LAZARUS AND THE RICH MAN

I printed this article off at the start of the year and did this with our bible study group. Everyone loved the work and effort put into this work by the writer Bryan T. Huie. I pray God continues to bless his studies of scripture and the Ancient World.

http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/Lazarus-byHuie.htm

Remember that Telios is on this weekend! I unfortunately can’t make it but hope to hear how it went. I’ll give some of you guys a call to find out how it went. God bless.

Now enjoy reading the truth of this parable rather then believing the Pentecostal pettybloop-er.

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The parable of Lazarus and the rich man has been the foundation for many of the erroneous beliefs about “hell” within traditional Christianity. Some have viewed it not as a parable, but as a true story Christ told to give details about the punishment of sinners in hell. Yet a thorough, unbiased examination of this story will show that the generally accepted interpretations of this passage of Scripture are fallacious and misleading. In this article, we will go through the parable verse by verse to determine what Christ was truly teaching.

Those who insist that this is not a parable, but a true, literal story Christ told to describe the condition of the lost in hell must overlook several facts to arrive at that conclusion. First, Yeshua the Messiah 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. If this story is literal, then the logical implication is that all the rich are destined to burn in hell, while all the homeless and destitute will be saved. Does anyone believe this to be the case?

If hell is truly as it is pictured in this story, then the saved will be able to view the lost who are burning there. Could anyone enjoy eternal existence if they were able to see lost friends, family, and acquaintances being incinerated in hell, yet never burning up? Additionally, if hell (as it is traditionally taught) is an abyss of fire and brimstone where sinners are tormented forever, does anyone really believe that one drop of water would relieve the pain and anguish of someone suffering in its flames?

These are just some of the difficulties we encounter when we try to make the account of Lazarus and the rich man literal, instead of realizing that it is a parable. If it is a true story, then all of the things Christ said must be factual. If all the points of the story are not literal, then we must view this tale as an analogy Jesus used to teach larger spiritual truths.

Most people think that the Messiah spoke in parables to make the meaning clearer for the uneducated people he was teaching. Reflecting this belief, an appendix to the NKJV says that “Jesus’ reputation as a great teacher spread far and wide. And no wonder. He taught in parables, simple stories, that made His lessons clear to all who were ready to learn” (“Man for All Times,” p. 1870). Yet Christ said his purpose for speaking to the people in parables was exactly the opposite of the explanation cited above.

MATTHEW 13:1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables . . . 10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; 15 for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’” (NKJV)

Continued…

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157 thoughts on “LAZARUS AND THE RICH MAN

  1. … As this passage and the parallel Scripture in Mark 4 clearly state, Yeshua spoke to the people in parables to hide the spiritual meaning of what he was saying. He only intended for his disciples to understand what the parables truly meant. It is no wonder, then, that so many have misunderstood what Christ was teaching with the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.
    Let’s start by getting some background information on the situation in which Christ told this parable. Luke tells us that all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to Christ to hear what he had to say (Luke 15:1). This made the Pharisees and scribes jealous and they complained, vehemently criticizing Yeshua for receiving sinners and eating with them (Luke 15:2). They were probably envious of Christ’s growing fame, afraid that his popularity would diminish their own authority and prestige.

    So the Messiah first spoke a three-part parable (the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son) to those gathered around him. This parable was designed to show the tax collectors and sinners (as well as the Pharisees) that God was concerned for them and that He would seek out the lost and welcome them into His family when they repented and turned back to Him.
    The self-righteous, accusing Pharisees and scribes, who Christ acknowledged as the legitimate religious teachers of the Jews (Matt. 23:1-3), should have been the ones telling these people of God’s love for them. They should have been the ones teaching these sinners, exhorting them to return to God and receive His love and forgiveness. However, because of their faith in their own righteousness and their contempt for these tax collectors and sinners who didn’t measure up to their standards, the Pharisees and scribes excluded them and considered them accursed (John 7:49).

    Afterward, speaking primarily to his disciples but with the Pharisees (and probably the crowd) still listening in, Christ related the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13). The Pharisees, who were “lovers of money” (Luke 16:14), realized that the Messiah was alluding to them with this parable and took offense. They scoffed at Jesus. The final part of Christ’s response to the derision of the Pharisees and scribes was the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.

    We’ll now examine this parable in detail to grasp exactly what the Messiah was teaching about the Kingdom of God.

    LUKE 16:19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.” (NKJV)

    We begin by scrutinizing the description Christ gives us of the rich man. First, he tells us that this man is clothed in purple and fine linen. This type of clothing would not have been out of the ordinary for one of considerable wealth during this time period. However, this raiment also has symbolic meaning. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary says: “The wearing of purple was associated particularly with royalty . . .” (“Purple,” p. 863). In addition, the New Bible Dictionary tells us: “The use of linen in OT times was prescribed for priests (Ex. 28:39). The coat, turban and girdle must be of fine linen.” (“Linen,” p. 702).

    So we see that the garments worn by this rich man were symbolic of royalty and the priesthood. With that in mind, let’s see what God told Moses just before giving the Israelites the Law on Mount Sinai.

    EXODUS 19:6 And ye shall be to me a royal priesthood and a holy nation: these words shalt thou speak to the children of Israel. (Brenton’s LXX)

    The clothing of the rich man identifies him symbolically with the people of Israel, who God chose to be a special people. They were called to be a witness to the nations surrounding them, confirming the blessings available to those who would obey God and keep His laws.

    Unfortunately, only infrequently did they live up to the high calling given to them by the Eternal. Eventually He had to send them into captivity for their refusal to honor their part of the covenant ratified at Mount Sinai. At the time of Christ, only the remnant of the house of Judah which had returned from the Babylonian captivity continued to have a covenant relationship with God. The rich man in this parable represents the Jews of Jesus’ day, exemplified by the religious teachers, the Pharisees and scribes.

    Verse 19 also tells us that the rich man “fared sumptuously every day.” Figuratively, this represents the magnificent spriritual feast available only to the Jews, who were the sole remaining part of God’s called people Israel. In the first century A.D., they were the only people on earth who had the true religion. Indeed, Paul recounts the glorious station of the house of Judah in Romans 9:3-5…


  2. ROMANS 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5 to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen. (RSV)

    The Jews were truly rich, feasting on God’s spiritual blessings. Yet these very gifts caused them to stumble because they prompted them to self-righteousness. They gloried in the gifts, without glorifying the Eternal God who gave them. Instead of being a “royal priesthood” that was a blessing to all nations, they instead loathed and despised the surrounding Gentile peoples. Certainly, as Paul wrote, “their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them” (Rom. 11:9).

    LUKE 16:20 “But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” (NKJV)

    In contrast to the rich man, we now see Lazarus. The first thing to note is that he is depicted as a beggar. This is an apt description of the Gentiles who “laid at the gate” of Judah. Paul describes the predicament of the Gentiles before they received Christ in Ephesians 2:12.

    EPHESIANS 2:12 Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (RSV)

    This Scripture is also a fitting representation of the position of the Gentile nations before the Messiah’s sacrifice for the world’s sins. They were certainly “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel,” “strangers to the covenants of promise,” and “without hope and without God in the world.” The Gentiles were beggars, located outside Judah and longing to be fed spiritual crumbs from the table of the divinely blessed Jews.

    Additionally, we are told that dogs came and consoled Lazarus in his misery, licking his sores. The Jews considered the surrounding Gentiles to be unclean “dogs.” Even Christ himself used this unflattering comparison when he conversed with the Greek Syrophoenician woman while in the region of Tyre (Mark 7:24-30).

    Also important to the story is the meaning of the name Lazarus. This Greek name is a form of the Hebrew Eleazer, and it literally means “he whom God helps.” The use of this particular name is very significant to the message of the parable, for the Gentiles would indeed become “those whom God helped” through the sacrifice of His son, Yeshua.

    LUKE 16:22 “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.” (NKJV)

    The next events recorded in this parable are the deaths of Lazarus and then the rich man. Since the parable has been figurative up until this point, there is no reason to assume it becomes literal now.

    First, to prove that this language is symbolic and not meant to be taken literally, let’s examine exactly what we are told by Christ. He says that first, Lazarus dies and is taken to the bosom of Abraham. Notice, there is no mention of his burial here. Then later the rich man dies, and he is buried (in Hades, according to verse 23). So the time sequence given indicates that upon his death, Lazarus was taken immediately to Abraham’s bosom, while afterward the rich man was buried in Hades after his death.

    If this story is literal, then we have a contradiction in the Bible. Here, Lazarus is shown to have immediately received the promise of eternal life. Yet the author of Hebrews clearly tells us that Abraham, as well as all the other Old Testament saints, have not yet received the promises given to them by God.

    HEBREWS 11:13 All these [Abraham, Noah, Abel, etc.] died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. . . . 39 And all these [including Abraham], having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. (NASB)

  3. … The great men and women of faith listed in Hebrews 11 have not yet been made perfect and given eternal life. They, along with all the saints of God from every age, are currently sleeping in their graves (Job 3:11-19; Psa. 6:5; 115:17; Ecc. 9:5, 10; I Cor. 15:20; Isa. 57:1-2; Dan. 12:2; Acts 2:29, 34; 13:36). These saints are awaiting the first resurrection, which will take place when Yeshua the Messiah returns at the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Matt. 24:30-31; I Cor. 15:51-52; I The. 4:16; Rev. 11:15-18).

    Clearly, there is no way to reconcile the numerous Scriptures listed above with a literal understanding of the story of Lazarus and the rich man. What, then, does the death of these two men represent?
    The deaths of both the rich man (who represented the Jews) and Lazarus (who represented the Gentile nations) are symbolic in this parable. Here, their demise depicts an elemental change in the status and position of the two groups.

    To confirm this, let’s look at the meaning of Lazarus being “carried to Abraham’s bosom.” The figurative meaning of being in one’s bosom is to be in a position of closeness, to be highly regarded. This symbolism is indicated by the ancient practice of having guests at a feast recline on the chest of their neighbors. The place of highest honor would therefore belong to the one seated next to the host, calling to mind the example of John at the Last Supper (John 13:23). Paul explains this imagery in Galatians 3:6-9 by telling us how the Gentiles could be in this place of highest honor.

    GALATIANS 3:6 . . . Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (NKJV)

    As the passage above (as well as the fourth and ninth chapters of Romans) shows, Gentile believers become “sons of Abraham” through faith in Christ. This faith allows Gentiles to no longer be “strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). For centuries the Jews had received the benefits of being God’s chosen people by virtue of being Abraham’s physical descendants. But after the sacrifice of Christ, this place of honor and blessing would be given to the people represented by Lazarus. This is the meaning of being “carried to the bosom of Abraham” in this parable.

    In contrast to Lazarus, the rich man was buried in Hades. An understanding of the original meaning of the Greek word hades is necessary to grasp the message of the parable. Regarding the possible etymology of this word, the The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology states that hades “. . . comes from idein (to see) with the negative prefix, a-, and so would mean the invisible . . . In the LXX hades occurs more than 100 times, in the majority of instances to translate Heb. she’ol, the underworld which receives all the dead. It is the land of darkness . . .” (vol. 2, p. 206).

    Most likely, hades originally meant “unseen.” Later, it came to refer to the hidden state of those buried in the earth. Symbolically, this parable shows that a point would come when the house of Judah would become “unseen” by God, out of favor because of their unbelief. There would come a time when the Jews as a whole would no longer be God’s favored nation. Their hard hearts would lead them to reject their Messiah (John 1:11).

    LUKE 16:23 “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (NKJV)

    What did Christ mean by saying here that the rich man was in “torments in Hades”? The key to discovering the symbolic meaning of this verse is the Greek noun basanois, translated “torments” above.

    According to Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, basanois, which is a form of the noun basanos, means “strictly, a touchstone for testing the genuineness of metals by rubbing against it . . .”

    The etymology of basanos found in Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament is very helpful in correctly understanding this verse:

    In non-biblical Gk. [basanos] is a commercial expression, or is used in relation to government. It then acquires the meaning of the checking of calculations, which develops naturally out of the basic sense of [basanos, basanizein] . . . In the spiritual sphere it has the figur[ative] sense, which is closely related to the original concrete meaning, of a means of testing…

  4. … The word then undergoes a change in meaning. The original sense fades into the background. [Basanos] now comes to denote “torture” or “the rack,” espec[ially] used with slaves… [Basanos] occurs in the sense of “torment”…

    The change in meaning is best explained if we begin with the object of treatment. If we put men instead of metal or a coin, the stone of testing become[s] torture or the rack. The metal which has survived the testing stone is subjected to harsher treatment. Man is in the same position when severely tested by torture. In the testing of metal an essential role was played by the thought of testing and proving genuineness. The rack is a means of showing the true state of affairs. In its proper sense it is a means of testing and proving, though also of punishment. Finally, even this special meaning was weakened and only the general element of torture remained (vol. I, pp. 561, 562, emphasis mine).

    In this verse, basanois simply conveys a sense of testing and proving through punishment. When this understanding is combined with a proper discernment of the symbolism of Hades, we can begin to see the point Yeshua is making. As a whole, the house of Judah would to be cut off and replaced during this current age by those Gentiles who in faith would accept the sacrifice of the Messiah.

    If the Pharisees and scribes understood this prophetic parable, it must have astonished and infuriated those who listened as Christ spoke. The implication that the house of Judah and the Gentile nations were to change places, with the Jews becoming alienated from God while the Gentiles were to become the “seed of Abraham,” would have been almost impossible for them to believe.

    LUKE 16:24 “Then 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.’” (NKJV)

    First, notice that the rich man identifies Abraham as his father, just as the Pharisees did (John 8:39). The rich man (Judah) is now shown to be undergoing reproof, testing, and punishment in “this flame” (singular, not “these flames”). It is quite obvious that the flame is not literal, because a wet fingertip on the tongue would do nothing to quench the pain inflicted by real flames.

    The word rendered “torment” here is a form of the Greek verb odunao, which literally means “grief,” “pain,” or “suffering.” Predominantly, it conveys the sense of mental anguish, not physical pain. Forms of this word are found only four times in the Scriptures, all in the writings of Luke. It appears twice in this parable, in verses 24 and 25. In Luke 2:48, it is used to describe the anxious distress that Mary and Joseph felt after they discovered the 12-year old Jesus missing on the trip home from Jerusalem after the Passover feast. In Acts 20:38, it depicts the sorrow the elders of the Ephesian Church felt at Paul’s farewell announcement that they would never see him again.

    The rich man cries out from the symbolic darkness of Hades for comfort because of the suffering caused by the flame. The explanation of the symbolism of the flame will require a little background information.
    In Deuteronomy 11 and 28, Moses delineates God’s part in His covenant with Israel. Moses told them that if they obeyed the Eternal, they would be the most blessed nation on earth. Conversely, if they disobeyed, God promised to curse and eventually destroy them because of their sins.

    As the history of Israel in the Tanakh shows, only rarely did they obey God. Although the Eternal was patient and forgave them many times when they repented and turned back to Him, eventually He was forced to curse Israel as He had vowed to do.

    First the house of Israel, the ten tribes that composed the northern kingdom with Samaria as their capital, was carried into captivity by Assyria (c. 722 B.C.). Hosea, who prophesied during the end of the northern kingdom, said this about God’s chosen people who were called to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation.

    HOSEA 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (NKJV)

    Then, about 135 years later, the southern kingdom of Judah was subdued and finally conquered by Babylon (c. 587 B.C.). God had delivered His people to their enemies, as He had promised.
    The people of Judah were given another chance. After the Persians defeated the Babylonians, the Jews were allowed to return to Judea (c. 538 B.C.) and eventually they rebuilt the Temple. Chastened and aware that their sins had brought about the captivity, many sought to obey God’s laws upon their return to the land…

  5. … But by the time of Christ, once again unbelief had become a major problem. Many of the religious teachers of the day had substituted human traditions for the laws God had given Israel (Matt. 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13). Because of their lack of faith, they didn’t really believe the very Scriptures they professed to follow (John 5:39, 45-47). In the end, they rejected the anointed one God sent to them and had the Romans crucify him.

    Now back to the question at hand. What does the flame in the parable represent?
    When one looks at the history of the Jewish people from the time of Christ until today, one theme remains constant — persecution. With the quashing of the Jewish revolts against Rome (66-70 A.D. and 132-135 A.D.), the saga of the Jewish people in the Diaspora has been one of persistent and harsh persecution from virtually all quarters. The Inquisition of the 15th century and the Holocaust of the 20th century are two of the more well-known anti-semitic episodes, but many more are recorded on the bloody pages of history. For their unbelief and rejection of truth and knowledge, the Jews have been cursed by God with the “flame” of suffering and grief down through the centuries. Unfortunately, most of that mistreatment has come at the hands of those who called themselves “Christians.”

    The Jews pictured by the rich man in this parable are in their present state because of their unbelief, which ultimately manifested itself in the rejection of the Messiah, Yeshua. Unfortunately, this parable shows that the punishment and testing they would undergo would not immediately lead them to Christ. Instead of calling on the Messiah, the rich man calls on his ancestor Abraham to help ease his suffering.

    LUKE 16:25 “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. (NKJV)

    Abraham clearly identifies the rich man as his descendant by calling him “son.” He tells him that things have changed. When the Jews were God’s chosen people, they enjoyed the spiritual blessings associated with that status. But now, Abraham says, Lazarus is enjoying those blessings while the rich man is grieving and in sorrow. “Tormented” here is another form of odunao, the same Greek verb found above in verse 24.

    LUKE 16:26 “‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’” (NKJV)

    What is the “great gulf” which stands between the rich man and Lazarus? Paul aptly explains it to us in the eleventh chapter of Romans. He tells us that because of the Jews’ unbelief, “God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day” (Rom. 11:8). Paul goes on to say that “a partial hardening would happen to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles had come in” (Rom. 11:25). In II Corinthians 3:14-15, Paul tells us that the Israelites’ “minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.”

    The “great gulf” mentioned by Abraham is nothing less than God’s blinding in this age of the Jews as a whole to the truth about their Messiah! It’s not that the Jewish nation won’t acknowledge Christ; they cannot recognize his true identity because of God’s actions! Yet because of the Eternal’s great mercy, this state of affairs will not last forever (Rom. 11:26).

    LUKE 16:27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’” (NKJV)

    Yielding himself to his destiny, the rich man asks one more thing of his forefather Abraham. He pleads with him to send someone to warn his brothers, so that they may escape “this place of torment” (basanou), the testing and punishment that he was undergoing.
    The fact that the rich man has five brothers is a vital clue to his true symbolic identity. Judah, the progenitor of the Jews, was the son of Jacob through Leah (Gen. 29:35). He had five full-blooded brothers: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, and Zebulun (Gen. 35:23)…

  6. … While the significance of this seemingly pointless detail has been neglected by scholars throughout the centuries, you can be certain that it did not escape the notice of the Pharisees and scribes to which Christ was speaking. They thoroughly knew their history and were extremely proud of their heritage. Yeshua wanted those self-righteous Pharisees to know exactly who He was referring to with this parable. This detail cements the identity of the rich man as the house of Judah, the Jews!

    LUKE 16:29 “Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’” (NKJV)

    Once again Abraham refuses the rich man’s request, telling him that the brothers already have a witness in the writings of Moses and the prophets that will allow them to escape his fate. Moses, as well as the prophets, are shown several times in the New Testament to support Yeshua’s identity as the Messiah (Luke 24:27, 44; John 1:45; 5:46; Acts 3:22-24; 7:37; 26:22-23; 28:23). Abraham tells the rich man that his brothers would have to recognize the prophesied Messiah because of the things written about him in the Tanakh. This echoes what Yeshua told the Jews in John 5:45-47.

