Print Friendly

Removing the Plagues of False Scripture


We received this note in response to The Rich Man and Lazarus – A Pagan Parable:

Dear Sir:

I beg you to reconsider the validity of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

It is not wrongly placed in the bible, but you are wrongly interpretting.

1) The inclusion of a proper name cannot disqualify any story. That is a lame reason for disqualifying any story, parable, myth or truth. The inclusion of a proper name does not disqualify this parable. Rather it makes the truth behind it all the more convincing.

This parable (and it is a parable) is Jesus telling the story of the rich man, who had it all (the Jewish people who had it all – meaning God’s law) from their ancestor Abraham.

Lazarus is a play on words for Abraham’s servent “Eliazar”. Lazarus in this parable represents Gentiles who receive the call to Christ and become obedient to God.

So, you see, if you re-read this parable, you will see that for this age, there will be few Jews who will convert. (if I can use that term perhaps “come under” would be better) the spirit of the law, the higher, Jesus Christ version and a great gulf continues to separate (although in these end times, the gulf is lessening, as predicted))

The former servant (lesser to the religious) the Gentiles, will be in a place of honor.

Jesus cleverly took this parable and foretold the future age (age of “christianity” we might call it).

This is all this story is alluding to. It is not about heaven/hell dipping fingers/water.

No it is about God’s richest blessings going to the very ones religious people think are not getting them!

I hope you can read this again and see this.

Shalom,

Patricia

Victor’s and Paul’s replies:

Hi Patricia,

I have red your letter, and I have some questions to ask you. But first, you are right in that, in itself, the use of a name in a story would not be sufficient reason to disqualify the story. However, there is a difference between just any “story” and a parable from Jesus. Also, I think that if you consider what we have written, you will find that we did not dismiss the story on the basis of the use of a name alone.

You must acknowledge, however, that this would be the only parable with a name included. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate (Catholic) also names the rich man as Dives, a Latin word meaning “rich man.”

For our part, the authority is God, as confirmed in His Word, the Bible. While there are many parables in the Gospels, this one alone has a name. It is not “normal.” It is entirely out of character of the parables as Jesus told them.

My questions for you (I hope that you, unlike all others, will honestly try to answer them or acknowledge that you don’t have the answers):

On what authority do you judge it wrong for us to question the validity of a Gospel parable on the basis that a name was used?

You say of the use of a name, “Rather it makes the truth behind it all the more convincing.” That may be, but is adding credibility by spurious facts justification for believing it?

This is not a matter of being convinced, Patricia, but of knowing the truth.

On what basis of authority do you interpret the story to represent the Jews and Gentiles?

On what basis do you draw the parallel between Abraham’s servant Eliezer and Lazarus? Yes, you speculate, or repeat that which others have speculated, but can you substantiate what you say by two or three witnesses? The likeness of the names Eliezer and Lazarus are not enough. You will find in our reply to L. Ray Smith, for example, that this parallel you use, he uses, and you will see the inconsistencies: L. Ray Smith’s Faulty Interpretation of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Drawing the parallel you do in this story is like saying that because Jesus’ disciple Judas betrayed Him, Judas somehow represented Judah, Jacob’s son, they having the same name. And of course, seeing Judah was cast off, one could argue that this is true. But is it?

One could say that the Book of Jude is a betrayal of truth because the author has the same name as Judas.

One could say that Saul of Tarsus was cast off because King Saul of Israel was cast off. After all, one might argue, they were both chief sinners, both were rulers of a sort, both were slain by the sword (Paul was beheaded), and they both fell “on the battlefield” (Paul on the spiritual battlefield). But is such a parallel valid? There are also glaring differences.

We hear many speculations and imaginative concoctions concerning the subjects of Scripture that are simply products of the carnal mind, which is at enmity with God.

Are we to take your word as God’s truth? You need to give us substance, which you have not done. And you have not replied to all we have presented from Scripture with consistent spiritual reasoning.

Do you claim revelation from God, or have you been reading conjectures of others? We have heard your version of the meaning and have addressed it in our article, L. Ray Smith’s Faulty Interpretation of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

You say, “Lazarus is a play on words for Abraham’s servent ‘Eliazar’.” Can you be sure? How do you know?

You say, “Jesus cleverly took this parable….” Is that how you see Him, as “clever”? I agree that there has been cleverness in this parable, but it is carnal, and not godly, cleverness. God does not deal in cleverness. He is all in all; cleverness is a moot point concerning Him.

Are you not aware that the first believers after the resurrection were not Gentiles, but Jews? Or that while Paul was sent to the Gentiles, Peter was appointed a minister to the Jews?

“For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the Same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles” (Galatians 2:8 KJV).

You say, “It is not about heaven/hell dipping fingers/water.” If not, then why are those details, along with so many others, in the story, expressed as such, if meant figuratively? What meaning do they have according to your interpretation?

I copied some information from this link which I believe helps to support my understanding of the origin of this story (I was not aware of this information when I wrote the article): http://www.opensourcetheology.net/node/1291

The following statement is taken from D.B. Gowler, ‘The Contexts of Jesus’ Parables’, 16-17:

Some scholars have suggested that the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) derives from an Egyptian folktale about the journey of Setme Chamois (led by his son Si-osire) through the realm of the dead. They believe Jesus adapted this Egyptian story for his own purposes and created the second half of the parable (16:27–31).

A closer examination of the evidence, however, calls for a broader, Greco-Roman comparative framework for reading the parable. Ronald Hock, for example, provides an apt comparison from the Lucian texts, Gallus and Cataplus, where a poor, marginalized artisan named Micyllus goes hungry from early morning to evening and must bear the slights, insults, and beatings of the powerful. When Micyllus and a rich tyrant named Megapenthes die, they both make the trip to Hades.

Megapenthes, like the rich man in Jesus’ parable, tries to strike a bargain to alter his situation, but to no avail. Finally, Micyllus and Megapenthes face Rhadamanthus, the judge of the underworld. Micyllus is judged to be pure and goes to the Isle of the Blessed. Megapenthes’s soul, however, is stained with corruption, and he will be appropriately punished. In Hock’s opinion, both this story and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus betray the ancient Cynic philosophers’ views on the problems with wealth and the virtues of poverty.

Patricia, is there not a remarkable resemblance between the Biblical story and the pagan one, which preceded it in time?

Is it purely coincidental? If the story is the same one, then we have our proof right there that Jesus did not tell this story. Being Who He is, He simply would not do it.

Do you really think that the Son of God would borrow, or have any need to resort to, pagan people’s stories to teach?

Had He ever done so at any other time?

Is He not the Alpha, as well as the Omega?

I notice that you mark “1)” for a point to refute the first one of ours, but give no others by point form. Can you reply to all the other points we make in our writing, besides the one on the name?

If you did not loosely use the words “I beg you,” and if you have faith at all, then you will take the time and trouble to answer all my questions conscientiously, honestly, and with substance. And if you do so, I will be compelled to pay attention. I hope you will consider that I have taken the trouble to consider your arguments, reply to you, and ask the questions I now ask you.

Should you not feel confident that you have substantial answers, I hope for your sake and for the sakes of those you influence that you will reconsider what we have said about the story. As we can tell, it is a fly in a jar of precious ointment.

It seems to me that you have not carefully considered all that was written. Now we have provided you with even more evidence from other sources to substantiate what we are teaching. Not that we are dependent on them – our reliance is on, and our sufficiency in, the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone, through faith, by His grace.

One last question: Are you Catholic or a member of a mainline denomination? Perhaps not, seeing you sign off with “Shalom” and appear to possibly believe in the restitution of all things through Christ. Have you red The True Marks of a Cult?

