The Rich man and Lazarus
NAMED & UNNAMED
The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus has been told and retold many times. Sadly much has been misconstrued and because of this many have been deluded into believing error. Many foundations of Christendom have been established upon teachings which have been erroneous and consequently many saints have become confused, believing myths rather than truth. It behooves us to diligently search for the truth that we may be established therein and not to founder on what seems to be real, but ultimately becomes the unreality upon which we are disappointed, disillusioned leading to despair. May the following exegesis become reality to the reader and a reality of blessing as he reads and is illumined thereby. The Holy Spirit is come that he may lead us into all truth and also show us things to come. May He quicken and enlighten your spirit with joy and peace. Much of what is recorded here I received from my brother in Christ, J. Preston Eby. I thank the Lord for allowing me to hear through this chosen vessel and what follows is mainly what I have learned from his writings and searchings. May the reader also see the truth. Amen.
Luke 16:19-31 'There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
'And 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.
'And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
'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 receivest thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
'And besides 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.
'Then he 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 saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
'And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
'And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.'
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is recorded only once in the Gospel of Luke. It is an analogy to illustrate certain truths contained within the story. Unless a person has his ears and eyes opened he cannot receive or understand a parable. The religious people of Jesus' day did not receive the messages contained in the parables and even today we need revelation as given by the Holy Spirit. John 16:13 'Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come' If we are unable to receive the truth then we walk in confusion, doubting and even disbelieving.
Mostly we consider things out of context or out of the setting within which they take place. This parable is one of several spoken on a Sabbath day. Indeed, Jesus had healed a man of dropsy, given some straight from the shoulder counsel and spoken some parables in the chief Pharisee's house, where he had been eating. Then on leaving, multitudes of publicans and sinners followed him. Mingling with them were the ever critical and judgmental Scribes, Lawyers and Pharisees. These latter were always looking for fault and accusing Jesus of receiving these outcastes of society. This is the back-drop to the parable that then follows.
There are five in all, yet Luke 15:3 it is recorded: 'He spake this parable unto them'. The Greek substantiates this point that it is one parable and the narration omits further mention of such. The dialogue continues on and the five are in reality a part of the whole parable. (There were no chapter or verse divisions in the original writings) The divisions are: The lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son; all to show the love and grace of God towards the sinner. The last two parts regarding the unjust steward and the rich man are directed towards his accusers, condemning them for their covetousness and pride.
Many preach this parable as if it is actual fact, the reality of what is about to happen in the affairs of humanity. Briefly, let us consider a few points contained in the parable to see if this be so. The implications are grave indeed as we shall see.
If this parable is describing actual conditions of the future then those in heaven will be able to hold conversations with those in Hell. People will be able to look across the impassable gulf and see their loved ones in indescribable torment. Fathers will see daughters, mothers will see their sons, husbands and wives see relatives all uttering ceaseless pleadings for cool water to assuage their thirst and anguish of soul. Continual torment as such being witnessed by loved ones, seeing and hearing such screaming and hopeless despair would hardly give one in heaven a sense of bless! Such a harrowing situation in no way would grant peace to heaven's occupants! Could you dear reader enjoy such a state of affairs? Surely this could not be the state into which Jesus through His redemption would place us who are redeemed?
Does a man because he is rich, well clothed and fed, represent all sinners in this world? Is it the poor man, covered in sores, representative of all the righteous? The scriptures say nothing about the rich man being a sinner not the poor man as being a saint. If all the rich, the well fed and well clothed in the world are fated to eternal damnation then it would behoove us (particularly those of us in the Western world who lack so little) to get rid of all we have and become like Lazarus else we will burn in Hell. The only reason Jesus gave for Lazarus resting in Abraham's bosom was that he had had a tough life. If this be the necessary qualifications for heaven, then maybe all Christians had better become beggars, diseased, hungry and give up the doctrines of health, healing and prosperity!
If this story be literal then how could we believe that one drop of water on the tip of one finger could alleviate those who are incarcerated in such a fiery torment? Or for that matter, how could a drop of water exist in such a place as this imaginary flaming Hell. Again, if this story be literal then how does one who has died and is buried possess a tongue to speak? Do the disembodied 'souls' in the spirit realm have a tongue? If the rich man's body was dug up from the grave it would be found there in a state of decomposition.
Such are the problems that the literalist have if they regard not this scripture as a parable. Doctrines have been formulated from it - such as eternal torment for poor sinners. This is the misapplication of the parable and the misunderstanding of it's message.
Has the purple and linen of the rich man been explained or the fact that he had five brothers? What about the dogs licking the poor man's sores? This parable is speaking spiritual truth as well as prophecy. This parable is a satire, ridiculing the stance of the Scribes and Pharisees. It is a prophecy to be fulfilled in time.
The Man with no Name
Why was one saved and the other lost? Neither had any quality or action that would allow entry to or eviction from the heavenly place. Romans 9:21 'Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?' Both lived this life in the position in which he had been placed by the wisdom of the Almighty. Exodus 9:16 'And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth' God is sovereign. The difference between the rich man and Lazarus was not of position and/or possession, but their personal response to their own particular situation. The great warning contained in this parable is for those who in Christ's day enjoyed privileges, position, possession, status. The rich man was of the seed of Abraham and in Hell he cried 'Father Abraham'. His purple and linen spoke clearly that he was a child of the Kingdom and as such he 'fared sumptuously everyday'. This rich man is the nation of Jewry, yes Judah and as represented by their religious leaders.
Abraham also recognised him as such for he in turn called him 'son' and goes on to explain some reality. In your life-time you had good times and Lazarus a tough time, now the situation is reversed. Not only that but there is a great gulf fixed between us and no-one can transfer from one place to the other. Listen carefully to the true interpretation of the Greek. Son (Greek: teknon = offspring) between us and you (Greek: hoomone = of [concerning] you, your [own selves] yourselves) or you people, there is a great gulf fixed: so that they or those (Greek: oi [plural] the ones) which would pass from hence to you (Greek: [is plural] those or you people) cannot; neither can they pass that would come from thence. A plurality of people are being addressed, not just one man, for he is but representative even as Adam was of the whole human race. This rich man was of the seed of Abraham, an Israelite, a highly favoured, blessed peoples. The Pharisees made their boast of being Abraham's seed and because of that, fully expected free entrance to heaven's blessed estate regardless of their hypocrisy.
Purple stands for royalty and Linen for righteousness and in this case 'of the Law'. Those in purple ruled and Judah was the Royal tribe, it also had within it the ministry of the Priesthood. The whole nation had been called to be a Kingdom of Priests. Exodus 19:6 'And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel'
The rich man 'fared sumptuously' every day, but this is not speaking about food and drink for the natural body, but about a people who, as the chosen of God lived in His mercies and blessings. What nation can boast of the favours bestowed upon Judah? The Temple with all the sacrificial ceremonies was situate in Jerusalem. The Law, the Covenants, Prophets and all pertaining thereto they had it all, they were richly blessed. This is the rich man, rich in oil and wine, teaching, the word, covenants, promises, the centre of all religious activity. Rich by the blessings of the God who had chosen them to this exalted place. Romans 9:3-5 'For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen'
This man had five brothers, Luke 16:27-28 'Then he 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'. This is a definite number and has a definite meaning. As a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob you just need to read the genealogies to discover a man who would have five brethren. Genesis 35:22-26 'And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Napthali: And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan-aram' The scriptures record for us the sons of Jacob through Leah were six, thus Judah had five brethren, all full-blood brothers. Those who would have heard Jesus 2,000 years ago would have understood as they lay great store in their ancestry. This rich man then was Judah the southern kingdom of the Jews.
