THE STATE OF THE DEAD
There is only One who has immortality:1 Ti 6:14 ... our Lord Jesus Christ 15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.JOB 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee, thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands....
Notice friend in the following text, in this clear, black and white quote (It is not vague, and it cannot be interpreted two different ways), when we go to the grave and we do not know anything:ECC 9: IO Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Notice what happens to our thoughts when we die:PSA 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
What happens to the soul than sins?EZE 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine, as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.... 20 ... The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
The FIRST Deception - Man is ImmortalGEN 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.
This lie by Satan caused Adam and Eve's fall. It has caused the destruction of billions down through the ages, and will yet bring about the destruction of billions now living upon the earth.
God has told us how much the dead actually know:
ECC 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward , for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished,, neither have they any more a portion forever in any thing that is done under the sun.... 10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
At the second coming, the Lord will call, and we will be changed in a moment, and will answer Him:
JOB 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands ... 20 Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away. 21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not, and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
At the latter day our Redeemer will stand on the earth, and in our NEW flesh we will see Him:
JOB 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
THESE STATEMENTS CLEARLY INFORM US THAT THE SOUL AND BODY ARE UNCONSCIOUS DURING DEATH. Remember, God never "alters the thing that has gone out of My lips."
What About Being Absent From The Body?
We need not be confused by what Paul (by divine inspiration) says in:
2 COR 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
This is a grey text that could be taken one of two ways. First we could assume Paul meant when we die we immediately go to heaven, which would be contrary to the rest of the Bible (such as Ecc. 9:5,6,10 that we read earlier which is a clear, black and white statement that "the dead know not anything", 50 times in the Bible it is said the dead sleep). Or second, we could interpret it as meaning when a Christian (in word and deed) dies, their next conscious moment will be at the resurrection of the just, when they awake from their sleep. The moment they receive their new body will be at the resurrection when they will then be with the Lord.
Notice in the following text how the dead and the living will all meet the Lord at the same time, at Christ's return to this earth:
I THESS 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
This unawareness of the passage of time is demonstrated by people who have been in a coma from a head injury, or any one of us who have gone to sleep tired and been awakened in what seemed to us seconds, but was in fact several hours. Also, people who are anesthetized for surgery have no awareness of the passage of time, if well anesthetized.
Remember- God never "alters the thing that has gone out of My lips."
The Thief on The Cross
You may ask about the thief on the cross who was told by Jesus, "Verily I say unto thee, today you will be with me in paradise" Mark 23:43. We should note that the punctuation in the Bible was added around 1000 AD, when the comma in this text was placed by men. What if the comma after "thee" was placed after the word "today?" It would read, "Verily I say unto thee today, you will be with me in paradise." Meaning, this day I am saying, you will be with me in paradise some day. There are two reasons why the latter interpretation is correct. First, for Christ to have meant He was going to heaven at His death would mean He is saying something contrary to the rest of the Bible. Second, on Sunday morning he said to Mary, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father" John 20:17. Jesus did not go to heaven Friday at His death. He was asleep in the grave, awaiting His resurrection.
The Death and Resurrection of Lazarus
What about Lazarus who was sick, but died before Christ made it to his home? He died and was resurrected several days later.
JOHN 11:11-14, 23-24 "'Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.' Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death; but they thought that he had spoken of taking rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead.'...Jesus saith unto her [Martha], 'Thy brother shall rise again.' Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day"
Notice Jesus called death a sleep and Martha knew that Lazarus would sleep until the last day of this earth. Also, did Lazarus ever speak of being in heaven?
What about Saul Consulting a Medium and Speaking to Samuel?
Is this proof of the dead communicating with us? Let's take a look at the scripture.
I SAMUEL 28:3 "Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land."
Notice how the mediums and spiritists had not been wanted in the area and were removed from the area. These people are like today's palm readers or seance leaders, who do the work of spiritulism. God condemned them in Lev. 20:27 "A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death."
