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Is Luke 16:19-31 A Parable Or A True Event?


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#1 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 09:36 PM

I have heard many people say that Luke 16:19-31 is a parable but why do people think that?

When ever Jesus told a parable He never mentioned names and they always took place in the physical realm, or something that could or did happen and had a meaning to them. But in this story Jesus mentioned three names, Lazarus, Moses and Abraham and it took place in another realm.

I know many people that think when they die the go to heaven but no one can go to heaven until judgment has be done, so where do we go when we die? Could this story that Jesus told be the place where we go when we die, like Jesus told the thief on the cross? What did Jesus mean by the thief being with Him in paradise?

#2 Mike Summers

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 01:15 AM

I have heard many people say that Luke 16:19-31 is a parable but why do people think that?

When ever Jesus told a parable He never mentioned names and they always took place in the physical realm, or something that could or did happen and had a meaning to them. But in this story Jesus mentioned three names, Lazarus, Moses and Abraham and it took place in another realm.

I know many people that think when they die the go to heaven but no one can go to heaven until judgment has be done, so where do we go when we die? Could this story that Jesus told be the place where we go when we die, like Jesus told the thief on the cross? What did Jesus mean by the thief being with Him in paradise?


As you know we are made in the image of God. We have an imagination that is private to us. We may park things there before we try to create them or bring them into existence spiritually or otherwise. Jesus would have an imagination also.
Jesus constructed this scenario using familiar beings to teach us that read it a lesson. That it be literal would not matter from that point of view. We can only maybe get what we learn from it which would be the point wouldn’t it? Here’s what I learned from it. It’s easy to think what others have is better than what God has prepared for us. But our lesson is to trust in Him and patiently wait for our change to come. Because we suffer by honoring our God now the tables will turn and we will teach others God’s way because we will not have big heads like the king developed. Another may have an explanation different than mine.

As far as the second question I heard it explained thusly: Paraphrased Jesus was telling the thief that he would (in the future) be with Him (Jesus) in paradise. The “today” can be taken to mean “I am telling you now at this moment in time that you will be with me in paradise (in the future) not necessarily later on the day of Jesus’ death.

Think of the spirit in you that makes you a human as opposed to an animal. It is our non physical component. Think of that spirit as recording everything you think say and do. Now imagine it as a video tape. If the video recorder/ player fails we still have the tape. I think that’s what happen when we die. The body (our video recorder/ player) wears out. In the resurrection we get a new body (like a new machine) and the ( tape) spirit will enter our new body and we will come back into existence again. That’s just like the video tape being played in another machine. So the tape (our sprit) gets stored until the day of our resurrection.
When we die our sprit returns to our God that gave it. The Bible says Jesus gave up the ghost (spirit) when He died for our sins. I think God can even edit things He does not like out of our character.
Notice in Daniel: 4 where God’s servant Daniel is describing to the King the dream the king had. Daniel said the King was a tree. Compare to Genesis where Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil—and thus they became A tree of G&E. Psalm One says, He shall be a tree that grows planted by the riverside. Now compare to Revelations 22:2 where on either side of the river grew the tree of life. The tree of G&E is conspicuously missing. Remember Jesus said, Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; 14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: 15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: 16 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. 17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

See what happens when the King forgets God (kinda like being an ateist or theistic evolutionist). Notice the king “evolving” feathers and claws. ;)
Danie 4:
The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? 31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. 32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.

34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?


Take that we all do await a resurrection as is says elsewhere even of Lazarus whom Jeus raised from the dead. His sister knowing he was dead besought Jesus who told her he would rise. She thought he meant in the last day. But Jesus resurrected Lazarus to show his power.

hebrewa11: 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city

#3 Ron

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 04:19 AM

Whenever Jesus spoke in parables, he let it be blatantly known (one way or another) that it was, in fact, a parable! So, if Jesus didn't let it be known that He was speaking in parables, then it was not.

#4 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 04:27 AM

Hmm, so do You think the story Jesus told really happened? That's really what I'm getting at. In all the parables Jesus told, they took place in the physical world, yet in this story two men died and an angel took Lazarus into the bosom of Abraham, something to the Jews that would be of great comfort. Jesus even describes the place as being separated by a great gulf which none could cross and the rich man was in torment and had consciousness. I would take Jesus words to the thief on the cross at face value. When He said today You will be with Me in paradise would mean just that and it would make Luke 16:19-31 a true event. Since We do not go directly to heaven after death until judgement day, it would also validate the story of Lazarus and the rich man a something that happens when We die.

