“And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom...”
There was a man who had been assigned the station in life of a beggar and his name was Lazarus. To the natural mind this name is a cruel paradox of contradiction for how can one who lived his life in such poverty and pain be ‘whom God helps’. How can one who has the eternal love of the Father be subjected to live his life begging food at the gates of a rich man, be covered with sores and be so completely and socially condemned as to have dogs come and lick his wounds? Does this sound like the mantra of today’s religious world when they spew forth the phrase, ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life’? Yet this was a child of grace for whom the Lamb of God had shed His precious blood, redeeming him to Himself. Lazarus had been freed from the strong man’s house and his sin was forgiven. He had a personal relationship with Emmanuel and was a joint heir of God with His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet He who has ordered all things fast and sure, had consigned this chosen vessel to be the footstool of the world.
The account given by the Lord did not specify the means by which the one man became rich but He does say that the man received it. He does give the quantitative amount of the extent of his wealth by saying that he was clothed in purple, which could indicate a sign of royalty. He lived under the auspices of being a child of a king with all power and privileges. He also wore fine linen which would seem to indicate a form of religious purity and self righteousness comparable to the righteousness that Saul of Tarsus thought he had from his understanding of keeping the law (Phil. 3:6). Finally Jesus said that the rich man fared magnificently every day. The hand of God, the Lord and giver of all things, had blessed this wicked man with temporal blessings, prosperity and power. The man had done nothing to warrant this blessing nor had he met any conditions which would ensure the daily continuation of this wealth. So, this man, having done neither any good or any evil, was blessed beyond measure.
Now this man could easily be compared to the nation of Israel who in her apostasy before God wore purple and fine linens (Rev. 17:3) but this man is being compared directly to the Pharisees who derided the Lord as He spoke. They heard the words He said to His disciples and were offended which is the sign of the true gospel. When The truth is proclaimed of the power of God unto salvation, one, unto whom it is foolishness, will hear judgment and condemnation while to the other, who has ears to hear, it is the sure sound of a certain trumpet. Christ rebuked the Pharisees for their desire to be justified before men while not having the love of God within. “That which is highly esteemed of men is abomination before God”. These men wore the purple of the priesthood of Aaron, though they were not sons of Levi, and thought themselves whole and in no need of a physician. They loved to be heard for their much speaking as they made their long public prayers before men and they made long the phylacteries of their robes. They have been blessed of Jehovah to have their reward here on this earth in the platitudes of men and the comfort of this world.
Conversely, Lazarus had done nothing to incur the heavy hand of God against him. He was not disobedient, although many, like the friends of Job, would conclude that God would not bring such evil against anyone without cause (Job 4:7). Lazarus was not trying to flee from the presence of Jehovah like Jonah (1:10) and he had not ‘wasted his substance with riotous living’, transgressing the commandments and devouring his living with harlots (Luke 15:13 & 29). He had received these evil things, just as the rich man had received good and comfort, and had done nothing to deserve this allotment yet God has assigned Him this portion and this was his lot in this life.
God had also assigned him to be seated at the gate of the rich man’s house awaiting the scraps of food from the table. Accompanying him there, were dogs. In addition to the wounds that had been poured out upon him and the limited sustenance that he received, he had to contend with veracious dogs when the scraps from the rich man’s table arrived at the gate. These dogs were socially unacceptable in the house of Israel because they, being carnivorous scavengers, were unclean animals (Deut. 23:18). They are not permitted in the New Jerusalem for they are without the walls (Rev. 22:15) and the prayer of David (the Beloved), was that Jehovah would ‘keep His darling from the power of the dog’. (Ps. 22:20). They were used of man as an insult (I Sam.17:43) of God for the destruction of the wicked (I Kings 22:38), the disciples were warned of them as they were compared to the wicked of this world (Phil. 3:2) and that which is Holy is not to be given to them (Matt. 7:6), yet here, God had ordained that these animals help Lazarus by licking his wounds. They also served to keep the crowds of onlookers at bay and the ‘would-be helpers’ away from bringing grief upon misery to this servant of the Most High God. Yes, Jehovah God has ordained the wicked to praise His name, assist His children during the time of their habitation and He has put it in their heart to fulfill His will (Rev. 17:17).
