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8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
It was good policy on the part of the steward to use his vanishing opportunity while it lasted, as to make it provide a future for him which it did not yield in itself. The point of Christ's remark lies here, that the children of light -- (those who embrace and profess the faith of the kingdom) -- do not, as a rule, make a similarly wise use of their vanishing opportunity.
They have only one life to live, and but a short time in which to use the power and opportunities they may have as stewards of the manifold grace of God. And yet, in most cases, they live as if this life would last for ever, and as if its one business were to provide for natural and personal wants. The consequence will be that, sowing to the flesh, they will reap corruption (Gal. vi. 8).
In this they are not so wise as the children of this world, who, when they see a thing is going from their hand, make the most of their chance, "making hay while the sun shines." That is the view Jesus wished to enforce by the parable, is evident from the remarks with which he accompanied it. "And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations."
The mammon of unrighteousness is a phrase by which Jesus defines worldly wealth. Why he so designates it, we need not concern ourselves to enquire beyond noting that, as a rule, wealth is acquired and used unrighteously, which sufficiently accounts for Christ's expression. The important question is, How can the Mammon of unrighteousness be turned into "friends" against a time of failure? The time of failure is certain, in view of the fact that everyone of us must shortly part with all that we have.
Death dissolves a man's connection with all he may have: and resurrection will not restore it. He will emerge from the ground a penniless man. How can wealth be so handled now as to be at such a time a "friend" providing us "everlasting habitations?". Jesus indicates the answer in saying, "He that is faithful in that which is least (mortal wealth) is faithful also in much (that which is to come).... If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's -- (the property of Christ in our hands now as stewards), -- who shall give you that which is your own?" (what a man receives in eternal life will in a peculiar sense be "his own").
Faithfulness, then, in the use of what we have now is the rule of promotion when the time comes to "give to every man according to his works." "Unrighteous mammon" used in the service of God will be found to have been turned into a friend for us in the day of account, when we have no longer any control over it. How it may be so used is abundantly indicated throughout the Scriptures. It is not confined to any particular form, but certainly does not consist in bestowing it wholly on one's own respectability and comfort, whether in self or family.
The mode is indicated in Paul's words to Timothy about the rich: "Charge them that are rich in this world ... that they do good; that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (1 Tim. vi. 17-19).
Jesus strongly recommends this application of the unrighteous mammon, by which a dangerous foe is turned into a friend. He emphasizes his exhortation by dogmatically asserting, "No servant can serve two masters ... Ye cannot serve God and mammon." The doctrine may be unacceptable, but it is true, as will be found in joy and grief by two different classes in the day of the issues of life.
There is no real ground for the difficulty that some feel about Christ parabolically holding up an unjust steward for imitation. He did not do so in the matter of the unjustness. The falsifier of his master's accounts is only introduced to illustrate the wisdom of providing for future need. The children of this world do it in their way, the children of light are exorted to do it in theirs, by a faithful use of "the unrighteous mammon."
Nazareth Revisited Ch 30.
17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
Context is v17. Put away - she has not been granted a legal divorce as required by the law. So the wife is separated and not free to marry (unless a bill of divorcement is granted).
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
The Rich Man...
'...represents the "workers of iniquity" whom Jesus was addressing; and who at that time were "first," being the rulers and leaders of the people, and wore purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. These were they who sought to enter into the kingdom, but should not be able. They would then, when the door was shut, cry Lord, Lord, open to us! We have eaten and drank in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets! But all this will avail them nothing.
It was their malice that brought them to his presence; and their fears of the people that permitted him for a time to go at large in their streets. "Depart from me, I know not whence ye are, ye workers of iniquity"-"Depart from me, I say, ye cursed into the enduring fire prepared for the devil and his emissaries"-this is all the response the "upper ten thousand" of the nation will be able to elicit from the King when he promotes "the blessed of the Father to the possession of the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world."
Nazareth Chapter Ch 30
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
This parable illustrates Yahshua's teaching in Luke 13.
"Behold there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last."
'... represents "the blessed of the Father," who in the forty-second generation were "the last," the helpless among the people-the poor of the flock-and therefore "named Lazarus," or God's help, for he alone is their helper, pulling down the mighty from their thrones, and exalting them of low degree; filling the hungry with good things, while the rich he sends empty away.-Luke 1: 52. of this class were the least of the King's brethren.
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
They were full of sores and desiring to be fed from the leavings of the rich and ruling class of the nation. They were hungry, but their princely superiors gave them no meat; they were thirsty, but gave them no drink; strangers at their gates, but they took them not in; naked, but they clothed them not; sick in prison but they visited them not. These were their sores which experienced no relief at the hands of the purple-clad and luxurious livers of their age.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
When... the poor brethren in Christ are comforted, the mean-spirited rich, their former oppressors, are represented as piteously supplicating the favour; but no mercy will be shown them; for "he shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy;" and "with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again."
If it be asked, what is meant by being "tormented in this flame?" We answer, to be the subject of "weeping and gnashing of teeth," because of being thrust out of the kingdom: the thrusting out being two-fold; first, by the Roman power when the Mosaic constitution of Israel's commonwealth was subverted; and second, by their exclusion from the kingdom subsequently to their resurrection to judgement. In short, what is testified in Luke 13: 24-30, without a figure, is parabolically represented in Luke 16: 19-31.*
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
They "shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and they themselves thrust out."
Now the parable represents a perfect and entire change of fortune with respect to those two classes; for Abraham is represented as saying to the rich Israelite, "Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." Here it will be perceived that the classes change situations-the hungry are filled with good things, that is, "are comforted;" while the rich are sent empty away, that is, "are tormented" even worse than the poor whom in their previous lifetime they had despised.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
"Far off" from where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets then are. Far off as to distance; and as the kingdom is to be established in the land of Israel, it will be far off in relation to that country; from which, having risen from the dead, they are expelled from the presence of the Lord. But this country of their exile is a place where an unquenchable, or an enduring, fire is prepared for the devil and his emissaries:
"for, behold the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many."-Isaiah 66: 15-16.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Moses and the prophets saw the kingdom of Yahweh afar off. This is the subject of the parable - a contrast between The poor in spirit who suffer now but receive the kingdom in the day of Israel's consolation, and the well to-do blind leaders who enjoy good things now and justified in their own eyes but unsanctified.
Bro Thomas 'The Rich Man and Lazarus'.
This is the great lesson of the parable put into the mouth of Abraham. Jesus considers the claims of Moses and the prophets to be established on such grounds, that the submission of true and docile reason is inevitable, and in effect says that a man standing out against those claims is beyond reach of conviction.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 31
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
'...the dead are truly in a state of death, not only having no capacity for any rational function whatever, but having no existence of any kind, except in the history which their life has written in the book of God's indelible memory. It is the great doctrine of the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, that on the foundation of this history, their existence will be resumed by the Resurrection power God has given to Christ, at whose command the dead will be re-organised and come forth for judgment in accordance with what he may deem the deserts of mortal life; incorruption of nature and consequent deathlessness, with every attendant circumstance of glory, honour, and joy, being awarded to those of whom he approves; and condemnation to second death, corruption and final perdition to those whose case in his judgment calls for so terrible a fate.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 31