#5 Scanman

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:01 AM

Hmm, so do You think the story Jesus told really happened? That's really what I'm getting at. In all the parables Jesus told, they took place in the physical world, yet in this story two men died and an angel took Lazarus into the bosom of Abraham, something to the Jews  that would be of great comfort. Jesus even describes the place as being separated by a great gulf which none could cross and the rich man was in torment and had consciousness. I would take Jesus words to the thief on the cross at face value. When He said today You will be with Me in paradise would mean just that and it would make Luke 16:19-31 a true event. Since We do not go directly to heaven after death until judgement day, it would also validate the story of Lazarus and the rich man a something that happens when We die.

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One interpretation of this parable is that it is about the nation of Israel.

The rich man was wearing clothes symbolic of royalty and the priesthood.
"'...you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” Ex 19:6
Lazarus was representative of the Gentiles (begging for crumbs)

Commentary on Lazarus and the Rich Man

The fact that the rich man has five brothers is a vital clue to his true symbolic identity. Judah, the progenitor of the Jews, was the son of Jacob through Leah (Gen. 29:35). He had five full-blooded brothers: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, and Zebulun (Gen. 35:23).



#6 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:15 AM

One interpretation of this parable is that it is about the nation of Israel.

The rich man was wearing clothes symbolic of royalty and the priesthood.
"'...you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” Ex 19:6
Lazarus was representative of the Gentiles (begging for crumbs)

Commentary on Lazarus and the Rich Man

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So You are convinced this is a parable? I'm not convinced because when Jesus told parables, they always took place in the physical realm, not a spiritual one and names where never spoken of.

1) The Parable of the speck and log - Matt. 7:1-6; Luke 6:37-43
2) The parable of the two houses - Matt. 7:24-27; Lk. 6:47-48
3) The parable of the children in the marketplace - Matt. 11:16; Lk. 11:24-26
4) The parable of the two debtors - Lk. 7:41
5) The unclean spirit - Matt. 12:43-45; Lk. 11:24-26
6) The rich man's meditation - Lk. 12:16
7) The barren fig tree - Lk. 13:6-9
8) The sower - Matt. 13:3-8; Mk. 4:31,32; Lk. 13:19
9) The tares - Matt. 13:24-30
10) The seed - Mk. 4:20
11) The grain of mustard seed - Matt. 13:31, 32; Mk. 4:31, 32; Lk. 13:19
12) The leaven - Matt. 13:33; Lk. 13:21
13) The lamp - Matt. 5:15; Mk. 4:21; Lk. 8:16; 11:33
14) The dragnet - Matt. 13:47,48
15) The hidden treasure - Matt. 13:47, 48
16) The pearl of great value - Matt. 45, 46
17) The householder - Matt. 13:52
18) The marriage - Matt. 9:15; Mk. 2:19, 20; Lk. 5:34, 35
19) The patched garment - Matt. 9:16; Mk. 2:21; Lk. 5:36
20) The wine bottles - Matt. 9:17; Mk. 2:22; Lk. 5:37
21) The harvest - Matt. 9:37; Lk. 10:2
22) The opponent - Matt. 5:25; Lk. 12:58
23) Two insolvent debtors - Matt. 18:23-35
24) The good Samaritan - Lk. 10:30-37
25) The three loaves - Lk. 11:5-8
26) The good shepherd - John 10:1-16
27) The narrow gate - Matt. 7:14; Lk. 13:24
28) The guests - Lk. 14:7-11
29) The marriage supper - Matt. 22;2-9; Lk. 14:16-23
30) The wedding clothes - Matt. 22:10-14
31) The tower - Luke 14:28-30
32) The king going to war - Lk. 14:31
33) The lost sheep - Matt. 18:12; Lk. 15:4-7
34) The lost coin - Lk. 15:8,9
35) The prodigal son - Lk. 15:11-32
36) The unjust steward - Lk. 16:1-9
37) The importunate widow - Lk. 18:2-5
38) The Pharisee and tax gatherer - Lk. 18:10-14
39) The slave's duty - Lk. 17:7
40) Laborers in the vineyard - Matt. 20:1-16
41) The talents - Matt. 25:14-30; Lk. 19:11-27
42) The two sons - Matt. 21:28
43) The wicked vine-growers - Matt. 21:33-43; Mk. 12:1-9; Lk. 20:9-16
44) The fig tree - Matt. 24:32; Mk. 13:28; Lk. 21:29, 30
45) The watching slave - Matt. 24:43; Lk. 12:39
46) The man on a journey - Mk. 13:34
47) Character of two slaves - Matt. 24:45-51; Lk. 12:42-46
48) The ten virgins - Matt. 25:1-12
49) The watching slaves - Lk. 12:36-38
50) The vine and branches - John 15:1-6

You can go through all of these parables and not find one name mentioned and none of them take place in a spiritual realm. All of them describe something that could or did happen.

#7 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:19 AM

But lets say it is a parable, even so Jesus would be describing something that would take place after dying and not just making it up to get a point across through a story.