Shalom to you, too, Patricia, as you seek to please Him as He would be pleased,

Victor

Patricia, Paul here. When you wrote us, we were just in the process of making additions to The Rich Man and Lazarus – A Pagan Parable, which I include here for your consideration, in addition to the other points you may have possibly seen before. I say “possibly” because we don’t know for a fact that you have actually red the entire writing. We hope you will now, carefully.

Towards the end of the paper, we added the following portion in dark blue:

It appears that those who made up and inserted the Lazarus “parable” had a specific agenda and idea of what it was they wanted to convey, and they were not trying at all to depict something true about the Lord or His will.

In fact, their underlying message directly opposes all that the Lord preached about the Kingdom of God. Here we have a beggar with no apparent fruits of faith being ushered into Heaven, whereas the Lord spoke of striving to enter into His Kingdom. Jesus said that it was necessary to surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees, otherwise one could not enter. He said that we must forsake all that we have, take up the cross, and follow Him, enduring to the end. Unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood, He said, we have no part in Him.

There is no indication of any of these things with the Lazarus of this story. He is simply chosen of God on the implied merits of his physical poverty. This is a damnable lie, a bloodless gospel that teaches people not to put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ but in their poverty. Yet only through the blood of Christ is one forgiven and empowered to overcome as the Lord said one must do by faith. There is no need of His blood or His faith, however, with this pernicious teaching. There is no apparent need of anything but to submit to being poor.

Believing this lie has been responsible for perpetuating great suffering in the world. It has been a boon to evil and evil men, who have used this teaching to usurp power and authority over others in the Name of Jesus Christ. It warns the rich to submit to their power (or face the torments of hell), and encourages the poor to acknowledge their authority (and receive the rewards of Heaven). But only a heart set on truth, which pays the price in blood by faith in Christ through His blood, will break free from the tyranny of men to serve God and fellowship with Him presently in Heaven.

If I am wrong, I am wrong and will gladly allow anyone to correct me in this matter. As far as I am presently concerned, Jesus did not teach this “parable” or story; neither did Luke or any of Jesus’ true and faithful servants. I see it as the concoction of men to promote their heinous doctrines and advance their own interests using the authority of the Bible. [End of section.]

And this question and answer were added elsewhere:

What if the parable is depicting poverty of spirit, and not literal poverty, in which case the Beatitude would apply to Lazarus – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God”? (As for the rich man, he would have been as the Pharisees, rich in spirit, self sufficient, careless…, the fire being symbolic of spiritual torment due to selfishness.)

If this story or parable were depicting poverty of spirit, why is Lazarus, in his great need, never aided by the Lord in this life?

Or, since poverty of spirit is desirable, why is it even depicted as a curse and affliction? What is the problem with being poor in spirit, if it makes one look to God? And if one looks to God, won’t all of his needs be supplied? The person who is poor in himself will be rich in God.

In other words, the poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom, as Jesus said.

If the physical poverty in this parable is symbolic, is Lazarus’ death also symbolic? Would this, then, be the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to the poor in spirit of inheriting the Kingdom of God, in this life? In which case, why can’t Lazarus speak to those in hell among the living, since he is also alive, only now raised spiritually to Heaven (how he believed and overcame is still not indicated)?

Didn’t the Lord, when He walked the earth among people in the days of His flesh, preach to those in the death, hell, and darkness of this world?

“The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death” (Matthew 4:16 MKJV).

But if Lazarus’ physical poverty and sufferings are symbolic yet his physical death is real, then we have a ball of confusion on our hands, don’t we? It is obviously very confounding trying to interpret this story as a parable any way you look at it, which is not a hallmark of the Lord’s teachings, as amply pointed out. Indeed, it is a hallmark of the harlot, Mystery Babylon (“confusion”), religious deception at its finest.

Patricia’s reply #1:

1) I took your advice and read the article, well, I took your therein advice and skipped down to Victor’s points.
2) Agree with most of Victor’spoints. I do like his “itemized point/number system!” And have tried to utilize it herein as he formerly requested.
3) Disagree with words condeming others to no rest in peace (Benny Hinn) or others because, this could be perceived as judgment and condemnation on your part. They indeed are wrong. We are to correct them (if possible)! but are to love them. How can we love these folks? Only Christ in us can do this kind of loving. He did it even on the cross. (We cannot do it of our self). We don’t have to condemn them. Their words condemn themselves. I understand your passion on this but I would ask that you remove such language because it makes you seem “above” them or superior. (Even if you don’t really feel this way). That is just an unasked for comment. Forgive me.

….

A) One of the things that the Lord Jesus has been showing me is that the real crux of being His sheep is how I love others. “Love one another” and “Do unto others…”. When I put events to this test, I must lovingly and kindly, say the truth and then I eventually end up “leaving it” so to speak. I have planted a seed. (Hopefully). Truly loving others requires denying self.

B) Do you know how very different walking a few weeks like this is compared to anything in “church?” I suspect you do. I have realized for some time now that “church” divisions are just a form of pride. That those truly abiding in God’s word and his Word (christ) in them, are seldom welcome in church! They have their agenda and your itemized list really is one of the best I’ve seen in this regard. I love people and Christ’s church too. I just don’t see His church at my church. When I mention this to family, friends etc…they don’t understand. The institution has them (it seems), yet I am being pulled further and further away from it.*

A few months back our church “fired” a youth pastor. He was fired because he was “unorganized.” Now, bless his heart, he had done much outreach and had brought many new kids/teens to the church and events. He is a powerful “preacher”. He was fired for not being an “executive”. I understand all this in the world. But how does this fit in with Christ’s church? Love one another? No. Do unto others…No. Guess who is now his temporary replacement. Head Pastor’s son. (Surprise)!

I have given up on “organized” religion. Have not given up on Jesus and the path he is leading me on!

I will quit all this writing and rambling for now, will resume review of your website and will be in touch.

Shalom,

Patricia

P.S. If I were to give my tithe/alms to a widow lady (or perhaps a divorced woman with children) rather than give it to my church. (James scripture on true religion/worship) What do you think my ‘pastor’ would say. I love this – it is so different from “churches teachings” and in fact just read it again about 3 days ago. Happy to see it pop up on V’s list.

Also, last year in Sunday School session I mentioned giving should be done in “secret” but the elder of my church said that if I were to do it that way I would not be a good steward receiving a tax credit! (Believe me I did not buy that one)! Gee, most widows and orphans are not set up as a tax-deductible organization, but guess who is!?!

P.P.S. The Lord has been showing me re: hirelings. Well put.

Patricia’s reply #2:

Good morning, and thank you for your responses, I will attempt to reply to your words, replies and suggestions below:

_______________________________________

Hi Patricia,

I have red your letter, and I have some questions to ask you. But first, you are right in that, in itself, the use of a name in a story would not be sufficient reason to disqualify the story. However, there is a difference between just any “story” and a parable from Jesus. Also, I think that if you consider what we have written, you will find that we did not dismiss the story on the basis of the use of a name alone.
I never assumed that you did. Although I have heard others use this as the reason to disqualify the parable, but as we agree, it is not enough to disqualify [the parable].

You must acknowledge, however, that this would be the only parable with a name included. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate (Catholic) also names the rich man as Dives, a Latin word meaning “rich man.”
To my knowledge this is correct.

For our part, the authority is God, as confirmed in His Word, the Bible. While there are many parables in the Gospels, this one alone has a name. It is not “normal.” It is entirely out of character of the parables as Jesus told them.
I see where you are coming from in this regard.

My questions for you (I hope that you, unlike all others, will honestly try to answer them or acknowledge that you don’t have the answers):
I pray that my sincerity transmits along with these e-mail transmissions. I am sorry to hear that all others have apparently disappointed you.

