THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO

LUKE

Chapter 16

"Parable. THE UNJUST STEWARD. [1 - 8]"
"Application: Mammon. [8 - 12]"
"What the Pharisees Taught. [18 - 30]"

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
is provided by
http://www.theseason.org/ 

As we study this sixteenth chapter we will learn the truth about heaven and hell, as to appearance and how it shall be there.

Luke 16:1 "And He said also unto His disciples, "There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods."

Jesus is going to give his disciples a parable on stewardship. In this parable, there was a rich man that had a steward or accountant that was to keep track of his wealth; his money and property.

Luke 16:2 "And he called him, and said unto him, `How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward."

If there is wrong doing in the accounting firm, it will not be long to where the word of wrong doing will be getting out. That is what happened here, for the rich owner heard that things were not right with this accountant, this steward. So the rich man called this steward in before him, and told him to get his books in order and present them for examination. When the books are opened and examined, if there is shortages and mishandling of the funds, this steward would be history. He know that, and he also know where the problems were.

Luke 16:3 "Then the steward said within himself, `What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed."

It may be job hunting time, for when this steward thought of the conditions of his books, he knew that he would fail the examining process. Is this steward talking to the Lord over the matter? no, he is imagining it in his own mind. This steward knows that he is not strong enough for manual labor and his pride is to great to become a beggar; He knows he has to do something.

Luke 16:4 "I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses."

This steward knows that in the position that he is in, he has to do something, and his first thought is to buy himself a few friend. If he handles things right now in this job, he will have another job to go to.

Luke 16:5 "So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, `How much owest thou unto my lord?' "

Luke 16:6 "And he said, `An hundred measures of oil.' And he said unto him, `Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.' "

When all the debtors are gathered, this steward approaches each on individually. To the first debtor, he asks what is owed, and when it was said, the steward told him to cut the amount of the bill in half. You now own fifty, just write it down on that bill. Stop and think for a moment, who's money is this steward giving away here? The money is owed not to him, but to his master, the rich man. This steward is playing lose with his master, knowing that he is about to be gone for that employment.

Luke 16:7 "Then said he to another, `And how much owest thou?' And he said, `An hundred measures of wheat.' And he said, unto him, `Take thy bill, and write fourscore.' "

This steward just cut the second man's bill from one hundred measures of wheat, back to eighty. This is cutting about a thousand bushes of wheat back to about eight hundred bushels of wheat, or in today market, about three hundred dollars. Again, keep in mind that this is not the stewards money that he is throwing away. This rich man put the trust of his wealth into this steward, and he is not faithful to his duty of stewardship. He is using his masters money to buy friends? Of course you can't, not honest friends, but people will take advantage of your while you are generous with the company's money. If you do this to an honest man, and he sees what you are doing to the company you are working for, he will turn you in immediately.

Luke 16:8 "And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."

Don't think for a moment that he is commending him for his honesty, but just the opposite. He is commending him for being shrewd, for he know that there was some dishonesty going on all the while. The point here is that those that do evil, are wiser to do evil; than those that do good are wise in their ways. The wicked ones are sharper in their wicked ways, than the children of God, of light, are wiser in serving the Lord and doing their work they have committed to. A crook will take all the time that is needed to plan his wicked ways, where a honest man will sleep well every night, and just not take the time for his planning. Why? The ways of the Lord are set, and when you follow the principles that are set out in His Word, it doesn't take the planning and foresight as the crooks use in their unrighteous acts. The man that is familiar with our Father's Word will be sharp enough that this crook will not rip him off.

Luke 16:9 "And I say unto you, `Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of un-righteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.' "

Jesus is making it clear that when you make yourself friends of evil ways, you are going exactly where they are going. When you do unrighteous acts, and partake in those acts with others, all of your are going into hell fire. That is the only everlasting habitation that is available to Satan and those that follow Satan's ways. Sure this rich man did commend the steward, but what he commended him to was his slick ways to the fast track to hell.

