rich man and lazarus, parable, hell, bible, sleep, jesus Christ, salvation

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Dear Martin Zender:

So God lied when he said there is Hell (the tormenting kind)?  Let me guess, soul sleep right? So Jesus lied about The Rich Man and Lazarus, Mt 5:29, 30, Mark 9:43,45,47, plus much more? God is Just, so Jesus Christ must be all Love yet all Justice. 

Sorry to hear about your run in with religion, but calling Jesus Christ Savior, yet liar, will land you in the place you feel don't exist because man, Satan, and merchandisers have shamefully abused it for power, deception, and wealth. That in no way makes it go away. Yes we are to FEAR the Lord, or should we take that word out of God's Word? Sorry Martin, all men are liars and you are proving it, you are one of the nicest and kindest but still a liar. 

Go ahead, give me your best shot. 


Dear Ross:

This doesn’t require my best shot.

We can eliminate the thought that God lies, because we both will agree that He doesn’t. The question is, what did He say? Neither God nor Jesus ever said "hell." They inspired their writers to say Gehenna, tartarus, and hades. It’s the King James translators (and the NIV people) who have translated these three different Greek words with the catch-all "hell." So as soon as you say, "there is a hell," you are already confusing the subject and demonstrating your weaknesses, which are imprecision, carelessness, and—I’m sorry—a touch of laziness. I don’t mind that you’re this way, except when you impinge upon the name and character of God, at which time you strain both my niceness and kindness.

Luke 16:19-31 (the Rich Man and Lazarus) is a parable. Jesus is in the midst of teaching five parables, beginning in 15:3 with the parable of the lost sheep. Following that are the parables of the lost coin, the prodigal son, the unjust administrator, and the Rich Man and Lazarus. The purpose of these parables is to teach the Pharisees a lesson about how they treat publicans and sinners. If you take the Rich Man parable literally (which apparently you do), you have to throw out everything the rest of the scriptures have to say about death. But not only that.

Rich Man and LazarusIs Lazarus literally sitting on the bosom on Abraham? Why not, if this is literal? In the parable, the Rich Man is damned because he was rich and wore fine things. Lazarus is sitting on Abraham’s chest simply because he got bad things in this life. Think about this, Ross. There is nothing here about the gospel, nothing about faith. If you’re going to make this parable the criteria for either being consciously tormented in flame or sitting on Abraham’s chest for eternity, then you’re going to have to base salvation on wealth, not faith. Well? What is the criteria for salvation in this context? Physical disadvantage only; there is nothing about faith here. So lets all wear grubby clothes and get dogs to lick our cold sores. We’ll be on our way!

I’m curious. Since this is a five-fold parable, beginning in chapter 15, why don’t you make the Prodigal Son in 15:11-32 literal? At the end of the parable, the father says, "This, my son, was dead." Why don’t you take that death literally? Using your system of interpreting parables literally, you can use the parable of the prodigal son to prove that, after people die, they go off to a far country, spend all their money on whores and alcohol, then end up in a pig sty eating indigestible corn. Ross, I don’t think you want to do this.

As for your verses from Matthew and Mark, Jesus is speaking of Gehenna, not hell. All you need to discover this for yourself is 1) a concordance, 2) a Bible dictionary, 3) the Bible itself, and 4) an ounce of common sense. The concordance will verify for you that Jesus said Gehenna, not hell. The Bible dictionary will tell you that Gehenna is a valley on the southwest side of Jerusalem, not some mythological torture chamber. The Bible will inform you (Isaiah 66:24) that Gehenna is the place of capital punishment in the thousand-year kingdom, where "all flesh shall come to worship before Me in Jerusalem, says Yahweh. And they fare forth and see the corpses of the mortals, the transgressors against Me. For their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they become a repulsion to all flesh."

Common sense will tell you that corpses neither writhe nor scream.

Let God be true, though every man a liar.


Dear Martin:

You won't believe that when you die.