On what authority do you judge it wrong for us to question the validity of a Gospel parable on the basis that a name was used?
I was not judging you but encouraging you to reconsider your point. I wrote to you out of love. Why would you assume otherwise? Your responses almost seem angry?

You say of the use of a name, “Rather it makes the truth behind it all the more convincing.” That may be, but is adding credibility by spurious facts justification for believing it?
Argumentative.

This is not a matter of being convinced, Patricia, but of knowing the truth.

On what basis of authority do you interpret the story to represent the Jews and Gentiles?
I prayed about this very parable several years ago. In my heart I realized it was not what it first appears. I did read L. Ray’s site (and others) at the time. I do agree with my interpretation which may or may not have been aided by L. Ray. Other interpretations were just based on fear, materialism and really no spiritual discernment (to me).

On what basis do you draw the parallel between Abraham’s servant Eliezer and Lazarus? Yes, you speculate, or repeat that which others have speculated, but can you substantiate what you say by two or three witnesses? The likeness of the names Eliezer and Lazarus are not enough. You will find in our reply to L. Ray Smith, for example, that this parallel you use, he uses, and you will see the inconsistencies: L. Ray Smith’s Faulty Interpretation of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Drawing the parallel you do in this story is like saying that because Jesus’ disciple Judas betrayed Him, Judas somehow represented Judah, Jacob’s son, they having the same name. And of course, seeing Judah was cast off, one could argue that this is true. But is it?
You said (or wrote that, I did not). Frankly, this response does seem somewhat argumentative and defensive on your part.

One could say that the Book of Jude is a betrayal of truth because the author has the same name as Judas.
You said (or wrote that, I did not).

One could say that Saul of Tarsus was cast off because King Saul of Israel was cast off. After all, one might argue, they were both chief sinners, both were rulers of a sort, both were slain by the sword (Paul was beheaded), and they both fell “on the battlefield” (Paul on the spiritual battlefield). But is such a parallel valid? There are also glaring differences.
Off point.

We hear many speculations and imaginative concoctions concerning the subjects of Scripture that are simply products of the carnal mind, which is at enmity with God.
I don’t know what all you hear, but if you say this, then I believe you. I agree re: carnal mind enmity with God.

Are we to take your word as God’s truth? You need to give us substance, which you have not done. And you have not replied to all we have presented from Scripture with consistent spiritual reasoning.
You will not take my word, yet you expect readers of your site to “take your word” regarding your dreams and revelations. Yes, you are to take my word, I have no reason to lie. It would be breaking one of God’s commandments. It would be wrong. Why do wrong when doing what is right is what pleases and glorifies the Lord? The testimony of 2 or more is valid. To me and others the Jew/Gentile interpretation is plausible.

Do you claim revelation from God, or have you been reading conjectures of others? We have heard your version of the meaning and have addressed it in our article, L. Ray Smith’s Faulty Interpretation of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
I would say this is a result of research and prayer. I don’t know if I would go as far as revelation.

You say, “Lazarus is a play on words for Abraham’s servent ‘Eliazar’.” Can you be sure? How do you know?
I cannot be sure. But this is my belief.

You say, “Jesus cleverly took this parable….” Is that how you see Him, as “clever”? I agree that there has been cleverness in this parable, but it is carnal, and not godly, cleverness. God does not deal in cleverness. He is all in all; cleverness is a moot point concerning Him.
Why do you twist my words? It appears to me that you are almost attacking me. This could be a language thing and I will believe that you are not attacking me.

Are you not aware that the first believers after the resurrection were not Gentiles, but Jews? Or that while Paul was sent to the Gentiles, Peter was appointed a minister to the Jews?
Of course. This is what is written in what is called the New Testament. But why do you say this? What is your point?

“For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the Same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles” (Galatians 2:8 KJV).

You say, “It is not about heaven/hell dipping fingers/water.” If not, then why are those details, along with so many others, in the story, expressed as such, if meant figuratively? What meaning do they have according to your interpretation?
When one has reached the Kingdom of Heaven in this life, one lives in the land of milk and honey. The peace is not transferrable. Even if I wanted to “bring” others to “my side, this side, and ‘cool’ their fires” I have not that power. It is a personal walk, and despite my loving others, only they can turn towards God and become followers of Jesus. It is very personal indeed. We can see others in ‘hell’ and those in ‘hell’ can see those who are living lives of peace. This is another great gulf.

I copied some information from this link which I believe helps to support my understanding of the origin of this story (I was not aware of this information when I wrote the article): http://www.opensourcetheology.net/node/1291
Thank you I will certainly check it out. I am looking forward to this research.

The following statement is taken from D.B. Gowler, ‘The Contexts of Jesus’ Parables’, 16-17:

Some scholars have suggested that the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) derives from an Egyptian folktale about the journey of Setme Chamois (led by his son Si-osire) through the realm of the dead. They believe Jesus adapted this Egyptian story for his own purposes and created the second half of the parable (16:27–31).

I have also heard that the story of the Good Samaritan was not “new” but rather an old story.

A closer examination of the evidence, however, calls for a broader, Greco-Roman comparative framework for reading the parable. Ronald Hock, for example, provides an apt comparison from the Lucian texts, Gallus and Cataplus, where a poor, marginalized artisan named Micyllus goes hungry from early morning to evening and must bear the slights, insults, and beatings of the powerful. When Micyllus and a rich tyrant named Megapenthes die, they both make the trip to Hades.

Megapenthes, like the rich man in Jesus’ parable, tries to strike a bargain to alter his situation, but to no avail. Finally, Micyllus and Megapenthes face Rhadamanthus, the judge of the underworld. Micyllus is judged to be pure and goes to the Isle of the Blessed. Megapenthes’s soul, however, is stained with corruption, and he will be appropriately punished. In Hock’s opinion, both this story and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus betray the ancient Cynic philosophers’ views on the problems with wealth and the virtues of poverty.

Patricia, is there not a remarkable resemblance between the Biblical story and the pagan one, which preceded it in time?

Is it purely coincidental? If the story is the same one, then we have our proof right there that Jesus did not tell this story. Being Who He is, He simply would not do it.

Do you really think that the Son of God would borrow, or have any need to resort to, pagan people’s stories to teach?
I think stories are stories. Jesus told them to make us think and dig. I cannot speak for God. He speaks for himself.

Had He ever done so at any other time?

Is He not the Alpha, as well as the Omega?

I notice that you mark “1)” for a point to refute the first one of ours, but give no others by point form. Can you reply to all the other points we make in our writing, besides the one on the name?
In future I will. This way of responding was simpler for this discussion. You all may not want to have further communication with me!

If you did not loosely use the words “I beg you,” and if you have faith at all, then you will take the time and trouble to answer all my questions conscientiously, honestly, and with substance. And if you do so, I will be compelled to pay attention. I hope you will consider that I have taken the trouble to consider your arguments, reply to you, and ask the questions I now ask you.
I thank you.

Should you not feel confident that you have substantial answers, I hope for your sake and for the sakes of those you influence that you will reconsider what we have said about the story. As we can tell, it is a fly in a jar of precious ointment.
I do not have the confidence you do to omit certain parts of the scriptures at this time. Until, or if I ever do, I will have to believe as I do. I do agree with you that this parable is definately “not what it seems” but I cannot go so far as to delete it. Obviously the Holy Spirit has shown us that this story is “something else”.

It seems to me that you have not carefully considered all that was written. Now we have provided you with even more evidence from other sources to substantiate what we are teaching. Not that we are dependent on them – our reliance is on, and our sufficiency in, the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone, through faith, by His grace.

