PARABLE OF LAZARUS
Jesus said, looking at the Pharisees, "There was a rich man,
who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted
sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named
Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from
the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his
sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to
Using the Bible to interpret itself, we know that death is a
sleep, that people do not continue to think, talk, walk around,
anywhere after they die. This poor man Lazarus was dead, asleep,
but one day is taken by the angels into Abraham's bosom, into a
loving embrace and close fellowship with Abraham This happens
when Abraham will rise from the dead, when both Lazarus and
Abraham will rise in a resurrection, the angels being present
(Matthew 24: 29-31) and all saints in close bosom fellowship one
with the other. So, this part of Jesus' parable brings us to the
FIRST resurrection, the resurrection of the saints, at the coming
of Christ in glory, to meet the Jesus in the clouds of the air (1
Thes. 4: 13-18), and the change from mortal to immortal for the
children of God as Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 15.
Jesus continued, "The rich man died and was also buried; and
in the grave, he lifted up his eyes, and was in torment, seeing
Abraham far off and Lazarus in close bosom fellowship. And he
called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus
to dip the end of his finger into water and come and cool my
tongue; for I am in anguish seeing this flame.' "
First we notice the rich man dies, he is also asleep, until
he is resurrected back to life. But this resurrection for him is
not until AFTER the first resurrection and AFTER the 1,000 years
period spoken about in Revelation 20.
Of course in this parable it is clear that Lazarus is a
saint or child of God, while the rich man is one of the
This wicked rich man comes up in a resurrection at the end
of the 1,000 year period, and what does he see? Well, already in
the Kingdom of God there is Abraham and Lazarus, who were
resurrected 1,000 years earlier. Then as we are near the very
end of all time and ages leading up to the cleansing of the earth
by FIRE (2 Peter 3: 8-13 and Malachi 4) and destruction of all
the wicked, and the coming of the new heavens and new earth, it
is only fitting that the rich man SEES the FIRE!
He is in utter anguish! The Greek here for this word
"anguish" mainly means "anguish of the mind and emotions." It
does not mean he is feeling physical pain from being in some kind
of never ending burning hell-fire, where he was thrown when he
Notice he asks for Abraham to send Lazarus, to do what? Does
he ask him to get a fire engine and hose pipe and shoot torrents
of water over him and the area to put out the fire that some say
he is living in, and has been in for thousands of years? No! he
asks that Lazarus come over to put his wet finger in the tip of
his tongue. When you are in such mental anguish your mouth dries
up and you become "hot under the collar" as the saying goes.
This man could see the flames that were coming on the earth
to fulfil the prophecies we have quoted above. You bet he was in
anguish. He realized what fate awaited him.
Jesus said furthermore, "But Abraham said, 'Son, remember
that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus
in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you
are in anguish. And besides all this, between you and us is a
great wide chasm, so that those who would like to pass from your
side to this side, cannot do so."
Jesus was hitting the Pharisees right between the eyes with
a two by four. He was telling them that such people as they, had
had their physical comfort and luxury during their life time,
while not caring for the poor and needy, while not even giving
them some crumbs from their table. He was telling them that
people like Lazarus, who had none of the material goods they had,
in their physical life, but were true children of God (while
they only pretended to be religious), would have their comfort
and reward. They would be inside the Kingdom looking out at such
fellows who would be in anguish at not being in the Kingdom and
who would be waiting their fate in the fires at the end of time.
The great gulf or chasm that could not be crossed was the
chasm of "immortality." The chasm of eternal life as opposed to
mortal life. Lazarus now had eternal life, the rich man was
raised to mortal life. The rich man was representing those who
had refused to repent and enter God's Kingdom. It was now too
late for the rich man, his day of salvation had already come and
gone. He had thrown it away, he had refused to listen to God's
calling and God's WORD!
Listening to the word of God, living by every word of God,
is vital, as we have seen Jesus already expounding to us in
earlier parts of His ministry. This is again brought to the
for-front by Jesus' last words in this parable, "The rich man
said, 'Then I beg you, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my
father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may worn
them, lest they also come into this place of anguish.' But
Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear
what they have to say.' And he said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but
if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' Abraham
replied to him, 'Ah, if they will not hear Moses and the
prophets, neither will they hear and be convinced and repent if
some one should rise from the dead'" (Luke 16: 19-31).