Sure by this world's ways, in many circles that would be commendable in places like Enron, and other firms that practice wickedness. but in the eternal life, that was about the most stupid thing that could be done. Sure you can buy off those that will look the other way, you can threaten those that would expose you, and cover over the books like this unwise steward did, but in the end you are the looser. You are gambling your eternal life, with the short span of time in this flesh body, and lose everything. The bottom line to this parable is that it is dumb to try to cheat anybody, for you will never get away with anything you do in the darkness. God knows your every thought, and He judges you on your intent: Why you did what you did. There are no unsolved mysteries in heaven, and in God's court the judge can't be bought, and the only attorney that counts is Jesus Christ, for He is the only advocate that the Judge there will listen to.

Luke 16:10 "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."

It's very simple; if your a crook in little things, you will be a crook in the bigger things also, and if you can be trusted in the little things, your judgment can also be trusted in the larger things also. If your a crook your a crook; if your honest, your honest. Jesus telling it the way it is to his disciples. Jesus is telling you that He is not going to give you and trust you with the great truths of His Word, if He can't depend on you with the little truths of His Word. God will only give you what you are able to take care of. God expects you to manage those gifts that He trusts you with, and that goes not only with money, but with time, with the truths, and every thing else in your life. However, He doesn't give you something without also giving you the guidelines for using those gifts that He sent your way; and those instructions are given by examples through His Word.

Luke 16:11 "If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?"

It takes time to build trust and a reputation of being honest, like building a house, you put one brick on top of the other. Success comes after you have proven yourself to be worthy of what you have earned. However, if you have become rich on ill-gotten gains, by thievery and plotting, do you think that God will bless that filthy money? Do you think God will trust anything He has, even the knowledge and wisdom from His Word, to your keep? He will not do it.

Luke 16:12 "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"

If you can't be trusted in handling the company money honestly, God simply will not bless you with any of His blessings. If you can't be trusted in presenting the Word of God as it ought to be taught, do you think for one moment that God will reveal the hiding secrets of His Word to you? Of course not. Honesty is the best policy in pleasing God, and presenting things honest in the sight of men, pleases God.

Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." 

No man can serve both God and mammon at the same time. "Mammon" is the Aramaic word for "riches". This is talking about "ill-gotten gains", riches gained by going against the instructions given us in Word of God. Before you enter into the eternal kingdom, you first have to unload yourself of those ill-gotten things that you gain by doing things the way of this world. The steward in the parable above loaded himself down with riches that were not his, and was free and dishonest with his master wealth. God wants nothing to do with you when you disregard His ways. That is what hell is for, burning off the rejects right along with Satan.

However there is forgiveness when you come to your senses, and that is what repentance is all about: Making things right before the Lord. The point that Jesus has made with his disciples through this parable is that we are to be honest in all that we do. Present yourself worthy to handle the precious little things and truths of God's Word, and He will entrust you with greater things and truths. If you don't take care of your employer's property in a worthy manner, how can God trust you with His kingdom's duties? God doesn't want you around. But when you strive to do it God's way, He will bless you, and when the blessings do come, handle them wisely.

Luke 16:14 "And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him."

"Covetous" has only one meaning and that is pertaining to money. They love their money, for the money is what gives them status in their community. When the Pharisees heard of the teaching of money and mammon by Jesus, they got mad. They snubbed their noses up and Jesus.

Luke 16:15 "And He said unto them, "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."

Jesus is telling these Pharisees that they are practicing self justification; giving their money for the sake of looking righteous before men. Every thing that these Pharisees do is for the sake of presenting themselves better than others. Jesus then told them that God knows what your thinking, and those things that you have done to present yourself righteous before men; is an abomination before God. Those that take the high seats at the temple, and rip off people in the name of God, are an abomination to God. Those with their begging bags, that do things in a self righteous manner are not right before God. A preacher that uses "Corban" in his church; telling the people that they can give everything to the church, and let your parent starve, is an abomination to God. Those that play religion will not be their in God's kingdom.

Luke 16:16 "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it."

