America in the Kingdom Parables

C.O. Stadslkev - 1959

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31

   The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is perhaps the most controversial parable given by our Lord. This parable is given in Luke 16.

   Verse 19 of this parable states, "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day."

   The rich man of this parable represented the scribes and Pharisees. They had the purple clothing representing the civil laws of Moses as well as the fine linen which represented the religious ordinances God gave through Moses, and they fared sumptuously every day.

   Verses 20 and 21 tell us "there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores."

   The beggar on the outside who desired to be fed with crumbs from the rich man's table and whose sores were licked by dogs represented ten-tribed Israel, who at that time was outside of Palestine and living among the heathen; they had, as Jesus said, become "the lost sheep of the house of Israel," being without the comfort and hope of the Scriptures.

   Ten-tribed Israel, as we have shown from both Bible history and Bible prophecy, still remained in heathen bondage and darkness when less than 43,000 Judahites were led back to Palestine under Ezra and Nehemiah between 500 and 400 B. C. Therefore in a very real sense they received no true spiritual food except that which fell from the rich man's table.

   In verse 22 we read, "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried."

   "The beggar died," that is, ten-tribed Israel as was prophesied disappeared from history. Ten-tribed Israel became so lost that they were dead, and lost to themselves. To this very time the vast majority do not know who they are, where they came from, nor what their destiny is. Try to show the Anglo-Saxons they are the descendants of ten-tribed Israel and you will soon realize that the beggar died.

   But in spite of this - even through this passing away of ten-tribed Israel into apparent oblivion - ten-tribed Israel was carried by angels into Abraham% bosom, the great unconditional covenants God made with Abraham.

   Ten-tribed Israel has appeared in history as the many nations of Christendom which God promised Abraham in Genesis 17.

   The establishment of two great Christian nations in the North American wilderness is a fulfillment of the covenant blessings God gave to Abraham. In fact, all of Christian or Western civilization came out of Abraham's bosom in that it was promised to Abraham% seed through Isaac and Jacob.

   "The rich man also died, and was buried," and so he was. In 70 A. D. the religion and the followers of the scribes and Pharisees came to a very violent overthrow and entered, as their own history shows, a long period of persecution and torment. And they have repeatedly cried to Lazarus for help and relief.

   Verses 23 through 26 read as follows: "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And 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.

   "But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence."

   There is a great gulf fixed between the Christian faith and all other religions. That gulf is Jesus Christ and His atoning and redeeming blood. No mortal can by his own effort pass over that gulf. There is only one way and that is through an act of God made possible by faith in Christ which brings to pass the new birth. No new birth, no salvation, and no assurance of sins forgiven is possible without faith and trust in Christ. The gulf in this parable is the gulf between Christianity and Christ-rejecting Judaism.

   The balance of the parable on the rich man and Lazarus is a conversation between the rich man in torment and Abraham.

   The rich man said, "I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

   Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." The rich man said, 'Way, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent." Abraham answered, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

   There are those who insist that the story of the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable but actually an account of what happened between a rich man and a beggar after their physical death. If we were to accept this teaching we would have to ignore the great doctrine of the Bible on personal salvation and the hereafter.

   Are people saved because they are poor? Do people go to hell because they are rich? The answer in both cases is, No.

   Does Abraham communicate with those in hell? Again the answer is, No.

   If this was intended to be a parable on personal salvation the five brethren would have been told to look to the Son of God.

   Incidentally, Judah had five brothers.

   The hell and torment that came to the rich man in this parable was not the punishment after death that comes to the Christ rejecter. There is no mention in this parable as to how personal salvation is received.

   But the parable teaches most of the hell and the torment of the last 1,900 years could have been avoided here on earth if the writings of Moses and the prophets had been honored and observed. The only way out of the hell and torment the world is in today is to hearken to Moses and the prophets with their national message and God's law and order for men and nations.

 

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