Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lazarus and the Rich Man

Luke 16:19-31English Standard Version (ESV)

The Rich Man and Lazarus

1. Tale of 2 Men
19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 
2. Both Men Died
A. The Poor Man to Abraham's Side
22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side.

B. The Rich Man to Hades
Bb[a] The rich man also died and was buried, 
1) He went to a location, seperate from Abraham.
23 and in Hades, 
2) He was in torment.
being in torment, 
3) Both Abraham and he were able to see and communicate with one another. 
he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus 
(Jeff's thought here: Narcissist- still didn't treat Lazarus with dignity) 
to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 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. 
(Jeff's thought here: this does not teach that rich people go to Hell and the poor to Heaven) 
4) There is an uncrossable seperation between the two locations.  
26 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.’ 
5) The rich man remembered people on Earth, and he feared for them. 
(Jeff's thought here: It was so bad, that he didn't even want his family there)
f27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 
6) God has already given plenty of warning. The issue with people is their unbelief and pride. 
29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 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.’”
C. Final thoughts
Now is the time of salvation, now is the time of God's favor!  If you harden your heart from the Lord in this life, you will not be able to either soften it and change your mind post-mordem. It is destined for man to die once, and after that there is the judgment. Get right with God NOW, while you still have a chance.  This is the rich man's message to you!
In the context, Jesus is challenging the greed and Narcissism of the religious leaders. Their focus was on self-pleasure and gain. They didn't care about those who desperately needed help, just like the rich man in the story. These chapters are a response to Luke 15:1-2. Some keys to understanding the path of thought here are 15:1-2 (Jesus uses their complaint to love on them by challenging them), 16:9, 13, 15. 

1. Moody Commentary says, "The rich man did not go to Hades/hell because he was rich. He went there because his life and hope were devoted to his earthly riches."
2. Abraham's side- the Jewish NT Commentary says that it is being in Eden (Paradise) and being present at the Messianic banquet (Mt. 8:11, Rv. 19:7-9, John laying on Jesus is an example of this). There is some debate on whether this is a temporary place, that Jesus visited at his death, to bring to God, now that propitiation for sin has been met (Eph. 4:7-10, 1 Peter 3:18-20). This school of thought teaches that Hades had 3 parts: 1) Paradise/Abraham's bosom, 2) The abyss or tartarus, the place of confinement for those demons who sinned in the days of Noah, 3) torments, the place of suffering for all unbelievers until the time of the ruesrrection of the unjust and the Great White Throne Judgment, where they will be cast into the Lake of Fire. However, we need to realize that Elijah was taken up physically to Heaven. 
3. Abraham's side- it is said that Abraham, Issac, and Jacob will receive us (4 Macabees 13:17).
4.Hades (Sheol)- the "place" of the dead until the final judgment. In the end this Sheol will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rv. 20:13-15). -Jewish NT Commentary. According to Charles Ryrie, it is the unseen world in general, but specifically here the abode of the unsaved dead between death and judgment at the great white throne (Rv. 20:11-15). Hades is normally described as the abode of the dead, whether good or bad. In the NT, however, it is never used of the save3d. Here it seems to be equivalent to Gehenna, the place of punishment, due to the torment. 

5. Parable or actual event? The Tyndale Commentary on the New Testament takes this as a parable, possibly adapted from an ancient Egyptian story (see Creed). However, the fact that he uses a specific name, and the way it is encapsulated, leads many commentators to believe that this is not a parable, but a story with specific people in mind. I take this as an actual event, for the same reasons. That being said, as Tyndale believes, we should not draw all of our doctrine on the afterlife from this. Regardless, these places exist, and we can learn about them from this passage.