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Bible verses about Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ecclesiastes 7:15-18

The situation in verse 15 is a paradox, an irregularity from the way one would expect a thing to be. A paradox is an inconsistency in circumstance, statement, activity, or conduct contrary to what a person would consider normal. Here, the paradox is found within a relationship with God. The sinner prospers, but the righteous suffers all kinds of difficulty in life. Is it not more natural to think that the sinner would have difficulty and the righteous, a prosperous, smooth-running life?

A paradox, in turn, creates a conundrum, that is, a riddle or puzzle. A righteous individual may ask, “Why should such a situation exist?” “Where are the blessings God has promised?” “Where is God in this picture?” “Has God not promised prosperity and long life if we obey Him?” Yes, He has.

Solomon's paradox could spur a carnal person to assume that doing evil, because it can be profitable, is the better way. This especially seems so when the evil person lives to old age in relative peace, is honored in the world, and has more-than-enough wealth. In contrast, it is not rare for a righteous person to die early, perhaps following a time of difficult persecution.

One way of understanding these verses involves misjudging both God and the circumstance, which generally results in expounding on what we might consider “normal” self-righteousness. As Ecclesiastes teaches, God is sovereign and rules His creation all the time. So thorough is His care of His creation that His eye is even on sparrows (Matthew 10:29). Therefore, God is fully aware of any circumstance like that described in verse 15. In fact, He may have directly created it and is using it for His purposes.

The challenge for us, then, is whether we find fault with Him in allowing or arranging this sort of circumstance. Do we even think that God overlooks what any of His children might be going through? It is likely that He is directly involved, having caused the circumstance.

Could we be calling God into account, deciding—without knowing all the facts—that what He is overseeing is unfair? Understand, however, that even though He may or may not be directly involved in causing such a circumstance, He is not indifferent to human conduct and attitudes whenever or wherever they are. Our judgment must begin with knowing that His governance contains no complacency at any time. Though the righteous may die young, who knows God's entire judgment that lies beyond the grave for either the righteous or the wicked?

In addition, in this world prosperity is frequently associated with some level of evil. God Himself says that He sometimes sets the basest of men on thrones of great power, but He does not mean He favors them in terms of economic prosperity. We should understand those persons are in that position for some good reason, and God is fully aware. The wise person grasps and accepts that God is never out of the picture. He rules!

There is, therefore, a primary lesson about judgment here: Things are not always as they may appear to our narrow perspective. This verse teaches us to be cautious when making judgments about a person's spiritual standing before God and his morality as we might perceive them in his day-to-day surroundings.

This supplies insight into why Jesus cautions us about judging. The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man contains a clear example of the pitfalls in making these kinds of judgments. The rich man could easily have been judged as favored by God. But which man was truly favored by Him? It was Lazarus, the beggar, who was the better spiritually.

We should not allow ourselves to jump to self-righteous conclusions about people and to misjudgments about God's involvement. In either case, we are fully capable of raising ourselves spiritually above them. Thus, an overall lesson in these verses is that we must learn to be cautious about accusative thoughts that may arise within us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Ten): Paradox


 

Luke 16:19-31

In the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, the latter, a heartless person, speaks to Lazarus while being "tormented in this flame." This alludes to the wicked being cremated when God burns up the earth, turning it into the final Gehenna, called elsewhere "the Lake of Fire." The rich man is raised out of his grave at the end of God's plan for humanity on earth. Because the dead know nothing, he does not realize the passage of time, but he certainly realizes that he has failed to receive salvation. He sees "a great gulf fixed" between him and those who are with Abraham in the Kingdom of God. At this point, it is impossible for anyone to change his fate.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: The Third Resurrection


 

Luke 16:19-31

In Luke 16:19-31 appears the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, which Jesus spoke to those who would not repent. Jesus uses it to help them understand His earlier words: "Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13:27-28). In the parable, the rich man—representing all workers of iniquity, all sinners—illustrates what is to befall the unrepentant.

