The Parables of Luke 14-17, Part 8 – The Rich Man and Lazarus

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Lazarus and The Rich Man

[Study Aired April 7, 2020]

Once again I was able to go to the web site, and tonight we are dealing with the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. There is quite a bit of information to this parable so we will go through this FAQ, which was answered by Mike.

Dear Mike,

I am reading the parables of Christ and would like your thoughts on the Rich man and Lazarus parable, please. I also spent many years in the Worldwide Church of God. Do you think there is any connection to being in that church that taught us to search the scriptures and seeing the scriptures differently now?

Love the way you write – thanks.

Regards,

H____

Good morning, H____,

You ask if there is a connection between being taught to search the scriptures and seeing what is in the scriptures? The answer is, yes, there certainly is a connection, but I tell everyone that it was being taught to search the scriptures by my Pentecostal father that took me into the World Wide Church of God, and it was that same desire to search the scriptures and to “let God be true and every man a liar” that brought me out of that church. My guess is that you came out for the same reason. There is definitely a disproportionate number of former WWCG members who come to our site.

You ask me to comment on the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luk 16:

Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
Luk 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Luk 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luk 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The first thing you need to realize is that this is indeed a parable, and not one word of this parable is to be understood as literal any more or less than any other parable. When I say that, I am not saying that parables are not dealing with real issues involving real people. They certainly are, but the message of a parable is always a matter of “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

What I am saying is that when Christ said…

Mat 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

… or when Christ said,

Mat 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

In neither case is He speaking of a particular king who lived at that time, or whoever has been or whoever will be? A parable uses one thing to make a point about something else, and these parables are our Lord’s words which “will never pass away,” meaning that they are all written for you and for me and for all men of all time.

Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation [reading these words] shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

“All these things” includes this parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Here is how Strong’s defines this word ‘parable.’

Orthodox Christian ministers teach that this story is not a parable because Christ uses the name Lazarus, and because He said “there was a certain rich man.” The parables noted above show that the use of the word ‘certain’ does not preclude a parable. The truth is that when we see the phrase “there was a certain…” it seems to indicate that this is a parable.

But we need not speculate as to whether this is a parable. All we need do is see to whom Christ was speaking. I make that statement because of this verse:

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

Why would Christ not speak to the multitude without a parable? It is important to know why Christ spoke only in parables, if we want to know what this story of Lazarus and the rich man means. Here is why Christ spoke in parables:

Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 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

There it is, all ministers and Sunday school teachers in the world notwithstanding! Christ spoke in parables “because… to them it is not given…to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” and “without a parable spake He not unto them.”

Since Christ spoke only in parables to the multitudes who came to him, all we must do is ascertain to whom Christ was talking in Luke 16, and here is who we are told His audience was:

Luk 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

So, there can be no doubt that the story of Lazarus and the rich man is indeed a parable spoken to “the Pharisees… who were covetous… and derided Him.”

“Without a parable spake He not unto them… because it was not given to them to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”

What those with eyes that see and ears that hear learn from this is that the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, since it is a parable, must therefore be a parable about “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven”, which mysteries are hidden from those who are not given those eyes and ears that see and hear.

When we understand the depth of this truth, that all of Christ’s parables are designed to hide from the multitudes the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, then we understand that Lazarus’s treatment represents how the kingdom of heaven is treated by the rich man. Christ Himself, and His Christ, are Lazarus in this parable. It is Christ who rose from the dead and was ignored by the brothers of the rich man, who are typified by the Pharisees who were covetous and derided Christ and His Christ. In other words, the rich man is all of us at our appointed time as “the children of disobedience and wrath.”

Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

All of mankind, at their appointed time, are “under the law” and will experience the judgment that is now on the house of God.

Gal 4:1 Now I say, [That] the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Gal 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

God’s elect are being judged now, here in this life, as we live through the torments of being in and coming out of Babylon.

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

We are all ‘the rich man” at our own appointed time. If that time is not seen and realized as being in this life, then it will be realized later as the “many called” who will go through a later judgment called ‘the lake of fire.”

What then, is the moral of this parable? Why, if indeed Lazarus is Christ, are we told that He is so poor that the dogs come and lick his sores? To understand how Lazarus is considered to be so lowly that “the dogs come and lick his sores” we must understand who ‘dogs’ are in scripture, and we must also understand that Christ is much more than Jesus Christ, a physical man who walked the earth 2000 years ago and was crucified by His own people, who had received nothing but good from His hands.