One last question: Are you Catholic or a member of a mainline denomination? Perhaps not, seeing you sign off with “Shalom” and appear to possibly believe in the restitution of all things through Christ. Have you red The True Marks of a Cult?
I am not Roman Catholic, I did go to a community church of a mainline offshoot. I am in at a point of trouble in the sense that the more I read Jesus’ words and my understanding of his words and instructions, the less church looks like his example. So for now I am reading, researching and basically “loosing my religion” and seeking God. I have not read the True Marks of a Cult. I will check that out also.

Shalom to you, too, Patricia, as you seek to please Him as He would be pleased,

Victor

Patricia, Paul here. When you wrote us, we were just in the process of making additions to The Rich Man and Lazarus – A Pagan Parable, which I include here for your consideration, in addition to the other points you may have possibly seen before. I say “possibly” because we don’t know for a fact that you have actually red the entire writing. We hope you will now, carefully.
Hi. Indeed I was interrupted several times and ‘fired’ off my answer before I fully digested your article. I appreciate your encouragement and I will re-read it fully in one sitting. I do apologize for writing too soon. But I am thrilled to hear from you both.

Towards the end of the paper, we added the following portion in dark blue:

It appears that those who made up and inserted the Lazarus “parable” had a specific agenda and idea of what it was they wanted to convey, and they were not trying at all to depict something true about the Lord or His will.

In fact, their underlying message directly opposes all that the Lord preached about the Kingdom of God. Here we have a beggar with no apparent fruits of faith being ushered into Heaven, whereas the Lord spoke of striving to enter into His Kingdom. Jesus said that it was necessary to surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees, otherwise one could not enter. He said that we must forsake all that we have, take up the cross, and follow Him, enduring to the end. Unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood, He said, we have no part in Him.

There is no indication of any of these things with the Lazarus of this story.
This is true, but in the Good Samaritan, neither is there indication of those things.
He is simply chosen of God on the implied merits of his physical poverty. This is a damnable lie, a bloodless gospel that teaches people not to put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ but in their poverty.
I suppose one could look at it that way, but I do not. That would be a perverted way of looking at it. Paul, it could also be a story of how one treats others must not be based on one’s (supposed) station in this life.
Yet only through the blood of Christ is one forgiven and empowered to overcome as the Lord said one must do by faith. There is no need of His blood or His faith, however, with this pernicious teaching. There is no apparent need of anything but to submit to being poor.
Only if you read it from the first blush understanding. I do not agree with this interpretation as you state in this paragraph.

Believing this lie has been responsible for perpetuating great suffering in the world.
Agreed.
It has been a boon to evil and evil men, who have used this teaching to usurp power and authority over others in the Name of Jesus Christ. It warns the rich to submit to their power (or face the torments of hell), and encourages the poor to acknowledge their authority (and receive the rewards of Heaven). But only a heart set on truth, which pays the price in blood by faith in Christ through His blood, will break free from the tyranny of men to serve God and fellowship with Him presently in Heaven.

If I am wrong, I am wrong and will gladly allow anyone to correct me in this matter. As far as I am presently concerned, Jesus did not teach this “parable” or story; neither did Luke or any of Jesus’ true and faithful servants. I see it as the concoction of men to promote their heinous doctrines and advance their own interests using the authority of the Bible. [End of section.]

And this question and answer were added elsewhere:

What if the parable is depicting poverty of spirit, and not literal poverty, in which case the Beatitude would apply to Lazarus – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God”? (As for the rich man, he would have been as the Pharisees, rich in spirit, self sufficient, careless…, the fire being symbolic of spiritual torment due to selfishness.)

If this story or parable were depicting poverty of spirit, why is Lazarus, in his great need, never aided by the Lord in this life?

Or, since poverty of spirit is desirable, why is it even depicted as a curse and affliction? What is the problem with being poor in spirit, if it makes one look to God? And if one looks to God, won’t all of his needs be supplied? The person who is poor in himself will be rich in God.

In other words, the poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom, as Jesus said.

If the physical poverty in this parable is symbolic, is Lazarus’ death also symbolic?
Yes, because people who follow Jesus do not die.
Would this, then, be the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to the poor in spirit of inheriting the Kingdom of God, in this life? In which case, why can’t Lazarus speak to those in hell among the living, since he is also alive, only now raised spiritually to Heaven (how he believed and overcame is still not indicated)?
People who do not help “beggers” or those who are in need are definately not in Heaven. But you must understand, Heaven is not a place to “be” after one dies. The kingdom is here and now.

Didn’t the Lord, when He walked the earth among people in the days of His flesh, preach to those in the death, hell, and darkness of this world?

“The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death” (Matthew 4:16 MKJV).

But if Lazarus’ physical poverty and sufferings are symbolic yet his physical death is real, then we have a ball of confusion on our hands, don’t we? It is obviously very confounding trying to interpret this story as a parable any way you look at it, which is not a hallmark of the Lord’s teachings, as amply pointed out. Indeed, it is a hallmark of the harlot, Mystery Babylon (“confusion”), religious deception at its finest.

Again, I do not think this is about rich/poor in the materialism sense.

Also, gentlemen:

Please understand that my writing to you was not to be used for argumentive or disruptive purposes. There is an invitation to respond/correct on your website! I did this in love and you and I disagree on this parable’s meaning (or for that matter whether it even “belongs”). I can accept that. The hidden meaning or presence of this parable/story will not affect our personal growth as we 3 agree that it [the parable/story] is not what it appears, you 2 to a much greater degree than I do.

Let me end with this encouragement:

We are to love one another. When we do this, all religion, and possibilities of belief systems fade away. Jesus doesn’t need us to argue about him, nor about the bible. He is truth, he is eternal. He is living in me and He is living in you both. We are to love one another. Even those who are not correct on every issue.

I read Victor’s testimony and am encouraged by his journey. I have not had a chance to read more.

Shalom,

Patricia

Victor’s and Paul’s replies:

Hi Patricia,

We are very thankful you have written us on this matter. It has caused us to delve further and seek the Lord, for which we have been richly rewarded.

I expect you will have more thoughts and questions as you read at our site. You will have found that we stand as a beacon of light against much of orthodox Christian doctrine, thought, and practice, which is, frankly, diabolical. Given your expression and common, popular, deep-seated orthodox Christian thinking, our site may have sent you scurrying for cover, as it does with most, saying, “They think they are anointed of God, but I think they are inspired by devils or just plain deluded and heretical.” We always hope reactions would be otherwise.

Still, the Lord Himself will make manifest those who are true, even as He exposes the false.

Meanwhile, in order to clear misunderstandings and clarify our attitude and relationship with you thus far, and perhaps set you at ease that we might have a more meaningful and fruitful dialogue, if it is given you, I will reply to your last two letters, beginning with the first of the two.

This will be an instructional letter covering many matters.

I wrote, “My questions for you (I hope that you, unlike all others, will honestly try to answer them or acknowledge that you don’t have the answers):

You replied, “I pray that my sincerity transmits along with these e-mail transmissions. I am sorry to hear that all others have apparently disappointed you.

We are not questioning your sincerity. You are also mistaken in my intention of telling you of others not replying. I told you others have not answered so as to inform you that they have no answers, which does not disappoint us at all.

For example, we have had perhaps thousands read The True Marks of a Cult, yet nobody has been able to reply. One chose to do so, only succeeding in demonstrating his ignorance and lack of understanding. People don’t have answers because they are not walking in the Truth, though they profess faith in Christ. So while it can be disappointing that they are in that darkness, we can be thankful we are not.

We know and speak the Truth, but we are not disappointed, because we know that what we speak will bear fruit, and many will be brought to the Light by the Word we are given to speak. We know the Lord will reconcile all men to Himself, and we are instruments by which He is doing this; so why should we be disappointed, as though the Lord is or will be a failure?

So while we are not disappointed to see that people are not able to resist or gainsay what the Lord has given us to speak, it is a pleasant thing to see someone being serious and demonstrating evidence of it, even if they are wrong, as long as they are searching for, and open to, the truth.

