Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hell - part 2

A Common Question proposing the existence of an eternal Hell:
"Jesus himself clearly spoke and warned people about hell several times in the gospels. He calls it a lake of fire and a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. He mentions hell in the story of the rich man and Lazarus but not at all in the parable of the lost son. Surely he would have made that comparison if that is how we are to understand it? Jesus makes “hell” sound like a terrible lot/ end, so it truly must be…. and hell does seem like a place (of spiritual death) to me. Luke 13:28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.
Please help me understand how these words don’t mean what they say."

Reply by Andre Rabe:

"Let me first say that although this writing focused on a hell and heaven that begins here and now, I believe it also continues in the hereafter. There are many pictures of hell that have not been informed by scripture, but rather by legends and human imagination. And so there are many assumptions that have no clear support in scripture. I believe Jesus meant exactly what He said … and His audience understood it in the context he spoke in.
The following is not a comprehensive teaching on hell, but just some guiding thoughts. Firstly ‘hell’ is an English translation that carries with it many pictures not present in the language Jesus spoke. The two words He used are Gehenna, which was a physical place outside Jerusalem. It had an infamous beginning during a time that the people fell away from God and burned their children as sacrifices to their idols. It is interesting to see what God thought of such a practice  “to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire [in honor of Molech, the fire god]–which I did not command, nor did it come into My mind or heart.” Jer 7:31
Later on this location became the rubbish heap outside Jerusalem, where there were continual fires to burn the rubbish and worms eating the leftovers. One of the worst judgements that a court could pass on a criminal, was that his body would not receive a proper burial, but simply be discarded in Gehenna. This was a judgement considered so serious that only the Sahedrin could impose it.
In this context Jesus said: “But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.” Mt 5:22
To Jesus’ audience His words were very clear – He spoke about a real judgement that could be passed by the Sanhedrin …. not our concepts of an unending torture chamber.
Throughout the OT the Hebrew word Sheol was used, which is often also translated hell. However the OT does not have concept that Sheol is a place of eternal punishment. It was simply the place of the dead – righteous and unrighteous. Whenever the OT warned of judgement and Sheol, it spoke of imminent real destruction.
In the same way, many places where Jesus spoke about ‘weeping and grinding of teeth.’, he spoke about the literal destruction of Jerusalem that happened in 70AD.
In Mat 24:34 he specifically says: “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place”
So in conclusion. I believe in a hell that begins here and and now and continues hereafter. However many of the concepts I’ve had of hell were not informed by the scriptures. Many of the places where Jesus spoke of ‘hell’ were relevant to the audience he spoke to and the literal destruction that was about to take place. I’ve heard people say before that Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone else. No He did not! (LOL - the funny thing is that if they are talking about finances they will also tell you that Jesus spoke more about Finances than anything else!!) Jesus did not speak about our traditional ‘concepts’ of hell. He spoke about Gehenna – a real physical place – and he spoke of Hades, the unseen realm.

To not know God, to not enter into what we have been designed for, is to destroy ourselves – there can be no greater hell than that. It is self-imposed … God’s arms are always open – He never changes

Please see my blog on Lazurus and the rich man for an Historic contextual understanding of this Parable: Lazurus and the rich man
Please also see my blog on the historic development of the word relating to "Eternity" in our english Bible Translations: To Infinity and Beyond!!!

Hell -part1

The following is written by Andre Rabe regarding  the traditional myth we have come to understand as "Hell".

I enjoy what Karl Barth had to say about it:“Should the teaching about hell be a part of the proclamation of the gospel? No, no, no! The proclamation of the gospel means, rather, the proclamation that Christ has defeated hell, that Christ suffered hell in our place, and that it has allowed for us to live with Christ and so to have hell behind us”- Karl Barth (Gesamtausgabe, 25:111)Amazing that Paul, who writes almost 2/3 of the new testament, does not devote one chapter to the subject … not even one paragraph! In fact he mentions hell only once: “O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?” (1 Cor 15:55)

We don’t even have to theorize about the future, we can simply involve ourselves in the lives of people around us and know for certain there is a hell, a place of torment and suffering. However, I also know that whatever torment people are suffering is not a torment placed on them by God. He is consistent. He demonstrated in Christ that He would rather go to hell Himself than abandon us to it. So whatever hell people experience is a hell of there own making and it is as real as it is unnecessary.

So many think of heaven and hell as ‘somewhere else’ and ‘some other time’, namely, the hereafter. But there is a heaven and there is a hell that starts right here and right now.
When Jesus taught on prayer, He did not say: “Father, help us escape from this world and go to heaven where your will is done”. No! He said: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Mt 6:10
He had a vision of heaven coming to earth. The gospel is first of all not a message of how to enter heaven, but of how God emptied heaven to enter man!
The story of the lost son and his older brother is such a vivid picture of what heaven and hell is in the here and now. You can read the story in Luke 15 to get the context, I’ll get straight to the point.
The younger son wastes his inheritance and faces great hardship in a foreign land. He eventually comes to himself and realises that even the slaves in his father’s house has a better life than he does.
He starts imagining what to tell his father. During the the long journey home, he recites this story to himself. We pick up the story in verse 19: “I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.
“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time!”
The father had a different point of view, a different speech, a different story that included restoration and a party!
Heaven begins for the younger son when he abandons his own point of view, his well recited speech, and simply flings himself into the arms of his father, accepting his point of view, his story. Heaven begins when we let go of every excuse we can think of, not to enjoy the father’s embrace. Heaven begins when we let go of the guilt and go with the flow of a party that we did not deserve, but nevertheless is the desire of our father.
Just let Him kiss you! Just let Him embrace you, and enjoy the party!
Let’s pick up the older brother’s story from verse 25: “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’
“The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’
“His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”
The older brother also has a point of view, a perspective in which he saw himself as a diligent and hard working man, and deserving of much more than his younger brother. He does not see his father as generous towards him, or even as a fair man!
As with the younger son, the father tries to persuade him of a different perspective, a different view of himself and their relationship.
Hell is being with the father, yet not knowing him.
Hell is being at the party, but not joining in, sulking because of the father’s generosity towards the less deserving. It would have been less of a hell if it was somewhere else – the music, the smells, the joy in the air is what makes the older brother’s attitude so hellish!
Hell is possessing everything the father owns, but still slaving away, trying to gain what you think you don’t have.
Hell begins when you cling to your own opinion, your own point of view, when you refuse the father’s version of your story.
It seems that the more focused we are on a heaven and a hell that is somewhere else and some other time, the less involved we are in bringing heaven to earth, here and now."

Please also see Part 2 for some further things to consider.
Paul's words of exhortation about the Berians being very Noble because they actually made an effort to check up what he was saying to them rings true still today.
Many a time we keep" flogging our dead horse traditional theology" because we are afraid to step out of line from what others around us believe. We find our acceptance in others opinions of us instead of what our Dad thinks of us.
I sincerely encourage you to be "man-enough" to at least take the time and effort to look at the facts regarding our traditional "eternal hell" myth.  -Andrew 

Sunday, December 9, 2012 conform

Before Sin ever entered the scene, Gods mind was already made up about you. He already declared you to be holy, blameless and innocent. He has not changed his mind about you and never will!

