Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:31

But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abraham;   Dead (People);   Impenitence;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Unbelief;   Word of God;   Thompson Chain Reference - Accumulation of Wealth;   Afflictions;   Careless Hearing;   Deafness-Hearing;   Earthly;   Hearing;   Impenitence;   Penitence-Impenitence;   Poverty-Riches;   Riches, Earthly;   Treasures, Earthly;   Wealth;   The Topic Concordance - Damnation;   Wealth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Miracles;   Parables;   Repentance;   Scriptures, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Luke, gospel of;   Moses;   Pentateuch;   Sheol;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Abraham's Bosom;   Ethics;   Hades;   Hell;   Hospitality;   Immortality;   Intermediate State;   Jesus Christ;   Statute;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Soul sleep;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Pentateuch;   Scripture;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Divination;   Lazarus;   Pentateuch;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Dives;   Intermediate State;   Lazarus;   Leprosy;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Wrath, Wrath of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Descent into Hades;   Ethics;   Lazarus;   Moses;   Parable;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Authority in Religion;   Beggar;   Church (2);   Common Life;   Discourse;   Dives;   Ebionism (2);   Heart;   Hell ;   Hindrance;   Influence;   Lazarus;   Man (2);   Miracles;   Moses;   Moses ;   Nationality;   Parable;   Property (2);   Restoration;   Resurrection of the Dead;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Scripture (2);   Searching;   Sign ;   Sympathy;   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Lazarus ;   Moses ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Balaam;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Lazarus;   Scripture;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Laz'arus;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Immortal;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Punishment, Everlasting;   Queen of Sheba;   Wealth;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abraham's Bosom;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for October 4;   Every Day Light - Devotion for December 22;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

If they hear not Moses, etc. - This answer of Abraham contains two remarkable propositions.

  1. That the sacred writings contain such proofs of a Divine origin, that though all the dead were to arise, to convince an unbeliever of the truths therein declared, the conviction could not be greater, nor the proof more evident, of the divinity and truth of these sacred records, than that which themselves afford.
  • That to escape eternal perdition, and get at last into eternal glory, a man is to receive the testimonies of God, and to walk according to their dictates.
  • And these two things show the sufficiency and perfection of the sacred writings. What influence could the personal appearance of a spirit have on an unbelieving and corrupted heart? None, except to terrify it for the moment, and afterwards to leave it ten thousand reasons for uncertainty and doubt. Christ caused this to be exemplified, in the most literal manner, by raising Lazarus from the dead. And did this convince the unbelieving Jews? No. They were so much the more enraged; and from that moment conspired both the death of Lazarus and of Christ! Faith is satisfied with such proofs as God is pleased to afford! Infidelity never has enow. See a Sermon on this subject, by the author of this work.

    To make the parable of the unjust steward still more profitable, let every man consider: -

    1. That God is his master, and the author of all the good he enjoys, whether it be spiritual or temporal.
  • That every man is only a steward, not a proprietor of those things.
  • That all must give an account to God, how they have used or abused the blessings with which they have been entrusted.
  • That the goods which God has entrusted to our care are goods of body and soul: goods of nature and grace: of birth and education: His word, Spirit, and ordinances: goods of life, health, genius, strength, dignity, riches; and even poverty itself is often a blessing from the hand of God.
  • That all these may be improved to God's honor, our good, and our neighbor's edification and comfort.
  • That the time is coming in which we shall be called to an account before God, concerning the use we have made of the good things with which he has entrusted us.
  • That we may, even now, be accused before our Maker, of the awful crime of wasting our Lord's substance.
  • That if this crime can be proved against us, we are in immediate danger of being deprived of all the blessings which we have thus abused, and of being separated from God and the glory of his power for ever.
  • That on hearing of the danger to which we are exposed, though we cannot dig to purchase salvation, yet we must beg, incessantly beg, at the throne of grace for mercy to pardon all that is past.
  • That not a moment is to be lost: the arrest of death may have gone out against us; and this very night-hour-minute, our souls may be required of us. Let us therefore learn wisdom from the prudent despatch which a worldly-minded man would use to retrieve his ruinous circumstances; and watch and pray, and use the little spark of the Divine light which yet remains, but which is ready to die, that we may escape the gulf of perdition, and obtain some humble place in the heaven of glory. Our wants are pressing; God calls loudly; and eternity is at hand!
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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-16.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    Be persuaded - Be convinced of the truth; of the danger and folly of their way; of the certainty of their suffering hereafter, and be induced to turn from sin to holiness, and from Satan unto God.

    From this impressive and instructive parable we may learn:

    1.That the souls of people do not die with their bodies.

    2.That the soul is “conscious” after death; that it does not “sleep,” as some have supposed, until the morning of the resurrection.

    3.That the righteous are taken to a place of happiness immediately at death, and the wicked consigned at once to misery.

    4.That wealth does not secure from death.

    “How vain are riches to secure

    Their haughty owners from the grave!”

    The rich, the beautiful, the happy, as well as the poor, go down to the grave. All their pomp and apparel, all their honors, their palaces, and their gold cannot save them. Death can as easily find his way into the splendid mansions of the rich as into the cottages of the poor; and the rich shall turn to the same corruption, and soon, like the poor, be undistinguished from common dust and be unknown.

    5.We should not envy the condition of the rich.

    “On slippery rocks I see them stand,

    And fiery billows rollI below.

    “Now let them boast how tall they rise,

    I‘ll never envy them again;

    There they may stand with haughty eyes,

    Till they plunge deep in endless pain.

    “Their fancied joys how fast they flee!

    Like dreams, as fleeting and as vain;

    Their songs of softest harmony.

    Are but a prelude to their pain.”

    6.We should strive for a better inheritance than can be possessed in this life.