Now in the fullness of time, it came to pass. Whenever there is a question about the will of God it is consistently answered by this phrase, and it came to pass. As the events come to pass moment by moment, day by day, the will of God is done on earth as it is accomplished in heaven. If a certain expected event fails to come to pass, the conclusion must be that it was not the will of God for root of the name Jehovah signifies ‘to come to pass’. And it came to pass that Lazarus died. The time of his habitation had ended. He could not live one second more and all the physicians in the world with all their so called science, potions and elixirs could not have extended that life. But Lazarus was not buried. O for sure the corrupt, polluted shell, formed from the dust of the earth, was buried in the earth and returned to the dust as God told Adam, for Lazarus had ‘put off his tabernacle’ (II Pt. 1:14). He was now absent from the body and present with the Lord in the body of the second Adam. There is a body of the first Adam which was formed from the dust of the earth, but there is another body, which the Father prepared for the Son, the second Adam. The angel told Mary that the power of the Most High would ‘overshadow’ her and that which was born of her would be the Son of God. This body has all the same attributes of the first yet without sin and it was specifically prepared for Messiah so that he could be tempted in all points like unto His children and feel the contradiction of sin against Himself. When He arose from the grave, since His body did not see corruption, He is the glorified image of the invisible God and when the adoption is realized by each of the redeemed, each man in his order, then shall they bear the image of the heavenly. They have born the image of the earthly, but God has predestinated them to be conformed (have the same image as) to the image of His Son, therefore “we shall all be changed” (I Cor. 15:51).
Lazarus was carried by angels to a place of peace and comfort. Had he earned this reward for his labours of love and magnanimous generosity? Had he traveled the earth winning souls to Jesus, was he a street corner preacher as he waited for the crumbs from the rich man’s table and then had to compete with the dogs for his meat? Or perhaps he was such a fine example of suffering for Jesus sake that he had won his rewards and his crowns.
Such is the doctrine of fools. Lazarus was a child of grace chosen in Messiah from before the foundation of the world and predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. He was created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which he completed in the appointed time, yet he was poor and afflicted. He groaned daily within himself waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God and he patiently ran the race that was set before him. Was this of the strength of the arm of his flesh? Or was it, “not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts” (Zech. 4:6) that he had been made willing in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3) for it was God who worked in him both to will and to do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13)? Henceforth, there was laid up for Lazarus a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, gave unto him in that day (II Tim. 4:8). He was not carried into the bosom of the patriarch, Abraham, he was carried by the angel of Jehovah into the bosom of the ‘exalted father of many’ (Ab-ra-heem). Lazarus was one of the many who were made righteous by the blood of Messiah (Rms. 5:19), who is the ‘mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace’ (Is.9:6). He is one of the many who had been washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 1:5) and one of the many with whom Messiah had confirmed the covenant with (Dan. 9:27) when He put an end to the daily sacrifice. Lazarus was an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ and he was in the Beloved where there is no more pain, no more sorrow and no more dogs.
“...the rich man also died and was buried and in hell, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment...”
This man who has no name and was a vessel outfitted for destruction. He had been reserved in splendor and ease, while in the habitation of this dwelling, for the day of judgment by the same hand that had afore prepared Lazarus unto glory. He found himself, separated from God in a place where the flame is never quenched and the worm never dies (Is. 66:24). His torment was exemplified by the fact that, on bended knee, he acknowledged ‘the exalted Father of many’ as Lord, proclaimed His sovereign authority over all things and, for all eternity, he saw Lazarus in His comfort. He was never out of the presence of God, could not relieve his pain and could never enhance his status.
First he request that Abraham send forth Lazarus from His rest and put him to work in easing his pain. Then he requests that Lazarus be sent on a missionary journey to preach to his surviving brothers which could not happen if these events must wait until the end of existence to come to pass. Finally, like his father the first Adam and his father, the Devil, he argues with Abraham saying that if one was to raise from the dead, the goat would be made a sheep, the tares transformed into wheat and the wicked would be converted and live. This is pure Adamic neo-evangelicalism. Adam preaches his words by his means and does what Almighty God cannot do.
Abraham instructs the rich man that the world has the condemnation of the law as given by Moses and the prophesies of judgment as spoken by the Spirit through the Holy men of old. He informed the rich man that his five brothers will not hear and they will not believe (because they are none of His), even the One, the First-born from the dead, who has risen and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. The house of the rich man shall all be cast out into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth for NOTHING can change the eternal decree of God nor influence Him in any way. He is not a respecter of persons.
The two-edged sword of the gospel, which proceeds out of the mouth of Him that sits upon the white horse, proclaims judgment and condemnation and he that has ears to hear is slain by these commandments (Rms. 7:9). But the other side demonstrates that Jehovah God provided Himself a sacrifice for the sin (Gen. 22:8) of His people and gave His life a random for many (Matt. 20:28). No matter what the lot in this life, or the adverse circumstances that He has assigned, His work is finished. Although the light affliction which is but for a moment, looms huge in our understanding and prospective, yet it cannot be compared with the ETERNAL weight of glory that shall be revealed.
The Lord knows them that are His. Nothing can separate them from His love, no man can pluck them out of the Father’s hand and He will NEVER leave nor forsake them. Wherefore, COMFORT YE MY PEOPLE.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
November 11, 2012