The wicked will be raised to physical life in their resurrection, and then, immediately knowing that they are doomed, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire designed by God to consume them. The Lake of Fire will burn them up completely and finally. Jesus pictures the rich man crying out for help because of his mental and physical anguish at this time, but he is not burning eternally in hell fire. He is soon consumed while Lazarus the beggar dwells safely in immortality.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part One)


 

Luke 16:19-22

Jesus describes Lazarus as being taken to Abraham's bosom, which is simply the human breast, with the arms as an enclosure. His words depict a loving embrace, suggesting an intimate relationship. Lazarus, therefore, comes into an intimate relationship with Abraham and receives salvation (Galatians 3:29). Since Lazarus had given himself to Christ, he became one of Abraham's spiritual children and an heir to the promises of God (Galatians 3:7).

The "bosom" metaphor occurs frequently in Scripture. God will care for His people as a shepherd for his sheep, carrying them "in his bosom" (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus was "in the bosom" of the Father (John 1:18), enjoying His blessings and close relationship. Moses carried the children of Israel in his bosom (Numbers 11:12). Lazarus had gained such intimacy with Abraham, while the Pharisees, who considered themselves to be the recipients of God's promises to Abraham, had not.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part One)


 

Luke 16:19-31

In the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus illustrates death—total unconsciousness—as being followed by a resurrection from the dead and a restoration to consciousness. Secondly, Jesus describes the second death, eternal death, in the Lake of Fire that will totally destroy the wicked. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), not endless torment.

Jesus shows that the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear the voice of God and come forth—those who have lived righteously to the resurrection of life, and those who have lived wickedly (including the rich man) to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). We need to understand how vital it is to hear and submit to God's voice now.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Luke 16:19

Could He be referring once again to the Pharisees, using a typical Pharisee—a rich man, dressed in nice clothing, with plenty to eat? The preceding parable, the Parable of the Unjust Steward, the Pharisees rightly understood had something to do with covetousness about money. Jesus He tied the two parables together with His warning, "Look, the law is not done away. You will be judged by that law that covers covetousness."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 16)


 

Luke 16:22

God promised Abraham's descendants land on earth—the land of Canaan, and later it was all the land he could see (see Genesis 12:5-7; 13:15; 15:18; Romans 9:6-8). God even included the actual boundary line of the property in His agreement with Abraham. "Your seed" refers primarily to Christ, the chief of "Abraham's seed, and heir according to the promise." Since God's promise of the land of Canaan was forever, it is an eternal inheritance and includes eternal life (Hebrews 9:15). Because the angels carried Lazarus into Abraham's bosom, he became one of Abraham's children and thus an heir to the Promised Land on this earth—not in heaven—and eternal life.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part One)


 

Luke 16:22

A son who is heir to his father's property cannot inherit and possess it before his father inherits it. Lazarus could not inherit either eternal life or the land before his father Abraham received the promises. Abraham, however, died without actually inheriting these promises (Acts 7:2-5; Hebrews 11:8-13). He was still dead at the time of Christ's earthly ministry, and he still is in his grave today (John 8:52). He will inherit the promises at the time of the resurrection of the just. Human beings in Christ, living and dead, receive eternal life at Christ's second coming, Abraham among them (Luke 13:28).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part One)


 

Luke 16:22-23

Jesus does not say the rich man is taken immediately to an eternally burning hell. He says the rich man dies and is buried. People are buried in a grave and covered with earth. Hades (verse 23) is the Greek word for "grave." The King James Version generically translates hades into "hell," as it also does the Greek words tartarus (the present condition of darkness and restraint of the fallen angels or demons) and gehenna (a place at the bottom of a high ledge at the south end of Jerusalem where garbage and dead bodies were dumped and burned). Other Bible translations correctly distinguish the different meaning in these words. The rich man went to the same kind of place Jesus did when He died—"hell" (KJV) or "Hades" (NKJV)—but the Father did not leave Him there (Acts 2:31-32).