    “Now I esteem their mirth and wine.

    Too dear to purchase with my blood:

    Lord, ‘tis enough that thou art mine -

    My life, my portion, and my God.”

    7.The sufferings of the wicked in hell will be indescribably great. Think what is represented by “torment;” by burning flame; by insupportable thirst; by that state where a single “drop” of water would afford relief. Remember that “all this” is but a representation of the pains of the damned, and that this will have no intermission day or night, but will continue from year to year, and age to age, without any end, and you have a faint view of the sufferings of those who are in hell.

    8.There is a place of sufferings beyond the grave a hell. If there is not, then this parable has no meaning. It is impossible to make “anything” of it unless it be designed to teach that.

    9.There will never be any escape from those gloomy regions. There is a gulf fixed - “fixed,” not movable. Nor can any of the damned beat a pathway across this gulf to the world of holiness.

    10.We see the amazing folly of those who suppose there may be an “end” to the sufferings of the wicked, and who, on that supposition, seem willing to go down to hell to suffer a long time, rather than go at once to heaven. If man were to suffer but a thousand years, or even “one” year, why should he be so foolish as to choose that suffering rather than go at once to heaven, and be happy at once when he dies?

    11.God gives us sufficient warning to prepare for death. He has sent his Word, his servants, his Son; he warns us by his Spirit and his providence; by the entreaties of our friends and by the death of sinners; he offers us heaven, and he threatens hell. If all this will not move sinners, what would do it? There is nothing that would.

    12.God will give us nothing farther to warn us. No dead man will come to life to tell us of what he has seen. If he did we would not believe him. Religion appeals to man not by ghosts and frightful apparitions. It appeals to their reason, their conscience, their hopes, their fears. It sets life and death soberly before people, and if they “will not” choose the former, they must die. If you will not hear the Son of God and the warnings of the Scriptures, there is nothing which you will or can hear. You will never be persuaded, and will never escape the place of torment.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead.

    If one rise from the dead ... A striking example of the truth of what Jesus proclaimed here occurred not many days later in the resurrection of Lazarus; and there is no way to avoid the perception that Jesus actually had that miracle in mind here. Lazarus (another one) did indeed come back from the grave in the very presence of the Pharisees; but did they repent? No! They set about to kill Lazarus. In a sense, Lazarus came to the Pharisees who were present when he rose from the dead. In the case of Jesus' resurrection, there was no appearance to the Pharisees; and this leads us to reject the comment of Geldenhuys that "the last words of this parable were uttered by Jesus with a view to his own resurrection."[45] No. Lazarus was the one Jesus had in mind here. Regarding his own resurrection, Jesus did not appear "to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before God," even to the apostles, "who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead" (Acts 10:41). It would have done no good at all for the Lord to have appeared to the Pharisees.

    This great parable teaches many things. Barnes listed these: (1) the souls of men do not die with their bodies; (2) the soul is conscious after death; (3) the righteous go to a place of happiness, the wicked to a place of misery; (4) we should not envy the rich.[46]

    Cox listed these: (1) we should not live in luxury while Lazarus begs at our gate; (2) the selfish use of wealth will bring torment beyond the grave; (3) memory will not be obliterated by death; (4) to prevent a great gulf from separating us from Lazarus in the hereafter, we should take care to see that the gulf is not there now; (5) if the ordinary means of grace cannot reach us, we need not expect the extraordinary; (6) he who is lost in death is lost eternally; (7) God's word is sufficient to save men.[47]

    ANALOGIES IN THE PARABLE

    Going back to Augustine and Gregory the Great, many brilliant students of the word of God have found analogies in this parable with a scope of application broad as mankind itself.

    Abraham is God, who alone presides over the destinies of men.

    The rich man is primarily the ecclesiastical establishment of Israel. They wore the purple of God's royal favor, and the white linen of the sacred priesthood, and fared sumptuously in the bountiful knowledge that God delivered unto them in the Holy Scriptures.

    Lazarus begging at the gate is the whole Gentile world lying in wretchedness, sin, and misery, which awful state Israel made no move whatever to alleviate.

    The reversed status of Dives and Lazarus foretold the reversal of the status of the Jews and Gentiles in God's favor, as related so copiously by Paul in Romans.

    The dogs that licked Lazarus' sores correspond to the ineffectual treatment of the Gentiles' wretched and sinful miseries by their philosophers, poets, and legislators.[48]

    The desire of the beggar to be fed suggests the longing of men's souls for a truth which they have not; but a truth which the Jew had, and had richly; and which, if he had been faithful to his trust, he would have imparted to the benighted nations of the Gentiles.

    It is in the primary application to the Pharisees and others like them in the leadership of Israel that the full impact of this remarkable parable appears. The Pharisees were not merely rich materially, but they were the custodians of the whole treasure of God's revelation to mankind; and it was their unfaithfulness to THAT TRUST, more than their mere misuse of money, that earned them the denunciation apparent in this parable.

    [45] Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 427.

    [46] Albert Barnes, op. cit., p. 118.

    [47] Frank L. Cox, op. cit., p. 51.

    [48] For an extensive development of these and other analogies, see Richard C. Trench, op. cit., pp. 470-475.

    Copyright Statement
    Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-16.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And he said unto him..... That is, Abraham said unto him, as the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions express it:

    if they hear not Moses and the prophets; as they did not, nor regarded what they said of Christ, but disbelieved both him and them:

    neither will they be persuaded: or brought to repent and believe;

    though one rose from the dead; as Christ did; whose resurrection, the truth of it they endeavoured to baffle, stifle, and suppress: this was the sign Christ gave them, of the truth of his Messiahship; and yet they repented not of what they had done to him, that they might believe in him; but remained still in their impenitence and infidelity, and so died. This shows the regard that ought to be had to the written word, as read, or preached; and that it is a sad sign of a desperate condition, when men reject divine revelation. Beza's ancient copy adds, "and should go unto them".