    JOHN 5:45 “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (NKJV)

    As the Scriptures show, the Jewish leaders of Christ’s day generally failed to recognize the very one Moses wrote about (Deu. 18:15, 18).

    LUKE 16:30 “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” (NKJV)

    Christ uses the last two verses of this parable as an amazing prophecy of his pending resurrection from the dead. The rich man says that although his brothers may not accept the scriptural evidence for the identity of the Messiah, they will accept the evidence of one who is raised from the dead.

    But Abraham answers and plainly tells him that anyone who rejects God’s Word about the Messiah will also refuse to acknowledge the evidence of a miraculous resurrection. This last verse is a sad prophecy about the Jews and about all the Israelites who have not, despite God’s resurrection of His son from the power of the grave, recognized Christ as the Messiah.

    Christ ends this parable abruptly, with no real resolution presented. The picture presented is a bleak one, yet there is hope for the Jews and for all Israel. In Romans 11, Paul laid out that hope in such a manner that scarcely few today have really believed it.

    In Romans 11:1 Paul rhetorically asks if God has cast away His people, Israel. He answers his own question emphatically by saying “Certainly not!” He tells us that God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Paul writes that there is currently a remnant of Israel, analogous to the seven thousand reserved to God in Elijah’s time (I Kings 19:18), that God has elected by grace. The rest God hardened, that the Gentiles might also be included in salvation through grace. He gives the resolution of the situation in verse 26.

    ROMANS 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” 28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (NKJV)
    The same God that blinded Israel unto disobedience will have mercy on all that have been rebellious due to that blindness. To quote Paul once again, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” Praised be the Eternal Creator of all things!

    CONCLUSION
    The parable of Lazarus and the rich man, long used by mainstream ministers to teach the reality of “hell,” really has nothing to say about punishment or reward in the afterlife. Christ used this story, which fit the common misconception about life after death in his day, to show the fate that awaited the Jewish nation because of the unbelief and faithlessness which led them to reject him as the Messiah. They still suffer from that fate to this very day. Yet the time is soon coming when God will pour on the Jews the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Christ whom they pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn (Zec. 12:10).

  7. I hope you read through all that. Print it out and read it out in your own time. This articles is amazing! Enjoy. I’ve read through it twice and still haven’t fully grasped what is being said here still. I agree with this view. What do others think?

  8. Well, I took the time to read through that marathon, and I have to say hat your friend spent hours of precious time getting the whole thing completely wrong on several accounts.

    The passage is just to long to go through item by item, but his interpretation just doesn’t make any sense, and he says so, really when he makes the observation that ‘Christ ends this parable abruptly, with no real resolution presented’. That’s because, even if it is a parable, it uses literal examples, as Jesus always did in his parables, and does have very pertinent and easily understood analogies, plus the whole story reveals the very real possibility of getting the afterlife wrong if we get this life on earth wrong, and that there is, in fact, a resurrection, of those who are in Christ, and those who are not, the one to eternal salvation, the other to eternal damnation, which is a constant theme in Christ’s teaching.

    Why Jesus would go into all those highly speculative interpretation of a very simple illustrative sermon I don’t know. He never did before.

    Even in known parables he uses very real understandable analogies. They are not mystically interpreted, as this one is by your friend, even though he calls them ‘mysteries of the kingdom’. A man discovers a pearl buried in a field and sells everything to buy the field so he can rightfully claim the peal of great price – finding eternal life, yes, but the story isn’t broken up into mysterious tangents, often, according to your writer based on things which will only be explained years later by Paul, and so would have been completely obscure t the hearers, including the disciples.

    The clincher is the strange analysis of the five brothers. Where were they, and where was the rich brother who died, if he wasn’t actually in the grave. What is the significance of a messenger being sent to his brothers to tell them not to repeat his folly if they are all in Israel?

    And the great gulf fixed can’t be separation between Jew and Gentile, since Paul tells us clearly that the middle wall of partition has been broken down, and on this fact alone the whole interpretation falls apart.

    There are a great many other errors in this piece. I hope your Bible study group was able to pick through them, and you were able to lead them through the process of identifying the errors.

    At least the JW’s would agree with your friend. they say almost the same thing so they can get out of admitting that there is torment in hell!
    __________________________________________

    Incidentally the author, by admission of Tentmakers Ministry, writes from a Universalist perspective, so the concept of eternal separation or any creature would be repulsive to him, and his view of the Word of God would be conditioned to this thought an doctrinal stance, which is possibly why he made such a hash of the interpretation.

    From their site:

    ‘World Reference.com defines universalism as: A noun: universalism, the theological doctrine that all people will eventually be saved

    That is precisely how, we, at Tentmaker Ministries use the term, only with some qualifications. We believe that all men (and women) will eventually be saved ONLY because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, not because of any other way.’

    http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/universalism-refuted.htm
    _________________________________________

    Are you also claiming a Universalist position?

  9. “Why Jesus would go into all those highly speculative interpretation of a very simple illustrative sermon I don’t know. He never did before.”

    Different audience that is more intellectual and more scripturally savvy.

    “And the great gulf fixed can’t be separation between Jew and Gentile, since Paul tells us clearly that the middle wall of partition has been broken down, and on this fact alone the whole interpretation falls apart.”

    In and through Christ, yes. To Jews that don’t believe the wall is up…

    Out of all the understandings of this parable, I agree with this view.
    As for believing universalism I continue to hasstle my best friend on his stance on Universalism. I can understand it, but I find that it undermines why Christ died on the cross- loses power and significance if everyone is eventually going to be redeemed.

    I’m not going to say yes and I’m not going to say no. I would say their some truth to what they are saying and I’m not willing to throw out the pearls with the bath water just yet.

    I’ll answer more later when I get time…

  10. ‘In and through Christ, yes. To Jews that don’t believe the wall is up…’

    You could the say the same of Gentiles who don’t believe, so that argument won’t stand up.

    ‘Different audience that is more intellectual and more scripturally savvy.’

    So Jesus was preaching this message for an elitist audience?

    This is a Universalist outlook on a message on the risks of denying God and ending up in the torment of separation. It was always going to be difficult to put up a convincing argument. It would be better for you to read through the passage again and take a more literalist approach.

  11. You could learn a fair bit form the writing of W. E. Vines on the Greek of the wrds used for ‘hell’. Three words are generally used – gehenna, hades and tartarus, all with differnt meanings. Unofrtunately the translaters used ‘death, ‘hell and he ‘grave’ as translations of someof these words, and were’nt really accurate. Vines gives us a better idea of how the wrds were used.

    ’1,,1067,geenna>
    represents the Hebrew Ge-Hinnom (the valley of Tophet) and a corresponding Aramaic word; it is found twelve times in the NT, eleven of which are in the Synoptists, in every instance as uttered by the Lord Himself. He who says to his brother, Thou fool (see under FOOL), will be in danger of “the hell of fire,” Matt. 5:22; it is better to pluck out (a metaphorical description of irrevocable law) an eye that causes its possessor to stumble, than that his “whole body be cast into hell,” Matt. 5:29; similarly with the hand, Matt. 5:30; in Matt. 18:8,9, the admonitions are repeated, with an additional mention of the foot; here, too, the warning concerns the person himself (for which obviously the “body” stands in chapt. 5); in ver. 8, “the eternal fire” is mentioned as the doom, the character of the region standing for the region itself, the two being combined in the phrase “the hell of fire,” ver. 9. To the passage in Matt. 18, that in Mark 9:43-47, is parallel; here to the word “hell” are applied the extended descriptions “the unquenchable fire” and “where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.”
    That God, “after He hath killed, hath power to cast into hell,” is assigned as a reason why He should be feared with the fear that keeps from evil doing, Luke 12:5; the parallel passage to this in Matt. 10:28 declares, not the casting in, but the doom which follows, namely, the destruction (not the loss of being, but of well-being) of “both soul and body.”

    In Matt. 23 the Lord denounces the scribes and Pharisees, who in proselytizing a person “make him two-fold more a son of hell” than themselves (Matt 23:15), the phrase here being expressive of moral characteristics, and declares the impossibility of their escaping “the judgment of hell,” Matt. 23:33. In Jas. 3:6 “hell” is described as the source of the evil done by misuse of the tongue; here the word stands for the powers of darkness, whose characteristics and destiny are those of “hell.”

    For terms descriptive of “hell,” see e.g., Matt. 13:42; 25:46; Phil. 3:19; 2 Thess. 1:9; Heb. 10:39; 2 Pet. 2:17; Jude 1:13; Rev. 2:11; 19:20; 20:6,10,14; 21:8.

    Notes: (1) For the rendering “hell” as a translation of hades, corresponding to Sheol, wrongly rendered “the grave” and “hell,” see HADES. (2) The verb tartaroo, translated “cast down to hell” in 2 Pet. 2:4, signifies to consign to Tartarus, which is neither Sheol nor hades nor hell, but the place where those angels whose special sin is referred to in that passage are confined “to be reserved unto judgment;” the region is described as “pits of darkness,” RV.’
    _______________________________________

    In our politically correct, liberal, socialist, anything-goes world it is hard for us to conceive of a God who would separate the wicked into a place of torment, but the reality is that it isn’t his choice but ours. It’s not his will that any perish, and so, in his longsuffering towards a wicked world, he has sent Jesus to offer a way back to him, and stretched out the time until his final wrath s exploded on the world, to allow us o witness to more people and let them know the truth.

  12. “In our politically correct, liberal, socialist, anything-goes world it is hard for us to conceive of a God who would separate the wicked into a place of torment, but the reality is that it isn’t his choice but ours. It’s not his will that any perish, and so, in his longsuffering towards a wicked world, he has sent Jesus to offer a way back to him, and stretched out the time until his final wrath s exploded on the world, to allow us o witness to more people and let them know the truth.”

    I agree with this FaceLift. Please don’t forget that I am like you in trying to understand sheol, tartarus, gehenna, tribulation period, hell and trying to understand when the bible speaks of these. If you have any good articles on these topics, feel free to e-mail me. I’ll try to read them and I love to learn.

  13. Between ‘Quit Mocking The King’, and ‘Lazarus and the Rich Man’, this article would probably be a bit more unbelievable. Obviously FaceLift you disagree with it.
    That is cool. I’d like to hear what others think of it though.

    I find it hard I can lead most people into error simply because everyone thinks for themselves and is not afraid to pull something apart to show error. You yourself did this and well done. In your own mind, you are not going to be mislead.

    This post is also a reply to the ‘Mocking King’ thread.

  14. s&p, in your post you say, “Now enjoy reading the truth of this parable rather then believing the Pentecostal pettybloop-er.”

    I’d be interested to hear from you what you think the Pentecostal petty-blooper is.

  15. s&p,
    ‘I find it hard I can lead most people into error simply because everyone thinks for themselves and is not afraid to pull something apart to show error.’

    So you think the person writing or teaching error isn’t already in error, and believes he or she is right in their error? In referencing their site, are you unwittingly sending people into their error?

    Do you really think the hoards of JW’s who are swept into error because they lack knowledge, are not born again, and have been convinced JW-dom is correct, are able to fend for themselves in the midst of the gross error and the darkness they’ve been steered into? Can you draw them out of that error through pure logic alone?

    “Think for themselves”! Are unsaved people able to ‘think for themselves’ Biblically, or scripturally, when they are being led into a cult? Isn’t the nature of cultism deception and guile?

    So, then, on this basis, you think it’s OK for Pentecostals to be involved in what you consider to be error, say, through association with Hillsong, and you don’t have to warn them? Why? Because, of course, they are not sheep being led to the slaughter, just as JW sheep aren’t, apparently, because, in the end, they can all think for themselves. Is t a double standard to warn people about what you consider to be Pentecostal error, but based on Universalist error or Preterist error?

    All error is error. Half a degree off course ultimately takes us miles off course.

    Never mind, if the Universalists are correct, they’ll all end up with Christ in the New Jerusalem on the new earth anyway! All roads lead to…

    … oh wait a minute, didn’t Jesus say the road to eternal life is narrow, and entered through a narrow gate, but the broad way led somewhere, like… destruction?

  16. Wait.. just a sec….

    Didnt he also say “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened”

    A strict literal interpretation would have to be Preterist. Otherwise you have to give another interpretation – which it is of course valid to do. Its just that when you say your particular interpretations are orthodox and anothers interpretations are cultic, then you have an insupportable argument. Much better to discuss all interpretations of interest and let others make up their own minds.

    My own thoughts on the article are that it seems to be well thought out and argued, but I’m not convinced on a number of points. The point about those in Heaven enjoying the paradise while being able to see people in hell in utter neverending torment is a good one. Thats not my idea of heaven. Maybe it FaceLifts idea of heaven….

  17. Actually it’s not heaven at all, but a view from the grave before Jesus led captivity captive at his resurrection. The ‘bosom of Abraham’ is Jewish terminology for paradise, which is now located before the throne of heaven, but was here indicated as being in the grave, hence Jesus saying to the other man on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise!” Well that day, Of course, Jesus didn’t ascend to heaven, but was placed in the tomb, or in the grave, where he was to remain for three days and nights. meanwhile, we’re told, he preached ot the ‘spirits in prison’, and ‘led captivity captive’.

    When you put these pieces of information together you begin to make sense of what Jesus is actually telling his Jewish listeners.

    Before determining a preterist position, you have to take in the whole of scripture, not one verse out of context. You know that! So when were the two witnesses caught up? And for that matter, when was the Church caught up? Did we miss something?

  18. “The ‘bosom of Abraham’ is Jewish terminology for paradise, which is now located before the throne of heaven, but was here indicated as being in the grave, hence Jesus saying to the other man on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise!” Well that day, Of course, Jesus didn’t ascend to heaven, but was placed in the tomb, or in the grave, where he was to remain for three days and nights. meanwhile, we’re told, he preached ot the ’spirits in prison’, and ‘led captivity captive’.”

    Can you please expand on this form of doctrine you of on this issue? I’ve read allot of stuff about this, but I’ve never found it lined up with scripture. Maybe you can fill in some pieces for me.

  19. How can you say it doesn’t line up with scripture? It is all taken from scripture.

    The bosom of Abraham is commonly held by scholars to be paradise. Where were the rich an and Lazarus but in the grave? No one had ascended into heaven (Acts 2:34) until Jesus led captivity captive (Eph. 4:8-10, 1 Pet. 3:19, having descended into the lower parts of the earth, which is a way of saying he led the souls of the dead out of the grave, where paradise must, then, have been located, into heaven, where paradise was relocated, according to Revelation 2.7, before the throne of God, and where the tree of life is, Rev.22.2, 14.

    Whilst in the lower parts of the earth, he preached, by the Spirit, to the spirits in prison; ‘which were sometime disobedient’. Then he led a multitude of captives free from the grave.

    Paradise was in the garden of Eden, and is identified by the tree of life which was said to be in God’s garden, and in paradise, which is a Persian word for a large, ornamental, luxurious garden,

    The ‘bosom of Abraham’ is so-called because it was the custom to recline as people supped with one another, and a person was said to be comforted by the bosom of a friend, hence John saying he was the discipled loved of Jesus who was close to his bosom.

    Abraham is a dear friend and father to his people, so to be comforted in the afterlife they would be close to the bosom of Abraham, who, according to Jesus, was not dead, but sleeping, since none of the patriarchs had missed paradise, and, though in the grave, were ‘living’ still, which is why Jesus called the Father the ‘God of the living’ in particular reference to Abraham and the patriarchs(Mark 12:26-27).

    Abraham, like David, could not have ascended at his time, until Jesus ascended, leading captivity captive, so he was yet in the grave, in the region of the saintly dead. Which another reason we can say the bosom of Abraham is another name for paradise.

    So we find, in scripture, that paradise is located in the grave at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, at least, because Jesus points out to the other man on the cross next to him that ‘Today I assure you that you will be with me in paradise’, which could not have been in heaven, not until the third day, at least, so ‘today’ – the day Jesus died – their being in paradise could only place paradise in the grave, where the bosom of Abraham is, because that is where Jesus would be on that day.

    When you read the story of the rich man and Lazarus in this context you see Jesus wasn’t telling a story disassociated from the context of the afterlife.

  20. Acts 2:34-5
    For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.

    Eph 4:8-10
    Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

    1Pe 3:19-21
    For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
    By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    Rev 2:7
    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

    Rev 22:2
    In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.

    Mar 12:25-27
    For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I [am] the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

  21. “A strict literal interpretation would have to be Preterist. Otherwise you have to give another interpretation – which it is of course valid to do. Its just that when you say your particular interpretations are orthodox and another’s interpretations are cultic, then you have an insupportable argument. Much better to discuss all interpretations of interest and let others make up their own minds.”

    Thankyou Wazza.
    FaceLift. I don’t like how you have swept me with a universalist brush and a then a preterist brush to prove I’m in error. Jesus, Paul and Judas (the writer of the letter Jude), all referenced the book of Enoch. The church seemed to have found the Book of Enoch in error. Why don’t you slap the heretic brush against all those guys too while you’re at it?

    This article argued the common use of this parable that preachers have used, is wrong. It is not telling us that hell doesn’t exist in the bible or that it should be dropped. It doesn’t suggest that their views are right because ‘preterists’ are right and everyone else is wrong.

    No. This article is correcting a common error. I have heard many preachers and teachers that use stories to emphasise a message. They use some very common icons or symbols to represent some things, for the more smarter and savvy listener they will throw in something they will get that others wont.

    As a closing parable to his audiences, and specific people in his audiences, he is specific in his details as he is singling out certain people in his parable as it is pointed as an attack.

    I know those verses very well, used by many Pentecostal pastors. I would say they are very well cherry-picked just like pentecostals cherry pick verses to support their tithe doctrines. I looked at the verses provided and I fail to see how these cherry-picked scriptures prove your point. But you left me bothered.

    These verses indicate to me that Jesus didn’t bring anything or person up with him from the grave but he went down so “that he might fill all things”. I’ll be researching this.

  22. I haven’t swept you with any brush, s&p. I pointed out to you that the people you used as references for your argument are very much painted with those brushes.

    You said, about your study group, where you presented this teaching enthusiastically, “Everyone loved the work and effort put into this work by the writer Bryan T. Huie. I pray God continues to bless his studies of scripture and the Ancient World.’

    Is that an endorsement of his Universalist work, or not?

    You also said to those of us who read your post, ‘Now enjoy reading the truth of this parable rather then believing the Pentecostal pettybloop-er.’

    From this, I take it you claim that this study by Huie is correct, and that Pentecostal doctrine on hell and damnation is wrong.

    I’ve asked you to point out what the Pentecostal petty-blooper is, but you haven’t, yet.

    I haven’t given you a Pentecostal view of this teaching, actually, but a personal take on what is being said, so you’re wrong to say I have.

    So, I haven’t ‘cherry-picked’ anything.

    I have shown you scripture, which, if you read it in its full setting, that is, more than one verse in comparison to the rest of scripture, and take the contextual relationship of the whole Bible, it is pretty clear that Jesus taught that there would be souls who would be consciously separated from God after death, especially in view of the fact that Jesus referred to things like outer darkness, gnashing of teeth, torment and gehenna several times, which points to quite the opposite of what Universalists and Preterists teach. So, who is right, Jesus or the Universalists and Preterists?

    If you can’t see that their doctrine is bound to be swayed by their inability to agree with Jesus about a judgement, damnation and separation from God, I can’t help you see beyond their error. Surely, when you study a particular point of view, you take the time to uncover their doctrinal stance in general before you introduce their teaching into a group teaching situation. but you go further. You ratify this teaching and encourage it as sound doctrine.
    _________________________________________

    “A strict literal interpretation would have to be Preterist. Otherwise you have to give another interpretation – which it is of course valid to do. Its just that when you say your particular interpretations are orthodox and another’s interpretations are cultic, then you have an insupportable argument. Much better to discuss all interpretations of interest and let others make up their own minds.”

