The Rich Man and Lazarus!!!
There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”…… Luke 16:19-31
In our previous Study, we were looking at the Abominations in God’s sight and we concluded with a very instructive word form the Lord which we must bear in our heart till we leave this world which is, ” Whatever is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Here Jesus is continuing with his teachings in relation to Man’s attitude to Mammon. And Here We shall consider the popular story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. I believe that this is not a parable but a True story because Jesus never mentioned a name in any of his Parable. He always says, “A certain king, A certain Man, A certain Sower”, but here, He mentions Lazarus. And I guess the reason why He did not mention the Rich man’s name was because the Rich man’s relatives were still alive and He did not want to embarrass them. Jesus was not like these fake seers who claim that they saw so and so person in Hell and they would make a video of it and become Millionaires through the sales. So Jesus was speaking about a real person who went to Paradise and a real person who went to Hell.
Notice something again before we begin this story that we don’t see exactly why the Rich Man went to Hell and why Lazarus went into God’s Kingdom. We should not have this notion in our mind that Rich people will go to Hell and Poor people will go to Heaven. There are many rich people in Heaven today and many poor people in Hell. Our Salvation has no connection with how poor or how rich materially we are. But when we begin to compare Scripture with Scriptures, we shall see the reason why this rich man went to Hell. Salvation is by Faith. There is no other way to be saved apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But the Bible talks about a Dead and Living Faith. Our Salvation depends on a Living and not a Dead Faith in certain facts about Jesus Christ and the Gospel. The Epistles of James makes it clear that faith which relates to only doctrinal matters is a Dead faith even the Devil believes all those Doctrines and Yet remains the Devil. James 2:19,” You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! “. The Living Faith is the Faith that is backed up with Works of righteousness. James 2:14-17 says, ” What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit ? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” So now we can see why this Man went to Hell. It was a Dead Faith. This rich Man was related to Lazarus, He was his brother. This is because they were both children of Abraham. He was a Jew, they were both Sons of Abraham. This is a picture of two brothers in the Church. And this Rich brother never bothered to care for his poor brother which proves that His faith is dead. He saw His brother in need at the gate of his house everyday and did nothing to help him. No doubt the rich man went to Synagogue every Sabbath and highly esteemed among the Teachers or even maybe He was among the Elders there. And the teachers visited Him often because of his wealth and He must have thought he had a place in God’s Kingdom because the Teachers and Pharisees will Praise him because of His wealth but Jesus made it clear that if we do not use the wealth God has given us to help that poor brother we see daily, then we are not fit for the kingdom.
There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. : This rich man spent His money in enjoying Himself everyday of his life. He thought that was what life was all about. To enjoy yourself and eat good food and to wear fancy clothes and spend a lot of money to make everything looks fashion and nice and not caring for the poor brother or sister in the Church. Yet You see such a needy brother everyday so helpless and Longing for the crumbs that falls from your table. So helpless that he could not drive even though dogs away.
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. : This is one place that tells us what happens to someone who dies. There is no question of the soul going to sleep inside the grave inside the man’s body as some people teach. Jesus made it very clear in this True story that as soon as the poor Lazarus died, The Angel carried Him to Abraham’s bosom which is also known as paradise. And as soon as the Rich Man dies, He immediately went to Hell. Of course their bodies was on the Earth but their Souls went immediately even before their bodies were buried even before people knew they have died, their Soul has already gone to paradise or Hell. This is what happens at death. This is so clear. There is one person who walks on the earth who knew what happens after death and that was Jesus. Nobody else ever knew and no one else ever knows even today. But Jesus knew and He has the authority to tell us and He has told us very clearly. So now we have no doubt about what happens immediately a Man dies. He goes either to Paradise or Hell depending on the faith he had on Earth whether a living Faith in Christ or a Dead faith or no faith in Christ at all.
Notice, Lazarus died first, at times the Righteous die first and nothing was said about his burial. We don’t even know what happened to his body. There was no one to bury Him. But His Soul went to Paradise. Then the rich man died but he was said to be buried. No doubt, He had a grand burial and the religious leaders must have come and say wonderful things about Him when he was being buried but the Man himself was in Hell. The approval of religious leaders doesn’t take us into God’s Kingdom.
And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. : He saw Abraham afar off. How lovely would it be to see Abraham what a beautiful sight!!! But to see him afar off was a tormenting sight for this Rich Man. Near himself he saw Devils and damned companions, frightful sights, and painful ones. All crying and Weeping and full of regrets and lamenting but afar off he saw Abraham. Every sight in Hell is aggravating and tormenting. What will bring joy to those in paradise will bring tears to those in Hell. He saw Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. That same Lazarus whom he had looked upon with so much scorn and contempt, as not worthy his notice, he now sees preferred, and to be envied. The sight of Lazarus brought to his mind his own cruel and barbarous conduct towards him and the sight of him in that happiness made his own misery the more grievous. He now began to consider what was become of Lazarus. He does not find him where he himself is. What a painful experience!!! Luke 13:28-29 says, ” There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.”