True repentance to salvation has little if anything to do
with "miracles." Physical miracles, seeing them, is not the way
to find repentance into the Kingdom of God. Satan with his
powers can work miracles. Paul tells us that he sometimes comes
as if he is an "angel of light" ( 2 Cor. 11: 13-15). True
repentance and being a child of God comes from a personal
relationship with Christ and God the Father, and from studying
and living by every word of God. When Jesus said you must listen
to Moses and the prophets, all in His day knew that meant all of
the books from Genesis to Malachi.
Yes, there were to be more books added to God's word, what
we today know as the New Testament, but Jesus, as we've seen,
said not one "dot" of the Old Testament would fade away. We have
seen He said it was easier for heaven to pass away than one
small letter to pass from the law and the prophets - the Old
It was still true then, and it is still true today, that to
be a Lazarus, to be in the Kingdom of God, one would have to hear
and live by ALL the Bible. That way is the only way to repentance
and salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
When using the Bible to interpret itself, this somewhat
famous parable, is not even close to proving that people have an
immortal soul that either goes to heaven at death if you are
"good" or to an ever burning hell-fire if you are "bad."
The parable clearly teaches the truth about RESURRECTIONS, a
resurrection to eternal glory if you are a true repentant child
of God, and a resurrection to be burnt up in the fires that will
engulf the earth to destroy all unrepentant sinners, and then
will come the new heavens and the new earth where in only dwells
righteousness. So it is written in the last three chapters of the
book of Revelation.
Jesus went on to talk again to His disciples about the fact
that people will cause others to sin and be offended to the point
where they will seriously think about giving up on God. He told
them once more that people who do such offenses it would have
been better for them to have had a stone around their neck and
have been cast into the sea. He said that to cause a little one
coming to Him to be offended and give up was a very serious
And as He was talking about sin and repentance He said,
"Take note of this and of yourself; if your brother sins, rebuke
him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you
seven times in a day, and turns to you and says, 'I repent,' you
must forgive him."
We understand this as meaning true repentance, not a
deliberate play act, just to lead you on and take advantage of
your mercy. Jesus knew there were play actors in religion, He
called the Pharisees and Sadducees and those skilled in
"religious law" hypocrites and play actors, most of them were,
and certainly Jesus was not meaning your kindness and mercy
should be taken for a ride by the likes of those (Luke 17: 1-4).
The apostles then asked Jesus to increase their faith. We
would think they may have been thinking He would wave His hand,
utter a prayer and "presto" a greater supply of the Spirit would
have tingled up and down their spine. But what He said was the
way to increase ones faith:
"If you have faith even as small as a grain of mustard seed
you could say to this sycamine tree, 'Be rooted up, and be
planted in the sea,' and it would obey you, it would come to pass
as you desired. Then again, will any one of you who has a
servant plowing your field or watching over your sheep, say to
him when he comes in from outside, 'Please, sit down at once at
the table.' ? Will he not rather say, 'I want you to prepare
supper for me, and when I've eaten then you can eat' ? Does he
thank that servant for doing the things that he is commanded to
do? So you also, when you have done those things which are
commanded of you, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have done
only that which was our duty to do' " (Luke 17: 5-10).
Do you remember when the disciples could not cast out a
demon from a father's son? Jesus did the casting out, and was
disappointed with the disciples. They asked Him why they could
not cast out the demon. Do you remember what Jesus said in reply
to them? He said such a miracle could only be done through much
prayer and fasting!
We draw close to God through prayer and fasting. We gain
more faith to do greater works for God. Jesus here was saying
that even with a little faith, a small part of faith like a grain
of mustard seed, you could do great things, but if you wanted
still yet more faith, you had to go above and beyond just obeying
the written commandments of the Lord. Doing those commandments
was part of your duty as a servant and child of God. Increased
faith would come about by going beyond the call of duty.
It reminds me of what John said in 1 John 3: 22. There are
things that are pleasing to God that we should be doing also.
They may not be written down as laws and commandments per se, but
there are things that God is pleased with even if He has not
spelled them out to us in His written word.
Doing all of this, the written and the un-written
commandments of the Lord, draw us closer and closer to Him, and
in so living this way, we can add to our faith, or increase our
faith. It was probably not the answer that the disciples were
looking for or expecting, but Jesus gave it as the sure way to
increase a person's faith.