I SAMUEL 28:6 "And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets."
God was not communicating with Saul who was in need of an answer. It may have been because Saul was out of touch with God at this point. He had murdered the priests at the tabernacle of Nob, and had deliberately refused to wait for God's counsel at Gilgal (13:8-14). Notice that he resorted to seeking information from a source he had earlier condemned. He was following heathen superstition by calling on the supposed spirits of the dead for help. Saul had long been troubled by evil spirits and was now at their mercy (16:14-16).
I SAMUEL 28:8 "Then Saul said to his servants, 'Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.' And his servants said to him, 'In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor."
Notice what happens in the seance.
I SAMUEL 28:11-13 "...bring up Samuel for me....What did you see? And the woman said to Saul, 'I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.' Notice here how the woman sees the spirit came out of the earth, not from heaven. How could the woman actually see Samuel when Jesus has told us that He has gone to prepare a place for us, and will "come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:1-3. Samuel is asleep in his grave awaiting Christ's return.
I SAMUEL 28:15 "Now Samuel said to Saul, 'Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up.'" Here the narrative calls the being Samuel, but in reality it was Satan personating Samuel.
We cannot believe an encounter between two people out of the will of God, Saul and the medium, would produce something from Him. This entire encounter was from the spirit of darkness.
LEV. 20:6 "And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people."
What is the Soul?
Is it a separate spirit apart from the body or is it a living person? Notice what makes a living soul:
GENESIS 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
There has to be a body which has the breath of life given by God, in order for man to become a living soul. Our spirit is our breathe, which God breathes into us making us a living soul. The act of recreating our soul by uniting our body with the breath God gives us will again take place at the resurrection for those who are faithful.
Those who live during the last days of this earth, you and I possibly, will be tempted by the false Christ. His evil angels will personate our deceased loved-ones who will be telling us that Christ has changed His Ten Commandment Law.
The idea of living forever, even in a ghost-like state, originated by Satan and has been promoted by spiritualists.
REV 16.13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
REV 3: 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly. hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Does our "spirit" go to heaven after death?
Do we enter a ghost-like state after we die? Do we then go to heaven as a spirit?
Most people will say that our "spirit" goes to heaven after we die, and we continue living in a conscious state in heaven, much like a spirit. Then when the resurrection comes, we are reunited with a new body on earth.
Let's take a look at the word "spirit" as it is used in a text provided to me by someone who believes we are immortal. Ecclesiastes 12:7 "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." In order to understand this text, we have to look up the meaning of the Hebrew word for spirit. It is Strongs' word number 7307 "ruwach (roo'-akh) wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation." So the Bible says in Eccl. 12:7 that our body will return to the earth, and our breath will return to God.
Notice how this is reverse to our creation, Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being [soul]." So when we die, the reverse of creation takes place, where our breath goes back to God. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we become a ghost in heaven after we die. The only time we are conscious, is when we have a body. A body plus the breath of God = a living soul. When we get our new bodies at the second coming, we will again be conscious, as God will again breathe into us the breath of life, but this time it will be eternal!!!
Danger to ALL Who Believe in "Life After Death" or Immortality of the Soul
WHY IS A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE STATE OF THE DEAD IMPORTANT TO US AT THIS TIME? Angels both good and bad are able to appear as people. They can appear as our dead family members or other loved ones, or famous people or whoever they wish to personate. And since they have been here since the time of Adam and Eve, they know every detail of the lives of those long ago deceased, and can communicate those details, which convinces many people that they truly are the 'spirits of the dead'. We must know that the dead "know not anything"; otherwise we can be deceived by spirits of devils posing as people. Christ and two angels appeared to Abraham and Sarah as common travelers. The two angels appeared to Lot, his family and all the men of Sodom as ordinary travelers. (See Gen Chapters 18, 19.) Satan appeared as a serpent to Eve.
