How Many Persons by the Name Lazarus in the Bible?
There are two different persons by the name Lazarus in the Bible. We find the first mentioned in the book of Luke, and the second mentioned in the book of John. The gospels of Matthew and Mark do not mention this name.
The Parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus – Luke
Luke 16:20-31 contains the parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus. This was only a parable used to emphasize a point which is found in verse 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.”
Many facts make it clear that this is a parable. A few are as follows:
- Abraham’s bosom is not heaven (Hebrews 11:8-10, 16).
- People in hell can’t talk to those in heaven (Isaiah 65:17).
- The dead are in their graves (Job 17:13; John 5:28, 29). The rich man was in bodily form with eyes, a tongue, etc., yet we know that the body does not go to hell at death. It is very obvious that the body remains in the grave, as the Bible says.
- Men are rewarded at Christ’s second coming, not at death (Revelation 22:11, 12).
- The lost are punished in hell at the end of the world, not when they die (Matthew 13:40-42).
Parables cannot be taken literally. If we took parables literally, then we must believe that trees talk! (Judges 9:8-15.)
Lazarus the Brother of Martha and Mary – John
John 11:43-44 contains an important episode, in which Jesus visited the sisters, Mary and Martha, and resurrected their dead brother, Lazarus. Jesus wanted to help the Jews to believe in Him and show all that He has power over the grave. Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
The Bible teaches that death is a state of unawareness. Jesus Himself said, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up” (John 11:11). All the prophets in the Bible taught that death is a state of unconsciousness. This is another reason why the parable of Lazarus in Luke 16:20-31 could not be a true story. For Bible scriptures on the unconscious state of death, check the following link: The Intermediate State
The Connection Between the Two Lazaruses
A few weeks after giving the parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus (Luke 16:20-31), Jesus resurrected from the dead a man named Lazarus (John 11:43-44), as if in response to the challenge of the Jewish spiritual leaders for providing added proof for His divinity. But that same miracle led these religious leaders to blot a greater plan against Jesus’ life (John 11:47–54).
In fact, they also plotted to kill the resurrected man in order to hide the truth (John 12:9, 10). Thus, the religious leaders gave an undeniable demo of the truth of Jesus’ statement, that those who reject the the writings of the Old Testament would reject “greater” light, even if it was the testimony of one who “rose from the dead.”
In His service,