There is also a very sobering connection here with Jesus
saying that after we have done all that is commanded of us that
we are to say we are "unprofitable servants." For, if we now take
those words and put them with Matthew 25: 14-30.....well, very
revealing it is. How the Bible can interpret itself, brings us to
stark reality sometimes.
TEN LEPERS HEALED
Jesus was still headed for Jerusalem. He was now passing
along between Galilee and Samaria. He entered a village and was
met by ten lepers. The decease of leprosy is very contagious so
people in those days with the decease were isolated from everyone
else. And they themselves stood back from others so not to pass
on their leprosy. The decease is a whitish swollen bumpy
formation in the skin, very contagious as I've just said, and so
you really did become an "outcast" from the rest of society.
Well, ten people with leprosy stood far back from Jesus but
shouted out to Him, "Jesus, Master, have mercy upon us." Hearing
them He said, "You all go and show yourselves to the priests."
And as they left they were all healed.
It was the law of Moses that when you were healed from
leprosy you were required to show your proof of healing to the
It was one leper who seeing that he was healed, turned back,
and with a loud voice of praise to God, fell at the feet of
Jesus, also giving Him thanks. This man was a Samaritan, one
from the hated sect that the Jews of Judea despised. "Was there
not ten of you cleansed," said Jesus, "where are the other nine?
Was no one but this Samaritan found who returned and praised
The other nine we suppose were from Judea, being Jews who
thought they knew who the true God was, after all they had the
true Temple of God in Jerusalem, and had preserved all the books
of the Old Testament inspired Scripture, but they did not return
to thank God. Only this man, a Samaritan, that most Jews in
Palestine loathed and thought was the scum of the lake, only he
returned to praise God and thank Jesus.
Jesus told him to stand up and go his way, for his faith had
made him well and healthy.
THE KINGDOM WITHIN AND WHEN IT ALSO COMES
One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, "When will the Kingdom of
God come?" And Jesus, knowing that they could not see the signs
of the present time, and that He was the promised Messiah,
knowing they could not see the prophecies, or simply choice to
ignore them, about His first coming, knowing that all they cared
about was the prophecies of the Messiah coming in power and glory
to establish the Kingdom of God on earth (even then they had a
distorted idea about how all that would play out, they thought
Judah would become some kind of power over all the other nations
of the earth, with the Messiah being their leader to defeat their
enemies and establish a Jewish super world ruling government).
Jesus knew the Pharisees were only interested in the
prophecies regarding the Messiah's coming in glory and power, so
He deliberately did not answer their specific question about
those prophecies or the time setting as to when those prophecies
would come to pass. Jesus went straight to the Kingdom of God as
it was for the THEN present, as it was for each individual to
find and have for the NOW, for themselves personally, which the
Pharisees were far from finding.
Jesus answered them, "The Kingdom of God isn't only ushered
in with visible signs. You will not be able to say, 'Oh, look
over in this place, for there it is,' or 'It's over there, over
in that nation.' For the Kingdom of God is WITHIN you" (Luke 17:
The Greek word for "within" means just that, within. Some
have objected that the Kingdom of God cannot be inside you, but
Paul clearly uses it in that sense in Colossians 1: 14, where he
says that Christians have been "translated" or "moved over" into
the Kingdom of the Son of the Father. Christ's Kingdom is the
Father's Kingdom, which after He has ruled with that Kingdom on
this earth for a thousand years (Revelation 19, 20), He will hand
over to the Father (1 Cor. 15: 24-26 with Rev. 20, 21). Yet, NOW,
at this present time, there is a reality to the Kingdom of God.
Christians are moved over into it when they repent, accept Jesus
as Savior, are baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. This
for them, is a moving from the kingdom of Satan, sin, and the
unconverted world, into the Kingdom of God, here and now, in this
physical life time. You are already IN the Kingdom of God when
you become His literal Spirit led child.
Some object to this explanation, saying that Jesus could not
possibly be meaning the Kingdom of God was "within" those
Pharisees, to whom He was addressing His answer. But, they fail
to take into account the MANY "figures of speech" that is often
used in the Bible, by many people, just as we today in our
conversation often use figures of speech.
