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Title:Rich man and Lazarus in Hades: Luke 16:19-31: Neo-Sadduceeian Knockout Punch!
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Body:Hades Luke 16 "so clearly teaches the orthodox doctrine of eternal punishment that the opponents of the doctrine are hard pressed to know what to do with it." (Buis)

Exposition of Luke 16:19-31 The place where departed conscious spirits of the dead await judgment. click here for detailed outline on Hades

See what early Christians said about Hades

Rich man and Lazarus: Luke 16:19-31 (Click on picture to see high resolution)

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Only four views of Luke 16:19-31

Interpretation/view

Who believes this view?

The Bible Truth! Word Picture, pre-resurrection, view Click here

Bible Believers! The "Anti-Neo-Sadduceeian" position proven at this website (www.bible.ca)

Literal, pre-resurrection, view Click here

Many churches that are "Anti-Neo-Sadduceeian"

The Fable View Click here

Most Arians: Jehovah Witness, Christadelphian, Seventh-day Adventist

Literal, post resurrection, view Click here

Neo-Sadduceeian: Herbert W. Armstrong and most modern splinter groups

See what early Christians said about Hades

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Rich man and Lazarus: Luke 16:19-31

Bible Truth

The Word Picture, pre-resurrection, view The truth in the Bible and the interpretation proven at this website (www.bible.ca)

What do we mean by "Word Picture"?

The Holy Spirit chose to use "word pictures" to describe for us things outside of human experience.

Hell is described using various "word pictures" including a literal garbage dump outside of Jerusalem known as "gehenna". Most recognize that hell is not literally a valley outside the city of Jerusalem, but it is a figure or a symbol or a "word picture" that illustrates the real place of eternal punishment in human terms. (see "word picture photo gallery" of hell)

Heaven is described as the literal "most holy place" in the Mosaic tabernacle (Heb 9:11) yet we easily see that this is a symbolic word picture employed to describe the real thing. (see "word picture photo gallery" of heaven)

The scene in Hades in Luke 16 after the rich man and Lazarus die is likewise described in symbolic language. We reject that all the specific elements in this section of the narrative are to be taken literally.

Commenting on Luke 16: "What is important for us to grasp is that Christ used the mental images conjured up by this rabbinic parable to teach that, in the hereafter, the wicked experience torment and the righteous bliss." (Death and The Afterlife, Robert Morey, p. 84,85)

Just as God Himself is described in the same kind of symbolic "earthly" word pictures or "anthropomorphisms" (possessing literal hands, eyes, ears) so too Luke 16 is described in the identical type of word pictures. We cannot reject that God actually possesses "something like" hands, eyes and ears any more than we can reject that there is something "like fire" in Hades

Lk 16: While body and soul are united within human realm

Lk 16: While body and soul are separated in the spirit world

Jehovah God

These literal items are describe in literal terms because they are within human experience

These literal items are symbolic word pictures because they are outside human experience.

The descriptions of God in these literal ways are symbolic word pictures because they are outside human experience.

purple, fine linen gaily living in splendor died and buried gate crumbs table dogs licking sores

Abraham's bosom eyes torment tip of his finger water tongue flame great chasm fixed

God's hands, ears, face: Isa 59:1-2; arms: Ex. 6:6 God's eyes, ears, heart: 2 Chr 7:15-16 breath of His mouth: Ps 33:6 wings Ps 36:7 breasts, womb: Deut 32:18; Isa 66:7-13

These items literally exist and are described how they really are.

These items literally exist, but are described in the same kind of symbolic word pictures as Jehovah God is described.

God doesn't have literal hands and eyes any more than the fire or water in Luke 16 are literal. But they do describe something that really exists.

If Arians argue that the usage of symbolic word pictures in Luke 16 proves that there is no real place where the dead actually consciously exist, then by the same logic, Jehovah Himself, doesn't exist! The use of symbolism doesn't mean there is nothing real and literal beneath the word picture! The fact that God is described in anthropomorphisms is powerful evidence that other aspects of the spirit world like Hades in Luke 16 is also described in anthropomorphisms.

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Is Luke 16 a parable? (No! But even if it is, it makes no difference!)

We openly admit that Luke 16 has some "parable like" features, but for several reasons listed below, we reject it is a parable.

Definition of a parable: Gr: "parable". Literally "a placing beside" and close to Greek: paraballo "to throw or lay beside, to compare. It signifies a placing of one thing beside another with a view OT comparison." Herein lies the first reason why Luke 16 is not a parable. Since a parable starts with a story from within the reservoir of human experience, then bases a deeper spiritual meaning upon this story that is "new revelation", what is that corresponding deeper spiritual meaning? We maintain that the spiritual truth of Luke 16 needs nothing to be "thrown beside" it. Unlike the parable of the sower, which needs to be explained to be understood, Luke 16 can be read to ANYONE and they will grasp the meaning of the story without anyone interpreting it.

parable story "thrown beside"

Parable interpretation: true meaning that is not obvious from a blind telling of the parable story

parable of sower

all men will respond in one of four ways when we preach the gospel to them

1. Parable of the hidden treasure 2. Parable of the fine pearl 3. Parable of the prodigal son

These three parable were told in Luke 15 to explain the three different ways people discover the gospel truth and become Christians. Some men stumble upon when they were not looking for it (treasure) Some men actively search for it (pearl) Some men already have salvation, but fall away, then come back to their senses.

Parable? of rich man and Lazarus

Arians say the corresponding spiritual meaning is about the "righteous-poor triumphing over the wicked-rich". But this concept is already taught extensively throughout the Old Testament. If this truth is already revealed clearly in the OT without the "wild fable-like details" of consciousness in the grave, then what advantage is there to Jesus in confusing an already clear concept with Luke 16?

All parables, are "true-to-life" realistic stories that could easily substitute for a newspaper headline or a common every day human experience. Like the "parable of the sower", everyone understands, from human experience a man planing a garden! This is where the Neo-Sadduceeian view, that Luke 16 is a parable, miserably fails. The entire scene in the "grave" is entirely outside the realm of human experience. And if this is a parable, then it is the ONLY one in the Bible where Jesus based his teaching on something outside human experience. For this second reason, we conclude that Luke 16 is not a parable.

The fact that Lazarus actually named gives strong evidence this is a true story. For this third reason, we reject Lk 16 is a parable because no parables of Jesus ever gives specific names. Although the story begins with "there was a certain..." this phrase does not indicate that it was not a parable, for several other parables begin this way.

However, having concluded that Luke 16 is not a parable, we can for the sake of argument, grant that it is a parable and it really makes no difference. Arians are still wrong! Without exception all parable are based upon REALITY not fantasy. Arians must explain why Jesus would confirm "Jewish fables/myths". (see Titus 1:14 "not paying attention to Jewish myths/fables")

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Is Luke 16 a true story?

It is our belief that the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a true story. We content that these two men were immediately identified in the telling of the story by the listeners. Lazarus being identified by name is strong evidence. There is no reason why this could not be a true story.

29AD

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Jerusalem Times: Read all about it! "Lazarus and the cold hearted rich man both die!"