The condemnation of the rich man, Judah, was he was so pre-occupied with his blessings, they became his curses. He was occupied with the gifts rather than the giver. His full table was his pre-occupation. Romans 9:11 '(For the children not being yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth)' All Judah had in the law and the covenants, their occupation with ceremony and traditions filled them with self-righteousness. Having all the calling of God, Priests, Prophets, Kings etc. they considered themselves in possession of absolute pure religion, chosen of heaven, utter self-approbation; the holy and perfect race. In a nut-shell: they were the extremely exclusive. Revelation 3:17 is a classic example of Pharisaic bragging. 'Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked' .
Sadly those so rich in promises and prophecy had become spiritual paupers. Jesus saw their whole religious programme as a pretence and performance, cluttered up with the traditions of men. Matthew 23:1-33 'Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And the greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be ye not called Rabbi: for one is your master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widow's houses and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell then yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the Temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the Temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the Temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the Temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God and by him that sitteth thereon. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?'
They called Jesus a sinner, a liar, a fake, a blasphemer and a law-breaker. This He could receive and not attempt a defence, but hypocritical religionists were anathema and required the façade to be stripped away. The Son of God who would have pure religion and undefiled, exposed their pretence. James 1:27 'Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world'
The Man who had a Name
Lazarus, a poor beggar, neglected, full of sores. Dogs showed more mercy and kindness than the rich man. Lying at the gate of the rich man unwanted and ignored, when so much blessing and deliverance was at hand. The name Lazarus means; without help (or whom God helps) and is the only time Jesus gave a name to a character in a parable.
Jewry considered everyone and every nation outside of themselves as dogs and heathen. Lazarus represents those outside of the blessings of the covenants, not having received the riches and oracles bestowed upon the Israelites, and in particular, Judah. Lazarus is the heathen world, lost, diseased, poverty stricken, an outcaste, spiritually dead.
Luke 16:21 '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 KJV translation would better be put as 'the other dogs came and licked his sores' The Greek word 'alla' means others and not moreover. If we were to follow and understand Greek grammar we would find that the word 'alla' is in the nominative case which names the subject and belongs to it. Dogs is the subject and thus they belong to each other and 'alla' is the modifier of the Greek word 'kunes' or the dogs. Another way of putting it: 'This beggar Lazarus, a dog; had his sores licked by other dogs' It is common for dogs to lick sores of others, on themselves and especially of their own kind.
In this portion of scripture we are referring to the nations outside of Israel, heathen people who help one another the best way they can, not knowing any better way. But also like dogs they fight each other over their supposedly own territory.
Begging was always done at the city gate where most people congregated or passed by. Lazarus was a beggar in his own eyes, but a dog as far as the Jews were concerned. He represents all nations outside the commonwealth of Israel, outside the covenants and outside the benefits and blessings.
In Genesis 10:25 'And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan' Peleg means division. Genesis 10:5 & 32 'By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongues, after their families, in their nations.' 'These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.' This took place at the Tower of Babel, clearly recorded in Genesis 11:8-9 'So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth' The descendants of Noah spread everywhere across the whole earth, establishing themselves after their tongue, in their families and finally as nations. Deuteronomy 32:8 Amplified 'When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the Israelites' Acts 17:26-27 'And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us' All has been determined by God, what nation settles where, how large or small it's boundaries and also who it's neighbours will be. All was established in relation to Israel, geographically at the junction of Africa, the two Asias and nearby Europe. The reason: that they (the nations) might seek after the Lord and find the blessings promised through Abraham. Genesis 22:18 'And in thy seed shall ALL the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice'. ALL nations shall be blessed, this is the will and purpose of the Almighty.
This spiritual beggar called Lazarus stands for these nations of the world and is right at Judah's gateway so to speak. The Greek 'Lazarus' has it's counterpart in Hebrew 'Eleazer' which means: 'he whom God helps' or 'whom God aids'. The Greek word for name is 'onoma' and not only means 'a name' but implies 'one possessing a certain character' or characteristic. Thus it could be written: 'Outside the gate of Judah there were the nations of the world, whose characteristic was they were beggars and diseased, all needing the help of God'.
Matthew 15:21-28 'Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me. But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour'. Here is a remarkable event that took place at the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and Israel when Jesus visited that region. He never went outside the boundaries of Israel for He was sent first to that nation. 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel' John 1:11 'He came unto His own, and His own received Him not' He came to His own, Judah for He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. He ministered first to them and then died for them and the whole world. Israel were firmly convinced that they only would be saved and go to heaven, all other nations were heathen rejects - dogs! At the gate of Israel this woman begged for deliverance for her devil vexed daughter. His first reaction: He ignored her; she was not an Israelite and His disciples would have her excommunicated. Jesus then explains His calling and mission; to lost Israel. The Syrophenician woman was an inhabitant of Canaan but she recognised the quality and power of the life in the Son of God. She then came and worshipped even after apparent disinterest and seeming lack of compassion in the one whose favour she sought. It was then she said, 'Lord, help me' A prayer of just three words. She was without help, but recognised here was one person, the Lord, who can help. How unusual and seemingly hard is the answer with which the Lord responded. 'It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs' In other words He categorised her just as an Israelite would, as a dog, a Gentile, outside the covenants and hope of Israel. How would today's so-called liberated women have responded, or better reacted? But not this woman, she recognised her place, accepted the appellation and still thrust forward in faith. Her response was not of anger, but one of confession and agreement, 'Truth Lord' yet in spite of this state of affairs presently existing she pressed her claim and made her point, 'yet the little dogs (Greek) eat of the crumbs that fall from the masters' table' True Lord, I am a little dog, but I will claim a crumb that falls my way. She passed the test of being ignored, the silent rebuke, the disciples reproach, the hard response and then open and crude application, being classified as nothing more than an animal. Her great faith and humble response gained the master's commendation and her daughter's deliverance.
'Lord, help me' was her cry at the borders or the gate of Israel and links in with the meaning of Lazarus' name 'whom God helps'. Only God could help her. The expressions in this story parallel those in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, he who begged at the threshold of the well endowed, looking for crumbs from his table. Other dogs licked his sores and placed him in the same category. He was a Gentile, a pagan, a dog. With regard to truth and religion all the nations outside of Israel only fed on the crumbs that fell from the chosen race's table. They had received the oracles of God, no other nation had been chosen and so signally blessed as Israel and Judah. All others got were the crumbs of accident. Paul calls to remembrance the past situation of the Gentiles. Ephesians 2:11-12 'Wherefore remember, that ye being in the past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world' Without Christ - aliens - strangers - no hope - without God!
