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The Rich Man and Lazarus, a Parable?

There is a controversy concerning the Rich Man and Lazarus.

I referred to the Rich Man and Lazarus in a Bible Study as a parable. I was surprised at the reaction. I guess I missed out on that bit of doctrine while at Harding. I personnally do not think it takes away from any meaning that people extract from it regardless of what it is, however let me suggest why I do believe it to be a parable.

Matthew 13:34 "Jesus spoke all these things to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable,"

That one alone is enough of a reason for me. If you look back at the previous chapters Christ had been telling parables and then in Luke 16:14 was interupted by the Pharisees who derided him for what he had said. Verses 15 through 18 constitute His response to them after which he returns to telling stories or specifically parables.

I believe that there is a hidden meaning to the story. There are too many details that would be totally unnecessary for a simple story about two men and what happened to them. Let me suggest that Lazarus represents Israel and that the rich man represents their main enemy. There is more, but I wonder if anyone else might find more. Look very closely at the Greek.

A little extra here. Have you considered the parable of the Prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32? The Prodigal son represents the house of Israel and the other son represents the house of Judah. The story is about the prophecied reunion of the two houses under one head, Jesus Christ.


Here is a link to a PDF file of one man's interpretation of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Regular Version

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