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Chapter Eleven

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1 Chapter Eleven on Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:47 pm


Chapter Eleven


There is one specific passage in Scripture where many do seem to revert to when dealing with the “place” of hell. And that’s with the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Because in the story, it’s clear that the rich man is in hell and Lazarus is not. But the problem with all of this is, it’s a parable Jesus is using to illustrate the perversion of mindsets the Jews had over everyone else. It has nothing to do with a literal hell.

There are a lot of issues raised if you want to base this parable on the fact that hell exists. For one, where else in Scripture does it refer to Abraham’s bosom as heaven? It doesn’t. Another question, since when does it become a prerequisite to pray to Abraham for release from torment? For that matter, what terrible things did the rich man do that caused him to go to hell? There is no indication that he was evil, or that he rejected God.

If this is a spiritual place, which is what the church believes hell to be, then where was Lazarus going to come up with water? And if they no longer have bodies because they are in the spirit, then why is there reference to a tongue, dipping fingers and eyes? And why would the rich man want Lazarus to come and bring him comfort? Why not Abraham himself? Why not God? Why didn’t he cry out for freedom from hell all together? None of this makes any sense.

The truth is, it’s not intended for us to base a doctrine of hell on at all. It’s not about hell. It’s about the piousness of the Pharisees in how they viewed those around them. Look at how the rich man was dressed. The clothing Jesus described him to be wearing was the same kind of clothing the Pharisees wore. They wore purple as well because it resembled royalty. They really believed they were a greater species than the Gentiles around them.

Because this is such a popular passage that the hell doctrine is built from, let’s take a closer look at some things with it. First of all, I’m going to kill two birds with one stone on this. In order to address what this passage isn’t, which is a doctrine of hell, I first need to share what I see that it “is”. The one nagging question is, “what led Jesus to share the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in the first place?

Luke 16
13No 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.
14And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
15And 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.
16The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
17And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
18Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put
away from her husband committeth adultery.
19There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

Let’s look at the order here in which these things were stated. He’s rebuking the religious for their greed. You can’t serve God and money. How many churches to you see following that one? If it wasn’t for money, there wouldn’t be countless numbers of churches that there are with all the extravagance as they openly use their riches as an example that if you give your all to Jesus, you to can live in luxury. Is that what Jesus was portraying with these passages? I’m not at all implying that the only way to have life is to not have money. I’m saying that money should never even be a subject at all.

Show me where the New Testament talks about the requirement for you to tithe? Oops, I’m jumping to another idol before finishing this one. Actually, it’s so closely connected to the very reason why Jesus went into the parable of the rich man in the first place. The religious system is so adamant that its members pay something in if they ever expect anything in return from God. Tithing was the law, and as you just read here in Luke, the power of the law had come to an end upon the introductory of the ministry of John the Baptist. The religious system has backed itself into a financial corner so that it “has” to preach about tithing in order for it to meet its own bills. And everyone just accepts that as a part of life.

Isn’t that profound? The message of the kingdom is to take the place of the law and the prophets. Which essentially is the Old Covenant as a whole. I find it interesting that Jesus makes it clearly known that the things we elevate to high esteem is an abomination. He’s not talking to pagans, He’s talking to the church of His day. The same message should be preached to the same group today as well. And that’s the religious leaders of our day. That’s all I’m saying. Rather than the pulpits preaching to the members, perhaps the pulpits should turn these passages back at themselves.

Instead of convincing the church members of their need to memorize, and adhere to, the law and the prophets, perhaps the pulpits should be proclaiming the kingdom of God that is living in the men, not yesterday’s manna about receiving blessings if you give your tithe. They weren’t blessed because they gave their tithe, they gave their tithe because they were already blessed. That’s how it all began back with Abraham. He tithed to Melchezedek because God just blessed him with a victory against an enemy.

The church system has manipulated that into yet another fear-based mindset message, preaching about the fact that the reason you’re not financially successful is because you’re not giving money to the church first. Talk about idol worship! They want you to bow down to them first. The truth is, if you don’t have it, you can’t give it. And if God doesn’t move you to give, then don’t give. Tithing is a natural law to exemplify a spiritual truth. And that spiritual truth is a kingdom principle.

But when the kingdom began to manifest in men, the law no longer was necessary to be carried out as it was before. Do a word study for the word “tithe” and “tithing”. You’ll find that “tithe” is mentioned only one time in the entire New Testament. And “that” time is when Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees about their emphasis on tithing! The tithe was not “just” to be given to the church. Did you know that? It was established to help the poor, the widows and the orphans, and yes, the church was included in that group as well. But to hear the church preach it, tithing is for the church only.

I hear a cracking in the walls of the doctrines of men. God is bringing these things down as he glorifies his Son in us and through us once again. May the church be free from the bondages bestowed upon them through the misconceptions of the mind of men. May we come into the truth of what salvation is and what it is not.