#8 Scanman

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:38 AM

But lets say it is a parable, even so Jesus would be describing something that would take place after dying and not just making it up to get a point across through a story.

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I think that he was just making it up to make a point...it was an analogy of Israel and their squandering of God's promise and their upcoming judgement in 70AD.

#9 Scanman

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:42 AM

So You are convinced this  is a parable? I'm not convinced because when Jesus told parables, they always took place in the physical realm, not a spiritual one and names where never spoken of.


So you believe that Lazarus was with Abraham and that the Rich man was being tormented...prior to the Judgement?

...that Lazarus could openly view someone who was being tormented?

IMHO...this was a parable.

#10 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:56 AM

Yes because it also ties in with what Jesus told the thief on the cross:

Luke 23:43
And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

He didn't say after judgement but "today", which is the day they both died.

The rich mans judgement was sealed and He knew it being in torment and seeing Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, which would be of great comfort. In essence in paradise, a place of comfort. Since we must wait for the final judgement to be granted entrance into heaven it is feasible to think that our spirit is conscience while awaiting judgement day, why else would Jesus tell the thief what He told Him?

#11 Scanman

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 10:01 AM

Luke 23:43
And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

He didn't say after judgement but "today", which is the day they both died.


IMHO, we live, we die/sleep, then the resurrection, then the judgement, then eternity.

Trying to place a natural timeline on the aferlife is probably pretty futile.

To be technical, did Jesus die and immediately go to paradise?...I thought there was something there about him dying and preaching to those spirits who were in prison (1 Pet3:18,19)

#12 Seth

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 06:03 PM

Yes because it also ties in with what Jesus told the thief on the cross:

Luke 23:43
And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

He didn't say after judgement but "today", which is the day they both died.

The rich mans judgement was sealed and He knew it being in torment and seeing Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, which would be of great comfort. In essence in paradise, a place of comfort. Since we must wait for the final judgement to be granted entrance into heaven it is feasible to think that our spirit is conscience while awaiting judgement day, why else would Jesus tell the thief what He told Him?

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Joshua, I know that you know that Jesus said that He would be in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights, therefore it is NOT possible for Jesus to have gone to "paradise" THAT day when He was crucified. Remember also after He was raised from the dead, Mary clung to Him and what did Jesus say to her? John 20:17 "Do not cling to me, (why not?) for I have NOT YET ascended to the Father;..." Evan AFTER He was raised He did not ascend to heaven.

Also in the Greek of that time the use of "punctuation" was not present. http://greek-languag...linguist/?p=657 So the verse in Luke 23:43 without the use of punctuation would read "Truly I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise." There is some question as to the placement of the "comma" in that verse. If you placed the comma AFTER "today" you get a completely different meaning, "Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise." To me that is consistent with what Jesus told us about being in the grave 3 days and 3 nights and even after being raised having not YET ascended to heaven. So I am in agreement with Mike Summers concerning what Jesus meant when He spoke to the thief on the cross.

As for the Lazarus story, I believe it is also a parable as were all the previous 3 chapters (13,14,15, many of which you've already posted verses for) where we read Luke 13:6, Luke 14:7, Luke 15:3 as parables. However notice in Luke 16:1 it says, "He (Jesus) ALSO said to His disciples,..." Jesus CONTINUES or ADDS TO. I can see no reason to think or believe that this passage, therefore, in 19-31 was not a parable.

#13 ikester7579

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:18 AM

I have heard many people say that Luke 16:19-31 is a parable but why do people think that?

When ever Jesus told a parable He never mentioned names and they always took place in the physical realm, or something that could or did happen and had a meaning to them. But in this story Jesus mentioned three names, Lazarus, Moses and Abraham and it took place in another realm.

I know many people that think when they die the go to heaven but no one can go to heaven until judgment has be done, so where do we go when we die? Could this story that Jesus told be the place where we go when we die, like Jesus told the thief on the cross? What did Jesus mean by the thief being with Him in paradise?

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In the old Testament, when you died you did not go to Heaven or Hell. There was no provision for this in the old covenant. You did what was called: Sleeping with the fathers, or slept with his fathers.

1kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
1kings 11:43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.
etc....

What this means is that the souls in the old testament stayed with their bodies. The resurrection of Christ changed that.

mt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.

Notice that it does not say: "all" the saints arose, it says "many". Which means the resurrection of Christ was also considered a judgment type rapture for the old testament. Those not worthy did not go. And yes their souls are still with their bodies.

This is also where we get the term: Dead in Christ.
1thess 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

The covenant you die in is the covenant you will be judged for. So those left behind from the old testament are considered "dead in Christ" because the new covenant cannot help them.

The parable about the rich man-poor man was a story of how things were going to change. Each went to their destination upon death. That's how it works today.