“Then 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.’: Although the Rich Man had no physical body but he felt that sensation of heat and torment and He long for relief. And He cried out to Abraham!!! He that use to command aloud now begs aloud, louder than ever Lazarus did at his gate. He called, Abraham, “Father”!!! He never walked in Abraham’s Footsteps yet He wanted to be associated with Him. When Abraham saw a stranger, He ran to them and welcome them into His house but this Rich Man saw Lazarus daily at his gate and did nothing. There are many who never walked in the footsteps of Jesus and His Apostles and will want to be associated with them when they see them in paradise. Many who never allowed Jesus to be the Lord of their lives now will want to call Him Lord when they see Him in Heaven. No wonder Jesus says in Matthew 25:41-46, that He will say, ” Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The Rich Man begged for Mercy!!! The day is coming when those that make light of divine mercy will beg hard for it. They will beg for mercy when the day of mercy is over, He that had no mercy on Lazarus, yet expects Lazarus should have mercy on him. Notice, He was only concern about His tongue. And I was wondering, “What about other parts of His body?” I perceived His tongue was the part that was set on fire the most!!! The tongue is that part of our body which defiles the whole body(James 3:6). One test of our spirituality is by the words that comes out of our lips. James 1:26 says, ” If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” let’s us therefore be mindful of our words, for God’s word to us is, ” But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.(Matt 12:26-27)”
But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and you just spent it on Yourself!!! But Lazarus faced a lot of suffering on Earth despite His genuine faith in God and now He is being comforted and you are in agony!!! Why was He in agony? It was not because He was Rich. It was because He never used the wealth God gave Him to make friends for eternity as we saw in the parable of the unjust steward. He never recognized that what God gave Him was not His own but to be used to bless others. He spent it on himself. The Same thing applies to everyone whether you call yourself a believer or not, if you spend what God gives you on yourself without concerns for others particular your fellow believers will finally end up in agony. An intellectual faith is not enough. It must be backed up with works of righteousness. Now it is said to us, Ask, and it shall be given you but, if we let slip this accepted time, we may ask, and it shall not be given us when we die.
Notice what Abraham said, ” Nothing will bring more oil to the flames of hell than Son, remember. Now sinners are called upon to remember, but they do not, they will not, they find ways to avoid it ” What a dreadful peal will this ring in our ears, “Son, remember the many warnings that were given you not to come to this place of torment”. Sinners will be called to remember how they spent their lives on Earth. Hmmmmm!!! What will you be called to remember when you stand before the he Lord?
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ :The Division between paradise and and Hell is permanent!!! There is no question of crossing over. It is no hope when you die. Now is the time to cross over from your sinful lifestyle. Now is the time to find a place in the body of Christ. Now is the time to associate yourself with those who are walking in the footsteps of Jesus. It would be too late to crossover when you die. You cannot have Fellowship with Sinners here on earth and expect to crossover to the Fellowship of the Saints when you Die. Sit down and think about it. You cannot be dancing and dressing and Living for the Glory of the Devil here on Earth and expect to crossover to do the will of God when you Die. You will be exactly with those you followed when you were on Earth. You will b exactly with those you cherished when you are on Earth. Think about it!!!
Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ : I perceive He was saying, ” Though there is a great gulf fixed between you and me, yet, since there is no such gulf fixed between you and them, please I beg You . Send Lazarus back to my father’s house he knows well enough where it is. He has been there many a time, and has been denied the crumbs that fell from the table. He knows I have five brethren there if he appear to them, they will know him, and will regard what he says , for they knew him to be an honest man. Let him testify to them let him tell them what condition I am in, and that I brought myself to it by my luxury and sensuality, and my unmercifulness to the poor. Let him warn them not to follow in my steps, nor to go on in the way that I led them, and left them, lest they also come into this place of torment,”. This is the Cry from Hell!!! Tell my brothers and sisters not to come Here!!! How I wish we can hear this cry from those in Hell right now. How I wish we can hear how they are begging and praying that someone comes from Heaven to warn them of how terrible Hell is.
Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’: Abraham reply was sarcastic!!! He said, “They have God’s word!!! There is no need for anyone to come down from Hell to tell them, they have the Pastors and the Preachers warning them of how terrible Hell is. If they don’t listen to what’s written in God’s word, then there is no Salvation for them “.
No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will REPENT” : Ohhhhh what a cry from Hell. You see what is coming from Hell? Which is, ‘Warn others to REPENT!!! Warn my relatives to REPENT!!! God’s word is telling us now o. This Rich Man discovered now that the Reason He was in Hell is because He did not REPENT. And we shall discover when we die that all those who went to Hell want there because they did not Repent of their Sins.
But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.:Finally, Abraham said, If they do not believe what is written in God’s word(Old testament and New testament). They will not change even if someone comes from the Dead. Now Jesus has risen from the Dead but still people are not convinced with what was written about Him and spoken by the Apostles. So hard is Man’s heart.
Dear friend, Now is the Time to Repent and have a living faith that is backed up with works of righteousness that love the Brothers and sisters around you. Now is the time to remember your Creator and walk in the footsteps of the Righteous. A time is coming when the door of mercy will be shut and there will be no more room for Repentance even though you pleaded with tears. Let Him who has ear, hear and learn from the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. May the Lord give us Grace to apply these truths to our heart.(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.