    Which would be fine, if ot wasn[t demonstrated that the particular group in mind does have a cultic background and whose teaching in general is shown to be error.

    For instance, would this standard be applicable to the teachings of the so-called Reverend Moon? Would you introduce his doctrine, or the teachings of the Watchtower Society into your group, simply because it had some interesting historic references in its teaching? Would you study Christadelphian or Unitarian doctrine with your group because they wrote some fascinating stuff?

    It should be enough to do a background check on where a writer is coming from, and then make an assessment about whether their teaching is likely to be helpful or a hindrance in the long-run.

    _________________________________________

    ‘These verses indicate to me that Jesus didn’t bring anything or person up with him from the grave but he went down so “that he might fill all things”. I’ll be researching this.’

    What is it that you think ‘leading captivity captive’ means?
    ________________________________________

    The point is that you used your posts to attack Pentecostal doctrine on the subjects involved, but you haven’t indicated where the error is, and you’ve used error to attempt to refute what you consider to be error.

  23. Ah, Donkey Boy, so you must believe in demons!

    And do you also believe there is a Lake of Fire reserved for the devil and his legions of demons, where death and hell (gehenna) will be cast after the second death, and where ‘whosoever is not written in the book of life’ will be cast? (Rev. 20.10-15).

    Then who can have their names written in the book of life? And what of those whose name is not written therein? Why is there to be a judgement of such if all are to be included in God’s eternity?

    What do you understand of the Lake of Fire?

    ‘…the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever’ (Rev. 20:10).

    According to this verse alone, the beast will definitely be there. The beast is identified as a person. The false prophet will definitely be there. The false prophet is identified as a person. That’s the end of Universalist teaching right there then! And those whose name isn’t written in the book of life? Well, there’s none righteous no not one, so who qualifies? Only those who accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, because it is only through Christ that any can be saved. So, have all accepted Jesus as Lord? Will all accept Jesus as Lord? Evidently not:

    ‘And the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).

    This being from the Revelation of John, which is in reality the Revelation of Jesus Christ as told to John.

    Rev. 1:1 ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by hi angel unto his servant John’.

    (Wazza will point out the word ‘shortly’ – “But, beloved, don’t be ignorant of this one thing, that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, and some men count slackness; but is long-suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, and tat all should come to repentance. But, the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” 2 Pet.3.8-10a.

    So, in fact, God hasn’t, as preterists claim, fulfilled all prophecy, but is holding off judgement so that more can come in. He is long-suffering despite the rebellion on earth, and working with us to save as many as possible from the terrifying possibilities of the judgement to come.)

  24. I do believe in the lake of fire, but this parable is not about it. However, I have pentecostals preach that the rich man was in it.
    I have an understanding on tartarus, gehenna, sheol, etc. but I don’t believe this parable applies to these matters but what the article is on about. This parable stands in line with many other parables that Jesus told.

    I don’t think this parable is about teaching the audience about sheol or abraham’s bosom etc. This parable is about making a point to the audience whether they get it or not. I’ve researched Abraham’s bosom. It is something that the Hebrews believe.

    If you read the conclusion it says:
    “The parable of Lazarus and the rich man, long used by mainstream ministers to teach the reality of “hell,” really has nothing to say about punishment or reward in the afterlife.”

    This is true. Jesus had a point in using these locations to make a point in his story. This parable does not truly reveal the reality of hell but reveal the forecoming prophecies of Christ, Israel and Gentile nations.

    “Christ used this story, which fit the common misconception about life after death in his day…”

    Okay FaceLift. I’m not quite sure what he means by that but:

    “to show the fate that awaited the Jewish nation because of the unbelief and faithlessness which led them to reject him as the Messiah. They still suffer from that fate to this very day.”

    I find this article does not dispute that Abraham’s Bosom does or does not exist, but highlight’s the story and points of the parable to the audience. I do believe in hell but I don’t believe this article is about hell or is there to prove it exists. The bible talks about it. This article’s focus is not on hell. So please just accept that this article is about interpreting this scripture. If you don’t think this view of the parable is right, please, by all means post up what you think this parable is about.

  25. Facelift, you really are an Ass!

    — however, a huge part of Christendom takes your view….really inexcusable, given the abundance of knowledge out there today:

    I hope youve all taken the trouble to do some simple websearches; clearly, this parable is Non-Literal, and yes, belongs in context as part of a ‘set’.

    But dear Specks & planks, this Post is really far too long— however I’ve studied the material earlier this year myself and agree with your general interpretation.
    [-Brother, if I were to stumble across this blog, I would end up pretty confused, I must say!]

    The ’5 brothers’ signify JUDAH’s brothers- all sons of Leah- this CLEARLY identifies who the ‘Rich man’ is; after studying all the elements of the story, even I was forced to view Jesus differently…..and HE has a wonderfully perfect way of looking at things, which really put me in my place, I must say.

    & No, most of CCC does not take Facelifts view on this matter; sorry mate youre ‘out of step’ , shall we say?

    But isnt this such a classic piece of scripture that shows the idiotic infighting between various Christian interpreters today!- the fruits of your ‘studies’ have the power to really hurt people my friends- Please get down to business.

    –and do sort yourself out Facelift; you are bringing shame upon our people, and thereby disrepute to the Master.

    Z.

  26. How have I brought shame on anyone to agree exactly with what Jesus says, Z?

    What is the ‘abundance of knowledge ‘out there” that you refer to? Is it greater than the words of Jesus? I get te impression Jesus is adressing ordinary Jewish folk most of the time, and spoke to them according to the prevailing knowledeg of the time, not acording to our ‘abundance of knowledge’. So there is no reason to upgrade our understanding. In fact, we should be viewing this passage accoding to their understanding to gain the context.

    In fact, Jesu is addressing the scorn o Pharasees, not the general congregation here, so it is unlikely he is speaking a parable, whihc he reserved for themasses. It is more likely to be a rebuke for the Pharisees. He cajoles them for justifying themselves before men, and for changing the Law into traditions of men far removed from the Spirit of the Law, and thus neglecting the weightier matters which save men’s souls.

    If you read the context starting at Luke 16:15 you will see that Jesus rebukes the mocking Pharisees for their covetous, and this gives the context of Jesus’ story of the rich man’s error. He was covetous, just as these legalistic lawyers were, and he ignored the plight of the poor man at his gate. He walked past the poor man daily and gave him nothing, just like the Pharisees, who walked past or rode the ordinary folk of Israel and failed to lead them into righteousness. Or led them as the blind leading teh blind into the abyss.

    The poor man has nothing to do with the Gentiles, nor does the rich man have anything to do with Israel’s separation from the Gentiles in Christ. Lazarus is anyone who is neglected by those who have much, and who enjoy the world’s goods to the detriment or at the expense of others. There is the rich man’s sin, and there is Lazarus’ righteousness. He is not judged for being poor. He has the bosom of Abraham i mind as his comfort when he passes over. He never complains about the rich man. He laid at his gate in hope of sustenance.

  27. So this is not one of a set parables as you claim, Z, but an isolated refutation of the scorn of the Pharisees who were listening when he spoke in parables to the crowd.

    Having five brothers is nothing to do with any mystic interpretation. That would obscure the point Jesus is making. He merely had five brothers. The significance is that if they don’t hear and obey the Law in their lifetime they won’t get another opportunity once they die.

    This also tells us Jesus was addressing the Jews in their then situation, since, later, at the cross, he fulfilled the Law of Moses, and it was superseded by the New Covenant, when, as I have already pointed out, the middle partition which separated Jew and Gentile was broken down.

    So it is no longer the Law of Moses which distinguishes whether Jews go to the bosom of Abraham or into gehenna, but it is faith in Christ Jesus, whether Jew or Greek, which determines whether we escape the last judgement.

    This isn’t a parable for the Church, although we can take note of the reality of separation form God if we are without Christ, but it is an illustrated sermon, based on facts Jesus understood, for the people of Israel of the day, and it is particularly aimed at the Pharisees, to let them know their plight if they did not repent and preach righteousness rather than men’s traditions, and if they didn’t repent of their covetousness. It is also a rebuke because they should have known and taught the Mosaic Law accurately, and they would have known these truths.

    You ay that this post confuses people and brings disrepute, which is nonsense. Where else do people discuss such things. I have put my point of view and others have theirs. I say the post and its conclusions are clear error. What should I do allow error to reign, or say something?

    The confusion is in the wrong interpretation posted here.

    You say i have an orthodox view. That is because I take Jesus at his word.

  28. I find all the parables leading up to ‘Lazarus and The Rich Man’, God, Jew and Gentile related. The themes are much stronger and they are seemingly intended to insult the pharisees.

  29. “In fact, Jesu is addressing the scorn o Pharasees, not the general congregation here, so it is unlikely he is speaking a parable,”

    So you don’t think this is a parable but a documentary?

    “The poor man has nothing to do with the Gentiles, nor does the rich man have anything to do with Israel’s separation from the Gentiles in Christ. Lazarus is anyone who is neglected by those who have much, and who enjoy the world’s goods to the detriment or at the expense of others. There is the rich man’s sin, and there is Lazarus’ righteousness. He is not judged for being poor. He has the bosom of Abraham i mind as his comfort when he passes over. He never complains about the rich man. He laid at his gate in hope of sustenance.”

    the reason why your view is wrong FaceLift is because of the clear description Jesus went into the characters. Not only that, but the dialogue with abraham does not make sense as to salvation. i think this parable is very pointed, very condemning of the pharisees and rich in prophecy.

  30. Besides which, I have never heard this account in Pentecostal circles in respect of the Church, or of prevailing conditions.

    In fact it is clearly not addressing the present, since, as I have already pointed out, it is contextual to Mosaic Law, and could only be addressing the time span up to the Resurrection of Christ. It never once mentions heaven.

    The only context I have heard taught has to do with the clear teaching here of consciousness after death, which many groups deny, including JW’s and SDA.

    Jesus clear description of the characters was relevant to his day. I have told you what Jesus was doing. He was rebuking the Pharisees. That is totally contextual. Read again from verse 14, where the Pharisees mock him for teaching in parables, and Jesus immediately rebukes them for being covetous.

    Clearly this account illustrates the covetousness of the rich man, and his demise. Why? Because he failed to live the Mosaic Law, even though he repented from the grave and asked that Abraham would go and warn his brothers.

    In this alone your author is wrong, and you are wrong to attach it to Pentecostal teaching as error.

    As I have said, I am commenting here precisely because you have attacked, on separate occasions, Pentecostal teaching on hell, calling for a revision of orthodox teaching. Yet you haven’t once indicated what you consider that teaching to be.

  31. By the way, it’s a very Jewish thing to argue and haggle Biblical standpoints, and not at all unacceptable. Calling me demonised (Donkey Boy) doesn’t help. Give us some reasons why you disagree, not personal insults. And Zep calls me an Ass! Is that he same Ass that spoke to Balaam?

  32. You asked what my opinions were Facelift?

    Well, to begin with, I think the approach you have of pitting one scripture against another is just ridiculous for a start. It’s as though the scriptures you quote have meaning and others do not.

    Secondly, whilst I reserve my opinion on these matters for face-to-face dialogue I will say that I firmly believe that just as the religious majority got it wrong when Christ came the first time, so I think they have (and will) get it wrong when he comes again. Everyone in Christ’s time were looking for a physical messiah who would deliver the nation of Israel from the Roman oppression. Nobody in their wildest imagination would have thought that the prophecy concerning the messiah was to be understood spiritually. I once asked a minster how to understand the scriptures. His response to me was “if it can be taken literally, that’s how you take it” – this literal approach to the scriptures is where the people of Christ’s time got it wrong and it’s where the religious leaders of today have it wrong as well, especially in regards to topics such as the lake of fire or the afterlife.

  33. I don’t ‘pit one scripture against another’. I urge that people read the context of scripture. Clearly we don’t have enough space to give every passage as a reference, and people don;t have time to read long passages. I expect that you are wise enough to open your own Bible and check what I have quoted against the overall context, and have said this several times.

    Your minister was correct to tell you to take scripture literally unless it was otherwise indicated.

    If all scripture is supposed to be interpreted allegorically no one would know where we stand. We’d all have theories on what it meant. There has to be some absolutes, and they are measured against the consistency of scripture. I take this passage for what it says because it measures up t other things Jesus says. That is contextualisation.

    The references to eternal judgement and damnation are intended to be taken literally.

  34. Nice one Facelift – so you admit that you would have been part of the mob that was baying for Christ’s blood on the night he was crucified? After all: “If all scripture is supposed to be interpreted allegorically no one would know where we stand” Tell me, isn’t that precisely the way the Pharisees saw things? How dare Christ say “destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up” – no doubt you would have been incredulous at such a statement had you been alive at that time? Of course you would have.

    You are such a biblical incompetent that there is little point arguing with you. Zepplin summed up your present state well I thinks

  35. I think you’ve had too many carrots, Donkey Boy. You’re not making sense. Neither does Z half the time. He seems to be a favourite verse preacher, leaving out all the hard sayings of the Word, or, like you, manipulating them to mean something so obscure you need a degree to decipher anything.

    If ordinary folk can’t understand what is being said, then we are merely being religious. If scripture is only understandable to the liberal intelligentsia then God help the rest of us.

    And, like Z, you’re beginning to sound liberal. But I haven’t seen any signs of intelligent argument yet, although it’s early days.

    ‘You are such a biblical incompetent that there is little point arguing with you’

    You haven’t raised a single argument to date. Prove my incompetence with a few Biblical facts. Yes, that’s a challenge. I don’t think you’re up to it. Unless you can I’ll continue being a Biblical literalist, and my life will continue to thrive on the goodness of God’s Word.

    You may have a point, though. II may be Biblically incompetant, however, you surley haven’t shown me where, and neither has Z.

    But what I know I know works and have proven God’s Word to be true in my life and have witnessed it to be true in the lives of people who follow what it literally and simply says.

    Your insults are petty and pointless. Especially if you have nothing more to say.

  36. ‘How dare Christ say “destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up” – no doubt you would have been incredulous at such a statement had you been alive at that time?’

    Well, my understanding of this is that no one but Christ understood what he was talking about. He even had to explain it to his disciples.

    Are you saying that you would have understood exactly what Christ meant? John had to explain this saying for the hearer. He indicated it was allegorical. That makes it easy for us in this age doesn’t it. But do you claim you would have grasped it when Jesus actually said it?

    So, is all scripture allegorical? Or can we take it that, unless Christ explained it as a parable, or as allegorical, we should take it literally?

    I have never said at any time that there is no such thing as a parable or an allegorical passage, nor type or shadow. Of course they are there, especially in Christ’s sayings, but unless it is obviously allegorical we should take it as literal. That is sound study technique. I didn’t learn that from the Pentecostals, but form John Stott, who does a marvellous study on how to study scripture. Sadly, though, Stott has stopped believing in eternal damnation also, and is now often quoted as a source by JW’s.

    When Jesus says, “These things that I do shall you do also”, is he being factual or allegorical? How would you interprete this allegorically. Or other says, such as, “I and my Father are one”, or “Zaccheus, make haste, and come dow; for today I must abide at your house”, or “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, Simon Bar Jona, but my Father who is heaven”, and all the other many, many obviously literal things Jesus said. And Paul said. ASnd Peter said. And John said, etc.

    Further, how do you allegorise Revelation 20, and 21 i reference to judgement? Do you have doctrine of judgement? or are you sayng no one will be judged, and jo one will face eternal amnation, and no one will be separated from God?

    What is your teaching on these things, Donkey Boy?

    What do yo say the passage on Lazarus and the rich man is saying? Come on. We need to hear from your expertise in Biblical interpretation so we can be redeemed from Pentecostal error. Surely you own us that much.

  37. bizarrely Facelift, I do not see myself as owing you anything at all – an explanation, a doctrinal position or any other such thing. The only thing I think you need or are owed by any decent person is a good swift kick to the head.

    I do however think it is hilarious that you acknowledge that at the time Christ spoke of destroying the temple and raising it up, (in your own words) “no one but Christ understood what he was talking about”

    You then somehow conclude that because John explains this particular incident to us, all is well and that unless something is explained as being allegorical by the author, it is therefore literal???

    Do you think perhaps, just maybe, there is an off chance there are other scriptures within the word that are not explained? Is it remotely possible that maybe, just maybe you don’t know anywhere near as much as you think you do???

    Maybe what you see as being absolutely literal is in actual fact spiritual and to be understood that way??? Anyone home Facelift? I know legion is there but is anyone else available to speak to???

  38. So are you saying you really don’t have anything worthwhile to say on any of the subjects brought up here?

    That’s OK. I thought you might be able to do more than insult and threaten people.

    I thought you might be able to show us all what the parable, story, allegory or what ever you want to call it on Lazarus and the rich man actually represents. Still, it’s your call. You intimate that you know something, but say nothing! Not looking good, Donkey Boy!

    And you can kick me in the head all you want. That doesn’t make you right about anything either.

    Claiming superior knowledge isn’t the same as producing it. Why not tell us what you think the passage is saying?

    And you’re right. You owe me nothing but to love me! If you’re a Christian, that is.

  39. Loving you would necessitate the aforementioned kick to the frontal lobe.

    I would love nothing more than to share my knowledge with you however the phrase “cast not thy pearls before swine” springs to mind. One who “knows it all” such as yourself hardly allows for themselves to be taught. Good-day my friend. I pray some sense will eventually be knocked into that brass forehead of yours.

  40. NIce to meet you, too, Donkey Boy. I was looking forward to actually hearing your views. Now I can only assume you were bluffing, and have none at all.

    It’s a shame you don’t stay to say something about why you think I’m so out of touch with the Word. I am actually quite teachable, and open to correction. But you’d have to say something I could learn from first.

    Making threats has never intimidated me, nor have insults. Lance was the best at that, but he jumped ship too.

    You’ve shown nothing here that demonstrates that you have any pearls to cast.

  41. OK, now that’s out of the way, let’s have a look at a few other teachings on this subject – orthodox teachings – discoverable online:

    From a site with an orthodox evangelical background – worth reading the whole to see what the writer is saying, and, I see, he considers it a parable also – http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/16_19-31.htm

    ‘What’s the Point?

    Of course, Jesus is saying that riches don’t count for anything after we die, but that isn’t the thrust of this parable. I think he is making two points.

    Wealth without active mercy for the poor is great wickedness.
    If we close our eyes to the truth we are given, then we are doomed.
    In the context, Jesus is condemning the Pharisees for their love of money but lack of mercy for the poor. Remember his comment about their scrupulous tithing? “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone” (Luke 11:42). It isn’t their piety that he is condemning, but what they AREN’T doing — showing mercy to the poor, seeking justice for the downtrodden. It is ironic that the Pharisees who prided themselves on being such Bible scholars largely missed the spirit of the Old Testament — mercy and justice.

    What Are We Doing for the Poor?

    As disciples we are asking: What should we learn from this? Jesus, what are you saying to us today?

    In a sense, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus teaches a similar lesson to that of the Unjust Steward (16:1-9). We can use our money in a way that secures for us secure eternal damnation, or in a way that secures us friends in eternal habitations who will welcome us. But there’s more.

    William Barclay titles this passage, “The Punishment of the Man Who Never Noticed.” Lazarus was at his door and he didn’t notice. Who is at our door that we don’t notice?