Luke 16:22-23 'And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man died also, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom' The death of these two is symbolic, representing a basic change in their circumstances. Lazarus was not buried, he was carried into the bosom of Abraham. He represents the heathen nations of the world and we see the transfer of relationship. One who by natural birth is outside Israel, but now is brought in by faith to apprehend and receive the blessings in Abraham. The rich man is buried and Israel lost her inheritance in Abraham, being cut off, disinherited, never again to be the chosen nation. Not until Judah is joined unto the Lord Jesus, is sanctified in Christ, will they be recognised again as a people of God. Yet, in spite of burial there is hope of resurrection which at the parables telling had not taken place. Romans 11:26 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob'
When Jesus came 2,000 years ago He changed history, time, religion and brought within Himself dispensationally a spiritual revelation. 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 'And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven' Truth has it that there are only two men in this world, the first Adam and the last Adam. Let us quote from J. Preston Eby, who gives a clear pronouncement of this truth. The first Adam is the first man, but the last Adam is the second man and the second man is also the last man. These simple statements, which on the surface seem so insignificant and scarcely worth our notice, are in fact pregnant with meaning, and full of wisdom and understanding. The first Adam is said to be the first man. The last Adam is declared to be the second man. If the second man is also the last Adam, He is also the last man. Now if the first Adam is the first man, it would of necessity follow that there were no men on the earth before him, for he was the first. And if the last Adam is the second man then there were no men on earth between the first Adam and the last Adam, for the last Adam is the second man, and there can be no men between the first man and the second man. If there were even one other man between the first man and the second man, obviously the second man could not BE the second man; he would be the third man, the one hundredth man, or the five billionth man. And since the second man is also the LAST MAN, there can not have been any men since him, for if others have followed him, he is not then the last man. So then, the first man was the first man, the second man was the second man, and the second man is the last man, so that there have been only TWO MEN who have ever lived upon this planet - Adam and Jesus Christ! There were none before Adam, none between Adam and Christ, and none since Jesus Christ. Only two men, no more, no less. End Quote.
All humanity has been included in the first Adam, every one being an individual member of that corporate body. The scriptures declare in 1 Corinthians 15:49 'And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly' Just as all were in the first Adam, so too will all be incorporated in the second Adam. God the Father, in His ineffable wisdom and grace worked in Jesus Christ the miracle of redemption. He has paid the price in full for every man. His purpose is revealed in: Ephesians 1:10 'That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one ALL things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him' Hebrews 8:11 'And they shall not teach EVERY man his neighbour, and EVERY man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for ALL shall know me, from the LEAST to the GREATEST' Colossians 1:28 'Whom we preach, warning EVERY man, and teaching EVERY man in all wisdom; that we may present EVERY man perfect in Christ Jesus' Revelation 5:13 'And EVERY creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and ALL that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever' Psalm 22:27-28 'ALL the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and ALL the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the Kingdom is the Lord's: and He is the governor AMONG the nations'
Just as death came by the first Adam and has affected and continues to affect ALL men, so too life came by the second or last Adam and has also affected and will continue to affect ALL men. Romans 5:18 'Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life' Our old Adamic nature was crucified with Christ and as we once were included in the first Adam, the natural carnal man, so now we are included by faith, in the resurrected Saviour, the spiritual man. Romans 5:19 Amplified 'For just as by one man's disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one man's obedience the many shall be constituted righteous - made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him' We must ask ourselves the question 'Is life stronger than death?' 'Is the light greater than the darkness?' 'Is the power of the first Adam greater than the power of the last Adam, Jesus Christ?' If the first Adam brought all men into sin by his action in Eden, then by the same wisdom the second Adam is able to bring all men into life by His death, burial and resurrection! Who is greater the natural man or the spiritual man? A rhetorical question!
Now back to our parable. When Jesus was crucified and died, both the rich man and Lazarus died with Him and in Him. The old dispensation of the Law was fulfilled, a new dispensation of grace was available to both. Now we are enabled to walk in a new way of life, delivered from the old letter to walk in the spirit. Both were now dead to previous conditions before Calvary and now could live in the unfolding revelations of God's grace and mercy. The Jew living in his sumptuous state with the oracles of God now finds a new redemptive purpose and process, divine correction - but because of his pride and arrogance and rejection of the Messiah, he finds himself now buried in torments of Hell, cast out, rejected, confused and hard of heart. Beggar Lazarus now found a new way, he could enjoy comfort in Christ Jesus, the seed of Abraham. Now he is able to rejoice in the bosom and blessings of father Abraham.
The Greek word translated Hell is Hades, coming from 'a(i)des'. The 'a' is a prefix meaning in English 'un' and the stem 'id' means to perceive. Thus we have unperceive, unseen. This is Hades - unseen, the unknown realm. The English word from Anglo-Saxon 'hillan' or 'helan' means a cavern, a concealed or unseen place. To 'hell' something is to bury it in a hole or pit, out of sight.
The rich man went to Hell, into the unknown and the unseen, into an experience never desired. A place of uncertainty, of myths, unreality, bondage, pain and suffering. Who has been so tormented and persecuted, hunted, haunted, ridiculed and selected for torture and death as the Jews in the last nearly 2,000 years? In Germany, Russia, indeed in many nations they have not found acceptance nor been assimilated as others, but retained their identity as a badge of their reviling before all men. The Ghettos in Europe, the horrible ethnic purgings down through the centuries and of recent times the holocaust. This is the rich man's Hell, tormented and insecure within himself. (A reading of Deuteronomy 28 aptly describes the incredible suffering of a disobedient people)
Many preachers use this particular parable as an illustration of Heaven and Hell, but scriptures give absolutely no warrant for this interpretation. Besides, what happened to the righteous who predeceased Abraham? Where did they reside? Abraham's bosom is not Heaven for the expression 'Abraham's Bosom' comes from the custom in Christ's day. It speaks of an honoured guest who sat next to the host. This was referred to as a reclining on his bosom. In the Eastern countries you reclined when eating and one's head would be near the chest or bosom of the one next to him. The word is used 41 times and anything anyone embraces is referred to as 'in the bosom'. It indicates a close personal and honoured relationship. In John 13:23 'Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved' and also referred to in John 21:20 'Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee?' This does not mean that John was all over Jesus like a rash. It simply means he was next to Him as the honoured one at the last supper. They had a close personal relationship for scriptures affirm that John was that disciple 'whom Jesus loved'. Again scriptures show the closest of all relationships existed between the Father and the Son for He was IN His bosom. John 1:18 'No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is IN THE BOSOM of the Father, He hath declared Him'. We often use the term 'bosom buddy' or 'bosom friend' to express friendships and close relationships.