Religion will always try to get you to to do something to "gain" a little bit more from God.... like: "read your bible more", "pray more", "Meet more", "sow more", "give more", "stir up more faith", "eat less"...

This type of thinking flat out denies the Gospel that God already Gave us everything - Himself!

Any message that requires people to perform in any certain way to "gain favor" from God is an ANTI CHRIST message.... it denies what Christ revealed to us about who God really is and who we really are being in His image and likeness.

Friends, please understand. We are NOT separate from God, trying to get him to draw near to us by the things we do - He lives IN US. We are His living temple, we contain the fullness of His person inside us - the two have become ONE and can never again be separated, he will never leave or forsake you.

When we fall for things like, "we must now all draw near to him in worship", we are falling into an Anti-Christ, un-renewed mindset because we CANNOT draw any nearer to him who is our very Life, through whom are all things held together and the One whom nothing in all of creation can separate us from. - He is not "far off" needing to be encouraged to draw near by our good behavior.(Remember, He made the first move..even while we were dead in our sins.... He raised us up TOGETHER WITH CHRIST and seated us with Him.)
To somehow now think that He needs to be begged through prayer or worship in order to come close to you or your lost friends is ANTI-CHRIST. (can you see this??)

A Good example: Its nearly that time of the year again when many will be "encouraged" to fast at the beginning of next year (and non-conformers will be frowned upon). Fast for a "favorable year ahead", for "direction", and to "cry out to hear his voice" - as if He is otherwise silent?? - but if you stop eating.... then He'll start speaking?? (what kind of a father does that???)

Didn't Jesus say "my sheep hear my voice...." And as far as I can see he didn't add on that we will hear his voice.... if we stop eating for a week (or 2 or 3). 
Friends... "My sheep hear my voice" - All sheep do all day is eat!! (and rest in between). They don't fast in order to hear their Shepard's voice to get direction. No, their Shepard leads them and cares for them. He remains faithful because He cannot deny Himself.

Didnt Jesus say that we have no need to fast while He - the bridegroom - is this us?
Is He not with us? Is He not living inside you? Or should we just carry on because that's what we always do and that's whats always be done?? 
You are holy and blameless! He has declared this from the beginning. Our harsh treatment of the body (such as fasting) does not impress our Father, it saddens Him that we ignore what Jesus did once and for all. He delights when we embrace our union relationship with him. When we feel the need to do religious stuff to draw near to him we deny the cross. 

The other day I heard of a discussion between two men I know. The one was trying to show the other what it looks like when we dare to take Grace to its logical conclusion instead of stopping short in order to sustain our religious protocols. The other responded by saying, "So you actually disagree with "So-n-so"!!??"
Friends, when the Gospel we hold to needs to match-up with whichever "big-name-pastor" we associate ourselves with in order to be valid, then we have ceased to think for ourselves and we are well on our way to re-establishing our very own Papal-Heirachy. 
When we fear that believing something different to our fellow brothers and sisters will somehow subtly excommunicate us we can be sure that we are a part of an exclusive religious club that holds zero value to the world that it is means to attract. 

Let Jesus lead us. He is your Shepard - you are His Sheep. "No longer should a man instruct his brother saying "know the Lord", but they will all know me from the least to the great" - that's Good News! You don't have to go through a fellow man's rules and regulations to have a relationship with God.

It is for freedom sake that he has set you free. therefore let nobody enslave you again to the principles of this world that rely on your effort to impress God.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Perfected in Love

By Colin Lagerwall


    Find Love first..then everything falls into place
    Seeing through the lens of fear brings foggy confusion
    Seeing through Love brings crystal clear persuasion

Many of us try and define Love firstly by scriptures, and then we add some personal experiences in the mix, and then a dash of others experiences and thoughts for seasoning, and then we hope we have successfully defined Love ......

When we go straight to the Source at the Eye of the Fountain where the waters are untainted by the trampled footprints of human activity and man's boxed-in-definitions of who He must be and what He must do, it is there that we discover Love that has no limits or boundaries; as we immerse ourselves in this Purest River, we find there is simply no definition that can ever define or limit Who He is....

            Then we realize why Love has defined Himself....

            I AM that I AM..........

            LOVE IS           ------------------>    anything else is an illusion !

In our quest to discover and uncover truth, there are going to be times when we are faced with extreme decisions as to what we hold onto and what we let go of .......and we might find that Truth does not exist on it's own, but rather, that Love defines what is Truth...

The stumbling blocks to us knowing Love are our own definitions of truth, and often those definitions of ours are based on our own preconceived or built on perceptions of what must be true, often acquired through 'teachings' and doctrine...

I think there will come a time in each one of us where we have to realize that there is nothing else but pure Love, and all these other notions of what must happen to ourselves and others are figments of our own judgements on ourselves and other people...

He said :

            "If you want me...look for Me with ALL your heart....and you will find Me"

            "If you want Love......look for Love with ALL your heart....and you will find Love"

And in that seeking, we will find that every single thought that is not of the purest LOVE has to be discarded; and if that thought is not discarded, that thought will be our judge, for even the vilest of persons can look into the Eyes of Love and will see no judgment.......

Love loves the least without prejudice, so in our quest for seeking Love, to really find and know Love, we will begin to see that no prejudice can remain in our own hearts and minds....If some thought of prejudice or fear of judgement for ourselves or others remain in our hearts and minds....we have yet to know Love....

Seek and you will find Love.....but the gate is narrow and you will have to leave behind everything that is not Love...There is no room in Love's universe for anything else but Pure Love.....

Love defines Truth..............anything else is Vain Imagination.........

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Rich man and Lazarus

This is writen by J. Patching. For a long time, large portions of Christianity have used this parable as "absolute proof" for the existence of an eternal hell. But, as in many other cases, through our western thinking we completely miss the Historic Context into which Jesus was speaking. His listeners had different frames of reference than we do today. For years I missed this too, but scripture and the Gospel has become so much clearer when we read and understand with the same frames of reference that the new testament speakers and listeners had.
The following article may make you very angry, make you question many other scriptures or feel confused. Many will say, "confusion is from the devil" so if this makes me confused it must be wrong. The only time truth will seem confusing is if we have already embraced a lie as truth. 

Luke 16:19-31
The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus has been told and retold many times. Sadly much has been misconstrued and because of this many have been deluded into believing error. Many foundations of Christendom have been established upon teachings which have been erroneous and consequently many saints have become confused, believing myths rather than truth. It behooves us to diligently search for the truth that we may be established therein and not to founder on what seems to be real, but ultimately becomes the unreality upon which we are disappointed, disillusioned leading to despair. May the following exegesis become reality to the reader and a reality of blessing as he reads and is illumined thereby. The Holy Spirit is come that he may lead us into all truth and also show us things to come. May He quicken and enlighten your spirit with joy and peace. 

Luke 16:19-31 'There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
'And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
'And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
'And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
'And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
'And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
'But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivest thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
'Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
'For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
'Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
'And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
'And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.'
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is recorded only once in the Gospel of Luke. It is an analogy to illustrate certain truths contained within the story. Unless a person has his ears and eyes opened he cannot receive or understand a parable. The religious people of Jesus' day did not receive the messages contained in the parables and even today we need revelation as given by the Holy Spirit. John 16:13 'Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come' If we are unable to receive the truth then we walk in confusion, doubting and even disbelieving.