Psa 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

Which the church at Jerusalem quotes as referring to themselves…

Act 4:23 And being let go, they [Peter and John] went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
Act 4:24 And when they heard that, they [the whole church] lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Act 4:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
Act 4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Then later we are also told:

Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

It all adds up to the fact that God is in the process of saving His entire creation, and He is using the physical realm as the beginning of that process. In that physical realm this is the truth of what Christ is doing in and through His elect:

1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

The word ‘world’ here is not ‘aion,’ (eon) it is rather ‘kosmos.’ We are Christ’s christ in this world. As such, Christ is sending us to represent Him in this world. When this world looks at us they ought to be seeing Christ in us just as Christ’s disciples saw His Father in Him. Here are Christ’s own words to His Christ:

Joh 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

There really is very little room for doubt about who the two principles of this parable, Lazarus and the rich man, represent. The scriptures themselves tell us who this poor beggar is who ate the crumbs from the rich man’s table:

Mat 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
Mat 15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
Mat 15:23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Mat 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to
dogs.
Mat 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Who Is Lazarus?

Lazarus and the Canaanite woman here are mere dogs who “ate the crumbs that fell from their masters’ tables,” and both represent those who have “great faith” in the words of Christ.

Why are we told that those who have faith are eating crumbs from the tables of those who appear to be richer than they are, and yet do not have the faith of either Lazarus or the “woman of Canaan?” Here is what that means:

Rom 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 

It is through the lack of faith of those who first are invited to the marriage supper, but who refuse to attend, that we receive faith. We ourselves, just like the apostles who wanted to send the woman away, are without faith, considering ourselves to be rich, before we are given the “faith of Jesus Christ”. The crumbs that seem so inconsequential are our nourishing faith, which the rich don’t even want. It is what is overlooked by, and considered as the crumbs of, the rich that nourishes the “poor of this world.”

Jas 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

God has “chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith.” To be “poor in spirit” is to be “rich in faith.” That is why Lazarus, in this parable, is presented to us as so poor that he has to settle for the unwanted crumbs which fall from his master’s table, and why Lazarus is considered diseased and has dogs licking his sores. Who did Christ call a dog? It was the “woman of Canaan” of whom Christ tells us “great is thy faith.”

So what are these “crumbs that fall from the table of the rich man?” Those crumbs are those doctrines which are not deemed worthy of those who are rich. Doctrines like a poor beggar and a woman of Canaan, both counted as outcasts by those who consider themselves to be “rich and increased with goods” are not interesting to the rich for being counted “worthy of the kingdom of heaven.” Doctrines like “grace chastening us to forsake ungodliness and living godly lives in this present age,” and doctrines like “as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made alive” are but a very few of the “crumbs that fall from the tables of the rich.”

So who is this “rich man” in this parable? Just as the poor beggar and the poor woman of Canaan are one and the same, so, too, is this rich man and the rich Laodicean church of Revelation 3 one and the same person.

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

We can speculate right along with all the commentators, or we can simply believe the words before us, as to who the principles of this parable are. Many commentators speculate that the rich man represents the Jews who rejected Christ, and Lazarus represents the Gentiles who accepted Him. That is a very good way of understanding the “was” part of these words of our Lord, but until we can see how the words of this and every other parable are to be presently applied in our own lives, we do not even know a Christ who “is alive now, and who was dead, and who is alive forevermore.” When we do become acquainted with that Christ, then we will know that His words will never pass away and that we are to live by every one of those living and lasting words.

Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation [reading these words which ‘word’ does “not pass away”] shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

When the import of those words sinks into our spirits, then we will begin to see that all the parables with all of their principles are all within each of us and are to be so understood. “Man shall live by every word…” of the parables which are all concerned with “the mysteries of the kingdom of God.” Where is that kingdom? It is, at this time, within each and every man who is given eyes to see and ears to hear the sayings of the prophecy of God’s Word.

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

The kingdom of God is within those who are given eyes to see and ears to hear the fact that the holy spirit teaches comparing spiritual with spiritual.

1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The holy spirit compares “spiritual things with spiritual…” that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.” What has been given to us? Have we been given blessings without trials? No, absolutely not! We certainly have been blessed above all men, but in what way? What is it we are given at this time? Here are but a few of the blessings given to those who are called to be God’s elect.

Mat 13:11 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. 

Which means this:

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

That is the spiritual significance of Lazarus being despised for his poverty and his sores.

Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 

Who is the rich man?

1Co 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
1Co 3:23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

“All things” include both Lazarus and the rich man. We are, at our appointed time, both of these men, and we are all first the rich man. According to these verses all of God’s apostles are ours. But so is death ours. As Job asks:

Job 2:10 But he said unto her [Job’s wife], Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

That is the point of Paul’s statement that “all things are yours, whether life or death or things present or things to come.” In other words we will “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

What does all of that have to do with this parable of Lazarus and the rich man? It tells us that we all are that rich man who thinks of himself as rich and increased with goods and having need of nothing, when in reality we are poor and wretched and miserable and blind and naked and in need of buying of God gold tried in the fire. “He that hath ears, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.”

Why is Lazarus so poor that the dogs lick his sores? Why does he die to be carried away to Abraham’s bosom? It is because he represents those who are despised of this world; he represents those who are rich in faith:

Luk 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 

Heb 11:36 And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.