    Needy illegal aliens who avoid the social welfare system for fear of being deported?
    Divorced moms with kids who are living below the poverty level but are too proud to ask for help?
    Families where the breadwinner is sick or shiftless or missing?
    The poor in third world countries who are out of sight and out of mind?’
    __________________________________________

    Charles Finney – the great evangelical orthox evangelist, of course, links it to sin and the need for repentance, but concurs that the rich man’s coventous nature was the essence of this teaching:

    ‘We are left to infer the character of this rich man from his worldly-mindedness. Christ did not seem to deem it necessary to state that he was a wicked man, but left this to be inferred from his self-indulgent life. He needed only to say of him that he lived for self-gratification; that he used his wealth for himself only, and not for the good of man, or for the glory of God. This explained his character sufficiently.’

    He also brings up some orthodox teaching on the important truth of consciousness of the soul after death, which is the teaching I claim is most heard in Pentecostal churches in reference to this story, not a treatise on death and hell as Huie claims, although Finney could be said to touch on this.

    Again, worth reading in full.

    http://www.gospeltruth.net/1853OE/531109_richman_lazarus.htm

  42. NOTE:

    My last comment went into moderation, s&p, I think because I used more than one online link reference.

    I’m searching through sites and can’t actually find any orthodox or Pentecostal teachings on this passage which claim it to be on heaven and hell, as Huie charges. That is, apart from those which criticise Orthodox or Pentecostal teaching.

    All express the views I have presented, although I perhaps did so clumsily, since I’m not a scholar.

    I’ve been surprised at the amount of anger expressed on this blog because I’ve held to an orthodox view. Surely the nature of apologetics is to defend correct exegesis through the use of scripture.

  43. I’ve broken those moderated comments into two parts:

    1.

    From a site with an orthodox evangelical background – worth reading the whole to see what the writer is saying, and, I see, he considers it a parable also – http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/16_19-31.htm

    ‘What’s the Point?

    Of course, Jesus is saying that riches don’t count for anything after we die, but that isn’t the thrust of this parable. I think he is making two points.

    Wealth without active mercy for the poor is great wickedness.
    If we close our eyes to the truth we are given, then we are doomed.
    In the context, Jesus is condemning the Pharisees for their love of money but lack of mercy for the poor. Remember his comment about their scrupulous tithing? “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone” (Luke 11:42). It isn’t their piety that he is condemning, but what they AREN’T doing — showing mercy to the poor, seeking justice for the downtrodden. It is ironic that the Pharisees who prided themselves on being such Bible scholars largely missed the spirit of the Old Testament — mercy and justice.

    What Are We Doing for the Poor?

    As disciples we are asking: What should we learn from this? Jesus, what are you saying to us today?

    In a sense, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus teaches a similar lesson to that of the Unjust Steward (16:1-9). We can use our money in a way that secures for us secure eternal damnation, or in a way that secures us friends in eternal habitations who will welcome us. But there’s more.

    William Barclay titles this passage, “The Punishment of the Man Who Never Noticed.” Lazarus was at his door and he didn’t notice. Who is at our door that we don’t notice?

    Needy illegal aliens who avoid the social welfare system for fear of being deported?
    Divorced moms with kids who are living below the poverty level but are too proud to ask for help?
    Families where the breadwinner is sick or shiftless or missing?
    The poor in third world countries who are out of sight and out of mind?’

  44. 2.

    Charles Finney – the great evangelical orthox evangelist, of course, links it to sin and the need for repentance, but concurs that the rich man’s coventous nature was the essence of this teaching:

    ‘We are left to infer the character of this rich man from his worldly-mindedness. Christ did not seem to deem it necessary to state that he was a wicked man, but left this to be inferred from his self-indulgent life. He needed only to say of him that he lived for self-gratification; that he used his wealth for himself only, and not for the good of man, or for the glory of God. This explained his character sufficiently.’

    He also brings up some orthodox teaching on the important truth of consciousness of the soul after death, which is the teaching I claim is most heard in Pentecostal churches in reference to this story, not a treatise on death and hell as Huie claims, although Finney could be said to touch on this.

    Again, worth reading in full.

    http://www.gospeltruth.net/1853OE/531109_richman_lazarus.htm

  45. “Lance was the best at that, but he jumped ship too.”

    I thought Lance pushed you off the plank and you squealed all the way down. Then you climbed aboard this ship. Fortunately we can agree on different things.

    As I said earlier:
    “Obviously FaceLift you disagree with it. That is cool.”

    I see your point of view and in some way you are right. But commanded Israel to be a light unto the nations… I’ll write more later…

  46. “I’ve been surprised at the amount of anger expressed on this blog because I’ve held to an orthodox view.”

    Facelift has used the word “orthodox” about 8 times, often using it in conjunction with the “Pentecostal view”. “Orthodox” just means “the right opinion” or right thinking. But obviously that depends on the viewpoint of the speaker. An Eastern Orthodox Christian considers their views to be “Orthodox”, but considers many of the Pentecostal beliefs and practices to be un-orthodox. There is Lutheran orthodoxy, Word-of-Faith orthodoxy, and a thousand others.

    It seems Facelift believes that there is one Orthodoxy, easily found and studied, and clearly discernable. If one is not following the orthodox view, there must be a reason for not following it. He even implies one should not read, consider or discuss the views of writers considered non-orthodox.

    This attitude is the most likely to lead to a cult, not an “un-orthodox” doctrine.

  47. It’s OK to talk to me direct, wazza. I’m not a cult!

    The orthodox view on this subject is all I inferred. There is an orthodoxy to this topic, and it is this orthodoxy which is being questioned by the Universalists and Preterists.

    As RP has already pointed out, Pentecostal doctrine on hell, death, judgement and the life of the world to come is orthodox evangelical teaching.

    For instance the Nicene Creed is an orthodoxy which contains reference to the judgement of the living and the dead.

    ‘We believe in one God,
    the Father, the Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.
    We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only Son of God,
    eternally begotten of the Father,
    God from God, light from light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made,
    of one Being with the Father;
    through him all things were made.
    For us and for our salvation
    he came down from heaven,
    was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
    and became truly human.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
    he suffered death and was buried.
    On the third day he rose again
    in accordance with the Scriptures;
    he ascended into heaven
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
    and his kingdom will have no end.

    We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
    who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
    who has spoken through the prophets.
    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
    We look for the resurrection of the dead,
    and the life of the world to come. Amen.’

  48. wazza,
    ‘he even implies one should not read, consider or discuss the views of writers considered non-orthodox.’

    i didn’t actually mention non-orthodox, but used the word ‘error’ more than eight times if you’re counting. Error is far more serious than unorthodoxy.

    Paul,
    ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there are some who trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, and so I now say again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which you have received, let him be accursed.’ Gal. 1:6-9.

    So now, if the Unitarian gospel denies the teaching of Christ, which it does, clearly, and if Preterist doctrine denies the gospel of Christ, which it does, then those who perpetrate it should be called accursed, which means that those who receive it as gospel will end up in he same ditch if they are taught from the same source.

    I thought you at least would understand this.

    If the tree is corrupt the fruit will be corrupt.

    Error is serious. A little leaven leavens the lump.

    “We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God doesn’t hear us. Hereby we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:6

  49. In fact, thinking about it, I find it incomprehensible that so many of you are clambering to defend error!

  50. Thanks for that post Wazza 2.

    Facelift in light of your “orthodox” absurdity, what do you say to the simple facts that for the first 2-3 centuries AD, Universalism was the orthodox and widely held point of view amongst the Christian church??? Eternal Hell fire and what-not was actually the minority view point and was considered a “pagan” doctrine.

    Anyone who has looked closely and researched the facts will tell you there is an awful lot of similarities between current “orthodox” teaching on the afterlife and Egyptian and Greek pagan mythology. Where exactly are you getting your theology from??? A handful of misinterpreted scriptures that you assure us are to be taken literally and along with that, pagan baloney and hoo-ha that was the “order of the day” some 2000 years or so ago.

  51. Stop floating around the clouds of self absorption blowing out in your snobbish helium breath, DB, and dare to join the ordinary folk.

    If you’re going to discus or debate this how about you decide to stay around for long enough to contribute some of the astounding knowledge you’ve intimated you have, instead of saying something aloof and then saying it’s not worth talking about it to someona signorent as me and chuffing off. Think of the other people here who are of superior intelligence to me and will surely benefit from your expertise.

    If you truly didn’t take me seriously you wouldn’t spend time thinking of measured comments before returning to slap me some more after you’d said you were leaving. Make up your mind!

    I haven’t mentioned 2nd-3rd century doctrine, and don;t need to. Only the doctrine of the 1st century as handed down in the canon of scripture. There’s enough in there to form a solid ‘orthodoxy’. The orthodoxy of Christ, the Apostles and the Prophets on which the Church is built.

    You still haven’t put a point of view on the subject in hand. You’ve only attempted to discredit me, which has no merit, and thrown out generalisms about Church history. What is your point of view?

    Are you saying ha you agree with the Preterist position. It seems so from your defence of their ideas.

    Isn’t it true though, that, from the benefit of having gone 18 to 19 hundred years beyond the first two centuries we know that the Preterist position can’t be correct, so your defence is pointless.

    Isn’t it also true that we should all expect that Christ could come at anytime, and that his imminent return means we should live our lives circumspectly, expectantly and with the understanding he might come as a thief in the night. i put it to you that the early Church must have thought this way, so why would we be surprised that their doctrinal stance would be slightly different to ours? The fact is that Jesus did not return in the first two centuries, and that the Preterist view is thus demonstrated to be error.

    The doctrine if death and gehenna are clearly taught in scripture. How do you interpret Revelation 20 and 21 from he standpoint of judgement if it is not to be taken literally?

  52. By the way, if you knew much about Greek and pagan mythology you’d know that the ancient deities came from hero worship of known Biblical patriarchies.

    For instance, Jannus was another name for Enosh which is another way of saying Adam, so that Adam was historically deified by the ancient cults over time. Deifying human heros was and is a common trait of religious and pagan societies.

    You should understand that being a great scholar and all.

    It is no wonder there are similarities in worship systems from all over the world, since all people’s Biblically came from the descendants of Noah, so that the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth spread across the world, and the religions, deities and pagan worship systems were formed out of their various migrations, some through rebellions, particularly when the languages were confused at the tower of Babel, where the greatest of the rebellions was thwarted by God himself, but the religious worship systems were formed which are observed throughout the world.

    Antiquities are amazingly unified by similarities in worship systems, but they are all descended from the passed down Biblical accounts of the descendants of Adam and Eve. So Biblical accounts don’t mimic Greek, Roman or Babylonian worship systems, but rather the reverse, they emulate the hero worship which came out of the descendants of Adam – in particular Nimrod.

    Little wonder there are similarities then in some of the understandings of various religious cults. But unless they were genuinely originated through the will of God, they remain cultic and outside of his will and purposes.

    So the concept of hell and torment in many religions is actually further evidence that it was within God’s system, not evidence that it was stolen.

  53. However, if I agree with this view on the Lazza Parable, does that make me err in your eyes?
    If in your eyes I have erred, then what makes you so right and so wanting to prove me wrong when I’ve accepted your beliefs on the matter?

    BTW FaceLift. Unfortunately you come across very close-minded even though you probably aren’t. But I have pondered on those scriptures you gave but they didn’t sit right with me. However, I have learnt more about them in the greater scheme of things in terms of Christ’s work and latter work.

    Acts 2:34-5
    For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.

    Well. God has not made Israel’s enemies footstools yet. This will take place as the Psalms says:

    Psalm110:1
    The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

    Which mean Christ will be seated UNTIL his enemies are made a footstool for his feet. This means that David has not ascended because this has not been fulfilled. Revelations talks about:

    20:4-5
    I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

    That is when Jew and Gentile will be raised in new bodies to reign in the Millenial Reign. Christ will come when the earth is prepared to become his footstool.

    So David did not come out of Sheol or ‘Abraham’s’ Bosom’ when Christ ascended after the crucixion.

    Eph 4:8-10
    Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

    And looking at this, when Adam and Eve sided with Satan, they chose the things not of God. When Cain killed Abel, Abel’s bloood cried out from the earth. What was not of God was death- justice. This verse describes how Christ became death or something not of God so that He may be raised to demonstrate that God has power over all things, even those things not of Him!
    This is to prove that nothing is greater than God. When this verse says ‘led captivity captive’, it applies to the living not the dead. For we were once the captives but we are now free from the Law. The Law- captivity, is now led into captivity (in the grave with Christ), so that we may receive the gifts from God to do great things.

    My understanding is that that ‘sheol’ is still in operation. It’s now that through Christ, He now has the power of Sheol. When Christ’s blood was spilt, he became grave and slept with us. But through the resurrection and ascension He now holds those keys in his hands. (Which is another topic as I don’t fully agree with that statement I made.)

    At the moment I believe those in Christ are asleep with the Jew. First Christ will come to meet our souls/spirits in the air and then when the earth is made His footstool, both those in Christ and His Jew, including King David,will rule beside him in our new bodies in the Millenial Reign- the First Resurrection.

    The fact that we will be raised with the Jew is interesting. This falls into line with this article. Those who believe in Jesus will be asleep in Jesus. The Jews in the old testament under Pharoah or the Law believe in The Promise, The Deliverer, The Redmeer, The Saviour, The King, etc.

    I hold to the fact that this article does the right thing in teaching that this parable is not about hell. It’s about how the Jews are about to miss out on their Messiah and how God will separate himself from the Jews and bless the Gentile nations because of their stubbornness- bringing around the switch.

    I do believe he uses the term ‘flames of torment’ creatively to describe how the reversal has taken place because now the Jew’s or Israel are going or living through ‘hell’.
    This to me does not indicate that hell isn’t real. I believe it is real. Those in the second resurrection; most will be found guilty and only a few will be spared (which is why we are blessed to be apart of the first). The ‘sleep’ for those that are awaiting the second judgment will be less peaceful then those who already believe because they don’t know if they will be spared because of their absence of knowing Christ.

    I hope this answer puts you at rest FaceLift with my views. Hopefully we can cool it a bit and discuss this sensibly if you still disagree with me.

  54. Hi S&S,

    If we are ‘saved’ when we become Christians … then what are we ‘saved’ from…?

  55. From wiki:

    …Universalism was a fairly commonly held view among theologians in early Christianity: In the first five or six centuries of Christianity there were six known theological schools, of which four (Alexandria, Antioch, Cesarea, and Edessa or Nisibis) were Universalist, one (Ephesus) accepted conditional immortality, and one (Carthage or Rome) taught the endless punishment of the lost. The two major theologians opposing it were Tertullian and Augustine…

  56. s&p, I may be single-minded, but not close-minded. Some things are more difficult to define in the Word than others, and maybe this ‘parable’ is one of them for some people, although I find it reasonably clear.

    No, I don’t think you’re in error generally because you choose to agree or disagree with this interpretation of the story. I was making the point that the writer almost certainly is in error generally. The other point is, again, if you challenge Pentecostals on doctrine by denouncing it for what they see is error you are welcoming comment.
    ___________________________________

    DB,
    Whether Universalism was a fairly common view is interesting, but doesn’t negate the substance already available in the Word, which predates this view. Arianism was also quite common for some years, but it is obviously error. Other controversies prevailed, but the Word itself is incorruptible and established, so eventually, al controversies will be uncovered and revealed, even those we have today, of which there are many.

  57. … much more than a get-out-of-Hell-free card. We make our own little Hells by being selfish and by breaking relationship with others and with God. In the next life I am sure that Hell would be similar only worse, an eternal breakdown of relationship. This would be much more of a torment than any physical torture – which one would probably get used to after the first 1000 years.

  58. So FL, if Hell is real and as you say, the scriptures on eternal damnation are to be taken literally… Does that therefore make the God of Christianity a torture pornographer? I can’t see how it wouldn’t… Care to explain to a stupid donkey like me???

  59. I don’t really know… Just because a lot of people believe it doesn’t make it real. All I’m saying is that *if* it is real in a literal sense (as you and many people on here seem to think) then I can’t see it’s too long a shot to think that God is a bit of a wacko. He (or she?) is obviously into torture porn in a big way if people are going to be tormented in his presence for all eternity.
    I guess the other question one has to ask is why create people if they’re going to end up there anyway? Why put people as babies into social and cultural environments (3rd world countries, pre-dominantly Muslim or Buddhist nations etc) where they may never have a chance to hear anything other than what they are raised to believe? You need to clear up some of these moral and ethical issues about your God before you pronounce sentences of eternal destinations at the hand of this apparently all knowing and seeing deity.

  60. Currently – since this is one of the areas I’m over time doing more reading on – I hold the view similarly to Wazza, that hell is the pain of eternal separation from God, not literal flames. I was first taught this view of hell in the Anglican church, and it still makes sense to me.

    I also agree with Wazza re the little hells thing, and believe that salvation applies to this life as much as the next, in that the more we abide in Christ, the more we experience freedom from sin, and therefore from its effects in our lives, including freedom from shame that would otherwise break down our relationship with our Father. This is a big topic. Overcoming sin in our own strength, as in ‘trying’ to do the right thing, can have some merit, similar to the merit that the Law had, but is not the same as the overcoming that is effortless because it is a result of an inner transformation springing from a real, ongoing abiding in Christ.

    Anyway… as a result, there is salvation that we experience right now, as well as in the life to come.

    I do not believe that God will judge as man judges – in fact the Bible makes that pretty clear. I have read Eastern Orthodox views on hell and judgement and find them interesting. Still – there does seem to be some kind of judgement. However, I suspect that we’ve added lots of human interpretation to what the Bible says, and what it says as a result may not be as clear to us today as when it was written at times.

    When taking the Bible ‘literally’, of course, its literal meaning will be different to us if our worldview is different in some ways to the audience for whom it was originally written. The Hebrew worldview in Christ’s day, was not identical to our worldview now. I have recently been learning more about how much influence Plato had on our current view. Without claiming that I now understand everything, since I don’t, it is clear that taking something ‘literally’ can still at times mean different things to different people.

    None of us can afford the arrogance of certainty about the detail of judgement, I suspect.

  61. *My* God, DB? Not your God then?

    If you are an unbeliever, it would take too long to answer your question, and would demand a separate thread. It isn’t really down to the character of God, but the nature of man. He is just. People sin.

    We are eternal beings, our souls cannot be terminated, so what else can happen to the souls of the rebellious who refuse to acknowledge God or the need to change? They will be separated, and of course that in itself is torment. None of us has experienced it because, whether we believe or not, we are still alive in the earth because the Word of God sustains us and there is a connection. Once separated fully people will know what it is to be totally without God. The eternal flames, should they be literal will be nothing compared to this, although it is unlikely they are physical flames, anyway.
    ___________________________________

    RP, in some ways, I would like think wazza’s kind of idea is correct, but it doesn’t add up to Rev. 20, nor does it line up with some of the things Jesus said.

  62. LF:
    “Hi S&S,
    If we are ’saved’ when we become Christians … then what are we ’saved’ from…?”
    All things not of God – essentially hell. It was not intended for man to go there, but Satan got us snared on the way down. Christ is willing to save us from sharing Satan’s punishment.

    FL:
    “No, I don’t think you’re in error generally because you choose to agree or disagree with this interpretation of the story. I was making the point that the writer almost certainly is in error generally. The other point is, again, if you challenge Pentecostals on doctrine by denouncing it for what they see is error you are welcoming comment.”

    I don’t care if the writer is preterist, universalist or annihilationist, I found this particular article incredibly in line with scripture in terms of what the parable is about since it’s focus is NOT on hell or hades, etc.

    RP:
    I have recently been learning more about how much influence Plato had on our current view.

