Editor: Manyâview the account of the âRich Man and Lazarusâ that Jesus related at Luke 16:19 – 31 as literal.
They believe that the rich man was actually blazing in fire and will be in it forever. Is that really so? Jesus said at John 3:13 that âno man hath ascended up to heaven.ââIn fact, 1 Corinthians 15:23 shows thatâJesus was the FIRST to go to heaven from the earth.âAbraham is mentioned in the account of the âRich Man and Lazarus.â He had lived and died long before Jesus came to earth.â
According to John 3:13, quoted above, and 1 Corinthians 15:23,â Abraham was NOT in heaven when Jesus related the account of the Rich Man and Lazarus. In fact, NO human had gone to heaven then. Abraham was in the grave, already decayed and returned to dust, like Adam and any other human who died asâGenesis 3:19 andâEcclesiastes 3:19, 20 prove.
Since Abraham became dust, he could not have been any place else either, such as in outer space. Abraham is unconscious, out of existence and is awaiting a resurrection, when he willâlive again. John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15.âFaithful David, who killed Goliath, is not in heaven either, but isâ awaiting a resurrection like Abraham. Acts 2:34.â
Therefore, Jesusâ use of Abrahamâs name in the account of the âRich Man and Lazarusâ is only symbolic, NOT literal.âThe context of Jesusâ story at Luke 16:19-31 shows that Jesus used the âRich Manâ to represent the covetous Pharisees, who loved money. Luke 16:14, 15. âLazarusâ represented the common Jews, who were starving spiritually, not being fed by the Pharisees, who looked down on them. John 7:49.â
Later, when John the Baptist and more importantly, Jesus came and spiritually fed them, (Matthew 3:1, 2; Matthew 4:17) the Jews were shown to be in a favoured position with God, as represented by Lazarus being in Abrahamâs bosom. The Pharisees were now in figurative âtorment,â as the preaching of the apostles and disciples was distressing to them. The Pharisees were clearly shown up as being out ofâGodâs favour. Luke 16:24. Therefore, the account ofâthe âRich Man and Lazarusâ is a parable, used to illustrate the aforementioned. It is NOT literal.â