biblestudy: Lazarus and the Rich Man
A Castigation of Pharisaism
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 04-Dec-10; Sermon #BS-1022; 74 minutes
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on popular concepts of the after-death experiences, inspired by medieval yarn-spinners such as Dante, focuses on Luke 16:19-31 (the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man), a "proof text" Catholic and Protestant theologians use to corroborate the torments of an ever-burning hell. From God's Word, however, we learn that the dead are aware of nothing in the grave (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10). When the spirit returns to God, He keeps it safe until the resurrection. God has the power to destroy the immaterial spirit in man. No mortal, including King David, has ascended into heaven; our resurrection will occur later. We must remember that a parable is a teaching device, not intended to be taken literally, but as a vehicle to understand spiritual truths. The rich man was chastised for his lack of charity. The beggar, probably buried in a pauper's grave, was gathered to Abraham's Bosom (Abraham, of course, was still in the ground) but will be resurrected at Christ's second coming as part of the firstfruits. The rich man was in anguish because of realizing the consequences of his judgment—facing eternal death in the Lake of Fire. He depended on his physical lineage from Abraham rather than becoming a spiritual offspring by following Abraham's deeds. The recipients of this parable were the hard-hearted Pharisees, not caring for the people typified by Lazarus.
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