Free Chapter from Doctrines of Demons #3
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus has been used by many to inflict dreadful fear. It’s even insinuated that a person might be able to see people burning in hell and crying out for a drop of water. Certain ministers claim they have experienced this place of torture. I can’t imagine a loving Father allowing us to see our enemies in flames, let alone those we love and care about. Could you stand to watch your child, spouse, or family member screaming out in horror? For more on the topic click here Introductory Chapter on Hell
Jesus / Yeshua begins to speak multiple parables in the book of Luke. This word parable comes from the Hebrew word mashal, Strong’s concordance 4912 mashal, which means a proverb or taunt. “sentences constructed in parallelism, usually of Hebrew Wisdom, but occasionally of other types);”
Jewish writings and rabbinic thought are hidden in these parables that can cloud our mind to the meanings due to not living in that time among those people. It’s like the movie Back to the Future. When Marty McFly travels back in time, his mother thinks his name is Calvin Klein due to his underwear. He also goes into a soda shop and orders a “Pepsi Free” and they get a tad upset with him and assume he wants the soda free of charge, not free of calories. Not only is there this confusion but the very word McFly is an idiom (phrase) for a simpleton or stupid person. Unless you look deeply into symbolism and know about the history and the characteristics of the leaders of Jesus day, it can get tricky. I learn new things daily. Many believe that this story about the rich man and Lazarus is a true story and not a parable, but each chapter is labeled a parable and we also know from Scripture that this was Jesus/ Yeshua’s main method of teaching. Let’s look at that first.
He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.” Matthew 13:33-35 NASB.
“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Matthew 13:10 NASB.”
We must continue to look at this topic of parables because we see over and over again that this is how he taught.
“With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.” Mark 4:33-34 NASB.
He told his disciples this: “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.” John 16:25 KJB.
So as we begin to study the whole book of Luke and the parables and the order of them, the main topics and illustrations he used, we see a common theme connecting them.
He discusses a parable about two debtors in Luke seven and explains that the person who has been forgiven much loves much. He moves on from this short example to the parable of the sower. People say that Jesus/ Yeshua spoke in parables because they were easy to understand and that a child could even understand them, but this isn’t what Scripture would lead us to believe. “His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.” Luke 8:9-10 NASB. Actually, his leading twelve were scratching their heads and wondering often, saying please explain the parable because we are not getting it!
Now, I am not going to go over each parable in the book of Luke because that would be rather lengthy. We want to cover the main one on the rich man and Lazarus, but we do want to look at a couple he spoke about earlier to get a general idea of his audience and who is listening and what if anything the parables may have in common. In Luke chapter ten, he tells them a parable about the Good Samaritan. Yeshua is speaking and the text says a lawyer stood up and presented a question to “trap” him. This man was a Torah expert but many translations say lawyer due to them being an expert in the Law of Moses (The Torah). He presented a question. “Rabbi, what should I do to obtain eternal life?” But Yeshua said to him, “What is written in the Torah (law)? How do you read it? He answered, “You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your understanding; and your neighbor as yourself.” “That’s the right answer,” Yeshua said. “Do this, and you will have life.”
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Yeshua, “And who is my ‘neighbor’?” ” Luke 10:25 -29 CJB. Now, this gets deep because the Jews hated the Samaritans. They would walk many miles out of their way to not step foot in their territory. Jesus/ Yeshua gives this parable to the people and he uses a Priest and a Levite, the most cream of the crop to make his point. This was sure to rile their feathers and convict their hearts.
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and [n]beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10: 30-34 NASB.
By this point the High Priest, the Pharisees and Sadducees were probably getting close to livid.
In Luke chapter twelve the Pharisees, Sadducees, and leaders proclaim that he has a demon and that he heals and cast out demons by the prince of demons. In chapter 14 he begins to express a parable about a fig tree and then a mustard seed, a parable of the invited guest he found worthy and the dinner banquet. Luke fifteen expresses three parables about one lost sheep, a lost coin, and the prodigal son. All three of these are unified and about a similar topic and then we get to chapter sixteen. Yes, the Bible was divided into chapters for easier reading, but we still are able to see comparisons in thought and topics brought together. There is a parable right before Lazarus that is called “the unrighteous steward.” This parable angers those present and causes Yeshua to continue with another parable–the beggar and Lazarus. These two parables go together and although I am not going to go into great detail on the unrighteous steward, I am going to show you how much it angered a certain religious spirit that is still alive and well today.
Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Now some of the Pharisees and Sadducees, were lovers of money, and they were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” Luke 16:13-15 NASB.
Many of these men were the elite. They were the priest and Rabbi’s/ teachers of the times, but how did they get in these positions of power? There’s nothing new under the sun.
“The Sadducees could not tolerate the raising of the Sages from the Pharisee camp to positions of power and control and sought ways to regain their lost power and influence. The Sadducees quickly realized that the office of High Priest held the best promise to achieve this aim. The Roman rulers followed Herod’s example of bestowing this sacred office upon the highest bidder. As the Sadducees had no lack of money, they offered huge personal bribes to the procurators, and a candidate of their choice became High Priest. The Roman officials soon realized that the office of High Priest was an infallible source of income. At frequent intervals, they would dismiss the current Kohen Gadol and auction off the position to the highest bidder. The prestige of the office thus suffered during this period as the Kohen Gadon came to be regarded as a petty politician who was appointed by the secular government and cared only about his own glory and enrichment. In the course of time, with their numbers growing, they became a domineering aristocracy and together with their relatives and friends, they abused the people and brougth about the Destruction of the Temple. (Pesachim 57a) [HOJP I, pp.149]
They abused the people. They hurt Abba’s sheep that they had been entrusted with and now Yeshua is on the scene and He is convicting them. These men who sat in the best seats, and did everything for a show and the praises of men. However, some of the Pharisees were very righteous and actually trying hard to live right. Many of them were living better than most of us can even imagine.
Now, that Yeshua has struck a cord and wounded their egos he continues with the famous parable many claim is about an actual place called Abraham’s bosom, a place called heaven and a horrific place called hell. Let’s jump in and start looking at this with new glasses on. Pick up your Hebrew spectacles and let’s travel back to the time of Jesus/Yeshua’s day.
“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.” Luke 16:19-21 NASB.
We first notice above, that during his parable about the unrighteous steward, that he tells them “You cannot serve God and wealth.” Now in this next parable it starts out with a rich man and we see that his clothes are purple and fine linen. What manner of a man would wear purple and fine linen? Exodus chapter twenty-eight explains clearly who these leaders are. “Make Aaron some beautiful clothes that are worthy of a high priest. Aaron is to be dedicated as my high priest, and his clothes must be made only by persons who possess skills that I have given them. Here are the items that need to be made: a breast piece, a priestly vest, a robe, an embroidered shirt, a turban, and a sash. These sacred clothes are to be made for your brother Aaron and his sons who will be my priests. Only gold and fine linen, woven with blue, purple, and red wool, are to be used for making these clothes.” Exodus 28:19-21 CEV.
These High Priest, these Levites, and leaders who walked right past the man beaten on the road in the parable of the Good Samaritan are still here being rebuked by Jesus/ Yeshua himself. Everyone knew what a Pepsi Free was in the 1990’s but when Marty McFly travelled back in time no one understood it or Calvin Klein underwear. They knew who Jesse James was but not Calvin. These men knew who Jesus/ Yeshua was calling out because they were the ones dressed like that. Let’s continue.
He labels this man Lazarus in this parable so he can use his sword to cut at their hearts deeper.
“There are two men named Lazarus mentioned in the New Testament, but note that the Greek name Lazarus is a Hellenized version of the popular name Eleazar.”
The two best-known Eleazar’s of the Hebrew Bible (Older Testament) are the son of Aaron, the arch-father of all priests, and the son of Abinadab, in whose house the Ark of the Covenant resided. Both these Eleazar’s had brothers whom God killed for their inappropriate handling of the Ark or the sanctuary it was deposited in. One name definition of Eleazar/ Lazarus means “God Has Helped.” The two named Lazarus in the Newer Testament/ Brit Chadashah are the man who was dead for four days that Jesus/ Yeshua raised from the dead and this humble beggar in the parable of Luke. This poor man named Lazarus is laid at a place where these High Priest and Torah scholars would have been very familiar with. At this rich man’s gate he was laid. We read over and over again in Scripture the many poor, blind, deaf, and lepers who were laid at the gate of the temple or the city gate. Let’s look at that before we delve further into our story.
“And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.” Acts 3:2 NASB. (He sat every day at the gate)
“Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why do we sit here until we die?” 2nd Kings 7:3 NASB.
“Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters.” John 5:2-3 NASB.
Now, in our story this poor man is laid at the rich man’s gate and we were given clues by the man’s attire who he represented. I may be wrong but I believe it was the wealthy elite priest of the day. Now let’s get back to the parable. We left off in verses twenty-one, but now we will read the portion many believe is depicting heaven and hell.
“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And [r]besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:22-31 NASB.
We know Lazarus was who was brought forth out of the grave. Yes, and soon Yeshua/ Jesus, the First fruits, will be soon come forth out of the grave and gets the keys to death, hell and the grave. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” 1st Corinthians 15:20. Yeshua is making a very good point here, and if we remember correctly another verse from the Gospels explains even more.
“The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.” John 12:9-11 NASB.
Now a few interesting items in the passage above is the way he labeled these men as poor and rich and also the fact that the rich man had five brothers.
According to Metzger & Coogan Oxford Companion to the Bible, “Joseph Caiaphas, known simply as Caiaphas in the Newer Testament, was the Jewish high priest who is said to have organized the plot to kill Jesus. Caiaphas is also said to have been involved in the Sanhedrin trial of Jesus.”
“The 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus is considered the most reliable literary source for Caiaphas. Josephus (Antiquitates Judaicae 18.33-35) relates that Caiaphas became a high priest during a turbulent period. He also states that the proconsul Vitellius deposed him (Antiquitates Judaicae 18.95-97). Josephus’ account is based on an older source in which incumbents of the high priesthood were listed chronologically.”
According to Josephus, Caiaphas was appointed in AD 18 by the Roman prefect who preceded Pontius Pilate, Valerius Gratus.
Joseph was the son-in-law of Annas (also called Ananus) the son of Seth. Annas was deposed, but had five sons who served as high priest after him. The terms of Annas, Caiaphas, and the five brothers are
Ananus (or Annas) the son of Seth (6–15)
Eleazar the son of Ananus (16–17)
Caiaphas – properly called Joseph son of Caiaphas (18–36), who had married the daughter of Annas (John 18:13)
Jonathan the son of Ananus (36–37 and 44)
Theophilus ben Ananus (37–41)
Matthias ben Ananus (43)
Ananus ben Ananus (63).
The High Priest that year had five brothers and they are all listed above. These Chief priest were badgering Yeshua and trying their best to do away with him and as we know, they succeeded until the 3rd day. When Jesus/Yeshua is pointing out their wealth and their esteem and using the robes of royal purple and fine linen to describe them, they were sure to have felt slapped in the face. This parable was a warning about torment and wealth and the evil schemes of men who hoard up their riches and think that one day they will not be held accountable for the poor, but will we see the sinners sweltering in hell? I think not. For more on Hell click here. Part #2 Hell, the Lake of Fire & the 2nd Death
Jews believe that at their death, they go to a place called Paradise or Abraham’s bosom. Interesting that when Yeshua looked at the man on the cross, he said, “I tell you the truth this day (coma) you will be with me in Paradise. Notice, I have changed where the coma is placed for a reason. In the King James, the coma is placed after and leads one to believe that Yeshua went to Paradise that day. He was in the heart of the earth three days like Jonah and then he was walking among the twelve for forty days before he ascended. But what about Abrahams bosom? What did it mean to Jews at that time period? Did they understand, like Marty McFly the lingo of the day and the idioms in use?
“The word found in the Greek text for “bosom” is kolpos, meaning “lap” “bay”. This relates to the Second Temple period practice of reclining and eating meals in proximity to other guests, the closest of whom physically was said to lie on the bosom (chest) of the host.” The Septuagint Greek version of Isaiah 40:11 uses another Greek word: γαστρι
Now, we know that the poor man was so close to the rich man’s table he was hoping for just a crumb to fall that a dog might find underneath. This seems to go hand and hand with the story and when we research further we grasp more understanding.
“According to Maldonatus (1583), whose theory has since been accepted by many scholars, the metaphor “to be in Abraham’s Bosom” is derived from the custom of reclining on couches at the table, which prevailed among the Jews during and before the time of Jesus. As at a feast each guest leaned on his left elbow so as to leave his right arm at liberty, and as two or more lay on the same couch, the head of one man was near the breast of the man who lay behind, and he was therefore said “to lie in the bosom” of the other.”