However, having concluded that Luke 16 is a true story, we can for the sake of argument, grant that Jesus simply made up the two characters to tell the story. Even if the story is fiction what difference does it make? There is a big difference between a fictional novel about two people falling love is based upon no one who actually exists and a fictional novel about leprechauns and unicorns. Remember, the specific details of the parable of the sower, don't have to be based upon actual facts, the key is that the facts of the story are based upon potentially real activity. Arians must argue that the entire story in "Hades" is no more possible than a unicorn!

Defining fables, Myths and parables

Fable:

R.C. Trench in The Parables of the Lord says, "The parable is constructed to set forth a spiritual truth; while the fable is essentially of the earth, and never lifts itself above the earth. The fable just reaches that pitch of morality which the world will understand an approve...The parable differs from the fable, by moving in the spiritual world, and never transgressing the actual order of natural things." Fables teach human wisdom through fairy-tale like stories with speaking trees and animals. Parables teach divine wisdom through realistic, true to life stories.

See Judges 9:8-15; 2 Chronicles 25:17-19 for the only two examples of fables in the Bible.

Arians like Jehovah Witnesses call Luke 16 a parable, but in reality they actually they view it as a fable. But why would Jesus use "Jewish fables" and "Pagan false doctrine" in the core of His teaching? Such is condemned in: (examples for use of "fable" in Greek): Tit. 1:14; 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; of fiction, in 2 Pet. 1:16)

Myth:

Trench: "The mythical narrative presents itself not merely as the vehicle of the truth, but as being itself the truth: while in the parable we see the perfect distinction between form and essence, shell and kernel"

The myth unconsciously mixes the symbol with the deeper meaning, the parable keeps the two separate. A myth claims to be the truth itself, not a vehicle for truth like parables do. Myths confuse fantasy and reality.

Modernists view the creation story, miracles and the resurrection of Christ as mythical fantasy stories.

Arians accuse those who take Luke 16 to be a true story as believing in a myth. Arians believe the dead are extinct and cannot talk at all. So when Bible believers look to Luke 16 as solid Bible proof that the dead are not extinct, they accuse us of making the "obviously impossible, untrue and fantasy" into the real. Hence they accuse Christians who accept Luke 16 at face value as believing in a myth.

Comparing Parables, Fables and myths

Fable Vs Parable

Fables are knowingly untrue, unrealistic fantasy stories that illustrate previously discovered human wisdom.

Parables are true or realistic stories that illustrate a deep spiritual truth not previously understood by man.

If Luke 16 is a Fable, as Arians believe, than they must explain why Jesus would use "pagan false doctrine" and confirm the "Jewish majority view" of the day held by Pharisees. The Sadducees believed in extinction at death just like modern Arians. In fact these two Jewish groups opposed each other on their view of life after death! It is impossible to comprehend why, if Jesus viewed the dead became "non-existent", would borrow from the very sect that taught the false view of the dead!

Myth Vs Parable

Myths are fantasy/untrue stories that are accepted as reality/truth themselves.

Parables clearly divide between the story part and the spiritual lesson being taught.

Arians would accuse our view of Luke 16 at this website as being a Myth. They would observe that Luke 16 is actually a Fable, not to be accepted as truth. Because we accept what Arians call "fantasy" as real truth, they would logically think we have accepted a Myth. But our view of Luke 16 is not that it is Myth, but a true story that really happened!

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Is Luke 16 to be taken literally?

Our view is almost identical to Christadelphian view #2. Their view takes the rich man (Caiaphas) and Lazarus as literal until the two men die when the events pass into the realm of Jewish myth. The main difference is that we believe that the conversations after death were real, or at least typical, whereas all Christadelphians reject any possibility of any consciousness in hades.

Does the fact that God is described in symbolic language as having hands and eyes

take literally

take symbolically (anthropomorphism)

reject existence

GOD God has hands, ears, face: Isa 59:1-2 God has wings Ps 36:7

God has literal flesh and bone body with wings

God exists in the otherwise indescribable spirit world and is therefore described in symbolic terms humans can relate to.

Because God is described in non-literal language God doesn't exist

HELL The wicked will be cast into the garbage dump of Jerusalem (Gehenna) which is also described as a lake of fire

The wicked will be burned up with literal fire, in a literal lake of fire in the literal Jerusalem city dump

A literal lake of fire and a literal city dump are two irreconcilably contradictory concepts if taken literally. They are therefore word pictures and symbolic language used to express what is otherwise indescribable since Hell is in the spirit world and is therefore described in symbolic terms humans can relate to.

Because the destruction of the wicked is described in non-literal language there will be no actual destruction of the wicked.

HADES There is fire, water, tongues, fingers and pain in Hades

There is literal fire and fingers in Hades

Hades is in the otherwise indescribable spirit world and is therefore described in symbolic terms humans can relate to.

Neo-Sadduceeian Logic: Because Hades is described in non-literal language Hades doesn't exist as an actual place where departed spirits consciously await judgement

If Arians reject Hades in Luke 16 as a real place of consciousness for the dead because it is described in symbolic language, then they must also reject that God or Hell exists too!

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Rich man and Lazarus: Luke 16:19-31

The Literal, pre-resurrection view

Taught by many mainline Anti-Neo-Sadduceeian churches

This view is almost identical to the Word Picture, pre-resurrection, view

Advocates of the view correctly view Hades as a conscious place where the dead (death always means a separation between two things, Physical death = separation of body and soul) await the final judgment.

However they view the specific things mentioned in Hades (eyes, finger tip, water, tongue, flame) as being literal.

These same groups generally view all the word pictures of heaven and hell as literal as well!

This view is close to truth but weak and faulted when cross-examined.

Since the only difference in this view and the truth is whether we take the elements of Hades literally or symbolically, we strongly recommend advocates study closely this portion of the outline: click here

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Rich man and Lazarus: Luke 16:19-31

The Fable View (Neo-Sadduceeism)

Taught by Jehovah's Witness, Christadelphian, Seventh-day Adventist

Overview of how "fable view" false teachers, twist Luke 16:

Christadelphian

View #1: Roberts, Christendom Astray It was addressed to the Pharisees to enforce the lesson that in due time the mighty and rich would be brought down, and the poor exalted; and that if men would not be led by the testimony of Moses and the prophets, miracles (even the raising of the dead) would fail to move them. (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, Robert Roberts, p35)

View #2: Able, Wrested Scriptures The parable condemns Caiaphas the chief Shepherd of Israel for his selfish irresponsibility in neglecting the spiritual and material needs of Jews in Israel. Lazarus represents this neglected class. The parable is a further indictment of the Sadducees (who denied the resurrection of the body and were about to reject the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus) in their disbelief of Moses and the prophets. (Christadelphian handbook: Wrested Scriptures, Ron Able, Luke 16)

Seventh-day Adventist

View #1: Bacchiocchi: "the main lesson of the parable, namely, nothing or no one can supersede the convicting power of the revelation that God has given us in His Word." (Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

View #2: Crews: "The Jewish nation was clearly represented by this character. By contrast, Lazarus symbolized all those people in spiritual poverty--the Gentiles--with whom the Israelites were to share their heritage." (The rich man and Lazarus, Dennis Crews, Amazing Facts, SDA)

Jehovah's Witness

"a reversal in the spiritual status or condition of those represented by Lazarus and the rich main are evidently indicated. The fact that the rich man's brothers rejected Moses and the prophets also shows that the illustration had a deeper meaning and purpose than that of contrasting poverty and the possession of riches." (Jw's, Aid to Bible understanding, Lazarus, p1048)

Fire is used in God's Word to describe his fiery judgment messages, and the work done by God's prophets in declaring his judgments is said to 'torment' those who oppose God and his servants. (Jw's, Aid to Bible understanding, Illustrations, p818)

"the rich man represents the ultra-selfish class of the clergy of Christendom, who are now afar off from God and dead to his favor and service and tormented by the Kingdom truth proclaimed. Lazarus depicts the faithful remnant of the body of Christ. These, on being delivered from modern Babylon since 1919, receive God's favor, pictured by the bosom position of Abraham. and are comforted through his Word." (Let God Be True, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc., 1946, p. 79.)

