From Plainer Words

The Pharisees - Part 11

Posted in: 2011
By Tom L. Ballinger
Oct 16, 2011 - 3:53:24 PM

Plainer Words since 1968
 
October 16, 2011
 
PLAINER WORDS ONLINE …THE PHARISEES – PART 11
 
(The Rich Man and Lazarus - Continued)
 
Our last study concluded by remarking on the part of the Satire/Irony story the Lord Jesus was telling in which He said, in His own words, that the rich man died, and was buried; and in hell he was being tormented, so he lifted up his eyes …
 
“And [the rich man] seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” These were the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, BUT He told the story as it would have been told by the Pharisees. The story was according to the doctrine of their “Oral Law.”
 
“And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” It is at this point that the Lord Jesus presented a conclusion which the Pharisees never included in their teaching. In plainer words, He presented the one who wore purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously everyday as receiving, in the-after-death-life, the opposite of what he had received in his earthly life. Christ presented the logical conclusion which no-one dared press upon the Pharisees but the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
 
“But Abraham said, Son [the rich man], remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” In this story, we see that the Lord presented Abraham as setting forth all the Pharisaic traditions; to wit, the poor becoming rich in a place of bliss in the after-life. Of course, Abraham’s answer in the story is, in truth, nothing but sheer “gobbledygook.” Completely missing in the Satirical story is the grace of God, and it, also, denies the justice of God since it presents a man’s sufferings simply because, in his lifetime, he received good things. This is all foreign language to the Word of God. Yet, all of this is in harmony with the teaching of the Pharisees. The Lord, also, portrayed Abraham as pointing out that if the caste system existed in Israel, then, it certainly should be carried over into the life to come.
 
If the Pharisees’ tradition about the reversal of positions in regard for the poor was true, then, it must be true that there would be a reversal of position for the aristocratic and ruling class.
 
“Then he [the rich man] said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him [Lazarus] to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” The request by the rich man brought to light another attitude assumed by the Pharisees which the Lord needed to hold-up for ridicule and contempt. The Pharisees, being the privileged class in Israel, felt as though they were not required to believe the evidence given to ordinary men. Matthew 16:1 pointed out the fact that their demand of the Lord Jesus was for a “sign from heaven.” All of the signs which the Lord had previously given were insufficient for the Pharisees. They assumed that their position required they be granted some special sign which was to exceed all other signs and wonders performed by the Lord Jesus Christ. This attitude, which was the epitome of arrogance, was exposed by the words that the Lord put in the mouth of “Father Abraham.”
 
“Abraham saith unto him [the rich man], They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” In this verse, Luke 16:29, we come to the whole point in the story in which the Lord is using Satire to rebuke the Pharisees for their failure to believe Moses and the Prophets. The written Word of God was God’s provision for all people in Israel, according to John 5:46-47:
 
“For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?”
 
Next, the Lord put the words in the rich man’s mouth which typified the Pharisees’ heart-attitude of demanding some SPECIAL miracle for them.
 
“And he [the rich man] said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.” Here, the Lord made the rich man say that the written Word of God is not sufficient! The Lord had the rich man tell “father” Abraham that if one were to go to his brothers from the dead, then, they would repent.
 
“And He [Christ] said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” The Lord Jesus had the rich man acknowledge to Abraham that his brothers didn’t believe the Word of God. God’s Word is as sure as if one did return from the dead. If the Word is not believed, neither will a miraculous rising from the dead be believed.
 
The Pharisees’ superstitions were, here, exposed. These cunningly devised fables by the Pharisees and their so-called “Oral Law” are nothing but superstition, and superstition always goes hand-in-hand with unbelief. The entire line of reasoning being that if the Pharisees failed to hear the written Word of God, no miracle would persuade them to believe. “The Rich Man and Lazarus,” as told by the Greatest Teacher the world has ever known, stripped the Pharisees naked. Their exposure was absolute. Their Traditionary Law was shown to be a fraud. They were left speechless by the Lord’s Satire. The Pharisees’ silence was deafening. They were unable to muster the feeblest of a reply. Not only that, but if they even attempted a reply, it would reveal the Lord’s Satire was understood by them.
 
SUMMARY
 
If I had kept a file drawer on the correspondence received regarding “The Rich Man and Lazarus” during the forty-plus years of writing “Plainer Words,” it would be over-flowing. Most of the letters used Luke 16 as their proof text to refute the fact that the dead are dead and know nothing. Their desperate argument is, “Yeah, but Jesus said in Luke 16 that the dead are alive,” thus, revealing that they missed the whole point of Jesus Christ’s use of Satire in this story. This is their last line of defense. As with the Maginot Line, their last line of defense has been breached when “hell” is spiritually discerned. The Truth of Luke 16 is the opposite of what is presented—the story was not literal—BUT SATIRE (i.e., Militant Irony).
 
Failure to recognize the Satire in this story makes the Word of God of none effect. Most Christians think this story is a simple, straight-forward history of actual events which took place. They insist that this is literal history reported by the Lord for the purpose of revealing the conditions that exist beyond death. Those who hold to the Pharisaic idea of life after death use Luke 16 as a proof text in support of what they believe. If the narrative of “The Rich Man and Lazarus” is actual history, it overturns the vast body of Truth associated with death, the state of the dead, “hell” (Hades), and even, the Truth of salvation. If this were Truth, then, future blessings in the after-life depend upon present poverty and not upon someone’s relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Those who insist upon “a devil’s hell” must use Luke 16 as their proof text to hold to their Pharisaic position; all of which invalidates the Word of God.
 
It should be kept in mind that the “Oral Law” turned out to be a hoax. It was a fraud perpetrated by Israel’s elite to keep the masses in subjection. We firmly believe that this willful distortion of God’s Word was a crime of enormous magnitude. In the realm of God’s economy, this hoax or fraud may, very well, be a capital crime.
 
Noah Webster’s  Dictionary of 1828 states: “Crime, 1. An act which violates a law, divine or human; an act which violates a rule of moral duty; an offense against right, prescribed by God or man, or against any rule of duty plainly implied in those laws.”
 
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