Jehovah`s Witness/Parable of Lazarus



So the general understanding of Watchtower on the scriptures is that death means unconscious sleep - loss of existence.

Parable of Lazarus. I know that Jesus uses symbols here. Poor Lazarus represents the non Jewish people who would accept Messiah, while the rich man represent the Jews that rejected Jesus.

But apart from the symbolic pictures here, theres a problem. Jesus uses for his parable a common jewish belief of his times, which is wrong according to Watchtower. The Bossom of Abraham was a jewish version of Hellenic Paradise maybe Elysian Fields, and the Flaming Torture Place a jewish version of Tartarus. Orphics held the belief for the punishment of the wicked and reward of the good ones. In older greek times, Hades was basically a dark place without life.

Why Jesus didnt tell them that all these were wrong beliefs instead of using them as an example for a parable? Why he was not annoyed by their beliefs and even used them to give a symbolic message?


Hi Christaras,

Nice to hear from again.

So a new subject - the Parable of Lazarus.

Guess what, this is one of my favorite subjects when I was studying the Bible. As such I'm quite familiar with the ins/outs of this parable. But since you said you're familiar with it already I won't go into detail but instead address your question.

You asked:

>>Why Jesus didnt tell them that all these were wrong beliefs instead of using them as an example for a parable? Why he was not annoyed by their beliefs and even used them to give a symbolic message?<<

The simple answer to your question is: Jesus had no need to tell them that their belief was  wrong because that's NOT what he was telling them in the parable.

That is, as you stated:

"Hellenic Paradise maybe Elysian Fields, and the Flaming Torture Place a jewish version of Tartarus.

Or the "Orphic...belief for the punishment of the wicked and reward of the good ones. In older greek times, Hades was basically a dark place without life."??

NO, the parable was his own making. He did NOT need nor there was ANY need to borrow a pagan belief to illustrate and prove a point.

Consider the following consequences and questions if Jesus was really using a pagan belief in his parable.

First - why would Jesus use such disgusting pagan belief in his teaching? It doesn't make sense. Why would he do such a thing knowing the fact that such teachings are contrary to God's laws and are repugnant to him and God? It's impossible that he would do such a thing!

Second - why would he promote such a pagan idea knowing the fact that it's a lie? That is, that God torment and torture people in a fiery place place known by the Greeks as Hades (the lake of fire)? Impossible that he would do such a thing!

Third - why would Jesus portray his Father as someone who tortures people for just being "rich" - as in the case of the rich man?

Fourth - why would Jesus portray his father Jehovah God in bad way IF God is the very epitome the absolute personification Love? Again, it doesn't make sense.

Fifth - can Jesus be a willing participant of a lie promulgated by the Devil? Impossible that he would do such a thing!

Sixth - would Jehovah God allow Jesus to teach such a horrible thing about him? Again, impossible.

So the obvious answer is - Jesus was not referring to the pagan belief. No, but rather he  was illustrating to his listeners the changing conditions that will soon take place. He was illustrating to his listeners (the common people, his disciples and the religious leaders) that those receiving him will be in a favored position with God while those rejecting him (the "rich" religious leaders/teachers - the pharisees the clergy class) will be in an unfavorable position. Furthermore, in the illustration, it's clear that Jesus was illustrating the torment that the clergy class will experience. Their anguish or torment is going to be so great as if they are in a "burning fire" and that no relief from anything, not from a (figurative) drip of water nor even from the prophets, or someone from the "dead (i.e. Jesus)" will be a able to help them. Furthermore their unwillingness and unresponsive hearts had created a great divide "a chasm" between them and the humble people they considered "sickly and beggars".

A change was indeed about to come - an impeding judgment upon the wicked and upon humble people. A separation is coming indeed in the form of Jesus' three year Ministry.

In those three years, the religious leaders (the rich man class) were tormented day and night by Jesus and his disciples by means their preaching and teaching work. It separated the common people from the clergy class by accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

Although the religious leaders claim to have Abraham as their father and the Mosaic law - they will lose that favored position when Jesus commences his ministry. These all came true and they saw it come true.

In fact, the "chasm" was so great that the entire nation of Israel was rejected by God. Only those who accepted Jesus were accepted to be his followers.


“. . .And so Jesus went on to say to the Jews that had believed him: “If YOU remain in my word, YOU are really my disciples, 32 and YOU will know the truth, and the truth will set YOU free.” 33 They replied to him: “We are Abraham’s offspring and never have we been slaves to anybody. How is it you say, ‘YOU will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them: “Most truly I say to YOU, Every doer of sin is a slave of sin. 35 Moreover, the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son remains forever. 36 Therefore if the Son sets YOU free, YOU will be actually free. 37 I know that YOU are Abraham’s offspring; but YOU are seeking to kill me, because my word makes no progress among YOU. 38 What things I have seen with my Father I speak; and YOU, therefore, do the things YOU have heard from [YOUR] father.” 39 In answer they said to him: “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them: “If YOU are Abraham’s children, do the works of Abraham. 40 But now YOU are seeking to kill me, a man that has told YOU the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 YOU do the works of YOUR father.” They said to him: “We were not born from fornication; we have one Father, God.” 42 Jesus said to them: “If God were YOUR Father, YOU would love me, for from God I came forth and am here. Neither have I come of my own initiative at all, but that One sent me forth. 43 Why is it YOU do not know what I am speaking? Because YOU cannot listen to my word. 44 YOU are from YOUR father the Devil, and YOU wish to do the desires of YOUR father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of [the lie]. 45 Because I, on the other hand, tell the truth, YOU do not believe me. 46 Who of YOU convicts me of sin? If I speak truth, why is it YOU do not believe me? 47 He that is from God listens to the sayings of God. This is why YOU do not listen, because YOU are not from God.”” (John 8:31-47)

“Which one of the prophets did YOUR forefathers not persecute? Yes, they killed those who made announcement in advance concerning the coming of the righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers YOU have now become,” (Acts 7:52)

““Woe to YOU, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because YOU traverse sea and dry land to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one YOU make him a subject for Ge·hen′na twice as much so as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15)

That's all there is to it - in a nutshell.

Here's the parable for reference:

“. . .“But a certain man was rich, and he used to deck himself with purple and linen, enjoying himself from day to day with magnificence. 20 But a certain beggar named Laz′a·rus used to be put at his gate, full of ulcers 21 and desiring to be filled with the things dropping from the table of the rich man. Yes, too, the dogs would come and lick his ulcers. 22 Now in course of time the beggar died and he was carried off by the angels to the bosom [position] of Abraham. “Also, the rich man died and was buried. 23 And in Ha′des he lifted up his eyes, he existing in torments, and he saw Abraham afar off and Laz′a·rus in the bosom [position] with him. 24 So he called and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Laz′a·rus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this blazing fire.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you received in full your good things in your lifetime, but Laz′a·rus correspondingly the injurious things. Now, however, he is having comfort here but you are in anguish. 26 And besides all these things, a great chasm has been fixed between us and YOU people, so that those wanting to go over from here to YOU people cannot, neither may people cross over from there to us.’ 27 Then he said, ‘In that event I ask you, father, to send him to the house of my father, 28 for I have five brothers, in order that he may give them a thorough witness, that they also should not get into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to these.’ 30 Then he said, ‘No, indeed, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”” (Luke 16:19-31)

Follow up if you need more clarification.  

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