Luke 16:31
And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.

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.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;

continued...

30. Nay—giving the lie to Abraham.

but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent—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, inclined thereby to 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 overpowering, yet won over that "crooked and perverse nation."

See Poole on "Luke 16:30" 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".

And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 16:31. εἶπε δὲ: 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 (πεισθήσονται), i.e., to repent (Hahn). By taking πεισθήσονται as meaning something less than μετανοήσουσιν, and emphasising the difference between ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ and ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ (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 ἐκ νεκρῶν (vide Luke 20:35), while the general resurrection is ἡ ἀνάσ. τῶν νεκρῶν (e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:42).31. neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead ]

“We are saved by faithful hearing, not by apparitions,” Bengel. This was most remarkably exemplified in the results which followed the raising of another Lazarus (John 12:10) and the resurrection of our Lord Himself (Matthew 28:11-13). Observe that the reply of Abraham (‘be persuaded,’ ‘arose, ‘from among’ [ἐκ not ἀπὸ] the dead) is much stronger than the words used by Dives. “A far mightier miracle ...would be ineffectual for producing a far slighter effect,” Trench.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.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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