The expression, “Experience is the best teacher.” is common and true. It is even good when it is possible to make necessary changes but when it is too late, the consequences are always great. That is why, a wise man learns from the negative experience of others. However, it is seer foolishness to refuse lessons from such a source.
This is the case with the rich man in hell contained in Luke chapter sixteen. He experienced firsthand torments in hell. He desired a drop of water to cool his tongue but could not receive it. There was a gulf between hell and place of comfort where father Abraham and Lazarus were, so, they could not help him.
What was his concern for his five brothers? He pleaded with father Abraham thus,
“I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house, for I have five brothers that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.” Luke 16:27-28,30
“No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”
He desired that his five brothers REPENT of their evil ways to believe the gospel so they will not end in his own way of regrets.
Father Abraham’s reply was,
“If they do not hear Moses and the prophets (ministers of God), neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” V 31.
Please, play the role of someone who is wise and loves himself very well. Repent and believe the gospel today.
THE RICH MAN’S FATHERS HOUSE.
Note that the rich man was solely concerned about his brothers in his father’s house and not any other house.
His father’s house is the position of power in the world. It is a house where every one member can be called “a successful man”. You can call it a house of success. Be aware of the fact that in the world, everyone cannot be said to be successful.
“They are not in trouble as other men
Nor are they plagued like other men.
Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish
And their tongue walks through the earth.” Verse 5,7,9(b).
It is a house of comfort. It is a house where there is no lack of anything good by world standard. A house where everyone wants to live but it is not possible for all to live there. Psalm 73 in part part,(above).
HIS FAMILY FEATURES.
Let us briefly identify about eight traits and /lifestyles of every member of this house:
“…and purple robes which were on the Kings of Median,…” Judges 8:28d
In this house, “Blue and purple are their clothing,…” Jeremiah 10:9f
“So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in
Royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold
And a garment of fine linen and purple, and the city of
Shushan rejoiced and was glad.” Esther 8:15.
Linen garments are not for the masses but the decisions makers in the society. This is the rich man’s father’s house.
At meals, sometimes, they prepare ALL types of foods from which each member takes his portion. No want of any kind of food. All kinds of drinks are available at each meal. They feast daily.
They live their lives in luxury, in clothing, feeding and deeds.
They create a wide gap between them and the poor. They look down on and away from them.
Take note that members are kind to one another only. They demonstrate love among the household.
Having briefly examined the family traits of these people, now let us examine “who are the five brothers of the rich man”
Note please that the five brothers and the rich man are individuals (not a corporate body or entity) who occupy a position of authority in the society.
KINGS: These are rulers over a certain territory. They dictate what the inhabitants must do. They direct the affairs of the “state” of their territories good, bad or ugly; they know about what is going on and can influence happenings in their society.
There are various terms that used to describe those heads of Governments. These could be presidents, prime ministers, emirs, and so on. These people run the affairs of the kingdom. King Pharaoh of Egypt, when famine was a-seven-year looming, said to Joseph, after the interpretation of the king’s dreams and proffering a sure solution.
“You shall be over my house and all my people shall be
Ruled according to your words, only in regard to the throne
Will I be greater than you.
See I have set you over all the land of Egypt”. Gen 41:40-41.
All those who have an authority and can delegate such to another person fall into this group. Those who are given such authority are also members of this group. A brother of the rich man in hell is a ruler over a Kingdom.
LORD SPIRITUAL. The second brother is from among those who are spiritual or religious leaders. The spiritual cannot be successfully divorced from the physical. The former controls the latter. There are spiritual leaders who have authority to dictate what takes place in a kingdom. The importance of this was brought to the forefront when Solomon was installed a King in place of David, his father. The Holy Bible reveals,
“And they made Solomon the son of David King the second time, and anointed him before the Lord to be the leader, and Zadok to be priest.” 1Chronicles 29:22.
The Lords spiritual are very close to the leader to interpret their visions and dreams and to instruct the leader according to the heart of the Lord. Read Daniel 4:10-14.
However, people in this group are brothers of the rich man in hell so they must not forget their spiritual roles in governance. They are the ones who must not defile themselves with the leader’s delicacies. They should not lose their divine closeness.
During the reign of King Ahab, about four hundred prophets were gathered to reveal the mind of the Lord to King Ahab whether he should go to war with Ramoth Gilead or not? They all prophesied victory to him. The “President” of these King’s Prophets, Zedekiah, later declared his spiritual status when Micaiah disclosed the true mind of God that the king would fall on the battle field,
“which way did the spirit from the Lord go from me
To spoke to you?” 1Kings 22:24c.
Those spiritual or religious leaders who have lost their spiritual bearings by way of Government delicacies are brothers to the rich man in hell they need to repent of their way by way.
LORD’S TEMPORAL: These are the Judicial and legislative members. These are the people who promulgate and define the laws of the land. They also have a great influence on the running of government. Let these words from the Holy Scripture reveals the hearts of those in this group to you. Felix is a member here:
The rich man’s brother in this group pervert judgment, setting free the guilty and they imprison the innocent.
THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS/THE ARMED MEN. These are the people in charge of a nation’s security. They are also close to Government. A good leader will never play games with the security of his people.