Mostly we consider things out of context or out of the setting within which they take place. This parable is one of several spoken on a Sabbath day. Indeed, Jesus had healed a man of dropsy, given some straight from the shoulder counsel and spoken some parables in the chief Pharisee's house, where he had been eating. Then on leaving, multitudes of publicans and sinners followed him. Mingling with them were the ever critical and judgmental Scribes, Lawyers and Pharisees. These latter were always looking for fault and accusing Jesus of receiving these outcastes of society. This is the back-drop to the parable that then follows.

There are five in all (parables), yet Luke 15:3 it is recorded: 'He spake this parable unto them'. The Greek substantiates this point that it is one parable and the narration omits further mention of such. The dialogue continues on and the five are in reality a part of the whole parable. (There were no chapter or verse divisions in the original writings) The divisions are: The lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son; all to show the love and grace of God towards the sinner. The last two parts regarding the unjust steward and the rich man are directed towards his accusers, condemning them for their covetousness and pride.

Many preach this parable as if it is actual fact, the reality of what is about to happen in the affairs of humanity. Briefly, let us consider a few points contained in the parable to see if this be so. The implications are grave indeed as we shall see.
If this parable is describing actual conditions of the future then those in heaven will be able to hold conversations with those in Hell. People will be able to look across the impassable gulf and see their loved ones in indescribable torment. Fathers will see daughters, mothers will see their sons, husbands and wives see relatives all uttering ceaseless pleadings for cool water to assuage their thirst and anguish of soul. Continual torment as such being witnessed by loved ones, seeing and hearing such screaming and hopeless despair would hardly give one in heaven a sense of bless! Such a harrowing situation in no way would grant peace to heaven's occupants! Could you dear reader enjoy such a state of affairs? Surely this could not be the state into which Jesus through His redemption would place us who are redeemed?
Does a man because he is rich, well clothed and fed, represent all sinners in this world? Is it the poor man, covered in sores, representative of all the righteous? The scriptures say nothing about the rich man being a sinner not the poor man as being a saint. If all the rich, the well fed and well clothed in the world are fated to eternal damnation then it would behoove us (particularly those of us in the Western world who lack so little) to get rid of all we have and become like Lazarus else we will burn in Hell. The only reason Jesus gave for Lazarus resting in Abraham's bosom was that he had had a tough life. If this be the necessary qualifications for heaven, then maybe all Christians had better become beggars, diseased, hungry and give up the doctrines of health, healing and prosperity!
If this story be literal then how could we believe that one drop of water on the tip of one finger could alleviate those who are incarcerated in such a fiery torment? Or for that matter, how could a drop of water exist in such a place as this imaginary flaming Hell. Again, if this story be literal then how does one who has died and is buried possess a tongue to speak? Do the disembodied 'souls' in the spirit realm have a tongue? If the rich man's body was dug up from the grave it would be found there in a state of decomposition.
Such are the problems that the literalist have if they regard not this scripture as a parable. Doctrines have been formulated from it - such as eternal torment for poor sinners. This is the misapplication of the parable and the misunderstanding of it's message.
Has the purple and linen of the rich man been explained or the fact that he had five brothers? What about the dogs licking the poor man's sores? This parable is speaking spiritual truth as well as prophecy. This parable is a satire, ridiculing the stance of the Scribes and Pharisees. It is a prophecy to be fulfilled in time.

The Man with no Name
Why was one saved and the other lost? Neither had any quality or action that would allow entry to or eviction from the heavenly place. Romans 9:21 'Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?' Both lived this life in the position in which he had been placed by the wisdom of the Almighty. The difference between the rich man and Lazarus was not of position and/or possession, but their personal response to their own particular situation. The great warning contained in this parable is for those who in Christ's day enjoyed privileges, position, possession, status. The rich man was of the seed of Abraham and in Hell he cried 'Father Abraham'. His purple and linen spoke clearly that he was a child of the Kingdom and as such he 'fared sumptuously everyday'. This rich man is the nation of Jewry, yes Judah and as represented by their religious leaders.
Abraham also recognised him as such for he in turn called him 'son' and goes on to explain some reality. In your life-time you had good times and Lazarus a tough time, now the situation is reversed. Not only that but there is a great gulf fixed between us and no-one can transfer from one place to the other. Listen carefully to the true interpretation of the Greek. Son (Greek: teknon = offspring) between us and you (Greek: hoomone = of [concerning] you, your [own selves] yourselves) or you people, there is a great gulf fixed: so that they or those (Greek: oi [plural] the ones) which would pass from hence to you (Greek: [is plural] those or you people) cannot; neither can they pass that would come from thence. A plurality of people are being addressed, not just one man, for he is but representative even as Adam was of the whole human race. This rich man was of the seed of Abraham, an Israelite, a highly favoured, blessed peoples. The Pharisees made their boast of being Abraham's seed and because of that, fully expected free entrance to heaven's blessed estate regardless of their hypocrisy.
Purple stands for royalty and Linen for righteousness and in this case 'of the Law'. Those in purple ruled and Judah was the Royal tribe, it also had within it the ministry of the Priesthood. The whole nation had been called to be a Kingdom of Priests. Exodus 19:6 'And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel'
The rich man 'fared sumptuously' every day, but this is not speaking about food and drink for the natural body, but about a people who, as the chosen of God lived in His mercies and blessings. What nation can boast of the favours bestowed upon Judah? The Temple with all the sacrificial ceremonies was situate in Jerusalem. The Law, the Covenants, Prophets and all pertaining thereto they had it all, they were richly blessed. This is the rich man, rich in oil and wine, teaching, the word, covenants, promises, the centre of all religious activity. Rich by the blessings of the God who had chosen them to this exalted place. Romans 9:3-5 'For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen'
This man had five brothers, Luke 16:27-28 'Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment'. This is a definite number and has a definite meaning. As a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob you just need to read the genealogies to discover a man who would have five brethren. Genesis 35:22-26 'And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Napthali: And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan-aram' The scriptures record for us the sons of Jacob through Leah were six, thus Judah had five brethren, all full-blood brothers. Those who would have heard Jesus 2,000 years ago would have understood as they lay great store in their ancestry. This rich man then was Judah the southern kingdom of the Jews.