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    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

    John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

    31. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    [Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.] Any one may see how Christ points at the infidelity of the Jews, even after that himself shall have risen again. From whence it is easy to judge what was the design and intention of this parable.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-16.html. 1675.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Neither will they be persuaded (ουδ πειστησονταιoud' peisthēsontai). First future passive of πειτωpeithō Gressmann calls attention to the fact that Jesus is saying this in the conclusion of the parable. It is a sharp discouragement against efforts today to communicate with the dead. “Saul was not led to repentance when he saw Samuel at Endor nor were the Pharisees when they saw Lazarus come forth from the tomb. The Pharisees tried to put Lazarus to death and to explain away the resurrection of Jesus” (Plummer). Alford comments on the curious fact that Lazarus was the name of the one who did rise from the dead but whose return from the dead “was the immediate exciting cause of their (Pharisees) crowning act of unbelief.”

    Copyright Statement
    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
    Bibliographical Information
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Be persuaded

    Dives had said, “they will repent.” Abraham replies, “they will not be even persuaded.”

    Though one rose

    Dives had said, “if one went.

    From the dead ( ἐν νεκρῶν )

    Dives had said from the dead, but using a different preposition ( ἀπό ). It is wellnigh impossible to give the English reader this nice play of prepositions. The general distinction is ἀπό , from the outside; ἐκ , from within. Thus Luke 2:4, Joseph went up from ( ἀπό ) Galilee, the province, out of ( ἐκ ) the city of Nazareth. Abraham's preposition ( ἐκ , out of ) implies a more complete identification with the dead than Dives' ἀπό , from. A rising from among the dead was more than a messenger going from the dead. “We can hardly pass over the identity of the name Lazarus with that of him who actually was recalled from the dead; but whose return, far from persuading the Pharisees, was the immediate exciting cause of their crowning act of unbelief” (Alford).

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    Bibliographical Information
    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-16.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    Neither will they be persuaded — Truly to repent: for this implies an entire change of heart: but a thousand apparitions cannot, effect this. God only can, applying his word.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-16.html. 1765.

    The Fourfold Gospel

    And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead1.

    1. If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead. These words might sound like an overstatement of the obduracy of unbelief were they not amply verified by the literal facts. Jesus had already raised at least two from the dead as witnesses to his divine power, and he was about to raise a third, who, with startling suggestiveness, would bear this very name of Lazarus. But despite all these witnesses the majority of the Jews disbelieved and continued to disbelieve in him; nay, they even went so far as to seek the death of Lazarus that they might be rid of his testimony (John 12:10). This is also a reference to Jesus' own resurrection. It is true that he did not appear in person to those who disbelieved in him, but they had clear knowledge of his resurrection (Matthew 28:11-15), and it was considered as proved to all men (Acts 17:31).

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    The meaning is, that the change necessary to prepare the soul for heaven is a change in the affections and feelings of the heart; and any extraordinary revelations from heaven, or marvels of any kind, though they might produce wonder or alarm, would have no tendency to awaken love.--We must not allow the material images, which our Savior uses in this parable, to fix themselves permanently in our minds, and give form to our conceptions of the world of spirits. In this our present state of being, we can form no correct ideas of that world. The Savior teaches, in this parable, only certain spiritual truths, employing very striking imagery to give vividness and emphasis to the expression of them. These truths are, 1. That the conditions of men in this life do not correspond with their characters, and will often be reversed in the world to come, 2. That the ruin in which the sinner will then find himself involved is a permanent ruin, admitting of no restoration or remedy; and, 3. That the change necessary to prepare the impenitent for heaven, is a moral change, which can be produced only by moral influences.

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    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-16.html. 1878.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    Ver. 31. Though one rose from the dead] As Lazarus did, and yet they listened as little to him as to Christ, John 12:10; but sought to kill him also.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

    Sermon Bible Commentary

    Luke 16:31

    Let us ask what was the cause which brought on the rich man so terrible a fate? It was not simply his wealth, and it was something from which an observance of the precepts of the Jewish religion would have saved him. What, then, is the character of the rich man as drawn in the parable? It is drawn in two strokes—his ordinary life, and his treatment of Lazarus. (1) His daily life was luxurious. But most certainly we have no right to condemn him for that. With the Jewish nobility in practice, as with the Jewish law in theory, luxurious living does not seem to have been thought to involve any sin whatever. (2) Lazarus is, then, the type of the poor generally. The treatment which Lazarus received is to be regarded as a fair specimen of the rich man's behaviour to the poor generally. The portrait of the rich man, as drawn by Christ, is that of a man luxurious and selfish—habitually careful of the gratification of his own appetite, and habitually careless of the suffering which was around him, even at his doors. And from this selfish disregard of human misery, "Moses and the prophets," had he listened to them, would certainly have saved him. There was no point on which they spoke more plainly. Love to his kindred the rich man certainly had, and his anxiety, in the midst of his own suffering, to save from the same fate the brethren whom he had left behind is almost sublime. The charity which is so often said to begin at home—the love which, strong but narrow, expends itself wholly upon the small circle of relatives and friends—that he had. The love that looks more widely, not refusing pity and aid, because the applicant is a stranger—that he had not.

    J. H. Jellett, The Elder Son and Other Sermons, p. 15.


    I. What the chief sins of the rich man were, although not expressly stated in the parable, may yet be understood from attending to two or three of its circumstances. First, his heart seems to have been too much set upon the good things of this life, instead of seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Secondly, as Lazarus desired to be fed with the crumbs that fell from his table, and as we do not read that he was fed, we may guess that the rich man took no notice of him, but let him lie and languish without relief. Here are two grievous sins, worldly-mindedness and hard-heartedness, justly punished with God's wrath and damnation. Let us look to ourselves, that we be not guilty of the same sins, and liable to the same punishment.

