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Was Lazarus A Real Person

In Luke 16 Christ speaks to the Pharisees about Lazarus, a begger, and an unnamed rich man. Some believe this is a literal story, others a parable. Will you give a statement of your position and why?

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 ---Ryan_Z on 5/7/07
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Susie, I do not affiliate myself with any denomination, they are all corrupt.
---Ryan_Z on 3/3/08

Ryan...With what denomination are you affiliated?
---Susie on 3/3/08

I believe this story in Luke 16 to be a real story about real people, because in no other parable did Jesus use proper names. The Lazarus mentioned in the story of the rich man and the beggar is not the same Lazarus of Bethany, because Lazarus of Bethany appeared to be an influential man in his community.
---tommy3007 on 6/14/07

John: OK, let's try this again. There is one Lazarus mentioned by Jesus in His parable of Luke 16. (Lazarus ONE.) There is another Lazarus mentioned by John in his historical account (John 11,12) of Lazarus' resurrection. (Lazarus TWO.) That's TWO - NOT ONE - Lazaruses. There is absolutely no contextual connection between them. Note that the resurrected Lazarus gave no recount of his supposed encounter with Abraham. To call them the same person is illogical and silly.
---jerry6593 on 5/20/07

Jerry. Rebecca stated that there is only one Lazarus mentioned in the Bible and you get all upset and improperly compare her to one of Hitlers henchmen for lying. Please tell us all were the Bible says there is another Lazarus. I also can find only one. That doesn't mean there may not have been more but she said there is only one mentioned.
---john on 5/19/07

"Jerry: I have proven a point. Name another Lazarus in the bible. You can't because there is only one. That is my point. By the way, my name isn't Beck."

Because she told you her name wasn't "Beck". If she had said nothing, I would have said nothing. Just because your neice doesn't mind doesn't mean Rebecca doesn't mind. I would hazard a guess and say that you are quite a bit more intimate with your neice.
---Linda on 5/19/07

Linda: Now there's a nice name! My wife's name is Linda. I love her to pieces, even though I have a few pet names for her. I have a niece named Rebecca - we call her Becky. Its an endearing appelation. You seemed to be more offended than Becky over the name change? Why is that?
---jerry6593 on 5/19/07

The continued misuse of Rebecca's proper name says a whole lot more than what could or could not be proven by all the Scriptural knowledge in the world. That misuse, particularly after she has made mention that her name is not "Becky", is a sign of disrespect and the more you do it, the more obvious that disrespect is. You are reaping within yourself what you are sowing. Even if you don't agree with her, it is no reason to esteem her lower than yourself.
---Linda on 5/17/07

Does diminishing Rebecca by not calling her by her proper name make you feel greater? If it does, perhaps we should examine who is the more mature here. Every time you refer to her contemptuously, you are showing your carnality. I am sure Father God, in whose image we are, is not referring to her in that manner.
---Linda on 5/17/07

rebecky: You have not proven the point that the Lazarus of the parable with the rich man is the very same Lazarus, the friend of Jesus who was resurrected. What's next? Will you claim that the apostle John is actually John the Baptist? Get a grip!
---jerry6593 on 5/17/07

Rebecca D; Jesus'friend Lazarus ,Martha's brother ,does not fit the profile of the Lazarus in the parable IE sitting at a rich man's gate,begging, full of sores (dogs licking them) in other words abject poverty!
---1st_cliff on 5/16/07

Rebecca_D I thought I got the names confused thatnk you for the clarification. However seeing that the parable in Luke 16 is a parable we can not assume that this is the same Lazarus that Jesus raised from the dead. To say so would violate scripture for no man is conscience after death, we all sleep until our appointed resurrection.
---Ryan_Z on 5/16/07

Jerry: I have proven a point. Name another Lazarus in the bible. You can't because there is only one. That is my point. By the way, my name isn't Beck. Ryan Z: Barnabas, his surname was Joses, a Levite. Acts 4:36. Then their is Barbbas, the prisoner that the people released. Mt 25:15-16. So no they were not the same man. Read the bible. Nice try though.
---Rebecca_D on 5/16/07

Rebecca_D I may be wrong but aren't there two men named Barnabas in the bible? One was released instead of Christ and the other was a disciple. Were they the same man becasue they shared the same name? The name Lazarus was used by Christ in this parable because of its meaning. Lazarus, the actual person, was a friend of Christ. There is scant to no proof that these are the same two people.
---Ryan_Z on 5/16/07

