The Rich Man and Lazarus: An
"His breath goeth forth,
He returneth to his earth;
Intermediate State?
In that very day his thoughts perish".
Luke 16:19-31
God is here speaking of "Man"; not of some part of man, but
of "princes", and "man" or any "son of man" (v. 3), i.e. Any and
every human being begotten or born of human parents.
There is not a word about "disembodied man". No such
In dealing with this Scripture, and the subject of the so-called
expression is to be found in the Scriptures! The phrase is man's
"intermediate state", it is important that we should confine
own invention in order to make this and other scriptures agree
ourselves to the Word of God, and not go to Tradition. Yet, when
with his tradition. This Scripture speaks of "man" as man. "His
nine out of ten believe what they have learned from Tradition,
breath"; "he returneth"; "his thoughts". It is an unwarrantable
we have a thankless task, so far as pleasing man is concerned.
liberty to put "body" when the Holy Spirit has put "man". The
We might give our own ideas as the the employment's, etc., of
passage says nothing about the "body". It is whatever has done
the "departed", and man would deal leniently with us. But let us
this thinking. The "body" does not think. The "body" apart from
the spirit has no "thoughts". Whatever has had the "thoughts"
only put God's Revelation against man's imagination, and then
has them no more; and this is "man". If this were the only
we shall be made to feel his wrath, and experience his
statement in Scripture on the subject it would be sufficient. But
there are many others.
Claiming, however, to have as great a love and jealousy for
There is Ecc. 9:5, which declares that "The dead know not
the Word of God as any of our brethren; and as sincere a desire
anything". This also is so clear that there could be no second
to find out what God says, and what God means: we claim also
meaning. "The dead" are the dead; they are those who have
the sympathy of all our fellow members of the Body of Christ.
ceased to live; and, if the dead do or can know anything, then
There are several matters to be considered before we can reach
words are useless for the purpose of revelation. The word
the Scripture concerning the rich man and Lazarus; or arrive at a
satisfactory conclusion as to the State after death. It will be well
"dead" here is used in the immediate context as the opposite of
for us to remember that all such expressions as "Intermediate
"the living", e.g.:
State", "Church Triumphant", and others similar to them are
"The living know that they shall die, But the dead know not
unknown to Scripture. They have been inherited by us from
Tradition, and have been accepted without thought or
It does not say dead bodies know not anything, but "the
dead", i.e. dead people, who are set in contrast with "the living".
Putting aside, therefore, all that we have thus been taught, let
As one of these "living" David says, by the Holy Spirit (Psalm
us see what God actually does reveal to us in Scripture
concerning man, in life, and in death; and concerning the state
and condition of the dead.
"While I live will I praise the Lord:
I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being".
Psalm 146:4 declared of man,