This term comes from the arrangement and placing of guests at a meal or banquet. Seeing Lazarus there in Abraham's bosom showed he was entered into a banquet, sharing a personal relationship with Abraham in a place of honour. The Jews had received many blessings and honour for the sake of Abraham, but now this was all transferred to the Gentiles, represented by Lazarus. The promises are found in Abraham and we need to consider them. He was to become a great nation, a multitude of nations, kings were to come out of him. His posterity would spread to the North, South, East and west. He is the founding father of all God's chosen people and his seed would bless all nations. He would be the father of many nations. Much of this has a fulfilment in a natural way, but greater are the implications and the spiritual applications. Why accept the lower level when the higher level of spiritual truth is made available. Hear the word of the Lord in Romans 15:8-9 'Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, for this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name' To confirm the promises made to the fathers; in other words the Greek meaning is: That Jesus came to make sure or guarantee those promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Acts 3:13 'The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go' Acts 7:32 'Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold'
Listen to the promises. Galatians 3:14 'That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith' Yet in searching of the promises made to Abraham there is no mention of the Spirit! In Genesis 13:15 'For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever' This promise has more to it than just a geographic location for the promise is both to Abraham and to his seed (as the dust of the earth) forever. Here is a promise made to give eternal life, and the only way Abraham and his seed can possess something forever is that they must also possess an eternal life by the Spirit. This promise is more than that of land, it is an eternal inheritance. Acts 7:2-5 'And he said, Men, and brethren, and fathers, hearken; the God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land, which I shall show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that He would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child' As yet Abraham has a promise but no heir to inherit it. Also God did not give, at that time, any inheritance in the land, but promised it to him afterward. In Abraham's life-time he received not, but by faith. By faith he sojourned in the land living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, all died in faith. Hebrews 11:8-9 'By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should afterward receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise'
This promise of eternal inheritance, has of necessity the promise of eternal life. One can only possess something forever if he lives forever. All who go by the way of death and the grave leave their inheritance to others. Jesus came and confirmed this promise. John 10:28 'And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand' 1 John 2:25 'And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life'.
In Acts 26:6-8; 22-23 'And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?' 'Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing to both small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles' Here Paul explains clearly this truth. Jesus rose from the dead by the eternal Spirit of life and thus quickens us by the same Spirit to life. Romans 8:11 'But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you'
Now let us be further established in the truth, by meditating on that seeming preposterous statement of Jesus in John 10:7-10 'Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep, All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly' Let us restate one phrase 'All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers' He did not say 'some' 'many' or 'a certain group' but ALL without exception. Let us consider some of the 'all'. Hebrews 11:4 'By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh' Although dead he still speaks to us. Hebrews 11:7 'By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an Ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith' Perfect in his generation, a preacher of righteousness, condemning the world's unbelief, he became an heir of righteousness by faith. Hebrews 11:8 'By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went' The father of the faithful, who by faith went out, sojourned in the land, looked for a city which has foundations, believed and received Isaac; yet died, not having received the promises, but was persuaded and embraced them in faith.
'By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the Passover,
and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned' Hebrews 11:24-29
What can we add to further enhance this statement regarding God's man, Moses? This great deliverer, receiver and giver of the Law, his mighty deeds and fullness of faith, yet with all others he is declared to be a thief and a robber!! The 'all' includes these great persons of faith, patriarchs, priests, prophets, the Psalmist and Judges of Israel. The 'all' included everyone that came before Him, they are thieves and robbers in comparison In deed and in truth thieves and robbers continue today also, many of them practise their art in Babylonian religions and even in Christendom.
The Jews were obviously offended by His statement and today, when faced with the truth, many become offended and protest their innocence. How we need to understand the anointed message of Jesus; that all who come with any message that does not have 'life' in it, as it's ultimate expression, is a thief and a robber! Many have come with great teaching, philosophies, laws, precepts and practises, but none were able to impart incorruptible and eternal 'life'. 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 'For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death' Our greatest enemy is death, Jesus came to give 'life'. All the good men, all the righteous men, all the obedient and holy men as Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah etc. all died and passed into corruption. Hebrews 11:13 'These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth' All ministered in limitation, not having the ability to impart 'life' but imparted death, for their ministry and lives did not possess that most valuable commodity 'eternal and incorruptible life'. The Law came by Moses and it brought death. All their messages and lives fell short of immortality in relation to Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is alive, having once and for all conquered that last enemy, death. A new life, eternal, incorruptible, is available, only He can impart it. John 11:25-26 'Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?' He was the first to rise from the dead - immortal and incorruptible. He has made possible the fulfilment of the promise. Hebrews 9:15 'And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance' Eternal inheritance means and incorporates eternal life, else the words are meaningless. This is the work of the eternal Spirit for Jesus was raised from the dead by the Spirit of the Father. Romans 8:11 'But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you'.
Let us digress for a brief moment to understand that God's eternal and holy plan for mankind's redemption began with Abraham. Before Abraham, God dealt with several individuals; such as Abel, Enoch, Noah in specific ways. None were chosen with regard the ultimate redemptive purpose of God. They were only called and dealt with in relation to the need and situation of their time. When Abram appeared on the scene it was then that God chose him specifically in regard to his future purpose and redemption for mankind. As it was with Jesus, it was the fullness of time or the appropriate time in the eternal counsels of the Almighty for certain steps to be taken and an interference in the affairs of a man which would affect all men. Abraham is regarded as the father of the faithful as God's divine plan and promises originate in him. Jesus came to confirm the promise to the fathers of eternal inheritance. The scriptures do not say He took the nature of angels or the seed of Adam; but the seed of Abraham. Hebrews 2:16 'For verily he took not on the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham'
All the promises in regard the eternal and redemptive plan in the purpose of God centre in two chosen people; Abraham and his seed. Galatians 3:16 'Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ' Jesus came to confirm the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham is the starting point of all things pertaining to the eternal redemptive plan of the Almighty God. Abraham was to become a great nation, a multitude of nations, kings shall come out of him, his seed was to spread to all corners of the globe. Not only a multiplicity of seed like the stars in the heavens and the sand of the sea shore and the dust of the earth, but, 'one' seed and that seed is Christ. Galatians 3:16c 'And to thy seed, which is Christ' 1 Corinthians 12:12 'For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ' The seed is a corporate body made up of many members. Romans 4:16, 20-21 'Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all' 'He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform' Hebrews 11:13 'These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth' He embraced them! That which is embraced is held in the bosom of a person. This is what is meant in 'Abraham's bosom'. To be in Abraham's bosom is to be like Abraham in heart/faith, believing the promises though they be far off. Receiving and believing the eternal redemptive purposes of God to ultimately by faith receive the incorruption of eternal life. In so doing, whosoever believes becomes that seed of Abraham, embraced in the Abrahamic covenant extending from the natural (dust) to the spiritual (stars) realms. Unbounded fulfilment of the promises, a true Israelite indeed!
Truth is that God's chosen nation of Israel never obtained the promises, nor inherited the blessings through natural descent. His promises are only applicable and applied to a people who receive them by faith. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him' Romans 4:3 'For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness' God started a new nation through one man, Abram. Genesis 12:1-2 'Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing' The father of all who believe, though they be not circumcised. Romans 4:11 'And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also' This promise to Abraham and his seed, to be heir of the world was not through Law, works or natural lineage, it was by righteousness of faith. Romans 4:13 'For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith' An intimate and vital relationship between God and Abram was the beginning of a people of faith; a people who clasped this faith fellowship to their bosom. Galatians 3:7 'Know ye therefore that they which be of faith, the same are the children of Abraham' Thus Abraham's seed are those which be of faith! The natural nation of Israel rejected the promises when they crucified Jesus, the seed! John 1:11 'He came unto His own, and His own received Him not'.
If the blessings and promises followed natural descent, then Ishmael would by natural law and customs have inherited it. Also Esau should have inherited, not Jacob. From these men, also Abel and others we see the principle of second birth to enter the covenant promises. John 3:3 'Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God' God's covenant is not with a race, a particular group of people, but with those who believe regardless of their being Hebrew, Greek or Gentiles, Jew or African, Chinese or Eskimos. Galatians 3:26-29 'For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise' Genesis 17:4 & 7 'As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations' 'And I will establish my covenant between thee and me and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee' The covenant was with Abraham and his seed - his offspring. Listen! It had nothing to do with ancestry, but to do with his posterity! There were no racial conditions or discriminations whatsoever.
