Many people find it difficult to see this passage as anything other than a parable. Even as early as Beza in his 6th century manuscript, with Latin & Greek writing, it’s noted as a parable. But Luke wrote it between several sayings and warnings of Jesus. Indeed chapter 16 begins with a parable, but Luke afterwards writes about Jesus teaching Pharisees who loved money and gave them plain teaching in 16:14-18, then he begins teaching on the rich man and Lazarus. Chapter 17 begins with more plain teaching. Grammatically in the majority of Greek texts there is no reason to call the story a parable and none but Beza’s do it. Another reason to accept it as plain teaching is it’s unique features which make it different from any other parable. Such as the naming of a person like Lazarus, and also, parables do not narrate on the spiritual realm. All parables are earthly stories which have a spiritual truth to teach. But the story of the rich man & Lazarus is a spiritual story with a spiritual truth. Another fact that distinguishes the story from a parable is it’s lack of analogy in it’s point. True, some parables do end with no explanation, but when they do, they each have an obvious analogy. This story has no analogy, it simply tells us plain truths. If it is a parable, where is the analogy? The facts are:
1. There is no such thing as reincarnation, v26, Heb. 9:27
2. There is no migration of souls from punishment to bliss or vice-versa, v26
3. The resurrection and the scriptures have God’s power, 31, Rom. 1:2-4, 16.
4. Everyone is given supernatural knowledge of identification after death, v23
5. Money can not buy eternal life or divine favor, the rich man met punishment, Luke 6:30.
6. God’s children are assured assistance from angels during death, v22, Mt. 18:10.
7. Beggars do not go to paradise because they are beggars. Lazarus went to paradise because he had obviously listened to Moses & the Prophets and believed to become a child of Abraham, v31. Today we need to listen to Christ to obtain the right by faith, becoming a child of God, John 1:11-13.
8. The conclusion is that there is no second chance at salvation after death, despite what any other denomination or scholar says about eschatology, the rapture or pre- or post-millennium doctrine from interpreting Revelation otherwise. Our judgment takes place outside of time, after this part of life on earth. Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “THIS DAY…..” Luke 23:43.
None of the above facts, are in obvious conflict with the entirety of God’s word. Paradise is where we all want to be. The word is used in Genesis 2:8, where dwelt the tree of life, it disappears throughout Biblical history but reappears in Rev. 2:7, 22:2 & 14. The word paradise is used by Jesus on the cross to the thief, Lk. 23:43 and by Paul in 2Cor. 12:4, seeing things which were unlawful for mortals to talk about. Therein is our hope alive, Colossians 1:5. Is it by faith also in your heart?