Daniel 12:2 speaks of those who will be resurrected to eternal life (the just) and of those who will be resurrected to damnation or judgment (the unjust). In the parable, Jesus speaks of two different, separate resurrections (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:4-5, 11-12). Jesus pictures the rich man as wicked and lost, but even he will open his eyes and rise from his grave after the Millennium. Having passed up his opportunity for immortality by choosing this world's temporary, material riches and pleasures rather than eternal, spiritual riches, he is without hope, doomed to perish in the Lake of Fire.

The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man shows the resurrection from the dead, not an instantaneous going to heaven or hell. It is a resurrection from death, not from life. It depicts mortals who die and are dead, not immortals who never lose consciousness and live forever under punishment in a fiery hell. Jesus describes bringing back to life one who was dead, who had no conscious realization of the lapse of centuries and millennia since his death.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part One)


 

Luke 16:22-23

Lazarus, who represents those who are Abraham's spiritual children, is resurrected at Christ's return with all the firstfruits (I Corinthians 15:23). These saints will live through the Millennium (Revelation 20:4), but the rest of the dead will not live until the thousand years have past (verse 5). The rich man, then, will not return to life until a thousand years after Lazarus and all the saints have been made alive.

All human beings know they will die (Hebrews 9:27), but the dead have no thought or knowledge—they know nothing and can do nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10). They are totally unconscious (Job 14:21). David writes: "His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day, his plans perish" (Psalm 146:4). The rich man, at the time of his resurrection after the Millennium, will come to consciousness, knowing absolutely nothing of the centuries that have passed since his death. To him, it will seem that only a fraction of a second has passed.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Luke 16:26

Abraham and Lazarus were separated from the rich man suffering for his sins. The latter had received his reward in the material things he had sought, craved, and acquired during his mortal lifetime. The gulf Abraham mentions that prevents the wicked from escaping death in the Lake of Fire—and that also keeps the righteous from being burned—is immortality. Those who are immortal will never die because they are composed of spirit like God (Revelation 20:6). Only the saved possess immortality as the gift of God (Romans 2:7).

Conversely, human beings who have not been resurrected or changed to spirit are still physical and subject to corruption and death. They can be consumed by fire because they are composed of flesh and blood. The wicked will reap anguish and wrath, the fiery indignation that will devour the adversary (Hebrews 10:27). For such people, there will be a time of anguish before they die when the fire consumes their bodies. The parable ends with Abraham's words ringing in the rich man's mind and flames of judgment engulfing his body.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Luke 16:27-31

The rich man's last thought flashes to concern for the fate of his five brothers. He utters a final cry to Abraham, begging him to send Lazarus to plead with his brothers to heed his warning testimony. Abraham replies that they had the writings of Moses and the prophets. The rich man, however, thinks his brothers would listen to one from the dead, indicating that he realizes that Lazarus had been resurrected. Abraham replies that, if they would not follow the Scriptures, they would certainly not be persuaded even by one raised from the dead. These final verses show that Jesus' purpose in giving the parable was to reveal the truth of the resurrection.

Other scriptures tell us what happens where this parable leaves off. Matthew 13:30 speaks symbolically of the wicked being gathered into bundles to be burned. Matthew 3:12 records John's warning to the Pharisees that they would be burned up as chaff if they did not repent. They are to be burned in a fire so hot that no amount of water could put it out because the flames would turn the water to steam. When God punishes the wicked, the fire will be unquenchable. This does not mean, however, that it will not burn itself out when it has no more combustible materials to burn. An unquenchable fire cannot be put out, but it can burn itself out when it has consumed everything. Malachi 4:1, 3 also speaks of this fire, reporting the end of the wicked: They will be ashes and smoke (see Psalm 37:20).