Jesus is telling these Scripture lawyers how they had twisted the law for their own personal gain, because they coveted what others had. They love money. Jesus told them that John the Baptist was the last prophet, and since the lessons of the prophets have been preached, men have to really press themselves to contend with those instruction. False teachers have taken their Words, and built all kinds of traditions and false teaching that go against what those prophet taught. You have to fight real good to fight yourself through all the lies and distortions of the false teachers, to understand the the true way into heaven. It doesn't take much to please God, just be honest. The traditions of men make void the Word of God, but the Word gives you the direction that gets you through that gate into heaven.

Luke 16:17 "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than on tittle of the law to fail."

This earth age and this heavenly age will pass away, will be done away with. Why? We will enter a new age, and that age will come at the sounding of the seventh trump. Paul told us that "In a moment, at the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised [changed] incorruptible, and we shall all be changed." [I Corinthians 15:52] Not even the least little marking of the entire Word of God will be changed of the law. However, the blood rituals have changed, because Christ's blood on the cross fulfilled those required ordinances of the law. They were full filled in Christ, when He became our Passover for one and all times. The commandments and laws of God will stand for ever.

Luke 16:18 "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery."

The scribes in their altering the Word, and forming their traditions, have made void the Word. They set of a form of rule to follow and put those rules ahead of what the Word of God teaches. They looked for words that they could distort and then make rule according to what they define a word to mean. So stop and think what Jesus is saying here. Is adultery the unpardonable sin? Of course not, for your can repent of adultery and be right before God. That is the reason Christ came to pay the price for sin to give us forgiveness. But Jesus is telling these Pharisees that they take the law and twist it, and turn it into something else, just as that steward did that tried to buy his way out of trouble. You have made it to where you have gained monetarily from your tradition by the sins of others.

Luke 16:19 "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:"

This is starting a new parable to tell us what heaven and hell is actually like. This rich man in the parable had all the wealth that he needed, and he had everything that his mind could think of.

Luke 16:20 "And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,"

Lazarus was sitting daily at the beggars gate, seeking enough money to buy food to eat. He had nothing, and his body was full of sores from wrong diet, and the beggars life.

Luke 16:21 "And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: more over the dogs came and licked his sores."

This verse is telling us that this man was treated worse than the dogs, for even the dogs get fed by their masters. This rich man had showed no compassion to this poor man in life, as they lived here in the flesh. Even the dogs showed more compassion for Lazarus than that rich man, for they came and licked the sores of Lazarus.

Lazarus in the Greek is the same as Eleazar in the Hebrew tongue. Eleazar was the son of Aaron, who was the first man to qualify as an honest priest of God. Eleazar had two other brothers that violated everything that God had directed the priest to do. They took the fire of the stove back home to light the altar fire, that went against the instructions that God gave to Aaron. They did not take the things of God serious, but fit God and their duties into their personal life scheduling. Their religion was what they wanted to make it to be, not what God instructed the priesthood to be. In due time after they messed with God's altar, God struck both of them dead. Then Eleazar became the priest, and set the example for the priesthood.

When Jesus raised Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, from the dead, Jesus was trying to show that the priesthood of Eleazar lives again. This is why Jesus is using the parable of Lazarus the poor man here on earth, and is being elevated to the bosom of Abraham, and present by Christ before God. So this verse shows us the lack of compassion that the rich man had.

Luke 16:22 "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom the rich man also died, and was buried;"

Lazarus was carried into heaven by the angels of God, while the rich man's body was buried in the ground and his soul went to Hades, the holding place before being destroyed by hell fire.

Luke 16:23 "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

This is a parable about two men that actually lived, and when both died, the rich man could see Lazarus in heaven with Abraham. He could look across that great gulf that stood between them, but could not go there. Our Heavenly Father is the Father of the living and not the dead. Thus to be absent from this physical body of the flesh is to be present with the Lord. The soul does not go to the grave as the flesh does, but goes immediate to heaven. Those that did not overcome cannot be with those that overcame in this earth age, for they are separated. All souls can actually see the throne of God from where they are. Those that are on the rich man's side are being held for that great judgment day.