Beck: You have been unable to prove your single Lazarus theory from the Bible alone. Perhaps someone else could try.
---jerry6593 on 5/16/07

Ryan Z; There's no way of knowing where Luke got this story since none of the "Aposles" corrobrate it. Being a Gentile it could have some Roman mythology content since they believed hades had several compartments. Being a convert of Paul, it could have Pharisee content since Pharisees believed in the immortality of the soul (any bible dictionary)
---1st_cliff on 5/15/07

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Jerry: find another Lazarus (the name) whom Jesus brought back to life and was also in the bosom of Abraham. And no it isn't the same, because my reply isn't a lie. I have shown proof that there is only one man named Lazarus mentioned in the bible. You have shown no proof that I'm wrong.
---Rebecca_D on 5/15/07

Becky: Wasn't it one of Hitler's henchmen who said "if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it"? Your statement: "There is only one Lazarus mentioned in the bible." fits that discription. You have provided NO proof of such an outlandish assertion, yet you keep repeating it - hoping that it will stick. It won't!
---jerry6593 on 5/15/07

1st Cliff, I know exectly what you mean. The entire theology of the afterlife of what I have deemed Neo-Pagan-Pseudo-Christianity is based entirely around this parable. It completely falls apart once you disprove that this is a literal teaching. Interesting fact about this only occuring in one gospel. Although each Gospel does have their own unique stories within them.
---Ryan_Z on 5/14/07

Lazarus is the name of a real person, as much as Ryan is here also the name of a real person.
---Eloy on 5/14/07

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There is only one Lazarus mentioned in the bible.
---Rebecca_D on 5/14/07

1st Cliff, I agree, our understandings are different. Howwever I do not believe we are too far off from each other. As a metaphoric parable the devices that you have brought up could quite possibly have a greater menaing than I have realized. I will continue to study the parable with those in mind. Thank you for bringing these to my attention.
---Ryan_Z on 5/14/07

Ryan;Give me your input on this matter,Matt 18.16.says at the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses a matter will be esablished. The RM&L was told only by Luke who was neither a Jew or Apostle,so far as we know ,never met Jesus,yet cites a parable that none of the others who walked and talked with Christ for more than 3 years,do not mention! So is it an esablished fact? How many base their whole idea of "after life" on this parable?
---1st_cliff on 5/14/07

I find myself in agreement with both of jerry's postings.
---Mima on 5/14/07

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I think this Scripture fits in well with what some here are saying:

Mat 23:15 "How horrible it will be to you*, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you* travel over the sea and the dry land to make one proselyte [or, convert to Judaism], and whenever it happens, you* make him twice as much a son of hell [Gr., gehenna] [as] you* [are].

How did they do this? By placing heavier burdens on the people they ministered to than they could carry themselves.
---Linda on 5/14/07

A true priest is burden-relieving and burden-bearing, not burden-intensifying. Look at Jesus. What did He do as the Great High Priest, touched by the feelings of our infirmities?
---Linda on 5/14/07

Beck: You said: "Like I said there is only one Lazarus spoken in the bible." Why would you make such an outlandish statement? It was the greek spelling of a common Hebrew name - Elazar or Eleazar; much the same way that Jesus comes from the greek Iesus, from the Hebrew Joshua.
---jerry6593 on 5/14/07

Ryan;Your understanding differs from mine,what is the signifisence of the drop of water? The flames? the chasm? Mostly the "beggimg" of Lazarus?
---1st_cliff on 5/14/07

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Susie, ** When Jesus chastised the disciples for trying to keep the children away from him, that was no parable.**
I would disagree there is a parabolic style teaching in His response to the disciples but, that is another topic.You have avoided the true question. Will you please explain why the story of Lazarus & the rich man is a literal narrative, from your point of view?What is this literal narrative teaching & how do youi account for the obvious scriptural conflict if this is a literal narrative?
---Ryan_Z on 5/13/07

Susie, as another blogger has also responded in this thread:
Mt. 13:34 "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:" Jesus only taught plainly to His chosen twelve.
Was Christ addressing a crowd? If so why sould He stop teaching in parables for this one incident?
---Ryan_Z on 5/13/07

"Susie, perhaps you would care to share why this one teaching would be the exception to the scripture that states Jesus only taught in parables."

