Luke 16:29
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
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(29) They have Moses and the prophets.—The words are in entire harmony with all the teaching of our Lord. The right use of lower knowledge is the condition of attaining to the higher, and without it signs and wonders avail but little: “He that hath, to him shall be given” (Mark 4:25); “He that willeth to do the will of God,” so far as he knows it, “shall know of the doctrine” which Christ came to proclaim, “whether it be of God” (John 7:17). It was because the scribes and their followers were unfaithful in a little, that more was denied them. “Moses and the Prophets” were enough to teach them that a life of self-indulgent luxury was evil in itself, and therefore must bring with it, in the end, shame and condemnation. (Comp. Notes on John 5:45-46.)

16:19-31 Here the spiritual things are represented, in a description of the different state of good and bad, in this world and in the other. We are not told that the rich man got his estate by fraud, or oppression; but Christ shows, that a man may have a great deal of the wealth, pomp, and pleasure of this world, yet perish for ever under God's wrath and curse. The sin of this rich man was his providing for himself only. Here is a godly man, and one that will hereafter be happy for ever, in the depth of adversity and distress. It is often the lot of some of the dearest of God's saints and servants to be greatly afflicted in this world. We are not told that the rich man did him any harm, but we do not find that he had any care for him. Here is the different condition of this godly poor man, and this wicked rich man, at and after death. The rich man in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment. It is not probable that there are discourses between glorified saints and damned sinners, but this dialogue shows the hopeless misery and fruitless desires, to which condemned spirits are brought. There is a day coming, when those who now hate and despise the people of God, would gladly receive kindness from them. But the damned in hell shall not have the least abatement of their torment. Sinners are now called upon to remember; but they do not, they will not, they find ways to avoid it. As wicked people have good things only in this life, and at death are for ever separated from all good, so godly people have evil things only in this life, and at death they are for ever put from them. In this world, blessed be God, there is no gulf between a state of nature and grace, we may pass from sin to God; but if we die in our sins, there is no coming out. The rich man had five brethren, and would have them stopped in their sinful course; their coming to that place of torment, would make his misery the worse, who had helped to show them the way thither. How many would now desire to recall or to undo what they have written or done! Those who would make the rich man's praying to Abraham justify praying to saints departed, go far to seek for proofs, when the mistake of a damned sinner is all they can find for an example. And surely there is no encouragement to follow the example, when all his prayers were made in vain. A messenger from the dead could say no more than what is said in the Scriptures. The same strength of corruption that breaks through the convictions of the written word, would triumph over a witness from the dead. Let us seek to the law and to the testimony, Isa 8:19,20, for that is the sure word of prophecy, upon which we may rest, 2Pe 1:19. Circumstances in every age show that no terrors, or arguments, can give true repentance without the special grace of God renewing the sinner's heart.They have Moses - The writings of Moses. The first five books of the Bible.

The prophets - The remainder of the Old Testament. What the prophets had written.

Hear them - Hear them speak in the Scriptures. Read them, or hear them read in the synagogues, and attend to what they have delivered.

27-31. Then he said—now abandoning all hope for himself.

send him to my father's house, &c.—no waking up of good in the heart of the lost, but bitter reproach against God and the old economy, as not warning him sufficiently [Trench]. The answer of Abraham is, They are sufficiently warned.

Christ here represents to us the genius of wicked and carnal men, that would be converted by revelations and some extraordinary signs; if they could see one risen from the dead, then they would believe the resurrection; if they could see a glorified saint, or hear or see a damned soul, then they would believe a heaven and a hell: he here brings in Abraham saying,

They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. God will have men believe the propositions of His word, and live up to the rule of life prescribed there, and not expect to have their curiosity satisfied by needless and extraordinary revelations. But is there then no need of the gospel to bring men to heaven? Doubtless there is, but that is included in Moses and the prophets, who all prophesied of Christ, though more darkly than he is revealed in the New Testament.

Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me, John 5:39,46, Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me: now they at that time had no Scriptures to search but those of Moses and the prophets; for the New Testament was not at that time written.

Abraham said unto him..... In reply to this his request:

they have Moses and the prophets; that is, their writings; which shows this man, and his five brethren, to be Jews; for to them were the oracles of God committed; and these had the writings of Moses and the prophets read to them every sabbath day; and is true, whether the contemporaries and immediate successors of the Pharisees are meant, or the ten tribes: and also shows, that one view of the parable, is to establish the authority of these writings; see Luke 16:16 and that it is a peculiar privilege to have them; and that they ought to be attended to and regarded;

let them hear them; for they testified concerning Christ, and concerning the sins of the Jews, and the calamities, both temporal and eternal, that should come upon them; and which, testimony was sufficient to leave them without excuse: and indeed, the word of God, read, explained, and heard, is the ordinary means of conversion, or of bringing men to faith and repentance.

Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luke 16:29. Μωσέα, etc.: cf. Luke 18:20, where Jesus refers the ruler to the commandments. Moses, or the law, and the prophets = the O.T., the appointed, regular means of grace.

29. They have Moses and the prophets] See John 1:45; John 5:39; John 5:46.

Luke 16:29. Λέγει, saith) Abraham gives no answer on the point, whether Lazarus could be sent by him to the brothers of the rich man. There is not, certainly, such a wide gulf separating from the earth either heaven or hell, as separates the two latter from one another.—Μωσέα, Moses) A personification for the Law, appropriately used here as being in antithesis to Lazarus. It is just the same as if they had Moses face to face. [Besides these means of conviction, we are supplied amply with the words of Christ and the writings of His witnesses, by whom also the resurrection from the dead is solemnly affirmed.—V. g.] The scope of this narrative is to commend Scripture, which the Pharisees despised, being ‘covetous,’ Luke 16:14, ‘justifying’ and “exalting themselves,” Luke 16:15, and despising the law, Luke 16:17, all which feelings of the Pharisees are utterly swept away by Scripture. Moses and the prophets are here considered especially, inasmuch (in so far) as they testify concerning Christ Jesus, Luke 16:16, whom the Pharisees were deriding, Luke 16:14.—ἀκουσάτωσαν, let them hear) This is said sternly. No man is compelled. It is in the believing hearing of the word that we are saved, not by means of apparitions. Herod, as being one not desirous to hear, is not permitted to see a miracle. The question as to men’s state after death is less openly and less at large treated of in the Old Testament [than in the New]; and yet that which is revealed on the subject must suffice for leading men (the Jews) to repent. They are mistaken who suppose that it is only by the revelation of those mysteries that the ungodly are to be gained over to religion.

Verse 29. - Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. The reply of Abraham was especially addressed to those Jews who were standing round him and even asking for a sign. They had all read and heard again and again the Books of Moses and the records of the prophets; if these guides had failed to show them the right way, a special messenger sent to them would be quite useless. Luke 16:29
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