The Prodigal Son
The Scribes, Pharisees and Doctors of the
Law were the Elder Brother of the Prodigal Son parable. Publicans and
sinners, careless of spiritual privileges, were the Prodigal, estranged
from their Father's House. Jesus shows God's attitude toward the returning
prodigal. For such He provides a "feast," a blessing which all
may share, if they will. Those who received Jesus' Message included not
many great, wise or noble, but chiefly penitent prodigals.
The parable of Dives and Lazarus illustrated the same
lesson. The Jewish nation was Dives, the Rich man. His table, his
spiritual food, the promises of God, was abundantly supplied; his raiment,
fine linen, represented justification, effected through the typical
Atonement-day sacrifices. His purple robe represented, symbolically, the
fact that he was identified with God's Kingdom, purple being a symbol of
royalty. Lazarus represented the hopelessness of the sinners and Gentiles,
who hungered for a share in the promises to Abraham, but who got only
"crumbs" until Israel's rejection.--Matthew 23:38.
The Poor man's sores represented a sin-sick condition;
the dogs which licked them represented the sympathy of Gentile
"dogs." This was illustrated in the Syrophenician woman whose
daughter Jesus healed. She was not a Jewess, and therefore Jesus at first
refused to aid her, saying, "It is not proper to take the children's
bread and give it to dogs." But she pleaded: "Yes, Lord, yet the
dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the children's table." Jesus
gave her the crumb.
The Rich man, the Jewish nation, died to his great
blessings. Nationally he fell asleep in Hades, and awaits reawakening. But
personally the Jews passed into a great time of trouble, symbolically
represented as fire, for eighteen centuries.
Lazarus also died to his condition of disfavor, and
found himself in "Abraham's bosom"--a child of Abraham. Thus the
Gentiles have become Abraham's Seed, and heirs of the Spiritual part of
the Abrahamic Promise.--Galatians 3:29.
Dives and Lazarus