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Poll Question: The Rich man and Lazarus Parable or Not?

Poll Question: The Rich man and Lazarus  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Is the the Rich man and Lazarus a parable?



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Is the story of the Rich man and Lazarus a parable and does it really make a difference?  Wouldn't the story still teach the same truths even if is a parable?

 

John Calvin held the view that it is not a parable but he also states "But that is of little consequence, provided that the reader comprehends the doctrine which it contains."

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1 hour ago, Origen said:

Is the story of the Rich man and Lazarus a parable and does it really make a difference?  Wouldn't the story still teach the same truths even if is a parable?

Question: The story mentions Abraham's side or bosom so wouldn't this story be best understood from the historical perspective of Abraham's time in regard to hell (Sheol)? Abraham speaks in the story to Lazarus. I mean, it doesn't seem we need really dive far from the context because Abraham is not wasting his time and words on someone to be unconscious. If the story is strictly a parable and as some imply "a false story" to convey a point then Jesus is turning the Jewish understanding of hell upside down if historically hell was a place of unconsciousness (Luke 16:23 suggest otherwise)?

 

Could someone explain this to me like a 4 year old in order to see from the point of opposition to eternal torment, and preferably one that does justice to the story through proper exegesis?

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Origen said:

John Calvin held the view that it is not parable but he also states "But that is of little consequence, provided that the reader comprehends the doctrine which it contains."

Calvin writes quite a bit on this one story. I was surprised by the length actually. One of the things that differs the writing styles from someone like Calvin and Spurgeon is that each sentence is packed full of propositions whereas Spurgeon has so much cream or fluff that it takes forever sifting through Spurgeon's poetic writing style to get to the meat of what is being conveyed.

 

Luke 16:22 by Calvin:

 

And it happened that the beggar died. Christ here points out the vast change which death effected in the condition of the two men. Death was no doubt common to both; but to be after death carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom was a happiness more desirable than all the kingdoms of the world. On the other hand, to be sentenced to everlasting torments is a dreadful thing, for avoiding which a hundred lives, if it were possible, ought to be employed. In the person of Lazarus there is held out to us a striking proof that we ought not to pronounce men to be accursed by God, because they drag out, in incessant pain, a life which is full of distresses. In him the grace of God was so entirely hidden, and buried by the deformity and shame of the cross, that to the eye of the flesh nothing presented itself except the curse; and yet we see that in a body which was loathsome and full of rottenness there was lodged a soul unspeakably precious, which is carried by angels to a blessed life. It was no loss to him that he was forsaken, and despised, and destitute of every human comfort, when heavenly spirits deign to accompany him on his removal from the prison of the flesh.


And the rich man also died, and was buried. In the rich man we see, as in a bright mirror, how undesirable is that temporal happiness which ends in everlasting destruction. It deserves our attention, that Christ expressly mentions the burial of the rich man, but says nothing of what was done to Lazarus. Not that his dead body was exposed to wild beasts, or lay in the open air, but because it was thrown carelessly, and without the slightest attention, into a ditch; for it may naturally be inferred from the corresponding clause, that no more attention was paid to him when he was dead than when he was alive. The rich man, on the other hand, buried magnificently according to his wealth, still retains some remnant of his former pride. (308) In this respect, we see ungodly men striving, as it were, against nature, by affecting a pompous and splendid funeral for the sake of preserving their superiority after death; but their souls in hell attest the folly and mockery of this ambition.


And Lazarus was carried by angels. When he says that Lazarus was carried, it is a figure of speech by which a part is taken for the whole; for the soul being the nobler part of man, properly takes the name of the whole man. (309) This office is, not without reason, assigned by Christ to angels, who, we are aware, have been appointed to be ministering spirits (Heb 1:14) to believers, that they may devote their care and labor to their salvation.


Into Abraham’s bosom. To detail the variety of speculations about Abraham’s bosom, in which many commentators of Scripture have indulged, is unnecessary, and, in my opinion, would serve no good purpose. It is quite enough that we receive what readers well acquainted with Scripture will acknowledge to be the natural meaning. As Abraham is called the father of believers, because to him was committed the covenant of eternal life, that he might first preserve it faithfully for his own children, and afterwards transmit it to all nations, and as all who are heirs of the same promise are called his children; so those who receive along with him the fruit of the same faith are said, after death, to be collected into his bosom. The metaphor is taken from a father (310), in whose bosom, as it were, the children meet, when they all return home in the evening from the labors of the day. The children of God are scattered during their pilgrimage in this world; but as, in their present course, they follow the faith of their father Abraham, so they are received at death into that blessed rest, in which he awaits their arrival. It is not necessary to suppose that reference is made here to any one place; but the assemblage of which I have spoken is described, for the purpose of assuring believers, that they have not been fruitlessly employed in fighting for the faith under the banner of Abraham, for they enjoy the same habitation in heaven.


