for the time that we are free from what holds us here. That too is a message the pharasees didn't understand. They wanted the good now, Israel waited for their messiah to come to them and rule in the physical world, and in actuality Christ came in the flesh to redeem them spiritually. Temporary flesh vs. eternal spirit.

theBelovedDisciple
Jan 30th 2009, 03:58 PM
I certainly don't believe what He taught was a parable... or a ficticious myth:o:o.. Father Abraham, Lazarus, they are not ficticious people... they are real... people will read what they will into these teachings.. whether they are real or not.. but I firmly believe and have been taught that this teaching of the rich man and Lazarus.. is not a ficticious myth.. but 'real'.. that 'rich' man will stand someday before the Son of Man in judgement.. with Lazarus the 'poor' man feasting at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb... and entering into the Kingdom of Heaven prepared for him... in all its Glory...

What does it profit a man.. if he/she gain the whole world... yet looses his/her soul....

Seek Him first and the Kingdom of Heaven... and His Righteousness... and all these things shall be added unto you...

threebigrocks
Jan 30th 2009, 04:09 PM
Okay, what about Lazarus then? His life on this earth - was he poor or rich? His sisters using costly perfume wasn't something the poor kept around. The tomb in which he was raised up from - not like that which the poor people had.

So was Lazarus truly poor in this world according to the world?

threebigrocks
Jan 30th 2009, 04:10 PM
On that thought - was Lazarus poor in spirit while on this earth?

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 05:03 PM
Okay, what about Lazarus then? His life on this earth - was he poor or rich? His sisters using costly perfume wasn't something the poor kept around. The tomb in which he was raised up from - not like that which the poor people had.

So was Lazarus truly poor in this world according to the world?
The Lazarus of Luke 16 is not the same Lazarus of John 11.

Luke's Lazarus was poor, lived on the streets laying at the rich man's gate begging for food and died.

John's Lazarus lived in a house with his sisters who loved him dearly. There was no need to beg on the streets for John 10 and 11 give us a picture of a family that had enough to entertain friends. Lazarus in John's gospel was well taken care of in life.

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 05:17 PM
I certainly don't believe what He taught was a parable... or a ficticious myth:o:o.. Father Abraham, Lazarus, they are not ficticious people... they are real... people will read what they will into these teachings.. whether they are real or not.. but I firmly believe and have been taught that this teaching of the rich man and Lazarus.. is not a ficticious myth.. but 'real'.. that 'rich' man will stand someday before the Son of Man in judgement.. with Lazarus the 'poor' man feasting at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb... and entering into the Kingdom of Heaven prepared for him... in all its Glory...

What does it profit a man.. if he/she gain the whole world... yet looses his/her soul....

Seek Him first and the Kingdom of Heaven... and His Righteousness... and all these things shall be added unto you...

Excellent point!! In all of His parables that were about people, Jesus used no names whatsoever. In the account of the rich man and Lazarus, actual people were used to illustrate the reality of torment of the lost and comfort for the believer.

Luke's account of the rich man and Lazarus was an actual event that took place in history. More than likely, the rich man lived during the same time as Abraham and had seen him in life because he recognized him and called him 'Father Abraham'. How would he have known who this man was that he saw with his eyes?

Lazarus was most likely young and died at a young age due to poverty and sickness. The rich man's age more than likely was somewhere between that of Lazarus and Abraham.

theBelovedDisciple
Jan 30th 2009, 05:17 PM
The Lazarus of Luke 16 is not the same Lazarus of John 11.

Luke's Lazarus was poor, lived on the streets laying at the rich man's gate begging for food and died.

John's Lazarus lived in a house with his sisters who loved him dearly. There was no need to beg on the streets for John 10 and 11 give us a picture of a family that had enough to entertain friends. Lazarus in John's gospel was well taken care of in life.


I agree... these are 2 different Lazarus's.... The Lazarus of the teaching of the rich man and Lazarus was carried into Abraham's bosom by the angels... from Abraham's bosom some teach that those there went with Jesus when He ascended... He led captivity captive.. into Heaven to be with Jesus.... anyway you look at it.. the rich man was in a 'different' place than Lazarus.. a place of torment.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 07:30 PM
Father Abraham [is not a] ficticious [person]Where in any of my posts did I say anything remotely close to "Abraham was fictitious"?


Excellent point!!I'm not trying to argue for the sake of arguing, but what "excellent point" is made here? All anyone has done is claim that the parable was a true story, without any evidence that it was such. Christ didn't say "This is a parable"... but why does that automatically mean it wasn't? Where did Christ make a rule "If I don't say something is a parable before I tell a story, then it is absolutely real"? He didn't. This is splitting hairs; it would be like a comedian saying "If I don't say something is a joke before I tell a story, then it is absolutely real"? Again, where is this rule found in Scripture? Nowhere.


In all of His parables that were about people, Jesus used no names whatsoever. In the account of the rich man and Lazarus, actual people were used to illustrate the reality of torment of the lost and comfort for the believer.And, again, all that is being done here is an unsubstantiated claim. "Lazarus was an actual person". Who said? Just because he had a name in the story? Again, how does that automatically qualify this as "real events", as opposed to the possibility (which I raised in my OP) that the name Lazarus was chosen to be figurative?


Luke's account of the rich man and Lazarus was an actual event that took place in history. More than likely, the rich man lived during the same time as Abraham and had seen him in life because he recognized him and called him 'Father Abraham'. How would he have known who this man was that he saw with his eyes?

Lazarus was most likely young and died at a young age due to poverty and sickness. The rich man's age more than likely was somewhere between that of Lazarus and Abraham.And this is complete speculation; none of this is evidenced in the texts, they're conclusions you're reading into it.



And, as I asked before; regardless of whether the story was "real" or "fictitious", I'm asking what you think of the possibility of the symbolism I presented, and the fact that the message these possible symbols bring us is exactly the same as the message Jesus was giving throughout the previous four parables, and it is exactly the same as the message that Paul taught (primarily in Romans).

This is exactly one of the points I made in my OP: people get caught up in the "obvious" points of the parables, and skip over the smaller details. Can you please answer the questions I asked about the possibility of these details being used figuratively, rather than get stuck on this "Lazarus is real" thing? From page one everyone has pretty much ranted about "Lazarus is real!", making a giant deal over a very minor point. Why not deal with the bulk of the post(s)? The closest anyone got to was, again, on the first page when Fresco said the "symbolism ... isn't there". (Oh, and threebigrocks brought up some points about possible symbols to be found in the parable, but, again, everyone ignored this and kept going with the "it's real" digression.) Why is it so hard for anyone to get past the "it's real" argument and actually tackle other messages found in the story?

divaD
Jan 30th 2009, 07:56 PM
When Jesus spoke in parables, the Word of God said He spoke in parables. Nowhere does it say the story of the rich man and Lazarus was a parable.

That account was an actual event, not a parable.



One needs to look for clues in other Scriptures, then interpret accordingly.

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Matthew 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.


If one is paying close attention, a lot of important facts can be deduced from these 2 passages. Without going into detail, I simply bolded some important facts to consider. IOW, everything in these 2 passages should be used to determine what mode Christ was speaking in, even if the text doesn't tell us, such as in Luke 16:19-31.

Using the above 2 passages to determine what mode Jesus was speaking in, let's look for some clues in Luke ch 16.

Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him


This looks like an important clue to me. There were Pharisees present, which means that Jesus wasn't speaking to His disciples in a private manner. Now look at the 2 passages in Mark ch 13 and see if you can't honestly deduce the mode Christ would have been speaking in at the time.
It is not my job to make you believe anything that you don't want. All I can do is offer Scriptures, then let you decide for yourself whether Jesus was speaking in a parable in Luke 16:19-31 or if He wasn't.

My heart's Desire
Jan 30th 2009, 08:42 PM
Where in any of my posts did I say anything remotely close to "Abraham was fictitious"?

And, as I asked before; regardless of whether the story was "real" or "fictitious", I'm asking what you think of the possibility of the symbolism I presented, and the fact that the message these possible symbols bring us is exactly the same as the message Jesus was giving throughout the previous four parables, and it is exactly the same as the message that Paul taught (primarily in Romans).

This is exactly one of the points I made in my OP: people get caught up in the "obvious" points of the parables, and skip over the smaller details. ?
:) Well, I tried! Besides being a picture of the after life as I stated, I find it interesting that Gentiles know Salvation is a free gift found in Jesus Christ, yet the picture here is that you cannot be saved by keeping the Law. The odd thing is Abraham is saying the brothers have Moses and the Prophets. Since we know that no one is saved by keeping the Law, I think the story is a carryover of the theme Christ presented in all the Gospels. That is trying to get them to believe that He is Israel's Messiah, just as Moses and the Prophets foretold.

drew
Jan 30th 2009, 09:00 PM
I certainly don't believe what He taught was a parable... or a ficticious myth:o:o..
Let's look at part of the account:

So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.

But Paul tells us clearly in 1 Corinthians 15 that no one gets a body until Jesus' second coming:

22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

How can we believe that the Luke 16 is a true story if it characterizes people who have passed through death's door as having body parts?

If you respond "well, its being metaphorical in relation to the body part", I think you can anticipate how I would respond.

Scruffy Kid
Jan 30th 2009, 09:00 PM
My general thoughts about the use of parabolic and figurative language in the Bible,
and in Jesus's teaching in particular

It seems odd to me that to assume that the Bible doesn't make broad use of figurative expressions, and teaching stories.

To make assume that all stories and illustrations are meant to be non-figurative is not to respect the Scriptures, but to try to impose upon them a set of assumptions about how to talk which is obviously foreign to the Scriptures themselves, in my opinion



The context of our current passage, in Luke

Let's look specifically at a few of the figurative expressions that occur throughout Luke prior to the story of Lazarus and the rich man.

In Luke 6 Jesus says "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, and ignore the beam in your own eye?" Is Jesus saying that those he is talking to have brothers with specks in their eyes, and that they themselves have beams sticking in their eyes? Nope, He's using figurative langauge.

He then says "No good tree bears bad fruit." Do we want to assess his accuracy by seeing if somewhere there's good fruit on a bad tree or bad fruit on a good tree? Nope, He's not really trying to make a point about agriculture. He's speaking in parables, to talk about our human conduct. (But the word "parable" is not used in the text.)

In Luke 9 Jesus says "who ever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me." Is Jesus saying that the parents of that particular little child, who take care of him -- or others who welcome "this little child" will be extra credit as taking care of Jesus, despite their faith or lack of it? Obviously not. He's speaking in parables. (But the word "parable" is not used in the text.)

He goes on to say "foxes have holes and birds nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." Is He saying here that throughout his ministry, or that night, He wouldn't be able to sleep in a house or on a bed? Of course not. He's indicating in a general way that He doesn't have a fixed abode, and He's using that to make a larger point.

In Luke 10 Jesus tells the story of the good samaritan in response to a question Why to suppose that this story, told to illustrate the idea "who is my neighbor?" must have happened as a real-world event?

In Luke 11, after saying "Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes at midnight" asking for a loan of bread, Jesus says "knock and the door will be opened to you." Is Jesus speaking of actual doors? Or is He using figurative language to make a point?

