Dearest Tec... re the Rich Man and Lazarus..

by AGuest 27 Replies latest jw friends

  • AGuest
    AGuest

    The greatest of love and peace to you, dear one!

    Thank you for your kind patience. The following is what I received from our Lord regarding the "parable" of the Rich Man and Lazarus:

    First, I have to say that folks' interest in the "where" of this matter vs. the "WHAT"... is always interesting me. Because the focus is on the where vs. the what, very few get the sense of the parable and it's purpose, which is, primarily, to help us understand that the time to "do good" to Christ's brothers... indeed to ALL... is now. Once we have died, it's too late - there is no way to go back and undo/redo our conduct... or lack of conduct. In this case, the rich man had plenty, an abundance even, while Lazarus had nothing but only wished for crumbs from the man's table.

    To fully get the sense of the account, you must know that "Lazarus" is NOT a fictional person. Rather, he is the same one loved by our Lord, also known as Simon the Leper, whose sisters were Martha... and Mary (the one called the Magdalene). Lazarus had leprosy (which is what caused his death) and his sister, Mary, was a woman of ill-repute. They originated from Magdala (thus, the "Magdalene") but relocated to Bethany to avoid the high level of public rejection they received in the former; however, they were known throughout the region and were the ones primarily being referred to when the Pharisees and other opposed our Lord for "eating and drinking with sinners."

    As a leper, Lazarus couldn't go just anywhere; indeed, under the Law he was considered "unclean" such that no one could really touch him... or anything he touched, per se. Eventually, Lazarus' affliction progressed so that he could not work and so could not make a living for himself and his sisters. In the meantime, as women, his sisters were limited in what they could do to provide for the household. And so, prior to coming to our Lord, Mary "prostituted" herself (which is why she was "tormented" by demons - she was ashamed of what she needed to do to live and so her conscience was injured and weakened, exposing her to the influence of bad spirits). Lazarus was eventually reduced to begging (particularly when Mary ceased prostituting). Martha was basically the "housekeeper" for her sister and brother... which is why she was so concerned about preparations when our Lord visited them one certain day.

    The house was considered belonging to Lazarus because, as the male, he was "head" of the house under the law at that time. Note, some were able to get past Lazarus' uncleanness and so did go to his home with our Lord; but they were unable to entirely leave off finding fault: while they could see their way to overlook Lazarus' affliction (perhaps the illness wasn't his fault), they had problems with Mary (she had a choice!), and so questioned our Lord regarding letting Mary, an unclean woman, touch him. I digress.

    During this time, there were many "rich" persons who saw Lazarus and knew of his plight, but would not lift even a finger to help. Their "justification" was that he was a leper and thus "unclean" and, under the law, one wasn't supposed to touch anyone/thing unclean. But they actually took it further than that: they wouldn't even "TOSS him a crumb" because they pushed the Law further saying that not only could they not TOUCH someone/thing unclean, but they couldn't even look at, show pity for, or help someone in that situation, etc..

    [Imagine, here you have someone afflicted, heavily so... and your "religion" says you can't even look at them, let alone help them. Sound like anyone YOU know? Well, it is that way in a lot of places, today. MANY... see sick, poor, hungry, diseased, etc., right in front of them and, for whatever reason their consciences justify, absolutely ignore and overlook them. The WTBTS is gravely guilty of this "transgression" against God's Law, even more so than those who they ridicule, even judge, which law says, "I want MERCY." While other religions at least attempt to help those less fortunate, the WTBTS does not believe they are obligated to help anyone... even their own members let alone their "enemies"... under such circumstances (i.e., physical or SPIRITUAL "uncleanness"). Like the "rich man", they won't even toss out a crumb, although they have an abundance, indeed, rob widows houses! I cannot tell you how many times, when doing "street work", I would watch the "brothers" pass right on by a poor soul on the street whose hand was out for some change. Oh, sure, they would rush themselves to give the person a MAGAZINE (which they cannot EAT!), and then talk disparagingly about them right after doing so. But cash? A few nickels? Nope. Not a dime. Of course, no one would say anything to my face when I handed out what I had... but they couldn't hide their whispers later. This was one of the reasons I had no problem eventually rejecting THEM.]