I asked, “On what authority do you judge it wrong for us to question the validity of a Gospel parable on the basis that a name was used?

You replied, “I was not judging you but encouraging you to reconsider your point. I wrote to you out of love. Why would you assume otherwise? Your responses almost seem angry?

I didn’t say (or mean) you were judging us, and we assumed nothing. I was, without anger and in earnestness, asking you what or whom you used as an authority for your opinion. This is a reasonable question and was asked, not to strive, but for your sake; it is a pertinent, important question, as I suspect (or hope) you can appreciate.

We find nothing wrong with someone judging, in principle, something to be right or wrong; however, we do confront people on their authority for doing so when it is questionable. Yours is questionable, and you need to answer for it.

I wrote, “You say of the use of a name, ‘Rather it makes the truth behind it all the more convincing.‘ That may be, but is adding credibility by spurious facts justification for believing it?” You replied, “Argumentative.

It was an objective question. There was no intent to argue, only to present logic and reason. I’m sorry you took it that way, though you are not alone. Many people see anger or strife in our letters that often is simply not there. The question is, “Why do they see it that way?” Is it only a “language thing”?

Before I go any further, I want you to know that this letter is not written with the intent to convince you of our understanding or doctrinal stance. We are not ignorant of the fact that unless God gives us something, we have nothing. We know that unless something is revealed to one, it is of no value for us to persuade anyone to believe as we do. Many are the letter-knowledgeable with much correct doctrine who understand very little.

Even if we were to succeed in convincing you, we would only have an intellectual agreement, merely the assent of a carnal mind, which is not what the walk of faith in, and of, the Lord Jesus Christ is all about. Thousands of preachers have eloquently and forcefully convinced their audiences and gathered multitudes to themselves for gain and glory. We are not interested.

What we are interested in is serving the Lord by His Spirit, and not by might or power. The former is godly; the latter is work of the flesh and the mark of the beast.

Having said that, we must speak the Truth, which we have been commissioned to do:

“For everyone, ‘whoever shall call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:13-15 MKJV)

I asked you, “On what basis of authority do you interpret the story to represent the Jews and Gentiles?

You replied, “I prayed about this very parable several years ago. In my heart I realized it was not what it first appears. I did read L. Ray’s site (and others) at the time. I do agree with my interpretation which may or may not have been aided by L. Ray. Other interpretations were just based on fear, materialism and really no spiritual discernment (to me).

Please don’t take this offensively, but while you answered, you may not have answered the question satisfactorily. I perceive that you are familiar enough with the Scriptures to know Jeremiah’s words concerning the deceitfulness of the heart (Jeremiah 17:9) and the truth thereof. You will also know that all men are liars (Romans 3:4), so using L. Ray Smith or any other persons as credentials (including us) is not good enough. Neither does the error of other interpretations guarantee that your interpretation is right because different from them. I expect you know all this.

The point is that you have not given us sure indication of true authority as source(s) for your convictions, and you give no substance from Scripture or evidence that you received what you believe from the Lord.

I wrote: “Drawing the parallel you do in this story is like saying that because Jesus’ disciple Judas betrayed Him, Judas somehow represented Judah, Jacob’s son, they having the same name. And of course, seeing Judah was cast off, one could argue that this is true. But is it?

You replied, “You said (or wrote that, I did not). Frankly, this response does seem somewhat argumentative and defensive on your part.

Yes, I wrote that, you didn’t, and I did so to give an example of part of the logic, as I perceived it, with this interpretation of the story, be it yours, Smith’s, or any other. No argument or defensiveness here – only objective statements.

I gave other examples:

One could say that the Book of Jude is a betrayal of truth because the author has the same name as Judas.

You replied, “You said (or wrote that, I did not).

True, Patricia. I never thought for a moment that you said or wrote it; I did not accuse you of writing it. I wrote it, not to be “smart,” but to give another example of the logic or thinking so that you might see the similarity for good.

I gave a third and similar example, to which you replied, “Off point.” I would have to say that you went off point by entirely missing the point of these examples, which was articulated in the paragraph preceding them, and which you never answered, including the extensive pertinent material in the link:

On what basis do you draw the parallel between Abraham’s servant Eliezer and Lazarus? Yes, you speculate, or repeat that which others have speculated, but can you substantiate what you say by two or three witnesses? The likeness of the names Eliezer and Lazarus are not enough. You will find in our reply to L. Ray Smith, for example, that this parallel you use, he uses, and you will see the inconsistencies: L. Ray Smith’s Faulty Interpretation of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

I wrote: “Are we to take your word as God’s truth? You need to give us substance, which you have not done. And you have not replied to all we have presented from Scripture with consistent spiritual reasoning.

You replied, “You will not take my word, yet you expect readers of your site to ‘take your word’ regarding your dreams and revelations. Yes, you are to take my word, I have no reason to lie. It would be breaking one of God’s commandments. It would be wrong. Why do wrong when doing what is right is what pleases and glorifies the Lord? The testimony of 2 or more is valid. To me and others the Jew/Gentile interpretation is plausible.

Concerning lies, it never entered our minds that you were lying, but we deemed you in error. Because you weren’t lying does not mean you are not in error or that we should believe you. That is what I meant by not taking your word for anything.

You err, Patricia, apparently trusting in your own righteousness. We expect nobody to take our word for anything. We can be mistaken or liars like anyone else, and do not presume to stand in our own righteousness. We are crucified with Christ.

People need discernment and understanding and witness from the Lord to receive anything from us; they must have their own oil. We do not dare expect people to believe us because we say something.

And if you do the Father’s will, you will know if our doctrine and my dreams and visions are of God. He will bear witness to whomsoever He will:

“Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His Who sent Me. If anyone desires to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God, or I speak from Myself” (John 7:16-17 MKJV).

As to your choice of witnesses, that is not good enough. Two liars or two or three people misled and/or in agreement on something does not make the matter true. False witnesses can come in droves, and you know that. We know you know because in your last letter, to which I will respond, you tell us so, concerning those in your church (former?). How many of them would disagree with your leaving?

A billion Catholics in witness don’t make the pope the “sole vicar of Christ on earth” he claims to be. He too, as you, could stand and say, “I have witnesses.”

Again, I was simply pointing out to you that you needed to be sure of your source(s), that you can trust it (them). In this case, God must be the Source, not your interpretation or ours or anyone else’s.

I wrote, “Do you claim revelation from God, or have you been reading conjectures of others? We have heard your version of the meaning and have addressed it in our article, L. Ray Smith’s Faulty Interpretation of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

You replied, “I would say this is a result of research and prayer. I don’t know if I would go as far as revelation.

As you know, revelation trumps research, unless it is revelation from another source than God, in which case, not much different from one’s own intellectual fruits.

As for prayer, how do you define it? Two of the purposes of prayer are to receive strength and make requests of God. Another is communication with Him. If communication with the Lord, then it is two-way, which means revelation.

If you define prayer as simply talking to God, without hearing anything, then prayer is not valid as a source of authority for your convictions. Many people pray much and receive nothing.

When Peter was praying and fasting, he heard from God about the Gentiles. He received revelation (though he did not understand it at the time he received the vision). His revelation was soon confirmed with Cornelius (Acts 10). He could say, “I was in prayer and received ‘thus and so’ from God.”

But you refer to prayer without revelation, according to your understanding of each, unless you are merely failing to accurately express or communicate your understanding to us.

If you say you would not “go as far as revelation,” that is why we question you. I hope you will read our reply to Ray.

I wrote, “You say, ‘Jesus cleverly took this parable….‘ Is that how you see Him, as ‘clever’? I agree that there has been cleverness in this parable, but it is carnal, and not godly, cleverness. God does not deal in cleverness. He is all in all; cleverness is a moot point concerning Him.