Later in the chapter he says "the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is whole your entire body will be full of light. But when your eyes are bad your body is full of darkness." Is Jesus acting as a folk doctor here, explaining how important it is to have good eyesight? Or is He using metaphorical language, talking in parables?

In chapter 12 He says "I have come to bring fire on earth, and how I wish it were already kindled. I have a dunking ("baptism") to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is complete." Is Jesus saying He wants to light a fire and have a warm bath? Or is he speaking figuratively?

In Luke 13 Jesus says "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, ... Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking" and he won't open to you. Is Jesus trying to make sure teens get home before their parents lock them out, or is He speaking parabolically?

In Luke 14 -- after saying "when you give a banquet, don't invite your friends and family, but the poor and crippled" (Is Jesus actually instructing us mainly about our dinner parties, or is he making a larger point?) -- Jesus replies to a question by saying (vv. 16 ff.) "A certain man was presparing a great banquet and invited many guests" and goes on to say how the guests evaded the invitation, and so on, and how the man then sent his servant to invite the poor and the lame. Do you think Jesus here is talking about a historical incident, or telling a story to make a point? A point, incidently -- like the story of Lazarus and the rich man -- about the need to care for the poor!

Immediately afterwards, Jesus says to the large crowds travelling with him, "If anyone" -- that's what he says, "anyone" -- "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and his own life he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." Do we really think that Jesus is instructing us to hate our families? Was Paul mistaken when he said that whoever does not care for his family is worse than an infidel? Or is Jesus perhaps speaking in a figure of speech here, though the text of Scripture does not identify it as a parable? In Luke 15, after a discussion of the lost sheep and lost coin, whose intros suggest that these are hypothetical cases, Jesus then says "There was a man who had two sons" ... and goes on to tell the story of the Prodigal Son and his father and brother. Why on earth would one suppose that the story is intended to represent an actual incident?

Immediately after at the start of Luke 16, we read "Jesus told his disciples, 'There was a rich man whose manager was wasting his posessions ...'" and goes on to speak about the need to use worldly wealth to gain friends for ourselves. Do we really suppose that this is an actual incident? That Jesus is commending embezzling here? Or is He making a point by telling a story as an example, rather than recounting an actual event?

It's right after this that he tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

(FYI, Eliezar -- that is Lazarus -- was, according to many scholars, the most common name in Palestine at the time, and may well be used like John in our expression "John Doe", or "John Q. citizen" or our use of "Joe" to speak of "Joe athlete" or "Joe Doaks" or "Joe Blow" or "Joe student")



Reiterating the main point about interpretation

Where do we get the idea that every teaching-story Jesus used refers to a real-world incident? In my opinion, not from the Bible. Not from an understanding of what language meant, and how it was used, by the Biblical authors.

The way people talked and taught at that time, is by telling stories as illustrations. This is the way the rabbis taught, and that every kind of person talked. Many people do that today. They don't assume that they must in every case explain that the characters in a joke, or an example, are fictitious and the the point of the story lies in the example, not in the fact that it refers to actual persons.

The Bible is chock-full of figurative language. It is evident that many expressions used are figurative and the text doesn't clutter itself up explaining that.

Instead, the assumption that every phrase and illustration refers to some specific historical incident comes from somewhere else: it's a contemporary tradition which is being read into (eisegeted into) a text that obviously is not intended in that way.



Since the point is to heed and obey the Word of God,
not quibble about it, however,
Let's get back to the actual meaning of the parable or story or whatever it is

Regardless of what we think about whether this story represents an illustration or an actual event, wouldn't it be best to get back to think about what the story of Lazarus and the rich man is trying to teach us?

BroRog
Jan 30th 2009, 09:33 PM
Those of you who think this account is a real event, can you explain how a spirit can feel pain or heat without actually having pain receptors?

theBelovedDisciple
Jan 30th 2009, 10:11 PM
Why would one 'not believe' this is a true story... and not a parable of some type.. is there a 'fear' of something for someone not to believe its not real... I guess I just don't understand.. I appreciate your thoughts and discussion.. and your observations...

bennie
Jan 30th 2009, 10:26 PM
One needs to look for clues in other Scriptures, then interpret accordingly.

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Matthew 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.


If one is paying close attention, a lot of important facts can be deduced from these 2 passages. Without going into detail, I simply bolded some important facts to consider. IOW, everything in these 2 passages should be used to determine what mode Christ was speaking in, even if the text doesn't tell us, such as in Luke 16:19-31.

Using the above 2 passages to determine what mode Jesus was speaking in, let's look for some clues in Luke ch 16.

Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him


This looks like an important clue to me. There were Pharisees present, which means that Jesus wasn't speaking to His disciples in a private manner. Now look at the 2 passages in Mark ch 13 and see if you can't honestly deduce the mode Christ would have been speaking in at the time.
It is not my job to make you believe anything that you don't want. All I can do is offer Scriptures, then let you decide for yourself whether Jesus was speaking in a parable in Luke 16:19-31 or if He wasn't.


yip, the fact that the pharisees where present is a clue. Jesus "ripped" into them when they where trying to demean Him or put Him down.
He drew a comparison between the rich man being israel and Lazuras as the gentile nations.

bennie

Dani H
Jan 30th 2009, 10:28 PM
This makes a lot of sense Mark, thank you.

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 10:36 PM
The fact that Jesus was telling the account and said 'Abraham said..." tells me it was indeed a real event and not a parable.

Jesus told one young ruler to keep the commandments, Lover the Lord thy God, do not steal, do not kill, do not bear false witness, etc..

If the account of the rich man and Lazarus was fictiional and only a parable, Jesus would have been bearing false witness saying Abraham said something that he did not.

Bada bing. The account was an actual event, or Jesus was a liar. And I know my Lord was not a liar.

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 10:38 PM
Those of you who think this account is a real event, can you explain how a spirit can feel pain or heat without actually having pain receptors?

Ask God. His Word declares many will feel pain and torment for all eternity.

markedward
Jan 30th 2009, 11:08 PM
If the account of the rich man and Lazarus was fictiional and only a parable, Jesus would have been bearing false witness saying Abraham said something that he did not.Or He could have been using the real Abraham as a character within a story, and He was in no way suggesting that the real Abraham actually said this because it would have been apparent that it was a story to His immediate audience? I don't see why you take such offense to the suggestion that Christ may have been telling a fictional story that just so happened to draw upon an actual person to help get the message across. That's the whole point of a parable; it's a story that doesn't necessarily need to have happened, and no one is going to call the story-teller a "liar" just because they may include a real person in the story.

It looks like the majority of the people who have posted in this thread have done nothing but argue over a minor personal belief that I exhibited in my OP. The fact that the story contains people who were real or not was entirely irrelevant. (And I take offense that someone is suggesting that I portrayed Christ as a liar simply because I believe He told a fictional story without saying "This is a fictional story first".)

Basically, you're doing what is called "flaming". I try to generate a discussion and you simply repeat the same thing over and over, "You're wrong!" "Lazarus was real!" "You're calling Jesus a liar!" Not in those few of words, but that's that summary of it. If you cannot get over this minor point and answer the relevant questions I asked (about the symbolism and such), but you instead disrespectfully ignore them (multiple times, even), why even bother coming back to the thread? It's apparent you have said all that you wanted to say, so can we please leave the thread to people who want to actually discuss the possible symbolism of the parable? (And if you do want to take part in the discussion, that is perfectly fine; but please drop the accusations that I was suggesting Christ was a liar, or that Abraham wasn't real, or any of the other misrepresentations people have made in the thread.)


Ask God. His Word declares many will feel pain and torment for all eternity.Theological point: the story says the rich man was in hades. If you read the Revelation, you will see that hades isn't eternal; it is thrown into the lake of fire. Hence, the rich man is not being tormented eternally in this story, because he is not in the lake of fire; he is in the temporary hades.

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 11:13 PM
Or He could have been using the real Abraham as a character within a story, and He was in no way suggesting that the real Abraham actually said this because it would have been apparent that it was a story to His immediate audience? I don't see why you take such offense to the suggestion that Christ may have been telling a fictional story that just so happened to draw upon an actual person to help get the message across. That's the whole point of a parable; it's a story that doesn't necessarily need to have happened, and no one is going to call the story-teller a "liar" just because they may include a real person in the story.

It looks like the majority of the people who have posted in this thread have done nothing but argue over a minor personal belief that I exhibited in my OP. The fact that the story contains people who were real or not was entirely irrelevant. (And I take offense that someone is suggesting that I portrayed Christ as a liar simply because I believe He told a fictional story without saying "This is a fictional story first".)

Basically, you're doing what is called "flaming". I try to generate a discussion and you simply repeat the same thing over and over, "You're wrong!" "Lazarus was real!" "You're calling Jesus a liar!" Not in those few of words, but that's that summary of it. If you cannot get over this minor point and answer the relevant questions I asked (about the symbolism and such), but you instead disrespectfully ignore them (multiple times, even), why even bother coming back to the thread? It's apparent you have said all that you wanted to say, so can we please leave the thread to people who want to actually discuss the possible symbolism of the parable? (And if you do want to take part in the discussion, that is perfectly fine; but please drop the accusations that I was suggesting Christ was a liar, or that Abraham wasn't real, or any of the other misrepresentations people have made in the thread.)

Theological point: the story says the rich man was in hades. If you read the Revelation, you will see that hades isn't eternal; it is thrown into the lake of fire. Hence, the rich man is not being tormented eternally in this story, because he is not in the lake of fire; he is in the temporary hades.

If I told RogW a story, and made you the center of the story, or even a character in the story, I have pushed the story into the reality realm. If I further told RogW that you said 'such and such' to me in this story, and you did not, I would be telling a lie.

Jesus, in relaying the story of Abraham and Lazarus and the rich man, told those listening what a real character said. He spoke it as a truth, not a lie. It was not some fictitious story.

theBelovedDisciple
Jan 30th 2009, 11:18 PM
Those of you who think this account is a real event, can you explain how a spirit can feel pain or heat without actually having pain receptors?


---------------------------------------------------------------------

What of those angels (spirits) that are condemned to the Lake of Fire? do you think they will feel pain or suffering? I'm wondering on that.. this is their 'fate'... the Lake of Fire.. where the damned are condemed to spend Eternity.. where the anti christ and false prophet are .... Paul explains to us that all flesh is not the same flesh.. Jesus said 'spirits' don't have flesh and blood like a human does.. but when satan appears before the throne accusing the brethern.. does he appear in some black cloud or mass? he has a spiritual body... but not like flesh and blood.. he operates in the supernatural... a level above man... able to possess man and control him to his will and intent.. as does those 'spirits' that followed him...

How do you 'know' spirits don't have pain receptors?

They have spiritual bodies but it where does it say they won't feel pain...

and what of those humans that die ... do they just go into a black cosmos somewhere .. not feeling or unconcious? no I don't think so...


those evil spirits that Jesus cast out of the demoniac .. they begged Jesus not to send them into the Abyss.. now why is that? could it be that they could 'experience' things there that they did not like?

they said..