The thief being in paradise was not Heaven. Not until Christ rose from the dead, Paradise was a holding place where souls stayed until they are resurrected. When Christ rose, paradise was no more needed for those who died. Things now happen just like the reach man poor man parable.

The thief was now a saint:

mt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.

So he rose just like the saints did.

#14 ikester7579

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:20 AM

I think that he was just making it up to make a point...it was an analogy of Israel and their squandering of God's promise and their upcoming judgement in 70AD.

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So Christ can sin (make it up) and still be holy enough to die for our sins?

#15 Ron

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 05:31 AM

Hmm, so do You think the story Jesus told really happened?

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1- Did Jesus say it was a parable, or have to explain it to to His disciples later due to their obtuseness?

2- Who else would have intimate knowledge of these goings on?

3- Is Jesus someone who would lie, in order to get his point across?


Based upon ALL other parables, is there any evidence that this is a parable? Other than mere speculation?

People (by people I mean liberal theologians, skeptics, atheists and other Biblical nay-sayers) love to twist the Word of God with an allegorical bent. In this way, they can use that to further discredit Biblical truths.

#16 MamaElephant

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:46 AM

Abraham was not in heaven at the time Jesus was saying these things according to that post by ikester?

One drop of water would actually help the rich man, and would make it through the fire without evaporating?

Why is the rich man not given a name?

Lazarus could see the rich man being tortured and the rich man could see him and they could converse with each other?

Humans did not have immortal souls before Christ's sacrifice but they did/do afterwards?

#17 Scanman

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:40 AM

So Christ can sin (make it up) and still be holy enough to die for our sins?

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When Jesus said that he was a vine...was he a vine, no...it was an analogy.

What Jesus told was a parable...a story meant to convey a moral message...there is no sin in that.

#18 ikester7579

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:35 PM

When Jesus said that he was a vine...was he a vine, no...it was an analogy.

What Jesus told was a parable...a story meant to convey a moral message...there is no sin in that.

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Is there a expert on what is true that Jesus said, or do we pick and select what is true and not?

#19 ikester7579

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:41 PM

Abraham was not in heaven at the time Jesus was saying these things according to that post by ikester?


Paradise or heaven, they can still appear to Christ when he went to pray.

One drop of water would actually help the rich man, and would make it through the fire without evaporating?


Christ knowing the past and the future, He could tell stories of what has happened, or what was going to happen.

Why is the rich man not given a name?


God does not recognize those who are not saved, so their names are not important because they will be alone in Hell where no one will know them.

Lazarus could see the rich man being tortured and the rich man could see him and they could converse with each other?


Only in the first part of being thrown into Hell. As the rich man sunk into it, he would be alone for an eternity.

Humans did not have immortal souls before Christ's sacrifice but they did/do afterwards?

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They do from the beginning, it was not until Christ rose form the dead that they actually had a final destination.

#20 performedge

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:17 PM

I have heard many people say that Luke 16:19-31 is a parable but why do people think that?

When ever Jesus told a parable He never mentioned names and they always took place in the physical realm, or something that could or did happen and had a meaning to them. But in this story Jesus mentioned three names, Lazarus, Moses and Abraham and it took place in another realm.

I know many people that think when they die the go to heaven but no one can go to heaven until judgment has be done, so where do we go when we die? Could this story that Jesus told be the place where we go when we die, like Jesus told the thief on the cross? What did Jesus mean by the thief being with Him in paradise?

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There are quite a few doctrines floating around this thread. Christians are clearly confused on this subject, and I think we know who the father of confusion is. The question is why are we so confused? Again from the other thread, I think it begins with the fundamental understanding of what the body/soul/spirit relationship is. If this doctrine is confused, then every subsequent doctrine will be confused along with it.

I believe what Jesus said when He said "today you will be with me in paradise." There is a place called paradise. When Jesus died, on that day He went to two places. We all agree His body went to the tomb. But what about His spirit/soul. Well ....

Luk 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

While Jesus' body was in the tomb His spirit was with God. I submit that the same happened to the theif that day by God's grace.

Now is Lazarus and the Rich man a parable? Of course! No matter what you believe about what happenes to us at death, I don't think any group believes that real bodies are in the heavenly realms today exept maybe for Enoch and Elijah and of course Jesus after His ressurrection. So the Rich man wasn't in literal physical torment, because He didn't have a body to feel this.

However, just like all parables, Jesus is teaching us things here. He is teaching that the spirits do survive and live after death. As the scriptures testify several times. But there are two dwelling places for them. This is Hades. One place is paradise with God, and the other is a place for the Rich man which is totally away from God. That place is metaphorically a bad place. Godless ... is the word I'm looking for.

And all that will cost ya two cents. :rolleyes:




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