In St. Luke’s gospel chapter 16 verses. 19 and following there is the account of the rich man and the begger. It’s puzzled me for a long time. In verse 22 it says “…the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell.” but in verses 24 and 27 that same man ask for mercy for himself and for his bretheren. I thought that the damned would not ask for such things. It sounds like the rich man went to purgatory. I don’t believe the damned would ask for grace for themselves or for others. What do you think?
This is one that confuses me too, because some apologetics sources say to use it for a defense of purgatory, but others use it to describe how there is no mercy in hell. I would appreciate an answer as well.
Purgatory, if the Rich Man were in Hell, he would not be able to talk to Abraham and intercede on his brothers’ behalf.
St. Thomas Aquinas says the rich man went to Hell:
“So great will be the envy of the damned that they will envy the glory even of their kindred, since they themselves are supremely unhappy, for this happens even in this life, when envy increases. Nevertheless they will envy their kindred less than others, and their punishment would be greater if all their kindred were damned, and others saved, than if some of their kindred were saved. For this reason the rich man prayed that his brethren might be warded from damnation: for he knew that some are guarded therefrom. Yet he would rather that his brethren were damned as well as all the rest.”
[quote=PioMagnus]This is one that confuses me too, because some apologetics sources say to use it for a defense of purgatory, but others use it to describe how there is no mercy in hell. I would appreciate an answer as well.
Generally that parable is used in defense of purgatory not to say that he is in purgatory but to assert that a place other than heaven and hell exists. Note that Lazarus is described as being in the bosom of Abraham. Many theologians believe that Lazarus was in the Limbo of the Fathers (this is just a speculative place and definitely not doctrinal). They also believe that the rich man was in Sheol (the abode of the dead). I think the theory goes that after Jesus resurrection those in the Limbo of the Fathers went to Heaven and those in Sheol descended to Hell. I think, though, that the Limbo of the Fathers and Sheol were essentially the same place but separated by some great gulf.
I think that the rich man is a symbol of all of those who do not know God or His helpers. The name Lazarus means “God’s Helper” or God’s Servant. The name of Abraham’s servant was Eleazar that translated into the Greek was Lazarus, same name. The deeper symbol can also be seen in the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. These three peoples names mean Martha " thier rebellion" Mary “her rebellion” and Lazarus “God’s Servant”. These three are a symbol of the natural, soulical and finally the Spiritual nature that comes through the born again experiance that listens to God and arisses from dead works. We are complete when we have these three natures restored “first Thesolonians 5,23 ,May the very God of peace sanctify you holy, that He preserve you whole Spirit, Soul and Body blamless unto the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.
When Jesus raised Lazarus after 4 days he was giving a picture to the whole of humanity of how the Martha of our Bodily nature and the Mary of our soulical nature was about to see the born again life and become servant to God’s word, after the four thousand years of slavery to sin and death were now about to end, with Jesus death burial and resurection and sending of the Holy Spirit from Heaven so we no longer have to be just a rebellious body and soul but share in the Spiritual life of Jesus by His Holy Spirit.
I said all that to say this that many are like the rich man in Jesus parable. They pass by the opportunity to be born agian. Being prood in the things of this life they will not die to them selves and the lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh and take the leap of faith to believe in Jesus for salvation. They see the Christian life as a fable for week minded “The opiant of the masses”. They see the parable of the certain rich man as a call to give to the poor, not knowing that in the eyes of heaven the truly poor are those who are still dead in sin and trustpasses. I have even hear Catholic priest who are so narrow minded in the things of the Spirit to say that this is all this parable is about. That giving to the poor is how we earn our salvation, when in truth it is the salvation expriance that should be the motivation for charity and not the other way around. Getting this cart before the horse will lead to a perverse sence of social justice that takes God out of the picture all together but this is what the new bishop of the Toledo dioceses “Bishop Blair” said the parable ment. God help us when Bishops are so secular that they put the faithful to sleep with such drible. Jesus said of the born again man “Loose Him and let him go”. The secular bishop says he is also a threat as is this Jesus. We are given a substitute jesus of social justice with no life of the Spirit. Jesus said to Judas “The poor you will always have with you but me you will not aways have” “Of this woman her name will be mentioned everytime the Gospel is preached”. The woman Jesus was talking about was not at Jesus feet washing with her tears and pouring perfume on Him because she wanted to be saved but rather because she knew she already was. God Bless
[quote=Psalm45:9]Purgatory, if the Rich Man were in Hell, he would not be able to talk to Abraham and intercede on his brothers’ behalf.
A parable is intended to teach basic truths in a vivid language that men can understand, and should not always be taken to mean an actual, graphic or literal description of something. In any case, even if we take the Rich man’s plea to Abraham as a form of intercession, it was in any case rejected, so it can likewise mean that the damned cannot in fact intercede for their living brethren. So I’m inclined to think that the rich man is in hell.
As one other poster put it, the story does not say that the rich man is in purgatory, but that it suggests that some place other than heaven or hell may in fact exist, which is interpreted to be purgatory.
Hello safety 14,
There are about forty times when Jesus warns of eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels or the evildoers shall rise to be damned or **eternal punishment **and those who will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus also warns of those who will not be forgiven. If Jesus does not forgive someone, that person cannot enter heaven and goes to hell.