Torment me not... one that is 'tormented' .. is Conscious of it.. or else it would not be torment...

I don't want to derail this thread in respect to the OP...

mikebr
Jan 30th 2009, 11:34 PM
:DFirst, Jesus never accuses the rich man of any sin. He is simply portrayed as a wealthy man who lived the good life. Furthermore, Lazarus is never proclaimed to be a righteous man. He is just one who had the misfortune to be poor and unable to care for himself.

Don't you think Jesus would say something like "unless a man be born again" if this were a literal story.

Do you think that the saved will have full view of the damned, if this is literal?

If this is literal do you think that one drop of water will eliminate anyone's discomfort?

CommanderRobey
Jan 30th 2009, 11:43 PM
:DFirst, Jesus never accuses the rich man of any sin. He is simply portrayed as a wealthy man who lived the good life. Furthermore, Lazarus is never proclaimed to be a righteous man. He is just one who had the misfortune to be poor and unable to care for himself.

Don't you think Jesus would say something like "unless a man be born again" if this were a literal story.

Do you think that the saved will have full view of the damned, if this is literal?

If this is literal do you think that one drop of water will eliminate anyone's discomfort?
The fact that the rich man was in hell, in torment, tells one the man was lost. The saved do not go to hell. The fact that Lazarus was resting in Abraham's bosom tells us Lazarus was not lost. There is no rest for the wicked after death.

News Flash!!! It is a literal story and Jesus was warning those who did not have a relationship with the Father that one day they too would lift their eyes in torment.

The passage does not say that Abraham or Lazarus saw the rich man... only that the rich man saw them.

Apparently, the rich man thought he would receive some relief. Even one drop of water would be some relief if only just a little bit.

theBelovedDisciple
Jan 30th 2009, 11:57 PM
Do you think that the saved will have full view of the damned, if this is literal?




Mike.... what is this passage saying?


And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Isaiah 66:23-24


where is that place where there 'worm' dieth not.. and their 'fire' is never quenched......

mikebr
Jan 31st 2009, 12:03 AM
Mike.... what is this passage saying?


And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Isaiah 66:23-24


where is that place where there 'worm' dieth not.. and their 'fire' is never quenched......

What is a carcass. These are dead bodies. Dead bodies that were thrown in the garbage dump outside Jerusalem. Gehenna, the valley of the sons of Hinnom were fires burned day and night and maggots fed off the carcases.

This all happened just as Isaiah and Jesus predicted. (please forgive the big letters, some snafu of editing)

BroRog
Jan 31st 2009, 02:47 AM
Ask God. His Word declares many will feel pain and torment for all eternity.

But couldn't descriptions of physical torment be metaphors for mental anguish or something else?

BroRog
Jan 31st 2009, 03:04 AM
---------------------------------------------------------------------

What of those angels (spirits) that are condemned to the Lake of Fire? do you think they will feel pain or suffering? I'm wondering on that.. this is their 'fate'... the Lake of Fire.. where the damned are condemed to spend Eternity.. where the anti christ and false prophet are .... Paul explains to us that all flesh is not the same flesh.. Jesus said 'spirits' don't have flesh and blood like a human does.. but when satan appears before the throne accusing the brethern.. does he appear in some black cloud or mass? he has a spiritual body... but not like flesh and blood.. he operates in the supernatural... a level above man... able to possess man and control him to his will and intent.. as does those 'spirits' that followed him...

How do you 'know' spirits don't have pain receptors?

They have spiritual bodies but it where does it say they won't feel pain...

and what of those humans that die ... do they just go into a black cosmos somewhere .. not feeling or unconcious? no I don't think so...


those evil spirits that Jesus cast out of the demoniac .. they begged Jesus not to send them into the Abyss.. now why is that? could it be that they could 'experience' things there that they did not like?

they said..

Torment me not... one that is 'tormented' .. is Conscious of it.. or else it would not be torment...

I don't want to derail this thread in respect to the OP...

First, I don't think we have derailed the thread since a discussion of the account involves a discussion of the details of the account. Second, I think you are asking some interesting questions. I have no answers. I really don't have a clue whether a spirit can feel pain or not. If I were to guess, I would say not based on my understanding that God gave us our sensory apparatus to make contact with the physical world.

But it's entirely possible, I guess, that God can cause a spirit to feel pain in ways that are analogous to physical pain, according to the rules God established for the function of spirits. In addition, I have no idea if spirits can be comforted with water, or even dip a finger (?) in water.

CommanderRobey
Jan 31st 2009, 03:13 AM
But couldn't descriptions of physical torment be metaphors for mental anguish or something else?

I highly doubt that it is a metaphor, BroRog.


Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The lake itself burns according to that verse. It is not one's memory, but the lake itself that is burning.

BroRog
Jan 31st 2009, 03:17 AM
I'd like to make another observation. It's certainly possible that Jesus is relating the account of an actual event about Abraham, Lazarus and some unnamed, rich individual. But in telling the account, Jesus' cautionary tale is still making a point. Real events can function as cautionary tales in which we can learn from the mistakes of others.

At the same time, if this were a fable or a parable, Jesus' main point would still be the same. Jesus is certainly capable of telling a fictional story with a moral at the end, and it isn't inconceivable to me that he would use the names of two real people in his fictional story. After all, for all I know, the name Lazarus might be a fairly common name like "Joe" is for us today.

I believe the reason why we argue over this account so much is that we have a vested interest in the idea that this is a true story. Why? Because we want to know more about the afterlife. The Bible has so little to say about it, and our curiosity is very strong about it.

What I must confess is that sometimes I could care less what Jesus' main point was. I want to come to his story with MY questions, rather than allowing Jesus to tell me what HE wants me to know.

CommanderRobey
Jan 31st 2009, 03:19 AM
First, I don't think we have derailed the thread since a discussion of the account involves a discussion of the details of the account. Second, I think you are asking some interesting questions. I have no answers. I really don't have a clue whether a spirit can feel pain or not. If I were to guess, I would say not based on my understanding that God gave us our sensory apparatus to make contact with the physical world.

But it's entirely possible, I guess, that God can cause a spirit to feel pain in ways that are analogous to physical pain, according to the rules God established for the function of spirits. In addition, I have no idea if spirits can be comforted with water, or even dip a finger (?) in water.

I believe there will be physical bodies in hell... living souls in a flesh body that will not burn but will feel the burning of the lake.

Why would the body need to be resurrected if it was only the soul that was judged saved or lost?

Righteous dead will be resurrected and meet the Lord in the air, then 1,000 years later the wicked dead will be called out of their graves to be judged.

Fresco
Jan 31st 2009, 04:25 PM
But couldn't descriptions of physical torment be metaphors for mental anguish or something else?
Maybe, but whatever state of mind is described its best to be avoided.
The rich man does not sound like he's in a happy place. So main message is AVOID.

Also the fact that Lazarus only got scraps of food suggests perhaps some mocking going on.
At the very least he was underfed, at the very worst Lazarus was sadistically tortured to death

moonglow
Jan 31st 2009, 06:06 PM
markedward I really enjoyed your study on this...very interesting and give me alot to think about.

I didn't read all the posts on this thread, though I read some...I did read your two post study though. I just had one question since everyone is saying this was a true story...does it make any difference if it was a real story or a parable? Would it change the meaning of it any? I don't think it would make any difference at all actually.

God bless

CommanderRobey
Jan 31st 2009, 06:18 PM
It means a lot when one changes the Word of Truth into a lie.

Fresco
Jan 31st 2009, 06:33 PM
markedward I really enjoyed your study on this...very interesting and give me alot to think about.

I didn't read all the posts on this thread, though I read some...I did read your two post study though. I just had one question since everyone is saying this was a true story...does it make any difference if it was a real story or a parable? Would it change the meaning of it any? I don't think it would make any difference at all actually.

God bless
Usually verses are repeated in the Bible. Going by other Bible verses we can safely assume its very sinful to not look after the poor. Whats even worse is to mock or starve them to the point of death.
Sadly, there people still like that in this modern age who like to mock or spit on homeless people

moonglow
Jan 31st 2009, 06:42 PM
Usually verses are repeated in the Bible. Going by other Bible verses we can safely assume its very sinful to not look after the poor. Whats even worse is to mock or starve them to the point of death.
Sadly, there people still like that in this modern age who like to mock or spit on homeless people

Ok..I agree...but my question was..is the meaning changed if its viewed as being a true story or a parable? I don't think it changes the meaning of the story at all...regardless of how its viewed. yes we are still to help the poor but as the study goes that the OP did, there is a deeper meaning here too and I tend to agree with it. Otherwise all Jesus had to say was what He said before....feed the poor. Why go on with this story just to get one message out? Many, many times Jesus referred to scriptures and stories in the OT..things He knew the Jews would know about. In that way all scriptures is interconnected..its really neat too.


CommanderRobey It means a lot when one changes the Word of Truth into a lie.

I think that statement is uncalled for. Christians, even scholars who have spend their lives studying the bible are divided over this passage and other parts of the bible as to whether they are to be taken as literal or symbolic. I realize you are new on here, but if you are going to get that upset over this, then you need to brace yourself for the hundreds of other threads on here about what is literal and what is symbolic in the bible...cause it happens alot. This does NOT make the bible a lie by any means. The meaning has not changed regardless of how its viewed. Plus I have know markedward for a long, long time on here and I know his only intent is to learn as much as he can in God's Word...to seek out as much knowledge as he can to better understand our Lord, as we all should be doing.

God bless

CommanderRobey
Jan 31st 2009, 06:55 PM
I think that statement is uncalled for. Christians, even scholars who have spend their lives studying the bible are divided over this passage and other parts of the bible as to whether they are to be taken as literal or symbolic. I realize you are new on here, but if you are going to get that upset over this, then you need to brace yourself for the hundreds of other threads on here about what is literal and what is symbolic in the bible...cause it happens alot. This does NOT make the bible a lie by any means. The meaning has not changed regardless of how its viewed. Plus I have know markedward for a long, long time on here and I know his only intent is to learn as much as he can in God's Word...to seek out as much knowledge as he can to better understand our Lord, as we all should be doing.

God bless
Actually, the statement was spot on. To say that it doesn't hurt anything to take something as truth and believe it to be fable, or vice versa, is hurtful. God's Word tells us to "Buy the Truth and sell it not".

Now, either Jesus was telling the truth when He said the rich man saw Abraham, when He said Abraham spoke to the rich man, when He gave the words spoken by Abraham, ...or He lied about it all.

A liar did not go to the cross and die for our sins.

CommanderRobey
Jan 31st 2009, 07:23 PM
From "Things Hard To Be Understood":
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” – Lu 16:19-31 (vr:6428+C) Seventh-day Adventist theologians and certain others who teach the doctrine of soul sleep claim that this passage is a parable. They do this to dodge its plain meaning. It is one of the clearest passages in the Bible on what happens to a man at death. Consider some of the plain lessons from this account: (1) At death, the unsaved go directly to Hell, and the saved go directly to Heaven (Lu 16:22-23 (vr:642B+1)). (2) Hell is a place of perpetual and conscious torment (Lu 16:23-24 (vr:642C+1)). (3) Hell is a place of no comfort or hope (Lu 16:25-26 (vr:642E+1)). (4) Hell is a place of memory (Lu 16:27-28 (vr:6430+1)). (5) Death does not change the character of a man. The rich man in Hell was still disobedient to the Word of God (Lu 16:29 (vr:6432)). (6) Hell is a place of regret; those in Hell are concerned for the spiritual welfare of their loved ones back on earth, but it is too late for them to do anything to help them (Lu 16:27-28 (vr:6430+1)). (7) Faith only comes through the Word of God, not through miracles (Lu 16:30-31 (vr:6433+1)).