If we have any question about who is talking to us, God has given us a fail-proof means of telling if they are of God or of Satan:
ISA 8.20 To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Satan will soon appear as an "angel of light" and impersonate Christ; his fallen angels will personate the apostles and other writers of the Bible. Satan in the guise of Christ will tell the world he has changed the Law of God. Since God does not "alter the thing that has gone out of my lips", this claim by Satan to have changed the law will prove that he is a impostor. The claim by his demons in the guise of Bible writers, that the Bible (God's Word) is not as they wrote it, will likewise prove them to be impostors.
2CO 11: 14 And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.
GAL 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
JUD 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, 15 To execute judgment upon a//, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which, they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.
The Tree of Life- Necessary for Eternal Life
GEN 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.... 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
GEN 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever. 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Adam and Eve were mortal but had access to the tree of life. When Adam sinned, he and Eve were barred from the Garden of Eden and the tree of life. From that moment on:
HEB 9:27 ... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Through Christ, means were provided to give mankind the gift of eternal life:
REV 22:14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Clarification about the parable "The Rich Man and Lazarus" told by Jesus in Luke 16
Luke 16:19-31 19 ¶ There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: [The phrase, "certain rich man" is also in v1.] 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. .22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. .24 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. [note below.] 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 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. .27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 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.
The rich man burns and lazarus can't help him
The Protestant Reformation corrected a number of errors that had crept into the church over the ages, but the condition of man in death is one which still needs careful consideration. Jesus told a story which seems to say that people go to their reward at death, some to burning torture and some to happiness. So are dead people unconscious, sleeping in their graves or are they somewhere else in either bliss or torment as this story seems to indicate? This is a fair question. Of course the Holy Spirit who inspired the prophets is also the Spirit of Christ whom He sent to guide us into all truth . If we can understand all the texts correctly, we will find them in harmony. To understand this story we need to explore several questions: 1. Why did Jesus tell it? 2. Is this a parable � that is, a symbolic description? 3. Even if the story were a parable, would it not be describing reality about death? 4. What circumstances of Jesus' listeners would He have been relating to in order to bring conviction to their hearts? 5. What does the story mean to us today?
1. Why did Jesus tell the story?
Abraham's final statement is the main point of the story. It is a clear rebuke to the Jewish leaders. Let me paraphrase it. "If your brothers (Pharisees listening to the story) have refused to hear the Scripture testimony of Moses and the prophets, they will not listen, even if someone arises from the dead." So consider the four reasons for the story v31:Jesus wanted them to see their danger in persistent unbelief. The beggar's name is significant. Jesus had raised Lazarus of Bethany but the Pharisees, to whom the story was primarily addressed , still refused to recognize Jesus as the life giver, even though they claimed to believe in the resurrection .
They would be at serious risk of rejecting Him even after His own phenomenal resurrection (John 12:42).Jesus pointed out their misguided reverence for Abraham. The rich man, instead of calling on God, actually prays to Abraham for mercy as if the patriarch were in charge of his destiny. He calls him "Father Abraham" when only our Father in heaven is our spiritual father (Matt. 23:9; 6:9). The Jews imagined their spiritual and political status to depend on their lineage as sons of Abraham (Luke 3:8).The story is a rebuke to the selfishness of the Jewish leaders and wealthy people who justified their imagined status with God by the theory that they were blessed because of their piety (John 9:2, 3).It is recorded in the Bible as a blessing for you and me, too. We'll talk about that later. These descriptions of the underworld are radically different from what the rest of the Bible teaches about death. If they had revealed new truth, Jesus would certainly have explained. But no explanation is offered. Nothing indicates that the symbols are to be taken literally. In fact, the events surrounding the resurrection of Lazarus of Bethany confirm the information about death in the rest of the Bible. According to Jesus' explanation, Lazarus (not just his body) was in the tomb. Lazarus had not been in the depths of the earth or in heaven. The removal of the stone clarifies where Jesus' call was directed. Our Lord called Lazarus "forth," not down from heaven or, according to the theory popular at the time, up from the underworld (John 11:43).