Summary Overview of each view:

Rich man

Lazarus

7th-day Adventist #1 and Russelites/ Pyramidologists known as "Bible students"

Jews

Gentiles

7th-day Adventist #2

a fictitious rich man

a fictitious man named Lazarus

Christadelphian #1

Rich

Poor

Christadelphian #2

Literally Caiaphas who symbolized High Priestly class of Sadducees

Literally Lazarus who symbolized underclass Jews and the "Gentile dogs"

Jehovah's Witness

Any Christian who opposes Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's witnesses

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7th-day Adventist #1 and Russelites/ Pyramidologists known as "Bible students"

(The rich man and Lazarus, Dennis Crews, Amazing Facts, SDA)

Who was the symbolic rich man? The Jews had been blessed above measure by a knowledge of God and his plan of salvation for all mankind. ... Only a Jew would pray to "Father Abraham," as we find the rich man doing later in the story. The Jewish nation was clearly represented by this character. (The rich man and Lazarus, Dennis Crews, Amazing Facts, SDA)

Giving Luke 16 a "parabolic interpretation" does not explain why Jesus would use Jewish Fables and Pagan false doctrine in the core of his teaching regarding spiritual matters that man cannot discern apart from God telling us.

By contrast, Lazarus symbolized all those people in spiritual poverty--the Gentiles--with whom the Israelites were to share their heritage. (The rich man and Lazarus, Dennis Crews, Amazing Facts, SDA)

This we reject as being even possible! If "only a Jew" would say "Father Abraham", then obviously only a Jew would snuggle Abraham. To suggest that Jesus was teaching that the Gentiles could be saved, when it was news to Peter in Acts 10 some 5 years later proves that if this is the meaning of Luke 16, not even Jesus closest spiritual disciples understood it.

Unfortunately, the Jews had not shared their spiritual wealth with the Gentiles at all. Instead, they considered them as "dogs" who would have to be satisfied with the spiritual crumbs falling from their masters' tables. The metaphor was known. Jesus had used it before, testing the faith of the Canaanite woman, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." She responded accordingly: "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' tables." Mt 15:26, 27. (The rich man and Lazarus, Dennis Crews, Amazing Facts, SDA)

The problem with making this connection is that there are dogs in both Luke 16 and Mt 15:26, except they represent two different things. In Mt, the dogs do represent the Gentiles but in Lk 16 Lazarus was being licked by dogs. So is this Gentiles helping Gentiles? Such wild interpretations are obviously wrong on every count!

Jesus was not trying to explain the physical realities of the afterlife. Instead, He was referring to the unfaithfulness of the Jews regarding their assigned responsibility. As stewards of the special message of truth, they utterly failed to share it with the Gentiles, who were eager to hear it. (The rich man and Lazarus, Dennis Crews, Amazing Facts, SDA)

A simple reading of the rich man and Lazarus will show the nonsense of such a statement. Crews is arguing that all the intimate detail in the story MEANS NOTHING of what it appears to. Further Crews says that the meaning is not directly IN THE STORY but must be gleaned by the larger context. We will accept that Crews interpretation of Luke 16 has nothing at all to do with what the text ACTUALLY SAYS!

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Two conflicting Christadelphian views:

.

Christadelphian view #1 (Total fable view) (Christendom Astray)

Christadelphian view #2 (Literal fable/allegory view) (Wrested Scriptures)

It is literal?

No: Non-Literal "If we insist upon the story as a literal narrative, we are committed to all these particulars"

Yes: Literal "Lazarus must have been known to the audience" and the rich man is "Caiaphas, the Sadduceean High Priest"

Pharisees or Sadducees?

Directed to Pharisees

Cannot be directed to Pharisees, but to the Sadducees

Why Did Jesus use pagan false doctrine and Jewish fables in Luke 16?

"That the dead should speak was necessary for the purpose of the parable, and it would not surprise the Pharisees to whom it was addressed. For, in fact, it embodies their belief."

Jesus used "Beelzebub", was pagan false doctrine, since the person of the Devil doesn't really exist.

God used a fable in Judges 9:7-15

Christadelphian view #1 fable view

This view takes the simplistic approach. Not much detail, not much explanation. Just a general interpretation summed up in the following words from "Christendom Astray":

"It was addressed to the Pharisees to enforce the lesson that in due time the mighty and rich would be brought down, and the poor exalted; and that if men would not be led by the testimony of Moses and the prophets, miracles (even the raising of the dead) would fail to move them." (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, Robert Roberts, p35)

Christadelphian view #2: Literal/fable view

Our summary of their view:

Luke 16

Literal Foundation of allegory

Allegorical application

Rich Man

a Sadducee named Caiaphas

High Priestly class of Sadducees

Lazarus

Perhaps even the same man Jesus raised in Jn 11

"Lazarus class" typical of all Jews of this day and the "Gentile dogs" of Matt. 15:27

Detail of False Christadelphian View #2

Introduction:

This view takes the rich man and Lazarus as literal until the two men die when the events pass into the realm of Jewish myth. In fact this view is almost identical to our true view, with the exception that we believe that the conversations after death were real, or at least typical whereas Christadelphians reject all possibility of any consciousness in hades.

verse

Christadelphian handbook: Wrested Scriptures, Ron Able, Luke 16

v 19

"Which was clothed" Only one class in Israel was habitually clothed in purple and linen and fared sumptuously every day---the High Priestly class of Sadducees. Caiaphas is likely the unnamed (for obvious reasons) rich man. At the time of Jesus the Sadducees had much political power derived from their wealth, office and political connections. They were unpopular with the public because of their avaricious spirit.

v 20

Lazarus is the only character personally named in the parables of Jesus, implying that Lazarus must have been known to the audience. This parable of Jesus might have been uttered after he received news of the death of his friend, Lazarus. The parable was given at Pereae, east of the Jordan at Bethabara (where news of Lazarus' death came to him, John 11:6 cf. John 10:40; 1:28). It was an easy day's journey from Bethabara to Bethany.

v 21

Lazarus was typical of all Jews of this day. They were deprived of even the most meager crumbs of the bread of life from the rich man's table. (i.e., High Priestly class, but Caiaphas in particular). However much Lazarus might patiently await the rich man's (Caiaphas) condescension, the High Priest was incapable of dispensing even spiritual crumbs." The Lazarus class was like the Gentile dogs who hoped for crumbs from their Master's table. (Matt. 15:27).

