BIBLE: Luke Chapter 16 – Headline “As this … So that”

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Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

Judgment on unbelieving Israel. Withholding mysteries. The same with tongues which are words they cannot understand.

The Parable of the Unjust Steward

Luke 16:1 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was (squandering) wasting his goods.
Luke 16:So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
Luke 16:“Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.
Luke 16:I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
Luke 16:“So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
Luke 16:And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’
  • One measure = 8 or 9 gallons (Gr. “batos”, same as Hebrew “bath”)
  • One hundred measures = 800 or 900 gallons.
  • 50 measure = 400 or 450 gallons.
Luke 16:Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’
  • One measure = 10 or 12 bushels (Gr. koros, same as Heb. kor)
  • 100 measures = 1,000 or 1,200 bushels
  • 80 measures = 800 or 960 bushels
Luke 16:So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
Luke 16:“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon (Lit., in Aram., wealth), that when you fail (it fails you), they may receive you into an everlasting home.
  • A parable is a lesson in morality. The lesson: A righteous person should be as wise as an unrighteous person in using all his resources to get an investment for his future. Remember the young rich man whom Jesus told to go and sell all he had and follow him. The young rich man went away sad because he could not take such a drastic step. Why? Because he could not trust God as much as he trusted his riches. Men tend to fool themselves when it comes to who they really are. The young rich man believed he was righteous because he kept the law, but he missed the point of the law: to trust God and love your neighbor.
  • In this parable, Jesus is pointing out that if an unrighteous person is shrewd enough to use money to achieve his gain, why don’t those who horde their money use it to gain riches in heaven.
Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

A person’s character does not change regardless of the amount involved.

Luke 16:11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Promotions are based on performance. If you fail in expectations at a lower level, you will certainly fail in expectations at a higher level.

Luke 16:12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

Are you praying and asking God for a blessing? Have you been faithful in praying for your friend’s blessing?

If you are not faithful for your friend, how can you be trusted with what God gives you?

“Give, and it will be given to you”

The lesson is the same as the Rich man and Lazarus (which follows in this chapter). The Rich man did not share God’s banqueting table of blessings with Lazarus and the Rich man ended up in torments.

This includes money, God’s Word, health, love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Greed comes from not believing the equation will work and not being able to trust it for one’s own weakness.

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Mammon is the biblical term for riches.

  • You must make a choice. Anything less is a reed tossed in the wind without direction.
  • How do they catch monkeys in the jungle in order to supply medical laboratories? They secure bottles with treats inside them throughout the jungle. When a monkey puts his hand in the hole of the bottle he has to make a fist to get the treats out. However; the hole isn’t large enough for the fist. Monkeys who refuse to let go of the treats are the ones who get picked up and face the fate of an experimental lab.

The Law, the Prophets, and the Kingdom

Another parable comparing

Luke 16:14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided (Lit. turned up their nose at) Him.
Luke 16:15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.
  • Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
  • The law and the prophets were UNTIL John the baptizer. The kingdom of God is larger than the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of God includes the gentiles. Everyone wants in. The kingdom of heaven is Jesus’ work on earth to set up God’s Jewish kingdom while Jesus reigns in Jerusalem. [the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus and crucify Him. Therefore the kingdom of God is taken away from the Jews and given to the gentiles.]
Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
  • Tittle: The smallest stroke in a Heb. letter
  • Matthew 5:18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
  • The law is set in stone…stones of fire (judgment). The stones of fire is where the accuser walks.
    • Ezekiel 28:14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
Luke 16:18 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
The Rich man is symbolic of the Jews
Lazarus is symbolic of the Gentiles
Luke 16:19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously (lived in luxury) every day.

The rich man had a banquet table of blessings. A metaphor for the blessings God gave the Jews: the covenant, the twelve tribes, the promises, the Word of God, the law, the line of kings and prophets, and ultimately the MESSIAH.

The very Messiah who stood before them is about to tell them about Himself.