We know this is not a parable for a number of reasons: (1) Personal names are used in this account (Lazarus, Abraham), whereas personal names are not used in parables. (2) The details of this account describe a real human life event, not merely a parable. (3) This account conforms perfectly to what the rest of the Bible states about the afterlife. See, for example, Mr 9:44 (vr:6007),46 (vr:6009),48 (vr:600B); 2Co 5:1-8 (vr:70CF+7); Php 1:21-23 (vr:72C7+2); Re 6:9-11 (vr:7853+2); 14:10-11 (vr:78D9+1); 20:10-15 (vr:7949+5). (4) This passage is not called a parable by Christ and it does not have any of the key expressions which are associated with parables (such as “like,” “as,” “like unto,” or “likened unto”).

Scruffy Kid
Jan 31st 2009, 07:32 PM
Dear CommanderRobey,
Welcome to Bibleforums! :hug:
It's good to have a chance to meet you! :pp :pp :pp

However, I'd like to ask you to stop making harsh statements about others.
It means a lot when one changes the Word of Truth into a lie. By implication, you have been calling those who disagree with you (about whether the story Jesus tells was a parable or not) people who are making Jesus out to be a liar, and so on.

To speak in that way is entirely contrary to the way the Bible tells us to talk, to common sense, and to the rules of Bibleforums which you voluntarily pledged to obey when you joined.


About the Rules



POSTING GUIDELINES - PLEASE RESPECT THEM ... III. General Rules[/COLOR] ...
b. Please do not derail existing topics with a largely unrelated discussion.[/COLOR][/INDENT]
c. Be gracious to other posters. No insults, flaming, name calling or personal attacks, etc.
When someone disagrees with you, by all means discuss it; but be slow to anger, and rather be
eager to get into the Word and find the answers. ...
More importantly, the Bible tells us to speak politely and peaceably to others, no matter how strongly we disagree with their view. I Peter 3 tells us, in bearing witness for the faith, to do so with gentleness and respect for those we speak with. Paul tells us that we should, in so far as it lies with us, be at peace with all. Jesus tells us (in Matt 5 and elsewhere) not to speak harshly about others, even those who persecute us. Jude 1:9 tells us that even the Archangel Michael in a very important dispute with the devil "did not presume to use reviling language against him.

Furthermore, in so far as anyone goes around calling others liars, or accusing them of calling Jesus a liar, when they disagree with you -- even about a relatively small point -- that person is practicing a way of talking which will creep out in attitudes and speech in other contexts, and also encouraging others to talk that way: namely, a harsh, abusive, angry way of talk which harms family relations, the name of Christ to unbelievers, relationships in church, and so on. As a less important side point, it doesn't convince people of the point in which you use such language, but rather tends to alienate those who haven't made their minds up.

So I'd like to ask you to tone down your rhetoric, and let the thread get back to discussing the story Jesus tells, which we should try to understand as we seek to follow him.

Thanks!

In friendship, :hug:
Scruffy Kid

CommanderRobey
Jan 31st 2009, 07:43 PM
Thank you for your reply, Scruffy Kid.

However, the Bible tells us to speak the truth in love... which is exactly what I did.

I have given Scripture verses that solidify my belief that the account of the rich man and Lazarus is indeed an actual event that happened.

My statement, "It means a lot when one changes the Word of Truth into a lie." was not directed to any one person. It is the truth. When one changes the Word of Truth into a lie by saying it is something it is not, it casts doubt on the verity of the Scripture itself.

I see no rule that I have broken, I have only quoted the truth as it is written in Scripture. And I did not post in anger, or harshly.

Scruffy Kid
Jan 31st 2009, 08:07 PM
I find Fresco's and Moonglow's comments, as well as MarkEdward's, helpful and illuminating in considering the story.
[W]hatever state of mind is described its best to be avoided. The rich man does not sound like he's in a happy place. So main message is AVOID.
Going by other Bible verses we can safely assume its very sinful to not look after the poor.
Sadly, there people still like that in this modern age who like to mock or spit on homeless people
...regardless of how its viewed. yes we are still to help the poor but as the study goes that the OP did, there is a deeper meaning here too


The Story of Lazarus and the Rich Man

Clearly one of Jesus' main points here is that a failure to help those in great need is a serious sin which alienates us from God. The rich man clearly is dismayed and surprised to find himself in torment and, if his own condition can't be changed he at least hopes his brothers won't end up in the same agony. To this Abraham replies that the brothers have Moses and the Prophets, and don't need additional guidance.

That is, the speech of Abraham as Jesus gives it to us in this passage in Luke's gospel, is emphasizing the great importance of helping those in need, the dire consequences of not doing so, and the fact that the Scriptures (the OT) abundantly instruct us on this point.


The emphasis on helping the poor and needy throughout Scripture


This is a major theme in Jesus' teaching throughout the gospels. In Matt. 5, for instance, he says to give to those who ask; and in Matt 25 says that in so far as one has helped (or not helped) the least fortunate one has helped, or refused, Jesus himself. In the Epistles, Paul, and James, and I John also emphasize this point in a variety of ways. In the OT, Leviticus, and Isaiah, and Amos and others make the same point often.

However, this story of Lazarus, like Matt. 25, is particularly emphatic. But the importance of helping those in need is a theme that is very prominent throughout Luke's gospel, as my previous post did indicate in its citations, even though that wasn't my main point there. The prominence of this theme in Luke's gospel where the story of Lazarus is found, places, I think, further emphasis on the importance of this aspect of the story of Lazarus.


Particular emphasis on helping the poor and needy in Luke's gospel


The Song of Mary (the Magnificat) which Luke tells us was spoken by the Holy Spirit, emphasizes that God "fills the hungry with good things, and sends the rich away empty." John the Baptist, whom Jesus refers to as greater than any OT prophet, in preparing the way for Jesus, tells them to "bear fruit fit for repentence" in order to be saved and when asked what that is primarily says that "he who has two coats should share with him who has none, and he who has food do likewise." The Beattitudes as Luke 6 gives them emphasize the blessedness of the poor and woe to the rich, and Jesus' sermon following tells us to give to those who ask for things, and lend to those who can't repay you. He associates this with what's called the "golden rule": "do unto others as you would have them do to you!" Jesus exposition of what is the greatest commandment, in Luke 10, makes the second most important, like loving God, loving one's neighbor, but in Luke follows this up with the story of the good samaritan, to emphasize that this means giving concrete help to those in trouble, even if they are strangers or foreigners. Without going into all the things Jesus says about this in Luke, we may also note 14:12-14 (echoing Prov. 19:17) where Jesus tells us to invite the poor and lame to our parties, because they cannot repay us, so that we may be "repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

markedward
Jan 31st 2009, 08:40 PM
The fact that the rich man was in hell, in torment, tells one the man was lost. The saved do not go to hell. The fact that Lazarus was resting in Abraham's bosom tells us Lazarus was not lost. There is no rest for the wicked after death.Did you read the "theological point" I made? You seem to be saying that the rich man was thrown into the eternal fire... but Christ called it hades (Hebrew sheol)... which isn't the eternal fire...

And CommanderRobey; you still have not addressed my questions. Do you think that the story contains any amount of symbolism, such as is described in the OP? If you can please respond to this, it would be much appreciated. Otherwise, you're nothing more than a broken record.

CommanderRobey
Jan 31st 2009, 08:46 PM
Did you read the "theological point" I made? You seem to be saying that the rich man was thrown into the eternal fire... but Christ called it hades (Hebrew sheol)... which isn't the eternal fire...

And CommanderRobey; you still have not addressed my questions. Do you think that the story contains any amount of symbolism, such as is described in the OP? If you can please respond to this, it would be much appreciated. Otherwise, you're nothing more than a broken record.

I do not believe that the account of Lazarus and the rich man was symbolic in the least. It was an actual event with real people.

It did let the reader know that the lost will find their place in hell (another reality many on this earth want to dismiss).

Parables are symbolic; i.e., the kingdom of heaven is like... . The account of the Lazarus in Luke 16, as I have pointed out with Scripture is not a parable and therefore is not symbolic.

markedward
Jan 31st 2009, 09:17 PM
Parables are symbolic; i.e., the kingdom of heaven is like... . The account of the Lazarus in Luke 16, as I have pointed out with Scripture is not a parable and therefore is not symbolic.Thanks for answering.

So you think it's nothing more than a big coincidence that the message of the story - if the details are interpreted as symbols in the manner of my OPs - is exactly the same as the message Christ was teaching throughout the previous two chapters, and that it's exactly the same as the message Paul taught in Romans? I honestly find this hard to believe because, well, it's simply too coincidental to be just a coincidence.


We know this is not a parable for a number of reasons: (1) Personal names are used in this account (Lazarus, Abraham), whereas personal names are not used in parables. (2) The details of this account describe a real human life event, not merely a parable. (3) This account conforms perfectly to what the rest of the Bible states about the afterlife. See, for example, Mr 9:44 (vr:6007),46 (vr:6009),48 (vr:600B); 2Co 5:1-8 (vr:70CF+7); Php 1:21-23 (vr:72C7+2); Re 6:9-11 (vr:7853+2); 14:10-11 (vr:78D9+1); 20:10-15 (vr:7949+5). (4) This passage is not called a parable by Christ and it does not have any of the key expressions which are associated with parables (such as “like,” “as,” “like unto,” or “likened unto”).1. Usage of personal names doesn't automatically mean it's a parable. Where is this "rule" defined in Scripture? No where. It's an arbitrary distinction being made when the names could just have easily been chosen for a specific reason to illustrate a point in the possibility that it is a mere parable.

2. This is incredibly poor, circular logic. You're saying "We know it's not a parable because it's real". Where does the text say it's real? Nowhere. That doesn't automatically mean it is a parable, but it certainly doesn't mean it's not a parable. You can't use your conclusion as a point of evidence for itself.

3. You've already shown a confusion for what the Bible teaches about the afterlife, so this point doesn't seem credible. Thus far you have said that the rich man was in the eternal fire. Yet Christ said that the rich man was in hades, and the Bible teaches that hades is thrown into the eternal fire. Meaning, hades is temporary, not eternal. So the rich man was not in eternal fire. You're mixing together two completely different "destinations" for the afterlife. Aside from this, what Christ teaches in Luke 16, at least, contains more details on hades than is suggested anywhere else in the Bible; the appearance of Abraham, the chasm, torment by fire, a separation of the (apparently) wicked and righteous. None of these teachings appear elsewhere in the Bible in regards to hades, so it's hard to claim that it "conforms perfectly" to it, which, again, I would consider points to the story being parable, not real.