Exchange of Place, Exchange of Race
In this parable the rich man stands for the Jewish nation who enjoyed God's favour and blessings. Lazarus represents a people who lay at Judah's gate, those who received not the benefits - Gentiles. They were an ostracised, dog class people, outside the covenants and promises, no hopers. The only benefits they enjoyed were the crumbs, they might be fortunate enough to gather. Jewry at this time with it's influences permeated all the Roman kingdom. The parable has within it a prophecy that the two characters mentioned are to change places. The rich man to suffer rejection, pain, poverty and punishment and Lazarus to enjoy comfort, peace and honour in a close relationship; Abraham's bosom. A covenant relationship with all the promises being fulfilled.
Philippians 3:2-3 'Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh' (Concision means mutilation, the cutting off an essential part, to render imperfect, destroy) During Paul's ministry there were those Judaizers who continually worked among believers to defile them with works of the Law. Teaching them to practise circumcision, obey the Law and rituals, becoming legalistic to the letter of do's and don'ts, not the spirit of life. They were from Judaea. Acts 15:1 'And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved' Pharisees who believed, Acts 15:5 'But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses' These were those who belonged to the church in Jerusalem. Acts 15:24 'Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the Law: to whom we gave no such commandment' Hear the words of Paul as recorded in Galatians 5:1 & 6 'Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage' 'For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love' Beware of the mutilators of your faith, who claim flesh exercises reap righteousness when the scriptures are expressive and explicit. We live by faith, not by works. Romans 2:29 'But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God' Ephesians 2:8-9 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast' Circumcision practised by Abraham was merely the sign, an indication that sealed the fact of his righteousness by faith, which he had before he was circumcised. It was an ordinance, a symbol of the inner workings of grace. Romans 4:1-17 'What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he hath wherewith to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them that were not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the Law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the Law worketh wrath: for where no Law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all. (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were'.
Abraham is declared to be the father of all who believe, with no distinction with regard to race, nationality, colour, sex, customs, status, caste or laws. Those who are of the same persuasion/faith of Abraham, become his seed, his posterity, his children. Romans 4:13 'For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith' He, Abraham, is father of us (believers) all. Romans 10:12 'For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him' There is no racial or class difference. Galatians 3:7-9 'Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham' .
Jesus Christ came of the seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:16 'Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ' So of all the millions, only one seed inherits all the promises given to Abraham, Jesus the Christ. In the Edenic prophecy the Lord God spoke of the 'seed' of the woman, no reference to a man as the bruiser of the serpents head. Genesis 3:15 'And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel' Seed is not only the product of a previous life but also has within it the capacity to reproduce itself in multiplicity. John 12:24 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit' This seed would in time produce a vast multitude of Himself, in His likeness and in His image. (See Genesis 1:26 'And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth') Every seed sown reproduces itself in multiplicity - an increase. Mark 4:28 'First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear' Only one seed has been planted -Christ, and now He the blade has appeared in His resurrection, then following will be the ear (Sons of God) followed by the full corn in the ear, the great harvest - the seed of the seed, all in exact likeness of that which was planted in death and burial.
The seed is one; it is Christ and every seed reproduced will have the same quality of life, His image and likeness, born of the original seed, having the same resurrection life. The Christ, the corporate body, the Sons of God. Romans 8:29 'For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren' All who partake of His (Jesus) life, who is the seed of Abraham, they become Abraham's seed. Galatians 3:16 'Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ' It is not given to seeds (plural) but to one seed, Christ. If to the plural then it would have been fulfilled through Israel by natural lineage. It is through this seed (singular) all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Genesis 22:18 'And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice'.
Down through the centuries as generations have been born, lived and died, each was a seed to their generation. Then Christ came and purchased a Bride with His blood and at Pentecost the believers received the incorruptible seed of the word and by the Spirit. A new generation by the Spirit was born and ministered into the Spiritual womb of the Bride the incorruptible seed of Christ. Down through the past 2,000 years the seed of each generation has ministered until we come to this present time. The seed of Abraham is working again in us so that the matured Bride (woman) will bring forth a matured man, a many-membered body in the likeness of the incorruptible and holy image of Jesus Christ - THE SEED. Revelation 12:5 'And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne' Ephesians 4:13 & 16 'Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' 'From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love' This corporate body of Christ will then throughout the ages fulfill the word to Abraham in Genesis 22:18 'And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice' Galatians 3:27 'For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ' So having put on Christ, we have received the promises. This is only realised in those who are made one with Him, receiving and partaking of His life. Galatians 3:29 'And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise' This is the reality - believe it!
The natural seed of Abraham rejected the Christ. John 8:33, 37, 39-40, 44 'They answered Him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free' 'I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you' 'They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham' 'Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it' Jesus said if they had been children of Abraham they would have believed and received Him. These were the natural descendants of Abraham not knowing that their position in father Abraham depended totally in their position in the seed - Christ; He who was both the Son of Abraham and the Son of God. Galatians 3:29 'And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise' Matthew 8:11-12 'And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth' A Roman's faith saw his servant healed, but those of the national heritage are cast out, for they are not of faith. Finally the mighty Christ will have fulfilled this word in Isaiah 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion' Hebrews 2:10 & 13 'For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings' 'And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me'.
Genesis 32:24-28 'And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed' Jacob and the man wrestled till the dawn until finally Jacob in his extremity holds on for the blessing, the walk of Jacob having been affected. (Walk speaks of the disposition, manner of life-style) As a result of this experience Jacob is blessed with a change of nature. Firstly, he is willing to confess what he really is, Jacob, a cheat, supplanter, schemer; then he is able to be called Israel, Prince with God. A new name to fit his new nature. Firstly the man wrestled with Jacob to get his submission. Then Jacob wrestled with the man to get his blessing, thus he prevailed. Jacob is the first Israel, an example of all those whom God by His Spirit calls out of this world's systems and religiosity to give to them a new name/nature.
Out of Jacob came the twelve sons; Israel for their time, then the twelve tribes for their time and finally out of them came Jesus. He was God's Israel, God's Prince in His time. Then ultimately, again in the fullness of time will come those of a generation who are the Christ (anointed) Israel. Today, God is calling forth a people for this generation, a changed people in name and nature, who have come to their Jabbok and prevailed with the Lord. A separated people, who walk alone with God, who shun all this world's allure, avoid religious Babylon and let all self-effort subside into it's grave. Then in helpless submission allow the Lord of all to effect that marvellous change. Revelation 3:12 'Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name'.
When that change comes that new name will not just be Israel, Prince with God but Christ, Son of God. How can this be? It is made possible by THE Son who begets us with a lively hope and by the Spirit (anointing, which is Christ) raising us in resurrection life to be exactly the same seed as the original - His image and likeness. Genesis 1:26 'And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . .'