Luke 16:20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,

In comparison, Lazarus had fallen into disease. Lazarus was outside the gate – apart from the rich man and an outsider. Lazarus represents the gentile non-Jewish nations.

Luke 16:21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Jews and scripture refer to gentiles as “dogs”. Lazarus’ and his “companions” were heathen dogs all of which were outside the gate.

Lazarus begs for the crumbs on the Rich man’s table. The gentiles are starving for God’s Word while the Jews continue to use God’s blessings for their own pleasures.

Matthew 15:26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs (gentiles).” And she (a gentile woman) said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the (gentiles) little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

Both the literal woman in Matthew 15:26-27 and the parable of Lazarus are referred to as “little dogs”.

Luke 16:22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.

The Jews arrogantly believe, since they are the biological offspring of Abraham, their place is secure. It would be unheard of to think that a gentile would have a place as one of God’s children.

The gentile beggar died and was carried to Abraham’s bosom, the bosom of the Jews; The place of paradise, the Garden of Eden.

The Jewish leaders are being told that a GENTILE is carried to a place reserved for Jews; those who are the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Jewish rich man also died. If anyone should be in Abraham’s bosom, it should be him. But no … He wakes in a place of torment.

Luke 16:23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

The bosom is the place of comfort and love. John the disciple reclined at table putting his head on Jesus’ bosom.

The rich man, who thought his afterlife would be likened to his literal life, cast his eyes to see Abraham’s bosom. He sees Abraham cradling Lazarus.

Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 16:24 “Then 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.’

The rich man is in torment. He does not speak to Lazarus, but to Abraham, calling him “Father Abraham”, appealing to him as a son appeals to his father. Now he is the beggar instead of Lazarus.

However; He still wants to use Lazarus for his own purposes; to cool his pain.

The prophetic story of the Jews who reject Jesus grows even as gentiles come to Jesus recognizing His authority.

Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

“But!” Abraham replies.. (“But” means “the flipside is…”)

Abraham calls him his “son”, but there is division here. Abraham does not deride him for anything he did wrong, only the good things he received while Lazarus received evil things.

The implication being, why was there a disparity between you Mr. Rich Man, having riches and Lazarus who received nothing? Did you share anything with Lazarus (the gentiles) when God instructed you to be a blessing to the gentile nations?

Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

The great gulf is a chasm which cannot be crossed. Death is a one way gate that cannot be reversed whether for good or for evil. There is nothing which can or will be changed.

  • Is this story literal or only a parable for learning a lesson? It is very much both.
  • If literal then what and where is “Sheol” or “Abraham’s bosom”? We are told they are both places of the dead. Both Abraham’s bosom (Paradise) and Torments are places in Sheol.
    • When Jesus was on the cross he told one of the thieves that very day he would be in paradise with Jesus, leading one to believe that paradise is Abraham’s bosom.
Luke 16:27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house,
  • The Rich man now knows what it is like to beg.
  • The Rich man has lost his blessings because he did not share them.
  • The Rich man, a Jew, is beginning Abraham to send a gentile, Lazarus, to testify to his “father’s” house (God’s house) with the news of truth. Prophetically, even today the Jews are in part “blinded” from the truth. It will take a tribulation of seven years to bring them around, every last one of them.
Luke 16:28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
  • In this passage the number 5 is symbolic of half of a whole (10) indicating a choice: passing or failing. See Topic: Numbers for further explanation.
Luke 16:29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
  • The Jewish leaders were ignoring Moses and the prophets.
Luke 16:30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
  • Abraham is the father of faith. The Rich Man relied on his riches; therefore, Abraham was not his father.
  • Even if the MESSIAH goes to them they will not repent! This is prophetic which should have sunk into their ears. The Messiah will indeed go to Sheol. He will indeed share the truth. He will indeed be raised from the dead. And they will STILL refuse to hear Him.
Luke 16:31 But he (Abraham) said to him (the Rich man), ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded THOUGH ONE RISE FROM THE DEAD.

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