In the days of Abraham, when King Abimelech saw that God was with him, he went to Abraham with Phichol, the commander of his army to enter into a covenant of peace with the great man of God. The commander was involved because he was in charge of security.
They are also men of authority who also have servants. Matthew 8:5-10
One common fault of this group is the use of force. When they asked John the Baptist what shall they do, in his days, he told them,
“Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14.
To convince you of this truth, when Naaman, the commander of Syrian army went to visit Prophet Elisha, he displayed opulence,
“So he Naaman departed and took with him, ten talents of silver,
Six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothing” 2Kings 5:5
The armed men are brothers of the rich man in Hell.
PUBLIC SERVANTS. These are men of high reputation in public service. They are career civil servants who wine and dine with the leader. These are the people who are permanently running the government. They remain even when there is a change in leadership. These see day to day administration of the Government. The head of service, every head of a ministry, department, board or parastaltal is included in this group. These are people who are directly involved in directing or sinking the ship of a nation. They know how to make a Government policy, work or fail.
These men of high reputation in public sector find excuses for more persuasion to make them decide for Christ. They prefer the rules and regulations of their father’s house as well as former or current lifestyle. They are not easily convinced.
A typical example of this public official is Zachaeus who was a chief tax collector. People were not ignorant of this man wrong way of living. He was a popular sinner. People said about Zaccheaous,
“He (Jesus) was gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Luke 19:7
This man expressed his old ways to Jesus Christ and the restitution step he took. Thus,
“Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor;
And if I have taken anything from anyone by false
Accusation, I restore fourfold.” Luke 19:8. New King James Version
False accusation is one of the evil acts of this group of people. This was further made clear by John the Baptist when tax collectors came to be baptized into repentance, thus,
“collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Luke 3:13.
The concern of the rich man in hades was that his five brothers.
REPENT. He knew well that before this could be done, there is the need for someone to TESTIFY to them. Luke 16:28-30. NKJV.
These are in consonance with the words of Apostle Paul in Romans 10:14-15
“How then shall they believe in Him in whom they not
Believed? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:14-15.
Please, pay attention to the fact that people who can testify abound. These are people who can boldly,
“…we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands
have handled, concerning the Word of life…” 1John 1:1. NKJV.
The Lord gives no room for anyone with excuses. The request of the rich man in the hades has been granted. There are so many saints who have risen from the dead with news of what every man will pass through after this life. Do you know what? Many of the five brothers still find It extremely difficult to believe.
The rich man in torment, after he had departed this sinful world, would not want any of his brothers to end in torment. His experience had taught him that repentance is the only way out. “Evangelist Rich man” understood the message of people of God, when it has been too late. The message was and still is,
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your
Sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing
May come from the presence of the Lord” Acts 3:19.
The purpose of this piece is not to condemn those who fall into any of the groups of these five brothers but to encourage them to repent. To change their evil ways to the way of righteousness. That is to walk uprightly. Doing only good always.
There are good patterns from each of the group to follow.
“David did what was right in
The eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside from
Anything that He commanded him all the days of his
Life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” 2King 15:5
” And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandment and ordinance of the Lord blameless.” Luke 1:6 New King James Version.
Deborah was a Judge in the land of Israel for many years. She judged with righteousness. She pleased the Lord God of her fathers. The Holy Bible records,
“Now Deborah… the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.” Judges 4:4
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called
Cornelius, a a centurion of what was called the Italian
Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God
With his household, who gave alms generously to
The people, and prayed to God always. Acts 10:1-2. NKJV.
“Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Luke 3:13.
The testimony of Zechaus says it all,
“Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor,
And if I have taken anything from anyone by false
Accusation, I restore fourfold.” Luke 19:8.
The stories of these people are to prove that it is not belonging to any of the above group that is wrong but what you think, do or say while you occupy that position.
Please note that the group mentioned in this write-up is not final. Why? In many countries, the terms used and their functions are different. Not only this, in many instances, since Bible days, an individual be may be able to occupy two, three or more of such offices or positions. If you are one of such fellows, pay attention to the statement of the Lord
“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will
Be required, and to whom much has been committed, of him
They will ask the more” Luke 12:48 NKJV.
You should not allow “absolute power to corrupt you absolutely.” There are people who have been so much given or committed who did not become power drunk or intoxicated.
Deborah was a prophetess, that is, Lord spiritual, a judge, that is, Lord temporal; who also led the people of God in battles. She was still humble, a wife of a man, Lapidoth.
She was not alone, Samuel the son of Elkanah whose mother’s name was Hannah, was a priest, prophet and a judge in Israel. In the twilight of his life, he confronted the leaders of his nation, Israel, with the following words,
“… I am old and gray headed, and look, my sons are with you,
I have walked before you from my childhood to this day.
Here I am witness against me before the Lord and before His
Anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken,
Or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose
Hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I
Will restore it to you.” 1Samuel 12:2-3.
What was the response of the elders of Israel to his challenge to them? He was given a clean bill of record thus,
“You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have
You taken anything from any man’s hand.” Verse 4.
Let me bring this to a close with the life of a man after the heart of God, David, thus,
iii. He was a priest. 1Sam 21:1-6, 30:7-8.
iv. He was a Judge. 1Sam 30:19-25.
Let me remind you here that the five brothers of the rich man in hades are expected to repent of their evil ways to work righteousness.
Stay blessed and prepared for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.