It will perhaps be asked, Is the same condition reserved after death for the godly of our own day, or did Christ, when he rose, open his bosom to admit Abraham himself, as well as all the godly? I reply briefly: As the grace of God is more clearly revealed to us in the Gospel, and as Christ himself, the Sun of Righteousness, (Mal 4:2,) has brought to us that salvation, which the fathers were formerly permitted to behold at a distance and under dark shadows, so there cannot be a doubt that believers, when they die, make a nearer approach to the enjoyment of the heavenly life. Still, it must be understood, that the glory of immortality is delayed till the last day of redemption. So far as relates to the word bosom, that quiet harbor at which believers arrive after the navigation of the present life, may be called either Abraham’s bosom or Christ’s bosom; but, as we have advanced farther than the fathers did under the Law, this distinction will be more properly expressed by saying, that the members of Christ are associated with their Head; and thus there will be an end of the metaphor about Abraham’s bosom, as the brightness of the sun, when he is risen, makes all the stars to disappear. From the mode of expression which Christ has here employed, we may, in the meantime, draw the inference, that the fathers under the Law embraced by faith, while they lived, that inheritance of the heavenly life into which they were admitted at death.

 

(308) “De l’orgueil de sa vie passee;” — “of the pride of his past life.”


(309) “A bon droict on dit simplement, L’homme, encore que cela ne convient qu’a l’ame;” — “we properly say simply Man, though it applies only to the soul.”


(310) “D’un pere terrien;” — “from an earthly father.”

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It does make a difference whether or not it is a parable.  If it was an actual event it teaches us what conditions were like for the dead before the death and resurrection of Jesus.  If it was only a parable this teaching is lost.  I believe was a real event and here is why I believe this:  

CLYDEHERRIN.WORDPRESS.COM

In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus and describes how they lived in this life and what their circumstances were after they died. There was a rich man who was clothed...

 

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5 minutes ago, theophilus said:

It does make a difference whether or not it is a parable.  If it was an actual event it teaches us what conditions were like for the dead before the death and resurrection of Jesus.  If it was only a parable this teaching is lost.  I believe was a real event and here is why I believe this:  

CLYDEHERRIN.WORDPRESS.COM

In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus and describes how they lived in this life and what their circumstances were after they died. There was a rich man who was clothed...

 

And why couldn't the elements of truth still be contained in a parable?

 

Can you name another "undisputed" parable that would change if it were based on real events?

 

God bless,

William

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20 minutes ago, theophilus said:

It does make a difference whether or not it is a parable.  If it was an actual event it teaches us what conditions were like for the dead before the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

And if it is a parable it would teach the same the same truths.

 

20 minutes ago, theophilus said:

If it was only a parable this teaching is lost.

How is it lost?  Even if it is a parable I would still believe what the parable teaches.

 

 

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 2:21 PM, Origen said:

Is the story of the Rich man and Lazarus a parable and does it really make a difference?  Wouldn't the story still teach the same truths even if is a parable?

 

John Calvin held the view that it is not a parable but he also states "But that is of little consequence, provided that the reader comprehends the doctrine which it contains."

I enter the new year professing that it is not a parable . HAPPA NUE YEARR  Yall !!       M

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It is definitely a parable.  It does not make sense any other way.

 

The trouble is that Jesus did not interpret this parable, or if he did then his interpretation was not recorded.

 

I read once that it is a parable which predicts the diaspora.  The rich man is symbolic of Jews, and the poor man is symbolic of gentiles - or at least some gentiles.

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1 hour ago, Goth Explorer said:

It is definitely a parable.  It does not make sense any other way.

Why not?  A parable was a story about something the listeners could see around them with a spiritual application.  The story of Lazarus was about something they could not see for themselves with no explanation of what it meant.  It only makes sense as a literal description of what the afterlife is like.

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8 hours ago, theophilus said:

A parable was a story about something the listeners could see around them with a spiritual application.

That is your own personal definition of a parable.  A parable need not be "something the listeners could see."  That is an element you have added.

 

8 hours ago, theophilus said:

The story of Lazarus was about something they could not see for themselves with no explanation of what it meant. 

The explanation is found within the parable itself.

 

8 hours ago, theophilus said:

It only makes sense as a literal description of what the afterlife is like.

That is an opinion.  It makes perfect sense.  The point of the story does not change even if it is a parable.  It would still be a real description of hades even if the events did not actually happen.

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19 hours ago, Origen said:

That is your own personal definition of a parable.  A parable need not be "something the listeners could see."  That is an element you have added.

That is something that is true of every parable Jesus told.

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Some of you claim it doesn't matter whether the account is a parable of not.  Here is a thread where it clearly does matter.

 

https://www.christforums.com/topic/8089-is-annihilationism-biblical/

 

If the event actually happened it would settle the question without any doubt.  If it is a parable then we can't use it to answer the question. 

 

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 If it is a parable couldn't the story be used to depict something that is in reality even more horrifying?

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2 hours ago, theophilus said:

That is something that is true of every parable Jesus told.

Very unlikely!  The meaning of the word parable is not dependent upon it being "something the listeners could see."  Again that is just an element you added.  A more realistic view is that all of Jesus' parables are possible events, they could happen.

