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.
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.
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)