The story continues with the two literal characters in Hades, except now the events are fable, mythical and fantasy. The Christadelphians reject that such is even possible, for they view the dead literally as extinct. [www.bible.ca comment]

v 22

Lazarus dies and in the parable, the premature death of Caiaphas is made to follow.

v 23-31

In hades they meet but in situations reversed. Caiaphas requests Abraham ... to warn his five brothers.

v27-31

The five brothers are the five brothers-in-law of Caiaphas, the Sadduceean High Priest. Josephus records, "Now the report goes, that this elder Ananus [Annas] proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons, who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and he had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. . ." Antiquities, Book 20, chapter 9, section i, p. 423. Elsewhere, Josephus gives the names of Annas' five sons as Eleasar, Jonathan, Theophilus, Matthias, and the younger Annas. Caiaphas was son-in-law of Annas who had been deposed by the Romans for openly resisting them.

v27-31

The request is refused on the grounds that they had not heard Moses and the Prophets (e.g. in their attitude to adultery and resurrection, Luke 16:18; 20: 27-38) nor would they respond if one rose from the dead. The resurrection of Lazarus further incensed the Pharisees, chief priests and Caiaphas who feared their loss of power. (Jn. 11:47- 57).

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Jehovah's Witness view of Luke 16

This wild interpretation has been awarded the S.T.I.N.C.S. trophy

"a reversal in the spiritual status or condition of those represented by Lazarus and the rich main are evidently indicated. The fact that the rich man's brothers rejected Moses and the prophets also shows that the illustration had a deeper meaning and purpose than that of contrasting poverty and the possession of riches." (Jw's, Aid to Bible understanding, Lazarus, p1048)

Fire is used in God's Word to describe his fiery judgment messages, and the work done by God's prophets in declaring his judgments is said to 'torment' those who oppose God and his servants. (Jw's, Aid to Bible understanding, Illustrations, p818)

"the rich man represents the ultra-selfish class of the clergy of Christendom, who are now afar off from God and dead to his favor and service and tormented by the Kingdom truth proclaimed. Lazarus depicts the faithful remnant of the body of Christ. These, on being delivered from modern Babylon since 1919, receive God's favor, pictured by the bosom position of Abraham. and are comforted through his Word." (Let God Be True, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc., 1946, p. 79.)

Lazarus is a Grecianized. form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, which means "God has helped." The dogs that licked his sores were apparently scavengers that roamed the streets and were viewed as unclean. Lazarus' being in the bosom position of Abraham indicates his being in a position of favor (compare John 1:18), this figure of speech being drawn from the practice of reclining at meals in such a way that one could lean back on the bosom of a friend.-John 13:23-25. (Jw's, Aid to Bible understanding, Illustrations, p818)

"some ... have suggested that in giving this illustration Jesus Christ drew upon the ancient rabbinical concept and Teaching regarding the underworld. ... However, Jesus flatly rejected false teachings, including those of the Pharisees. (Matt. chap. 23) Hence, it would have been inconsistent for him to frame his illustration of the rich man and Lazarus according to the outlines of the false rabbinical concept of the underworld. Consequently, it must be concluded that Jesus had in mind the fulfillment of the illustration and framed its details and movement in harmony with the facts of the fulfillment rather than according to any unscriptural teaching. The context and the wording of the story show clearly that it is a parable and not an actual historical account. Poverty is not being extolled, nor are riches being condemned, but, rather, faith, conduct, final rewards and a reversal in the spiritual status or condition of those represented by Lazarus and the rich main are evidently indicated. The fact that the rich man's brothers rejected Moses and the prophets also shows that the illustration had a deeper meaning and purpose than that of contrasting poverty and the possession of riches. (Jw's, Aid to Bible understanding, Lazarus, p1048)

The Five Brothers: After being denied the drop of soothing water, the Rich Man further petitions that Lazarus be sent to his "father's house" to save his five brothers from a similar fate. It has been pointed out that the Jews who returned to Palestine after the Babylonian captivity were primarily from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and that mathematically these two tribes are related to the other ten in the same ration as one to five. There is a further historical reason to bolster this interpretation. (Jehovah's Witness)

Refutation of false Jehovah's Witness "wild self serving" view:

We have awarded Jehovah's Witnesses the S.T.I.N.C.S. trophy for this interpretation! Other Arians (7-day Adventists) approach Luke 16 with at least of touch of intellectual honesty in trying to approach their most difficult verse in an effort to avoid the obvious teaching of consciousness in the grave. But, the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, typical of their method of herding the mindless Jw sheep, have reviewed all options and decided that if they are going to invent some wild interpretation of the parable, it might as well be "self serving"! So according to the inspired Watchtower writers, this parable had NO fulfillment until 1919 AD! Of course the blind Watchtower "sheep" not only believe it, but accept it as proof that their persecution is from the devil rather than from Jehovah Himself as he opposes their satanic doctrines!

In the ultimate deception and act of blindness they say, "Jesus would never use Jewish and Pagan false teaching" in this story! We agree! Jesus accurately described the conscious state of the dead.

Jehovah's Witnesses are deluded into thinking that just because the statement is made: "Jesus would never teach Pagan false doctrine" that it eliminates the whole problem that all Arians have with Luke 16! They fail to notice that all other Arians have taken the intellectually honourable (but difficult) view that Jesus based the story upon Jewish myth and pagan false doctrine of the day. Jw's realized that either way, great damage would be done to their false doctrine, so they invented this view!

So the refutation of this view is to ask them the question: "Why would Jesus use pagan false doctrine in what you call a parable!" To deny Jesus did this falls on deaf ears considering all other Arians have been honest enough to admit it! Second, saying "water is not really wet" doesn't change the fact that water really it wet! Of course it is the Watchtower theology that is all wet! But Jw's fail to admit that too!

Their view makes the parable have no meaning to first century Christians to whom it was addressed! Remember that parables may have been pointed at the Pharisees, but ultimately they were to teach truth to Christians! How ridiculous that 1st century Christians figured the parable had no application till 1919 AD!

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Jewish Fable or Truth?

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Why would Jesus use pagan false doctrine?

The suggestion that Jesus used Jewish Fable and Pagan false doctrine in Luke 16 is inconceivable! Arians, who believe Jesus sided with the Sadducean view of extinction, simply cannot explain Luke 16. They are forced into falsely accusing Jesus of promoting what He knew was pagan false doctrine! The only reasonable conclusion, is that conscious life after death IS NOT pagan false doctrine, but the very truth Jesus chose to convey by simply reading Luke 16! Paul condemned using Jewish myths and fables in 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Tit. 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16! Rather than call themselves false teachers, they call Jesus the false teacher!

It is useful to have Josephus' description of hades from his "Discourse to Greeks Concerning Hades": "Now as to Hades, wherein the souls of the righteous and unrighteous are detained, it is necessary to speak of it. Hades is a place in the world not regularly finished; a subterraneous region, where the light of this world does not shine . . . This region is allowed as a place of custody for souls, in which angels are appointed as guardians to them. . . .the just are guided to the right hand, and are led with hymns sung by the angels appointed over that place, unto a region of light. . . with whom there is no place of toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold,. . . while they wait for that rest and eternal new life in heaven, which is to succeed this region. This place we call The Bosom of Abraham. But as to the unjust, they are dragged by force to the left hand, by the angels allotted for punishment, no longer going with a good will. . . Now those angels that are set over these souls, drag them into the neighborhood of hell itself; who, when they are hard by it, continually hear the noise of it, and do not stand clear of the hot vapour itself; but when they have a nearer view of this spectacle, as of a terrible and exceeding great prospect of fire, they are struck with a fearful expectation of a future judgment, and in effect punished thereby. . . even hereby are they punished; for a chasm deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them, cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it." (Josephus Complete Works, trans. by William Whiston, p.637)

See the whole text plus what early Christians thought

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Jesus did not use pagan false doctrine in Luke 16! Conscious life after death is exactly what Jesus intended to teach! Paul condemned using Jewish myths and fables in 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Tit. 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16!

