What About The Rich Man And Lazarus?

“We rely on the living God who is the savior of all”.

I Tim 4:10

The great battle before us is whether or not to rely on God… or to rely on your own self… your own “good works”… your own personal faith… for salvation. There are so many brothers and sisters in Christendom who have fallen into the trap that IF… IF… IF they do this or that, God will save them.

Yes, God will save, but not based on what you do. God will save based entirely on what Christ accomplished on the cross.

If you hint that God is the savior of all, many will say “What about the Rich Man and Lazarus?”

Well, let’s take a look.

We argue that the Rich Man and Lazarus story is not a literal story of what happens in regards to “final destiny”.

You see, the Rich Man and Lazarus is parable-like language. In fact, the Rich Man and Lazarus is the final part of a 5-part parable.

See Luke chapter 15 AND 16.

In Luke 15 verse 3 says, “Then Jesus told them this parable.” – One parable in five parts.

Part One: The “Parable” of the Lost Sheep.

Part Two: The “Parable” of the Lost Coin.

Part Three: The “Parable” of the Lost Son.

Part Four: The “Parable” of the Shrewd Manager.

Part Five: The “Parable” of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Luke 15:3 DOES NOT SAY, “Jesus told them THESE PARABLES.” … It was ONE parable in five parts, not five different parables. Key difference.

This is one long, long, long message, which Jesus spoke to the tax collectors, and sinners who gathered around him. But He spoke it especially to the Pharisees and “teachers” of the law.

Those Pharisees were about works, deeds and matters of “the law”… and Jesus’ message TO THEM… was showing them that He was there for the sinner… the lost sheep… the lost coin… the lost son… and He was saying the Pharisees would do well to FORGIVE in a “shrewd” way, so they’d have favor when they got booted out of their lofty position.

And finally, he suggested that the Pharisees were like the Rich Man who was short sighted.

They were “rich” in knowledge of the law, and the prophets. But they missed something. Something vital. Jesus was there for the lost. Not the prideful “rich” who had knowledge, but missed the point altogether.

If you really want to get a grasp of most of Jesus’ teachings, you need to consider the knock-down, drag-out fight between Peter and Paul.

You can read about that “fight” in detail in Galatians chapter one AND chapter two.

There you’ll discover that the “gospel of the circumcision” is wildly different than that “the gospel of the uncircumcision.” One “gospel” especially applies to the Jews and their calling, their kingdom destiny, works and why they need to obey “the law.” However, the other “gospel” the one that concerns the uncircumcised…. They have a calling that’s based in GRACE and FAITH… rather than GRACE and WORKS.

Christ’s death and resurrection is for all (COL 1:20). However, much of his message before His death on the cross, concerned the Jews and just doesn’t apply to us today.

To get a clear idea of what is for us today, look to Paul’s message.

The message about The Rich Man and Lazarus should not be stretched and stretched and stretched beyond our core message… our message is that Christ died for your sins. The pharisees’ message was that you must fall in line (works) in order to be part of the big plan.

Even if you do take the Rich Man story as more than a parable, you must consider that it’s not a story of an “eternal” destiny. You see, the word “eternal” is an English word. It has no real equivalent in the whole book of God. The closest you’ll find is the word AION or OLAM, both of which mean a long time… but nothing even hinting at “without beginning and without end.”

Christ died for all, including “the Rich Man”. And His death for the Rich Man was not in vain.

Now, keep in mind that the Rich Man (and the Pharisees) will not see eonian life during the kingdom time period. And this is important.

God’s Eonian Purpose (Eph 3:11) for Israel and the nations is limited and conditional. There are rewards and punishments for them meted out during the eons.

But once God’s Eonian Purpose is completed, here’s what you’ll find: You’ll find that “Even as in Adam, all die, so in Christ All will be vivified.”. (I Cor 15:20-28).

In Christ, the Rich Man will be Vivified. In Christ all will be vivified.

But not until “the end” when Christ hands over the kingdom to God. (See I COR 15:24).

When the “kingdom” comes to and end, and is handed over to God, THEN, death, the last enemy abolished, will be undone and ALL will be vivified in Christ.

God is the Savior of All. Not just believers. All. But God does not save all at the same time. You see, God’s Eonian Purpose has a timeline. The very word “eon” is a time word. It is not anything like our English word “eternal”. (The English word “eternal” is said to be “without beginning and without end.”).

The word “EON” references a LONG time, but not “endless” time. Even the “reign of Christ” in one verse is said to be “forever and ever”… but in I COR 15:25, it clearly said, “He must reign UNTIL… He places his enemies under his feet.”

NOTE: If Christ reigns “forever and ever” then his enemies will never be placed under his feet.. if the word “UNTIL” has any meaning.

So, the scripture actually said “Christ will reign for the eons of the eons.” Not “forever”… but for the eons.

The punishment of the Rich Man, is an “eonian” punishment. It’s not endless.

The death and resurrection of Christ breaks the power of death. Death is the “wages of sin”… but Christ death and resurrection, guarantees the “death of death”. (I COR 15:25)

The “Rich Man’s” sins were to ignore the poor. Did Christ die for those sins too? You bet.

It’s not like the Rich Man was a Hitler. It’s not like he was a Judas who betrayed Jesus for a few pieces of silver. His sins were serious and deserve “the wages of sin”, but Christ’s achievement on the cross is much more serious. And gloriously undoes all that sin did. (See Romans 5:18-19)

And one day, “every knee will bow” even the Rich Man’s knee. And “every tongue will confess” even the Rich Man’s tongue, that Jesus Christ is Lord. And this will result in Christ’s having a name above every name. (See Phil 2: 9-11). And this is not a “too late” type of thing. You see, the words “too late” are not in the Bible.

Christ death and resurrection is the foundation of God’s Eonian Purpose. And the vivification of all, (I COR 15:20-28) is the consummation of God’s Eonian Purpose.

The Rich Man’s sins cannot nullify God’s work in Christ’s cross.

That’s why, “we rely on the living God, who is the Savior of all.

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