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Lesson 28

With no biblical formula for determining which elements of a parable or scripture are of doctrinal importance, individuals use context along with beliefs derived from explicit scripture to decide for themselves. Unlike the Lazarus parable, the Good Samaritan parable has an explanation. To understand this one’s context, we need to use the preceding parable about the misuse of wealth. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for loving money, ignoring Old Testament instruction and exalting themselves through self justification. Jesus weaves all these themes into the Lazarus parable with the rich man’s love of money, self importance and his rejection of the laws and prophets to warn his brothers. The rich man can’t claim he wasn’t aware of Lazarus’ plight as he asks for him by name. He displays his self exaltation, and Lazarus’ lower social status by not addressing him directly. Disrespecting the law and the prophets the rich man is insistent a message of his own choosing be sent to his brothers. Coincidentally it was the last Mesyanic miracle left for Jesus to complete. Thought up by the Jewish leaders, the Mesyanic miracles were a series of miracles to be performed by the messiah before they would accept him. Jesus Completed the Mesyanic Miracles shortly after speaking this parable by resurrecting his friend, also named Lazarus. Jesus uses the rich man’s brothers’ rejection of one coming back from the dead, to predict how the Jews would also reject him as their messiah and king. Prudent Christians believe using proven Bible doctrine to interpret a parable is better than forming doctrine from a parable. Taking every effort to avoid discrepancy Christians need to fit all relevant scripture into their doctrines. Writing in Greek, Luke uses the word hades, equivalent to sheol in Hebrew, which is the place of the dead, a place where all the dead go regardless of morality, knowing nothing, they are said to be asleep. Why would Lazarus be in a different location? Can the claim of Paul that God alone possesses immortality fit without contradiction? How does God define death in the Bible?

Ecclesiastes 9:2 King James Version
All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

1 Timothy 6:14-16 Evangelical Heritage Version
14 that you keep this command without spot and without fault, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will make known at the proper time—the blessed and only ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or is able to see. To him be honor and power forever! Amen.

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