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This came up in a conversation recently, with opposite views being expressed.

The rich man and Lazurus - true story or parable and why do you hold that position?

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Parable.

I beieve that the pericope begins in chapter 13.

p
I'd always heard true story. Even if it wasn't a parable though, it could be something other than historic fact (metaphor, allegory, object lesson, whatever).

Daniel

I think this is a parable because it is a story with a moral. Also it is in the midst of a series of parables. I too am open to change - never considered it before.
I will add this to my previouse,

If it is to be true then we need to justify by Bible that when you die you by-pass the Judgment and go directly to heaven.

p
Parable.

There are numerous Scriptures which support the condition of Hell and those who are sent there. A good book to read on the subject outside the scope of Scripture is "23 Minutes in Hell" by Bill Wiese.

John R. said:
Parable.

"For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 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. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished;..." ( Ecc 9:4-6)

"While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." (Psa 146:2-4)
I have never heard it taught as a true story. I have assumed it is parabolic.

One thing that makes me lean towards parable is that I wonder if interaction could have truly happened between those at Abraham's side (vs22; 'Abraham's bossom') and in Hades? Could a conversation really have happened between Abraham and Lazarus.

As a small thing, it seems it's starting out like a story: 'There was a rich man...' Kind of like with the Samaritan parable: 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho...' (Luke 10:30).

Plus, was there a resurrection prior to the resurrection of Christ (i.e. Matt 27:52-53)? If not, would their souls/spirits have been 'resurrected' and conversing?
My understanding is that we're not talking about Heaven and Hell, here, but "Abraham's Bosom" and "hades" Up until Christ's resurrection, no souls were actually in Heaven but in a holding place called Abraham's Bosom. Don't ask me for a scripture referance for this one. However, we ARE told in Revelation that Satan will be the first occupant of Hell, so it's not a big leap to assume an intermediate place. I dunno... but it makes sense to me that, even if this isn't a factual account, it's based on reality.


Piglet said:
I will add this to my previouse,

If it is to be true then we need to justify by Bible that when you die you by-pass the Judgment and go directly to heaven.

p
Parable.

The only argument I've heard of it being a true story is that there is a specific name (Lazarus). To me, this is not enough to outweigh everything else in the story which points to it being a parable. Perhaps there are more arguments than just the name, but I haven't heard any.
The real deal.
Some things to consider:

This is the only parable where the characters have names...is his naming parabolic or real?
This is the only parable where Jesus deals heavily with the afterlife...is his treatment parabolic or real?
This is grouped with other parables...is the grouping indicative of being a parable (especially in light of dealing with the rich and their abuses)?
Would Luke have known it was a parable or real as he organized the material?
When Luke recorded the parable, did he know about the real Lazarus and the fact that he had come back from the dead and people didn't believe?
Would John have recorded the Lazarus story because of this?
It has the same introduction as other parables....does the introduction qualify it as a parable?
There is no relevant information about why one went to Abraham's bosom and the other went to hell...is the lack of this sort of information make it more likely parabolic or real?

Interesting side bit.
Although people love allegorizing the hades out of other parables (note our discussion on what's the treasure, what's the field, etc.) People don't do it as much here.
Personally, I say it’s an account of an actual event. But I am not dogmatic on this.

Also, not to nitpick, but I take exception to the notion that parables are not true stories. They are true stories. They may not be factual accounts of actual events. But they are true stories.
Ser -

I never said I'm an advocate of soul sleep. My comment about the resurrection was what was going on prior to Christ's resurrection. Maybe you read my first and third statements together.

1) Can people converse from the two differing locations? I would think they could not.
2) The account starts out like a story.
3) Was their a resurrection before Christ's resurrection? If not, then this would probably have been a parable, since Christ had not been resurrected. (But I am not 100% on this third one.)

love4theword said:
Scott. You're an advocate of soul sleep? Do you believe Jesus went and preached to the souls held in captivity?

ScottL said:
I have never heard it taught as a true story. I have assumed it is parabolic.

One thing that makes me lean towards parable is that I wonder if interaction could have truly happened between those at Abraham's side (vs22; 'Abraham's bossom') and in Hades? Could a conversation really have happened between Abraham and Lazarus.

As a small thing, it seems it's starting out like a story: 'There was a rich man...' Kind of like with the Samaritan parable: 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho...' (Luke 10:30).

Plus, was there a resurrection prior to the resurrection of Christ (i.e. Matt 27:52-53)? If not, would their souls/spirits have been 'resurrected' and conversing?

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