    II. Let no man complain as if he had not enough made known to him by Almighty God concerning his duty. For if even in the time of Moses and the Prophets, and before one rose from the dead, they were inexcusable, whoever they were that sinned, much more we, if we do despite unto the Spirit of grace, and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing—as we plainly do if we sin wilfully after we have come to a knowledge of the truth. For unto us that hath happened which alone this man thought needful to make any sinner repent, to us One hath come from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord, who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. Let us therefore hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, knowing that if we break or reject this covenant, there remaineth no other.

    III. Finally, if ye know these things, ye are but the more unhappy except ye do them. It is not your calling yourselves Christians, nor even your believing the Gospel when you happen to think of it, that will make you worthy to be carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom, if your heart be not with God—if your thoughts, words, and actions be not governed by His Commandments.

    J. Keble, Sermons Occasional and Parochial, p. 29.


    I. The radical defect in this rich man, that which was the root of all his sin and the cause of all his woe, was, that he did not use his advantages, he despised Moses and the Prophets, he had a talent given him and he buried it in a napkin. And this being the case, we shall not be so much surprised at the words of the text, if we think well upon them; for the Books of Moses and the Prophets told the rich man of his duty quite as clearly as Lazarus could have done if he had returned from the dead. They told him that he was to love God above all things and his neighbour as himself; and they told him also that God was a jealous God, and One who would in no wise spare the guilty. And if he shut his ears to this, what reason have we to think that a man returned from the dead would have greater powers of persuasion? For it is not as though there were something of which a man had to be convinced, and of which a resurrection from the dead would be a proof: there is a voice within every man, which tells him what is right and condemns what is wrong, and when this is stifled by selfishness and sin, no voice from the grave can supply its place.

    II. Some advantages we all have in common: we have all the public prayers of the Church; we have all the Holy Spirit striving within us, and convincing us of sin and of righteousness; we have all our Bibles, which we can read; we may all partake, if we will, of the Holy Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood. These, and such as these, are our "Moses and the Prophets;" they are the voice of God speaking to us, and telling us of the beauty of holiness, the ugliness of sin, of the glories of heaven and the horrors of hell. Do we want any other voice? Nay, if we shut our ears to these, a voice from the grave would be in vain. The same message of repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ has come to us all, and it is for us to attend to it; and if we shut our ears and harden our hearts to such messages as this, we have put ourselves into an attitude of resistance to God, and have so injured our own perceptions of right and wrong, have so blinded our eyes to that Light which lighteth every man who comes into the world, that no miracle, not even a resurrection from the dead, will have any power to convince.

    Bishop Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, 1st series, p. 209.


    I. Consider how we are to understand this declaration of Abraham. There is at first sight something very startling in the principle here enunciated, more especially if we remember from whom it came. Are these, it may be asked, indeed the words of the Founder of Christianity? Is it thus He speaks of the value of miracles, who Himself repeatedly appealed to His own marvellous works as a convincing evidence of His Divine mission? To understand what the thought really is, we must inquire what additional proof of the truth of His religion or incentive to its practice, would have been given to one who had in his hands the writings of "Moses and the Prophets," by the re-appearance of man after death. We must note here that scepticism with regard to the marvellous events of their own history does not seem to have been prevalent among the Jews of that time, and was certainly not the fault of that class, the Pharisees, to whom this parable was more immediately addressed. The Divine mission of Moses—a mission attested and enforced by miracles—was quite generally accepted as a truth. So far, then, the thought seems to be, "On you, who have already in your hands the recorded miracles of the Mosaic Dispensation, no seen miracle could produce, in enforcing the same truths, any appreciable results."

    If this were all, the passage which I have taken for my text would not present any great difficulty. But there is something still behind. Does the Author of this parable mean to say that the doctrine of a future life would be destitute of moral effect on those who were deaf to the teaching of Moses? I answer that whatever of obedience to positive law could be obtained by a system of temporal rewards and punishments—by the promise or bestowal of earthly prosperity—by the threat or infliction of earthly suffering—all that had been done by the Mosaic Dispensation. And I cannot read the words of Christ to mean less than this: that if you alter the Mosaic system merely by super-adding to the hopes and terrors of this life the hopes and terrors of the life to come, you will effect nothing. If that system has failed, yours will not succeed. If such promises and threats fail to obtain the result, you will not obtain it merely by changing the scene of their fulfilment from this world to the next.

    J. H. Jellett, The Elder Son and Other Sermons, p. 30.


    References: Luke 16:31.—H. P. Liddon, Church of England Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 1; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii., No. 143; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 225; G. Moberly, Parochial Sermons, p. 47; R. L. Browne,' Sussex Sermons, p. 141; R. D. B. Rawnsley, Village Sermons, 2nd series, p. 186; T. T. Lynch, Three Months' Ministry, p. 169; R. Scott, University Sermons, p. 210. Luke 16—F. D. Maurice, The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, p. 246.



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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-16.html.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    A very awakening text this is, which speaks dreadfully to persons sitting all their days under the ministry of the gospel, and yet find not their understandings enlightened, their judgments convinced, their wills subdued, and their lives reformded by it. Were it possible for such persons to see one come from the dead, yea, from the damned, with the flames of hell about his ears, wringing his hands, and gnashing his teeth, bewailing his misery, and beseeching them to take warning by his example, and in time to acquaint themselves with God, and be at peace; all this would have no farther effect upon them, than to move their passions a little for the present, while the dreadful sound is in their ears: the ordinances of God and not his providences, are the instituted and appointed means for men's conversion and salvation.

