The Explanation continued
Now what of the rich man? He dies and is buried and comes to a place called hell. How does this work then, because we know that the dead are dead and know nothing? (Please see my article “Are Christians going to heaven?") Yet this rich man is conscious and can see Lazarus in Abraham's bosom and Abraham too is alive and can see him. So what is this all about and at what point in time is all this taking place? First of all, it's all about mental and spiritual torment, not physical torment. Secondly, the time is just after that time when the rich man will have been resurrected with all those who were called. This is the time of the return of The Lord Jesus Christ to this earth and the first resurrection. The rich man is like the five foolish virgins who ran out of oil. Here though, The Lord has taken the scenario one step further and placed the rich man in a metaphorical place of torment. This hell is a point in time in the future where all the unrepentant men in purple robes will realise it's too late, like the unwise virgins who discovered their purchased oil was useless. If we refer to the end of that parable the unwise virgins are not allowed into the wedding feast and The Lord Jesus Christ informs them that He does not know them even though they were given oil (grace) in the first place. In this instance The Lord Jesus Christ does not elaborate on their reaction to this horrendous news.
However, in this parable we are told about the rich man's ordeals or his reaction to the news that he has been excluded from the Kingdom of God - Abraham's bosom - Salvation. He, like the unwise virgins at the beginning, was given oil - grace or here referred to as the ‘good things’ - the Spiritual Law of Moses and the Prophets - The Gracious gifts of God to the priesthood. This rich man, like modern mainstream Christian ministers, had all the benefits the knowledge of God can bestow upon a man. His and their wickedness has resulted in the Children of God i. e. those they were/are responsible for and supposed to look after (shepherd) were/are starving through lack of Spiritual food. So here he is, as a result, in utter mental torment for his just reward:
Matt 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. (God) 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Wretched mental torment and/or ordeals).
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 (Wretched mental torment and/or ordeals).
Make no mistake this rich man represents a “child of the kingdom" as are all those who are called into the ministry, but many run out of oil - grace, and turn to religious form and legalism as a blasphemous replacement. Turning or making The Word of God to none effect. This parable was given as a warning to them and, notice, they understood The Lord's parables so were, without excuse.
Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. Now in order to respond in this way these men must have understood what The Lord Jesus Christ was talking about. Only the disciples, after The Lord had explained to them the meaning, were privy to this understanding, apart from these men of religion.
We now move on to where the rich man, in his ‘burning tormented’ condition catches sight of Abraham with Lazarus in his bosom and he cries out. What is he crying out for? Just a drop of water from the tip of Lazarus’ finger. The thing is, if the rich man is in a real burning cauldron how is a drop of water on the end of Lazarus’ finger going to bring him any relief? Well, quite plainly it is not, so what does this water represent? Again we return to the Spiritual Truth of The Lord Jesus Christ:
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. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
Here we can see the amazing God given wisdom of the woman by the well who longed to have her thirst quenched once and for all by The Lord's metaphorical Holy Spiritual water. Indeed, we can now see the water the rich man was crying out and pleading for, in a new Light. He knew what kind of water would be on Lazarus’ finger tip and he also knew that just one single drop would be enough to rescue him from his mental anguish and torment - a well of water springing up into everlasting life and him, being comforted by The Lord Jesus Christ (Abraham's bosom) in The Kingdom of God.
We then learn that there is a gulf between the rich man and Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, a gulf that cannot be bridged from either direction. This gulf is the same gulf that denied the five unwise virgins a share of the oil from the five wise virgins, this is a ‘never the twain shall meet’ situation. This situation can be likened to the sheep and goats, with one; the sheep on God's right hand and the other; the goats, on His left - the sheep inherit and the goats do not.
This is the point in time that the rich man has reached and he vainly requests that Abraham send Lazarus from the dead to his five brethren who again remind us of the five unwise virgins. It was too late for them and it's too late for the rich man's brethren, the Grace has gone out of their lives. We then get the killer verse. Verse 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. Here in this verse The Lord Jesus Christ is referring to Himself as the “one rose from the dead" and look at what He is saying. This verse not only covers the Jewish religious leaders of the first century but brings us loud and clear into the last days which commenced on the first Pentecost AD 31. We are talking about so called men of God here now in this age - ‘teachers’ and ‘preachers', not the unsaved. Even though The Lord Jesus Christ came and died to take all of mankind's sins, was resurrected to give us new lives in Him or ‘Abraham's bosom’ and give us His glorious Grace, there are still those rich men who stand in their pulpits each week and ‘teach’ the same Pharisaical message against it - those men dressed in their fine purple linen - both metaphorically and/or literally!
Finally, and to end on a more positive note, we must also understand that the rich man's punishment is only for a season - albeit a thousand year season, but eventually he will be part of the second resurrection as described in Revelation 20. The Father God does not remain angry forever but vengeance is always His and the Lazarus's must be avenged. As promised elsewhere I will be writing an article or three on the two resurrections - coming soon!
As always, if there is anything you're unsure of or do not understand, feel free to contact me at email@example.com