    Me too! Same book eh? I love JT!

    - – - – -

    At home group, we are looking at the Book of Enoch. This book should help challenge your concepts of sheol, death, judgment, hell,etc.

    If there’s anything that makes outer darkness and ‘lake of fire’ line up with the concept of hell, it would be the fact that the lake of fire sounds like both a physical and spiritual place. There seems to be a marriage in Hebrew belief in the end between the spiritual realm (heavens) with the earth.

    Therefore an earthly spiritual place will arise for the righteous and an earthly spiritual place will arise for the dead. This realm is eternal but temporary for heaven is creation and is therefore set in creation. Because time exists in the heavens (or the spiritual realm), it is possible that the spirit-earth dimension can split when heaven ends and eternity begins – the righteous to remain and the unrighteous to be cast. When that transitioning in Christ is purely eternal, it could mean that the unrighteous will be nonexistent.

  63. I let your comment up FaceLift. Good post.
    But I say, I have to marvel over your endurance and stubborness FaceLift. While it’s true you annoy me, the fact that you are strong in your ways (whether you are right or wrong), really helps me further my biblical studies. I thank you for being the thorn in my side. You’ve helped expand my thinking allot.

    Those links are good.

  64. s&p,
    ‘I found this particular article incredibly in line with scripture in terms of what the parable is about since it’s focus is NOT on hell or hades, etc.’

    Well it’s focus isn’t on hades, but it certainly gives us a fair bit of information about what happened to pre-resurrection Jewish saints. Jesus also gives us some stunning information on the conscious soul after death.

    The actual topic though is covetousness and the consequences of lack of care for those who privileged people could help.

    I don’t see how it could possibly refer to the tension between Jew and Gentile. Te concept of the Gentile Church was still a mystery to the Jewish community, which Jesus didn’t reveal, not in the story anyway. It was Peter who was given this revelation, and Paul who explained it most succinctly.

  65. Who says we are eternal beings? I thought the biblical account stated we were created from dust? Eternal means without a beginning or an end does it not? If God is all powerful, why not simply destroy people rather than disassociate himself from them for all time? Shouldn’t be too hard for someone who made everything is 6 days should it? So you’re saying that nobody ever really dies? What then of scriptures that say “the wages of sin is death” – I thought you were a literalistic in your biblical interpretation? Did you not say to me “if it can be taken literally, that’s how you take it”? Please explain this contradiction FL.

    You still haven’t answered my questions as your Christian duty dictates that you should. You gloss over my very valid concerns regarding the ethics of the Christian God with generic and heartless statements like “people sin” and “God is just”. Well if people sin and God is all knowing then surely he must have known that when he made the first people they would eventually sin? Why didn’t he get the design right the first time around?

    I’m beginning to feel you are simply an indoctrinated religious repeater. You take information you like or have been taught and simply repeat it verbatim. As a consequence of this, it would appear you have no real answers to give someone who has thought things through.

  66. DB – are you an aetheist, agnostic, any particular faith, or would you say you have a faith based on your own thinking things through, which doesn’t necessarily fit a particular box?

    No judgement implied. All your questions are quite reasonable. If it wasn’t for comments like ‘your Christian God’, I might have imagined you could have been coming from an Eastern Christian perspective.

    Its just more interesting when we understand where people are coming from.

  67. God is sometimes depicted as fire. So is his love. For those who cannot bear God’s presence, being in it could be like an unbearable fire. So it might not be contradictory for the same place to be heaven for some, and hell for others.

    I am not putting this forward as theology. Just a thought. I’ve been meaning to trace the concepts of love and fire through the bible for some time, but not got around to it.

    Anyway, here’s a little quote re Rev 20, showing that you can believe it without taking it literally:

    “Punishment for sin is taught in the Old Testament, but it is mainly punishment in this life. The New Testament teaches the idea of punishment for sin before and after death. The expressions “the lake of fire” and “second death” indicate the awfulness of the fate of the impenitent. Some insist that the fire spoken of must be literal fire, so to interpret the language as figurative means to do away with the reality of future punishment. One can, however, maintain this position only if they see no reality expressed by a figure of speech. Jesus spoke of a place of punishment as “outer darkness” (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). Can a place have both literal fire and literal darkness? What reason does one have for taking one expression as literal and not taking the other as literal? Literal fire would destroy a body cast into it.”

    This is from: http://www.thewordsofeternallife.com/hell.html

  68. Hi RP. I’m definitely not an atheist. I believe in a grand design by an equally grand maker. I’m just not convinced that “Christianity” in it’s conventional form answers enough questions for me. It seems to contradict itself more than anything. I have read and studied the bible for about 15 years now. Am I a “Christian” though? I guess not in the sense I attend a church and know my minister on a first-name basis. Do I have a relationship with Jesus? I believe I do and that’s enough for me. I have dropped into a few churches here and there but the whole experience has left me a little “whatever” about it all.

    I have had enough experience with “Christians” though to understand that the longer they attend church the less likely they are to think things through for themselves. My line of work is research based so I’m rather partial towards analytical and/or critical thinking. I don’t see why issues of faith, God, eternal separation etc shouldn’t be “means tested” and thought through more than they are. I won’t just accept a glib off-handed comment like “we are all sinners” and “God is holy” when asking individuals some hard questions.

  69. I can see why you would find attending some churches difficult if you don’t conform to their culture.

    I’ve recently stopped attending my local church over doctrinal differences which wouldn’t have mattered if I’d felt more comfortable being able to express them without being judged by leadership. (In my case, these included prosperity doctrine teaching, and a hierarchical approach to many things, which I saw as contradictory to scripture.) For now, my family meets with other Christians intentionally, but not in an organised church setting. We wouldn’t bother going back to a church unless it was pretty low key and healthier in its teaching.

    There have been other times in my life as a Christian when I haven’t attended a church for several years at a time, and I would say that I learnt many things in my walk with God at those times. To think that you must attend an organised church to truly be Christian seems pretty silly to me. If you feel that to call ourselves ‘Christian’ means we have to associate ourselves with a church culture, then I’d understand why you reject the label, despite having a relationship with Christ.

  70. Of course, the term ‘church’ in my post above refers to church as an organised structure, not to the sense of ‘church’ which is the broad body of Christ. We are of course the church in that sense (the original sense) if we know Christ, and this church knows no boundaries.

  71. Thanks for the responses RP. You seem like a well-tempered individual who is willing to perhaps accept some level of “mystery” concerning the Christian faith rather than a more dogmatic black and white “I am right, you are wrong” approach.

    I’m still interested in exploring the ramifications of predestination, ethics and morality concerning eternal judgment. I’m waiting for FL to explain his literal interpretation of “the wages of sin is death” when apparently, it appears (at least to most Christians) that nobody ever really dies at all but simply transcends the physical body for a spiritual one. That seems to be the opposite of death to me… Or are we resurrected as physical beings? You tell me

  72. It was the human body which was made of the dust, or atoms, of the earth, but it was sill lifeless until God breathed into it. The breath of the Eternal God made the body a living soul. It is not the body which is eternal. It must be changed before it will be resurrected, but the soul is, according to scripture, still conscious at death, which is why Jesus termed death ‘sleeping’. It is he soul I am referring to, not the physical body.

    As I said before, if you are an unbeliever, the subject before you is vast, complex, and would require several posts to bring you up to speed with where this discussion is. I’m not being rude to you either. Just establishing where we are for further input.

    Jesus said that unless a person is born-again, they will never understand the concepts of the kingdom. It is all foolishness to those who have not received him as Lord and Saviour, because it is only when we are born again and receive the Holy Spirit into our lives that we are able to grasp what God is saying in the Bible.

    The very ‘parable’ we are discussing sheds light on the state of the soul after death, and is very useful because it reveals doctrine from Christ himself on the conscious state of those whose physical bodies have died.

    There is further evidence in Revelation 6:9-11, where the fifth seal reveals the souls of martyrs killed for their faith under the altar of God in heaven. These souls speak, are conscious, but are told rest because other martyrs would join them, all would be fulfilled, and then God would avenge them.

  73. Unlike RP and some others here I consider the Church, including local churches, to be God’s means of nurturing saints. I also believe the gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher are given to the Church to mature the saints, and to train and equip term for the wrk of the ministry, so we can all walk in unity, grow and e effective in increasing God’s heritage.

    To this end, God gives structure to the Church, and set us in that structure to be an effective part of its development. Placing negative connotations on the Church being ‘organised’ isn’t helpful.

  74. Sorry, RP, that was a bit rugged. I know that’s not how you think. I’m rather peeved at the constant attack on the ‘organised’ church, as if a disorganised church could do any better. I hope you find a place you’ll enjoy soon.

  75. You didn’t answer any of my questions FL and it appears you didn’t even read several of my posts, however needless to say, I am quite familiar with the concept of being born-again I assure you.

    Your assertion of the saints around the throne in revelation being literal again is troubling to say the least. Do you believe that everything else written in revelation is literal or only the select “here’s and there’s” that line up with your other beliefs? What of the 4 horsemen? Are they literally true? And the 7 seals and trumpets? Do you see these as being literal events? What about the beast and the false prophet? Do they literally come up out the sea and the earth respectively?

    I think I’ll look elsewhere for some of the answers to my questions as you’re quite obviously not up to it or you don’t have the time to invest in doing so.

    Thanks for those who did read what I wrote. I’ll stop by later on in the week perhaps.

  76. No worries, FL.

    In fact, I also believe that the church (one another in Christ) is God’s gift to us all, and is his means of nurturing saints. I don’t ‘exclude ‘organised’ churches from being places where this can happen – it depends on the culture within. However, they are not the only place in which it can happen, and the definition of ‘church’ used by many of those places assumes that outside their boundaries, church does not really exist. This attitude denies the existence of a large part of the body of Christ, and leaves us all the poorer for it.

    However, any group of Christian’s ‘one-anothering’ is an expression of the body of Christ, the true church. And if there is no one around, Jesus is still sufficient for us – though gathering with others is a good thing.

    I heard via the grapevine that recently it was preached by the senior pastor of my ex church, that those who know Jesus do not, not go to church. Clearly, this would apply to me. It made me glad to have moved on.

  77. “I’m rather peeved at the constant attack on the ‘organised’ church, as if a disorganised church could do any better.”

    I like this little parable :

    A man was walking up a steep hill, watched closely by an angel and a devil. Suddenly he trips over something, picks it up and studies it closely. The devil starts laughing. “What is it?” asks the angel, “He’s found truth” says the devil. The angel dosent understand “But if hes found the truth, thats good for our side and very bad for you isnt it?” queries the angel. “Yes, but who do you think is going to help him organise it” says the devil.

  78. DB – sorry, I don’t want to name the individual, to respect the privacy of those who attend the church. However, it is unlikely you would have heard of the person, since it was not a megachurch pastor or well known speaker.

  79. DB said, “You didn’t answer any of my questions FL and it appears you didn’t even read several of my posts.”

    On the contrary, I gave a lot of time and attention to replying to you. In the first instance you asked no questions whatsoever, and only threw out insults at me, questioning my intelligence, and claiming a superior understanding, which I don’t doubt you have, but so far you have failed to reproduce.

    What questions you have asked I have given time and effort to answer.

    On the other hand you refused to answer any questions I asked you. In fact you made it clear you owed no explanation for your position whatsoever.

    DB said, “Your assertion of the saints around the throne in revelation being literal again is troubling to say the least.”

    I didn’t talk about ‘saints around the throne’, but the souls of dead martyrs under the altar. You obviously didn’t take the time to check it out. That’s not my fault. Not everything in Revelation is allegorical. These souls have been genuinely martyred, and are asking when they will be avenged by God for their blood on earth.

    DB said, “I think I’ll look elsewhere for some of the answers to my questions as you’re quite obviously not up to it or you don’t have the time to invest in doing so.”

    Again, I have been honest with you, and invested a fair amount of time to answer your questions. I am more than up to the task of discussing this with you. I don’t think you’re up to staying. I have not at any time said I’d refuse to discuss anything with you, despite your insults.

    I have said that it will take a fair amount of time to bring you up to speed with where you need to be in this discussion to understand where everyone else is, since you are approaching it from the point of view of someone who is not a believer. That was not, as I said, an insult, but a fact. I have never once refused to give time to discussing anything with you.

    You are the one who has, so far, said three times you will go away because you are so scathing of my abilities, and then, when you have returned anyway, I have been here, answering, not only your questions, but the questions of at least three other people.

    I hope you’ll find the satisfaction you seek. I can honestly tell you it is in Christ alone.

  80. Wazza, those may not have been a literal devil, angel and hill, but you do concede that there is a devil, there are angels and there are hills, so we could take you parable as useful understanding of the existence of such, could we not?

  81. Or put it another way, your parable only has substance to it, and meaning to the hearer, because we already have an understanding of the existence of the characters and location portrayed.

  82. I think a parable has to have characters and references that are well understood in the present culture. They do not necessarily have to be real things, there could conceivably be parables which use fictional characters and situations. Eg. you could have a parable with a unicorn in it, or one set in a Star Wars universe.

  83. Remember also that the parables Jesus spoke to Israel were hidden to them because God prophesied they would be. But they should be reasonable easy for us to interpret from where we are. I think Jesus largely unlocked his parables for us. Which is why I believe Huie’s interpretation of Lazarus and the rich man is flawed. He uses the imagery to point away from the parable and create an allegory, which is different again.

  84. FL I will address you again even though it is a vexation to do so.

    You did not answer my questions despite what you may think. On one hand you are telling me scripture is to be taken literal wherever possible. I then ask you about the “wages of sin is death” to which there has been no response. Your present argument is that unbelievers live forever but that they do so without God. My new oxford american dictionary says death is: “…the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism…”
    If I kill my pet dog, I know without a doubt that it’s not going to return later for it’s 5 o’clock feed. You seem to think that death in the case of “wages of sin” is not death though, in which case it’s NOT literal death is it? So you see, you’re contradicting yourself here on this point.

    You also didn’t answer my questions about the literalism of Revelation. Out of all the books in the bible, this is the least likely book that I think any sane person would label or identify as being able to take literally.

    However, you quote Revelation 6:9 (saints,,, souls, the point is moot here FL, stop the straw-man carry-on.) as being concrete evidence of your doctrine. If you apply the literal interpretation here, then please at least follow this through with the rest of the book and answer my questions about the seals, horsemen, the beast, trumpets and all the rest of it. EXPLAIN how they are to be understood literally. Should I be on the lookout for a pale green colored horse with a rider named “death” on it?

    The reason I said you hadn’t read my posts was this comment “As I said before, if you are an unbeliever, the subject before you is vast”
    Actually, if you had read the previous few entries I told RP that I had been reading/studying scripture for 15 years and had a relationship with Jesus.

    You did actually say we were “eternal beings” and then you turned around in the next breath and admitted we were created. So are we eternal (without a beginning or an end) or are we created? You don’t seem to realize your own blatant backstabbing of your doctrine it seems.

  85. Wazza I liked your example of the parables. It seems some people become so caught up in the symbols they miss the meaning of what is being said?

  86. RavingPente said:
    “God is sometimes depicted as fire. So is his love. For those who cannot bear God’s presence, being in it could be like an unbearable fire. So it might not be contradictory for the same place to be heaven for some, and hell for others.
    I am not putting this forward as theology. Just a thought. I’ve been meaning to trace the concepts of love and fire through the bible for some time, but not got around to it…”

    I’ve had thoughts on hell similar to this – the saints of God can endure the presence of God, because we have been born again. In the old testament, none could unless through the law they were covered by the methods used to have Christ’s (future) covering. When we come to know God, we are born again and are given a new nature. This new nature can endure and enjoy the presence of God. Those unregenerate (not of God), enter into God (consuming fire), they can’t escape His presence. Their very being will seem so far away from him yet they will be surrounded by agony because of their unregenerate nature. Just a thought I’ve had brewing on that…

  87. Donkey Boy,
    I’m attempting to stay on thread. You are asking a plethora of questions covering several subjects. Hone them down to the subject at hand and we will be able to talk.

    I have already answered your question on the literalism of Revelation. I have stated that there is allegorical and literal reference in Revelation, but you can’t make all of Revelation allegorical anymore than you can make it all literal. I asked you twice to interprete for us Revelation 20 where it talks about the white throne judgement and the Lake of Fire, but you still haven’t explained how this is allegorically translated. If this is not literal, then how do we apply it?

    I have answered you question on how a person lives forever. I said, “It was the human body which was made of the dust, or atoms, of the earth, but it was sill lifeless until God breathed into it. The breath of the Eternal God made the body a living soul. It is not the body which is eternal. It must be changed before it will be resurrected, but the soul is, according to scripture, still conscious at death, which is why Jesus termed death ’sleeping’. It is he soul I am referring to, not the physical body’.

    I have answered your question on Rev.6:9. In fact I presented it as ‘another’ evidence of the doctrine of souls being conscious after death, yet before resurrection, and did not, as you imply, claim it as the sole evidence of the conscious soul after death.

    You say the use of saints or souls in Rev. 6:9 is a moot point, but it isn’t at all. Yes they were the souls of saints, but the point I am giving is that they are alive, and talking, thinking, responding, feeling, which is all evidence that the soul is conscious after death, which ties is perfectly with the account of Lazarus and the rich man, where Jesus lets u know that bot, after they had died, were conscious enough to know where they were, who they were addressing, what to say, how they felt, and a host of other things which give evidence that Jesus taught that the soul is conscious after death.

    Rev. 20:4 tells us what happened to the souls which were under the altar. This isn’t an allegory. It is literal. Those souls will live and reign with Christ a thousand years.

    Further evidence is where Jesus tells the man on the other cross next to him that that day he would be with Jesus in paradise. Act 2 tells us that Jesus was promised that his soul would not remain in the grave, and neither would he see corruption, so then where was the man on the cross to be if he was to go with Jesus? How would he know paradise?

    How did Jesus, after he had died, preach to the prisoners in prison, which had to be in the grave, since the prisoners were named as spirits of once disobedient humans, if he was not conscious (1 Pet.3:19)?

    If the soul ends at death, how could Jesus call back mary’s brother Laqzarus if he was death four days? Why did Jesus say he was just sleeping, but at the same time dead if he could not call his soul back into his body, and heal his corrupting body with a mighty miracle of great power?

    How did Jesus, after he died, know the pain of separation from his Father if he was not conscious? Why would it be such a terrible thing if he knew nothing about it?

    I’m not really interested in the retorical questions you put out, since you answer them the way you want to hear it, or the nonsense ‘gotcha’ questions which attempt to discredit God. I’ll talk about issues on thread, and cover other issues as they come up in other posts, but I can’t answer every question at once.

    Now, please, explain to me Rev. 20, and how you interpret it as an allegory.

  88. FaceLift said:
    “The very ‘parable’ we are discussing sheds light on the state of the soul after death, and is very useful because it reveals doctrine from Christ himself on the conscious state of those whose physical bodies have died.”

    The bible says light cannot associate itself with darkness. We can’t say a good story can be doctrine but as aid’s for teaching. Would anyone consider the movie ‘Matrix’ to be doctrine even though ‘Redemption’s Story’ comes through? Does that make you believe that Lazarus is caught in the Matrix?

    FaceLift said:
    “There is further evidence in Revelation 6:9-11, where the fifth seal reveals the souls of martyrs killed for their faith under the altar of God in heaven. These souls speak, are conscious, but are told rest because other martyrs would join them, all would be fulfilled, and then God would avenge them…”

    But revelations is not a parable but prophecy and insight into the heavenly world- revealed through symbolism and actual events. Those souls are martyred Jews who preached the ‘Gospel of The Kingdom’ to their fellow Jews.

