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one unceasing but unmet longing of the sinner in torment is that he may have ever so little portion of water with which to slake his feverish thirst.
5. The felicity of the righteous consists in his abiding fellowship with the great fathers of his people.
It may reasonably be felt that such a formal exhibit of the thought of the parable shows a fatal lack of sense for the figurative. Jesus spoke the parable, it may be believed, but did not intend that in any of its phases it should be taken as in any degree other than purely imaginative and symbolic. If this be the correct view, it ought to be recalled that, despite the intention of Jesus, this parable probably has been more formative of sharply defined Christian thought about the future than all other utterances on the subject credited to Jesus.
If the parable was spoken by Jesus, and if its mission was not to portray the state of life beyond death, it ought probably to be regarded as intended to teach the ethical basis of judgment and separation between men. But viewed even from that standpoint, it seems to fail to articulate with the standards of Jesus as elsewhere made known. The sole reason assigned for the differing fates of Lazarus and the Rich Man is the fact that in his lifetime one was miserably poor and had no comforts, while the other was wealthy and lived luxuriously. It is apparently conceived by the framer of the parable that justice demands the reversal of these conditions in the future life. It seems difficult to find the moral standards of Jesus in this mode of view. He did, indeed, warn against allowing wealth to become the master in the life, document P $48. He expressed his conviction when he said, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God," document MK 10:23. But these do not seem equivalents for the thought that because a man is rich now he does not deserve felicity in the future, because he is poor now he deserves bliss in the age to come.
The philosophy of life underlying the saying, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things: but now here he is comforted, and thou in anguish,” was that of the Jewish people for centuries, as is testified by large areas of the Old Testament. But here only has it found expression in the reputed teaching of Jesus. His moral and reli
gious outlook seems to have excluded this form of reasoning; it could hardly be held by a man conscious of his own essential moral worth and destiny apart from that which was external to him. This phase of the parable is one of many which give it a Jewish cast in a sense not assignable to the Jewish coloring of the body of Jesus' teaching. By this cast is not meant solely its view of the future, but likewise the area within which it moves exclusively—that is, “Father Abraham” and “Moses and the prophets.”
May it be that this is an old Jewish parable which has found a place in the document P tradition of the parables of Jesus ? Nothing in its location in document P demands that it be considered as always having had a place there. Its historical occasion is not suggested, except as it is made to follow, after the intervention of P 8850-52, upon a parable and some sayings about money, P $847–49. Little weight ought to be given, however, to document P relationships; any conclusion must be otherwise based. Certainty is not attainable; probability must suffice. If the parable is regarded as not from Jesus, that summary of his teaching on Life after Death which precedes this study of the parable contains the results attainable from his own words. If one thinks of the parable as from him there will be added the thoughts deduced from the parable.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD $1. Opening Announcements about the Kingdom 82. The Kingdom as Actual in the Present 83. Antitheses to the Kingdom of God $4. The Future in General of the Kingdom 85. The Mystery of the Kingdom of God 86. The Coming of the Kingdom of God
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
$1. OPENING ANNOUNCEMENTS ABOUT THE KINGDOM
A. BY JOHN
GOSPEL LK 3:2, 3 And in those days cometh John John came, who baptized in the The word of God came unto the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness and preached the bap- John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness of Judæa, saying, tism of repentance unto remission wilderness. And he came into all Repent ye; for ihe kingdom of of sins.
the region round about Jordan, heaven is at hand.
preaching the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins.
B. BY JESUS GOSPEL MT 4:12, 17
DOCUMENT MK $4
DOCUMENT G $85, 6 Now when he heard that John Now after that John was de And Jesus returned in the power was delivered up, he withdrew livered up, Jesus came into Gali- of the Spirit into Galilee: and a into Galilee.
lee, preaching the gospel of God, fame went out concerning him From that time began Jesus to and saying, Î'he time is fulfilled, through all the region round about. preach, and to say, Repent ye; for and the kingdom of God is at And he taught in their synagogues, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. hand: repent ye, and believe in being glorified of all. the gospel.
to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon
me, Because he anointed me to
preach good tidings to the
poor: He hath sent me to proclaim
release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the
blind, To set at liberty them that are
bruised, To proclaim the acceptable
year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth.
It was observed in a preceding study: (1) that gospel MT is alone in crediting John the Baptist at the opening of the report with the phrase "the kingdom of heaven is at hand;" (2) that the use of the term “kingdom of heaven (or God)” is nowhere attributed to John
See pp. 85-87.