Galatians 4:28 'Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise' In Philippi we see converts under Paul's ministry, Lydia a Jewess, the girl delivered from a spirit of divination, probably a Roman as were her masters. Then the Jailer and family were Gentiles. Probably the church there was made up of all kinds of people but now in Christ without barriers of distinction. Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians 3:3 'For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh' How we need to realise this in todays conglomerate of religious fervour and ritual practise, constantly entertaining the works of the flesh and having respect of persons, to please men rather than our loving Father God. We have no confidence in the flesh!
Sadly the Jewish religion is based on tracing one's genealogy back to Abraham. In the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in a.d.70 records were destroyed which renders much of their dependency nul and void. They can not longer prove who they are by natural means. In John 1:47 'Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile' Jesus referred to Nathanael as 'an Israelite indeed' This statement clearly indicated that though there were Israelites after the flesh in plenty, yet this man was a true Israelite after the Spirit. This man Nathanael was 'indeed' an Israelite. John 6:63 'It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life' The flesh does not profit, even a skerrick. Truly the flesh principle works in a negative sense rather than the positive. John the Baptist stated it clearly in Luke 3:8 'Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham' Don't depend on your natural father, even though he be a righteous man. There is only one way to be a true Israelite and that means an application of the cross to one's life. John continued to say in his statement of Luke 3:8, that God could raise up stones to be Abraham's children! (Jesus in approaching Jerusalem also makes mention of stones crying out, when Pharisees called for rebuke; how hard the heart in comparison. Luke 19:40) If stones, then it is entirely possible that God would be well able to raise up others as Abraham's sons; Gentiles, Pagans, black and white, old, young, male, female, for whosoever is born of faith, such as Abraham's, is his son. Romans 2:28-29 'For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God' Note well this: He that is in the flesh is not a Jew! He is a stranger to the truth. A real Jew is the person who is of the spirit. We need to understand the word of God. All who say they are Jews, such as natural Israel, are, but counterfeits, walking in delusion. The true Jew is one who has become the seed of Abraham through faith, and that not of themselves, but have been born from above, begotten of God. (Who can procure his own birth?) John 1:13 'Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God' Ephesians 2:8-9 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast'.
Daniel 7:18 'But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever' Natural Israelites will never rule the world, only the saints, born of God, children of Abraham by faith will be the overcomers. Listen to the scriptures as found in Revelation 2:9 'I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan' and again in Revelation 3:9 'Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee' Does not the word of God make it clear? Only those who are of the Spirit are the true Jews, true Israelites, true children of Abraham and true Sons of the living God.
Matthew 21:43 & 45 'Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof' 'And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them' Today our God is drawing folks from all nations to make up His kingdom, who have by the Spirit and faith appropriated the promises given to Abraham. Natural Israel rejected their Messiah. Matthew 27:22 & 25 'Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let Him be crucified' 'Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children' So from the natural nation of Israel God turned to others to raise up seed to Christ, which is the seed of Abraham, promised so many centuries ago.
This nation coming forth from the peoples of the Gentile nations is represented by Lazarus the beggar, who now by faith is able to be blessed in Abraham's bosom. The kingdom was taken from Israel the natural, the rich man who now suffers the pangs of Hell. History confirms this as the past 2,000 years makes full report of their sufferings, rejection and shame. The only way any person can become a son of Abraham of the seed of Christ, it is necessary to be born again by faith in the finished work of the Christ of Calvary. He that hath the Son, hath life.
Romans 11:1 'I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin' Paul asks the question re natural Israel. Are they altogether lost? The answer is given; 'God forbid'. Paul himself is of the nation of Israel, a natural seed of Abraham, of Benjamin's tribe. Yet, he has not been rejected, rather the opposite as we well know. He was an apostle of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 11:5 'Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace' No, not utterly cast off, but like any other man, salvation is always available. Many are saved, but at this point in time it is a remnant, a few in comparison to the total number. The election by grace has obtained it for them, and the rest are blinded. Romans 11:7 'What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded'
Romans 11:15-24 'For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? The branches broken off pertain to the rich man. The branches graffed into Abraham's bosom are Lazarus. God is well able to graff back in the original branches, if they but believe. Romans 11:26 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob' Here is the hope that awaits all Israel, a definite promise of scripture, an act of mercy from an ever merciful God. Psalm 136:1-4 'O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of Gods: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever'
Torment - Hell - No way out?
Times have changed for the rich man (natural Israel) his days of splendour, the purple and fine linen are perished. No longer does he fare sumptuously, nor does he sit in a place of honour. He has died, been buried and now resides in a place called Hell. But then, in this state of torment he at last lifts up his eyes, eyes that were once blind to the need of the beggar at his gate. Now he sees the kingdom of heaven - Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. National Israel, the natural seed of Abraham; Jewry who once thought they were the chosen of God suddenly awakes to their arrogance and error. Lazarus representing the heathen Gentiles have inherited the kingdom and now sit in the place of righteousness, peace and joy. Matthew 21:43 'Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof' It is Judah (Jews, so called) represented here in this present dispensation.
He cries for mercy and alleviation of his pains, explaining how he is tormented in the flame. Consider the following for a moment if you will. If he was engulfed in the conflagration of Hell-fire as many suggest, how on earth would he be able to hold a conversation with someone else? Any human being having been caught in the midst of such a conflagration would be consumed, his hair burned off, his skin blistered into a scorched mass of epidermis, infinitely worse than third degree burns. The trauma of such a consuming fire, along with the shock to a human being would be intolerable. The human body would have no defence nor means of escaping the terrors of such a fiery frenzy. The rich man incarcerated in such a flame would scream for fear as he entered the conflagration, his screams ceasing almost immediately as his body would be gulped up by the consuming flames. He would disappear into the agony of silence and hopelessness.
Yet, this is not so as many believe for the rich man sees, converses with and prays for alleviation of his situation. Luke 16:24 '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' Remember it was the tongue that cried 'Crucify him, crucify him'. Consider again the words of Jesus in Luke 13:28 'There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out' (Greek for 'shall see' means: with wide open eyes). He recognises Abraham and Lazarus enjoying each others company in peace and contentment. Within the rich man burned a word. Jeremiah 20:9 'Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay' The word is of the kingdom, which Jewry has rejected when they crucified Jesus and ever since it has burned and consumed within them. The tongue of Jewry cried out 'We have no king but Caesar' 'Crucify Him, let his blood be upon us and our children'. The tongue is now in a state of desert dryness, scorched, parched, tormented. The word torment comes from the Greek 'basanos' meaning to go to the bottom; basic or basis; a touchstone, by analogy torment or torture. The touchstone was mined near Lydia in ancient times and was used in the proving of the purity of gold, by having it rubbed and leaving on it a particular mark. It tested the quality or genuineness of the gold.
The torment of Hell in which the rich man found himself was not a torture chamber of eternal punishments. (What human could cope with such an eternal condition? Why, the human body often dies from shock rather than the wounds it has suffered. The mind blanks out from the tragedies its body has suffered, in a surrender to the coma of death) The rich man is in a place of testing, of learning and proving the quality of his life. God is not a monster, He is not a Himmler or a Stalin, not is He a God who requires sacrifice of living humans on red hot stones as Molech demanded. Indeed, God's own word abhors such practises and speaks clearly against them. Leviticus 20:1-5 'And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people' Jeremiah 32:35 'And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin'.