The condemnation of the rich man, Judah, was he was so pre-occupied with his blessings, they became his curses. He was occupied with the gifts rather than the giver. His full table was his pre-occupation. Romans 9:11 '(For the children not being yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth)' All Judah had in the law and the covenants, their occupation with ceremony and traditions filled them with self-righteousness. Having all the calling of God, Priests, Prophets, Kings etc. they considered themselves in possession of absolute pure religion, chosen of heaven, utter self-approbation; the holy and perfect race. In a nut-shell: they were the extremely exclusive. Revelation 3:17 is a classic example of Pharisaic bragging. 'Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked' .
Sadly those so rich in promises and prophecy had become spiritual paupers. Jesus saw their whole religious programme as a pretence and performance, cluttered up with the traditions of men. Matthew 23:1-33 'Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And the greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be ye not called Rabbi: for one is your master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widow's houses and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell then yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the Temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the Temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the Temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the Temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God and by him that sitteth thereon. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?'
They called Jesus a sinner, a liar, a fake, a blasphemer and a law-breaker. This He could receive and not attempt a defence, but hypocritical religionists were anathema and required the fa├žade to be stripped away. The Son of God who would have pure religion and undefiled, exposed their pretence. James 1:27 'Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world'

The Man who had a Name
Lazarus, a poor beggar, neglected, full of sores. Dogs showed more mercy and kindness than the rich man. Lying at the gate of the rich man unwanted and ignored, when so much blessing and deliverance was at hand. The name Lazarus means; without help (or whom God helps) and is the only time Jesus gave a name to a character in a parable.
Jewry considered everyone and every nation outside of themselves as dogs and heathen. Lazarus represents those outside of the blessings of the covenants, not having received the riches and oracles bestowed upon the Israelites, and in particular, Judah. Lazarus is the heathen world, lost, diseased, poverty stricken, an outcaste, spiritually dead.
Luke 16:21 'And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores' The KJV translation would better be put as 'the other dogs came and licked his sores' The Greek word 'alla' means others and not "moreover". If we were to follow and understand Greek grammar we would find that the word 'alla' is in the nominative case which names the subject and belongs to it. Dogs is the subject and thus they belong to each other and 'alla' is the modifier of the Greek word 'kunes' or the dogs. Another way of putting it: 'This beggar Lazarus, a dog; had his sores licked by other dogs' It is common for dogs to lick sores of others, on themselves and especially of their own kind.
In this portion of scripture we are referring to the nations outside of Israel, heathen people who help one another the best way they can, not knowing any better way. But also like dogs they fight each other over their supposedly own territory.
Begging was always done at the city gate where most people congregated or passed by. Lazarus was a beggar in his own eyes, but a dog as far as the Jews were concerned. He represents all nations outside the commonwealth of Israel, outside the covenants and outside the benefits and blessings.
In Genesis 10:25 'And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan' Peleg means division. Genesis 10:5 & 32 'By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongues, after their families, in their nations.' 'These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.'This took place at the Tower of Babel, clearly recorded in Genesis 11:8-9 'So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth 'The descendants of Noah spread everywhere across the whole earth, establishing themselves after their tongue, in their families and finally as nations. Deuteronomy 32:8 Amplified 'When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the Israelites' Acts 17:26-27 'And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us' All has been determined by God, what nation settles where, how large or small it's boundaries and also who it's neighbours will be. All was established in relation to Israel, geographically at the junction of Africa, the two Asias and nearby Europe. The reason: that they (the nations) might seek after the Lord and find the blessings promised through Abraham. Genesis 22:18 'And in thy seed shall ALL the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice'. ALL nations shall be blessed, this is the will and purpose of the Almighty.
This spiritual beggar called Lazarus stands for these nations of the world and is right at Judah's gateway so to speak. The Greek 'Lazarus' has it's counterpart in Hebrew *'Eleazer' which means: 'he whom God helps' or 'whom God aids'. The Greek word for name is 'onoma' and not only means 'a name' but implies 'one possessing a certain character' or characteristic. Thus it could be written: 'Outside the gate of Judah there were the nations of the world, whose characteristic was they were beggars and diseased, all needing the help of God'.(* the Jews knew full well that "Lazarus" was referring to Eleazer. Eleazer was Abraham's servant (Gen 15:2). And.... He was a GENTILE.... "a dog"
We miss this historic context and read our tradition into this parable!)

Matthew 15:21-28 'Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me. But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour'. Here is a remarkable event that took place at the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and Israel when Jesus visited that region. He never went outside the boundaries of Israel for He was sent first to that nation. 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel' John 1:11 'He came unto His own, and His own received Him not' He came to His own, Judah for He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. He ministered first to them and then died for them and the whole world. Israel were firmly convinced that they only would be saved and go to heaven, all other nations were heathen rejects - dogs! At the gate of Israel this woman begged for deliverance for her devil vexed daughter. His first reaction: He ignored her; she was not an Israelite and His disciples would have her excommunicated. Jesus then explains His calling and mission; to lost Israel. The Syrophenician woman was an inhabitant of Canaan but she recognised the quality and power of the life in the Son of God. She then came and worshiped even after apparent disinterest and seeming lack of compassion in the one whose favour she sought. It was then she said, 'Lord, help me' A prayer of just three words. She was without help, but recognised here was one person, the Lord, who can help. How unusual and seemingly hard is the answer with which the Lord responded. 'It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs' In other words He categorised her just as an Israelite would, as a dog, a Gentile, outside the covenants and hope of Israel. How would today's so-called liberated women have responded, or better reacted? But not this woman, she recognised her place, accepted the appellation and still thrust forward in faith. Her response was not of anger, but one of confession and agreement, 'Truth Lord' yet in spite of this state of affairs presently existing she pressed her claim and made her point, 'yet the little dogs (Greek) eat of the crumbs that fall from the masters' table' True Lord, I am a little dog, but I will claim a crumb that falls my way. She passed the test of being ignored, the silent rebuke, the disciples reproach, the hard response and then open and crude application, being classified as nothing more than an animal. Her great faith and humble response gained the master's commendation and her daughter's deliverance.
'Lord, help me' was her cry at the borders or the gate of Israel and links in with the meaning of Lazarus' name 'whom God helps'. Only God could help her. The expressions in this story parallel those in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, he who begged at the threshold of the well endowed, looking for crumbs from his table. Other dogs licked his sores and placed him in the same category. He was a Gentile, a pagan, a dog. With regard to truth and religion all the nations outside of Israel only fed on the crumbs that fell from the chosen race's table. They had received the oracles of God, no other nation had been chosen and so signally blessed as Israel and Judah. All others got were the crumbs of accident. Paul calls to remembrance the past situation of the Gentiles. Ephesians 2:11-12 'Wherefore remember, that ye being in the past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world' Without Christ - aliens - strangers - no hope - without God!

Both died
Luke 16:22-23 'And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man died also, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom' The death of these two is symbolic, representing a basic change in their circumstances. Lazarus was not buried, he was carried into the bosom of Abraham. He represents the heathen nations of the world and we see the transfer of relationship. One who by natural birth is outside Israel, but now is brought in by faith to apprehend and receive the blessings in Abraham. The rich man is buried and Israel lost her inheritance in Abraham, being cut off, disinherited, never again to be the chosen nation. Not until Judah is joined unto the Lord Jesus, is sanctified in Christ, will they be recognised again as a people of God. Yet, in spite of burial there is hope of resurrection which at the parables telling had not taken place. Romans 11:26 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob'
When Jesus came 2,000 years ago He changed history, time, religion and brought within Himself dispensationally a spiritual revelation. 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 'And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven' Truth has it that there are only two men in this world, the first Adam and the last Adam. Let us quote from J. Preston Eby, who gives a clear pronouncement of this truth. "The first Adam is the first man, but the last Adam is the second man and the second man is also the last man. These simple statements, which on the surface seem so insignificant and scarcely worth our notice, are in fact pregnant with meaning, and full of wisdom and understanding. The first Adam is said to be the first man. The last Adam is declared to be the second man. If the second man is also the last Adam, He is also the last man. Now if the first Adam is the first man, it would of necessity follow that there were no men on the earth before him, for he was the first. And if the last Adam is the second man then there were no men on earth between the first Adam and the last Adam, for the last Adam is the second man, and there can be no men between the first man and the second man. If there were even one other man between the first man and the second man, obviously the second man could not BE the second man; he would be the third man, the one hundredth man, or the five billionth man. And since the second man is also the LAST MAN, there can not have been any men since him, for if others have followed him, he is not then the last man. So then, the first man was the first man, the second man was the second man, and the second man is the last man, so that there have been only TWO MEN who have ever lived upon this planet - Adam and Jesus Christ! There were none before Adam, none between Adam and Christ, and none since Jesus Christ. Only two men, no more, no less." End Quote.