It is true that Jesus certainly did not mean those
hypocritical Pharisees had the Kingdom of God within themselves.
But using a figure of speech "the Kingdom of God is within you"
Jesus was saying and telling them that as far as they should be
concerned with, they needed to get the reality of the Kingdom of
God as it pertains to the present, as it pertains to having the
Kingdom within themselves, being a part of it NOW in the
spiritual sense, and not just looking to when it would come in
the literal sense, as ruling over the world.
And in that first sense, the Kingdom of God could not be
physically located as in some specific area of the planet we call
As I've stated, Jesus did not answer their specific
question, concerning the literal coming aspect of the Kingdom of
God. He chose to go rather to the more important state of things
for those Pharisees; being concerned with having in their lives
now, within themselves, the Kingdom of God.
Then, turning to His disciples He does tell them about the
last days, or more specifically THE very day upon which He would
return and establish the literal aspect of the Kingdom of God on
the earth. Keeping the CONTEXT in view at all times is the key.
We shall then clearly see Jesus was talking about THE LITERAL day
when He would come again in glory and power, and the basic state
of the world at large.
"The days are coming when you will very much desire to see
ONE of the days of the Son of man, and YOU will not see it (as
Jesus taught elsewhere, He was going on a long journey back to
heaven for a long time, before He would return in glory to
establish the Kingdom. The disciples of His day would later LONG
to see that one day of His return, so would many others down
through the centuries, but they would not. They would rest in the
sleep of death, waiting the resurrection at Christ's coming -
Keith Hunt). Many will come along and say, 'Look here!' or 'Look,
there it is!' or "Behold He comes on this or that year and date.'
Do NOT believe them, do not get on their band wagon. For as the
lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the
other, SO will be the Son of man in His day. But first He must be
rejected and suffer many things by the hands of this generation."
(I grew up as a child and teenager in England. I can remember
many a day when out on the field playing soccer with the school
class, that it just stormed on us like it is hard to imagine. Big
black clouds, rolling thunder, raining like there would be no
tomorrow, and LIGHTENING that would make a fourth of July
fireworks display look tame. It would lightning flash and the
sky would literally light up from one side to the other, then
go black again from one side to the other, until the next
lightning flash. Quite spectacular it was. And all of this, sky
turning black, thunder, rain, and lightning, would all come upon
us quite suddenly, within a few minutes - Keith Hunt).
"As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of
the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were
engaged to be married, the worked, and they played, until THE DAY
when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed
them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot - they ate, they
drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built houses,
but on THE DAY when Lot went out from Sodom fire and brimstone
rained from heaven and destroyed them all - SO will it be on THE
DAY when the Son of man is revealed."
Noah entered the ark on ONE SPECIFIC 24 hour day, it did not
take him a month to walk into the ark. The waters of the flood
came on ONE specific day (of course the waters continued for a
while as is recorded in Genesis), and on THAT DAY Noah entered
the ark. The others were as good as dead men on that day, though
some did not die on that day that Noah entered the ark. But Jesus
is not concerned so much about that fact, as the fact that Noah
ENTERED the ark on ONE specific day of the year.
Lot departed out of Sodom on ONE specific day of the year.
It did not take him a month or a week to walk out of that city.
It took him just ONE day to leave Sodom, and on that day
destruction came upon those left in the city.
Jesus is clearly talking about the LITERAL 24 HOUR DAY in
the year (whatever year that may be) when He will RETURN to earth
with glory and POWER to save/and resurrect the saints, who will
join Him in the air, in the clouds (1 Thes. 4: 13-18), to be
will Him forever more, as they descend to the Mount of Olives at
Jerusalem (see Zechariah 14). He is talking about THE day when He
comes back again to earth to establish the Kingdom of God on
earth to rule all nations, and at that same time and for a while
afterwards He will punish and destroy many people who will rebel
against Him and will even try to fight Him (see Revelation 17:
12-14; 19; and 2 Thessalonians 1: 7-10).
We now have THE day that Jesus has focus on, it is one
particular literal 24 hour day, when He literally and bodily
comes again to earth from heaven. Speaking of that same day Jesus
"On THAT day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods
and money in the house, NOT come down to take them away; and
likewise let him who is in the field NOT turn back. Remember
Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but
whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that
night there will be two men in one bed; one will be taken and the
other left. There will be two women grinding together at the
mill; one will be taken while the other is left behind."