Nevertheless, fathers do find it expedient to administer pain to their children in a limited measure, so that their children are corrected and learn the right way. It is not inflicted from anger, malice or with venom, but in love so that the afflicted one might appreciate what is the right and correct way of life. Hebrews 12:6-10 'For whom the Lord loveth He chastiseth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness'.
The rich man in torment is a nation of people who have rejected the living word and now live in the deadness of a letter. In spite of it being negative it still works and within it is as a consuming fire burning out all the determination of the self-life and creating such a dryness as to parch not just the tongue but the inwards and the soul. This until; they cry out for reality and relief from their ever merciful God. Hebrews 12:29 'For our God is a consuming fire' Hebrews 4:12 'For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart'
A principle or truth we need to learn is that the same word of God affects people in different ways. One man hears and believes, another hears and rejects it. The word was the same to both yet had a different effect according to the heart within the man. The wine of the wineskins is exactly the same, but depending on the wineskins is the resultant effect. Those who hear, understand and receive, escape the bursting of the old; for they have moved out of the realm of institutionalised religion, no longer bound by the limitations of humanistic regulations and administrations. But those who stay submitted to popish and Pharisaic structures will have their wineskins burst, by the same new wine that gives life to those who are prepared to walk in Spirit and in truth. The early church received the new wine of the Spirit, leaving behind the Temple ordinances and animal sacrifices, thus they lived. Those who rejected the new form of life in the Spirit suffered the destruction of their cracked, parched and dead forms when the Roman armies entered Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The word brings death or life depending on the attitude of the heart receiving or rejecting it. The same sun melts butter and hardens clay. Light to one reveals, to another it blinds. (Wuest: 'Light rejected, blinds) John 3:19 'And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil' The rich man in his Hell is affected by the very word and light that brought relief to Lazarus, only in a negative way, it brought him torment and suffering.
Matthew 23:33 'Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?' Nearly 2,000 years have passed and Jewry has suffered the barrenness and rejection of almost all other peoples. He who wept over Jerusalem saw their hardness of heart and also their consequences, wandering from nation to nation in a nightmare of rejection, humiliation and suffering. Matthew 23:37-38 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate' It has been well said, Jewry sowed one cross on Calvary and reaped thousands a few short years later as the city ran with blood and destruction. Rejected, despised, they have wandered down the last two millenniums. From nation to nation, ridiculed, persecuted, decimated yet ever existing in such a fearful state of continuing survival to always exist, yet always dying in the most fearful experiences. Who, among all the nations in history have ever suffered and continued to suffer like Jewry? They have come and still do; to the wailing Wall in Jerusalem over the centuries, yet no relief has come. I have seen them there, praying, wailing, weeping, yet as they performed their activities it seemed as though the very stones before which they stood mocked them with their own barren looks and dryness. Despair surrounds them like a shroud of death, living as it were in a continual state of dying yet never coming to an ultimate end. Just as the Lord God said to Adam in the beginning, Genesis 2:17 'In dying you shall continue to die' The wailing Wall is a sacred place for Jewry being huge stones, relics of Solomon's temple of centuries ago and Jewry today worships at a memory. Lamentations 2:18 'Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease'.
Nearly 2,000 years have passed and the rich man of Jewry still thirsts in his Hell. Nation after nation, despot after despot have failed in their most heinous crimes throughout history, to obliterate this people and their sufferings. Unrepeatable and unimaginable has been the people's Hell, a cup of trembling to all who associate with them. Zechariah 12:2-3 'Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the seige both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it'.
He pleads, indeed prays to Abraham and not to his Saviour. Like people today who pray to angels and saints, he receives no answer, for his deliverance is in the one he rejected, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. He cries for just a minuscule of water to alleviate his torments and suffering, none is available as none can supply, but one, and he has rejected Him. John 7:37-38 'In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scriptures hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water' John 4:10 'Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water' Not Lazarus, not Abraham, not another person of all who have lived can supply living water to satisfy the rich man's thirst. There is only one and His name is Jesus. Acts 4:12 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved' God has never rejected nor will He ever reject those who call on Him. To every thirsting soul He will in due season refresh them with living waters. Isaiah 41:17-18 'When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water' This promise will never fail, it is absolutely sure. Romans 11:25-26; 29-32; 33 'For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob' 'For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all' 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!'
Impossible! Impassable! Impermissible!
Luke 16:24-25 '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' The cry of prayer goes up, but not to the living God, but to a man. The man Abraham replies 'son'. Yes, he was a relative, but only in the realm of the flesh, only Lazarus enjoyed the sonship of fellowship by the Spirit. Abraham would know the difference, Lazarus could now perceive, but could the rich man?
He is reminded that a great gulf is fixed between them and none might pass over, even if they wanted to do so. Luke 16:26 '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' No hope! What an estate to be imprisoned within, how one's mind would be fragmented with fear and one's heart to faint with the thought. Deuteronomy 28:62-68 'And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way thereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you' Deuteronomy 32:15-18; 22; 24; 26; 30 'But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked; thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee' 'For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest Hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains' 'They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust' 'I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men' 'How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?'
That gulf remains unto this day as Jewry remains distinctly a separate entity in this world. Recognised, yet reviled, living yet dead, searching and not finding. They know nothing of the peace that passeth understanding, nothing of the great Prince of Peace, Jesus the Son of God. To the Jew, he is another man, an imposter, a charlatan, a blasphemer and in rejecting Him they cast away their divine origins in the Creator. Israel is in the main a great barren mission field as the Gentiles of all vile and sinful persuasions flock into the heavenly fold, yet Israel cannot.
In his Hell the rich man implores Abraham to send to his father's house to warn and persuade his five brothers. Luke 16:27-28 'Then he 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 responds with the truth in verse 29 'Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them' Marvellous is it not that it is through the word, of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms that causes one's heart to burn, either with conviction regard the truth unto repentance, or burn with indignation unto rejection? Luke 24:27 & 32 'And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself' And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?' Luke 24:44-45 'And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures' Those who claimed knowledge of the scriptures had their own agenda, their own interpretation and their own methods of rule. Spiritual things are only spiritually discerned and 2,000 years ago carnal religious men carried out their own methods of judgment. How we need the Spirit today, lest we fall into the same trap and become lodgers with the rich man, bound in arrogance and pride of the self life. Thus the religious bigots cried out; Mark 15:11-13 'But the chief priests moved the people, that He should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify Him'.
It is amazing that today much of Christendom lives in myths and traditions, not desiring the word of God. Many church-goers know little or nothing other than what the 'pastor' or 'reverend gentleman' tells them. Yet, today, the word is freely available throughout much of the world. Where it is most valued and believed upon is in countries where it is difficult to obtain or scarce, such as in China. It is through the power of the word of God; Moses, the prophets and Psalms, that people are brought to the obedience of the faith. Romans 16:25-26 'Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith' Moses, the prophets and the Psalms all had their place in the nation of Israel, but as already stated it is not the light that blinds, but the deceitful heart of man. They went about to establish their own righteousness with works and traditions of the fathers. In the synagogues by the thousand, every Sabbath they read the scriptures. Acts 15:21 'For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day' John 5:39 'Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me' Mark 7:9 'And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition'.