    But this is the PURPOSE of the parable, to show that those who have an abundance but selfishly overlook the "Lazaruses" of the world (and I don't necessarily mean those in "third world" countries, although those are certainly worthy of assistance, but those RIGHT UNDER ONE'S NOSE)... are having their reward, in full, now. And now is all the time they will get. Why? Because, as our Lord is recorded to have said:

    "Happy... are the MERCIFUL... since THEY will be shown mercy."

    The rich man in this account showed NO mercy... and thus, NONE was shown to him. And it will be the same with all others who lack in this regard.

    So, now, let's look at where he was and where Lazarus was, since that usually is the primary thing that folks are interested in (and, again, cannot understand why, but, ah well...)

    The parable states:

    "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;"

    What is noteworthy here and what many people MISS... is that the rich man... WAS BURIED. Lazarus, however, was NOT buried, but "carried [away] by the angels." So what? So, this initially explains what occurred: the rich man went to Hades, which is NOT a place of burning fire, but where the spirits of those who do NOT belong the Most Holy One of Israel go, the World of the Dead. In contrast, Lazarus went to the place that those who DO belong to JAH go... under the altar... which is a place of sanctity and protection.

    How do we know that where the rich man went was NOT a place of burning fire? The next verse tells us:

    And in hell he lifted his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

    The word "hell" here is NOT the word that denotes a burning fire. That word, in Greek, is "inferno." It is also not the word that denotes the place where Satan, death, and Hades, etc., are hurled. That word is "geena" (Gehenna). The word here is "Hades", the definition for which is:

    1) name Hades or Pluto, the god of the lower regions

    2) Orcus, the nether world, the realm of the dead

    3) later use of this word: the grave, death, hell

    Although in Biblical Greek it is associated with the infernal regions, this is inaccurate and is simply born of the relation between (1) a dark and dismal place in the very depths of the earth, and (2) the "fiery" core of the earth. In ancient times, because people were buried in the ground and "sinners" were believed to descend to the lowest parts of the earth, it was assumed that they would go to where the earth burns. However, it really is just the common receptacle of disembodied spirits. I have been to that place and can/will explain that, as well, if you wish, but not just now.

    The parable continues...

    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.

    So, okay, here is where everyone seems to get stuck: on the "torment," the "flame," and the finger being dipped in water to "cool" the rich man's "tongue." It is here, also, the all common sense seems to get loss. The rich man speaks of his torment in "this flame." Dear one, IF he was being tormented as in a perpetual burning of his body, spirit, etc., he would be doing a LOT more crying, shrieking even, versus crying OUT... which is what the Greek word "phoneo" means. It's where our word "telephone" comes from (i.e., speak out, emit, call out, etc.). It does NOT mean, however, the same as the Greek word "klaio" which means to cry as in "weep" or "wail." So, the rich man was merely crying out to Abraham, just as the angels cried out in the Revelation.

    His torment came, however, from the knowledge that had he only dropped dear Lazarus a MORSEL, he could have avoided the World of the Dead and ended up where Lazarus did. But why would he want to go elsewhere than the World of the Dead? His request to have Lazarus dip the "tip" of his finger in "water" and "cool" his "tongue," tells us: there is NO WATER in the world of the dead.

    What does this mean? It means... that there is NO HOLY SPIRIT... LIVING water... or... LIFE... in that place. And that is absolutely true. It is a place SO "dry"... so devoid of life... devoid of God's holy spirit... that one's THIRST is overwhelming. It is the world... of the DEAD. Yet, the Most Holy One of Israel, JAH of Armies, is a God... OF THE LIVING. Thus, the man knew that just a DROP of that "water"... that holy spirit... would have "cooled [his] tongue." Meaning, would have sufficed to bring him REFRESHMENT... LIFE.

