Luke 16:31 MEANING

Luke 16:31
(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.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".

Courtesy of Open Bible