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The Story Of Lazarus And The Rich Man

2443 words - 10 pages

The story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 is perhaps the most vivid description of Hell mentioned in the Bible. Many unbelievers today, however, as well as many believers, erroneously believe that this story was merely a parable and not to be taken as a literal story of an actual event that had taken place. There are many theories and opinions as to what the purpose of this story was and what it was supposed to illustrate. This essay will cover a verse by verse analysis of the story in an attempt to determine the message that Jesus was trying to relay. This essay will also determine whether or not this should be considered a story of an actual event or simply another parable used as method of teaching that was common in this time period.
In Luke 16:19, Jesus immediately describes the first person of the story in the following way, “There was a rich man.” The story does not attribute the rich man’s wealth to his ultimate demise and his condemnation to Hades, but it does place emphasis on his extravagant lifestyle and appetite for luxury. The rich man is said to have had a consistent manner of dress, which was to dress in purple and fine linens. Although this may very well describe any rich person, it would make more sense if we presumed, based on verse 14 that the Lord was speaking to the Pharisses of his day, or rather those religious people that thought they could serve both God and mammon and could get to heaven through their own twisted interpretation of the Bible. This specific verse exemplifies many of the rich televangelists of today that own their own private jets, live in mansions and have the same appetite for luxury as the rich man.
In verse 20, the Lord proceeds to describe the second person as a poor man by the name of Lazarus, who was covered with sores and left at the gate of the rich man. Due to the Lord having given Lazarus a proper name, this verse has been the subject of much speculation, as to whether or not this story is based on an actual event or is just a parable that Jesus used to emphasize a point. Perhaps the Lord was sending a strong message about the remembrance of righteous men by referring to Lazarus by his name (Psalm 112:6, Prov. 10:7). Perhaps He was also sending an even stronger message by not giving the rich man a proper name (Psalm 9:5, Prov. 10:7) as a consequence of his wickedness. One interesting coincidence to note, however, is that the name Lazarus is a form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, which was also the name of Abraham’s servant. The fact that Jesus included Abraham, the first Hebrew Patriarch, in the story would suggest that this was an event that had actually taken place. Jesus could have just as easily made his point using another parable without any names. Furthermore, considering that Jesus is the God of the universe, it would not make any sense for Him to have to use any made up parable just to give a teaching. He knows all and sees all. Surely, He has first-hand...

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