    IF it was a place of complete fire a finger TIP... DIPPED in water... and a cooling ONLY of the tongue... would NOT have relieved the man of his torment; however, just a DROP of holy spirit... can refresh... indeed, REVIVE... the ENTIRE body. That is why Ezekiel wrote:

    "The hand of JaHVeH proved to be upon me, so that He brought me forth in the spirit of JaHVeH and set me down in the midst of the valley plain, and it was full of bones. And He had me pass along by them all round about, and, look! there were very many on the surface of the valley plain and, look! they were very dry. And He began to say to me: "Son of man, can these bones come to life?" To that I said: "Sovereign Lord JaHVeH, you yourself well know." And He went on to say to me: "Prophesy over these bones, and you must say to them, 'O you dry bones, hear the word of JaHVeH: "'This is what the Sovereign Lord JaHVeH has said to these bones: "Here I am bringing into you breath, and you must come to life."

    The place of fire that completely destroys... where Satan, the wild beast, and the false prophet are hurled... is Gehenna, the Lake of Fire. Yet, this "place," Hades, itself, is hurled into the Lake of Fire.

    The parable continues with Abraham telling the rich man that:

    "a great chasm has been fixed between us and YOU people, so that those wanting to go over from here to YOU people cannot, neither may people cross over from there to us.'

    Meaning, the "law" regarding those who have died is that one goes to one of the two places... but may not transfer between them. Because... it is "fixed." Once you are accepted into the place of Abraham's bosom you are safe and there is no way you will be sent to the other. And once you are sent to the other, you cannot change things such that you can leave there and go to Abraham's bosom (i.e., under the altar). The variables that "sealed" those destinies where made while you were ALIVE in the flesh. NOW. Not later, after your flesh has died.

    Coming to this realization, the rich man now asks Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers. But Abraham tells him that even that would be futile:

    "... send him to the house of my father, for I have five brothers, in order that he may give them a thorough witness, that they also should not get into this place of torment.' But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to these.' Then he said, 'No, indeed, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'"

    What did Abraham mean? He meant that they had ALREADY been warned... by Moses... but they didn't listen. How were they warned by Moses? By the fact that under the law, MERCY was a PRIMARY requirement, so much so our Lord referred to it as one of the "'weightier' matters":

    "Woe to YOU, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because YOU give the tenth of the mint and the dill and the cumin, but YOU have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercyand faithfulness. These things it was binding to do, yet not to disregard the other things. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat but gulp down the camel!"

    So, like the rich man, his brothers SHOULD have known what to do in regards to those like Lazarus. Indeed, they considered the Law to be tantamount; yet, they REFUSED to even TRY to "fulfill" it. And so, Abraham's statement was a testament to what he knew was in their HEARTS: their hearts were SO hard that not only were they unmoved by Moses' instructions/exhortations, but wouldn't be moved even if someone from the dead appeared to them. In other words, ANY warning... from ANYONE... even someone from the dead... was futile.

    Because... and this is the secondary lesson of the parable... either one's heart is inclined to mercy, pity, and compassion... or it isn't. And while, yes, it can change, for some, like these, NOTHING will change it.

    And this is what I received from our Lord, dear Tec, on this matter, which truth I have shared with you just as I received it from that One, our Lord, the Holy One of Israel and Holy Spirit, JAHESHUA MISCHAJAH, who is the Son and Christ of our heavenly Father, the MOST Holy One of Israel, JAH of Armies.

    And I have absolutely NO doubt that you have ears... to hear... and get the sense of these truths.

    May the undeserved kindness and mercy of our heavenly Father, the MOST Holy One of Israel, JAH of Armies, and love and peace of His Son and Christ, our Lord, the Holy One of Israel and Holy Spirit, JAHESHUA MISCHAJAH, be upon you... and your entire household... to time indefinite.

