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                        "THE PARABLES OF JESUS"

                 The Rich Man And Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31)


1. We come now to a familiar story told by Jesus:  "The Rich Man And
   a. Commonly referred to as parable, though I have my doubts
      1) It is the only one in which names of actual individuals are
      2) One was certainly a real-life person, Abraham
   b. Some try to avoid its teaching concerning life after death by
      saying it is only a parable
      1) E.g., "Jehovah's Witnesses"
      2) Who do not believe in life after death for the wicked
   c. But even if this story is a parable, parables told by Jesus were
      1) Not fantasy stories
      2) But illustrations based upon events that were actually 
   -- So not only is there the ultimate point to be gleaned, but there
      is much we can learn about life after death from this "parable"!

2. There are similarities with this story and "The Unjust Steward"...
   a. Both start out by saying "There was a certain rich man..."
   b. The previous parable stressed the proper use of wealth; this
      story illustrates one who did not "make friends...by unrighteous
   c. Both call us to repent before it is too late

[Let's begin our study by considering...]


      1. A certain rich man - Lk 16:19
         a. Clothed in purple and fine linen
         b. Fared sumptuously every day
      2. A certain beggar named Lazarus - Lk 16:20-21
         a. Full of sores
         b. Laid at the rich man's gate, hoping to be fed crumbs from
            the rich man's table
         c. Dogs came and licked his sores (adding to his misery, or
            providing what little comfort he enjoyed?)

      1. They both die - Lk 16:22
         a. Lazarus is carried away by angels to Abraham's bosom (what
         b. The rich man was buried (what an understatement by way of
      2. The rich man in torment - Lk 16:23-26
         a. He is in "Hades", but sees Abraham afar off and Lazarus in
            his bosom
            1) The origin of the word "Hades" is uncertain...
               a) Either from IDEIN (seen) with a negative prefix A-,
                  meaning "the unseen, invisible"
               b) Or from AIANES, meaning "gloomy, gruesome"
            2) In Classical Greek...
               a) Homer used the word as a proper name for the "god of
                  the underworld"
               b) In other literature, it stood for "the underworld" as
                  the abode of all the dead
                  1/ Which was divided into two parts (similar to Luke
                  2/ These two parts were:
                     a/ The "Elysian fields", the abode of the good
                     b/ "Tartarus", the place of punishment for the
            3) In the NT, "Hades" is found only eleven times...
               a) Ten times it is translated "hell" or "hades" (Mt 11:
                  23; 16:18; Lk 10:15; 16:23; Ac 2:27, 31; Rev 1:18; 
                  6:8; 20:13,14), and once it is the "grave" (1 Co 
               b) Some believe that "Hades" is the realm of ALL the 
                  dead (similar to the concept of the Greeks), and made
                  up of two separate parts...
                  1/ With Paradise (at least prior to the Ascension of
                     Christ) for the righteous
                  2/ And Tartarus for the wicked - cf. 2 Pe 2:4,9
               c) Others believe the term "Hades" refers only to the
                  place of the WICKED
                  1/ That it is not clear in Lk 16:22-23 whether Hades
                     was just the abode of the rich man, or also that 
                     of Lazarus and Abraham
                  2/ And in Ac 2:26-27,31 we may have a case of 
                     synonymous parallelism, with only the resurrected
                     body of Christ in view ("soul" being used to refer
                     to the body, and "Hades" is referring to the 
                     grave, as "Sheol" in the Hebrew sometimes does)
               d) In any case, "Hades" is used at least on several 
                  occasions in the New Testament...
                  1/ As the place of the wicked - Lk 16:23
                  2/ As a place where the wicked are in torment - Lk 
                  3/ As a temporary place, to be thrown into "the lake
                     of fire" after the Judgment - Re 20:13-14
         b. The rich man pleads with Abraham for relief - Lk 16:24-26
            1) That he might send Lazarus to dip his finger in water 
               and cool his tongue
            2) But Abraham reminds him how conditions have now been
            3) Besides, there is a gulf that prevents one from going to
               one place to the other
      3. The rich man pleads with Abraham for his five brothers - Lk
         a. That Abraham might send Lazarus to warn them of this place
         b. Abraham says they have Moses and the prophets (i.e., the
            word of God)
         c. The rich man fears that will be inadequate to convince them
            to repent
         d. Abraham says that if they won't listen to Moses and the 
            prophets, neither would they be persuaded though one rise
            from the dead

[While the condition of the dead is described here in very literal, 
earthy terms, the story of "The Rich Man And Lazarus" does reveal 
truths about life after death.  What those truths are we shall see as
we continue with...]