    Note then, 1. That no visions or apparitions, no new revelations concerning eternal rewards and punishments, are to be expected from the other world, in order to men's conversion and salvation.

    Note, 2. That the word of God dispensed to us, and the ordinary means of grace enjoyed by us, are more conducible and effectual means to persuade men to repentance, than if one should arise from the dead, and preach unto us. A messenger from the dead cannot bring with him either a more necessary doctrine, or a more certain and infallible doctrine, nor bring with him better arguments for our conviction, than what the scriptures do propound for our consideration; nor can we expect a greater co-operation of the Holy Spirit, or a greater concurrence of divine power, to render a message from the dead more effectual, than does ordinarily attend the ministry of the word.

    Henceforward then, let us not wonder, if when a drunkard drops down dead upon the spot, the companions say one to another, Drink on; if sinners daily tumble one another into the grave, without considering the operation of God's hand; this, to those that consider this text, will not seem strange; For if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be converted, though hundreds of sinners before their eyes drop down dead: nay, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.

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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-16.html. 1700-1703.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    REFLECTIONS

    Reader! in beholding the character of this unjust steward, let us learn to seek from God grace, that we may be found faithful. And let us, in putting the question to our own hearts, which he put to everyone of his Lord's debtors, do the reverse of what he recommended, and instead of lessening our account, learn to discover that they far exceed our own views of them. Oh! thou blessed Lord! I owe thee more in nature, providence, and grace, than any calculation can number. So much so, O Lord! that I am insolvent forever. But, Lord! let thy grace still exceed even my unworthiness. Oh! grant that I may be received into thine everlasting habitations!

    Blessed Jesus! cause me to learn, in the history of this rich glutton, how short-lived all pamperings of the flesh are; and what an awful close terminates the career of all who live without God, and without Christ, in the world. And let me be content to be as Lazarus, poor, if need be, here below, if rich in faith, and an heir of the kingdom. Be thou, dear Lord! my portion, and then all is well. Every state sanctified in Christ is, and must be, blessed. Lord! grant that I may exercise an holy jealousy in all; and by making thee what God the Father hath made thee, both Alpha and Omega; my Lord may be the first in all my desires, and the close of all my joys; for then in life and death, both here and hereafter, Jesus will be my everlasting portion.

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/luke-16.html. 1828.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Luke 16:31. οὐδὲ ἐὰνἀναστῃ, πεισθἠσονται not even if—shall have risen from the dead, will they be persuaded) The rich man had said, ἐὰνπορευθη μετανοήσουσιν, if one shall have gone to them from the dead, they will repent: now the hypothetical antecedent increases in force [viz. ἀναστῇ taking the place of πορευθῇ]; whereas, however, the consequent decreases in force [ πεισθήσονται taking the place of μετανοήσουσιν.] There are many proofs afforded from the unseen world (Matthew 27:53); but those proofs are not intended chiefly for his end, in order that mortals may repent. Another and a different Lazarus was raised to life, and yet they did not believe; John 11:44; John 11:53. πείθεσθαι, as also ἀπειθεῖν, is at one time to be referred, for the sense in which it is to be taken, to the understanding, at another time to the will: often to both.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-16.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    See Poole on "Luke 16:30"

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:31". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-16.html. 1685.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    не поверят Здесь ярко говорится о том, что достаточно только Писания, чтобы победить неверие. Само Евангелие является силой Бога, ведущей ко спасению (Рим. 1:16). Поскольку неверие является в сущности проблемой скорее духовной, внутренней, чем интеллектуальной, то никакое количество доказательств никогда не обратит неверие в веру. Но Слову Божьему, когда оно открывается, присуща власть совершать это (ср. Ин. 6:63; Евр. 4:12; Иак. 1:18; 1Пет. 1:23).

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-16.html.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    Neither will they be persuaded; persuaded to repent.

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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘And he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead.” ’

    So Jesus tells him that if they will not listen to the word of God through Moses and the prophets, they will not listen even if one rises from the dead. This was prophetic concerning His own resurrection, but it also contained an eternal truth. It is that those persuaded by wonders and signs, will just as quickly forget them when time has eradicated the impact from their minds. Those only can be expected to persevere, who believe because of the word of God, and especially the word of God as given through Jesus.

    The Teaching Of The Passage On The Afterlife.

    We will pause in order to consider what lessons about the Afterlife we may be able to gather from this account as connected with other Scriptures, although too much dogmatism would be foolish. The first point is that in death those who are Christ’s go to a different sphere than those who are not. Elsewhere we learn that they go to be ‘with Christ, which is far better’ than being on earth (Philippians 1:21). This must suggest consciousness and enjoyment. That ties in with here.

    Unbelievers (revealed as such by their lives) go to a place of unpleasantness, of spiritual thirst and longing, of ‘anguish’. They have no joy in Christ. They lack what God made us for. How much of the anguish is positive (this flame) and how much is due to what is lacked (thirst) it is impossible and unnecessary to say. But while it is doubtful if we should take the idea of fire literally (it is chosen because it causes thirst and is destructive) it is clear that it is a place best avoided. It is a place of ‘outer darkness’ (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30), away from the true Light.