2. Is this a parable � a symbolic description?
Yes. Consider the following:A literal drop of water on the rich man's tongue would hardly solve his problem of burning in the torment of hell (Luke 16:24). As a literal story, the picture of Abraham has problems, too. Abraham's lap must be symbolic. Even those who believe that people go to their reward at death consider it so Ab-bosm.Abraham accepted the prayer of the rich man and responded to it v27. A righteous person, on the good side of the gulf, would not have accepted reverence due only to God .Abraham was not in the home of the saved. He had not yet received the reward of his faith. This assertion takes a bit of explanation. The Bible passage at the end of Hebrews 11 which reveals where he was (and still is) needs to be seen in context to be understood. You may wish to read through from the end of chapter 10 to the beginning of chapter 12. I'll quote significant verses: "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward." (Hebrews 10:35). Jesus had not returned as expected and the Hebrew believers were getting discouraged. The basis for courage they needed is seen in chapter 11. There, they (and we) are directed to have faith in the promises of our reward. Abraham is one of the heroes, in the chapter, who were witnesses of the kind of faith the Hebrew Christians needed. Let's see what the passage says about Abraham. "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Heb. 11:8-10).
So Abraham's faith objective was the heavenly city. In Rev. 21 we may see it coming down from God out of heaven at the end of the thousand years. Has Abraham received this reward of his faith? These Old Testament heroes had all died, comparing them to the Hebrew Christians, who were living at the time. "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." (Heb. 11:39, 40). The "good report" of the heroes is their testimony of faithfulness. In Heb. 12:1 we see that they are thus witness of faith. Chapter 11, which tells of their fidelity, is a summary of the faith of the Old Testament heroes. In verses 40 and 41 (just quoted) we see that, although they had been faithful, they had not yet received their reward and been made perfect. The message for the Hebrew believers was that they should not be discouraged about a long wait because the heroes were still waiting. For us, it clarifies that the righteous dead are not in heaven. (On the cloud in Heb. 12:1, see our earlier discussion.) What does it mean to be "made perfect"? When Jesus comes, the bodies of the living righteous, which are subject to decay and death, will be changed. They will be forever free from decay (corruption) and the possibility of death (mortality). In this sense we will be "made perfect". Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 that the dead in Christ will rise from the grave at His coming. Then those who are living will be caught up with them. This is the same truth we find in Hebrews 11:40. The righteous people who are dead when Christ returns and those who are living get their reward at the same time. The city Abraham looked for � the one with foundations "whose builder and maker is God" � is in heaven (Rev. 21:9-14). He has not yet seen it. So where is He? Still sleeping (dead) in sheol/hades (the grave) awaiting the call of Christ at His coming. How do we know? Because we are still waiting for our reward, too. No faithful person is rewarded before all are.
This brings us back to Abraham with Lazarus sitting on his lap. It's a parable Jesus told. He was teaching the rich Pharisees the importance of unselfishness, and that they were apt to get the reward symbolized by the rich man in the parable (John 5:39). Let's look at more evidence that this is a parable.Is the fire of hell burning now? The story even argues against those who use it today to support the popular idea of where the righteous dead now are. Notice, near the end of the story, that the request was for Lazarus to be raised (taken up) to be on the surface of the earth where the brothers were. Today most Christians believe that righteous dead people spend the time between death and the resurrection, in heaven, not under the ground next door to hell as in our story.Paul likely had doctrinal errors like this in mind when he wrote of "Jewish fables" tt0114.