4. Again, you're completely fabricating a rule when Scripture says no such thing. Nowhere in Scripture is it said that Christ must say "This is a parable" before He speaks about each and every parable. Once again, that doesn't automatically mean this story is a parable, but you simply cannot use this to claim it isn't because the rule you're claiming exists is just not found in Scripture. Besides, context can help us determine if something can be read as a parable. In this case, we have a few good reasons to interpret it as a parable: First, Christ tells the story in order to get across a message. That, by definition, is a parable. Second, this story immediately follows four other parables, and the message they get across is the same throughout. Adding this story in to the sequence, and it perfectly flows as another parable. Besides; Christ only introduced one of the previous four parables as a "parable". He told the parable of the lost sheep, then without any introduction of "this is a parable" He told the parable of the lost coin, then without any introduction of "this is a parable" He told the parable of the prodigal son, then without any introduction of "this is a parable" He told the parable of the unrighteous steward. Based on these previous examples, there simply is no Biblical requirement for the the narrator to say "This is a parable" before each and every parable; the context makes it apparent, and since the context for the story of Lazarus is four other parables... why can't it be a parable too?

sheina maidle
Jan 31st 2009, 09:19 PM
The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable for the following reasons:

(1) Christ used the proper names of two people, Lazarus and Abraham, and this He never did with parables.

(2) The description of Hell in this passage corresponds with Christ's descriptions of Hell in other passages (Mark 9:44, 46, 48).

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:44)

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:46)

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:48)

(3) There is no indication that this is a parable. It is not called a parable and does not have any of the key expressions associated with true parables (such as "like," "as," "like unto," or "likened unto.")

The definition of a parable is:


Way of Life Encyclopedia
PARABLE

"A parable is a comparison between material and spiritual truth, designed to teach doctrine and obedience. It may be given in the form of a narrative, a proverb, or a reference to an event or institution" (Bruce Lackey).


"Parable" means to lay something alongside another. It means to compare two things. The word parable in Greek is also translated "comparison" (Mark 4:30) and "figure" (Hebrews 9:9). See also Matthew 13:24 "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto..."

And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? (Mark 4:30)

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (Hebrews 9:9)

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: (Matthew 13:24)

The Parson
Jan 31st 2009, 09:50 PM
Quite frankley, I too believe that if the Savior said it happened, it happened. But this is beside the point. Kewl down folks or lets close the thread. Okey Dokey???

CommanderRobey
Jan 31st 2009, 11:04 PM
My assessment of the OP:

Long (two-part) post; enjoy.

I enjoy reading the parables of Christ because they contain so much information packed into otherwise simple allegories. Sometimes they teach something found in other parts of the Bible. For example, there are the parables of the mustard seed, and the leavened bread.
The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.
These seem to be pretty simple teachings: the Kingdom of God will get bigger, right? But Christ's parables are more than simple allegories, they often also play into larger parts of prophecy. Read through the book of Daniel and see if you can find what Christ was referring to. And, the longer the parables, the more likely we're to find multi-layered messages. My personal favorites include the parable of the wedding feast, the parable of the Samaritan,
Thus far, I agree for the Word of God declares these to be parables (comparing physical to spiritual)

and recently, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.Here's where we disagree. Scripture never indicates the account of Lazarus is a parable, so it is assumption to state that it is.

Which brings me to the primary topic of this post.

I've done quite a bit of studying on this parable over the years, Again, not a parable as the very definition of parable clearly refute the possiblity of it being one

as I'm sure many have.I have studied it extensively, yes
But an article I read recently has, I think given some understanding on the parable,Assumed parable, but go ahead [/quote]so I thought I'd share some of the key points from the article, as well as a few thoughts of my own (I won't be pasting the whole article; it's a somewhat larger in length than what I've typed up here, and some of the other points of information are eschatalogical, which isn't what I'm interested in sharing).
There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame."

But Abraham said, "Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us."

And he said, "Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

But Abraham said, "They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them."

And he said, "No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent."

He said to him, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead."
It's my belief that not a single detail that Christ gives in His parables can be removed and leave the message intact.[/quote]agreed
For instance, in the parable of the Samaritan—have you ever actually wondered why Christ so specifically said the Samaritan paid two denarii to the innkeeper?The denari was equal in value to ten mules. The Samaritan knew it would be expensive to take care of the man's wounds and room him
Why not one? Or three? Why two? The Samaritan felt 2 denari (the equivalent of twenty mules, would be ample amount to take care of the man's needs until he was well enough to walk and take care of himself
Every detail is important.agreed
In the case of this parable, it always seems like people skip over the little details and jump for the bigger things. This parable is often used to set an example on helping the poor, or not letting your morality be influenced by money. Helping the poor? Sure, that's an important lesson to learn from this. Not letting your morality be influenced by wealth? Also a good idea. But most often, this parable is used as proof of what Christ taught about the afterlife. Christ was telling about two specific men's experiences in the afterlife ... that of Lazarus, and that of the rich man... characters who were not fictional.
But was this parable not a parable at all or Christ lied when He said Abraham said specific things.
actually being used to teach about the nature of sheol/hades and the afterlife, or could it be something else entirely? [1] The warning was indeed about the torments of hell, 'tell my brothers of this awful place.


Here's a quick rundown of sheol as taught in the Old Testament: (a) it was the abode of the dead,ok
(b) it is heavily implied that both the wicked and the righteous would go there when they died, I'm listening
and (c) it's a kind of gloomy place (no one is thrilled to be there). a gloomy place doesn't sound like where Lazarus was at... he was resting after all, and the rich man wasn't
And that's it. In the Old Testament, nothing really says people will be punished or rewarded in sheol, or that angels would carry them there, or that there was a large chasm between the wicked and righteous. Nevertheless, Christ affirmed that this is what happened with Lazarus. [/quote]What Christ describes in this parable is almost nothing like what the Old Testament actually says about sheol.[/quote]still assuming it was a parable? If we say that Christ's description in Luke was not that which sheol is, then we have made Christ a liar.


On the other hand, what Christ describes is very similar to the Jewish conception of sheol as it is found in the Intertestamental period: the timeframe that took place after the return from the Babylonian Exile, but before the coming of Christ. During this time frame there was an intense Hellenization of Jewish culture, and this was reflected in their writings. In short: the concept of sheol that Christ gives in the parable most resembles the Intertestamental writings of the Jews, which were heavily influenced by the Greek conceptions of the afterlife (including a guide to the afterlife, torment for the evil, and a chasm dividing the wicked from the righteous), and not the pre-Hellenic [2] conceptions of sheol.Psalm 116 speaks of the pains of sheol. There's your torment before the Babylonian Exile. Quite obvious Christ was referencing the fact that sheol of the Old Testament was a place of pain. It stands to reason that those whom God deemed righteous of the Old Testament would not suffer the pains that were for the wicked. Hence the rest for the righteous dead... away from that place of torment.


By now, you've noticed that I've called the parable of Lazarus and the rich man a parable.By now, you've noticed I recognize it as a true story and not a comparison... which is what a parable is.
I do not believe this is a true story, but that it is a completely fictitious parable.Doesn't make in any less true.

I am going to stop here, because it is obvious that you have your mind made up despite the overwhelming evidence of the Scripture that shows the account to be a real event. It is fruitless to continue.

Denny606
Feb 1st 2009, 07:44 AM
I think it a real story. (u knew I HAD to say that!:)

Regardless, discussing it I just thought of something. God knows everything, right? So He knows everyone, right? I thought it interesting that the rich man was referred to with no name and was in flames, the poor man with Abraham, had a name, Lazarus. You know, it could have been the other way around with the rich man in flames having a name referred to and the man with Abraham without one referred to or even both could have had names spoken, but they weren't.

The rich man in flames reminds me of....Depart from me, I never knew you! Nameless? He had one but it is not mentioned.
Well, just something that sounded interesting to me.
I going to Amen your thinking on this,I believe it is a true story and I also have my belief as to why the rich man had no name ,I believe it was blotted out from the fair lambs book of life,because of the unbelieving and selfish state he was in when he died, now this usually causes some thinking but the Bible says the names were written in the book from the foundation of the world.By the way I have always been under the impression that the very meaning of Parable was an earthly story with a heavenly meaning

Kudo Shinichi
Feb 1st 2009, 12:59 PM
Well, my BK teacher did once said...moral of the story is that the Rich man didn't do charity for the poor Lazarus, when he was alive.

Walstib
Feb 1st 2009, 05:29 PM
still assuming it was a parable? If we say that Christ's description in Luke was not that which sheol is, then we have made Christ a liar.

Hi,

I think you would agree none of us can make Jesus a liar in fact. Logically this is just plain impossible. So it really is not saying anything at all.

I know you are just trying to make your point without and without malice, but could you please use different words to do it. Something like "then you disagree with how I understand the passage". I don't know but there must be a gentler way to express your point. :)

Thanks,
Joe

threebigrocks
Feb 1st 2009, 08:47 PM
I going to Amen your thinking on this,I believe it is a true story and I also have my belief as to why the rich man had no name ,I believe it was blotted out from the fair lambs book of life,because of the unbelieving and selfish state he was in when he died, now this usually causes some thinking but the Bible says the names were written in the book from the foundation of the world.By the way I have always been under the impression that the very meaning of Parable was an earthly story with a heavenly meaning

It is true that if the name isn't written in the Lamb's book of life, there is no salvation for them.

Something to ponder - is it according to the condition of our spirit that gets us listed in that Book, or is it the condition of our flesh?

What you shared leads me to believe that what our heart is set on is how we will go. If he was unbelieving and selfish those aren't qualities that describe a repentant and humble heart before the Lord. It was the condition of the man's spirit that kept him where he was and destined for hell. He was in bondage to the flesh.

Are we not all dying daily to our flesh? Those who are the new man, truly in Christ, see the mercy of Christ renewed daily. Is our flesh which remains until we draw our last breathe not something like the character of the rich man? Our flesh nature wants to win. Our flesh fights the spirit. I'm thinking there is at least bit of the rich man in every one of us.

moonglow
Feb 1st 2009, 08:48 PM
My general thoughts about the use of parabolic and figurative language in the Bible,
and in Jesus's teaching in particular

It seems odd to me that to assume that the Bible doesn't make broad use of figurative expressions, and teaching stories.

To make assume that all stories and illustrations are meant to be non-figurative is not to respect the Scriptures, but to try to impose upon them a set of assumptions about how to talk which is obviously foreign to the Scriptures themselves, in my opinion



The context of our current passage, in Luke

Let's look specifically at a few of the figurative expressions that occur throughout Luke prior to the story of Lazarus and the rich man.

In Luke 6 Jesus says "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, and ignore the beam in your own eye?" Is Jesus saying that those he is talking to have brothers with specks in their eyes, and that they themselves have beams sticking in their eyes? Nope, He's using figurative langauge.

He then says "No good tree bears bad fruit." Do we want to assess his accuracy by seeing if somewhere there's good fruit on a bad tree or bad fruit on a good tree? Nope, He's not really trying to make a point about agriculture. He's speaking in parables, to talk about our human conduct. (But the word "parable" is not used in the text.)