No such scripture exists. Jesus taught in many different ways. When Jesus chastised the disciples for trying to keep the children away from him, that was no parable. Was he not teaching them a lesson then? Was he not teaching the disciples at the "last supper" and showing them what was going to happen?
---Susie on 5/13/07

Jerry: there is only one Lazaurs in the bible. And in Luke 16:20 it says he was a beggar. He died, Jesus brought him back to life in John 11:1-44. He was used in a parable in Luke 16:19-31. Like I said there is only one Lazarus spoken in the bible.
---Rebecca_D on 5/13/07

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Becky D: Your proof in Luke 16:19,20 that the Lazarus of the rich man parable is the very same as Jesus' friend Lazarus is completely empty. You must be reading a paraphrase of the Bible. Besides, the real Lazarus had no stories to tell of his death experience - he slept through it all.
---jerry6593 on 5/13/07

Ryan Z, I agree with you in discussing God's word with others. Whether in a small group or a big one. Sharing God's Word with another brother builds your understanding of Christ so much more then just seating in Church waiting for the service to end as many do. We are commanded to join a body of believers, worship together, and help each other. Not all have the same purpose, but there is a danger when people pull away from the church. Keep studying Ryan and don't let anyone stop you. Just my opinion.
---mark on 5/13/07

You are quite welcome Ryan. I have followed your post & it is clear to me that you "Study to show yourself approved." I sense your passion to learn & your desire to share the truth you have personally received via the Holy Spirit to embrace, without the influence of "the traditions of man." You are an "Isle" like myself & surely the isles shall wait for Him. Keep blessing & being blessed.
---joseph on 5/13/07

1st CLiff, in my study of the parable I have come across writings that are similar to what you are saying.I can see the perspective,however all of Israel was given the blessing of God,not just the priests. Granted the priests had a very important role & they had no inheritance because GOd was their inheritance. BUt, again, all of Israel was given the blessing of being God's chosen children, that is why I believe the rich man is not only representative of the Pharisee's but also where they had led Israel.
---Ryan_Z on 5/12/07

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Susie, perhaps you would care to share why this one teaching would be the exception to the scripture that states Jesus only taught in parables. Why do you believe this is a literal narrative in light of all the evidence that suggests otherwise?
---Ryan_Z on 5/12/07

This reminds me of the pastor who had only one close friend in his congregation. He was the only one who always agreed with the pastor and never confronted him on anything that he preached.
---Susie on 5/12/07

Ryan : The rich man's dress was that of the priesthood.They enjoyed their favored position (Abraham's bossom) and to have the prominent seats at all functions.The reason Jesus said to Peter "feed my sheep" is because the priests were not,they were embellishing themselves.That all changed when the young "upstart"Jesus exposed them for what they were,so it became imperitive for them to quickly put a stop to Him by crucifiction!..cont.
---1st_cliff on 5/12/07

#2 so now you see it became a contest between the false priests (Scribes,Pharisees, Saducces etc.) and the Son of God. As the Christian congregation grew (as many as 3,000 in one day) the priesthood saw their position taking a back seat,then tried for compomise (the drop of water) They were then told "You have Moses and the prophets (scripture) listen to them"
---1st_cliff on 5/12/07

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It is a parable because the bosom of Abraham isn't big enough to hold all the righteous dead. Besides, the account of the literal Lazarus says that he was asleep while dead.
---jerry6593 on 5/12/07

Susie; Every story that Jesus told, was a parable. A parable is a earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Yes this is the same Lazarus that Jesus brought back to life. Here is proof Luke 16:19-20.
---Rebecca_D on 5/12/07

Christ also used the name Lazarus for a spiritual lesson in this parable. THe name Lazarus is from the Hebrew name Eleazer, meaning: He whom God helps. THis is appropriate considering that the begger, Lazarus, represents gentiles and through the sacrafice of Christ God has helped the gentiles.
---Ryan_Z on 5/12/07

1st cliff, I would say that the Rich man is a symbol of all of Israel, not just the priests. Israel is symbolized by the rich man becasue they believed there position with GOd was of a royal nature. They were, after all, God's chosen people. They are symbolized by a rich man becasue they believed themselves to be rich in spirit by the merits of their fathers, namely Abraham and Moses. THe rich man and lazarus are not real people, they are representations of entire nations, Israel and gentile.
---Ryan_Z on 5/11/07

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Susie, it only becomes far fetched that this is a literal narrative when you begin to study the parable. If this were a literal story of actual events then one would draw some pretty absurd conclusions:

1) All rich men dressed in fine linen and purple that fare sumptuously in this lifetime will die and receive torment.

