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Parable Or Real History?

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posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 11:03 AM
Is the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus a parable, or was Jesus recounting events that had already happened?

19"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In hell,[a] where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

25"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'

27"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

29"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

30" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

31"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

A few things to keep in mind before deciding:

This would be the only parable in all the gospels where Jesus actually uses a proper noun (Lazarus).

This would be the only parable in all the gospels where Jesus uses historical people, Abraham and Moses, and actually has one of those historical figures speaking

This would be the only parable where Jesus spoke of things beyond the human realm -- all other parables were examples where we could relate to them here on Earth

This would also be the only parable that speaks of angels.

If it's real history, though, it means Hell is very real.

If it's real history, it means judgment is instantaneous.

If it's real history, it means you can still talk to those in Abraham's bosom, at least Abraham, when you're in Hell

If it's real history, it means Hell is eternal due to the chasm separating heaven and hell.

What do y'all think? This is fairly new to me, I had always assumed it was a parable until I started reading a bit about it. Now I'm questioning, and leaning towards it being historical. It is just too unique amongst parable stories.

posted on Jun, 9 2006 @ 12:08 PM

This would be the only parable in all the gospels where Jesus actually uses a proper noun (Lazarus).

Yes. But consider the name. What does Lazarus represent? Resurrection. Being brought back from the dead. Not being saved from dying, but being brought back from the dead.

It is impossible to tell which came first (the parable or the raising of the actual Lazarus), but certainly the significance cannot be overlooked.

Now, before getting too much into the meaning of the parable, I suppose it is best to show some support for the idea of it being a parable.

This passage starts out with:

And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
(Luke 16:14-15)

Notice, it says 'he said unto them' (the Pharisees). Continuing on, there is nothing at all in the narrative that suggests that he wasn't still speaking directly to Pharisees when he told the tale of Lazarus and the rich man. Additionally, he starts off with deriding them for the 'richness' of their hearts--they don't think they lack a thing and he's getting on to them for being holier-than-thou.

What is this telling us, though, that he's speaking directly to the Pharisees?

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
(Matthew 13:10-13)


And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
(Mark 4:11)

Yes, he did talk to the disciples in parables, too--but not without explanation:

Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
(Matthew 13:36-37)

And you can read the rest. But it says, just prior:

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
(Matthew 13:34)

The multitudes, of course, aren't the Pharisees. But obviously they are 'without' the kingdom of God (outside). And we know the Pharisees were excluded at that time, no doubt about that. Considering what was said above, and supported by a painstaking search through all 4 gospels, you will find that Jesus always spoke to the Pharisees in parables.

It was a Jewish thing--the men enjoyed talking for hours about what we might call philosophy and parables were a good portion of it. The men who prided themselves on Godly wisdom were the ones who couldn't be stumped by the parables of their cronies.

But Jesus comes along and stumps them every time! You know it had to really burn them up (pun not intended, LOL).

This is a parable and it is a very deep one, as a matter of fact. If it's held as literal the lesson is not the same at all--and if you consider that the bible also tells us that Christ came to put away sin, and will return to defeat death and the grave--then the literal version is incongruent. The meaning of the parable also reveals that it is of a very prophetic nature, too.

The fact that he always spoke riddles to the Pharisees was something prophesied at various times in the OT. And of course, all that Jesus did, he did 'to fulfill the words of the prophet.' If it was prophesied, then he fulfilled it. Every single prophecy in the bible is directly related to Jesus, the LORD's Christ and His work of Redemption for man. Jesus is Life. No prophesies tell of death, because He is not death--no death is in Him.

But you tell me when you're ready, Jake. We'll work through establishing it as a parable (or not) to your satisfaction, if you like.


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