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Luke 16 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Luke 16 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.

5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?

6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

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.

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

"That which is highly esteemed among men [love, wisdom, honesty, courage, tuth, beauty, etc.] is abomination in the sight of God."
The author of the SAB gives as examples of what is highly esteemed among men things as love and wisdom. Those are probably the last two things men are known for. Or things must be very different in America than portrayed by the drive-by media and Hollywood movies. Which is probably the case, but that in general men are seeking wisdom is sure even in America the exception.
Also the implication that love and wisdom is abomination in the heart of God is ridiculous. Just read Prov. 1:7 and John 3:16.
So what are the things that men seek? Fame and riches, that is what men highly esteem and that is what they seek after. Then and now. As the context of this verse clearly explains. Men seek riches, verse 13 and verse 25. And this remark of Jesus caused great offense with the Pharisees (who were covetous), that is why they derided him (verse 14).

16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

(16:16-17) "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached."
Jesus says that the Old Testament laws applied only until the time of John the Baptist. But then he contradicts himself immediately in the next verse.
Must Christians follow the OT laws?
I'm glad the author of the SAB asked. Usually he just asserts that verses written specifically for Israel also apply to us or uses them to claim another contradiction. It is nice to see even he realizes there is a distinction between the Old and New Testaments. But the distinction is not between Old Testament and New Testament laws, as there are four kinds of law described in the Old Testament. The laws written for the land of Israel and the laws that foreshadowed Jesus do not apply to us. But the Ten Commandments do as they apply to all mankind.
Now back to this verse. The author of the SAB asserts that the meaning of “The law and the prophets were until John” is that the law and the prophets are now abolished. In the next verse Jesus says they're not. Voila, a contradiction. It is an extremely low blow to give a meaning to a phrase it doesn't have in order to let Jesus contradict himself. Because the meaning of “The law and the prophets were until John” isn't that they were abolished. Jesus explicitly denies that it has that meaning in the next verse (verse 17)! The meaning is simply that the law and the prophets spoke of things as under a shadow. But now the kingdom of God has come forth in its full glory, in the light of day. As John Gill observes on “the law and the prophets were until John”:

whereas spiritual things were promised in these writings, under the notion of temporal ones; which they not understanding, might imagine the doctrine of Christ, concerning the contempt of worldly riches, was contrary to: and since they valued themselves on having the law and the prophets, Christ observes, that since that time, the kingdom of God is preached; the Gospel, and the mysteries of relating to the kingdom of the Messiah, his person, office, and grace; and to the kingdom of grace, which lies not in outward, but in inward and spiritual things; and to the kingdom of heaven, or glory hereafter; and which is a superior dispensation to that of the law and the prophets, and sets things in a clearer, plainer, and better light:

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.

"Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery."
Is divorce ever permissible?
Is it OK for a divorced woman to remarry?
On if divorce is permissible see Mark 10:11.
It is not always OK for a divorced women to remarry, but it is in certain cases, compare for example 1 Cor. 7:11 with 1 Cor. 7:15.

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

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.

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;

(16:19-31) "I am tormented in this flame."
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man goes to hell because he had a good life on earth and so now he will be tormented forever in hell. Whereas Lazarus, who was miserable on earth, is now in heaven. This seems fair to Jesus.
Does Hell exist?
What the Bible says about rich people and torture
The Bible's guide to torture
Hell does exist, such is quite clear. But the author of the SAB asserts that the rich man went to hell because he was rich. As there were many rich people in the Bible who did go to heaven, Abraham for example, it is clear that being rich doesn't condemn you. But you will have to give account what you did with what God gave you, be it talents or riches. In verse 21 it is clear that the rich man didn't care about the poor Lazarus at all. He didn't gave him any of his abundance. Lazarus had to do with what fell from the table, i.e. what was thrown away. When Lazarus became ill, the rich man didn't help him either, but the dogs had to lick his wounds. And lastly we very clearly see that being rich wasn't the cause of him going to hell in verse 30. The rich man doesn't ask that Lazarus should go to his brothers to tell them that they should become poor, but that they should repent of their sins.

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.

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.

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.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

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.