    FaceLift said:
    Unlike RP and some others here I consider the Church, including local churches, to be God’s means of nurturing saints. I also believe the gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher are given to the Church to mature the saints, and to train and equip term for the wrk of the ministry, so we can all walk in unity, grow and e effective in increasing God’s heritage. To this end, God gives structure to the Church, and set us in that structure to be an effective part of its development. Placing negative connotations on the Church being ‘organized’ isn’t helpful.

    Well it is still organised. I love it when the church is natural. When it is natural, ‘order’ doesn’t dominate the church or enforce things upon God’s people, but helps God’s people.

    DonkeyBoy said:
    “Wazza I liked your example of the parables. It seems some people become so caught up in the symbols they miss the meaning of what is being said?”

    I liked what you had to say as well Wazza. I agree with your comments after the parable too. But as FaceLift said:

    “Wazza, those may not have been a literal devil, angel and hill, but you do concede that there is a devil, there are angels and there are hills, so we could take you parable as useful understanding of the existence of such, could we not?”

    I can agree with this too to an extent FaceLift. But stories don’t equal to truth. THey are events exaggerated to make points on certain themes or subjects.

  89. FL –

    The way I have always read 2 Peter 3:19 is that Christ preached to “spirits in prison” in the days of Noah, not whilst in the mythical zone of “hell”
    Here is the verse you mention as being absolute proof:

    By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah.

    Doesn’t this say that Christ “went and preached” to “spirits in prison” and that these “spirits” were “sometime disobedient” and further, that this took place “when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah”. Let me stress IN THE DAYS OF NOAH for you.

    I can’t see anywhere in this verse that that Christ preached to “spirits in prison” while he was in Hades/Hell or whatever. Rather, the verse is concluded with the phrase “in the days of Noah”

    Further FL, what do you make of scriptures such as Ecclesiastes 9:5? “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten”

    You say the dead are conscious – alive, thinking and talking. And yet this scripture says the opposite of that. What gives?

    Facelift with the way you interpret scripture, I am surprised you do not think that you are right now sitting literally in heaven:

    Ephesians 2:6 “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”

    How is it up there FL? Can you send me down a miracle or 2 in these troubled financial times?

  90. You raised some good points Donkey Boy. I’m sorry that FeaceLift has been so rude to you. But it would have been nice to see you enter this discussion without mocking him. Anyways. Hope you enjoy it here on SignPosts, depending in how long you want to stay.
    I hope some of the articles here bless you.

    I agree with your view on your interpretation of that scripture Donkey Boy. I’m interested to see your views on other scriptures as well…

  91. Donkey Boy,
    Jesus couldn’t have preached to those spirits in prison in the days of Noah because it clearly tells us from 1 Peter 3 verse 18 that…

    “Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, by whom he also went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which were sometime disobedient…”

    Which absolutely gives the time as AFTER he died on the cross, and BEFORE he was resurrected, if you read on through verse 22, which says of Christ “…who is gone in to heaven, and is at the right hand of God”, and so could only have been whilst he was in the grave.
    __________________________________

    s&p said, “The bible says light cannot associate itself with darkness. We can’t say a good story can be doctrine but as aid’s for teaching. Would anyone consider the movie ‘Matrix’ to be doctrine even though ‘Redemption’s Story’ comes through? Does that make you believe that Lazarus is caught in the Matrix?’

    That is a nonsense.

    What has a movie script to do with the sayings of Christ? He said nothing he didn’t hear from the Father first. This is a warning for the then people of Israel, and in particular the Pharisees, to treat the Law of Moses with the respect it deserved, and to not be covetous, or mislead the people of Israel for their own gain.

    In this account, Jesus shed light on the state of Jewish saints or sinners after death. He may have been illustrating the result of covetousness as a subject, but within that subject he does shed light on the afterlife. That is commonly believed doctrine.

    He also placed the subject matter in a time period before the cross, and so it isn’t actually pertinent to us today, since he has fulfilled the law and brought us into the New Covenant, where the middle wall of partition between Jew and Greek is broken down, so the writer of the article is wrong when he claims it is about Israel having a vast chasm between themselves and the Gentiles. It would have meant nothing to the hearers then,and it certainly has no meaning for today, since the only way to the Father is through Christ, whether you’re a Jew or Greek!

    Jesus also spoke of tormented souls, souls cast into outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth for the separated dead. Are you denying the doctrine of Christ on this?

    It is normally only groups like JW’s or SDA who attempt to deny that the soul is no longer conscious after death. I’m surprised you are attempting to defend your position so vehemently.
    ____________________________________

    s&p said, “But revelations is not a parable but prophecy and insight into the heavenly world- revealed through symbolism and actual events. Those souls are martyred Jews who preached the ‘Gospel of The Kingdom’ to their fellow Jews.”

    Yes, you have proven my point for me absolutely. These souls were martyred, and under the altar in heaven, and they had being, they spoke, they thought, they had emotions. This should be backed up with Rev, 2:4 – let all things be established through two or three witnesses!

    I have never said Revelation was a parable. In fact it is DB and, I thought, you, who are attempting to parabalise the entire Book of Revelation. I have already stated twice that I believe there are parables, and allegory, and types and shadows throughout the Word of God, but the majority of scripture is to be understood literally.

    Unfortunately, though, you and DB seem to be approaching this as if I have said somewhere that all scripture is to be taken literally, but I haven’t. However, we should approach all scripture literally unless it is obviously and clearly allegory, a parable, a type or shadow, and the scripture itself generally gives a clue. For instance, Jesus tells us when he is speaking a parable.

    But to attempt to make out that the entire Book of Revelation is allegory is completely wrong.

    Revelation is primarily to be understood literally, but contains much allegorical teaching. But to allegorise it all is absolutely of the wall.

  92. FaceLift said:
    “Jesus also spoke of tormented souls, souls cast into outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth for the separated dead. Are you denying the doctrine of Christ on this?”

    I believe in some of his parables where the subjects are ‘burnt’, ‘cast out into outer darkness’ or thrown where there is ‘gnashing of teeth’ could be referred to the Great Tribulation or certain times in the Great Tribulation.

    FaceLift said:
    “I have never said Revelation was a parable. In fact it is DB and, I thought, you, who are attempting to parabalise the entire Book of Revelation. I have already stated twice that I believe there are parables, and allegory, and types and shadows throughout the Word of God, but the majority of scripture is to be understood literally.

    1. I would hate to think I would dare parabalize (that should be a word!), such a sacred text. The book of Revelations is one of my favourite books of the bible! I agree with what you say here.

    FaceLift said:
    Yes, you have proven my point for me absolutely. These souls were martyred, and under the altar in heaven, and they had being, they spoke, they thought, they had emotions. This should be backed up with Rev, 2:4 – let all things be established through two or three witnesses!

    No I haven’t. Prophecy or revelation REVEALS. In stories, things are exaggerated, distorted, characterized, juxtaposed, twisted,etc to make points or messages.

    As some stories or parables of Jesus are prophetic- it is still the outcome of the message or point that reveals the prophetic, not the fictional characters or objects. (And I can so see you jumping all over this statement FL for your own gain.)

    I think it’s really sad that you didn’t hear me in my last post. I’m going to try resist posting on here again because clearly, you are being stubborn and have been quite rude to me. If I have come across strong against you, I’m sorry.

    This argument wouldn’t have settled down ages ago if you accepted my acceptance of your view point. I am aware of others view points. You expressed yours. I am happy for you.

    Good night.

  93. FL I’m aware of the verse preceding verse in 2 Peter. None of it changes the fact that 2 Peter 3:19 concludes with “in the days of Noah”

    The term “spirits in prison” is what is tripping you up FL. I think Wazza made a valid point in that one can get caught up in the terminology to their own detriment.
    You see the phrase “spirits in prison” and I’m guessing you instantly imaging spiritual beings locked up in a cell somewhere deep in the pit of Hell.

    What about these scriptures though FL?

    Psalms 142:7 Bring my soul out of PRISON, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

    Was David’s soul LITERALLY in a prison cell? LITERALLY?

    Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

    Are sinners LITERALLY blind? Are sinners LITERALLY in a LITERAL prison?

    Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

    It should be obvious by now that preaching to “spirits in prison” is witnessing to “them that sit in darkness [and bringing them] out of the prison house” and “the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”

    The preaching IN THE DAYS OF NOAH was indeed to “spirits in prison” as everybody who lives a life of habitual sin and disobedience is, figuratively speaking, a spirit in a prison. Only once we submit ourselves to God can we be given sight and freed from our spiritual prison cell.

  94. Well, we don’t take one isolated scripture to assume a doctrine, it is connected to other happenings which give it substance.

    When Jesus descended into the grave, we are told he ascended, and at his ascension he led captivity captive, or a multitude of captives (Eph.48-10) as had been prophesied (Ps. 68:18). How? Who was captive. How did he release them? If he led them from the grave, who were they, and where did he take them?

    You could say the grave wasn’t ‘literally’ a prison cell, but there was no way out without Christ, was there?

    What was it that happened in Matthew 27:52-53, “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who slept arose, and came out of the graves AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

    So what is it that will rise at the resurrection of he saints? It is the body. Why is the whole earth groaning (Rom. 8:22-23)? It is waiting or the redemption of the only thing not yet redeemed- the body. It is the body that is in the dust of the earth, or in the grave, or in he sea, or scattered. It is the body which will be changed in an atomic second, into the new spiritual body fit for heaven, when the corruptible will take on the incorruptible.

    Paul says, “Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord!” he distinguishes between the body and the soul, or spirit.

    He then says, “I am willing to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). What is he talking about? His spirit goes to be with the Lord, but his body awaits the resurrection of the saints.

    Paul, again, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain, but if I live in he flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I will choose I don’t know. For I am in a strait between the two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better!”

  95. Well s&p, I don’t think I’ve been rude to you at all, but I am sorry if you think I have. I have been firm in my views, that’s all, especially in response to your attack on Pentecostals in at least two posts. As a Pentecosal I don’t mind a fair cop but accusations without foundation are fair game for comment.

    I’ve been shirty with DB, who actually threatened to kick me in the head. so I don’t apologise for being strong with him. He can dish it out, so I expect he can take it too!

    I was over the top with RP once, but I said sorry immediately and she was OK with that.

    Wazza is continually attempting to show me to be an idiot, which isn’t that difficult, but it is generally in good humour, so I don’t expect he thinks of me as being any more than a fool! I can take that!

    Lionfish actually agreed with me and went into shock!

    So all in all an interesting exercise, and I hope most of us have been challenged to check scripture. It was getting a bit tedious on Signposts02 for a while there, but at least we’ve had a stirring week!

    Did I disturb you? Good! We all need to be disturbed form time to time. I was disturbed also. And made to think out what I believe and check it against the Word. That can’t be bad!

    I was disturbed that people don’t believe what Jesus warns about the end. But there we are. None of us will really know until we get there. Hopfully everyone reading this will get their lives right before God and the worse won’t happen!

    I’ll be going away for a couple of weeks, so I’ll leave you in pieces…er…peace.

    Don’t stop posting, s&p. You’re a champion. Truly!

  96. FaceLift. You do not look good.

    I should not have even pushed on further discussing these things with you. You are not listening and are not getting what has been said. You like your own words. Please get over yourself and then listen to what other’s are saying rather then speak out of offense.
    I don’t honestly know why you rambled on like that when Donkey Boy was quite pointed with his argument toward you.

    If you’re lucky, I might have a chance to delete this before I go to bed. I might be writing this out of sleepy eyes.

  97. FL – I appreciate your tenacity for your own doctrines but I don’t see where I denied a resurrection in any of my posts.

    On the contrary – if there is a resurrection it must be FROM THE DEAD, not from a spiritual and ethereal, talking, alive state back into a physical again. You have said numerous times that people don’t really die but that they transcend the physical and become simply “souls” that are (in your own words here) “alive, thinking and talking”.

    I am guessing that you believe that souls depart to either the mythical zones of heaven or of hell? Are there goblins, orcs, unicorns, fairies and wizards in this world as well?

    You say the body is resurrected again. What of the scripture that says quite plainly “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven”??? Wouldn’t this imply that the physical body is simply a canister that once used for it’s purpose is to be disposed of?

    My issue was with the state of being dead. Your argument holds no depth for me. As far as I can tell, this is your synopsis of a person’s life:

    1. Person born in the world as a sinner.
    2. Person makes a choice to either accept Christ or deny him.
    3. Person eventually dies at which point they don’t really die but take on a spirit form.
    4. Person goes to either heaven or hell.
    5. Person is eventually resurrected back into a physical form as per your previous post.
    6. Person then does whatever a saint is supposed to do

    Can you clear this up for me? Also, do your best to answer the “wages of sin” question, the pale green horse literal interpretation, the “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven” question and lastly, I would like an overview of how Ecclesiastes 9:5 (For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing) fits into and complements the time-line I presented on your behalf above.

  98. OK I’ll do a deal, DB. You give me an answer to the four times I asked you to interpret Revelation 20 allegorically, since you claim it isn’t literal, and I’ll do what I can to answer your questions.

    By the way, what I’m giving you is fairly orthodox evangelical theology. Maybe my presentation isn’t that crash hot, but the doctrine is evangelical.

    I don’t give it to you because I am merely toeing some party line, or am brainwashed by an imagined hierarchy, but have studied this for myself and find that the theology of the last 2,000 years is pretty accurate to the Word, and therefore what I have attempted to convey here is the widely accepted Christian view, which most Pentecostals would hold to, hence my inclusion of the Nicene Creed as an example, for wazza, of what I consider orthodoxy. I am saying that s&p’s attack on Pentecostal theology of heaven and hell is an attack on basic evangelical theology.

    What I see here is a group of people who are attempting to redefine the prevailing orthodoxy, using examples from Universalist and Preterist teachings as evidence of sound doctrine, when it should be obvious that if their basic premise is flawed, then the entire concept is tainted. The flaw in their teaching is that they neglect the clear Biblical evidence of an afterlife which includes separation from God for those who deny Christ.

    This separation has been variously described by Christ himself with such strong language that it is patently obvious that he is warning people to avoid the prospect of separation form God as an option.

    So now, DB, you come up with a good explanation of what Jesus means in Rev. 20 when he tells us about the white throne judgement, and the casting of the beast and false prophet (people) into the Lake of Fire along with the devil, and the meaning of Rev 21:8 where a list of people are to be throne in with them, and the doctrine of the second death, where people whose names are not written in the Book of Life are also cast into the Lake of Fire.

    You say this is not literal. Then show me how it works allegorically, and I’ll deal with your other questions.

  99. By the way DB, you didn’t say anything about this in reference to the spirits in prison, and Jesus leading captivity captive, which was an answer I gave about a previous question of yours:

    “What was it that happened in Matthew 27:52-53, “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who slept arose, and came out of the graves AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

    Refresh your memory:

    http://signposts02.wordpress.com/2008/09/25/lazarus-and-the-rich-man/#comment-2944

  100. No deal FL. I wasn’t the one who said that where possible, scripture was to be interpreted literally.

    And you’ve contradicted yourself a dozen times over again. You say in one caps lock breath Christ was “resurrected” but then in the next breath that he wasn’t really dead at all but preaching to spirits in prison. How can someone or (anyone 4 that matter) be resurrected when they are still alive? Unless his bodily cells are totally dead, his spirit has departed back to the Father and his soul slept (NOT conscious) then he cannot be dead. If anyone of those 3 actions are not in place, then Christ was never dead. I just don’t get that FL.

    Have you ever considered the fact that perhaps 2000 years or orthodoxy has led to a twisting of the understanding of the original new testament doctrine?
    Consider that when Christ came the first time, Israel was not at the height of their power under the golden age of the Solomon rule. No, rather they were under oppression and rule from a foreign invader – Rome. Is it possible that when Christ comes again he will find the church in a similar situation? There are literally billions of Christians the world over and some 30,000 different denominations – are they all correct in their exegesis of scripture and their doctrinal positions?

  101. My view, as unilluminated as it may be, is that since Jesus spoke several times of outer darkness with wailing and gnashing of teeth, that this describes some kind of separation, outside of God’s presence, whether or not there are literal ‘flames’.

    I don’t think there are literal flames, myself, but do see the separation concept. The flames might be allegorical, and could indicate several things, depending on their context – even the consuming fire of God’s wrath, which can also be seen as an expression of His love – he destroys or removes that which takes the object of his affection (us) away from Him, or seeks to harm it. So he will cure or destroy sin, so that his creation ultimately is no longer harmed by it. In this sense, it is not even necessary to see God as a vindictive judge, but as a healer, ultimately working the ultimate good. This is a less judicial view, but does still explain the hell of separation, and the destruction of what is evil or sinful.

    I speculate that since we are finite, and God is infinite, that ‘flames’ are a way for us to understand something more complex than we could otherwise grasp.

    However, whether I like it or not, the bible does also talk of judgement. (When I think of some atrocities, I am glad about this, but on the other hand, when it comes to myself and average everyday people, it can make me nervous – fortunately I rely on Christ.) I am not sure whether our own hearts will judge us or God – need to look up a few more scriptures again, but either way, some kind of account seems to be there. Possibly people will make it through, but all their works will be destroyed, consumed, again, by fire.

    Then there is the whole question of why weren’t we all made to love him and not go our own way. But then, I guess we’d be robots. Not much freedom in that. It doesn’t involve a real relationship. There are difficult questions in there. However, I trust that God works all things for good, ultimately, and that he gives rest to the weary – including me, when I try to work all these things out.

  102. Re bodies – I thought the bible taught that we are eventually resurrected with new bodies (that aren’t subject to death), and that when we die we sleep. So we know nothing – unless maybe God in his sovereignty temporarily wakes us up for some reason.

    I’m no theologian, as you can see.

  103. Nor am I a theologian RP, I just have some pressing ??? I am trying fill in without leaving off what I already know. I can’t see the “literal where possible” mindset really fits into the bible at all. If anything, I’m more inclined to go completely the opposite way and see it all as a giant parable of sorts.

  104. No deal, DB? So you can say that everything in Revelation is allegorical and to be interpreted as such, but then you won’t or can’t explain what this absolutely crucial passage says?

    DB said, “You say in one caps lock breath Christ was “resurrected” but then in the next breath that he wasn’t really dead at all but preaching to spirits in prison. How can someone or (anyone 4 that matter) be resurrected when they are still alive?”

    I didn’t say any of this. You are twisting my words round to suit an argument. It would help if you went back and read the passage again and see the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the process. I told you, also, Jesus preached to the spirits in prison between his death and resurrection. Between his death and resurrection he led captivity captive, evidenced in Jerusalem by the sighting of saints leaving graves at his resurrection. You have failed to explain this. It is literal.

    Or are you saying that this recorded event is allegorical, or a parable? Was Christ’s death and resurrection allegorical then? Or the virgin birth? Or his miracles? Is that what you say?

    Unless you really want to consider what I am saying as a whole, and not cut and paste segments to mean something other than what I say, then, like you, I don’t know that there’s any point in going on. I’m not interested in winning an argument; more in seeing what the Word says about these things. You seem to be on a crusade to prove me wrong, or a fool, or not as intelligent as you, or something, rather than dig out truth for yourself. Well, I’m not out to engender strife by engaging in futile arguments.

    Especially if you refuse to put something up which shows you have some kind of doctrinal stance on this, and in particular Revelation 20, which would seem to any evangelical to confirm what Jesus says about eternal separation for sinners. Rather important doctrine I would have thought.

    You could run circles around me by attacking the inadequacy of my prose, inability to construct cogent sentences, or basic textual flow, I’m sure. Wazza is superb at this!