2) All beggers at rich men's gates that feed of the crumbs from the rich men's tables and have sores licked by dogs will be blessed upon death.
---Ryan_Z on 5/11/07

#2 Susie
3) A drop of water upon the tongue of those in torment will ease their pain.

4) Upon death all the beggers that had sores and begged for crumbs will be in the bosom of Abraham and hear the torement of those crying out from across the chasm.
---Ryan_Z on 5/11/07

#3 Susie,
6) Upon death we have bodies

Susie if this is a literal narrative then it violates other scriptures and would make the word of God fallable. Is this what you believe?
---Ryan_Z on 5/11/07

Catherine...Which scripture says that this is a parable?
---Susie on 5/11/07

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Susie, cults are nothing to be afraid of. If you feed on the Word of God, stay in prayer and obey Christ how could you do anything but learn and mature in Christ's Holy SPirit? What you have defined as cults and their origins can be traced back in every denomination. By your own definition all denominations are cults, and I agree, that is why I stay away from them.
---Ryan_Z on 5/12/07

joseph, thank you for all of your encouragement and kind words. You exemplify the type of study friend I enjoy being with. YOur willingness to listen and judge what is said by the WOrd of GOd is an example to us all. Thank you my beloved brother in the Lord.
---Ryan_Z on 5/12/07

The other day I was just reading this parable, and really got into it. When Jesus gave a parable it had to been just wonderful. And this one was like none others He had given. So yes, it's a parable, the Bible saids so. I can understand how reading, studying, this one you might tend to forget that it is one.
---catherine on 5/11/07

That is what I am talking about Ryan. Never become apprehensive about sharing the truth of the Fathers Word as He gives you understanding. Not all will hear but it will always benefit those who will. We receive to share. What would be "acting in an arrogant or presumptuous manner" would be keeping the revelation we receive of the Father to ourselves.
---joseph on 5/11/07

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Ryan...My experience is that people who do not want to fellowship with a church body of any kind and who only fellowship with very few people are generally not willing to be taught anything even by the Holy Spirit. There have been thousands of cults come out of just this kind of person. These cult leaders did not want to believe in anything unless it came from themselves. The sad part is that they take thousands of people to hell with them.
---Susie on 5/11/07

Is it so far fetched for you to believe that this is a real story and not a metaphor?
---Susie on 5/11/07

Ryan; I'm suggesting that the simulteneous deaths of the RM & L is a complete reversal of the two principles here! Abraham's bosom was a "favored" position with God which the Priests occupied for eons, false priests lost that positions to Christians (ordinary people) to the chagrin of the priests,putting the "heat" on them, now seeking "compromise" (a little drop of water)
---1st_cliff on 5/11/07

Susie, are you saying you will only listen to people if they have a denominational affiliation and attend a building of worship on a regular basis? If this is the case then you should never isten to a word I say becasue I do not fit your criteria. I have small fellowship groups and I do not attend any building of worship. I rely on the Holy Spirit as my teacher and I fellowship with only a handful of people. I study the word of God daily and am constantly in pryer and meditation for understanding.
---Ryan_Z on 5/11/07

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#1 1st Cliff I love where you went. I would suggest that the rich man is a sign of Israel. Christ spoke this directly to the Pharisees. They represent Israel and all of its teachings. As you put it, "...they had access to the table of GOd." Remember though that gentiles were 'cut off' from the commonwealth of Israel until the Christ.
---Ryan_Z on 5/11/07

#2 1st Cliff, The fact that the rich man calls Abraham, "Father," and Abraham, in-turn," calls the rich man, "Son," is a further indication that the rich man was of the blood line of Israel. Now the question then is, how can the rich man be in torment after death if Israel was the chosen race? He was a child of Abraham.
---Ryan_Z on 5/11/07

#3 How could the begger wind up in Abraham's bosom, he was unclean? The begger is representative of gentiles. Gentiles were the most unclean of all things, despised among the Jew's. Look at the parallelism between this parble in Luke 16 and Christ's response to the gentile woman in Matthew 15:23-28. This parable was a proverbial, 'slap-in-the-face' to the Pharisees and all their teachings.
---Ryan_Z on 5/11/07