It was also considered by the Jews of old a mark of special honor and favor for one to be allowed to lie in the bosom of the master of the feast (cf. John 13:23), and it is by this illustration that they pictured the next world. They conceived of the reward of the righteous dead as a sharing in a banquet given by Abraham, “the father of the faithful” (cf. Matthew 8:11 sqq.), and of the highest form of that reward as lying in “Abraham’s Bosom.”
When we read all the parables in the Bible we notice a common mixture of using an allegory, this metaphoric language to describe something larger than a simpleton like Marty McFly would be able to decipher. Let me show you some examples. In Revelations chapter one we read about seven stars and seven golden lampstands. Once we continue reading the vision John had, we are given the hidden meaning to both items in verse twenty. “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” NASB. Once we dig deeper we learn there are seven Spirits of Adonai and seven Feast.
Matthew 5:3 says that we are the salt of the earth, but are we really salt? He is the Potter and we are the clay. Are we actually a slab of clay? Other verses proclaim that the Father is our rock, our Shepherd and even states Yeshua/Jesus is a lamb, the bread of life, a vine, but we all know these are just metaphors for a deeper hidden spiritual truth. So let’s get back to the parable of the rich man and the poor beggar. If Christians really want to believe this is about heaven and hell, we have not even an ounce of proof because neither word is mentioned, not even metaphorically. What we do know is the righteous man was not wealthy and prosperous and healed in the name of Jesus. No, that sounds more like the prideful church in this hour, and forgive me because I do believe Yeshua came to heal and save and give us life more abundantly, but sometimes that looks more like Job’s trials on this earth. So, we have a righteous man who is so poor he is wishing for a crumb and dogs are licking his soars. The rich man is not like the Good Samaritan. Yeshua used that parable to show these wealthy pious priest, and the arrogant Pharisees just how they acted. They acted as if they didn’t see the poor, the blind, the beggars laid up at their church/ temple doors. They walked past in their highfalutin robes with their boxes strapped to their foreheads and prayed loudly and tithed loudly so they could receive all the glory and honor of this world, not the world to come. All these parables are about the rich and poor.
The rich man begged for a drop of water to be placed on his tongue, but he couldn’t even give a crumb to the beggar while he lived in his wealth on earth. Now he is in torment. Our understanding of heaven and hell are mixed with Hellenism and Plato’s teachings along with many other men. Nowhere in the gospels do we see us floating up to heaven, but we do read about a new heaven and a new earth and the Son of Yah coming here.
“and that He may send Jesus, the [i]Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the [j]period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” Acts 3:20-21 NASB.
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will [a]dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them. “ Revelation 20:2-3 NASB.
This word new does not mean something brand new. When the Father sent a flood he kept eight people and all the animals. He did not say I am destroying everything and starting over. He baptized the earth and cleansed it, but it was still the same work of His hands. Yes, there is a Day of Judgment, but He also tells us that He will wipe every tear from our eyes. Will we see our loved ones burning in torment? Would that be a place of no more crying and perfect peace? No. I want to cover all the bases here so that no stones are left unturned. In order to do that I need to cover the Transfiguration and the souls under the alter. Afterwards we will move from the heavenly abode to hell, sheol, and the grave.
Back to the Future: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_to_the_Future
Pepsi Free: Caffeine-Free Pepsi-Cola was introduced, under the brand name Pepsi Free, in 1982 by PepsiCo as the first major-brand caffeine-free cola in years. (The Canada Dry Company had marketed “Sport Cola,” which was also caffeine-free, in the 1960s, but that brand of cola was not a success
Purple robes: COLOR – …2).Purples. (a) The purple dyes were obtained from the “ḥallazon,” a species of shell-fish called Murex brandaris and Murex …trunculis, on which see Rieger (l.c. p. 21). It yielded purple-red (Hebrew “argaman” = Aramaic “argewan”) and purple-blue or violet (Hebrew “tekelet” = Aramaic “tikla”). Both colors figure largely in the decoration of …the Tabernacle and the priestly robes. In Jer. x. 9 both are mentioned as contributing to the splendor of heathen worship. In Judges viii. 26 the Midianitish chiefs are said to have worn robes of purple-red…Jewish Encyclopedia.
Abarim Publications: Lazarus
Joseph Caiaphas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caiaphas
Metzger & Coogan Oxford Companion to the Bible, 1993. p 97