All humanity has been included in the first Adam, every one being an individual member of that corporate body. The scriptures declare in 1 Corinthians 15:49 'And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly' Just as all were in the first Adam, so too will all be incorporated in the second Adam. God the Father, in His ineffable wisdom and grace worked in Jesus Christ the miracle of redemption. He has paid the price in full for every man. His purpose is revealed in: Ephesians 1:10 'That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one ALL things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him' 
Hebrews 8:11 'And they shall not teach EVERY man his neighbor  and EVERY man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for ALL shall know me, from the LEAST to the GREATEST' 
Colossians 1:28 'Whom we preach, warning EVERY man, and teaching EVERY man in all wisdom; that we may present EVERY man perfect in Christ Jesus' 
Revelation 5:13 'And EVERY creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and ALL that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever' 
Psalm 22:27-28'ALL the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and ALL the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the Kingdom is the Lord's: and He is the governor AMONG the nations'
Just as death came by the first Adam and has affected and continues to affect ALL men, so too life came by the second or last Adam and has also affected and will continue to affect ALL men. 
Romans 5:18 'Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life' Our old Adamic nature was crucified with Christ and as we once were included in the first Adam, the natural carnal man, so now we are included by faith, in the resurrected Saviour, the spiritual man. Romans 5:19 Amplified 'For just as by one man's disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one man's obedience the many shall be constituted righteous - made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him' We must ask ourselves the question 'Is life stronger than death?' 'Is the light greater than the darkness?' 'Is the power of the first Adam greater than the power of the last Adam, Jesus Christ?' If the first Adam brought all men into sin by his action in Eden, then by the same wisdom the second Adam is able to bring all men into life by His death, burial and resurrection! Who is greater the natural man or the spiritual man? A rhetorical question!

Now back to our parable. When Jesus was crucified and died, both the rich man and Lazarus died with Him and in Him. The old dispensation of the Law was fulfilled, a new dispensation of grace was available to both. Now we are enabled to walk in a new way of life, delivered from the old letter to walk in the spirit. Both were now dead to previous conditions before Calvary and now could live in the unfolding revelations of God's grace and mercy. The Jew living in his sumptuous state with the oracles of God now finds a new redemptive purpose and process, divine correction - but because of his pride and arrogance and rejection of the Messiah, he finds himself now buried in torments of Hell, cast out, rejected, confused and hard of heart. Beggar Lazarus now found a new way, he could enjoy comfort in Christ Jesus, the seed of Abraham. Now he is able to rejoice in the bosom and blessings of father Abraham.
The Greek word translated *Hell is Hades, coming from 'a(i)des'. The 'a' is a prefix meaning in English 'un' and the stem 'id' means to perceive. Thus we have unperceive, unseen. This is Hades - unseen (Not to see), the unknown realm. The English word from Anglo-Saxon 'hillan' or 'helan' means a cavern, a concealed or unseen place. To 'hell' something is to bury it in a hole or pit, out of sight.(* The KJV and the NIV are the only translations that change the word "Hades" into the loaded word "Hell".)
The rich man went to "Hell", into the unknown and the unseen, into an experience never desired. A place of uncertainty, of myths, unreality, bondage, pain and suffering. Who has been so tormented and persecuted, hunted, haunted, ridiculed and selected for torture and death as the Jews in the last nearly 2,000 years? In Germany, Russia, indeed in many nations they have not found acceptance nor been assimilated as others, but retained their identity as a badge of their reviling before all men. The Ghettos in Europe, the horrible ethnic purgings down through the centuries and of recent times the holocaust. This is the rich man's Hell, tormented and insecure within himself. (A reading of Deuteronomy 28 aptly describes the incredible suffering of a disobedient people)