In Luke 9 Jesus says "who ever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me." Is Jesus saying that the parents of that particular little child, who take care of him -- or others who welcome "this little child" will be extra credit as taking care of Jesus, despite their faith or lack of it? Obviously not. He's speaking in parables. (But the word "parable" is not used in the text.)

He goes on to say "foxes have holes and birds nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." Is He saying here that throughout his ministry, or that night, He wouldn't be able to sleep in a house or on a bed? Of course not. He's indicating in a general way that He doesn't have a fixed abode, and He's using that to make a larger point.

In Luke 10 Jesus tells the story of the good samaritan in response to a question Why to suppose that this story, told to illustrate the idea "who is my neighbor?" must have happened as a real-world event?

In Luke 11, after saying "Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes at midnight" asking for a loan of bread, Jesus says "knock and the door will be opened to you." Is Jesus speaking of actual doors? Or is He using figurative language to make a point?

Later in the chapter he says "the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is whole your entire body will be full of light. But when your eyes are bad your body is full of darkness." Is Jesus acting as a folk doctor here, explaining how important it is to have good eyesight? Or is He using metaphorical language, talking in parables?

In chapter 12 He says "I have come to bring fire on earth, and how I wish it were already kindled. I have a dunking ("baptism") to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is complete." Is Jesus saying He wants to light a fire and have a warm bath? Or is he speaking figuratively?

In Luke 13 Jesus says "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, ... Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking" and he won't open to you. Is Jesus trying to make sure teens get home before their parents lock them out, or is He speaking parabolically?

In Luke 14 -- after saying "when you give a banquet, don't invite your friends and family, but the poor and crippled" (Is Jesus actually instructing us mainly about our dinner parties, or is he making a larger point?) -- Jesus replies to a question by saying (vv. 16 ff.) "A certain man was presparing a great banquet and invited many guests" and goes on to say how the guests evaded the invitation, and so on, and how the man then sent his servant to invite the poor and the lame. Do you think Jesus here is talking about a historical incident, or telling a story to make a point? A point, incidently -- like the story of Lazarus and the rich man -- about the need to care for the poor!
Immediately afterwards, Jesus says to the large crowds travelling with him, "If anyone" -- that's what he says, "anyone" -- "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and his own life he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." Do we really think that Jesus is instructing us to hate our families? Was Paul mistaken when he said that whoever does not care for his family is worse than an infidel? Or is Jesus perhaps speaking in a figure of speech here, though the text of Scripture does not identify it as a parable? In Luke 15, after a discussion of the lost sheep and lost coin, whose intros suggest that these are hypothetical cases, Jesus then says "There was a man who had two sons" ... and goes on to tell the story of the Prodigal Son and his father and brother. Why on earth would one suppose that the story is intended to represent an actual incident?
Immediately after at the start of Luke 16, we read "Jesus told his disciples, 'There was a rich man whose manager was wasting his posessions ...'" and goes on to speak about the need to use worldly wealth to gain friends for ourselves. Do we really suppose that this is an actual incident? That Jesus is commending embezzling here? Or is He making a point by telling a story as an example, rather than recounting an actual event?
It's right after this that he tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

(FYI, Eliezar -- that is Lazarus -- was, according to many scholars, the most common name in Palestine at the time, and may well be used like John in our expression "John Doe", or "John Q. citizen" or our use of "Joe" to speak of "Joe athlete" or "Joe Doaks" or "Joe Blow" or "Joe student")


Reiterating the main point about interpretation
Where do we get the idea that every teaching-story Jesus used refers to a real-world incident? In my opinion, not from the Bible. Not from an understanding of what language meant, and how it was used, by the Biblical authors.
The way people talked and taught at that time, is by telling stories as illustrations. This is the way the rabbis taught, and that every kind of person talked. Many people do that today. They don't assume that they must in every case explain that the characters in a joke, or an example, are fictitious and the the point of the story lies in the example, not in the fact that it refers to actual persons.
The Bible is chock-full of figurative language. It is evident that many expressions used are figurative and the text doesn't clutter itself up explaining that.
Instead, the assumption that every phrase and illustration refers to some specific historical incident comes from somewhere else: it's a contemporary tradition which is being read into (eisegeted into) a text that obviously is not intended in that way.


Since the point is to heed and obey the Word of God,
not quibble about it, however,
Let's get back to the actual meaning of the parable or story or whatever it is
Regardless of what we think about whether this story represents an illustration or an actual event, wouldn't it be best to get back to think about what the story of Lazarus and the rich man is trying to teach us?
I thought this was an excellent post...very good!

Again...I honestly don't see how the meaning of the story/parable/nonfiction of this passages changes the meaning Christ was trying to get across...so I see it as an non issue. But that is just me. Apparently for some they take this very personally...which they can do, but it derails the whole subject of this OP to start with...finding the deeper meanings in that passage.

I find most people don't even discuss whether it was a real story or not...they are much more concerned with what is happening to the rich man...and the questions about torment, flames, and so forth...which some brought up on here. As Mark explained, hades is a temporary place..later cast into the lake of fire. Many Christians believe people...whether in body or spirit, are actually burning in hades/hell/lake of fire...forever. But many others think again this is a metaphor and for good reason. Not saying the suffering is less...but honestly what it the point of burning people forever? God always has a point to everything He does...plus He operates in the spiritual, not the physical.

As Scruffy's post shows, Christ and many others in the bible used 'expression' that weren't always literal in the way they were said, such as having a literal log in your eye (which is impossible) but the meaning is not lost. Its no different them me saying its raining cats and dogs outside...no one expects real cats or dogs to be falling out of the sky...but the core meaning is still there...its raining really hard outside. Parables, metaphors, expressions, take nothing away from the core meanings...if anything they enhance it which is why I think Jesus used them so much.

This is why I do not for one minute believe the rich man was literally burning alive in this passage. If he was he would be screaming...rolling on the ground in pain...not having a conversation. Second if he could talk...if in spite of his pain he could even be aware others were around...why would he ask for a drop of water? Why not a bucket of water to be thrown on him? The whole description is unrealistic....yet people think its literal. Any fireman would tell you a person on fire is in such extreme pain and panic, they run, instead of drop and roll, they aren't aware or unable to see others around them. They are SCREAMING as they are in horrible pain. They don't have calm conversations.
Now I am not saying his torment (not torture...torment..big difference between the two), isn't as bad...any separation from God is going to be torment. He doesn't need to add physical flames to that torment. I believe this expression of flames of fire, etc, is to show the people then and now how terrible that separation will be.

From the book "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel...some questions he asked J.P Moreland, trained in philosophy and science, about hell.
Lee: How could a loving God torture people forever in hell?

Moreland: For on thing, hell isn't a torture chamber. Hell is, first of all, about relationships--broken relationships. The Christian faith says that people matter intensely to God. If people matter, then so do relationships. In the bible, hell is separation or banishment from the most beautiful being in the world...God Himself. It's exclusion not only from God but also from those who have come to know and love Him.

Lee: Is hell a punishment for having broken God's standards, or is it a natural consequence of choosing to be separate from God?

Moreland: It's both. Make no mistake: hell IS punishment--but it's not a punishing. It's not torture. The punishment of hell is separation from God and the shame, anguish, and regret that go along with it. The pain may be both mental and physical, but it will be the pain and sorrow of final, unending banishment from God and the good life for which we were created. Hell is the final sentence that says you refused regularly to live in relationship with God, and the inevitable results of that choice is to be sent away from God for all eternity. It IS punishment. But it's also the natural consequence of a life that has been lived in a certain direction.

Lee: Is hell a physical place?
Moreland: Yes. The bible says that our bodies will be raised and our souls rejoined with them at the final judgment. Hell will need to be a physical place to house those physical bodies.

Lee: Will people burn in flames in hell?

Moreland: I believe that the imagery of flames the bible uses to describe hell is a figure of speech. Trying to take the flames of hell literally results in nonsense. For example, hell is described as a place of utter darkness. How can that be? Flames would light things up.
Here's a similar example: The bible says that, at His return Christ will come surrounded by flames and with a big word coming out of his mouth. Will he be unable to speak because he's choking on a sword? Few people consider that to be a literal sword. Instead, the sword in that passage of Scripture is an image that stands for the Word of God. The flames stand for Christ coming in judgment.
Another example: In Hebrews 12:29, God is called a consuming fire. Yet nobody thinks God is a cosmic Bunsen burner. Using the flame imagery is a way of saying he's a God of judgment.

Lee: What about hell being a place where worms constantly eat people's flesh?
Moreland: In Jesus' day, thousands of animals were sacrificed every week in the Temple, and there was a sewage system for the blood and fat to flow outside, where it gathered in a pool. There would have been worms and maggots constantly feeding on that waste. It must have been a very ugly---and smelly---place. When Jesus was teaching, he used this metaphor as a way of saying hell is worse than that disgusting place outside the city, a place all of His listeners would have known about.

Lee: Doesn't the phrase 'gnashing of teeth" used to describe hell mean that people are in pain and torture?

Moreland: "Gnashing of teeth" is an expression of rage at realizing you've just made a huge mistake. When you hear about people grinding their teeth or gritting their teeth today, it means their angry or frustrated, not that they are being tortured. If you've ever been around people who are really self-centered, you know they get angry when they don't get their way. I believe the gnashing of teeth mentioned in Scripture is an expression of the personality of the type of people who will end up in hell.

Lee: If hell isn't literally a fiery place with flesh-eating worms, what's so bad about being there"

Moreland: Any figure of speech has a literal point. What is figurative is the burning flame. What is literal is that this is a place of utter heartbreak. It's a loss of everything. The bible is trying to communicate that hell is the worse possible situation a person could ever find himself in.

Lee: If the people in hell are self-absorbed and self centered, is it possible that for them, heaven would be hell?
Moreland: Let me put it this way? Have you ever been around somebody who was unbelievably good-looking, extremely attractive, and alot smarter then you? When the two of you are in a group of people, the others will went to listen to him, not you. Suppose you don't care for that person, but you're kept in a room with him 24 hours a day for 30 year. That would be unbelievably difficult, even maddening.

Now multiply those qualities 10,000 times, and you'll get just a hint of what God is like. He knows everything. He's very attractive. He's morally pure. And if people do not fall passionately in love with Him, then to force them to have to be around him forever...doing the kinds of things that people who love him would want to do... would make them miserable. So, yes, hell is primarily a place for people who would not want to go to Heaven.

Lee: Who does everyone suffer the same in hell? That doesn't seem fair. Shouldn't people like Hitler suffer more?
Moreland: The bible teaches that there are different degrees of suffering in hell. One passage you can read about that is Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus says people will be sentenced according to how they lived. There will be degrees of separation, isolation, and emptiness in hell. God's justice is proportional. There is not exactly the same experience for everyone.

Lee: Why are people punished forever? Wouldn't a loving God make the punishment fit the crime by not making hell last forever?

Moreland: This is a hard question to answer. When we think about the worse thing a person can do, usually we'll say its harming animals or destroying the environment or hurting another person. And, no question, all of those are horrible. But I believe that truly the worse thing a person can do is to mock and dishonor and refuse to love the person that we owe absolutely everything to: God our Creator.