    But I’m actually interested in getting down to the truth of what Jesus is saying about this, because I think it is important. He is the One who talks in the gospels about death, separation, torment for sinners, and backs it up in his Revelation when talking about the Lake of Fire and the second death. I am compelled to believe Jesus because he is my Lord.

    It’s all there, and plain to see, but it’s clear from the way you say that you don’t understand the doctrine of Christ’s death and resurrection.

    Perhaps the analytical is interfering with the rational. It happens.

    So, no deal? Fine!

  105. Incidentally, W. E. Vines defines the Greek for death, thanatos, as ‘separation of the soul (the spiritual part) from the body (the material part), the latter ceasing to function and turning to dust’, never annihilation, ‘it never denotes non-existence’, and, when as separation from God through sin, a ‘loss of well-being, not loss of being”. That’s a clue!

  106. That’s an interesting definition from Vines.

    There’s a lot of hot air on this thread. (Maybe there are some flames around somewhere… could it be a mini hell – of our own creation – like wazza suggested earlier???)

    DB, I hope you can stay around a bit, as your views are interesting.

  107. Reading your post FL I am reminded of the scripture “the letter kills but the spirit gives life” – it would appear that you are fixated on the letter to the detriment of anything else. I put it to you that an understanding of Revelation DEMANDS that it is all allegorical and symbolic. Did not Christ “symbolize” the book to John as it says in the very first verse? A symbol by definition cannot be the actual truth itself but rather points to A particular truth.

    I liked Specks example of the Matrix movie. There is obviously not a literal Neo, Agent Smith and the like but these characters point the viewer towards an understanding of the truth. In much the same way, there is not a literal lake of fire nor a literal pale green horseman with a rider wearing a t-shirt that says “death” on it, these are all just symbols used by Christ to point us towards certain truths. The true meaning of these truths obviously requires something more on part of the reader than just a literal “masturbatory nod of the head” – it may require going deeper into the text to find what the symbols actually mean. For example:

    Revelation 17:9 “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits”

    So in that case, scripture threw you a bone. The 7 heads are actually to be understood as 7 mountains not a literal 7 heads. So the literal just got debunked in that one scripture.

    I’m wasting my time with you though. You are stubborn to the point of insanity.

  108. “And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remains”

    Were these Pharisees physically blind FL? Is that what is being said here? Were they physically deformed?

  109. FL must have taken that holiday he alluded to. No doubt he is sipping a martini and indulging his beastly nature somewhere. I hope the Matrix is screened on his hotel room’s “free to air” channel.

  110. So you can’t explain Revelation 20 then, DB?

    I have said, maybe five times now, once even before you came on this blog, some scripture is to be taken literally, some allegorically, some are written as parables, some are types and shadows, some are testimonies, some are the Words of Christ, or God or an angel, some are the words of the devil, or of people, or a number different means of communication, including illustration, story-selling and a plain description of events, historically, prophetically or poetically.

    So I don’t know why you are speaking as if I only ever, at any time consider what is being said is to be taken literally. I hope you’ve got that now, so that you don’t continue come up with countless ways of showing that I am correct to say this.
    _______________________________________________

    DB says, “Revelation DEMANDS that it is all allegorical and symbolic”.

    No it doesn’t. It is clearly allegorical in places, and prophetic, and illustrative, but it also has many literal events depicted, both from the writer’s past, his present and the future.

    Now I understand that scripture wasn;t written in chapter and verse form, but for the sake of analysis, just take a short passage, five verses, and analyse it, Mr Analyst:

    Revelation 2:12 describes a literal church group in a literal city, Pergamon, and describes the one speaking, and who he is speaking to, using partly allegorical language, but giving literal credentials; vs 13 describes the events of the writer’s present in Pergamos, and what is literally happening there; vs 14 describes a literal event from the past. verse 15 describes a literal event from the writer’s present, vs 16 gives a literal warning, vs 17 gives a promise of a reward which is both literally and allegorically described, etc..

    So, just in this short part of Revelation several different forms of description are taking place. The overall sentiment of the passages, contextually, in these first three chapters have to be taken literally as they are warnings and information addressed to the existing churches in Asia at the time, although there is some allegorical content.

    Now, if you apply this to the entire Book of Revelation, you will see that it cannot possibly be entirely allegorical.
    _________________________________________________

    Then come with me to chapter 20 and apply the same method to understanding what is being said.

    Vs 1: Is this a literal angel holding a literal key to a literal abyss? If not, what does it represent? When, and what will be the outcome?

    Vs 2:The devil clearly and literally described, even by his names, and to be literally bound for a literal period of time in a literal place. Would you agree?

    Vs 3: The literal devil literally enclosed in he bottomless pit for a defined literal period of time.

    Vs 4: Thrones of judgement (Do you not know you will judge angels) – could be literal or allegorical, but literally describe authority, judgement and power – and the souls of the martyrs, who were literally beheaded for their faith, given leave to reign with Christ 1,000 years.

    Vs 5: The literal dead not to be restored to life until the 1,000 years completed – literal.

    Vs 6: Prophecy about the state of those who are resurrected in this first resurrection, because they literally miss the second death, and will be ministers of Christ – literal.

    Vs 7: Satan to be released from confinement after 1,000 years – literal.

    Vs 8: To deceive the nations remaining on earth at the end of the millennium, and gather them for war – literal.

    Vs 9: The enemies of Christ encircle the city of God, but God sends fire from heaven (as with Elijah and the 400 prophets of Baal) – literal event in he future. – divine intervention.

    Vs 10: The devil hurled into the Lake of Fire, with the beast and false prophet. So far everything has been literal, so I’m assuming there is a literal Lake of Fire God has reserved for Satan, and this is the fire he is being thrown into – to be tormented day and night forever – Greek ‘through the ages of the ages’. Satan is an eternal being. An Angel. He cannot be annihilated. He can only be confined. Hence wicked angels being chained in outer darkness in Tartarus until the time of Satan’s final incarceration, and hence the cries of the demons that Jesus expelled from humans “it’s not yet our time”, well this is the time. The Lake of Fire is his judgement, and the final judgement of his minions. His followers will, of course, be obliged to follow him there.

    Vs 11: the great white throne. Is this a literal throne God sits on to make judgement? I say i is, but what does it matter, it signifies judgement, whatever we believe. The all powerful God is described as the One sitting on the throne. literal with poetic language, but very powerful.

    Vs 12: The dead come up before the throne of judgement – literal. There are books – literal. We must expect an account to be made of everything in some way in heaven of all we say or do. Jesus told us this would be so. God set apart certain people to make account of everything important to us. That is why we have the Word. It is a powerful truth. God records everything. Literal. And the Book of Life, which Jesus also mentioned as a key to our future, far more important than works – our names written in the Book of Life – literal truth. The only way into this Book is through faith in Christ. This is crucial truth to all Christian doctrine. It cannot be allegorised. It is literal.

    Vs 13: An interesting one, because the literal dead come out of the literal sea. Why bother if the dead of the earth are the same as the dead of the sea? yes, this is as literal as the verse before, The dead come up, and Death and Hades, the Grave, surrender the dead, nd all are tried according to their motives. Literal.

    Vs 14: Death and the Grave are thrown into the Lake of Fire. Well, there’s no more use for either death, or the grave, is there? Death and the Grave are poetically, but prophetically personalised here, which I still take to have literal connotations – Death where is your victory, Grave where is your sting? Well Jesus triumphed over Death and over the Grave. He rose again, and conquered both. Literal.

    Vs 15: And if anyone’s name is not recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into he Lake of Fire. Now tis i where people get upset, isn’t it. Everything else is literal, but this is very scary, and almost unbelievable, because God is literally throwing followers of Satan into the Lake of Fire. We’ll have to find another witness before we can take this on board, ad of course. Rev.21:8 confirms it in rather great detail. But we’ll have to conclude that this is literal, since it is backed up elsewhere.

    Revelation 21:7-8
    He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 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.

    So, now, we have to determine what the lake of Fire actually is. If it is literal we know it is a lake, therefore a vast area with height, depth, and volume, and it is fire, that is an element which consumes and burns. It is called eternal torment. It is a terrible, terrifying place. Frankly, it frightens me to think about it,and drives me to intercede fr those who do not yet know Christ, and to preach to them, and to attempt to work with the Holy Spirit to save their souls, but what else can I do. I didn’t put any of this in the Word. Jesus spoke these words to John, and called it his Revelation of things to come – literal.

    So, now, DB. I hve set it out for you. Can you show where this is not literal, and what the allegorical meaning is for me if I am wrong? It’s all set out.

    I have to go away for a while tomorrow, so I’ll pick it up later if you do come up with something.

  111. No I disagree completely with your bizarre version of events. C’mon FL, do you honestly believe an angel needs a key to get in somewhere? Are you really that infantile? Obviously you are!!!

    And you’re convinced the “sea gives up her dead” is referencing the ocean giving up dead people? Comparatively few people my good man would be dead in the ocean. It would be a very small percentile of the population over all time who lost their lives at sea. And you honestly think God has a book he writes names in? Just so won’t forget right? *sigh*

    Lake of fire literal? Why? Why would it not be called a sea of fire instead seeing that there will be literally billions of people in it. Why a lake? And yet, this all takes place in God’s presence:

    Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb

    So the lake is in the presence of God. And why is this? For the simple fact that God himself is a consuming fire. See Hebrews 12:29

    The only people who can stand that fire are those who have been purified. Those who have not will find this presence “tormenting” but they will eventually learn to deal with these “burnings” as they become conformed to that fire themselves.

    Isaiah 33:13-15 Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil.

  112. So you are a Universalist. Interesting.

    Why would the angel require a key? Well Satan is an angel also, is he not, and he’ll be the one in there with the rest of his fallen angelic hosts – a third of all the angelic beings, n’est pas? Infantile logic, yes, but you missed it.

    Of course the sea will give up its dead, because there are dead in the sea, or do you refute this also? Why would it matter if there were two dead in the sea. I’t so many thousands more though, for certain. I find it a nice little detail, as unimportant, almost, as you claim, but, in reality, important enough to be evidence of the passage being literal, which was the point I made.

    DB says, “The only people who can stand that fire are those who have been purified. Those who have not will find this presence “tormenting” but they will eventually learn to deal with these “burnings” as they become conformed to that fire themselves.”

    Does that include the devil and his minions? Will he really be in the presence of God forever? I thought he was cast out from the presence of God. Yes, there it is in Revelation 12.

    No, you can’t possibly be right there.

    It is a Lake, and it is of Fire – perhaps not a literal fire as in material fire, but as RP says, some kind of fire which will have an effect on people. Satan would never be affected by the kind of fire which we see on earth. He is an angel.

    That is a good study for another time, but your theory about the presence of God being the Lake of Fire won’t hold up, especially if you claim everyone thrown into it will then be able o learn how not to be impure, because the devil will never repent, nor will his angels, and they are primary reason for the Lake of Fire.

  113. here’s a script that might illustrate the foolishness of F-lift’s literalism.

    born again believer: Hi, I’m here to get into heaven
    God: who are you exactly – do I know you? You look familiar but I’ve seen a lot of people today…
    born again believer: yeah, I’m pretty sure you do know me, I said my sinners prayer and all that. Paid my tithes and have done church. You should know me, at least I hope you do???
    God: where’s that bloody book I wrote all those names in? The book of life – anyone seen it?
    Saint Peter: Um… it was here the other day. Oh, actually, here’s that key you were missing
    God: which key was that?
    Saint Peter: The key to the abyss – The one you’re supposed give the angel – remember?
    God: oh yeah, that one. Well don’t lose that again will you? Where is the bloody book though? We can’t keep this guy waiting all day. What was your name mate?
    born again believer: Facelift sir!
    God: sorry Facelift, someone’s taken off with the damn book. Stand to the side will you? Good lad we’ll sort you out as soon as we can.

  114. Ex-catholic Universalist.

    Well, it was interesting riding along with you, Donkey Boy.

    And thanks for the few pearls you threw my way anyway. I’m not sure how many are genuine, but at least you took the time to throw a few down. I almost believed you were interested in talking. That infantile naivety strikes again!

    Dear God, I hope my name is in the Book though!

    Really!

  115. Hmmm – I’m glad DB has explained more fully his thoughts re the fire being the presence of God. I certainly don’t exclude that possibility, and that is one of the reasons for my long planned study re God, fire and love, which I have not yet done. (Too busy so far, and the topic is massive.)

    Here is a link to an essay which was originally presented at a Youth Event of the Eastern Orthodox Church, back in 1980. This apparently had a huge impact. It is , “A reply to the questions: (1) Is God really good? (2) Did God create hell?” I find it reconciles some issues in the more judicial western teachings which sometimes cause people not to even consider the claims of the Christian faith.

    http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm

    It is long, but well worth a read. And then, I decided, well worth doing some follow up study… eventually.

    Before dismissing this teaching as something from a church with rituals, incense and idols, its important to understand that apparently in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, worship of God is conducted using all the senses, including sight, hearing and smell. They do not regard their images as idols in the way that the Catholic church appears to. There is no reason to dismiss their theology on that basis.

    It is also interesting as this is a very ancient teaching, and seems to be an understanding that predates the evangelical one, and it was not influenced by the Catholic churches dominance in church history.

  116. Jesus, explaining the parable of the tares, so, not the parable, but the interpretation of the parable (Green’s Literal Translation):

    Matthew 13:36
    Then sending away the crowds, Jesus came into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the darnel of the field.”

    And answering, He said to them, “The one sowing the good seed is the Son of man. And the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; but the darnel are the sons of the evil one. And the enemy who sowed them is the Devil, and the harvest is the end of the age, and the angels are the reapers.

    Then as the darnel is gathered and is consumed in the fire, so it will be in the end of this age. The Son of man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all the offenses, and those who practice lawlessness. And they will throw them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. Then the righteous will shine out like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one having ears to hear, let him hear.”

    So here is a clear, literal explanation from Jesus of what he is saying about the end of time, which connects perfectly with Revelation 20.

  117. Further to this, Jesus again in the same chapter, this time a parable and the explanation in one:

    Matthew 13:47-50
    “Again, the kingdom of Heaven is compared to a drag net thrown into the sea, and gathering together of every kind; which, when it was filled, drawing it up on the shore, and sitting down, they gathered the good into containers, and they threw out the rotten.

    So it will be in the end of the age: the angels will go out and will separate the wicked from the midst of the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth.”

    Jesus said to them, Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

    Has anyone else understood these things?

  118. A small snippet from the above mentioned essay, concerning their teaching on judgement:

    “But alas, there is no longer any possibility of escaping God’s light. During this life there was. In the New Creation of the Resurrection, God will be everywhere and in everything. His light and love will embrace all. There will be no place hidden from God, as was the case during our corrupt life in the kingdom of the prince of this world. 41 The devil’s kingdom will be despoiled by the Common Resurrection and God will take possession again of His creation. 42 Love will enrobe everything with its sacred Fire which will flow like a river from the throne of God and will irrigate paradise. But this same river of Love — for those who have hate in their hearts — will suffocate and burn.

    “For our God is a consuming fire”, (Heb. 12:29). The very fire which purifies gold, also consumes wood. Precious metals shine in it like the sun, rubbish burns with black smoke. All are in the same fire of Love. Some shine and others become black and dark. In the same furnace steel shines like the sun, whereas clay turns dark and is hardened like stone. The difference is in man, not in God.

    The difference is conditioned by the free choice of man, which God respects absolutely. God’s judgment is the revelation of the reality which is in man. ”

    The reference again: http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm

    Of course, the entire essay puts it more clearly than just an extract.

    From this essay, there seems to be a stance where paradise and hell are the same thing – the River of Fire – God’s consuming love. Which it is, depends upon our hearts. As such, both paradise and hell are eternal.

    There was mention of separation from God in the essay, but I could not yet reconcile that with all people being in God’s presence at judgement time (though each person experiencing it according to their heart condition). Unless perhaps some are put out of his presence as a mercy. Anyway, it did mention separation from God; I have not yet been able to reconcile this completely with the later pieces.

    There is interesting discussion of the Greek influence on Christian thought, which seems to line up with what Jim Thwaites teaches re the Platonic worldview overriding the original Hebrew one relevant at the time of the NT.

    There was also a quote, which DB might like:
    ‘As Saint Isaac the Syrian writes, “Very often many things are said by the Holy Scriptures and in it many names are used not in a literal sense… those who have a mind understand this” (Homily 83, p. 317).’

  119. What I am trying to show, is that there may be a sense in which DB and FL are both right – hell literally existing, eternally, yet the fire being that of God’s love – and not a great place to be if you have not opened your heart to Jesus, or have already rejected him. This view reconciles the concept of God being love with those who reject God experiencing great suffering – yet not due to God’s vindictiveness, but by virtue of their nature when in God’s presence.

    I am really not putting this very well at all. If anyone is interested, the essay puts it much better. There is also an interesting reference linking the ‘river of fire’ to the Garden of Eden.

  120. Clarification: “…what Jim Thwaites teaches re the Platonic worldview overriding the original Hebrew one…” – JT identifies the Platonic worldview and cosmology, and suggests that the Hebrew one is far more relevant and helpful in understanding scripture.

  121. I see exactly what you’re saying, RP, and read that also, and did give some consideration to this as an alternative to DB’s understanding, and it may have some merit, but it doesn’t, as I pointed out earlier, allow for the presence of the devil and his angels in the Lake of Fire.

    Are they to be purified also as a result of a certain time spent in this place? It seems not. Where is the outer darkness in all of this?

  122. RP says – What I am trying to show, is that there may be a sense in which DB and FL are both right – hell literally existing, eternally, yet the fire being that of God’s love – and not a great place to be if you have not opened your heart to Jesus, or have already rejected him. This view reconciles the concept of God being love with those who reject God experiencing great suffering – yet not due to God’s vindictiveness, but by virtue of their nature when in God’s presence.

    Wow RP, finally some sense on this forum!!! I couldn’t agree more with that post of yours – well said.

    FL – the devil is a created being. Perfect for the purpose that he was intended and created for. Remember the serpent was in the garden along with the tree of good/evil to which God declared the whole thing “very good” There is no biblical account of the so-called “pre-creation rebellion” that was led by the latin named “Lucifer”.

  123. Google “the lucifer hoax” for some more info. Leave your preconceptions at the door Mr Anderson and embrace reality for a change.

  124. Well the word ‘Lucifer’ was erroneously added, just as the abomination word ‘Easter’ was added in Acts12:4, where the true word is pasche, or Passover. But in Isaiah 14:12 the Hebrew word heylal is authentic, and means ‘lightbringer, or ‘the morning star’, or ‘bright morning star’. Regardless, Revelation is clear about who the adversary is, as is Jesus.

    Interestingly, ‘heylal’ comes from the root word ‘halal’.

    halal – a primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify:–(make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool(- ish, -ly), glory, give (light), be (make, feign self) mad (against), give in marriage, (sing, be worthy of) praise, rage, renowned, shine.

  125. Revelation 12:7-9
    And war occurred in Heaven, Michael and his angels making war against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels made war, but they did not have strength, nor yet was place found for them in Heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, the old serpent being called Devil, and, Satan; he deceiving the whole habitable world was cast out onto the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    The old devil made his move, and was cast out! Woe to the earth! The devil, and his angels! Leader of angels. Fallen angel. Beaten and ejected.

  126. Pingback: The Complete Revelation Allegory Theory « Signposts 02

  127. DonkeyBoy:
    “And you’re convinced the “sea gives up her dead” is referencing the ocean giving up dead people?”

    Movie Premiere! Titanic 2!
    BURRRP!
    “Jack? You’re BACK!”