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia discusses the contemporary background of the allegory. "This parable follows a story common in Egyptian and Jewish thought, in which the wicked rich and the pious poor have their positions reversed in the afterlife. It is told from the point of view of the rich man . . . who speaks with Abraham from his place of torment . . . "Although this parable does not intend to give a topographical study of the abode of the dead, it is built upon and thus confirms common Jewish thought . . . In the Jewish conception of Hades . . . the good and the wicked could see each other but were separated by a great impassable chasm. Across this chasm the rich man called to Abraham, begging that Lazarus be sent to comfort him. When he was assured of the impossibility of this, he begged that Lazarus be sent back to warn his brothers of their possible fate. Abraham said that if they would not believe Moses, they would not believe one returned from the dead. "The parable . . . warns the rich that their possessions do not guarantee their future state. The parable was apparently directed toward Sadducean satisfaction with this life, based upon the belief that there would be no life beyond. Thus, Abraham said that even one from the dead would not convince the living to repent" (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1986, Vol. III, p. 94).

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Christadelphians accuse Jesus of using pagan false doctrine in Luke 16! How repulsive! Paul condemned using Jewish myths and fables in Titus 1:14! Rather than call themselves false teachers, Christadelphians call Jesus a false teacher! In fact, they make the same argument about demons being an accommodation of Jewish myth and pagan doctrine.

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Christadelphians won a S.T.I.N.C.S. trophy for calling Jesus a false teacher!

Christadelphians call Jesus a False teacher!

A JEWISH FABLE. Paul told Titus to rebuke the Cretans sharply that they might be sound in the faith, "not giving heed to Jewish fables" (Titus 1: 14). It is one of these "Jewish fables" that Christ uses against the "covetous Pharisees" in the parable under consideration. ... There are other fables in the Bible (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

His reference to their "fable" no more commits him to a belief in it than does his reference to "Beelzebub" (Matt. 12: 27) argue his belief in "The Lord of the Fly", which is the meaning of the name thus bestowed by the heathen upon an imaginary "Prince of the Demons".(Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

It may be asked, Why did Christ parabolically employ a belief that was fictitious, and thus give it his apparent sanction? The answer is that Christ was not using it with any reference to itself, but for the purpose of being able to introduce a dead man's testimony. He wanted to impress upon them the lesson conveyed in the concluding words of Abraham, "If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead"; and in no more forcible way could he have done this, than by framing a parable based upon their own theory of the death state, which admitted of the consciousness of the dead, and, therefore, their capability to speak on the subject he wanted to introduce. This did not involve his sanction of the theory, any more than his allusion to Beelzebub carried with it a sanction of the reality of that God of the heathen (Matt. 12:27). (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, Robert Roberts, p35)

If it is a literal narrative - that is, an account of things that actually happened, given by Christ as a guide to our conception of the "disembodied" state - then it is perfectly legitimate to bring it forward in confutation of the view advanced in this lecture. But in that case it would not only upset that view, but it would upset the popular view also, and establish the view that was entertained by the Pharisees, to whom the parable was addressed; for it will be found on investigation that it is the tradition of the Pharisees that forms the basis of the parable; a tradition which clashes with the popular theory of the death state in many particulars.(Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, Robert Roberts, p35)

That the dead should speak was necessary for the purpose of the parable, and it would not surprise the Pharisees to whom it was addressed. For, in fact, it embodies their belief. This is apparent from the treatise on "Hades," by Josephus (himself a Pharisee), which will be found at the close of his compiled works, and in which the reader will find a recognition of the existence of "Abraham's bosom", and the fiery late in "An Unfinished Part Of The World." He will find the belief of the Pharisees (reflected in the parable of Jesus) a very different thing from popular belief in heaven beyond the skies, and hell as an abyss in the black and dizzy parts of the universe. A perusal of it will convince him of the wide dissimilarity of the Jewish theory embodied in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, from the commonly received doctrine of going to heaven and hell. (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, Robert Roberts, p35)

Some take exception to Jesus using a false idea of the Pharisees as a basis for his teaching. But it should be noted that the truth or falsity of the story in a parable is immaterial. Similarly, the Old Testament parable of Jotham (Judges 9:7-15) does not require the trees of the forest to enter into political discussion and finally invite a bramble to be king. The lesson conveyed through the story is the intended point. Jesus makes reference to Beelzebub, "the lord of the fly", but this does not commit him to a belief in a real "lord of the fly". (Matt. 12:27). (Christadelphian handbook: Wrested Scriptures, Ron Able, Luke 16)

Christadelphians also charge Jesus as promoting what they believe to be pagan false doctrine regarding the personality of the devil and demons. Christadelphians reject that the Holy Spirit, the devil and demons are actual personal beings. Rather, they themselves promote the false teaching that the Holy Spirit is the personification of God's power, that the devil is the personification of sin and that demons are the personification of disease. Christadelphians believe that Jesus would side with them in this matter. So Christadelphians say the following about demons: "Daimonion is the word used to describe certain diseases attributed by superstition to the malignant influence of so-called spirits of dead heroes inhabiting a person. The Bible accommodates the language of the times, without endorsing this pagan teaching. "Casting out devils" merely signifies curing a disease." (The truth about Lucifer, G. E. Nabsfield, p 16, vol 41 number 6) We find this view as outrageous as it is wrong. Christadelphians are accusing Jesus and the apostles of perpetuating a pagan false doctrine. If ever there was proof their theology was WAY OFF the mark, this is a major sign post. Jesus came to dispel falsehoods, not promote and perpetuation them.

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Seventh-day Adventists accuse Jesus of using pagan false doctrine in Luke 16! How repulsive! Paul condemned using Jewish myths and fables in Titus 1:14! Rather than call themselves false teachers, Seventh-day Adventists call Jesus a false teacher!

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Seventh-day Adventists won a S.T.I.N.C.S. trophy for calling Jesus a false teacher!

Seventh-day Adventists call Jesus a False teacher!

As with the parable of the trees and the bramble (Judges 9:8-15), however, serious problems arise with a literal interpretation of the story elements. (The rich man and Lazarus, Dennis Crews, Amazing Facts, SDA)

Historically, most Christians have believed that human nature consists of a material, mortal body and a spiritual, immortal soul. This belief, known as dualism, is largely derived from Greek philosophers who regarded the body as temporary and evil but the soul as eternal and good. Dualism has led Christians to envision a destiny where immortal souls survive the death of the body and spend eternity either in the bliss of paradise or in the torment of a fiery hell. ... With compelling Biblical reasoning, it unmasks the oldest and possibly the greatest deception of all time, namely, that human beings possess immortal souls that live on forever. Classical Dualism. The classical view of human nature is largely derived from the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. The emphasis of these philosophies is on the distinction between the material and spiritual components of human nature. In Platonic thought, human nature has both a material and a spiritual component. The material component is the body, which is temporary and essentially evil; and the spiritual component is the soul (psyche) or the mind (nous), which are eternal and good. The human body is transient and mortal while the human soul is permanent and immortal. At death, the soul is released from the prison house of the body where it was entombed for a time. Historically popular Christian thought has been deeply influenced by this dualistic, un-Biblical understanding of human nature.(Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, reviewing his own book: Immortality or Resurrection?)