You replied, “Why do you twist my words? It appears to me that you are almost attacking me. This could be a language thing and I will believe that you are not attacking me.

Now who is on the defensive? And why do you accuse me of twisting your words? I have no reason or desire to do so. You make a good choice here to believe I am not attacking you.

I only took your word – “cleverly” – at face value. It means what it means, and I only refer to it for what it means. Perhaps you meant something else by it, but if there was another intent or meaning, it escaped me in this case.

One of my dictionaries defines the word “clever” as, “Apt, cagey, canny, cunning, ingenious, showing self-interest and shrewdness in dealing with others.” These are not words I would use to depict the Lord or His ways, even as He lived as a man on earth, not for an instant. We are talking two different natures here.

I wrote, “Are you not aware that the first believers after the resurrection were not Gentiles, but Jews? Or that while Paul was sent to the Gentiles, Peter was appointed a minister to the Jews?

You replied, “Of course. This is what is written in what is called the New Testament. But why do you say this? What is your point?

Remarkably, we just received a piece of mail coincidental to my point. The writer says:

Many argue that the natural branches were broken off because of their unbelief, and that instead of them Christianity is now grafted in. But the parable says plainly that only some of the natural branches were broken off, not all of them. Moreover, that argument contradicts plainly Apostle Paul’s assertion that ‘he was entrusted with the glad tidings for the Uncircumcision as Peter was for the Circumcision’ (Gal. 7): the former were offered co-citizenship in the Kingdom of God (Eph. 3:6).

The point is that your interpretation of the parable equates Lazarus to the Gentiles. If you refer to Lazarus as the Gentiles and the rich man as the Jews, how is it the rich man (Jews) began first to believe after Christ, including Peter, James, John, all the other apostles, the 3,000 of Pentecost, then later, 5,000, Saul, and others, they being Jews? The Jews formed the foundation of the post-resurrection Church by the 12 apostles. The first believers were Jews, not all Lazarus and no rich man, as indicated by the interpretation in question, but starting with the rich man first (the Jews), then more of Lazarus (Gentiles).

“A double standard of weights is disgusting to the LORD, and dishonest scales are no good” (Proverbs 20:23 GW).

You can’t say “of course” these things are so, when you submit an interpretation of this story that contradicts them. It is confusion.

Another point of interest here, Patricia. Your chosen interpretation asserts that the rich man represents Judah in particular, citing certain specific identifying marks of royalty, priesthood, and having five brothers. This parallel has an immediately obvious flaw, among many other flaws, both obvious and otherwise, as we have pointed out.

According to your interpretation of the story, Judah was concerned about his five brothers, but as you may be aware, it was Judah’s half brother, Benjamin, that was most closely associated with him. And of his full brothers, only Levi stayed with Judah. Most of the others were dispersed. Furthermore, of those who identified with Judah and the rulership God gave him, there were members from all of the twelve tribes of Israel. So how is it you are presenting him as only concerned about the five tribes, when no such sentiment makes sense or is ever expressed in the Scriptures?

We have spent much time on this point, by God’s grace and direction, not only for your sake, but for the sakes of others who need to know the truth. This story, more than anything else we know of in Scripture, has persuaded people to believe diabolical doctrines, to debate and strive endlessly, and to be confounded.

It is no secret that this story has caused more controversy than any other of the Scriptures by far. Why is that so? First, it is false, and second, the inventor deals in the element of intellectual cleverness and mysticism, a cloak and dagger kind of revelation, one of Satan’s tools of deception. One will not find the element of intellectual mysticism, Mystery Babylon’s essence, employed anywhere in Scripture unless it does not belong there in the first place (more on this later or elsewhere).

When I brought forth information suggesting the story may not have been original, you said, “I have also heard that the story of the Good Samaritan was not ‘new’ but rather an old story.

While we have on record a similar story to Lazarus and the rich man that dates back to pre-Christian Egyptian times, do you have such an example of the Good Samaritan parable? I find none. However, ultimately, we must know from God the truth of a matter.

I asked, “Do you really think that the Son of God would borrow, or have any need to resort to, pagan people’s stories to teach?” You replied, “I think stories are stories. Jesus told them to make us think and dig. I cannot speak for God. He speaks for himself.

You err, Patricia. One, stories are not stories. God neither needs nor tells men’s stories, especially those of pagans. Two, Jesus did not tell people parables for the reason you give:

“And He said to them, To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God. But to those outside, all these things are given in parables so that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:11-12 MKJV).

Three, if you are a believer and anointed of God to speak, then you can indeed speak for Him, but this time you are right – you can’t speak for God, because He has not given you to do so.

Four, while He speaks for Himself, He often does anoint and use His saints and prophets as His mouthpiece (what is a body for?). Thus has He done with us, and thus we speak to you now.

You write, “Please understand that my writing to you was not to be used for argumentive or disruptive purposes. There is an invitation to respond/correct on your website! I did this in love and you and I disagree on this parable’s meaning (or for that matter whether it even ‘belongs’). I can accept that. The hidden meaning or presence of this parable/story will not affect our personal growth as we 3 agree that it [the parable/story] is not what it appears, you 2 to a much greater degree than I do.

Patricia, it never crossed our minds that you were being difficult, and we are not trying to be that way with you.

You write: “We are to love one another. When we do this, all religion, and possibilities of belief systems fade away. Jesus doesn’t need us to argue about him, nor about the bible. He is truth, he is eternal. He is living in me and He is living in you both. We are to love one another. Even those who are not correct on every issue.

You have been duped and seduced, as I was and as are many millions. Here is a significant revelation: We have learned from the Lord that the love nominal Christendom thinks to be God’s love is not His love at all. Read our section False Love – Satan’s Last Stronghold.

Our business is not about belief systems or religion. We do not argue about Jesus or the Bible, but by God’s grace, we do contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, which faith is rare today, and we sharply rebuke those in need of it and reprove the works of darkness – in no uncertain terms, sounding the trumpet with purpose and clarity. We are commissioned by Him to do so.

We are not here to convince; neither do we expect people to understand or agree on those things we know to be true, or as you might put it, those things we believe. However, we shout from the housetops that which He has spoken in our ears; that is our duty in Him.

You misunderstand us because you perceive us to be just two more religious debaters of Christian doctrine, putting forth our dogma. While your perception is understandable, it is not valid. Perhaps as you seek after the Lord and read at our site, He will reveal us to you, and you will learn and understand.

Your first letter is answered; now for the second, though this will be brief, except for the reading assignment links, of which we hope you avail yourself:

You write, “3) Disagree with words condeming others to no rest in peace (Benny Hinn) or others because, this could be perceived as judgment and condemnation on your part. They indeed are wrong. We are to correct them (if possible)! but are to love them. How can we love these folks? Only Christ in us can do this kind of loving. He did it even on the cross. (We cannot do it of our self). We don’t have to condemn them. Their words condemn themselves. I understand your passion on this but I would ask that you remove such language because it makes you seem ‘above’ them or superior. (Even if you don’t really feel this way). That is just an unasked for comment. Forgive me.

The Scripture says, “With the merciful, You will show Yourself merciful; with an upright man You will show Yourself upright; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the crooked You will show Yourself perverse” (Psalms 18:25-26 MKJV).

Again, you need to read at False Love – Satan’s Last Stronghold and in that section, particularly Does God Speak Only Gentle Words?, The False Religious Love that Hates (Rejects) God, and The Lovely Essence of Satan.

As to the rest of your letter, Patricia, we understand.

Victor

Hi Patricia, Paul here.

I also have some things to say in reply to your responses in my letter. It is good that we are having this conversation.