    Both await the day of Christ’s appearing. At that stage the resurrection will take place. Then those who are truly His will rise in ‘spiritual bodies’ (1 Corinthians 15:44) and go into everlasting bliss into a new spiritual ‘earth’ (Isaiah 35:10; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:5), while those who are not His will be cast in their bodies into Gehenna (Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:47-48; Revelation 20:15). This is the equivalent of the ancient rubbish dump outside Jerusalem and is described in those terms, except that its fires never go out and its maggots never cease consuming (Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:48). But that it is largely spiritual comes out in that it is to receive the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10). A literal burning furnace and literal fire would be of no use there. Many would argue further that nowhere is eternal consciousness suggested, except for the Devil, and that the impression given is otherwise. Consider for example the contrast in Revelation 19:20-21. The people themselves are cast in dead along with Death and Hades (Luke 20:12-15). It is the Devil and his minions who are cast in alive. But it is certainly something that no one would wish to experience, and the fact of punishment will be real and best avoided. It is deliberately revealed as horrific.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-16.html. 2013.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    31.Neither’ persuaded though one rose from the dead—Jesus was expecting soon to be on his way to raise a Lazarus from the dead. Many did believe on him in consequence. Hence, our Lord is not to be understood as saying no one would have been convicted or converted by a message from the dead. But there are Sadducees, both of the sensual and intellectual character, whom no miracle would convince. Indeed, an isolated single miracle or testimony from the dead, perhaps, ought not to convince a man. The miracles of the Bible are a great system of miraculous dealings of God with man. They are to be embraced as a great whole; as the one comprehensive miracle, embracing and consisting of many subordinate miracles.

    Upon this parable, note:

    1. It was a terrible rebuke to the silver-loving Pharisees of Luke 16:15; men of worldly hearts, and who probably were but the panders to the profligate Sadducee, Herod Antipas and his court.

    2. It was a fit completion of the parable of the rich fool. The latter traces the worldly sinner to death, and this pursues and pictures him in the world after death.

    3. It is a striking counterpart to the parable of the unjust steward. The latter so made friends of mammon as to secure his eternal life; this rich man so made a master of mammon as to secure eternal death.

     

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-16.html. 1874-1909.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Luke 16:31. If they hear not Moses, etc. The Old Testament Scriptures were sufficient to lead them to repentance, and if they were not rightly affected by them, no appearance from the other world would awaken faith, conviction of the truth. For the Jews at that time the Old Testament was sufficient. Those who do not hear when God speaks, will not hear the truth about the other world, even if a message came from it. Granting the possibility of such message, we must, from this verse, deny any moral advantage to be derived from it. According to our view of the chronology, the raising of Lazarus had already occurred; and this, so far from convincing the Pharisees, who were now addressed, led to their bitterest opposition. Our Lord rose from the dead, but did not appear to the Pharisees; and the testimony concerning His resurrection produced no important results among them. The prerequisite to the conversion of a Jew to faith in the risen Lord was an earnest listening to what God had spoken before.

    THE FUTURE WORLD, in the light of this parable. Our Lord here assumes: (1) that all live after death; (2) that in the state of the disembodied dead, there are two classes, which remain unchanged: the punished and the blessed; (3) that the disembodied spirits retain their personality and their memory; and that one element of torment is the apprehension, on the part of the lost, of what they would not believe on earth, without any corresponding moral effect; so that even natural sympathy only increases their misery. The parable, especially in its closing verse, cautions against too great curiosity on this subject. The answer He puts in the mouth of Abraham is not only opposed to modern ‘spiritualism,’ but also to attempts to work upon the conscience and awaken faith by graphic portrayals of future misery. If Lazarus, coming from Abraham’s bosom and a witness of the sufferings of Dives, could do no good to those who were disobedient to the simple words of Divine revelation, little good can be expected from the most vivid descriptions made by those who have never been there. Dante’s Inferno has done little for Christianity.

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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-16.html. 1879-90.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Luke 16:31. : Abraham does not plead impossibility as in reference to the first request; he simply declares his unbelief in the utility of the plan for converting the five. The denizens of Paradise set little value on the unusual as a means of grace. Abraham does not say that a short-lived sensation could not be produced; he does say that they would not be persuaded ( ), i.e., to repent (Hahn). By taking as meaning something less than , and emphasising the difference between and (Luke 16:30), Trench (Notes on the Parables) makes this point: “A far mightier miracle than you demand would be ineffectual for producing a far slighter effect”. It is doubtful if the contrast be legitimate in either case; certainly not as between “repent” and “be persuaded”. In the other case there may be the difference between an apparition and a resurrected man. It may be noted that the resurrection of Christ and of Christians is spoken of as (videLuke 20:35), while the general resurrection is . (e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:42).

     

     

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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-16.html. 1897-1910.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    If they hear not, Moses, &c. We think that if we saw a man raised from the dead, who should tells us what he had seen and suffered in another world, it would make more impression upon us than past miracles, which we hear of, or the promises and threats of the prophets, apostles, and our blessed Saviour, which are contained in Scripture; but it is a false notion, a vain excuse. The wicked, and unbelievers, would even in that case find pretexts and objections for not believing. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. iv.) --- They would say that the dead man was a phantom; that his resurrection was not real; his assertions nugatory. When Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, the miracle was known, evident and public; yet we find none of the Pharisees converted by it. They were even so mad as to enter into a design to kill Lazarus, to get rid of a witness who deposed against their incredulity. How many other miracles did he not perform in their sight, which they attributed to the prince of darkness, or to magic? Christ raised himself from the dead. This fact was attested by many unexceptionable witnesses. And what do the hardened Jews do? They object, that his disciples, stealing away the body, maliciously persuaded the people that he had risen again. Such is the corruption of the human heart, that when once delivered up to any passion, nothing can move it. Every day we see or hear of malefactors publicly executed, yet their example has no effect on the survivors, nor does it prevent the commission of fresh crimes. (Calmet) --- "We have also the more firm prophetical word; whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts." (2 Peter i. 19.) --- We may learn many very instructive lessons from this affecting history of Lazarus. --- The rich may learn the dreadful consequences to be apprehended from riches, when made subservient to sensuality, luxury, and ambition. The poor may learn to make their poverty and sufferings, however grievous to nature, instrumental to their future happiness, by bearing them with patience and resignation to the will of heaven. The former are taught that to expose a man to eternal misery, nothing more is required than to enjoy all the good things of this world according to their own will; the latter, that however they may be despised and rejected of men, they may still have courage, knowing that the short day of this fleeting life, with all its apparent evils, will soon be over; and that the day of eternity is fast approaching, when every one shall receive according as he has done good or evil in his body. (Haydock)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-16.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    And, &c. The lesson of the parable. From these final words of the Lord (Luke 16:31, B) Lightfoot says "it is easy to judge what was the design and intention of this parable" (vol. xii, p. 168). The Lord"s words were proved to be true, by the results of the resurrection of another Lazarus (John 12:9), and of Himself (Matthew 28:11-13).