Many preachers use this particular parable as an illustration of Heaven and Hell, but scriptures give absolutely no warrant for this interpretation. Besides, what happened to the righteous who predeceased Abraham? Where did they reside? Abraham's bosom is not Heaven for the expression 'Abraham's Bosom' comes from the custom in Christ's day. It speaks of an honoured guest who sat next to the host. This was referred to as a reclining on his bosom. In the Eastern countries you reclined when eating and one's head would be near the chest or bosom of the one next to him. The word is used 41 times and anything anyone embraces is referred to as 'in the bosom'. It indicates a close personal and honoured relationship. In John 13:23 'Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved' and also referred to in John 21:20 'Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee?' This does not mean that John was all over Jesus like a rash. It simply means he was next to Him as the honoured one at the last supper. They had a close personal relationship for scriptures affirm that John was that disciple 'whom Jesus loved'. Again scriptures show the closest of all relationships existed between the Father and the Son for He was IN His bosom. John 1:18 'No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is IN THE BOSOM of the Father, He hath declared Him'. We often use the term 'bosom buddy' or 'bosom friend' to express friendships and close relationships.
This term comes from the arrangement and placing of guests at a meal or banquet. Seeing Lazarus there in Abraham's bosom showed he was entered into a banquet, sharing a personal relationship with Abraham in a place of honour. The Jews had received many blessings and honour for the sake of Abraham, but now this was all transferred to the Gentiles, represented by Lazarus. The promises are found in Abraham and we need to consider them. He was to become a great nation, a multitude of nations, kings were to come out of him. His posterity would spread to the North, South, East and west. He is the founding father of all God's chosen people and his seed would bless all nations. He would be the father of many nations. Much of this has a fulfillment in a natural way, but greater are the implications and the spiritual applications. Why accept the lower level when the higher level of spiritual truth is made available. Hear the word of the Lord in Romans 15:8-9 'Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers; And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, for this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name' To confirm the promises made to the fathers; in other words the Greek meaning is: That Jesus came to make sure or guarantee those promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Acts 3:13 'The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go' Acts 7:32 'Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold'
Listen to the promises. Galatians 3:14 'That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith' Yet in searching of the promises made to Abraham there is no mention of the Spirit! In Genesis 13:15 'For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever' This promise has more to it than just a geographic location for the promise is both to Abraham and to his seed (as the dust of the earth) forever. Here is a promise made to give eternal life, and the only way Abraham and his seed can possess something forever is that they must also possess an eternal life by the Spirit. This promise is more than that of land, it is an eternal inheritance. 
Acts 7:2-5 'And he said, Men, and brethren, and fathers, hearken; the God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land, which I shall show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that He would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child' As yet Abraham has a promise but no heir to inherit it. Also God did not give, at that time, any inheritance in the land, but promised it to him afterward. In Abraham's life-time he received not, but by faith. By faith he sojourned in the land living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, all died in faith. 
Hebrews 11:8-9 'By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should afterward receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise'
This promise of eternal inheritance, has of necessity the promise of eternal life. One can only possess something forever if he lives forever. All who go by the way of death and the grave leave their inheritance to others. Jesus came and confirmed this promise. John 10:28 'And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand' 
1 John 2:25 'And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life'.
In Acts 26:6-8; 22-23 'And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?' 'Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing to both small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles' Here Paul explains clearly this truth. Jesus rose from the dead by the eternal Spirit of life and thus quickens us by the same Spirit to life.
 Romans 8:11 'But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you'
Now let us be further established in the truth, by meditating on that seeming preposterous statement of Jesus in John 10:7-10 'Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep, All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly' Let us restate one phrase 'All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers' He did not say 'some' 'many' or 'a certain group' but ALL without exception. Let us consider some of the 'all'.
 Hebrews 11:4 'By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh 'Although dead he still speaks to us. 
Hebrews 11:7 'By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an Ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith' Perfect in his generation, a preacher of righteousness, condemning the world's unbelief, he became an heir of righteousness by faith. 
Hebrews 11:8 'By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went' The father of the faithful, who by faith went out, sojourned in the land, looked for a city which has foundations, believed and received Isaac; yet died, not having received the promises, but was persuaded and embraced them in faith.
'By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the Passover,
and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do 
were drowned' Hebrews 11:24-29
What can we add to further enhance this statement regarding God's man, Moses? This great deliverer, receiver and giver of the Law, his mighty deeds and fullness of faith, yet with all others he is declared to be a thief and a robber!! The 'all' includes these great persons of faith, patriarchs, priests, prophets, the Psalmist and Judges of Israel. The 'all' included everyone that came before Him, they are thieves and robbers in comparison In deed and in truth thieves and robbers continue today also, many of them practice their art in Babylonian religions and even in Christendom.
The Jews were obviously offended by His statement and today, when faced with the truth, many become offended and protest their innocence. How we need to understand the anointed message of Jesus; that all who come with any message that does not have 'life' in it, as it's ultimate expression, is a thief and a robber! Many have come with great teaching, philosophies, laws, precepts and practices  but none were able to impart incorruptible and eternal 'life'. 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 'For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death' Our greatest enemy is death, Jesus came to give 'life'. All the good men, all the righteous men, all the obedient and holy men as Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah etc. all died and passed into corruption. Hebrews 11:13 'These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth' All ministered in limitation, not having the ability to impart 'life' but imparted death, for their ministry and lives did not possess that most valuable commodity 'eternal and incorruptible life'. The Law came by Moses and it brought death. All their messages and lives fell short of immortality in relation to Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is alive, having once and for all conquered that last enemy, death. A new life, eternal, incorruptible, is available, only He can impart it. John 11:25-26 'Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?' He was the first to rise from the dead - immortal and incorruptible. He has made possible the fulfillment of the promise. Hebrews 9:15 'And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance' Eternal inheritance means and incorporates eternal life, else the words are meaningless. This is the work of the eternal Spirit for Jesus was raised from the dead by the Spirit of the Father. Romans 8:11 'But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you'.

Exchange of Place, Exchange of Race
In this parable the rich man stands for the Jewish nation who enjoyed God's favour and blessings. Lazarus represents a people who lay at Judah's gate, those who received not the benefits - Gentiles. They were an ostracised, dog class people, outside the covenants and promises, no hopers. The only benefits they enjoyed were the crumbs, they might be fortunate enough to gather. Jewry at this time with it's influences permeated all the Roman kingdom. The parable has within it a prophecy that the two characters mentioned are to change places. The rich man to suffer rejection, pain, poverty and punishment and Lazarus to enjoy comfort, peace and honor in a close relationship; Abraham's bosom. A covenant relationship with all the promises being fulfilled.