Spiritual Anomaly
One more thing on this passage above, in Luke that we’re actually in preparation to go into the message of Lazarus and the rich man itself, and that is dealing with this oddly placed verse dealing with the marital status of a man. Note, what was just stated is dealing with worshiping money. And what is coming up is dealing with that same thing with Lazarus. And sandwiched here in between the two related points, is an off the cuff remark about divorce. Doesn’t that seem out of place to you? Is Jesus just throwing out incomplete thoughts at people? Or is this really all connected as one message?

What does putting your wife and marrying another have to do with money? Think about this. Jesus “just” stated that you can’t love both. Perhaps this will begin making more sense if we worded it this way, ”You can’t be married to both money and God. If you marry God, and give Him up for money, you’re perverting the relationship between you and God. And if anyone comes along and buys in to your image of God, now that you’re married to money, they will also have a perverted relationship with God.”

What is it that breaks the ties of a marriage vow? Death. Death to whom? Death to your “self”. The fact that you leave God for money is evidence there is no death. And because death did not occur, the vows are still valid, which then leads to the adulterated relationship between us and God because now, a third party has defiled the intimacy.

In reading it in that light, it’s clear to see it’s not just a random thought that Jesus was throwing out there for those sleeping around. But this entire text is about the power of greed and money defiling the relationship the church is to have with the Father. And it goes a little further as Jesus now goes into the parable itself.

19There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22And 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;

Note again, the rich man is in purple robes living a luxurious life. This is the Pharisees to a “t”. The beggar with sores are the Gentiles. They were seen as unclean and you were forbidden to even touch anything unclean. Thus, the sores on the beggar are depicting that. The desire to be fed from the rich man’s table is the Gentiles having to come to the Jews to learn about the manna from heaven. The dogs again, depicting their status among Jews.

Then the beggar dies and is caught up into a place of bliss. There is nothing said of his belief system. In fact, it’s interesting to note that the culture of that day would say that anyone being depicted as sickly and poor is an indication that they did something really bad and God was giving them what they deserved. Yet this guy ends up in Abraham’s bosom. Which in truth, is illustrating that the kingdom of God is not in the religious, but even the Gentiles, the people we deem as unclean are the very ones to whom God extends his grace and mercy to.

I could go through the entire passage and explain it verse by verse what I see. But for the sake of the length of pages and time it would take to explain it, I’ll cut to the chase and just say that the point to all of this with Lazarus and the rich man is not to establish the fact there is a hell. By the way, the original word for hell there is “hades”. It’s not about an eternal place of torment and fire. It’s about a place of the dead.

Because the religious leaders saw themselves as the higher power over other men, they were spiritually dead to the kingdom of God. They were in hell. And this prayer to Abraham, not to be released from hell, but for a drop of water to come to their tongue, it just doesn’t fit with “any” patterns of prayer at all. Jesus never indicated that we pray to a dead saint. It’s simply indicating the spiritual state the Pharisees were in, nothing more.

So again, for clarification, Abraham’s bosom is not heaven, it’s the kingdom. There’s a difference. The things I’m talking about here from the beginning to end are kingdom issues. They are spiritual principles. When we come to the death of ourselves in Christ, we are carried up to an ascended place where the Life and Light reigns supreme. But that’s not to say we can only experience that when we physically die. Paul said he had to die so that Christ could live. That’s why the adultery issue was brought up. The religious did not die to their flesh, they just put away one and remarried another, thus, adulterating the relationship.

When the kingdom of heaven was preached and men rushed into it, then the time had arrived for the putting away of the law along with its ceremonials. The priests, therefore, and those who ministered at the Jewish altars, as a necessary consequence died a spiritual death, as well as a political death, because God ceased to accept their sacrifices, and gave no indication that he approved any longer their mode of worship. They therefore died to that spiritual enjoyment, and happiness in the worship of God, which in times previous had given them so great a pre-eminence over other people, particularly, the heathen or Gentile nations.

The rich man lifting up his eyes in hell being in torment is designed to represent the disappointment and misery of the priests on finding that their office, with all its law and blessings was taken from them. This misery was probably heightened by their witnessing the happiness enjoyed by the Gentile believers in the gospel, especially the miracles among them. When they saw those whom they had ever regarded as dogs, filled with joy and rejoicing, and receiving such tokens of the divine favor that could not be misunderstood. When they realized that the gospel was first preached and offered unto them, and might have been accepted, had not their pride, self-righteousness and hardness of heart prevented it, that realization alone became their hell.

I conclude that hell is a place of torment all right. But it’s not the eternal place spoken of by the scriptures. It’s the conflict between my carnal mind and my spirit. My mind sees itself as all powerful, all knowing and well informed. Now, of course, we don’t portray that on the outside because people would scoff. And we’d even openly state that we don’t know everything. But Jesus doesn’t pay any attention to the words governed by our minds, he already knows our hearts.

Hell is a mindset. It’s a place of the dead where carnal flesh reigns above the spirit in man. It isn’t intended for us to remain there. but our mind keeps us there until we turn our “selves” over to the grace and mercy of Christ. As his blood is applied, order is once again established in us and our spirit takes its rightful place over our carnality. Once again, may I remind you, that is the purpose for this book. It’s to allow you to exercise your authority over your religious self and put God back on the throne, in truth, not in religious thinking. Get the hell out of there, literally.

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