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Lazarus and the Rich Man

                                          Lazarus And The Rich Man

Lazarus and the rich man has been a difficult passage for many to understand. I ask each one reading this article to read it through to the end. Some things in the beginning may not be clear until the whole picture comes together. When we look at this scripture in light of other scriptures the meaning will become clear. Let’s take a look at the passage and try to get an understanding.

 Luke 16

19 ¶There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

We will address later as to the question of whether this is a parable or not. I believe that it is a parable for the reasons listed below. This issue will also be addressed later on in this article.

We must remember that when Jesus is teaching, using parables, illustrations, etc, that He is trying to convey an understanding of something that is deeper then the story itself. This is self evident from the other illustrations and parables used by Jesus. After we have looked at other scripture and the surrounding text of Jesus’ teaching here it will, with God’s help, become clear as to the meaning of the passage.

This is more then a story about a rich man and a poor man. This is about faith, works, Jews, and Gentiles. We will prove this through scripture. No scripture is of a private interpretation. Who does the rich man represent? Let’s look at some other passages to come to an understanding.

 

THE RICH MAN

Luke 16

19 ¶There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

First we notice that the passage starts out with there was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. Let’s compare this passage to a few other passages.

Ezekiel 16

6 ¶And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.

7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.

8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.

9 Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.

10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.

11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.

12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.

13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.

14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.

15 ¶But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.

16 And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.

Revelation 18

And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

The main thought here is the rich man is rich because of his favor with God. It is the only true test of being rich. We see this through many different verses in scripture. Two are quoted below.

Proverbs 10:22  ¶The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

Mark 8:36  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

In Proverbs 10:22 surely we see the application is not material. Many had the blessing of the Lord in the Bible and were not physically rich. Jesus and Paul are but a few examples. The blessing of the Lord is what makes a person rich or poor. To have His favor and blessing is everything. To have everything else imaginable and not have His blessing and favor is to have nothing. As we continue to study this passage we will come to understand that it was the Jews that had God’s blessing and favor. They were the ones fairing sumptuously every day.

Amos 3

¶Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,

You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

 

 

THE BEGGAR

Luke 16

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Notice that Lazarus is begging for crumbs from the rich man’s table. Also notice that the dogs are coming to his aid to try to heal his sores. Compare this to what Jesus said in another passage.

Matthew 15

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Mark 7

25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:

26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.

29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

We notice in the above passages that the gentile woman is referred to as a dog by Jesus. He tells her that it is not fit to take of the bread of the children, the Jews of the house of Israel, and give the bread to the dogs, the gentiles. She says to Jesus that even the dogs desire the crumbs from the children’s table. Jesus commends her faith and rewards it with the casting out of the unclean spirit from her daughter.

This true story compares to that of the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. First we see that Lazarus desires the crumbs from the Master’s table, just as the gentile woman does. We will also notice that the gentile woman is referred to as a dog, just as Lazarus’ helping companions are referred to. Let’s continue studying the passage.

Luke 16

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

 

This is very significant language that is used here. Many brush this passage off and do not see the deeper meaning of the language in the passage. There is a reason that Lazarus is carried away into Abraham’s bosom at death. This is not physical death. This parable is teaching us what overcomes spiritual death.

The Jews took great pride in the fact that they were direct descendants of Abraham. It is important to Jews even today to be able to trace their lineage back to Abraham. Jesus here is teaching who is to be carried away to Abraham’s bosom. Who is Abraham’s true seed? You see, it is those of faith. Just as the gentile woman that begged for the crumbs from the children’s table. It has always been about faith. When a person dies they are carried off into Abraham’s bosom? That does not line up with scripture or with rationale. Do we really believe that when a saved person dies that they go literally over to Abraham’s bosom, of course not. There is a deeper reason why Abraham is used here. Why didn’t Jesus use a different patriarch? Abraham was significant to the Jews and also to the lesson of faith. Now let’s look at some other passages about Abraham.

John 8:33   They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

John 8:37  I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

Matthew 3

7  ¶But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Here we see that the Jews were prideful in their lineage to Abraham’s seed. Jesus acknowledges that the Jews are descendants of Abraham but that they also sought to kill Him. Why? Let’s look at some other scripture.

Galatians 2:16   Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 3

5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

6 ¶Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Luke 13:28  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Matthew 8:11   And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans he explains the relationship between works, faith, Jew, and Gentile. He explains this in depth in the first three chapters. I encourage each one reading this to read the first four chapters of Romans. In the fourth chapter of Romans Paul goes on to speak of faith.

Romans 4

7  Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.9 ¶Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

9  ¶Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

10  How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

14  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

15  Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

16  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

Romans 9:6  ¶Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

7  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Romans 9:30  ¶What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

31  But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

32  Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

We see that it is faith that counts a person as the seed of Abraham. It is faith that makes a person to be blessed with faithful Abraham. Abraham is used in the parable to show the Jews that they could not rely on their lineage to be blessed of God. The understanding should of come that it is those of faith, as Paul later explains, that are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Faith is how all the elders obtained a good report. It has always been that way. Even in the Old Testament it was necessary to rely on faith, not on works. Works could justify no one. This is the meaning of the parable. Let’s move on.