    YOUR servant and fellow slave of Christ,

    SA

  • tec
    tec

    Shelby -

    Thank you for sharing. It was wonderful to come back after a few days absence and read this. And I do 'hear'. I am thankful to Jesus and God for that blessing.

    Love and peace to you,

    Tammy

  • Chalam
    Chalam

    Hello Shelby,

    I agree, the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable but an account. I made the point in a similar thread that no parable contains the name of actual characters.

    To make this account allegorical makes not only Abraham, Lazarus but also Hades, the "place of torment" fictional.

    God is omnipresent, the Holy Spirit is everywhere, even in Hell.

    Psalm 139:7-8 (English Standard Version)

    7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
    8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

    Revelation 14:10-11 (New International Version)

    10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

    If God is not omnipresent, He cannot be omniscient (all knowing) because He wouldn't know what is going on in a particular place!

    Blessings,

    Stephen

  • cantleave
    cantleave

    Shelby - very insightful. Thank you for sharing your interpretation. BTW -don't take this as me becoming a theist - still a long way to go before I get there, but I think if anyone could turn round it would be you if you ever visit the UK come down to Southampton and visit us.

  • wobble
    wobble

    Thank you Shelby, very informative as usual.

    By the way, Cantleave and Nugget will give you a banquet fit for a queen if you ever do visit.

    Love and blessings to you,

    Wobble

  • AGuest
    AGuest

    Dearest Stephen, the greatest of love and peace to you!

    I agree, the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable but an account. I made the point in a similar thread that no parable contains the name of actual characters. To make this account allegorical makes not only Abraham, Lazarus but also Hades, the "place of torment" fictional.

    You are correct and I shouldn't have even referred to it as a "parable" but did so because that is what most understand, that particular word. But you are correct: it is an actual account.

    Dearest Tec, the greatest of love and peace to you, thank you for your kind words, and WELCOME back! I don't know if you know, but you were missed on the board. Some even asked after you in their posts. I was going to give you a couple/few more days and then it was a "Where the heck are you and are you okay" PM - LOLOLOLOLOL!

    Dearest Cantleave, and Wobble, the greatest of love and peace to you, also, and thank you also for your kind words! Cantleave, I would LOVE to visit you and Nugget!! My husband and hope to get to the Continent one day (hopefully soon) and perhaps we will add your country to our list (he wants to visit France; I want to visit Italy or Spain). We are very into historical "stuff" and would really like to see the "Old World" before we die in the flesh. We have heard, however, that England has some of THE best book stores in the world and since my husband is a bibliophile (particularly for old/rare books), a trip there might be very good, too! May Jah will it! And we'll be sure to let dear Wobble know how we "fared" - LOLOLOLOL!

    Again, peace to you all!

    YOUR servant and a slave of Christ,

    SA

  • cantleave
    cantleave

    Shelby - If you do take us up on your offer, we'll take you to Stonehenge - it doesn't get more historical than that.

  • tec
    tec

    I don't know if you know, but you were missed on the board. Some even asked after you in their posts.

    I did not know, Shelby... now I feel all warm and loved :)

    I had no internet going on. We just moved an unexpected week earlier than planned - and I had a few things to try and work out with the husband. Still unpacking, so I might be sparse for another week, but I'll definitely be around. Tired (so everyone can hopefully keep that in mind if I post some wackier things), but here.

    I love this place, and all of you.

    Tammy

  • AGuest
    AGuest
    I love this place, and all of you.

    Hard not to, isn't it, dear one (again, peace to you!)? Take your time, dear Tams... and do what you need to. We understand. And most of us aren't going anywhere any time soon (at least, I haven't heard so), so...

    Again, peace to you!

    YOUR servant and a slave of Christ,

    SA

  • AGuest
    AGuest

    Okay, so keep a light on, please, dear Cantleave - LOLOLOLOL - and peace to you!

    Your servant and a slave of Christ,

    SA

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