  128. Ah, I return after a few days very hard work to your nonsensical handling of scripture Facelift.

    Yes you are an ASS; ‘an obstinate and stupid person parading as knowledgeable’, in the Shakespearean sense. Beware I never meet you in public ‘brother’ lest you invite a punchup!

    Youre so pigheaded, arrogant and stupid I simply cant believe your idiotic utterances on this site; you are a pollution to the sweet purity of Christian doctrine.

    Donkeyboy looks like a genius standing next to you (my compliments, DB), so please dont try and hang any self-esteem upon your very poor scripture-work; and NO; CCC doesnt echo your teaching style or substance anywhere Ive been within the movement in Sydney, however I dislike her faults.

    YES, even simple websearches reveal MASSES of Biblical data, very simple to identify the duplications and ‘dross’ , contextualise and harmonize with the rest of scripture. You blinking nong; so you venerate the holy name of VINES do you?- this was the pharisaic textbook of my old bible school; about as clear as mud-and about as clear as your own pharisaic mind!

    Shall I therefore present you the more highy as one of the ‘more shameful parts’ of the Church?

    -Alas, I find you an extremely difficult person to love brother, but I shall succeed at this, Christ-willing!

    Oh, and I have ‘favourite scriptures’ do I?- You shameful man: Really, what kind of stinking Gospel do you preach?-sounds like rotten news to me!- Im astounded you ‘wash daily’ in the Word, and it still leaves you stinking!

    alas, lest I sin, I offer this below:

    2 Timothy 2:24-26
    “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

    To which points I would add:

    .”1Tim1:5-But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

    [For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,]

    So then brother, try and bear a fruit…., and I mean this kindly.

    Z.

  129. PS -Facelift, You are truly at present, an IDIOT in the greek sense- “..ie not entitled to vote”

    So, I am a ‘Liberal’, am I?-you blinking nong; I am extremely stringent in obedience to God through Jesus Christ; for the cause of the FREEDOM he teaches and offers, in every sense and spectrum of the word; not to sin, but to excel:

    Hah- your mind cant even grasp that “Freedom is Liberal!’—’Woe to you, Pharisee!!!”….

    Man, you stink, you pong terribly,——but we love you!-

    [he said, ushering the rich man with the gold ring off his seat, and offering it to Facelift, garbed in the filthy rags of his own righteousness]

    Z.

  130. Hey there DonkeyBoy,

    Ive been painstakingly re-reading this entire thread and really sincerely admire & applaud your honest questioning of the material above; I offer a simple NO ; its NOT mostly literal, and yet its also NOT particularly contradictory and hard to understand; Im deeply embarassed at Facelifts conspicuous lack of knowledge about this material; -funny how he throws around words like ‘Orthodoxy’ to try and claim ground he barely understands, for the pathetic purpose of ‘debate’-man, what a dumb way of doing Christianity!

    We should dialogue DB;

    –”Hey HERETIC, wake up mate!-Where ARE YOUU ?

    …[ youd think I was summoning Merlin the Magician or Elijah, wouldnt you?--I feel you two are kindred thinkers, and you are MOST welcome here my friend--and my dear Wazza, RP & SP, how can I grasp the hem of your garments for your gentle forebearance with the toxic and intolerable Facelift?...''

    Anyhow Facelift you idiot, how can you ignore the '5-brothers'--as if the number were of no consequence?-Yet you yourself venerate the 'Word of God" [need I remind you that not one jot or tittle is to be discounted?--let me spell it out; there is NOTHING superfluous in scripture!!]—This single point is the clincher that condemns Judah in the parable.

    Please, brother DB, keep asking the questions and allow us again to offer some thought & discussion where the offensive Facelift so glaringly stumbles,

    And Facelift, I too speak from a strictly ‘Orthodox’ viewpoint.

    Z.

  131. So DB, Just for fun, lets have a little look through Facelifts ‘Knowledge’: ahem,

    “Then come with me to chapter 20 and apply the same method to understanding what is being said….

    Rev20:1: Is this a literal angel holding a literal key to a literal abyss? If not, what does it represent? When, and what will be the outcome?

    [Of course not!-so St Peter was given a literal set of 'keys' the the Kingdom, by comparison?
    and yet it IS a key- the spiritual power to open & seal, just LIKE Peter!]

    Vs 2:The devil clearly and literally described, even by his names, and to be literally bound for a literal period of time in a literal place. Would you agree?

    [Devil, YES-, 1000 literal years -almost certainly , NO!-
    So, Mr know-it-all; are you Amillennialist/Premillennialist or Postmillennialist (orthodoxly speaking?)-the key to this is in Hebrew numerology--most likely 'a long time', as the hebrews were almost always approximate with large numbers; however the 10 digit is the giveaway- it is like 10 fingers-'the whole thing']

    Vs 3: The literal devil literally enclosed in he bottomless pit for a defined literal period of time.

    [because of the Hebrew numerology above, almost certainly not literal, yet the event is TRUE]

    Vs 4: Thrones of judgement (Do you not know you will judge angels) – could be literal or allegorical, but literally describe authority, judgement and power – and the souls of the martyrs, who were literally beheaded for their faith, given leave to reign with Christ 1,000 years.

    [Ah, Facelift you rude nong!-why did you lack the kindness to render v4 fairly?.... OK, who sits on THRONES?- princes-Who ARE the princes?--"the Sons of God" of course!--so TWO groups are mentioned: those who judge/those martyred-by the BEAST clearly Caesar of the period- Nero or Domitian--Christians were required to worship idols of these guys or were executed--how long?-again, a LONG time according to the above; NON-literal]

    Vs 5: The literal dead not to be restored to life until the 1,000 years completed – literal.
    [Nope, non-literal, yet, I agree with the event-order; AFTER the first resurrection]

    Vs 6: Prophecy about the state of those who are resurrected in this first resurrection, because they literally miss the second death, and will be ministers of Christ – literal.

    [Again, almost certainly not literal!-yet they will be Happy & holy 'Priests' of GOD & Christ (guess who?--.."and you shall be a nation of Holy priests"...This is Abrahamic, describing all the children of faith!) ]

    Vs 7: Satan to be released from confinement after 1,000 years – literal.

    [the timing, non-literal, but the event Literal]

    Vs 8: To deceive the nations remaining on earth at the end of the millennium, and gather them for war – literal.
    [So WHERE did you propose this 'camp of Gods people' to be brother?; literal Jerusalem perhaps?- oh really?--oh you mean like the account in Ez38-39?- did that event historically happen?-hmm?---So then almost certainly NON-LITERAL]

    Vs 9: The enemies of Christ encircle the city of God, but God sends fire from heaven (as with Elijah and the 400 prophets of Baal) – literal event in he future. – divine intervention.

    [Oh really?- they 'marched across the breadth o the earth eh?- how wide is that friend?--Your Elijah illustration thus appears to be figurative here, though spiritually TRUE]

    Vs 10: The devil hurled into the Lake of Fire, with the beast and false prophet.

    So far everything has been literal, [ABSOLUTELY NOT]

    so I’m assuming there is a literal Lake of Fire God has reserved for Satan, and this is the fire he is being thrown into – to be tormented day and night forever – Greek ‘through the ages of the ages’. Satan is an eternal being. An Angel. He cannot be annihilated. He can only be confined.

    [interesting assumption Facelift-who taught you that?]

    Hence wicked angels being chained in outer darkness in Tartarus until the time of Satan’s final incarceration, and hence the cries of the demons that Jesus expelled from humans “it’s not yet our time”, well this is the time. The Lake of Fire is his judgement, and the final judgement of his minions. His followers will, of course, be obliged to follow him there.

    [However I agree with the Eternal Torment; Orthodoxly!-You are RIGHT above]

    Vs 11: the great white throne. Is this a literal throne God sits on to make judgement? I say i is, but what does it matter, it signifies judgement, whatever we believe. The all powerful God is described as the One sitting on the throne. literal with poetic language, but very powerful.

    [THEN I SAW--Heres where most scholars miss a vital clue: the Revelation is exactly that; a REVELATION of Jesus Christ!-it consists of a series of VISIONS, non-sequential yet parallel; as in the parallel-visions of Daniel & Ezekiel=actually a standard hebraic way of looking at a single, complex thing, as the Parables mostly are.
    This is not chronologically linear!- and WHO was seated there Facelift?--what does it say??
    "Earth & Sky fled", why?--perhaps because HE fills up the whole creation presently, as it says in Colossians;-However, I accept that a REAL judgement takes place; but the books are NON-LITERAL, hence your funny observation DB!]

    Vs 12: The dead come up before the throne of judgement – literal.
    [True!]

    There are books – literal.

    [UNTRUE-though the image indicates a RECORD]

    We must expect an account to be made of everything in some way in heaven of all we say or do. Jesus told us this would be so. [TRUE-pretty simple]

    God set apart certain people to make account of everything important to us.
    [What are you talking about Facelift?-UNTRUE-where did you read this?-'certain people, eh?']

    That is why we have the Word. It is a powerful truth. God records everything. Literal.
    [POPPYCOCK]

    And the Book of Life, which Jesus also mentioned as a key to our future, far more important than works – our names written in the Book of Life – literal truth. The only way into this Book is through faith in Christ. This is crucial truth to all Christian doctrine. It cannot be allegorised. It is literal.
    [YOU ARE TALKING LONG_WINDED NONSENSE FACELIFT--what does it say?]

    Vs 13: An interesting one, because the literal dead come out of the literal sea. Why bother if the dead of the earth are the same as the dead of the sea? yes, this is as literal as the verse before, The dead come up, and Death and Hades, the Grave, surrender the dead, nd all are tried according to their motives. Literal.

    [At last I agree-Interesting-probably to dispel any superstitious doubt in the ancients that the dead 'wherever they were' would rise']

    Vs 14: Death and the Grave are thrown into the Lake of Fire. Well, there’s no more use for either death, or the grave, is there? Death and the Grave are poetically, but prophetically personalised here, which I still take to have literal connotations – Death where is your victory, Grave where is your sting? Well Jesus triumphed over Death and over the Grave. He rose again, and conquered both. Literal.

    [So Mr know-it-all; how can it be Literal & Non-literal at the same time?---More likely, these REAL things or states of being will be ended]

    Vs 15: And if anyone’s name is not recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into he Lake of Fire. Now tis i where people get upset, isn’t it. Everything else is literal, but this is very scary, and almost unbelievable, because God is literally throwing followers of Satan

    ['followers of Satan?'-Did you read this in the text brother?]

    into the Lake of Fire. We’ll have to find another witness before we can take this on board, ad of course. Rev.21:8 confirms it in rather great detail. But we’ll have to conclude that this is literal, since it is backed up elsewhere.

    [This is LITERALLY TRUE- but more to be understood clearly as a CLEAR DESCRIPTION of various Ungodly activity--all perfectly Orthodox.]

    “-So, Facelift, if this is your ‘favourite book’, why dont you understand it better?…”

    Heres a simple principle that may help DB: “Why should there be obedience if there is no Judgement?”-

    I coined this myself after reading about how Paul preached to Felix Acts24: “25As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid…”

    A number of us out here have been studying Hebraic Cosmology; basically that the ‘Heavens & Earth & space below..’ are JOINED, not separated physically; the other night, I noticed a young man on Today/Tonight describing his near-death experience;—he found himself in a dark place- feeling intense fear and ominous evil,…then felt himself lifted up, and looking up, saw, then experienced incredible Light and ecstatic peace ABOVE him”…

    -If this is anything real, I put it on the plate for you.

    Please try and do better work Facelift. Remember you Ass, this work is not about
    ‘point-scoring’ but gently rendering Truth and really working on it. Be a man and grow a backbone; ie try and think and perceive for yourself.

    Kindest blessings to All & sundry:

    Z.

  132. Z,
    So the key is a key, whether is is ‘spiritually’ utilised or not. It opens and shuts. It locks and unlocks, therefore it is a key. Who cares how it works, as long as it is a key. It is not something else. It isn’t allegorically translated as another object other than a key. It is a way of permitting or prohibiting. Just like the keys Christ gave his Church, and not just Peter. Literal.

    1000 years is understood by most people to be literal, because it is a defined number in this passage. How would you translate it allegorically? God says a day with him is as a 1000 years to us, but that would remain the same for us, even if it is one of God’s days. Literal.

    In your earlier contribution, why would five brothers have to mean anything other than five brothers? I didn’t dismiss the fact of five brothers at any time. I merely said it doesn’t have to mean allegorical brothers. If you use it the way it was used in the piece, it wold have to make six members of Leah’s clan, not five, wouldn’t it, since the dead brother is also a brother! Go figure!

    The worse thing I ever called you was liberal. If that is to true, I apologise unreservedly. You came across that way to me, but I’ve been known to be wrong. Sorry.

    I’m amazed you flattered my unintelligent attempt at put together some thing about Rev. 20, which was a 15 minute exercise designed to draw some comment out of DB about how to translate it if t is truly allegorical, which he declined to do, but responding with a such a lengthy piece!

    And I’m interested to see that you have some passion behind that venire of niceness! On yah, Z!

    Like you, I say that in love of course!

  133. Z,
    ‘Ah, Facelift you rude nong!-why did you lack the kindness to render v4 fairly?’

    Well I did. What was rude? I quoted from Corinthians where we’re told we will judge angels. I gave a clue about thrones and judgement.

    I was rather hoping DB would respond in much the same way you did for him, but it wasn’t to be. At least you gave an idea of what you do think for once, instead of calling me names and questioning my ability to think.

    I was trying to get you to say something doctrinal also when I suggested you were liberal. At least now you’re not throwing bundies from the sidelines.

  134. Yes you Facelift are a clod with a Bible, quite literally!

    Oh really, am I “a ‘venire’ of niceness?”–and lacking passion otherwise?

    And No, ‘Most’ people do NOT render ‘Revelation literally’; really, how stupid your assumptions are; your confident assertion that ‘Most people’ believe this or that is tantamount to lying brother, and your foolishness is quite publically seen here.

    This afternoon I did a little casual reading from Jim McGuiggan , a really Conservative Northern Irish scholar-the textbook was over 20 years old; I rechecked my own ‘simple’ render of your arrogantly-presented texts from Rev20, and hey presto-a very close correlation; and all very ‘orthodox’, you Biblical buffoon!

    Donkeyboy et. al,

    Heres an very interesting take on the ’1000 years’ -

    McGuiggan for instance, points out again the symbolism of ’1000 years’; for example, we say that “God owns the cattle on a 1000 hills”; similarly the number means ‘a huge number’, and its not to be taken literally. However, he believes that in context this expression from Revelation is not ABOUT TIME, but about COMPLETE VICTORY over Satan; after feeling briefly stunned, this began to make perfect sense, in context.

    The ’100×10′ symbolism again is the giveaway.

    Remember that the immediacy of the letter give it its First Century context; it was about the downfall of ROME principally , and the victory of the Christians in general; whatever was to come.

    [The arguments of the 'literalist-Millennialists' really get themselves quickly into trouble with chronology--even an eminent Hebraic-Cosmology scholar I was talking with recently perhaps made the mistake of believing the 'half hour' in Revelation was an equivalent spatial-time as our own time.eg.-this is a problem when we come across expressions such as "times, time and half a time"--]

    Very conservatively, and with the ‘simple folk’ reading of the First Century Christians in mind, I feel this work is very close;

    Please DB, do re-iterate your questions and lets all look at the material carefully, Im really keen to help.

    Z.

  135. Sepelin said to FaceLift:
    “So then brother, try and bear a fruit…., and I mean this kindly.”

    May I suggest… Apples?

  136. It’s good to here your view on revelations Zepp. You might want to move this ‘Rev’ argument over to the new thread RP started up about taking Revelations ‘allegorically’. And while I do get frustrated with FaceLift too, I have to say that name-calling doesn’t anything. I think the worst thing I have called FaceLift is pinyata. If I have called you anything else FaceLift I am sorry.

    If any more names are thrown, on FaceLifts behalf, I will remove them. Please remember everyone that behind each comment is someone who you think you know but don’t. They could be your best friend you’re name-calling. Because we are not looking at people but rather opinions and words, it’s harder to imagine the person on the other end is human. Please consider this in the future before posting angry comments. I’m bad too, so I am saying this to myself as well.

    I’m doing reading and research FaceLift into all that’s been said. I’ve talked to various pastors on this parable and their understanding of sheol, some pentecostal and others from various denominations. I’m also reading many articles on sheol, abraham’s bosom, hades, hell, etc.

    You’re words are valuable to me no matter how much they sting. I understand the position you speak from and find it plausible on many fronts.

  137. Good words Specksnplanks,

    I know you brother and you have my respect, so will desist from any further pithy appelations or descriptors applied to Facelift, a fellow human intricately made in the very image of God,
    (however these words may have suited in the Golden age of the English language.)

    However, I reserve the right to apply descriptive words to the biblical arguments themselves; especially if I see the apparent intent to insult, hurt or intimidate people who appear to have come to visit and are honestly asking balanced questions; if this cap fits, wear it; otherwise I will bear with patience.

    -An arrogant tone does not suit the Christian faith in my view, and let me put it plainly, this is how you come across Facelift, which does not speak well for the Lord, whom you represent.

    This is not a game for me, however flippiant I may appear at times; for like most of you, I have seen far too many people hurt or their faith destroyed by very poor Bible-work and its application; resulting in ‘Abuse by the Institution of Church’, the very premise of this site.

    Words like ‘debate’ and ‘argument’ do not sit well with me with regard to scripture and its application, especially if applied confrontationally rather than persuasively , kindly and in harmony, as if we were thinking together. Hence the work on Revelation as above should be treated alot more circumspectly, with respect to people who simply dont know it.

    Alas, its all too easy to create nonsensical smokescreens with scripture; the immense confusion over the Bible is apparent all over this blog, but this is still a great place to work things through, especially if we stick to the point.

    I remain very curious that many of you out there appear to maintain ‘static positions’, and dont appear to want to meet personally, however often guys like SP & I have extended either serious or warm invitation; so then, let it be; -however, if any guys out there ever want actual friends to discuss these matters, even face-to face in the Sydney region, then contact SP and get my number, and I’ll find you & get down to work.

    I repent of my blazing anger Facelift; I’m sorry, and I bless you with kindest blessings and leave you in peace in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    So much for ‘Lazarus & the Rich Man’-

    ‘O passer-by, I wonder that you’ll make a head or tail of it;
    If by Christs Word doing you stand on Rock,
    then beware the shifting sand,
    for above I see little sense
    If not in love,

    your bitter sting betrays a heart corrupt
    And you an Enemys slave
    So no drop of water ever salve
    the warm embrace you crave.

    Thence allow me peace and wise counsel friend,
    Your wars too easy, the value naught
    and I doubt
    my anger will bring just fight
    for the righteous Lord.

    Z

  138. Well 1000 years may or may not be a precise time, but we know it refers to a long span of time, in human terms anyway. In fact reputable commentaries are split on this, some saying it has a numerical value of perfection, but almost all agree that it could refer to a literal time span, especially, as Gill points out, when compared to Rev. 20:3 & 7, which call it ‘the’ thousand years, or ‘this’ thousand years, which places rather more emphasis on it being a specified time.

    Again, if it is a time span during which Satan will be locked up we can take it there is a long time of relative peace on earth, and that it is literal.

  139. Just a small correction –

    The thread about taking Revelation allegorically was not started by me, but by ‘signpostsfree’. (As we all know, this is Facelift’s alter ego, freely stated by him, so he is not hiding anything.)

    I now sign my posts RavingPente at the bottom, to avoid confusion given the multiple authorships we have here.

    One day, I hope I’ll have time to do a few more of them.

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