    be persuaded.Much less "repent", as in Luke 16:30.

    though = not even if.

    from = from among. Note the Lord"s true word, in contrast with the rich man"s in Luke 16:30.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-16.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. A principle of awful magnitude and importance. The greatest miracle will have no effect on those who are determined not to believe. A real Lazarus soon "rose from the dead;" but the sight of him by crowds of people, who were thereby drawn so far toward Christ only crowned the unbelief and hastened the murderous plots of the Pharisees against the Lord of glory; nor has His own resurrection, far more over-powering, yet won over that "crooked and perverse nation."

    Remarks:

    (1) The parable of the Unjust Steward has this in common with the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), that both represent all we possess as a sacred Trust committed to us; for the right use of which we are responsible; and the actual use made of which shall go to determine our eternal state. But in the Parable of the Talents the trust intended comprehends all endowments whatsoever that may be turned to the service of Christ; here it is money alone, the love of which is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), and whose slaves and worshippers were among the audience to which it was addressed (Luke 16:13-14). There, the talents are to be used for the Master's interest; here, the immediate object is to enforce such a use of money as may promote our own interest in the highest sense of it. Thus, the same general subject has different aspects, which, though consistent, are not to be confounded.

    (2) Let us ponder the Lord's weighty saying, that the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. 'These religious people (methinks I hear some supercilious observer of Christians say-so very impartial as to be "neither cold nor hot") may be all very good, but they have small common sense; their principles are fine-most unexceptionable-but they are wonderfully airy: they somehow want the substance of things earthly; they cannot be grasped; and even those who make so much of them go about them in so unbusiness-like a fashion, and with so little of the shrewdness and energy we are used to in common matters, that one may be excused for not surrendering himself to such notions, and resting contented with those general views which commend themselves to everyone, and about which there is no dispute.' This witness is true: spiritual things are all too airy for such persons; they have substance only to faith here, and of that they have none: Theirs is a world of sense; the things which are seen are their sphere; and right easily are they grasped, and all congenial to the natural man: in hunting after them they go with the stream-to which the remonstrances of conscience and of Scripture oppose but a feeble barrier.

    No wonder, then, that shrewdness is stamped upon all that is done in this sphere, and no thanks for it to them and theirs. But ours is a world of faith and hope; and hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. We know Whom we have Believed; we have made our choice, and mean to abide by it, nor will it ever be taken from us. Nevertheless, we stand rebuked. 'Thou hast said too much truth of us, thou cold, supercilious critic of our poor Christianity, but our gracious Master said it before thee. We thank thee not, but we thank Him, and mean, with His help, to wipe away this reproach.' And now, will not my Christian readers try to do it? We know very well it is because, the things of this present world are "seen" that they are more vividly apprehended, and so-all "temporal," though they be-more powerfully grasped, than the things which are "not seen," even though they be "eternal." We know full well how keenly we feel the one, and how languidly the other; what sacrifices of time and strength, yea, what risks of life itself men will readily incur, to promote their temporal interests, and how little of all this even the children of God will go through with for those which are eternal. But as our Lord holds this up as a reproach, and here sends us to the worldling for wisdom-even as the sluggard is sent to the ant for activity-let us not rest in explanations of the fact, but rather strive to reverse it. What we want from the men of the world is not so much their shrewd management of affairs, as that vivid apprehension of our own sphere which shall convert our world of faith into substance and sense to us; then shall we have grasp enough and energy enough; because "this is the victory that overcometh the world, oven our faith." Yet along with this-as in temporal things-habits of steady vigilance and activity have much to do with success in spiritual things; and this parable will not have produced its proper fruit until the children of light, ashamed of being excelled in anything for eternity by the worldly wisdom of the children of this world, shall bend their efforts to rise above them in all such things, commanding its respect and compelling its admiration for this superiority. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5).

    (3) This and similar portions of Scripture have been so sadly abused to support the fatal doctrine of the merit of good works, and especially of charity to the poor and needy, that not a few Christians have been scared away from such scriptures, and are little aware what a test of character at the great day will be the use they make of the pecuniary means with which they are entrusted. Should any say, That can hardly apply to those who have so little of this world's goods as I have, let them consider whether they are not acting the unprofitable servant in the parable of the Talents, who, because his lord had given him but one talent, went and hid it in the earth; and let them remember the pregnant and comprehensive maxim, "He that is faithful in the least is faithful also in much, and he that is unfaithful in the least is unfaithful also in much."

    (4) How entirely is the divinest teaching thrown away upon those who, like the Pharisaic portion of our Lord's audience, are resolved not to part with the sinful courses which it exposes and condemns! But the "derision" of those "covetous" Pharisees at such teaching as that of this section was the best evidence of its power.