In this, Jesus is preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, revealing salvation, the resurrection to eternal life as the gift of God, and inheritance of the Kingdom of God on this earth. Jesus teaches that if we refuse to hear Moses and the prophets—if we refuse to believe the inspired, written Word of God—we have no hope of salvation. All Scripture, the whole Bible containing both the Old and New Testaments, is profitable for doctrine and instruction in receiving the gift of salvation (II Timothy 3:16-17).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Luke 16:27

In the parable, Jesus is quoting the rich man, who is appealing to father Abraham, "Send somebody to my father's house."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 16)


 

Luke 16:28

The man, in great fear, was trying to save his brothers. He wanted somebody sent to them so that they would not meet the same fate as he had.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 16)


 

John 11:43-53

After His prayer, Jesus, in whom is life (John 1:4) and who is the Life (John 14:6), shouts to Lazarus with a strong, confident voice, and he walks from his grave alive. It is an almost incredible thing to read. Can we imagine the effect it had on those who witnessed it?

As the conclusion of the chapter shows, this miracle had diverse results. Many Jews believed in Him, but it only angered His enemies, making them more determined to rid themselves of Him. The high priest, Caiaphas, a dupe of Rome and a Sadducee, who did not believe in resurrection, suggests to the Council that they must kill Jesus rather than lose their positions. The words and works of Jesus divided light from darkness, the believing from the unbelieving. There is still division because of Him (Luke 12:51).

The word John uses thirteen times for “miracles” in his gospel and in Revelation suggests “wonders,” “foreshadows,” or “signs,” and not “mighty works.” E.W. Bullinger explains it as

a signal and ensign, a standard, a sign by which any thing is designated, distinguished or known; hence, used of the miracles of Christ, as being the signs by which it might be known that He was the Christ of God, a sign authenticating Christ's mission; a sign with reference to what it demonstrates. (A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, p. 503)

As John sees them, Jesus' miracles are symbols, proofs, messages, and object lessons of spiritual truth embodied in the wonders themselves. They are living parables of Christ's action, embodiments of the truth in works. They are not merely signs of supernatural power, but dramatic indications of the goal of His ministry and of His own all-loving character. His visible works of power and mercy foreshadow the spiritual restoration of all things. Because of these elements, a lesson, discussion, or sermon usually follows them.

John recorded only eight of Jesus' miracles, choosing typical ones to elucidate while recognizing their greater extent: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book” (John 20:30). In the next chapter, he provides a glimpse of the fullness of His ministry: “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen” (John 21:25).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Hebrews 9:27

Hebrews 9:27 says that all men are appointed to die once. Considering this, some have asked: How can one die a second death? How many times can one die?

First, baptism is symbolic of death (Romans 6:2-11) and so is "dying daily," as Paul describes the sacrifices of the Christian life (I Corinthians 15:31). Paul mentions this latter death in the context of the resurrection chapter to emphasize our need to crucify the old self daily and renew or resurrect the inner man as symbols of actual death and resurrection (see II Corinthians 4:16-17). In this sense, we die every day of our lives.

When speaking of great embarrassments, many have used the phrase, "I died a thousand deaths." That is just what God expects of us if we are to reach maturity of thought and conduct! Each of these deaths is just as difficult and excruciating as the one before, and thus Paul describes them as crucifixions (Galatians 5:24). These play a major role in overcoming, and it is never easy.

Apart from symbolism, the general rule is that we each die physically at least once and then await the resurrection to eternal life. But some few humans have already died twice! Lazarus, Dorcas, Eutychus, those who came out of their graves when Christ died and others were physically resurrected and physically died again.

It is conceivable that some few might even die three times! If those who were resurrected physically were converted and accepted for the Kingdom, they will be resurrected when Christ returns - changed "in the twinkling of an eye" into immortal spirit beings (I Corinthians 15:52). If they were not called and converted - not yet having had an opportunity for salvation - they will come up in the second resurrection to be alive a third time. At the end of that life they will then be either changed to spirit or die in the Lake of Fire, a third death.

Why, then, does Revelation 20:14 call the Lake of Fire "the second death"? The emphasis is on the fact that it is a permanent death. Once a person experiences the second death, no hope remains for another resurrection. However, for a few it could represent a third physical death.

The point is that all of us are appointed to die at least once! Even those "blessed and holy" individuals who are alive and changed at Christ's return will go through a kind of death. As Paul writes, "For this corruptible [body] must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Corinthians 15:53).

Staff
The Third Resurrection: What Is Its Value?


 

 




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