The Greek word hades came into Biblical use when the translators of the Septuagint chose it to render the Hebrew sheol. The problem is that hades was used in the Greek world in a vastly different way than sheol. While sheol in the Old Testament is the realm of the dead, where, as we have seen, the deceased are in an unconscious state, hades in Greek mythology is the underworld, where the conscious souls of the dead are divided in two major regions, one a place of torment and the other of blessedness. ... This Greek conception of hades influenced Hellenistic Jews, during the intertestamental period, to adopt the belief in the immortality of the soul and the idea of a spatial separation in the underworld between the righteous and the godless. The souls of the righteous proceeded immediately after death to heavenly felicity, there to await the resurrection, while the souls of the godless went to a place of torment in hades. The popular acceptance of this scenario is reflected in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus... This view of hades as a place of torment for the wicked eventually entered into the Christian Church and influenced even Bible translators. (Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

Current Jewish Concepts. Fortunately for our investigation, we have Jewish writings that illuminate the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Especially revealing is the "Discourse to the Greeks Concerning Hades," written by Josephus, the famous Jewish historian who lived during New Testament times (died about A. D. 100) [see: Josephus, Discourse to the Greeks Concerning Hades, in Josephus Complete Works, trans. William Whiston, 1974, p. 637]. His discourse parallels very closely the narrative of the rich man and Lazarus. In it Josephus explains that "Hades is a subterraneous region where the light of this world does not shine. . . . This region is allowed as a place of custody for souls, in which angels are appointed as guardians to them, who distribute to them temporary punishments, agreeable to every one's behavior and manners." Josephus points out, however, that hades is divided into two regions. One is "the region of light" where the souls of the righteous dead are brought by angels to the "place we call The Bosom of Abraham." The second region is in "perpetual darkness," and the souls of the ungodly are dragged by force "by the angels allotted for punishment." These angels drag the ungodly "into the neighborhood of hell itself," so that they can see and feel the heat of the flames. But they are not thrown into hell itself until after the final judgment. "A chaos deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them, cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it."(Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

Jesus' Use of Current Beliefs. At this juncture, it may be proper to ask, "Why did Jesus tell a parable based on current beliefs that do not accurately represent truth as set forth elsewhere in the Scripture and in His own teachings?" The answer is that Jesus met people on their own ground, capitalizing on what was familiar to them to teach them vital truths. Many of His hearers had come to believe in a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection, though such a belief is foreign to Scripture. This erroneous belief was adopted during the intertestamental period as part of the process of Hellenization of Judaism and had become a part of Judaism by the time of Jesus. In this parable, Jesus made use of a popular belief, not to endorse it, but to impress upon the minds of His hearers an important spiritual lesson. It should be noted that even in the preceding parable of the Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-12), Jesus uses a story that does not accurately represent Biblical truth. Nowhere, does the Bible endorse the practice of a dishonest administrator who reduces to half the outstanding debts of creditors in order to get some personal benefits from such creditors. The lesson of the parable is to "make friends for yourselves" (Luke 16:9), not to teach dishonest business practices. (Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

The notion of hades as the place of torment for the wicked derives from Greek mythology, not Scripture. In mythology hades was the underworld where the conscious souls of the dead are divided in two major regions, one a place of torment and the other of blessedness. This Greek conception of hades influenced some Jews during the intertestamental period to adopt the belief that immediately after death the souls of the righteous proceed to heavenly felicity, while the souls of the godless go to a place of torment in hades. This popular scenario is reflected in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. (Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

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Edward Fudge accuses Jesus of using pagan false doctrine in Luke 16! How repulsive! Paul condemned using Jewish myths and fables in Titus 1:14! Rather than call himself a false teacher, Edward Fudge calls Jesus a false teacher!

Edward Fudge calls Jesus a False teacher!

On Luke 16: "The plot of the parable, the reversal of earthly fortunes after death, was familiar in popular Palestinian stories of Jesus' time. Hugo Gressmann cites a Greek parallel from a first-century Egyptian papyrus, and he says there are at least seven versions of the story in Jewish literature. One of the most famous involved a poor student of the Law and a rich publican named Bar Ma'jan. There are differences between these stories and Jesus', of course, and therein lies the Lord's uniqueness. But the basic plot was well-known folklore. Froom cites a discourse of Josephus concerning Hades which paints almost precisely the same picture found in Luke. He concludes that "Jesus was clearly using a then-common tradition of the Jews to press home a moral lesson in a related field." (The Fire That Consumes, Edward W. Fudge, Annihilationist, p. 204)

"In Greek mythology Hades was the god of the underworld, and then the name of the nether world itself. Charon ferried the souls of the dead across the rivers Styx or Acheron into his abode, where the watchdog Cerberus guarded the gate so that none might escape. The pagan myth contained all the elements of the medieval eschatology: there was the pleasant Elysium, the gloomy and miserable Tartarus, and even the Plains of Asphodel, where ghosts could wander who were suited for neither of the above. Ruling beside the god was his queen Proserpine (or Persephone), whom he had raped from the world above." (Edward Fudge, The Fire That Consumes, 1989, p. 205)

"Luke 16:19: This, then, is Jesus' stated message. These are the points, raised already in His context, which he illustrates by the parable. The two-fold circumstances after death are a vehicle for the story, and they involve language familiar to Jesus' hearers- language drawn, not from the divine revelation of the Old Testament, but from intertestamental and first-century folklore." (The Fire That Consumes, Edward W. Fudge, Annihilationist, p. 207-208)

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Herbert W. Armstrong accuses Jesus of using pagan false doctrine in Luke 16! How repulsive! Paul condemned using Jewish myths and fables in Titus 1:14! Rather than call himself a false teacher, Herbert W. Armstrong calls Jesus a false teacher!

Herbert W. Armstrong calls Jesus a False teacher! (World Wide church of God, Plain truth magazine)

"illustrating immortality of the soul and the lurid eternally burning torture of Dante's fabled "hell," (Lazarus and the Rich Man, H. W. Armstrong, 1953)

Question #2. Dante got his ideas about hell from: A2: Plato and Virgil.(Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course Lesson 6, 1977)

Those who teach the pagan doctrine of the immortality of the soul going off to "heaven" at death, or eternal punishing--teach contrary to what Jesus said! (Lazarus and the Rich Man, H. W. Armstrong, 1953)

The idea that wicked "souls" are right now suffering torments ... is a pagan myth! (Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course Lesson 6, 1977)

Allegorical account: A consideration of the account of Lazarus and the rich man in view of other scriptures on the subject of death and the resurrection makes it clear that this is an allegory used to teach important spiritual lessons. It is not intended to be understood literally, nor is this a description of the actual events that take place after death or at the resurrection. (What Happens After Death?, United Church of God, an International Association)

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Arguments used by Arians to debunk Lk 16:

False Argument #1: "cannot be Literal"