Luke 16

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

This word here used for hell always in the Bible denotes the grave. The word is also translated grave and pit in the Bible. Hades is the Greek word here, not Gehenna. Gehenna is the only place where fire is used as hell as in punishment of the wicked, never hades.

The torment that the rich man is in is the torment of works. The law worketh wrath. Those that would try to be justified by the keeping of the law just bring about their own misery. All this form of justification does is make sin exceedingly sinful. They can never be free. They can never be justified. There is no law that can bring forth salvation. Only faith in Jesus and God can bring about justification. This also ties in directly to the much-misunderstood Lake of Fire of Revelation 20.

Works have always been a by-product of faith not the other way around. Those of faith are justified and are counted as the seed, not by physical birth, but by spiritual birth.

At this point you may not see the correlation of the verses below, but they do apply to what we are talking about. An understanding of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ must happen first. Nevertheless, we will quote them here.

Revelation 14

11  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Revelation 18

6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

9 ¶And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

The torment of the rich man is the torment, wrath, and fear of trying to be justified before God by works of the law. The water that is needed to cool the tongue of the rich man is that water only given by faith in Jesus.

John 4:13  Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

14  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Revelation 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

All need to taste of the water of Jesus to be justified. Here we find the Jews that trusted in the keeping of the law longing for a taste of the water of life, Jesus.

Luke 16: 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Here we have the correlation between the Jews and the Gentiles.

Romans 9

30  What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

31  But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

The Jewish people received the good things of God. They had direct contact and deliverance by God. The Gentiles could be saved and find God by the witness of the things created, i.e. trees, stars, etc. but they did not have direct contact with God and His law. The Jewish people had the prophets, the law, the tabernacle, and the miracles. God had chosen them of all the families of the earth. Not because God was a respecter of persons, even in the Old Testament, but because the lesson must be taught that justification and salvation cannot come from a law or laws.

Galatians 3

24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Whether it would have been the Jewish people, Greeks, or Italians, the same lesson would have been learned. God did not respect the Jews more than other races! They were chosen as an example to all people that justification is by faith, not by works. That example race could have been any race, but any direct contact and deliverance of God is a blessing. We conclude that the Jewish people were indeed blessed but not in salvation, but in that they were used as an example of God’s mercy and longsuffering.

Romans 2

28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

 

 

Romans 3

1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?

2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

 

Romans 10

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This is true of the Old Testament, not just the New Testament. This is what Paul is trying to explain. Not just the way it is, but the way it has always been. Let’s move on.

Luke 16

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Why, one might ask, why cannot the Jew and Gentile pass across this gulf? The reason is simple. The very definition of the two groups is of those that try to justify themselves by works of the law and those the justify themselves through faith. It is not a chasm or gulf that physically or spiritually cannot be crossed. It is a gulf that separates those that will not live by faith.

Habakkuk 2:4  Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Romans 1:17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Galatians 3:11  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Hebrews 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 11

1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2  For by it the elders obtained a good report.

The gulf does not mean that one cannot return back to dead works or move up to faith from works in the physical sense. It does represent, however, that one cannot strive to be justified by faith and still put some stock in their works and keeping of the law to save them. Conversely, one also cannot seek to be justified by works and think that faith will save them. The very definition of Lazarus and the Rich Man make it impossible for them to partake one of another. Works is the by-product of existing faith and proves faith but does not take the place of faith.

James 2

20  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Let’s move on to the final part of this parable.

Luke 16

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The rich man desires that Abraham would send Lazarus to his brothers that they might understand the torment and fear that comes from the striving to be justified by works of the law. Abraham tells him that they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. This is important because there again it was the Jews that had Moses and the Prophets. If this passage was about heaven and hell or paradise and hell then what would be the significance of Moses and the prophets? The significance is that Moses and the prophets were examples and testified of faith. That is how all the elders obtained a good report as stated earlier.

The rich man says that they would repent if one went unto them from the dead. Abraham comments that they would not. That if they would not hear Moses and the prophets that they would not be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Note these scriptures.

John 8

39   They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

40  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

41  Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

Hebrews 6:1   Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Hebrews 9:14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

A final point about the promised land promised to Abraham. This was not only a literal place, but a spiritual place also. A Promised Land and place of rest for all those that are of Abraham’s seed, the seed of faith. Note these scriptures.

Matthew 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Hebrews 4

1 ¶Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

8 For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

In conclusion, this is a parable. There is far too much in the passage to think that it is truly about heaven and hell. In fact, this passage has nothing to do with heaven or hell. This is about the Jewish people finding themselves thrust out but the Gentiles who come by faith would be accepted before God. Why? The Jews sought it not by faith but by works and stumbled at that stumbling block. Believing that this is about heaven and hell or is a true story negates all the specifics about the passage. It makes Abraham’s bosom, Moses and the prophets, one rose from the dead, the drop of water, the rich man, the beggar , the dogs all pointless and unnecessary for the story.

If we depend on our faith and not the works of the law to justify us before God we will be like the great patriarchs in the Old Testament. We will obtain a good report and be justified before God. This is where we find those that are of faith. Entered into that Promised Land. Entered into that Day of Rest. Being in the Church. Resting in the bosom of faithful Abraham.