You see, I know from experience that God is infinitely greater in his goodness, holiness, kindness, and justice that anyone else. To think that a person could go through their whole life constantly ignoring him, constantly mocking him by the way they choose to live, saying, "I couldn't care less about what you put me her to do. I couldn't care less about your values or your Son's death for me. I'm going to ignore all that"...THAT'S the ultimate sin.

And its the only sin, when you come down to it, that lands people in hell. There will be murderers in Heaven...like the apostle Paul. There will be adulterers in heaven--like King David. And liars like Abraham and cheaters like Jacob. But what you won't find in heaven is anyone who consistently and persistently refused to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. That's that ultimate sin. And the consequence of that is everlasting separation from God.

For further study on hades and what it really is and where:
One Second After Death
by Dave Miller, Ph.D. (http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2244)

God bless

moonglow
Feb 1st 2009, 09:07 PM
What can I say.... good verse! Past that it can ruffle some feathers when it is used in conversation between friends here. We are all be believers just trying to understand each other, softer way to express things, especially online, can go farther many times when seeking agreement.

A verse about the tongue eh. I think that was the root of what I was trying to say. There is honor in not saying things in a way that may cause a brother to be offended. Being all things to all men sort of thing. I don't want to sidetrack this thread and keep speaking about it here.... just please give it some thought.

Peace,
Joe

1 John 5:10 (New King James Version)

10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.

This passage is simply about believing in Jesus.

Verse 10. He that believeth on the Son of God (http://www.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=1jo&chapter=005)
This is God's witness to a truth, the most important and interesting to mankind. God has witnessed that whosoever believeth on his Son shall be saved, and have everlasting life; and shall have the witness of it in himself, the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit that he is a child of God. To know, to feel his sin forgiven, to have the testimony of this in the heart from the Holy Spirit himself, is the privilege of every true believer in Christ.

Which everyone on this thread has done...

If we keep dividing on this issue will this happen to us?:

Matthew 12

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

:hmm:

This is probably why so many verses in the bible about not arguing among ourselves.

Titus 3
Do What Is Good
1 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. 2 They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.

4 But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” 8 This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

All of us are at different levels in our spiritual growth and knowledge...so we grant each other our mistakes ...we state why we object to something..give scriptures...then move on. Its up to the Holy Spirit to teach each of us the correct way to understand scriptures...it can't be forced upon us by repeated posts and arguments. Let the Spirit do its job...

Meanwhile I am going to ignore further posts that I see as off topic as I really want to explore Mark's first two original posts.

God bless

moonglow
Feb 1st 2009, 09:26 PM
Ok Mark I want to ask you about this part:


Further pointing out that this man represents unrighteous Jews is that he calls Abraham "Father"; he is a descendent of Abraham. Likewise, we are told that the rich man's five brothers have "Moses [the Law] and the Prophets". But, yet one more detail helps point out that the rich man represents the unrighteous of the Jews, that is, he represents the unrighteous people of Judah (being the Hebrew version of "Judea"). Since the rich man has five brothers, that means he is one of six sons. In the Old Testament, where can we find six sons? In Genesis 35:23; "The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob's firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun." Leah even states it plainly: "God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons."

Since "Jew" is derived from "Judah", I consider it highly plausible that, in the parable, the rich man, who is intended to convey the unrighteous Jews, that he is, in fact, Judah himself (in an allegorical form, at least); hence, Judah has five brothers (in allegory these would be the other five sons of Leah, but they are intended to represent other Jews/Israelites). What we find is that Christ, in His parable, is criticizing the Jews who would unrighteously wield the Law and the Prophets, and reject the "sinful" and lost, which is precisely what Christ had been pointing out when the "the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled" at His reaching out to them.

I don't understand the importance of six here...I know you explain but I don't get it. I thought it was Jacob's 12 sons that represented the 12 Jewish tribes..:hmm:

(I have a sick computer right now too...viruses and other problems so I can only hope I can get back on here later..:()

God bless

markedward
Feb 2nd 2009, 12:24 AM
I don't understand the importance of six here...I know you explain but I don't get it. I thought it was Jacob's 12 sons that represented the 12 Jewish tribes..:hmm:This was one of the points I grabbed from that article I mentioned. It took me a moment to think over, too. Like I said before, I think every detail in Christ's words are important, so the fact that He specifically mentioned this "five brothers" (six sons, then) thing should also mean something. The other apparent symbolism present sure points toward the same "unrighteous stewards" that Christ was rebuking in His previous parables. By context, these could only be people of Israel, not Gentiles. Which is made obvious with Abraham telling the rich man that his brothers also have "Moses [his Law] and the Prophets". From this I would say that the "six sons" (of Leah) would be the most likely place to look... so if I had to hazard a guess as to why six and not all twelve, it would be... not every Israelite was an unrighteous steward of the Law, and not every Israelite disbelieved Christ and His resurrection.

moonglow
Feb 2nd 2009, 02:20 AM
This was one of the points I grabbed from that article I mentioned. It took me a moment to think over, too. Like I said before, I think every detail in Christ's words are important, so the fact that He specifically mentioned this "five brothers" (six sons, then) thing should also mean something. The other apparent symbolism present sure points toward the same "unrighteous stewards" that Christ was rebuking in His previous parables. By context, these could only be people of Israel, not Gentiles. Which is made obvious with Abraham telling the rich man that his brothers also have "Moses [his Law] and the Prophets". From this I would say that the "six sons" (of Leah) would be the most likely place to look... so if I had to hazard a guess as to why six and not all twelve, it would be... not every Israelite was an unrighteous steward of the Law, and not every Israelite disbelieved Christ and His resurrection.

Ok I see...that is something to ponder anyway...:hmm: Do you see that in the other parables in relationship to the Jews/Gentiles? Where He suggest six, rather then all 12 tribes? (its late...my computer is sick...or I would try to look it up myself).

We do know, as you said many Jews did come to Christ...it seems to me an ongoing theme is how Jesus points out the Pharisees (the self-righteous) and the rich quite often. Were the Pharisees and Scribes normally wealthy? :hmm:

God bless

My heart's Desire
Feb 2nd 2009, 06:01 AM
Oh, in case anyone misunderstood me in this story, I don't believe it is speaking of the Lake of Fire, the unbeliever's last abode, I believe it is speaking of "the grave" however people see what that is, plus I think it describes it BEFORE Christ died, was buried and rose again.

sheina maidle
Feb 2nd 2009, 08:17 AM
Oh, in case anyone misunderstood me in this story, I don't believe it is speaking of the Lake of Fire, the unbeliever's last abode, I believe it is speaking of "the grave" however people see what that is, plus I think it describes it BEFORE Christ died, was buried and rose again.
Luke 16:19-31 is definitely not speaking of "the grave". The rich man was "tormented in this flame"... the Greek word for hell in verse 23 is "Hades", which is a place of punishment for the unsaved. Hades means "unseen" which refers to the fact that it is not visible to the living. Christ taught in this passage that Hades is a place of fire and torment. The rich man is still there, probably begging for that one drop of water to cool his tongue.

threebigrocks
Feb 2nd 2009, 03:57 PM
Indeed, and the rich man never asked to get out of there, he knew he couldn't because he asked for warning to be sent to his brothers so they didn't wind up where he did. Where the rich man was, was permanent and inescapable.

bennie
Feb 2nd 2009, 04:13 PM
Luke16:22"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In hell,[c (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke16;&version=31;#fen-NIV-25636c)] where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
25"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'

Couple of questions for the ones who does not believe it is a parable.

Was it just coincedence that the rich man and Lazarus died at the same time?
The rich man saw Abraham and Lazarus in heaven. They conversed according to the parable. So assuming i go to heaven one day, i will be able to see the people in hell. what paradise is that to see people suffering for the rest of eternaty. It will be no different from eart now. Where there is abbundant suffering. At least here we can help in one way or another. In heaven our hands will be "cut off" to help.

bennie

CommanderRobey
Feb 2nd 2009, 07:09 PM
In post #60, I made the statement

It means a lot when one changes the Word of Truth into a lie.
without clarifying why it does make a difference when one changes the Word of Truth into a lie. John, while on the Isle of Patmos wrote these very profound words:

Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

The words of our mouth and the the things we think on in our hearts should be acceptable to God. How we present God's Word to people gives them a picture of who God is. There are serious consequences to one adding to or taking away from the Word of God. And when one adds to or takes away from the Word, one does indeed change the Word into a lie.

We should all endeavor to study the Word of God on a daily basis, not just reading, but diligently and fervently studying, else we are prompt to teach error when presenting the Word to others.

CommanderRobey
Feb 2nd 2009, 07:41 PM
Was it just coincedence that the rich man and Lazarus died at the same time?Scripture does not say they died at the same time... only that they died; Lazarus first, and then the rich man. I would think that had they both died at the same time, Luke would have worded the verse differently, such as, "And it came to pass that both Lazarus and the rich man died"


The rich man saw Abraham and Lazarus in heaven.Sripture does not say they Lazarus and Abraham were in heaven. Only that they were in a place separated from the torments of hell by a great gulf. If the righteous dead went to heaven prior to the cross, who were the dead that were seen in the holy city upon Christ's resurrection?

Matthew 27:52-53 And the graves were opened; and many
bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the
graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and
appeared unto many..

They conversed according to the parable.Not a parable, but go ahead.

So assuming i go to heaven one day, i will be able to see the people in hell.Since Abraham was not in heaven, one cannot assume that one will see people in hell when from heaven.
what paradise is that to see people suffering for the rest of eternaty. Abraham and Lazarus were not in paradise. Paradise is in the third heaven.


2 Corinthians 12:2-4 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years
ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the
body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the
third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or
out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was
caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is
not lawful for a man to utter.There is no indication that we will see people suffering for the rest of eternity. There is also no indication that Abraham and Lazarus saw the rich man. The Word of God tells us that the hell that is full of torment is in outer darkness. This would tell me it is impossible for anyone to see into hell to see the sufferings that take place there
It will be no different from eart now.We cannot compare heaven to earth. The things of the earth are temporal. Heavenly things are eternal.
Where there is abbundant suffering. The abundant suffering will be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are and all who have rejected Christ will spend eternity. Hell's suffering will only last until a thousand years after the tribulation. And then death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire. They will be destroyed in that lake, death being the last enemy destroyed. And then the wicked dead will be cast in to the lake of fire.
At least here we can help in one way or another. As well we should. If we see someone in need and have the means to help them and do nothing, how can the love of Christ dwell in us?
In heaven our hands will be "cut off" to help.No, I am sure we will have hands in heaven. Revelation 7 speaks of multitudes holding palms in their hands.

divaD
Feb 2nd 2009, 07:49 PM
We should all endeavor to study the Word of God on a daily basis, not just reading, but diligently and fervently studying, else
we are prompt to teach error when presenting the Word to others.


Keep in mind, this also applies to you. Apparently you don't see yourself in error, even tho it's plainly obvious that this is a parable to many of us.

What I also see in this passage is a complete role reversal.