Luke 16:24 "And he cried and said, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' "

There is no flame there yet, but there will be after Judgment day. God doesn't burn anybody until after judgment day. This rich man had everything that he wanted, but here in heaven, he can't even afford one drop of water. The role is switched here in heaven, for now Lazarus has the comfort of heaven, and the rich man has nothing, not even comfort.

Luke 16:25 "But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivest thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented."

Life has it's payday, and this is the rich man's time.

Luke 16:26 "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.' "

"Between us that over came, and you that did not overcome, there is a great gulf fixed." That gulf is so fixed that even though one side can see the other side, there is no way to pass between. We can't go your way and you can't come our way. Luke is making the entire clear that you set your course in this life of the flesh, and when your soul passes into the next life, there is no changing what you have done in this life. This gulf or chasm is from the Greek "Chasma"; It means "an impassable interval". The interval is of time and space. This is telling us that if you die hell bound and enter into that other dimension, there is no way that you can reenter back into this dimension again. What ever side of the gulf you are on when you die, that is the side you stay until judgment day. This space is talked about by the prophet Ezra, or in the Greek "Esdras" in the Apocrypha, in the II Esdras 7:78-87. Though it is rejected in our bibles today, it was in the original king James version of 1611, until the American and British Bible societies removed it. It interfered with some of their traditions, and thus had to go. But it was revealed to Ezra by God.

II Esdras 7:78-80 "For about death, the teaching is: When the final sentence goes forth from the Most High that a man is to die, when the soul departs from the body to return again to him who gave it, first of all it prays to the glory of the Most High; if it was one of those who scorned and did not observe the way of the Most High, and of those who have despised his law, and of those who hate those who fear God, such spirits shall not enter dwellings but wander about thence forth in torment, always grieving and sad, in seven ways."

This means that when you first get to heaven and see the throne of God, it draws praise and glorifying the name of God. But to those that were like the rich man in Jesus parable, after they see what they have done while in their flesh body, it will send them directly to this place of torments, where there is nothing but grief and sadness on the other side of the gulf. So now it gives the seven ways to get to this place of grief.

II Esdras 7:81-87 "The first way is that they have scorned the Law of the Most High. The second way is that they can no longer make a good repentance, so that they may live. the third way is that they will see the reward destined for those who have believed the agreements of the Most High. The fourth way is that they will consider the torment destined for them in the last days. The fifth way is that they will see that the dwelling-places of the others are guarded by angels in profound silence. The sixth way is that they will see that some of them will pass over to be tormented henceforth. The seventh way way, which is worse than all the ways that have been mentioned, is that they will waste away in shame and be consumed in disgrace, and wither with fear, at seeing the glory of the Most High before whom they sinned while they lived, and before whom they are destined to be judged in the last times."

These are the seven ways and seven things that will be observed and cannot be changed prior to the judgment, and final destruction of those soul that reject our heavenly Father, the "Most High". So is there a burning hell? Yes, that burning hell does not consume thought until after the great white throne judgment, at the end of the Millennium age following the seventh trump. Many of those across the gulf at this time, did not have a chance to hear the Word of God, because there were not teachers of the truth. Some were taken in innocence, or for one reason or another did not have the chance to repent. Those souls will be taught in the Millennium age. However until that time comes, and this day of grace still exists, it is impossible to travel across this gulf spoken of in this verse. Nobody is sleeping in the ground at death, but they all are very much in God's presence in heaven.

Luke 16:27 "Then he said, `I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:"

This is the rich man speaking to Abraham, asking him to send Lazarus back to earth, to witness to his brothers, father and mother.

Luke 16:28 "For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' "

This rich man is saying that if you will not help me, then at least help my five brothers. I don't want them to end up like I am. The torment is not from a fire, but from shame and disgrace. The fact that you are a complete failure and bound for hell fire.