Oh, the many books that have been written on these last few
verses. Many have mistakenly thought Jesus was talking about a
coming great tribulation time, near the very end of this age,
when the saints would be "raptured' away to heaven - taken
suddenly, while driving their car, flying an airplane, driving a
school bus, to heaven. They think people will look around in
astonishment and ask "Where did...(name)...go to, what
happened to them, they were here a second ago and now they are
not." Of course the ramifications for such a belief is
mind-bending. If you are driving a school bus full of children
down a steep hill on a mountain-side and ....you suddenly
disappear, the conclusion could be deathly tragic.
Jesus was NOT talking about such a time nor about such a
"secret" event of suddenly having the saints disappear while they
were doing their daily chores or daily work, and possibly leaving
others to face death. Think about the death toll and crippled
bodies there would be from all of a sudden thousands of motor
vehicle drivers NOT driving, but sudden, in a split
second....gone....gone to heaven in a secret rapture!
Jesus WAS talking about THE day in the year upon which He
will return to earth. It will be a surprise to most, even the
saints will not know which day it will be (as we shall see Jesus
telling us later that fact), and people will still be living on
earth, doing their daily work and pleasures. Yes, the saints will
be on this earth during the last years of the Great Tribulation
period. Yes, some of the saints will be in captivity in their
enemies lands (the book of Revelation makes that clear), while
some saints will be in the wilderness (as it was in the dark and
so-called middle ages, to escape religious persecution and death
from organizations and Governments of nations who wanted to see
them dead). Some people will be converted during those last few
years before Jesus returns. They will be converted to true
Christianity while living where they are living and doing their
Life at that time will still be going on, in many ways just
as it is for us today in our lives.
When Jesus returns on a specific day of the year, it will be
dark and bedtime for half the world. Hence Jesus saying two would
be in one bed. For the other half of the world, they will be
awake and working at whatever they do during their waking hours.
Jesus will come, not in secret! He will come SUDDENLY yes, but
not without great spectacular signs. So mighty will be the signs
it will be like one of those famous sudden English thunder and
lightning storm I was telling you about. The book of Revelation
tells us that every eye shall see Him when He comes. The round
earth will continue to roll and make its 24 hour turn. All will
finally see the mighty Jesus coming with great heavenly
signs. People will stop doing what they are doing. They will stop
driving, stop flying airplanes. Stop their school bus. If working
in a factory or grinding at the mill outside, they will stop and
look up. If still asleep.....well the one who is a true Christian
will be....gone indeed, gone in a RESURRECTION call of the blast
of the last trumpet (see 1 Cor.15 and Rev. 11: 15-19).
There will be no needless death of persons, or children, or
babies, as others around them suddenly disappear to be caught up
and led by the angels to meet Jesus in the clouds (Mat. 24: 29-31
with 1 Thes. 4: 13-18), as they are part of the first
resurrection (1 Cor.15).
After all this that Jesus told His disciples they asked him,
"Where, Lord, where will we be taken to?"
Jesus replied, "Where the body is, there the eagles will
also be gathered together" (Luke 17: 22-37).
How this saying of Jesus has also been misunderstood and
misapplied, all because of not keeping it within the CONTEXT of
the words before it. Jesus has been talking about THE day of His
coming back to earth to establish the Kingdom of God. The
disciples were understanding that on THAT day they would be in
safety, like Noah and Lot had been at their times of earth
shattering events. They understood that they, the saints of God,
would be taken....but they could just not finish putting it all
together, they were left a little bewildered. What would happen
when they were taken, where would they be take to, hence their
question, "Where Lord, where will we be taken to?"
Jesus was telling them about the RESURRECTION, which they
would be a part of, at His coming again, at the end of the age,
when He would return in glory and with spectacular signs. He was
"the body" that would attract the "gathering of the eagles" -
as the body is ONE and the eagles are MANY, so it is, that Jesus
is ONE and the saints are MANY. And where the body happens to be
there the eagles do come to it.