I had written that there is no indication in the story or parable that Lazarus walked in faith or took up the cross to follow the Lord. You responded:

This is true, but in the Good Samaritan, neither is there indication of those things.

I don’t see the connection. And are you speaking of the man from Jerusalem, whom the Samaritan helped, or the Samaritan himself? The Lord was not speaking of either man being taken into Abraham’s bosom and receiving a reward for having endured suffering in this life. The point of the Good Samaritan was related to the question the Lord asked about which man was neighbor to him who fell among the robbers. The one to whom the Lord was speaking answered, “He who showed mercy,” to which the Lord replied, “Go and do likewise.”

In the supposed parable of Lazarus and the rich man, there are no such clear words and direction. Instead, what we have is a spiritual Rorschach test, wherein the hearer makes whatever he or she thinks of the parable by applying his or her imagination. But we are showing you how these various interpretations contradict the Lord’s Word and His ways, besides not accurately reflecting what the words in the story actually say.

In our additions to The Rich Man and Lazarus – A Pagan Parable, which I sent you, I go on to say of Lazarus and the implications of his story:

He is simply chosen of God on the implied merits of his physical poverty. This is a damnable lie, a bloodless gospel that teaches people not to put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ but in their poverty.

You responded:

I suppose one could look at it that way, but I do not. That would be a perverted way of looking at it.

Those who see perversion see it because they are perverted themselves. But we do not believe or subscribe to such a lying gospel (by the grace of God only), so why would we see it in this parable? The reason we do is because such an interpretation is the natural conclusion gathered from the facts presented in the story, aside from how we know that what the Lord Himself teaches contradicts it.

Just because you choose not to see what the story is actually saying, doesn’t mean it isn’t saying it.

Can you show us anything from the parable itself that disputes the gospel I have described it declares? Or can you show us anything from it that supports the True Gospel we preach? Thus far all you have given us are your opinions that you think have merit because they are your, a sincere Christian’s, opinions. That is not enough. As they say, the expression of your sincere belief and a dollar bill will get you a cup of coffee. We need Scripture and corroboration from the Lord, neither of which you are supplying.

“But I will come to you quickly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (1 Corinthians 4:19-20 EMTV).

You go on:

Paul, it could also be a story of how one treats others must not be based on one’s (supposed) station in this life.

That is my very point. The story can be whatever you wish to make of it, because it doesn’t have the godly substance of truth from the Lord to stand on its own and declare His unadorned teaching to those given ears to hear and eyes to see. It is not the pure Word of God that gives a clear sound, but is confusion giving rise to the cacophony of voices that is Babylon.

As for the meaning you suggest, it is true that we ought not to treat people based on externals, which also means that you ought not to necessarily give to the poor or refrain from eating with the rich. That can also be judging after the appearance. One needs wisdom and direction from the Lord in all circumstances, something this story does not acknowledge or promote.

I resume speaking of the principles of Christ lacking in this parable:

Yet only through the blood of Christ is one forgiven and empowered to overcome as the Lord said one must do by faith. There is no need of His blood or His faith, however, with this pernicious teaching. There is no apparent need of anything but to submit to being poor [and I now add, ‘or giving to them’].

You reply:

Only if you read it from the first blush understanding. I do not agree with this interpretation as you state in this paragraph.

Again, you need to provide something of substance to back up your disagreement. Can you show us one thing in the parable that contradicts how I describe it? I say that you are mining for something deeper that is not there, in order to justify the presence of this imposter in the Scriptures.

I asked, “If the physical poverty in this parable is symbolic, is Lazarus’ death also symbolic?” You answered, “Yes, because people who follow Jesus do not die.

You still have not answered my question. When Herod killed James, the brother of John, was that a symbolic death? It is true that James, having eternal life, was still alive in Christ, but he did actually die. That is what I was asking about Lazarus. Was his death a physical death, or is the parable speaking of the death to the world and the flesh? If the latter, there is no indication of any identification with the Lord and taking up of the cross on Lazarus’ behalf, which is necessary to unite one with God.

If, on the other hand, it is speaking of a physical death, we know that this is not the kind of death that brings one into the “bosom of Abraham,“ as the death in the story is depicted to do. So you have a problem on your hands either way you choose to interpret it.

In addition, if Lazarus was following Jesus as you imply (though without any indication in the story that he exercised faith), then why was he suffering and bereft of all comfort? Are not the poor who believe rich in faith? If Lazarus had eternal life in Christ before being taken up into “Abraham’s bosom” (which is what you are saying), how could he be portrayed as a miserable beggar, which you seem to be saying was symbolic of his spiritual state? Nothing you say makes sense in any realm, least of all the spiritual realm.

Then I followed with two more questions:

Would this, then, be the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to the poor in spirit of inheriting the Kingdom of God, in this life? In which case, why can’t Lazarus speak to those in hell among the living, since he is also alive, only now raised spiritually to Heaven (how he believed and overcame is still not indicated)?

Your answer does not answer my questions:

People who do not help ‘beggers’ or those who are in need are definately not in Heaven. But you must understand, Heaven is not a place to ‘be’ after one dies. The kingdom is here and now.

This is a glaring example of what you generally do, Patricia, which is to avoid the subject matter with spiritual platitudes that are not pertinent. Your answers also demonstrate confusion and a lack of understanding, which, though taking us down new trails, I think I should address.

On the first point, regarding helping those in need, how does this relate to Lazarus being in Heaven, since he was not the one helping others, but the one needing help?

And why would the Lord call one of His righteous children a beggar, if His Word says: “I have been young, and am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his seed begging bread” (Psalms 37:25 MKJV)?

As for believers helping beggars (whether physical or spiritual), that is not always the case. What about Noah? Do you think he was helping the poor while building an ark at the commandment of God, Who told Noah He was going to destroy the rest of humanity, including the poor, for their great wickedness?

What about the Lord, Who says He will laugh at the scorners when their judgment comes and they call on Him and seek Him early, because they refused His counsel and despised His reproof when He tried to help them previously? Do you think the Lord’s servants will be helping these foolish people when they are begging Him?

As for your second point about Heaven being here and now, and not a place to “be” after physical death, we know this, because we presently speak to you from Heaven. I wasn’t negating that fact, but was asking you to clarify what was happening with Lazarus, and how it was, if he was seated in Heaven with the Lord, he couldn’t preach to those in hell. I brought this up plus these further points, all of which you have yet to answer:

Didn’t the Lord, when He walked the earth among people in the days of His flesh, preach to those in the death, hell, and darkness of this world?

‘The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death’ (Matthew 4:16 MKJV).

While we are on the subject of your interpretations of things, there was also one part in your reply to Victor’s letter, the implications of which you need to consider. He had written you:

You say, ‘It is not about heaven/hell dipping fingers/water.‘ If not, then why are those details, along with so many others, in the story, expressed as such, if meant figuratively? What meaning do they have according to your interpretation?

You replied (with my comments in black interspersed):

When one has reached the Kingdom of Heaven in this life, one lives in the land of milk and honey.

You say that Lazarus entered the Kingdom of God in this life. Yet the Lord was plainly speaking of physical death in this story, saying that the rich man died and was buried. One can hardly take the liberty to say that the Lord was talking about a figurative death with Lazarus while a physical one for the rich man; with what justification? It is sheer speculation and contrary to the plain meaning of the words and to all examples of the Lord’s speech in the Scriptures.

Furthermore, some, like L. Ray Smith, who hold to your interpretation say that Lazarus was not taken to Heaven, there being a great difference between the Kingdom of God and the “bosom of Abraham.” While Ray’s explanation of the difference is not clear, the fact that there is ambiguity only serves as further confirmation of the general tenor of this parable – it is open to whatever interpretations one wishes to pin on it.