Click to View Cannot be Literal: body parts

Since this passage is cited as a literal description of actual events (and not as a parable) it is helpful to show that even the immortal soulist cannot take this passage as a literal description. The following is the evidence: The passage speaks about bodies not souls. E.g., eyes, bosom (vs. 23) tip of finger and tongue (vs. 24). (Christadelphian handbook: Wrested Scriptures, Ron Able, Luke 16)

Contenders for literalism suppose that the rich man and Lazarus were disembodied spirits, destitute of bodies. Yet the rich man is described as having "eyes" that see and a "tongue" that speaks, as well as seeking relief from the "finger" of Lazarus-all real body parts. They are portrayed as existing physically, despite the fact that the rich man's body was duly buried in the grave. Was his body carried away into hades together with his soul by mistake? (Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

Another dilemma that arises with a literal interpretation of this story could be called "the mystery of the empty graves." If this is taken literally, apparently neither of the two leading characters spent very long in the grave--both being whisked away rather quickly to their respective places of reward. Their bodies obviously came along, for we find the rich man lifting up his eyes, and desiring to have his tongue cooled by a drop of water from the finger of Lazarus who was resting, as we have seen, in Abraham's bosom. Enough graves have been exhumed in recent years to know that the bodies of the deceased are carried neither to heaven or hell after burial. They finally turn to dust and await the resurrection. (The rich man and Lazarus, Dennis Crews, Amazing Facts, SDA)

False argument refuted:

Arians make a very weak argument here, claiming that the rich man in Luke 16 took his body with him to Hades because it mentions fingers and tongues etc.

God is composed 100% of spirit, yet is also spoken of as having human body parts. Arians don't think God has a literal flesh and blood body like man! This is called anthropomorphism which we discussed in the introduction section on "word pictures"!

We agree that the physical elements of tongues, fingers and fire are not literal in the same way that God's hands, ears, face: Isa 59:1-2; arms: Ex. 6:6 eyes, ears, heart: 2 Chr 7:15-16 are not literal. BUT GOD STILL POSSESSES SOMETHING that corresponds to these physical things.

Just because God and the dead are described using anthropomorphism does not mean that something is indeed literally there that is outside our ability to comprehend.

Look over very carefully our section on word pictures and you will give up the false doctrine of the dead being extinct!

Click to View Cannot be Literal: contradicts other doctrine

A literal interpretation of the parable contradicts some fundamental Biblical truths. (Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

False argument refuted:

We deny this! conscious life after death and the core of teaching within Luke 16 only contradicts Neo-Sadduceeian false doctrine!

Click to View Cannot be Literal: immediate rewards

If the narrative is literal, then Lazarus received his reward and the rich man his punishment, immediately after death and before the judgment day. But the Bible clearly teaches that the rewards and punishments, as well as the separation between the saved and the unsaved will take place on the day of Christ's coming. (Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

False argument refuted:

Such is a silly argument. Luke 16 actually mirrors what happens when a murderer is caught and awaiting his sentence. He is in jail, although his final sentence is not yet given. God, in his justice system, does exactly the same thing... Luke 16 proves it! Further the righteous have not yet received the full reward of heaven and their immortal spirit bodies. Lazarus was a spirit without a body!

Click to View Cannot be Literal: figurative death

That it cannot be concluded from this parable that Hades itself is a place of blazing fire is made clear at Revelation 20:14, where death and Hades are described as being hurled into "the lake of fire." The death of the rich man and his being in Hades must therefore be figurative, figurative death being mentioned elsewhere in the Scriptures. (Luke 9:60; Col. 2:13; 1 Tim. 5:6) So the fiery torment was experienced while he was figuratively dead but actually alive as a human. (Jws, Aid to Bible understanding, Illustrations, p818)

False argument refuted:

We are always entertained to tears with any Jehovah's Witness interpretation of scripture.

Jw's have absolutely no concept of the definition of death being a separation between two things.

Jw's have no understanding of the difference between physical death (separation of body and soul) and spiritual death (separation of man and God)

Click to View Cannot be Literal: geographic distance

A gulf separates Lazarus in Heaven (Abraham's bosom) from the rich man in hades. The gulf is too wide for anyone to cross and yet narrow enough to permit them to converse. Taken literally, this means that Heaven and Hell are within geographical speaking and seeing distance from each other so that saints and sinners eternally can see and communicate with one another. (Immortality or Resurrection?, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, Ch 5: State of the Dead)

Look at the incidents of the parable: see how incompatible they are with the popular theory [conscious life after death]. Does popular theology allow of the wicked in hell seeing the righteous in heaven? or admit of the possibility of conversation passing between the occupants of the two places? (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

False argument refuted:

Why do Arians reject the clear teaching of the Bible? If Jesus told us that the wicked and the righteous would both talk and see each other, who are they to challenge Jesus' words!

A lot of Bible doctrines make no human sense to Arians and they reject them! Eternal conscious torment is another example!

Instead of double questioning God Arians should let the Bible and not human emotion and reason affect what they accept as true!

Click to View Cannot be Literal: pit isn't obstacle

Is a "gulf" an obstacle to the transit of an immaterial soul? (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

False argument refuted:

We do believe that this is a literal pit between two physical things. This is the spirit world remember, where nothing physical exists. .

The gulf is a word picture. Something like a pit separates the wicked from the righteous.

This is just another example similar to rejecting the use of anthropomorphism.

Click to View Cannot be Literal: only one drop?

If the rich man was suffering in unquenchable fire, what good would one drop of water do to soothe his agony? (Christadelphian)

And has the popular theory of the immortal soul, fingertips, tongue, and other material members, on which water would have a cooling affect? ... If we insist upon the story as a literal narrative, we are committed to all these particulars, which are so thoroughly at variance with the popular theory. (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

Why did he call for water? To put out the fires of all "hell"?--the kind of hell people would have you believe he was in? Ah, no! He only wanted a mere couple of drops of water on Lazarus finger--why?--"to cool my tongue!" ... Just a couple of drops that's all the water he requested! Doesn't that strike you as strange? (Lazarus and the Rich Man, H. W. Armstrong, 1953)

False argument refuted:

This is just another example similar to rejecting the use of anthropomorphism.

The same could be said of Jesus asking for a drink on the cross rather than being taken down from the cross. The fact remains that the rich man was in fire and wanted ask for a "fire hose" but merely asked the absolute minimum as a starting point of relief. His shame to make any request at all in light of his unwillingness to give Lazarus anything when alive, is obvious to the context.

The rich man only asked for one drop, because, although he wanted a swimming pool, he felt like this was the most he could ask for. It was a starting point in the process! His hunch was right! He was refused even one drop!

False Argument #2: "only a parable"

Click to View Only a parable: Jesus always spoke in parables

But if any insist that it is not a parable, they must be reminded that "Without a parable spake he not unto them" Matt. 13: 34 (Christadelphian)

False argument refuted:

With logic like this, no wonder the world is filled with false teachers! Have these guys ever even read the gospels? Only a small part of Jesus teachings are "parables". Stop and look at this Christadelphian argument, it is ignorance gone to seed!

Click to View Only a parable: many churches teach it so

Even orthodox believers talk of it as a parable, which it doubtless is. (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

False argument refuted:

We have documented that some who believe in conscious life after death, call Luke 16 a parable. Such does not make it one! But we noted that even if it was a parable, all parables are founded upon the real and the possible!

