For the people who believe the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man is a parable, please show your evidence.

Mike McK

Well-known member
Here is mine that it is not:

In Matthew 13:10-11, Jesus says, "Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."

So, here we have Jesus stating that the purpose of parables is to hide information from those not able to understand, but the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man is precisely the opposite of that. He doesn't hide anything. He doesn't speak in secrets. He lays everything out on the table.

So, we see that the idea of the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man directly contradicts Christ's purpose for speaking in parables.

In the Bible, a parable is always presented as a kind of analogy (eg. "The Kingdom of God is like...").

We don't see that here. He does not analogize facts here.

What we see in the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man are details. Names. Jesus reveals details, which He does not do in parables.

Read the parables of Jesus and then compare them to this. You'll see that the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man does not fit the parable pattern. Jesus doesn't speak of it as a hypothetical event, and He does not attempt to conceal anything, as He said He does in parables in Matthew 13, but as something that actually happened.

Not a parable.
 
Here is mine that it is not:

In Matthew 13:10-11, Jesus says, "Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."

So, here we have Jesus stating that the purpose of parables is to hide information from those not able to understand, but the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man is precisely the opposite of that. He doesn't hide anything. He doesn't speak in secrets. He lays everything out on the table.

So, we see that the idea of the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man directly contradicts Christ's purpose for speaking in parables.

In Matthew 13 the disciples say "why do you speak to them in parables". However in Luke 16 Jesus is speaking to "the disciples", not "to them". Since Jesus is speaking to his disciples, there wouldn't be any effort to conceal, but to teach his disciples something. Jesus gives lots of parables to his disciples, including the one at the beginning of Luke 16 just before the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, so Jesus speaking to his disciples in the form of a parable isn't new or different.

In the Bible, a parable is always presented as a kind of analogy (eg. "The Kingdom of God is like...").

We don't see that here. He does not analogize facts here.

This is of course false. Parables are not "always" presented as a kind of analogy. For example, the most famous parable of them all, the parable of the good Samaritan says nothing of the sort. It is a story with a moral lesson. There is no claim of an analogy.

What we see in the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man are details. Names. Jesus reveals details, which He does not do in parables.

This is of course no big deal along with being false. There are no "rules" for parables that preclude the use of names and Jesus is not bound by any rules we wish to impose on him. Parables are an ancient teaching method found throughout the Old Testament, and Jesus simply uses the longstanding teaching method.

That being said Jesus does use names in his parables, Beelzebub in Matthew 12:27 for example.

Read the parables of Jesus and then compare them to this. You'll see that the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man does not fit the parable pattern. Jesus doesn't speak of it as a hypothetical event, and He does not attempt to conceal anything, as He said He does in parables in Matthew 13, but as something that actually happened.

Not a parable.

On the contrary, the phrase of the parable matches the first phrase of the previous parable, and denotes a connection in the teaching.

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So now that we've pushed back the misrepresented facts and false assertions used to draw the conclusion "Not a parable", let's address the titular request.

First let's note that the parable of the rich man and Lazarus begins the exact same way as the previous parable (the parable of the shrewd manager)

Luke 16:1 “There was a rich man whose
Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who


Next we note that Lazarus is still alive at this point in time. Lazarus died while Jesus was in the area of the Jordan after leaving Jerusalem (John 11), whereas the parable was of the rich man and Lazarus was given two chapters before Jesus reaches Jericho on his way from Galilee in Luke 18.

If the context of the parable isn't enough to establish that this isn't a literal story, then let's actually read the story (Link) and note the details.
  • Heaven isn't mentioned in the passage. It speaks of "the bosom of Abraham".
    • The bosom of Abraham isn't described in scripture, it is a fictitious place.
    • Likewise, the "hades" or "hell" place mentioned in the passage isn't described in scripture either.
    • These places are also not mentioned in the creation account in Genesis 1. These places don't literally exist.
  • These people are taken bodily.
    • The rich man looks with his eyes, he wants a drop of water from a finger placed upon his tongue.
    • In reality, these body parts rot away in the grave, they aren't carried away by angels. An indication that this is a parable.
    • If the literal interpretation believer wants you to believe this is about real events, then the literal interpretation believer is going to have to demonstrate from scripture (not their imagination) that persons such as the rich man who are in hades would possess a tongue, eyes, and why flame would have any impact. And why would such a person get thirsty for water.
  • There is a gulf between Abraham and the rich man, yet the rich man wants Lazarus to come visit him.
    • If this is a literal event, the literalist would have to demonstrate from scripture (not their imagination) where such an idea would come from. Why are people able to go from the bosom of Abraham to hades, but not the other way around?
  • The rich man speaks and has a conversation with Abraham, not with angels.
    • Abraham isn't in Abraham's bosom.
    • Abraham is dead and has not received his reward (Heb. 11:8, 13, 39, 40).
  • And Lazarus was resurrected from the dead, and he apparently has nothing important to say about the event.
Jesus only called 11 of his 26+ parables in Luke parables, and short of declaring it a parable, he couldn't be any more clear that it was a parable.


What the story in Luke 16 is actually about is in verses 14-15. Jesus teaches his disciples about the heart of the Priesthood and their materialism. And this materialism is why they killed him. Examine the characters and the story:
  • a Rich Man (High Priest Caiphas)
  • his Father (Annas) (High priest when Jesus was a child, and he was the first to interrogate Jesus at trial)
  • the sons of the Father (Eleazar, Jonathan, Theophilus, Matthias, Ananus) (also high priests)
  • who all were wealthy and wore fine linen
  • who all were well studied in Moses and the Prophets.
  • And Abraham taught that these men would not repent even if one rose from the dead.
The object lesson given by Abraham in the story came true in detail "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ The prediction of the parable actually happened. Lazarus rose from the dead and they all the more wanted to kill him (John 12:9-11). Further Jesus rose from the dead and they did not repent, but rather doubled down over the next forty years resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem.

Jesus was teaching his disciples about the heart of the Priesthood and he was demonstrated to be correct in detail.
 
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