Beggar Lazarus Paradise
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Beggar Lazarus Paradise 147

Lazarus and Dives Died

Lazarus appealing for helpThe story of Lazarus whose name comes from the Hebrew "Eleazar" meaning "God is my help" and Dives which means simply "rich man" is often presented to us as a parable. It is in fact more likely, I believe, the telling by Jesus of a real story about real people that Jesus and the crowd probably knew very well. In the Early Church, from the 3rd and 4th Centuries AD, the rich man was spoken of as a real person and even named "Neues" or "Nineveh", and in other places as "Phineas" or "Fineas."

Eye Witness Account

Lazarus StoryJesus told the account of Dives and Lazarus in specific terms giving both the rich man's name and also the beggar's name. He described what kind of clothing Dives wore and Lazarus' dreadful affliction in life as if everyone and especially the people listening knew already. Jesus said in Luke 16.19-21, "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table." Lazarus was covered in sores and considered to have been a leper and was therefore sainted very early as the patron saint of lepers. This account sounds very much like an eye witness account to me! Why else would the writer include such detail?✞

Beggar Lazarus Paradise

Painting called ParadiseJesus not only tells us their names but also the living conditions of each one of them in life and then that they both had recently died. Luke 16.22 says, "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side." Lazarus' Paradise, at Abraham's side was where all the Old Testament saints went before Jesus resurrection.✞

Dives Hell

Paradise Beach and ChairLuke 16.22-23 then tells us that when the Dives died, he found himself "in Hell. He was in torment and looked up to see the beggar Lazarus with Abraham far away." The two places were separated by a great gulf. Under the Old Testament covenant everyone who died went down to one of two places. He or she either went to the punishment portion of "Sheol" otherwise called "Hades" or "Hell" or to the reward area called Paradise, Interestingly, in Old Testament times, the place of eternal rest and the place of torment were always described as "down" whereas after the resurrection the saints go "up" to Heaven.✞

"Beggar Lazarus' Paradise"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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