Torment - Hell - No way out?
Times have changed for the rich man (natural Israel) his days of splendour, the purple and fine linen are perished. No longer does he fare sumptuously, nor does he sit in a place of honour. He has died, been buried and now resides in a place called Hell (Hades). But then, in this state of torment he at last lifts up his eyes, eyes that were once blind to the need of the beggar at his gate. Now he sees the kingdom of heaven - Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. National Israel, the natural seed of Abraham; Jewry who once thought they were the chosen of God suddenly awakes to their arrogance and error. Lazarus representing the heathen Gentiles have inherited the kingdom and now sit in the place of righteousness, peace and joy. Matthew 21:43 'Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof' It is Judah (Jews, so called) represented here in this present dispensation.
He cries for mercy and alleviation of his pains, explaining how he is tormented in the flame. Consider the following for a moment if you will. If he was engulfed in the conflagration of Hell-fire as many suggest, how on earth would he be able to hold a conversation with someone else? Any human being having been caught in the midst of such a conflagration would be consumed, his hair burned off, his skin blistered into a scorched mass of epidermis, infinitely worse than third degree burns. The trauma of such a consuming fire, along with the shock to a human being would be intolerable. The human body would have no defence nor means of escaping the terrors of such a fiery frenzy. The rich man incarcerated in such a flame would scream for fear as he entered the conflagration, his screams ceasing almost immediately as his body would be gulped up by the consuming flames. He would disappear into the agony of silence and hopelessness.
Yet, this is not so as many believe for the rich man sees, converses with and prays for alleviation of his situation. Luke 16:24 'And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame' Remember it was the tongue that cried 'Crucify him, crucify him'. Consider again the words of Jesus in Luke 13:28 'There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God,and you yourselves thrust out' (Greek for 'shall see' means: with wide open eyes). He recognises Abraham and Lazarus enjoying each others company in peace and contentment. Within the rich man burned a word. Jeremiah 20:9 'Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay' The word is of the kingdom, which Jewry has rejected when they crucified Jesus and ever since it has burned and consumed within them. The tongue of Jewry cried out 'We have no king but Caesar' 'Crucify Him, let his blood be upon us and our children'. The tongue is now in a state of desert dryness, scorched, parched, tormented. The word torment comes from the Greek 'basanos' meaning to go to the bottom; basic or basis; a touchstone, by analogy torment or torture. The touchstone was mined near Lydia in ancient times and was used in the proving of the purity of gold, by having it rubbed and leaving on it a particular mark. It tested the quality or genuineness of the gold.
The torment of Hell in which the rich man found himself was not a torture chamber of eternal punishments. (What human could cope with such an eternal condition? Why, the human body often dies from shock rather than the wounds it has suffered. The mind blanks out from the tragedies its body has suffered, in a surrender to the coma of death) The rich man is in a place of testing, of learning and proving the quality of his life. God is not a monster, He is not a Himmler or a Stalin, nor is He a God who requires sacrifice of living humans on red hot stones as Molech demanded. Indeed, God's own word abhors such practices and speaks clearly against them:
Leviticus 20:1-5 'And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people' 
Jeremiah 32:35 'And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin'.
Nevertheless, fathers do find it expedient to administer pain to their children in a limited measure, so that their children are corrected and learn the right way. It is not inflicted from anger, malice or with venom, but in love so that the afflicted one might appreciate what is the right and correct way of life. Hebrews 12:6-10 'For whom the Lord loveth He chastiseth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness'.
The rich man in torment is a nation of people who have rejected the living word and now live in the deadness of a letter. In spite of it being negative it still works and within it is as a consuming fire burning out all the determination of the self-life and creating such a dryness as to parch not just the tongue but the inwards and the soul. This until; they cry out for reality and relief from their ever merciful God. Hebrews 12:29 'For our God is a consuming fire' 
Hebrews 4:12 'For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart'
A principle or truth we need to learn is that the same word of God affects people in different ways. One man hears and believes, another hears and rejects it. The word was the same to both yet had a different effect according to the heart within the man. The wine of the wineskins is exactly the same, but depending on the wineskins is the resultant effect. Those who hear, understand and receive, escape the bursting of the old; for they have moved out of the realm of institutionalised religion, no longer bound by the limitations of humanistic regulations and administrations. But those who stay submitted to popish and Pharisaic structures will have their wineskins burst, by the same new wine that gives life to those who are prepared to walk in Spirit and in truth. The early church received the new wine of the Spirit, leaving behind the Temple ordinances and animal sacrifices, thus they lived. Those who rejected the new form of life in the Spirit suffered the destruction of their cracked, parched and dead forms when the Roman armies entered Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The word brings death or life depending on the attitude of the heart receiving or rejecting it. The same sun melts butter and hardens clay. Light to one reveals, to another it blinds. (Wuest: 'Light rejected, blinds) John 3:19 'And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil' The rich man in his Hell is affected by the very word and light that brought relief to Lazarus, only in a negative way, it brought him torment and suffering.
Matthew 23:33 'Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?'Nearly 2,000 years have passed and Jewry has suffered the barrenness and rejection of almost all other peoples. He who wept over Jerusalem saw their hardness of heart and also their consequences, wandering from nation to nation in a nightmare of rejection, humiliation and suffering. Matthew 23:37-38 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate' It has been well said, Jewry sowed one cross on Calvary and reaped thousands a few short years later as the city ran with blood and destruction. Rejected, despised, they have wandered down the last two millenniums. From nation to nation, ridiculed, persecuted, decimated yet ever existing in such a fearful state of continuing survival to always exist, yet always dying in the most fearful experiences. Who, among all the nations in history have ever suffered and continued to suffer like Jewry? They have come and still do; to the wailing Wall in Jerusalem over the centuries, yet no relief has come. I have seen them there, praying, wailing, weeping, yet as they performed their activities it seemed as though the very stones before which they stood mocked them with their own barren looks and dryness. Despair surrounds them like a shroud of death, living as it were in a continual state of dying yet never coming to an ultimate end. Just as the Lord God said to Adam in the beginning, Genesis 2:17 'In dying you shall continue to die' The wailing Wall is a sacred place for Jewry being huge stones, relics of Solomon's temple of centuries ago and Jewry today worships at a memory. Lamentations 2:18'Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease'.
Nearly 2,000 years have passed and the rich man of Jewry still thirsts in his Hell. Nation after nation, despot after despot have failed in their most heinous crimes throughout history, to obliterate this people and their sufferings. Unrepeatable and unimaginable has been the people's Hell, a cup of trembling to all who associate with them. Zechariah 12:2-3 'Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the seige both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it'.
He pleads, indeed prays to Abraham and not to his Saviour. Like people today who pray to angels and saints, he receives no answer, for his deliverance is in the one he rejected, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. He cries for just a minuscule of water to alleviate his torments and suffering, none is available as none can supply, but one, and he has rejected Him. John 7:37-38'In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scriptures hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water' John 4:10 'Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water' Not Lazarus, not Abraham, not another person of all who have lived can supply living water to satisfy the rich man's thirst. There is only one and His name is Jesus. Acts 4:12 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved' 
God has never rejected nor will He ever reject those who call on Him. To every thirsting soul He will in due season refresh them with living waters. Isaiah 41:17-18 'When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water' This promise will never fail, it is absolutely sure. 
Romans 11:25-26; 29-32; 33 'For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob' 'For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all' 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!'

Impossible! Impassable! Impermissible!
Luke 16:24-25 'And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented' The cry of prayer goes up, but not to the living God, but to a man. The man Abraham replies 'son'. Yes, he was a relative, but only in the realm of the flesh, only Lazarus enjoyed the sonship of fellowship by the Spirit. Abraham would know the difference, Lazarus could now perceive, but could the rich man?
He is reminded that a great gulf is fixed between them and none might pass over, even if they wanted to do so. Luke 16:26 'And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence' No hope! What an estate to be imprisoned within, how one's mind would be fragmented with fear and one's heart to faint with the thought. Deuteronomy 28:62-68 'And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way thereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you'
 Deuteronomy 32:15-18; 22; 24; 26; 30'But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked; thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee' 'For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest Hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains' 'They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust' 'I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men' 'How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?'
That gulf remains unto this day as Jewry remains distinctly a separate entity in this world. Recognised, yet reviled, living yet dead, searching and not finding. They know nothing of the peace that passeth understanding, nothing of the great Prince of Peace, Jesus the Son of God. To the Jew, he is another man, an imposter, a charlatan, a blasphemer and in rejecting Him they cast away their divine origins in the Creator. Israel is in the main a great barren mission field as the Gentiles of all vile and sinful persuasions flock into the heavenly fold, yet Israel cannot.
In his Hell the rich man implores Abraham to send to his father's house to warn and persuade his five brothers. Luke 16:27-28 'Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment' Abraham responds with the truth in verse 29 'Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them' Marvellous is it not that it is through the word, of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms that causes one's heart to burn, either with conviction regard the truth unto repentance, or burn with indignation unto rejection? Luke 24:27 & 32 'And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself' And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?'Luke 24:44-45 'And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures' Those who claimed knowledge of the scriptures had their own agenda, their own interpretation and their own methods of rule. Spiritual things are only spiritually discerned and 2,000 years ago carnal religious men carried out their own methods of judgment. How we need the Spirit today, lest we fall into the same trap and become lodgers with the rich man, bound in arrogance and pride of the self life. Thus the religious bigots cried out; 
Mark 15:11-13 'But the chief priests moved the people, that He should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify Him'.
It is amazing that today much of Christendom lives in myths and traditions, not desiring the word of God. Many church-goers know little or nothing other than what the 'pastor' or 'reverend gentleman' tells them. Yet, today, the word (he means the Bible) is freely available throughout much of the world. Where it is most valued and believed upon is in countries where it is difficult to obtain or scarce, such as in China. It is through the power of the word of God; Moses, the prophets and Psalms, that people are brought to the obedience of the faith. Romans 16:25-26 'Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith' Moses, the prophets and the Psalms all had their place in the nation of Israel, but as already stated it is not the light that blinds, but the deceitful heart of man. They went about to establish their own righteousness with works and traditions of the fathers. In the synagogues by the thousand, every Sabbath they read the scriptures. Acts 15:21 'For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day' 
John 5:39 'Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me' 
Mark 7:9 'And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition'.
The rich man pleads even further by denying that Moses, the prophets, the Psalms can appeal to his five brethren. No, not the scriptures, these will not convince them, but if one rises from the dead they will believe, he cries. Luke 16:30 'And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent' One did rise form the dead, in their very midst, but they still did not believe. Abraham replies to him in verse 31. If they don't believe the scriptures, they won't even believe in a resurrection from the dead. How sad, and today because they do not believe in a crucified, buried and resurrected Jesus, all evidenced in their sight; they now dwell in darkness and wilful rebellion. Jewry continues to suffer the torments of Hell, a great gulf fixed between them and the dogs of the Gentile nations now enjoying the comforts of Abraham's bosom, inheriting the promises of eternal life. Matthew 28:19-20 'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.'