Click to View Only a parable: speaking trees in OT

But it may be urged that all parables have their foundation in fact. So they have, but they do not necessarily exhibit things that are possible. Parables in which trees speak, and a thistle goes in quest of matrimonial alliances, and corpses rise out of their tombs and address other corpses newly arrived, will be found in the Scriptures (Judges 9:8; 2 Kings 14:9; Isaiah 14:9,11). The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is founded on fact but not necessarily on a literal possibility. (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

False argument refuted:

This is utter deception and bad scholarship. Judges 9:8; 2 Kings 14:9; Isaiah 14:9,11 are NOT PARABLES BUT FABLES. There is a huge difference. We have correctly defined the differences between a parable and a fable above in this document.

But more importantly, although there are fables in the Old Testament, JESUS NEVER USED FABLES EVER!

OT writers referred to "talking trees". But we know from human experience that such is not literally possible! To argue that Jesus used fable-like elements in Luke 16 is categorically different than talking trees. We are totally UNABLE to discern, from human experience, whether the dead are conscious! Why would Jesus (our window into the spirit world outside of human experience) mislead us???

Of course Jesus did not mislead us, he spoke in Luke 16, exactly the state of things.

So our statement that "all parables have their foundation in fact" stands unrefuted!

Click to View Parable designed to confuse enemies!

It is in these plain words of Christ that we are to seek for Christ's real ideal on the subject of the dead, and not in a parabolic discourse, addressed to his enemies for the purpose of confusion and condemnation and not of instruction. It would be strange indeed of so important a doctrine as the heaven-and-hell consciousness of the dead should have to depend upon a parable! (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

False argument refuted:

This argument is absolutely incredible! The problem is that even the disciples believed in conscious life after death. Jesus' parable confused the disciples too! 99% of the church goers believe in conscious life after dead today. Jesus powerful words in Luke 16 are seen as very clear. Did Jesus even mislead the faithful? Where did Jesus ever come out and say, "the dead are extinct and unconscious'? He never did. So according to Christadelphians, Jesus was a deceiver! Further, no one disputes the spiritual meaning of the parable of the sower, they simply reject it as true! In fact the opposite it happening here.

Click to View Only a parable: "Certain man"

It is not a true story, but a parable. The story just before it, about the unjust steward, begins in exactly the same way: "There was a certain rich man. ..." And that story was a parable about the Pharisees. Jesus says so in verse 15. (Christadelphian)

False argument refuted:

The expression "certain man" is used in many places in the Bible both by Jesus and others as the normal way of referring to actual live humans. see: "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him" Mt 26:17; Lk 8:27; 14:2; Jn 5:5; 11:1; Acts 3:2 25:14. Because parables are always based upon reality it is more likely that when the expression "certain" is used that Jesus is bringing to remembrance a known current event by most people. Just like we could say, "There was a certain king who got caught cheating on his wife in the palace" immediately brings to mind US president Clinton. We find no reason why the parable of the good Samaritan, for example, could not have been a know recent true story. However, we are quite willing to accept that Jesus did use the expression "certain man" when He invented a fictitious story for a parable. All we are arguing here is that the expression "certain man" is used both of true and fictitious stories and the argument that Luke 16 cannot be true because of this is simply bad logic.

False Argument #3: "no resurrection"

Click to View No need for resurrection!

What need, according to the popular view [conscious life after death], for a rising from the dead, since a spirit commissioned from the "vast deep" would have been sufficient to communicate the warning? (Christadelphian, Christendom Astray, p35)

False argument refuted:

First we note that Paul went to paradise but when he came back he was not permitted to speak about what he saw! 2 Cor 12:4 "was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak". Obviously the many dead who were raised were forbidden to speak about the details of Paradise. But granting, for the sake of argument, that the dead are extinct, the influence of someone rising from the dead to warn about a coming judgement is no greater than the pre-existent Jesus (Jw & SDA view) coming down from heaven. Even granting the impossible Christadelphian view that Jesus had no pre-existence at all, they must still recognize that He performed miracles of raising from the dead and gave warnings, yet they rejected him.

False Argument #4: "only rich man in Hades"

Click to View Only rich man in Hades:

Only the rich man was in Hades, Lazarus was not, being in Abraham's bosom

False argument refuted:

We wonder what this proves? Assuming that only the rich man was in Hades, that does not change the fact that the rich man was totally conscious apart from his physical body after death. But the text does not say that Lazarus was not in Hades! We argue that Hades is a two compartment place that includes Abraham's bosom. (see above)

False Argument #5: "Shining not fire"

Click to View Not fire but "shining"

This brings us to the sole usage of phlox without pur, of flame without fire. Commenting on this, W. E. Vine in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words has this to say: "phlox 5395, akin to Lat. fulgeo, `to shine,' is used apart from pur, `fire,' in Luke 16:24; with pur, it signifies `a fiery flame,' lit., `a flame of fire.' Acts 7:30; 2 Thess. 1:8, where the fire is to be understood as the instrument of Divine judgment; Heb. 1:7, where the meaning probably is that God makes His angels as active and powerful as a flame of fire; in Rev. 1:14; 2:18; 19:12," ... We suggest that the shining referred to here, the effulgence, is the exposure of the hypocrisies of the Pharisees' position by the spreading light of the Gospel. (Jehovah's Witness)

Professor Lightfoot has noted that there exists a similar parable in the second part of the Talmud, the Gemara. Josephus, in his lecture to the Greeks on the state of the dead, also gives an oblique reference to the parable [though some consider this reference in Josephus to be spurious.] Since the Talmud was a collection of the oral traditions of Jewry, it seems very likely that this parable originated as an illustration of the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32. (Jehovah's Witness)

False argument refuted:

Vine would never agree! Notice that the compound word "flame of fire" = "phlox + pur". Typical of the Jehovah's Witnesses dismal understanding of Greek when the New World Translation was made they fail to note that Vine tells us that the compound Greek word, "phlox + pur" is not rendered "shining of fire" but "flame of fire". Take your pick! 1. Flame 2. Fire.

And the tongue is a fire (pur), the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire (phlogizo) the course of our life, and is set on fire (phlogizo) by hell (gehenna). James 3:6

But to make matters worse the New World Translation renders Lk 16:24, "I am in anguish in this blazing fire". Too bad the Holy Spirit didn't lead the Governing body to simply use the word, "shining"!

Overall, this is one of most ridiculous arguments we have ever seen! To transfer the flame of torment of a dead man in the grave to the terrified look on the face of non-Jehovah's Witnesses when they knock on their door... What can we say... Only a Jw could dream this stuff up!

So Moses by writing Deut 32:22 misled the parable writers of the Talmud that the dead are conscious departed spirits that suffer torment. Then Jesus picked up on this Jewish fable and expanded upon it in Luke 16. If Jesus is a window into spiritual truth, why would he perpetuate this false teaching when Paul condemned Jewish fables and myths in Tit 1:14.

Granting this ridiculous notion that Jesus would do such a thing, If there is a direct connection between Luke 16 and Deut 32:33 the fire mentioned in sheol cannot be explained away with wishful Greek etymoligcal gymnastics based on the word "flame" in Lk 16:24 being mere "shining".

Click to View

Rich man and Lazarus: Luke 16:19-31

The literal, post resurrection, view (Neo-Sadduceeism)

As taught solely by:

Herbert W. Armstrong, Plain truth magazine and most Armstrong splinter groups.

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