And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table

and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.


Lazarus would have been happy with just the crumbs. Notice that the rich man would be happy to just have one drop of water. Why not a whole glassfull, or even a river?


Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

If you look at these verses side to side, it sure appears that there was a great gulf fixed between the rich man and Lazarus in verses 19-21. That's the point. I'd be willing to bet that you don't see this point because you choose to interpret this passage literally instead of spiritually. That's too bad..really. You're free to believe however you choose. Keep in mind tho..so are the rest of us.:)

sheina maidle
Feb 2nd 2009, 08:59 PM
“When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, but take every word at its primary literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise.” ....Dr. David Cooper

The context of Luke 16:19-31 is a warning about hell...that is the "literal" interpretation. To use a "spiritual/allegorical" interpretation for this portion of Scripture takes the focus off the truth about which Jesus is speaking...being that hell is a real place of eternal torment, not just "the grave".

CommanderRobey
Feb 2nd 2009, 09:06 PM
Hell is indeed a real place. It is but a jail in which one bides his or her time until the day of judgment. At that time, the wicked dead who are being detained in this jail called hell will be brought before the judge, Almighty God, who will declare their guilt and sentence them to eternal torment in prison...the lake with burns with fire and brimstone.

divaD
Feb 2nd 2009, 09:17 PM
Hell is indeed a real place. It is but a jail in which one bides his or her time until the day of judgment. At that time, the wicked dead who are being detained in this jail called hell will be brought before the judge, Almighty God, who will declare their guilt and sentence them to eternal torment in prison...the lake with burns with fire and brimstone.



I indeed believe hell is a real place also. I also believe that this is where lost departed souls go when they die. I also believe they're being tormented as we speak. I just see that torment as mental anguish, and not as physical anguish, such as from literal flames. So you see, I believe in the same hell as you, I simply see the tormenting differently. That's what I draw from this parable. The rich man seemed to be suffering more from mental pain than from physical pain.

CommanderRobey
Feb 2nd 2009, 10:09 PM
Water would bring some relief from a burning. Water does not do anything for the memory. Sure there was mental anguish. He remembered the life he lived on earth; he remembered his five brothers; he remembered and recognized Abraham and Lazarus. This real account of an actual event gave the description of both mental and physical anguish in the flame of hell.

As was pointed out by my wife, there is no fire in the grave, and yet the rich man said he was in fire... "For I am tormented in this flame."

There is nowhere that I have found yet in the Word of God that speaks of a flame or fire as being a torment of the mind.

Scruffy Kid
Feb 2nd 2009, 11:14 PM
There is nowhere that I have found yet in the Word of God that speaks of a flame or fire as being a torment of the mind.Prov. 25:21-22 ("If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, ...") quoted by Paul at Rom 12:20 ("Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head") might immediately spring to mind as one studies to rightly divide the word of truth and know the Scriptures and the power of God.

I have no particular comment or view on what the flames of hell consist in; although one may observe that the doctrine of the resurrection of the body suggests that the whole person, body and mind, in some fashion experiences its eternal destiny.

However, I fail to see the force of the argument "Water would bring some relief from a burning. Water does not do anything for the memory." For those who take the flame to represent anguish of some kind (unspecified, or specified) water would represent some kind of (specified or unspecified) relief from that anguish.

If one were to take the anguish, for instance, to be a reference that includes the pain of the absence of God and His love, and of godly love in one's own life -- things which the rich man seems to have cemented into his character in his earthly existence -- then water (and in particular the absence of even a drop of water) would be a reference that includes the condign incapacity of the rich man to partake of -- experience or exercise -- even in small measure God's love, toward himself or toward others. (That doesn't mean God ceases to love the man -- even Abraham speaks to him kindly -- but rather the failure of the man to receive that love in ways that alleviate the burning troubledness he finds himself in.

CommanderRobey
Feb 2nd 2009, 11:40 PM
The verses you gave are good, Scruffy Kid, but the question would be would the coals of fire be referring to mental anguish? or possible refining? ...like a refiner's fire?

Just a thought.

Just not sure that giving your enemy water would be necessarily tormenting them. I could be wrong, but it would seem that they would not be tormented by my being good to them.

My heart's Desire
Feb 3rd 2009, 06:29 AM
When I refer to Hell as the grave I refer to it as the intermediate place of spirits/souls waiting the final judgment. The body has returned to dust as it began.
I sort of agree that when Jesus ascended He took with Him the spirits of the righteous, which means that Lazarus and Abraham are no longer on the peaceful side, and if so, I don't know where that place currently is where they currently are, but don't want to get into that because the main thing is that the righteous will ever be with the Lord after death, no matter the method of how, Who and when.

If we wanted to make it real interesting, we could discuss who really appeared when Saul went to the Medium to bring up Samuel for Saul. But that would not help our discussion here much as He is described only as coming up, an old man, wrapped in a robe. That was before Christ had actually been crucified and resurrected.
Many believe this really was Samuel because his message he repeated to Saul was about the same as the one he gave Saul while he was alive, how God had departed from Saul.

Though it may have really been Samuel, this is NOT in any way to give credit to the medium for his appearance. The practice of mediums, witchcraft, divination is strongly condemned by God.

CommanderRobey
Feb 3rd 2009, 06:44 AM
When I refer to Hell as the grave I refer to it as the intermediate place of spirits/souls waiting the final judgment. The body has returned to dust as it began.
I sort of agree that when Jesus ascended He took with Him the spirits of the righteous, which means that Lazarus and Abraham are no longer on the peaceful side, and if so, I don't know where that place currently is where they currently are, but don't want to get into that because the main thing is that the righteous will ever be with the Lord after death, no matter the method of how, Who and when.

I believe Abraham and Lazarus are in Paradise in the third heaven.

I am reminded of Jesus' statement to the thief who had compassion on the Lord. "This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise." Now, we know Jesus was buried and did not rise until the first day of the week, but I believe Jesus was speaking of a spiritual day and not a physical one. Certainly the Word of God tells us that paradise is in the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). I certainly believe that is where Jesus was speaking of... the Paradise of God in the third heaven and because one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day, the thief did indeed go to Paradise with the Lord that day.

My heart's Desire
Feb 3rd 2009, 06:57 AM
I believe Abraham and Lazarus are in Paradise in the third heaven.

I am reminded of Jesus' statement to the thief who had compassion on the Lord. "This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise." Now, we know Jesus was buried and did not rise until the first day of the week, but I believe Jesus was speaking of a spiritual day and not a physical one. Certainly the Word of God tells us that paradise is in the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). I certainly believe that is where Jesus was speaking of... the Paradise of God in the third heaven and because one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day, the thief did indeed go to Paradise with the Lord that day.
You may be right, but the fly in my ointment is that being somewhat dispensational, the dispensationists believe the resurrection of the righteous O.T saints (Israel) will be at a different time, (as it was somewhat referred to and by Daniel,) than those who are on this side of the Cross. I suppose they refer only to the resurrection of the body, if so then Abraham's spirit is probably in paradise (third heaven). I've not studied this enough myself, so don't want to go into that.

crush
Feb 3rd 2009, 01:57 PM
Great Post Markeward, Lot's of food for thought here.

The belief that the wicked 'soul' goes to sheol and is punished and the 'righteous' soul is comforted was a pharasee doctrine at the time.

"they hold the belief that an immortal strength belongs to souls, and that there are beneath the earth punishments and rewards for those who in life devoted themselves to virtue or vileness, and that eternal imprisonment is appointed for the latter, but the possibility of returning to life for the former" -Josephus Ant. 18.1.3

This seems to conflict with the version of resurrection then judgment/reward that we are taught elsewhere in scripture.


So to fit in this story with other scripture, it seems that upon our death we are to be judged (by Abraham apparantly), suffer or be rewarded for a period of time, then be resurrected, judged again and go on to our eternal reward/damnation. :help:

theBelovedDisciple
Feb 3rd 2009, 04:54 PM
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Here we have a description of the Final Judgement... notice it says the 'dead'... are present... and 'death' and 'hell' delivered up its contents to be judged accordingly.. 'were in them'

who are the 'contents'???

This is not a judgement of the 'Righteous'... or those who are 'made alive in Christ'... Born Again from Above... quickened.... by His Holy Ghost.. that same Spirit that raised Jesus from His Physical Death...

and as Jesus stated when confronted by the Pharisees... they greatly 'erred' in believing the God of Abrahm Isaac and Jacob was the God of the Dead.. but He turned to them and said...


He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

so you see the 'dead' that have been residing in hell 'delivered' up to be judged as His Command... what have these 'dead' been doing all this time...???????? are they in some deep sleep.. in some black cosmos... obviously they are 'contained' in there.. for it 'delivered' up the 'contents'... THAT WAS 'IN' IT...

Doesnt it even trigger a response that in what Jesus is teaching here is the 'reality' of life after death? and not a ficticious parable of some type? WHY IS THERE SOME type of FEAR that would make someobody believe otherwise?

my Friends.. Perfect Love... casts out any and all types of FEAR....

tantejess
Feb 3rd 2009, 05:50 PM
oh great, we start posting in bold just to make sure it's noticed.

well, i've noticed you guys have been debating this for 7 PAGES. how about using the next seven to talk about God's love, grace, majesty...

doesn't that make a lot more sense than this?

theBelovedDisciple
Feb 3rd 2009, 11:36 PM
oh great, we start posting in bold just to make sure it's noticed.

well, i've noticed you guys have been debating this for 7 PAGES. how about using the next seven to talk about God's love, grace, majesty...

doesn't that make a lot more sense than this?

-------------------------------------------------------------------
I aplogize if I offended you by typing in bold but its much easier to see.. from my standpoint.. this is the first time I've had anybody complain about letters being in Bold type..

it's not done to get 'noticed' I can guarantee that..


but its done to help me see on this computer..


God is a God love.. and He's a God of Grace and Mercy and He is Majestic...

but He's also a Just and Righteous God.. and He will judge accordingling.. Its all laid out in the Book... One cannot have a Loving Merciful God without Him being Just and Righteous... Sometimes we like to see the one side of God.. but there is another side to Him too.. which Calls for Justice and Judgement... I would say in today's atmosphere.. God is shown to be a God of Love, Mercy, and Grace.. this discussed and hashed out.. but it is few and far between when people start discussing the Justice and Judgement of God.. people don't want to see that side of God or even acknowledge it exists... 'how could a loving God do such a thing'..... this is what I hear most of the time... they are terrified of it.. which make one 'want to run into His lap and abide there'.....and understand and 'know' Him.... the 'complete' Him... not just the one side of Him....

and BTW.. this is a forum where we are allowed to discuss things and debate them... even though its gone on for 7 pages... thats the beauty of it... we don't all agree.. but we have the freedom and priveledge to do it here.. we can agree to disagree..... even if some people are not akin to it or dont like it...

bennie
Feb 4th 2009, 12:21 AM
oh great, we start posting in bold just to make sure it's noticed.

well, i've noticed you guys have been debating this for 7 PAGES. how about using the next seven to talk about God's love, grace, majesty...

doesn't that make a lot more sense than this?


any input on the OP?