Overcomers or Religious Houdinis!!
This parable is at an end, but the end is not yet. God is not finished with His work. He has purposed to make man in His image and after His likeness, Genesis 1:26. Mankind is so prone to eagerly seize upon escape theology to absent themselves from the world before God's great day. Scriptures have yet to be fulfilled and we err if we do not search the scriptures and believe them. The Holy Spirit is quickening the word of God today in a glorious way, even to those whose hearts desire to see all the glory.
This parable explains but one part of the story, a negative, but there is always an opposite, a positive; as one cannot exist without the other. Romans, chapters nine to eleven explains it in full. Read also Romans 11:1-2; 11; 15; 26 'I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel' 'I say then, Have they stumbled, that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy' 'For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?' 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob'.
Neither Abraham nor Lazarus were able to cross the abyss, so too those who would desire to cross to them. It was an impossibility. It does not say that no-one could cross the void, and if any inability exists it is always in man, not in God. Nothing is impossible with God! Luke 18:27'And He said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God' He who possess the key of David, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens, He has the keys of Death and Hell. Revelation 1:18 'I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hell and death' Revelation 3:7 'And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; that shutteth, and no man openeth'Because man in his finite thinking sees the impossible, so he also limits his God. The very firstfruit of God was Jesus, the one who conquered death and Hell, broke it's limitations and boundaries to set the captives free. Hallelujah! 
1 Corinthians 15:21-23 'For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming' 
also 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ'
Jesus Christ the Lord of all has crossed the great divide and is set to liberate Hell's captives in due season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 'To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven' 
1 Corinthians 15:23 'But every man in his own order . . .' 
Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:18 (Amplified) 'And I tell you, you are Peter [Petros, masculine, a large piece of rock], and on this rock (Petra, feminine, a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] [the powers of the infernal region] shall not overpower it - or be strong to it's detriment, or hold out against it' 
In Abraham's day the gulf was not crossed, even when Jesus spoke the parable the gulf to Hell existed. But now after His resurrection He has now taken hold of the keys and as rightful possessor may free all who dwell therein. The gulf, if there is one, now resides in the hearts and minds of men who resist and misunderstand the scriptures. But from the believers and the standpoint of the Lord, the gulf, the abyss, Hell, has been crossed, conquered and annulled. Revelation 22:17 'And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely'The impossible is now possible through Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

A greater than Abraham has broken every barrier down, removed all hindrances and opened up the way to full restoration. Galatians 3:28 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus' Ephesians 2:13-18'But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father' Philippians 2:10-11 'That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the FatherYes, every knee shall bow, those in the highest heaven, those who are on earth, those who are in the realms of the underworld. This includes the rich man and Lazarus, or to put it clearly both Jew and Gentile. Listen to the words so often sung, yet rarely understood and believed.
Oh, the love that drew salvation's plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span - at Calvary!

Jewry has passed through great tribulation and darkness, sorrow and suffering. God's word is being fulfilled and the day of their release is at hand. The veil will be lifted in due time and what a release and a glory that will be. Deuteronomy 30:1-6 'And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed; and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thine soul, that thou mayest live'
There is yet to be a glorious day of deliverance and God is preparing a people, His Sons, to manifest the life of Christ on this earth. Deliverance is near at hand as we wait on Him and believe His word. Romans 8:14 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God' 
Romans 8:19 'For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God' 
Romans 8:23 'And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body' Jesus was the sheaf of the firstfruits, now He will bring forth the firstfruits, a people, a corporate body of the son, who will reap the grand harvest of the world.
Romans 11:26 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob'
Obadiah 17 'But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions' 
Jude 14 (Amplified) 'It was of these people moreover that Enoch in the seventh (generation) from Adam prophesied when he said, Behold the Lord comes with His myriads of holy ones-ten thousands of His saints'
This will be the glorious manifestation of those who make up the body of Christ, the corporate man, and fulfill Jesus' words in John 14:12 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father'

To the Jews, Jesus made this statement or prophecy: Matthew 23:39 'For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name (nature) of the Lord' The word 'till' says He will not hold them in Hell(Hades -the state of not seeing) forever, but will in grace set the captive free. What a day that will be when the Deliverers from Zion appear and Jewry has their eyes opened and they see and understand and are liberated from their suffering and bondage. Restored back into relationship with their God. Matthew 24:30 'And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory' 
Revelation 1:7 'Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen' The word 'see' means 'know' in the spiritual sense. When doing geometry at College I was taught Pythagoras' Theorem. It took some time for me to figure it out, but after much study, one night I said 'I see it now'. Physically, I saw no more than before, my study books, manuals and exercise books with diagrams. What I really meant was 'now I know, now I understand'. I have never seen Jesus with my eyeballs, but I know Him by the Spirit and continue to get to know Him and understand Him day by day through His word.

Many saw Jesus 2,000 years ago in person, but in truth they never knew Him. Many would like to view Him today, but would they know Him or understand Him? The Lord is not concerned with your physical appreciation of His form, but that you might apprehend Him in the purity of heart relationship by the Spirit. Only purity of heart gives one purity of sight or better said 'insight'. Soon He will appear again, manifested in His saintly Sons, His corporate body. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 'When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day' The amplified states it this way: 'When He comes to be glorified in His saints, (That is, on that day He will be made more glorious in His consecrated people) and (He will) be marvelled at and admired (in His glory reflected) in all who have believed - who have adhered to, trusted in and relied on Him - because our witnessing among you was confidently accepted and believed (and confirmed in your lives)' Matthew 23:39 'For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord'.

The Jewish nation has yet to see Christendom in it's purest and holiest form. All it has seen over the centuries are so-called Christian nations, fighting among themselves or crusading for their own religious beliefs. They have seen religious Babylon and all her tricks, they have yet to see He that cometh in the name (nature) of the Lord. When they see the body functioning as it ought, submissive to it's head, then that nation incarcerated for so long in Hell (hades) will believe in their Messiah. Presently Judah is being gathered to the land in unbelief, there has been no fruit for such a long time. They are still blind in spite of the best intentions of many people to convert them. To Israelites they are a parody displayed before them, for the time is not yet, but soon to come. As is the normal form of Christendom, we swing into action well before we are prepared for the battle. The flesh profiteth nothing and all the fleshly activities of well-meaning peoples and large finances spent will achieve nothing with Israel. Only when they see a body of people manifesting the fruit of the Spirit and glorifying Jesus, and not themselves, will Israel have her eyes opened and receive their Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
Zechariah 12:10 'And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn'
Zechariah 13:1 'In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness'
The one who sent the rich man to Hell and placed Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, is about to effect a grand deliverance. He who has the keys of Death and Hell is set to free the captives. 
Romans 11:26 'And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob' 
Romans 11:32 'For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all' Praise God for His mercy and grace.
Psalm 118:29 'O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever'

Much Love