Please visit and read Christ’ biblical verses on those who go to hell. WARNING! Jesus Does Not Forgive All
If there are a large amount of generally good people (popes, saints, church goers) with a few sins, patiently waiting in purgatory with the rich man to go to heaven, I do not think the rich man would have been so desperate about not wanting his family to be sent there. I am sure that the followers hearing Jesus understood Jesus’ parable on the rich man in relation to Jesus’ many other sermons warning of those who suffer eternal punishment.
In the big picture of Christ’s gospels, Jesus most important teaching is comparing the actions of those who go to eternal life against the actions of those who go to eternal punishment. In the sence of hundreds of billions of trililions of gazillions of infinite years of eternal placement, time in purgatory, while assured of eventual eternal life, is infinitely insignificant. I am sure Jesus was not wasting his time talking about purgatory but giving warning on what is really important, which is damnation of people’s souls.
Peace in Christ,
NAB MAT 25:41
**'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
**NAB JOH 5:27
the evildoers shall rise to be damned."
**NAB2 MAT 18:2
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, **you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. **
NAB MAT 7:13
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. **Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. "Not everyone **who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
LUK 16:19 The Rich Man and Lazarus
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here,** whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours**.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”
Peace in Christ,
It is interesting that the rich man in hell would like someone to dip their finger in water and touch his tongue to cool it. Water is a symbol of the word of God all through the Bible and water is what is used for Baptism.
So we are seeing what hell is like, namely no word of God for someone to be brought to faith and no water for Baptism.
In this we see that many who think they can reject Salvation in this life and make the decission in the next are sadly mistaken!
Today is the day of Salvation, now is the appointed time to be Saved, we may never have another!
How many pass the Lazarus opportunity in this life and fail to embrace the one know as “God’s helper” Lazarus who seems to be poor in this worlds goods, but to the ones with Spiritual eyes open is richer than the riches men of this world because He posseses citisenship in the Kingdom of Heaven. God Bless
I think an important point to note is that the doctrines of purgatory and Hell as we understand them today evolved many centuries later than when these parables were formulated.
It was the Council of Lyon 13th century which first made a formal declaration of the doctrine
However one thing which remains constant through Christian history is the warning to the rich that they are having their reward now…
[quote=quintessential5]…Note that Lazarus is described as being in the bosom of Abraham. Many theologians believe that Lazarus was in the Limbo of the Fathers (this is just a speculative place and definitely not doctrinal). They also believe that the rich man was in Sheol (the abode of the dead). I think the theory goes that after Jesus resurrection those in the Limbo of the Fathers went to Heaven and those in Sheol descended to Hell. I think, though, that the Limbo of the Fathers and Sheol were essentially the same place but separated by some great gulf.
I am in RCIA (with mostly Baptist and Evangelical influence on my pre-Catholic theology).
quintessential5: Much of what you say is what I learned and still think:
Sheol was and is separated by a great gulf. The “bosom of Abraham” was evacuated the same day that Christ died on the Cross. The wrong side where the rich man went still has people in it even now. Those who are going to go to hell still go there. And at the great judgment all of them will appear before God. And then they be sent to the lake of fire for eternity.
From a Baptist perspective, purgatory (Judgment Seat of Christ, also called a believer’s judgment) is a judgment of a Christian’s works. Only those who are saved face that judgment. See momentin.com/charts/judgement.html (but I am not endorsing all their web site’s content nor have I reviewed it). I am presently changing my views of purgatory (I am in RCIA), but it doesn’t seem like a very big change.
16:19 There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen; and feasted sumptuously every day.
16:20 And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores,
16:21 Desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table, and no one did give him; moreover the dogs came, and licked his sores.
16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell.
16:23 And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom:
16:24 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, to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.
16:25 And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented.
16:26 And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither.
16:27 And he said: Then, father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house, for I have five brethren,
16:28 That he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments.
16:29 And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
16:30 But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance. 16:31 And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.
I think the rich man is in Hell, because of 16:22 & 16:26 because if he was in Limbo or Purgatory he would have hope of crossing the great chaos.
But out of Hell there is no redemption.
May I compliment all those who have posted here, especially Highwayman. I tend to take scripture to mean what it says. I have a way of avoiding the threads about Purgatory, because we actually know so little about it. How can so much be said about what we know so little?
I met a woman who was so convinced of God’s mercy that she questioned seriously that Adolf Hitler was in Hell. Certainly that matter will be left to God’s providence and mercy and justice.
I think we are to be concerned about our own salvation and the salvation of others, as a matter of highest priority.
As to those bishops who simply abstract “nuggets” out of scripture and ignore the rest, they seem to do so at the expense of abandoning too much, and the example they give is disappointing.
EWTN briefly noted the discussion at the recent NCCB meeting in Washington DC. about issuing a statement on reading and study of the Bible by Catholics. The matter was tabled, mostly it seems because the bishops were tryingn to narrow their focus and do a better job on fewer items, given budgetary restraints and limits of other resources. But, it did not pass without one of the bishops, all I can say is that he was younger in appearance than the average, making the point that he thought the bishops should be careful about turning Catholics into Evangelicals.
Personally, I think they should be promoting the Bible and leaving that sort of thing to the Holy Spirit. There’s nothing I’ve found in the Bible accompanied by actually listening to evangelicals preach about the Bible that would make me want to become an Evangelical. It’re pretty plain to me when Evangelicals drop off the edge into their private interpretations, but they often do quite well with a lot of scripture. And, I have no problem agreeing with a lot of what they say.
The bishops act as if Catholics do not live in the society and culture that we do. It is such reverse logic to me that they use, to leave Catholics to get most of their bible knowledge on their own, or from non-Catholic sources.