Luke 16:29 "Abraham saith unto him, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' "

Abraham is telling this rich man that your brothers have the Word of God from the prophets, let them listen to them. That is all they are going to get. Friend, that's all your are going to get also, the words by the prophets of God, and the written word that you are studying now. Believe it or not, that's up to you, but if you reject it, and refuse the only way provided, by repentance through the blood of Christ, you will end up exactly where this rich man is. You make the choice for yourself.

Luke 16:30 "And he said, `Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.' "

The sad news is that even Christ went to them, and they refused Him, so why would they listen to Lazarus? Jesus knows that they won't. Remember that Christ had not died at the time of this parable, but Jesus went to this man also after He died on the cross, and many at that time did repent and come out of the tomb. Many people today after hearing the truths still will not repent and accept Him, but continue in their evil ways of self-righteousness. Jesus is telling us that the priesthood of Eleazar lives, and this is the position of heaven and hell up until the day of judgment, when those that will not accept Christ will be completely destroyed. Even in the minds of their loved ones, God will erase that soul from all minds, and it will be as if that person had never been created in the first place.

Luke 16:31 "And he said unto him, `If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.' "

I won't judge these five brothers, but if they would not believe the prophets, and Jesus came to them, from the shame of the cross, why would they take His Word and listen to Jesus at that time. Sure many did, but most will not. However if they would listen and repent, they could be saved and not go to the place their their rich brother went to. Even though it was to late for this rich man, he still though of his brothers and wanted the best for them. Is there hope for him in the Millennium age, if these is, it will be not by grace as we have it today, but by works completely. By obedience completely to the Laws of God, and discipline for that entire thousand year period. Salvation in the millennium age is judged by works alone.

Revelation 20:11 "And I saw a great white throne, and Him That sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them."

This judgment is after the Millennium age, for souls are saved in this earth age by grace, faith and repentance through the blood of Christ. At this time, there is no heaven age, or no earth age as it was before, for they are all gone.

Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in those books, according to their works."

Those that died and have repented of their sins in this age of grace receive their rewards at death or at the seventh trumpet, if they were still alive in the flesh at the seventh trump. In this other book that was opened, the book of life, the only thing that is listed are the names of the souls that are saved and under the blood of Christ. They have given Christ all the glory, and that is all that is necessary for them to pass one into their rewards in the eternity.

However the rich man, and those that refused Christ will be judged here by their works from the Millennium age.

Revelation 20:13 "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works."

Every soul that has not received eternal life under the shed blood of Christ will be present at this time. and you will be spared hell fire by your works only.

Revelation 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

They were cast into the lake of fire by their own choice, for this second death is the death of their very soul.

Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

God does not burn anyone until after the Millennium age, and the great white throne judgment. Jesus uses hell in His parables because in the flesh, you can feel and imagine the flames of fire consuming your flesh body. In the spiritual body in which Lazarus and the rich man were, no fire would affect their soul, and the only thing that mattered was the shame that fell on their very souls. These men were already in their spiritual bodies in heaven, waiting for the Millennium age to start, and then judgment. Jesus is using this parable to describe something that you can't imagine in the spiritual realm of God's kingdom. Stop and think about it, appearing before the creator Himself, and be rejected and designated for destruction because of your self-righteousness and refusing to listen to His prophets. It is not God's fault that you go into hell fire, for you are the one that made the choices in your life.

They are cut off from God, and the way to God is impassable. It isn't possible to repent, or do one thing to change the things that you did in this earth age; once you have died, and your soul enters heaven. But you will be able to witness the great joy of those that did overcome. That hell, and you do not need to be going these. For Jesus has come to prepare a way for you to enter into His glory with Him. That only way is by faith in what Jesus has done for you, accepting the sacrifice that He made on the cross, as a covering for your sins, and then following the path that is set forth in His Word. God doesn't want to destroy you, but that you will come to Him, that is why He sent his only begotten Son, as John told us.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

John 3:17 "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."

Two things here, first only those that believeth in Him will not perish and have everlasting life. Secondly, the only path to salvation is through the Son of God, Jesus the Christ. It is up to you whether you accept or reject His offer to you.

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