3. Even if the story were a parable, would it not be describing reality about death? To respond, we will (a) consider what the Bible teaches about death, and (b) look at another parable with a situation which, outside of its context, would not represent correct theology. If taken literally, the story would contradict the rest of the Bible on the topic of death. Let's review what the Bible teaches about death. The explanation in Scripture is fairly simple:As we just discovered in the case of Abraham, the dead do not go to their reward at death . And Peter explained that David had not yet ascended to heaven.Death is described by the metaphor of sleep until being awakened at the resurrection. When Lazarus of Bethany died, Jesus said he was sleeping and then explained that he was dead. It is described this way all through the Old Testament.The dead do not know what is happening during their "sleep." The second death, to be experienced by the wicked at the end of the thousand years, will be different. It will be outer darkness � a night from which they will never awaken. Jesus told other stories which would teach error if presented without the intended conclusions. In fact, He told such a parable just before he told about the rich man and Lazarus and he told another one in the next chapter.In verses 1-9 of this chapter we see a manager for a rich man get fired. He then tells the clients to cheat on what they owe, and the rich man tells him he did the right thing! Please take a minute to look at the story as Jesus told it and the comments there v1ff. Jesus would certainly not have been recommending this behavior.In a parable in the next chapter, Jesus illustrates His point by describing a master with selfish expectations of his slave lu1707ff. It would teach the wrong lesson if seen as illustrating how to treat servants. His point was about faith. So, in its larger context, the story of the rich man and Lazarus appears essentially between two others which would also teach false doctrine if isolated from their intended lessons.
4. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, what circumstances of Jesus' listeners would He have been relating to in order to bring conviction to their hearts? To answer we will look at (a) the immediate context � always a good idea, (b) a teaching from the Jewish tradition which the Pharisees would have been familiar with, (c) confirmation of the philosophical idea in the writings of Josephus, and (d) pagan teachings which would have influenced the philosophical idea. The context (beginning with the conclusion to the parable of the unjust steward) "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Jesus was about to reinforce this counsel with our story about the rich man and Lazarus. First Luke's explanation: "And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. . . .
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus. . . ." (Luke 16:10-20). The Pharisees were followers of mammon v13. They had a wrong sense of value and had denied the reality of their own situation. Jesus told them the parable of the rich man and Lazarus as another appeal to their hearts. The chosen people had drifted far from the purity of doctrine that God had given, picking up ideas from Pagan religions. Jesus was talking to them in their own language. If they had not been familiar with the scenario of the parable, their focus would have been on the strange ideas rather than on the message. If they had not at least valued the pagan ideas about death, they would have scorned them as heresy using the encounter to turn the people away from Christ. It would have been brought up in the testimonies in His trial. And they would have missed the point of His message. This, I believe, is basically why He built His appeal on symbolism from this false theory. Like commending the dishonest steward for his greed, Jesus used the pitiful beliefs of the Pharisees to help them see their real need. He would not have been recommending their strange beliefs because He had told His disciples to beware "of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." He appealed to their pagan mentality also in.
The Pharisees had protested when Jesus told about the unfaithful steward v14, but after the hard-hitting parable about the rich man they apparently had nothing to say. If they had accused Jesus of false doctrine, He would have asked why they believed it. If they had approved, He would have asked why they rejected what "Moses and the prophets" taught about death. The word "Hades" is transliterated (spelled by the sounds in the original language) from a Greek term which means the grave. In Hebrew, it is sheol. As we saw earlier, the place of burning is not Hades/Sheol but Gehenna (Ge-enna). The two concepts have mistakenly been blended into one and loaded with speculative theories. The amalgamated definition of hell is then read back into the Bible passages making them say what the original language did not intend. In the same way, the Bible terms "soul" and "spirit" do not have the same meaning but are thought of as synonyms. This leads to misunderstanding when reading the texts that use them. A parable from Jewish tradition Jesus built His story on a parable His hearers would have known well. He changed it to bring home His point. The story they knew had become part of the Mishnah which is a set of rabbinic traditional rules compiled around AD 200. The Jewish Talmud was developed from the Mishnah.