We can see the whole picture from Matthew 24: 29-31 and from
1 Thes. 4: 13-18 and from Zechariah 14. Jesus, as the "body" in
this analogy He uses, comes to just above the clouds of this
earth, and at that same time when the 7th trumpet is blown, the
saints who are dead rise in a resurrection, while the saints
living (sleeping in a bed or grinding at the mill) will be
instantly changed from mortal to immortal (1 Cor.15), and then
with the help of the angels (Mat.24: 29-31) they will be taken
WHERE Jesus is, to be gathered together with Him in the clouds,
and so ever be with Him for ever more, as He descends to the
Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14) in that very SAME day.
We must also remember that "analogies" are not always to be
taken to their ultimate literal sense. Because a "body" is a dead
rotting body in this analogy of Jesus' to which the eagles gather
to feed themselves on, Jesus was not saying that He would
be dead and saints coming to eat Him. That was not the point of
the analogy. The main point and only point of it was to teach His
disciples that the place where they would be, when in safety on
the day of His return, would be the place where He Himself would
be. To be WITH HIM on that day was ultimate safety.
We shall be with Him on the sea of glass in the clouds (1
Thes. 4: 13-18), and so be with Him for all eternity, as part of
the very literal born sons and daughters of the Father in heaven.
What a wonderful and breath-taking thought all of that is.
STICK TO IT PRAYER AND A HUMBLE MIND
Jesus told them a parable, to the effect that they should
always keep on praying and not lose heart. He said, "In a certain
city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man;
and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and
saying, 'Vindicate and revenge me against my adversary.' For a
while he refused; but afterwards he said to himself, 'Though I
neither fear God nor regard the position of any man, yet because
this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me
out by her continual coming.' "
The Jesus gave the meaning, "Hear what the unrighteous judge
says. And will not God vindicate and avenge His elect that cry to
Him day and night? Will He keep delaying for a long time over
them? I tell you He will give them justice and avenge for them.
He will do it speedily."
Here in this analogy the "judge" is obvious God the Father,
but the Father is not someone who does not fear Himself or
disregard men. This proves that analogies break down in parts and
not everything in the analogy is meant to be taken to prove
something. The main point of the analogy is the main point for us
to comprehend, not the used details.
Many evils have come upon God's elect down through the
centuries, from those who determined to be their enemies for one
reason or another. The people of God have cried out to Him for
justice and vengeance to be poured out on their evil enemies.
They have been crying out for a long time now. There is nothing
wrong with this importuning of God's people to see their enemies
brought to trial so to speak and handed their just reward of
punishment because of the evil the world and certain groups and
certain individuals have done against them. We see in symbolic
form the lives of many saints who have been killed for their
faith by evil persons, crying out to God in heaven, to be avenged
(Revelation 6: 9,10).
God's people are not to give up on this request. It is right
and proper justice that those who have done evil against peaceful
Christian saints, who wanted to do no more than just live their
faith, have their enemies pay for their evil. God has written in
His word that all shall be rewarded according to their works (see
Romans 2: 6-11).
Jesus went on: "Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes,
will he find THE faith on earth?"
In the Greek New Testament the definite article "the" is
there. So Jesus was asking the question as to whether THE faith
would be found on the earth when He came again. The answer from
the prophecies of the book of Revelation, is a YES, but it would
still be only a relatively small group who will hold THE faith,
the true beliefs and practices of God, when Jesus comes to earth
Jesus spent a lot of time trying to get the sect of the
Pharisees to align themselves with the true spirit of godliness,
as opposed to their false religious attitude. He also told
this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were
righteous and despised others.
"Two men went up into the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee,
and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed like
this to himself, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax
collector. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I
get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even
lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying,
'God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, this man went to
his home justified rather than the other; for every one who
exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will
be exalted" (Luke 18: 1-14).
When we fully realize and admit to ourselves that despite
all the good things we may well do in this life, we have many
sins we also commit in mind, thoughts, words, and actions, as we
go about our lives, then we will at times not lift our eyes to
heaven, but admit to God we are a sinner. We shall then always be
in a state of mind that we ask for the mercy of God, knowing that
we need it, and knowing as the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2:
8 that we are saved by grace and not by any of our "good" works.
For, as it is written, when compared to the holy perfectness of
our heavenly Father, all our own works of righteousness are but
filthy rags before Him.
Being humble, and admitting we are a sinner, is a must in
order for us to be justified and to inherit eternal life (I John
1 through 2: 2).
Written November 2002