    (5) In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, were the poverty and disease of this dear saint of God so extreme as is here represented, and, to add to all, when laid down at the rich man's gate, in hope of at length moving his compassion, is he represented as dying just as he was? Then, let no one so interpret the promises of divine compassion and provision for the godly poor as to think that they may not be left to live and die as poor and as neglected of men as this Lazarus. But neither let God's providence be maligned on this account, until we know how He deals with the spirits such. Did we know what unseen ministrations of angels He sends them, and with what seasons of nearness to Himself He favours them, in the absence of human consolation, with what light He irradiates their darkness, how out of weakness He makes them strong, and how in patience and hope He makes them to possess their souls-giving them "songs in the night," unknown to the prosperous even of His own children (Revelation 14:3) - we should perhaps change our mind, and be almost tempted to envy "Lazarus" with all his miseries.

    As he looked at the sycophantish visitors who went in and out of the rich man's gate, regardless of him, methinks I hear him saying with the sweet singer of Israel, "There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us: Thou hast put gladness in my heart more than in the time when their grain and their wine increased. Deliver my soul from the wicked, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasure: As for me I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I wake, with Thy likeness" (Psalms 4:6-7; Psalms 17:13-15). And see him at last: Those angels are not ashamed of his poverty, nor repelled away by his sores. His wasted skeleton-to men a sightless carcass-is to them beautiful as the shrine of a redeemed spirit; and that spirit is more beautiful still, in its resemblance to God, its likeness to themselves, its meetness for glory. They hover over the beggarly habitation, and surround the mean pallet, and watch the last effort of the spirit to break away from its falling tenement, that at the appointed hour they may convey it in triumph to its celestial home. O that men-that even Christians-would judge less by the outward appearance, and try, like the Lord, to home. O that men-that even Christians-would judge less by the outward appearance, and try, like the Lord, to look upon the heart!

    (6) And how beautiful is the view here given us of the ministrations of angels, especially at the death-bed of the saints. Often do they tell us, they see them waiting for them and smiling on them. They are ready to stretch out their arms to them, to signify their readiness at that moment to be taken up by them; and they ask us, sometimes, if we do not see them too. Of course we don't, because we live in a world of sense. But they are then leaving it; it has all but closed upon them, and they are getting within the precincts of heaven. Who, then, shall say that they see not what is hid from us; and since what they affirm they see is only what is here represented as a reality, who, with this parable before him, shall say that such sights are but the fruit of a distempered imagination, a picture of the fevered or languid brain?

    (7) How frequently do the terrors of hell recur, and how terrific are the representations given of it, in the teaching of our Lord! Here, its unutterable and inconceivable horrors are depicted with a vividness altogether astonishing. And the unreasonableness and impossibility of the slightest and briefest abatement of them, which is here proclaimed as from the other world itself, only completes the representation. And mark how this unreasonableness is grounded wholly on the life and conduct of the lost in the present world-rendering any change in their condition in eternity as hopeless as their being able to undo their past life by living over again and acting otherwise. Need it be asked whether the perpetuity of hell-torments, and the character of them too-as but the natural development and fitting termination of a life of ungodliness-could be more emphatically taught?

    (8) Though we are not to press the language of the parables unduly, does it not seem a legitimate inference from the whole strain of this Parable, that the lost will, as an aggravation of their torment, in some way or other, either see the bliss of the saved in heaven, or have such a vivid knowledge of what it is as will amount to a kind of sight? And are not those other words of Christ confirmatory of this? "Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out"? (Luke 13:28).

    (9) Nowhere is the sufficiency of revealed truth in general, and of the Old Testament Scriptures in particular, for all the purposes of salvation, so emphatically stated as by our Lord in the closing verses of this chapter, who puts it into the mouth of Abraham from the unseen world. Men are fain to believe that if they had this or that evidence which they have not, they would repent and be converted. And because they are not startled into faith-because their impenitence is not over-powered by resistless occurrences-they think there will be some excuse for them if at last they are found unchanged. But the Lord here shuts us absolutely up to THE REVEALED WORD, as God's ordained means of all saving effect upon the heart and life. (See 2 Peter 1:19; John 5:39; John 5:46-47; John 17:17.) And if this be true, need we add, that the right and the duty of all to "search the Scriptures," and the apostasy from a Scripture foundation of any Church that would prohibit the general searching of them-as the Church of Rome does-follow by necessary consequence?

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    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (31) If they hear not Moses and the prophets.—We are accustomed, rightly enough, to look on our Lord’s own Resurrection as leading to the great fulfilment of these words. We should not forget, however, that there was another fulfilment more immediately following on them. In a few weeks, or even days, according to the best harmonists, tidings came that Lazarus of Bethany was sick (John 11:1). In yet a few days more that Lazarus did “rise from the dead;” cured, we may believe, of whatever love of this world’s good things had checked his spiritual growth, a witness of the power of Christ to raise, as from the shadow-world of Hades, so also from the darkness of spiritual death to newness of life. And yet that wonder also brought about no repentance, Scribes and Pharisees, and Sadducees and priests simply took counsel together that they might put Lazarus also to death (John 12:10). We can hardly believe the coincidence of name and fact in this instance to have been undesigned.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
    neither
    John 11:43-53; 12:10,11; 2 Corinthians 4:3
    be persuaded
    Genesis 9:27; *marg:; Acts 19:8; 26:28; 28:23; 2 Corinthians 5:11 Reciprocal: 2 Chronicles 20:20 - believe his;  2 Chronicles 24:19 - Yet he sent;  Psalm 78:32 - believed;  Proverbs 13:13 - despiseth;  Matthew 27:40 - come;  Mark 16:13 - neither;  Luke 16:16 - Law;  Luke 22:67 - If;  John 4:48 - Except;  John 5:39 - Search;  John 5:47 - GeneralJohn 6:36 - That;  John 9:18 - GeneralJohn 11:46 - GeneralJohn 12:37 - GeneralActs 18:4 - persuaded;  Galatians 3:19 - It was added;  Hebrews 11:32 - the prophets

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:31". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.