      1. The importance of heeding the Word of God! - Lk 16:29
         a. Only by heeding the Word of God can one escape the torment
            of Hades
         b. The rich man had not done so; for his brothers, it would be
            their only hope
      2. If God's Word doesn't move you to repentance, a miracle won't
         either! - Lk 16:31
         a. Some people say they would believe if they only saw a
         b. But many people saw Jesus' miracles, and did not believe;
            even His resurrection from the dead did not convince some!
         -- This may explain why the apostles depended upon the
            Scriptures more than miracles to convince people Jesus was
            the Messiah - cf. Ac 17:1-3

      1. A few points adapted from those listed by J. C. Ryle:
         a. A man's worldly condition is no test of his state in the
            sight of God
            1) One may be rich, but not rich toward God - Lk 12:21
            2) One may be poor, but rich in faith! - Ja 2:5
         b. Death is the common end to which all classes of mankind 
            must come ("the same event happens to them all" - cf. Ecc
         c. The souls of believers are specially cared for by God in 
            the hour of death ("...carried by angels to Abraham's 
            bosom" - Lk 16:22)
         d. The reality of hell
            1) This story depicts the intermediate state of the wicked, 
               between death and the resurrection
            2) We learn that the wicked...
               a) Do not cease to exist ("he lifted up his eyes and
                  saw") - Lk 16:23
               b) Are aware of where they are, and what is going on
                  around them ("I am tormented in this flame") - Lk 16:
               c) Recognize others ("Father Abraham...send Lazarus...")
                  - Lk 16:24a
               d) Remember those who have yet to follow them in death
                  ("for I have five brothers") - Lk 16:28a
         e. Unconverted men find out the value of a soul, after death,
            when it is too late
            1) Jesus tried to teach the value of the soul before it was
               too late - Mt 16:26
            2) When we will learn?  Now, or when it is too late?
         f. The greatest miracles would have no effect on men's hearts,
            if they will not believe God's word
            1) This relates to the main point of the story
            2) Which emphasizes the importance of heeding the Word of
               God, and not depending upon some sort of miracle!
      2. A lesson NOT to be drawn from this parable is that it is
         sinful to be rich...
         a. The rich man was not the only person in this story who had
            been rich in his life
            1) Abraham had been very rich! - cf. Gen 13:2
            2) But he was also very hospitable - cf. Gen 18:1-8
         b. The difference is that Abraham...
            1) Was a man of faith (which comes by heeding the word of
               God - Ro 10:17)
            2) Was a man who "made friends...by unrighteous mammon"


1. Why did Jesus tell this story?
   a. Was it directed to His disciples in particular?
   b. Or was it told with the Pharisees in mind?

2. While the disciples would learn from it, I suspect the Pharisees
   were the intended audience...
   a. They were "lovers of money" - Lk 16:14
   b. They had just derided Jesus for His parable and the application 
      of "The Unjust Steward"
   -- The story of "The Rich Man And Lazarus" illustrates the folly of
      trusting in one's wealth

3. May this story also serve to remind us of...
   a. The reality of punishment prepared for the wicked
   b. The importance of preparing our soul for eternity
   c. The place the Word of God has in that preparation!

As James wrote in his epistle...

   "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness,
       and receive with meekness the implanted word,
       which is able to save your souls.
   "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, 
       deceiving yourselves.
                               - Ja 1:21-22

Are you heeding the Word of God which is able to save your soul?
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