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1 hour ago, theophilus said:

Some of you claim it doesn't matter whether the account is a parable of not.  Here is a thread where it clearly does matter.

 

If the event actually happened it would settle the question without any doubt.  If it is a parable then we can't use it to answer the question. 

Ah, that is the real fear of those who believe it is not parable.  Someone might not accept the view of hades given in the story.  That is not exegesis.

 

Quote

If it is a parable then we can't use it to answer the question.

Sure you can.  Even if it is parable it can still describe what something or a place is actually like.   There is zero reason to think otherwise.

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I personally believe it was a Parable. However it still has the same impact either way. Starting in Luke 14 to chapter 16 there are eight Parables and there in no logical reason to assume one is any different than the others. All Commentaries I use list the Rich man and Lazarus as a Parable. The lesson Jesus was teaching was clear for his listeners then, as well for us today. For me, Those refusing to believe in Jesus Christ, "they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead." That says it all fro me.

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37 minutes ago, Just Mike said:

I personally believe it was a Parable. However it still has the same impact either way. Starting in Luke 14 to chapter 16 there are eight Parables and there in no logical reason to assume one is any different than the others. All Commentaries I use list the Rich man and Lazarus as a Parable. The lesson Jesus was teaching was clear for his listeners then, as well for us today. For me, Those refusing to believe in Jesus Christ, "they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead." That says it all fro me.

Exactly!  The main thrust of the story is found in the climatic statement: "they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead," that is the point.  As for the description of hades, it is incidental to the point of the story.  That, however, in no way suggests the depiction of hades was not accurate or untrue or unimportant.  The problem is some people are so fixed upon the after death elements of the story those becomes the focus.

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On ‎1‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 7:59 AM, Goth Explorer said:

It is definitely a parable.  It does not make sense any other way.

 

The trouble is that Jesus did not interpret this parable, or if he did then his interpretation was not recorded.

 

I read once that it is a parable which predicts the diaspora.  The rich man is symbolic of Jews, and the poor man is symbolic of gentiles - or at least some gentiles.

Then why did Jesus believe He had to use proper names to represent these two groups of people ?

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18 minutes ago, Matthew Duvall said:

Then why did Jesus believe He had to use proper names to represent these two groups of people ?

Is your argument since Jesus used a proper name it cannot be a parable?  Explain the logic.  Why can't proper names be use in parables?

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2 hours ago, Matthew Duvall said:

Then why did Jesus believe He had to use proper names to represent these two groups of people ?

Actually, he only used the proper name for Lazarus unless I am missing something.

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Posted (edited)

 

As an aside, leper hospitals in medieval Europe were known as lazar houses.  I think that this is a reference to Lazarus the friend of Jesus who appears to have also been called Simon the Leper.

 

Back on topic, I think that this is a parable.  Here are some problems with it being a literal story.

 

Why is Abraham's bosom not mentioned elsewhere in The Bible?

 

Why does Lazarus go to heaven (which he does not)?  We are not told that he was religious.

 

Where else in The Bible does it tell us that anyone in the hereafter has any recollection of their life on earth?

Edited by Goth Explorer

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Hello GE,

 

 In answer to your questions:

1. I am not sure if it needed to be.

2. He is in heaven because of his faith. Since Abraham is there and Lazarus is close to him means they are both there (in heaven).

3. In Revelation 6:9-11 those who were martyred for Christ cry out to Him in that while alive on earth other people executed them.

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On ‎1‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 8:32 PM, Faber said:

Hello GE,

 

 In answer to your questions:

1. I am not sure if it needed to be.

2. He is in heaven because of his faith. Since Abraham is there and Lazarus is close to him means they are both there (in heaven).

3. In Revelation 6:9-11 those who were martyred for Christ cry out to Him in that while alive on earth other people executed them. 

You are assuming that Lazarus was in heaven and had faith, but we are not told either of those things.  We are told that he went to Abraham's bosom for an unspecified reason.  Recall that the Israelite people came from Abraham via the second son of his second son.

 

Revelation is the hardest book in The Bible to understand, as there is so much symbolism in it.  Nevertheless even of the passage you cite is to be taken literally, I am not clear what it demonstrates.  The event it describes appears to be pre-judgement, and therefore refer to people not yet in heaven.

 

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Lazarus is "the same partaker of Abraham in paradise" (Thayer)

https://biblehub.com/greek/2859.htm

 

 Abraham is in heaven and Lazarus is in heaven.

 

Revelation 6:11

And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. (NASB, the underlined is mine).

 

 They were already killed. And at death the believer goes to heaven.

https://www.christforums.com/topic/4713-do-christians-quotgo-to-heavenquot-when-they-die/?tab=comments#comment-23330

 

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I don't know where you get the heaven from regarding Lazarus, but he is not in heaven.  How many Bible translations use the word heaven?

 

Also, the people in Revelation have been killed, yes, but we are not told that they are in heaven.  You assume that.

 

As an aside, I have researched the difference between heaven and paradise in The Bible, but gave up because I could not make sense of it.  But I don't think they are the same place or the same thing.

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