There is no second witness in the Scriptures of what is meant by “Abraham’s bosom,” so the reader has another blank slate on which they can project whatever they think, using the Scriptures to justify their theory. And each is convinced, like you and Ray are, of your differing opinions, that they are right.

Ray says (with some exasperation) that his explanation is the “plain, simple statements of fact that any child can understand.” Such an understanding and confidence comes from the flesh, however, not from the Lord Jesus Christ or His revelation: “Then He opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45 HNV).

The peace is not transferrable. Even if I wanted to ‘bring’ others to ‘my side, this side, and ‘cool’ their fires’ I have not that power.

In the will of man and in the flesh one cannot go and minister in Christ to the spirits in prison, but in the Spirit of God we can, and do, as led by the Lord. You are denying the testimony of the Lord and His saints:

Romans 10:14-17 MKJV
(14) How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching?
(15) And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”
(16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
(17) Then faith is of hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

Jude 1:22-23 EMTV
(22) And have mercy on some, making a distinction;
(23) but others save with fear, snatching them out of the fire, hating even the garment having been stained by the flesh.

Contrary to this story, we (those raised from the dead and seated with Christ in Heaven) never see the spiritually dead begging us to come cool their tongues from the fires. Those who undergo the torments of God’s judgment on their wickedness heap scorn and abuse on us by their tongues, not requests for help. (With your preaching without knowledge, but by poverty of spiritual riches, you do not seem too far from doing that to us yourself, though we are not offended by it.)

Revelation 16:8-11 MKJV
(8) And the fourth angel poured out his vial onto the sun. And it was given to him to burn men with fire.
(9) And men were burned with great heat. And they blasphemed the name of God, He having authority over these plagues. And they did not repent in order to give Him glory.
(10) And the fifth angel poured out his vial on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom became darkened. And they gnawed their tongues from the pain.
(11) And they blasphemed the God of Heaven because of their pains and their sores. And they did not repent of their deeds.

It is a personal walk, and despite my loving others, only they can turn towards God and become followers of Jesus.

Patricia, how can anyone sold out to sin turn to God? You are speaking of man’s, and your own, righteousness. You are right that you can’t turn others by your self-righteous works, but neither can you turn yourself, and you haven’t been turned to God by the power in which you are now walking. You presume to have something that is not of Him.

If and when you do turn to God and walk in His love (taking up the cross), it will have this profound effect on all: “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to Me.” That is what taking up the cross means; Christ is lifted up, and all men are drawn to Him. There is no power in Heaven or on earth that can stop men from being drawn to Christ when we walk in the love of God. But only He can turn the heart. Those in whom the hearts reside cannot turn themselves, which is what you are preaching.

It is very personal indeed. We can see others in ‘hell’ and those in ‘hell’ can see those who are living lives of peace. This is another great gulf.

Can those in hell see those of us who are in Heaven? How can the religious blind, who are given over to strong delusion, see us in Heaven, seated with the One Whom they cannot see? What they do see in us is themselves, their own wickedness reflected to them as in a mirror, and what evil they speak of us is precisely what applies to them. They accuse us of the very things they are guilty of themselves. So, no, they cannot see us. As Paul said, we are known, yet unknown. And as the Lord said:

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give to him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he who receives it” (Revelation 2:17 MKJV).

This is yet another proof of the falsehood of the story. Consider, can you see where we are seated? Do you realize where you are standing?

We have now posted more in The Rich Man and Lazarus – A Pagan Parable, showing how this story truly denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as you also are denying it in your darkened words of defense of this parable.

Now will you responsibly answer that which you have brought to us as your sincere concern, seeing how we have given many Scriptural reasons for you to reconsider your position, not to mention the greater issues underlying it?

Paul

Patricia’s reply:

Blessings to you both.

Paul’s reply:

Hi Patricia,

Other than, “Blessings to you both,” we have not heard back from you regarding the many things we had to say in reply to your last letters and the arguments you gave for the rich man and Lazarus story. In the meanwhile, your letters helped serve the cause of Truth by offering us the occasion to pursue the matter further in the Lord, and we have now once again added substantially to our published paper. See The Rich Man and Lazarus – A Pagan Parable.

Paul

Patricia’s response:

Dear Paul,

Thank you. I will read your arguments later and I appreciate your posting them and bringing them to my attention.

I do appreciate your sincerity and responding, but I perceive that you and Victor wish to become argumentative and I have no desire to continue this discourse and discussion with either of you.

Thank you and please, there is no need to contact me in future.

Thanks and, again as always, many blessings, Patricia

Paul’s reply:

Patricia, your perceptions are wrong. We have no desire whatsoever to be argumentative. We simply have answers with which you are not in agreement. Furthermore, seeing these answers are true and you can’t begin to disprove or dislodge them, it is actually you who has chosen to be argumentative, though silent. You refuse to responsibly answer for yourself in that which you brought to our attention. Remember, it was you who initiated this conversation, pleading with us. How much love and care do you truly have, when, once you hear answers you don’t like, you bow out?

In addition to all that, our answers have been spoken for your sake, not ours, except we are enriched by anyone who repents and believes the truth. You are only hurting yourself by cutting yourself off from us.

No, Patricia, your ways are not pleasing or right at all in the sight of God, and while we are indeed blessed, you cannot be while conducting yourself in this way.

Paul

Patricia’s reply:

Please forgive my misperceptions. In the meanwhile, please honor my request and do not e-mail me again. Thank you.

Paul and Victor’s response:

Patricia, we cannot forgive you or honor your request. On the first count, we cannot forgive your misperceptions while you still hold onto them. How do we know you are doing this? Because you will have no more to do with us. On what basis do you now refuse communication with us, if you agree we are not arguing for the sake of argument, but are answering the things you brought up?

That said, we have no more to say to you and will not write again, unless you reply and we have something to say in return. Why should we be muzzled from speaking the truth to you, but you are free to speak wicked nonsense to us?

Paul and Victor

Patricia’s reply:

Gentlemen:

I am sorry for contacting you in the first place. As Paul noted initially I had not read your full position. While I enjoy a wonderful exchange, your condemning, hateful accusations are something I will not choose to have in my life, especially by people professing God’s love. I do not speak wicked nonsense. Shame on you for such another blast towards me.

Again, I implore you to not write to me. Twice, my request has been ignored. I ask that you now and forever respect my wishes in this regard.

Thank you and have a good day. Patricia

Those who cannot forgive must examine themselves closely. We who have been forgiven, must learn to forgive others, even those who have contacted you and now have regrets for doing so.

Peace.

Paul and Victor’s reply:

Patricia, we are plainly speaking to a wicked woman who cannot hear what we say because she insists on plugging her ears at the sound of Truth.

If you don’t want us to answer your lies, then you should stop writing them. It is that simple. We have the right, yes, even the duty, from God, to answer your false charges and misrepresentations. How else will He judge you?

We are not in unforgiveness towards you. We have already told you that you haven’t personally offended us. But you have offended the Lord, the Truth, and all sound reason. We cannot forgive you in His Name for that which you are plainly unrepentant.

You lied, knowingly or not, when you asked to be forgiven for your misperceptions. You continue to defend your misperceptions, accusing us yet again of “hateful accusations” after admitting you misunderstood where we were coming from.

And how is it you judge us while denying us the right to counter your evil accusations and falsehood? You can fool yourself and possibly others, Patricia, but you aren’t fooling God with your so-called “Christian” works. Trying to summon up forgiveness towards us for speaking the Truth to you is the height of presumption and contradiction. It is the manifest fruit of the antiChrist spirit in which you walk and talk – a deplorable sight to Heaven and all God’s saints.

Paul Cohen
Victor Hafichuk

Click HERE to read "The Rich Man and Lazarus – A Pagan Parable."

Print Friendly