Ryan; How close does this (part #1) come to your understanding of the parable? The Rich man was dressed in priestly garb and was rich in the fact that they had access to the treasures of God's word ,the populace were mostly illiterate and had to "beg" for little crumbs. Remember that Jesus said to Peter "If you love me FEED my sheep" They were starving for spiritual food! The priests loved to be called "Rabbi" and looked down on the Lazerus (s) as leppers!
---1st_cliff on 5/10/07

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I believe that this story is literal and is not a parable. I don't think Jesus would tell about a place that did not exist. As a child, I used to wonder if it was the same Lazarus that was brought back from the dead. Did Jesus do what the rich man said and send Lazarus back? It would be interesting to think about that concept.
---Susie on 5/10/07

I am interested in Ryan's affiliation with a religious organization because I do not listen much to people who are just making up their own doctrine as they go along. Too many people walk away from Christian fellowship of church services and decide that they know more than other Christians. Quiet often, these people want to create their own doctrine and lead people down a false pathway.
---Susie on 5/10/07

Lazuras and the rich man were real people. but one must remember that Christ spoke in parables. This story is a Parable that Christ told us to learn a lesson. We all need to take heed to Christ's warnings. There isn't a story that Jesus taught that wasn't a parable.
---Rebecca_D on 5/7/07

--Rebecca_D, well put. God Bless!
---Mrs._Morgan on 5/10/07

#2. They were incline to see all such things as proof or evidence of divine disfavor. They would have viewed such a person as not only unclean, but also despised by God. But Christ speaks otherwise. Just because the rich man was rich, it didn't give him any favor over the beggar. The suggestion that a rich man would be excluded from heaven would have scandalized the Pharisees (Matthew 19:24). So Christ gave them a parable to show their own condition, by convicting them through the parable.
---mark on 5/10/07

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Ryan Z. this is a pictorial parable. This Lazarus is not the one spoken of in John 11, (who died at a later time). This beggar was the only character in any of Jesus' parables ever given a name. Some speculate that this was no imaginary tale, but an actual incident that really took place. Either way, Christ employs it in the same fashion as all His parables, to teach a lesson, in this case for the benefit of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were incline to see all such things (table scraps, sores, and dogs)
---mark on 5/10/07

Everything Jesus taught paralleled & highlighted the higher realities of the eternal supernatural realm. Nothing he said was just made up to make a point. Everything he said, believe it or not, was TRUE. (John 14:6)
---Leon on 5/10/07

Ryan please do share "the depth of this teaching". I for one am always open to what one believes to be a deeper understanding. Personally I know it was a parable. Mt. 13:34 "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:" Jesus only taught plainly to His chosen twelve. Luke 4:11 "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto to them that are without all these things are done in parables."
---joseph on 5/10/07

The subject that was being discussed in this 16th chapter is established in Lk. 16:13 and never changed. Apparently the Pharisees overheard the conversation and were offended because of their covetousness and ridiculed Him. Thus the parable which addressed that covetous spirit. His parable to them expounded upon what he was teaching His disciples when He was so rudely interrupted. He addresses the inevitable results of selflessness, covetousness and a lack of compassion for our fellow man.
---joseph on 5/10/07

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Susie: you never answered the question that was posted by Ryan. How do you believe on this matter? It doesn't matter what demonination one is, for that has nothing to do with God's word. What matters is the truth. But seriously what are your thoughts on this matter?
---Rebecca_D on 5/9/07

Ryan...So, what kind of church do you attend?
---Susie on 5/9/07

Susie, I do not have any denominational affiliation.
---Ryan_Z on 5/9/07

#1 I see no one wishes to answer my first question. Maybe a different approach is needed. If, as some claim, this is a literal narrative then there are some legitimate questions that need to be asked:
---Ryan_Z on 5/9/07

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1) Did the rich man receive torment after death becasue he was literraly clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day?

2) Likewise was Lazarus blessed because he was at the rich man's gate, full of sores and begging crumbs while the dogs came and licked him?
---Ryan_Z on 5/9/07

3) Would a literal drop of water on the tip of a single finger cool the tongue of the rich man?

4) How do Lazarus & the rich man have bodies upon death if scripture states we will not receive our glorified body until the resurrection?
---Ryan_Z on 5/9/07

5) Upon death we are able to see all the people, possible loved ones included, in torment?

6) If this is a literal narrative then Abraham's Bosom must also be literal. Does this mean that millions of sick, poor, sore ridden beggers are sitting on the bosom of Abraham?
---Ryan_Z on 5/9/07

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