That is what “the dogs came and licked his sores” means. It simply means that Lazarus was “hated of all men.”

What about these verses:

Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell [hades; the grave] he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 

We have written much and have demonstrated beyond doubt that the word ‘fire’ symbolizes trials, chastening and scourging in scripture. This parable is not an exception to that rule. Read What Is The Fire of The Lake of Fire? on iswasandwillbe.com.

Then what is “Abraham’s bosom, and what does “in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torments…” mean? If there is anything about this parable that is undeniably a parable, it is this phrase “Abraham’s bosom.” Abraham’s literal bosom is no bigger than yours or mine, but when we are given eyes to see that “those who are in Christ are Abraham’s seed” then we know where Abraham’s bosom is. Abraham’s bosom is “in Christ”, and being in “Abraham’s bosom” is to be “asleep in Christ” or “dying daily” in Christ. This beggar represents those who die in Christ, who, without a resurrection, would have perished because they are now physically dead:

1Co 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1Co 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 

“Abraham’s bosom”

Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Why does Christ say that “in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom?”

The Greek word translated ‘hell’ here is not gehenna, but rather it is hades. While gehenna is associated with the concept of fire, hades is simply the grave. So Christ is telling these Pharisees that the rich man lifted up his eyes, being in torments, while he was in hades, the grave. What are the actual conditions of a body in the grave?

Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Mat 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

Joh 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Joh 11:12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Joh 11:13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Joh 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

1Co 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1Co 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished

Christ said that another Lazarus was “asleep” when he was dead, and He also said that the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue was asleep when she had actually died. Christ went so far as to say that those who are alive are the ones who are actually dead:

Luk 9:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Mat 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

Joh 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Joh 11:12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Joh 11:13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Joh 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead

Christ certainly did not teach that dead people burn in hell the moment they die. When Christ said “in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torments”, He is referring, in parable, to the spiritual condition of those who will be resurrected and then be cast into a symbolic lake of fire, which will symbolically burn out all of the wood, hay and stubble in the lives of all who are not in the “blessed and holy first resurrection.”

Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

It hurts to be judged now, and it will hurt then. Both are referred to in scripture as “fire.” Here is the fire of the present judgment:

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

This is the day of judgment for God’s elect who will be in that blessed and holy first resurrection. It is a “fiery trial that will burn out all the wood, hay and stubble, and all the tares that are growing with the wheat within us.

Here is the day of judgment for all others. Here is the answer to Peter’s question, “Where will the ungodly and sinner appear?”

Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

I think you know that “the dead know not anything.” I think you know that those who die in Christ are said to be “asleep in Christ.” I hope this helps you to see that the fire which the rich man experienced in Christ’s parable is this same symbolic fire we find throughout God’s word. It is the tormenting fire of God’s Word which “devours the wood” in us all:

Jer 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

Just as it was with Joseph’s brothers, their torment lead to their salvation, and that is exactly what we are told happens to those who are burned up by the Word of God in the mouths of His servants.

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 

The rich man within us suffers loss, but he is still “saved by fire.” It is a principle which is at work in us all. The only way any of us find our lives is if we first lose our lives.

Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

What are we to make of the fact that the rich man had “five brothers?” The number five throughout scripture denotes grace and faith. David used only one stone to kill Goliath, but he picked up five stones out of the brook.

1Sa 17:40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling [was] in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

Joseph had eleven brothers, but he presented only five of them to Pharaoh, as representing the salvation of all of his brothers.

Gen 47:2 And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 

Mat 16:9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

The productive servant was given five talents:

Mat 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

The rich man’s five brothers represent Joseph’s brothers, who represent all of us when we have sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver, and later we are all guilty of selling Christ for thirty pieces of silver and crucifying Him.

Until we see ourselves as Peter, denying our Lord with an oath; until we see ourselves as the apostle Paul, as “chief of sinners,” we will never fully realize that we are both the rich man, and then we are Lazarus. We are first the self-righteous Pharisee, and then we are the despised publican. We are first the self-righteous Jews who want to stone the woman caught in adultery, and then we can see ourselves as having been that woman. We are first the elder son who hates his prodigal brother, then we can see that we have also been the prodigal son. We must see the tares growing in us until the harvest before Christ will send His laborers to “gather the tares into bundles to be burned first,” then He will gather His wheat into His barn. So until we see the rich man within us first, we will never understand this parable of Lazarus and the rich man as a parable of the mysteries of the kingdom of God within us.

Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 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.
Mat 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

I hope this helps you to see that the kingdom of God is within you, and this, and all of Christ’s parables, were designed to hide the mysteries of that kingdom from the multitudes who came to Christ at that time and who are coming to Christ at this time. I hope this helps you to understand the depth of the truth of these words of our Lord:

Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation [Reading these words] shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 

“All these things” includes this parable of Lazarus and the rich man being lived out in our lives.

Your brother in Christ, Mike

We will stop the recording here, and open [the study] up for discussion.

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