The rich man pleads even further by denying that Moses, the prophets, the Psalms can appeal to his five brethren. No, not the scriptures, these will not convince them, but if one rises from the dead they will believe, he cries. Luke 16:30 'And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent' One did rise form the dead, in their very midst, but they still did not believe. Abraham replies to him in verse 31. If they don't believe the scriptures, they won't even believe in a resurrection from the dead. How sad, and today because they do not believe in a crucified, buried and resurrected Jesus, all evidenced in their sight; they now dwell in darkness and wilful rebellion. Jewry continues to suffer the torments of Hell, a great gulf fixed between them and the dogs of the Gentile nations now enjoying the comforts of Abraham's bosom, inheriting the promises of eternal life. Matthew 28:19-20 'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.'
Overcomers or Religious Houdinis!!
This parable is at an end, but the end is not yet. God is not finished with His work. He has purposed to make man in His image and after His likeness, Genesis 1:26. Mankind is so prone to eagerly seize upon escape theology to absent themselves from the world before God's great day. Scriptures have yet to be fulfilled and we err if we do not search the scriptures and believe them. The Holy Spirit is quickening the word of God today in a glorious way, even to those whose hearts desire to see all the glory.
This parable explains but one part of the story, a negative, but there is always an opposite, a positive; as one cannot exist without the other. Romans, chapters nine to eleven explains it in full. Read also Romans 11:1-2; 11; 15; 26 'I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel' 'I say then, Have they stumbled, that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy' 'For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?' 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob'.
Neither Abraham nor Lazarus were able to cross the abyss, so too those who would desire to cross to them. It was an impossibility. It does not say that no-one could cross the void, and if any inability exists it is always in man, not in God. Nothing is impossible with God! Luke 18:27 'And He said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God' He who possess the key of David, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens, He has the keys of Death and Hell. Revelation 1:18 'I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hell and death' Revelation 3:7 'And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; that shutteth, and no man openeth' Because man in his finite thinking sees the impossible, so he also limits his God. The very firstfruit of God was Jesus, the one who conquered death and Hell, broke it's limitations and boundaries to set the captives free. Hallelujah! 1 Corinthians 15:21-23 'For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming' also 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ'
Jesus Christ the Lord of all has crossed the great divide and is set to liberate Hell's captives in due season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 'To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven' 1 Corinthians 15:23 'But every man in his own order . . .' Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:18 (Amplified) 'And I tell you, you are Peter [Petros, masculine, a large piece of rock], and on this rock (Petra, feminine, a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] [the powers of the infernal region] shall not overpower it - or be strong to it's detriment, or hold out against it' In Abraham's day the gulf was not crossed, even when Jesus spoke the parable the gulf to Hell existed. But now after His resurrection He has now taken hold of the keys and as rightful possessor may free all who dwell therein. The gulf, if there is one, now resides in the hearts and minds of men who resist and misunderstand the scriptures. But from the believers and the standpoint of the Lord, the gulf, the abyss, Hell, has been crossed, conquered and annulled. Revelation 22:17 'And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely' The impossible is now possible through Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
A greater than Abraham has broken every barrier down, removed all hindrances and opened up the way to full restoration. Galatians 3:28 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus' Ephesians 2:13-18 'But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father' Philippians 2:10-11 'That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father' Yes, every knee shall bow, those in the highest heaven, those who are on earth, those who are in the realms of the underworld. This includes the rich man and Lazarus, or to put it clearly both Jew and Gentile. Listen to the words so often sung, yet rarely understood and believed.
Oh, the love that drew salvation's plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span - at Calvary!
Jewry has passed through great tribulation and darkness, sorrow and suffering. God's word is being fulfilled and the day of their release is at hand. The veil will be lifted in due time and what a release and a glory that will be. Deuteronomy 30:1-6 'And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed; and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thine soul, that thou mayest live'
There is yet to be a glorious day of deliverance and God is preparing a people, His Sons, to manifest the life of Christ on this earth. Deliverance is near at hand as we wait on Him and believe His word. Romans 8:14 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God' Romans 8:19 'For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God' Romans 8:23 'And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body' Jesus was the sheaf of the firstfruits, now He will bring forth the firstfruits, a people, a corporate body of the son, who will reap the grand harvest of the world.
Romans 11:26 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob'
Obadiah 17 'But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions' Jude 14 (Amplified) 'It was of these people moreover that Enoch in the seventh (generation) from Adam prophesied when he said, Behold the Lord comes with His myriads of holy ones-ten thousands of His saints'
This will be the glorious manifestation of those who make up the body of Christ, the corporate man, and fulfil Jesus' words in John 14:12 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father'
To the Jews, Jesus made this statement or prophecy: Matthew 23:39 'For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name (nature) of the Lord' The word 'till' says He will not hold them in Hell forever, but will in grace set the captive free. What a day that will be when the Deliverers from Zion appear and Jewry has their eyes opened and they see and understand and are liberated from their suffering and bondage. Restored back into relationship with their God. Matthew 24:30 'And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory' Revelation 1:7 'Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen' The word 'see' means 'know' in the spiritual sense. When doing geometry at College I was taught Pythagoras' Theorem. It took some time for me to figure it out, but after much study, one night I said 'I see it now'. Physically, I saw no more than before, my study books, manuals and exercise books with diagrams. What I really meant was 'now I know, now I understand'. I have never seen Jesus with my eyeballs, but I know Him by the Spirit and continue to get to know Him and understand Him day by day through His word.
Many saw Jesus 2,000 years ago in person, but in truth they never knew Him. Many would like to view Him today, but would they know Him or understand Him? The Lord is not concerned with your physical appreciation of His form, but that you might apprehend Him in the purity of heart relationship by the Spirit. Only purity of heart gives one purity of sight or better said 'insight'. Soon He will appear again, manifested in His saintly Sons, His corporate body. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 'When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day' The amplified states it this way: 'When He comes to be glorified in His saints, (That is, on that day He will be made more glorious in His consecrated people) and (He will) be marvelled at and admired (in His glory reflected) in all who have believed - who have adhered to, trusted in and relied on Him - because our witnessing among you was confidently accepted and believed (and confirmed in your lives)' Matthew 23:39 'For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord'.
The Jewish nation has yet to see Christendom in it's purest and holiest form. All it has seen over the centuries are so-called Christian nations, fighting among themselves or crusading for their own religious beliefs. They have seen religious Babylon and all her tricks, they have yet to see He that cometh in the name (nature) of the Lord. When they see the body functioning as it ought, submissive to it's head, then that nation incarcerated for so long in Hell will believe in their Messiah. Presently Judah is being gathered to the land in unbelief, there has been no fruit for such a long time. They are still blind in spite of the best intentions of many people to convert them. To Israelites they are a parody displayed before them, for the time is not yet, but soon to come. As is the normal form of Christendom, we swing into action well before we are prepared for the battle. The flesh profiteth nothing and all the fleshly activities of well-meaning peoples and large finances spent will achieve nothing with Israel. Only when they see a body of people manifesting the fruit of the Spirit and glorifying Jesus, and not themselves, will Israel have her eyes opened and receive their Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
Zechariah 12:10 'And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn'
Zechariah 13:1 'In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness'
The one who sent the rich man to Hell and placed Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, is about to effect a grand deliverance. He who has the keys of Death and Hell is set to free the captives. Romans 11:26 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob' Romans 11:32 'For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all' Praise God for His mercy and grace.
Psalm 118:29 'O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever'.
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