We have the continuation of 5 parables, some teach that this is an actual event that Jesus described and not a parable the arguments for this is that Jesus used the word certain however he also said certain in another place
(Mt 21 33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder,) also they say because Jesus used a name ( Lazarus ) but there is a good reason for this which I will go into in this article.
There are many reasons why this cannot be an actual story one being Jesus only spoke about the mysteries of the kingdom to the pharisees in parables,
but most of all it is a fitting description of the Jew and the Gentiles, which is primarily what Jesus was always speaking to the people about because he came to the Lost sheep of the house of Israel and to establish a new covenant by His blood.
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
The rich man is the religious Jew his riches was his inheritance and the promises of God , the purple speaks of kingship the linen speaks of priesthood “A King-Priest ministry”.
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
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 term laying at the gate was a common term used toward the gentiles, also crumbs was a common thought for that day an example the Syrophonesian woman ask for crumbs to bring healing for her daughter, they the Gentiles were also called dogs.This spiritual beggar called Lazarus stands for the 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’.
22 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;
Notice the beggar was carried by the angels it doesn’t say he was buried, and the rich man was buried (the grave) but both systems died this is symbolic, representing a change in the order. Lazarus carried into the bosom of Abraham represents the heathen nations of the world and we see the transfer of relationship.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.
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
In Hades ( the grave; not Gehenna ) In torment (not torture) “fear has torment” it means a place of anguish of mind or soul. He still had good vision to see Abraham and Lazarus in his breast or bosom. ‘Notice How he cries to Abraham for mercy (They said to Jesus in Jn. 8:39 We have Abraham as our father) Consider the following for a moment. If he was engulfed in 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 such torture would be consumed, his hair burned off, his skin blistered infinitely worse than third degree burns. The trauma of such a “consuming fire, along with the shock to a human being would be intolerable.”
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.
Here is a rich man who cries from a long way off must have had a good strong voice and good eye sight, he calls Abraham his father (a term of respect and relationship) He still had the presence of mind to know Lazarus asking only for him to put his finger in some water, now in a fire of torture he would need more than a dip of water, if he was a selfish rich man you would think he would have asked for the fire to be completely put out, the word tormented in this flame cannot be taken as a literal fire, this was a term more common among the people of that day.
25 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.
Abraham called him son (again denoting relationship), surely having good things would not be enough to cause him to spend eternity in hell? this is saying because of the Jews rejection of the Messiah they were tormented.
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.
A great gulf or chasm symbolizes that these two systems are over, God has brought in a new and everlasting covenant through His son greater than Abraham. He 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;
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Here he shows his love for his family, His prayer though was to Abraham not to God not acknowledging The messiah Jesus, but still looking to Abraham. It is also significant to the people of that day and they would have known, that Judah ( the Jew ) had 5 brothers again showing the rich man as the Jew.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
The Jews had been given the law through Moses
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
If the Jews would not hear what was written of the Messiah through Moses and the prophets then neither would they hear when Jesus was raised from the dead.