Luke 16:21 especially
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As I understood it, even the dogs felt sorry for this poor, homeless, down and out man. As you know, dog licking is something dogs do for many reasons. For example: grooming themselves, keeping themselves clean, cleaning their puppies, etc. So, when a dog has cut itself, for example, it immediately licks that wound. Dog saliva acts as a kind of balm to disinfect and make healing quicker. Dogs are intelligent animals, and they recognise pain and suffering. This man was covered in sores and open wounds; hence, the dogs trying to heal him by licking.
In my opinion, Jesus added this detail involving dogs (which would have represented in that context an embodiment of uncleanness) to emphasize the utter abjectness of Lazarus' situation, for the dual purposes of contrast with both the rich man's life of worldly ease and comfort combined with his callous disregard of Lazarus' condition, as well as the state of eternal blessedness that Lazarus experienced following his temporal death.
In Luke 16:19-21...Let's see Jesus! Hebrews 2:10, 11, 17 - "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren...Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." The name Lazarus/Eleasar, is the same in meaning, as Jesus! It is the Latin form of the Greek "Iesous" which means Jehovah. This is God/salvation. Matthew 1:21, Luke 1:31 In this portion of scripture - Jesus is telling the Pharisees about the law, the prophets and the kingdom. I see the rich man as a pharisee, or in today's world an executive or a high government official, perhaps. The poor man, Lazarus, is Jesus. Jesus endured much, especially on the cross. Not to mention the rejection, the ridicule, the beating... The poor man was waiting to die and was attended by dogs licking his sores. Dogs in the Bible were not well thought of. I see them representing gentiles. Or any group that is not Israel can be dogs. Dogs ate Jezebel. 2Kings 9:10. Isaiah 56:11, - dogs are greedy, look to their own way, territorial. Somewhat like many people. They are not worthy of the crumbs that fall from the children's table...Matthew 15:26 Israel can also be thought of as the rich man. God's chosen people. Amos 9:11,12 - Israel (the rich man) will be restored and all the gentiles, (any people not Israel) the dogs, will be left. But look on the history of the chosen race. Israel was repeatedly disobedient, and rebellious. So, why are there dogs in this story? Remember, nothing is too hard fro God, Jesus! If someone dies like a rebellious dog, can they be rescued? Can Jesus cross from Hades to heaven? Can Jesus traverse a fixed gulf? 1Peter 3:18,19 - "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went preached to the spirits in prison." 1 Peter 4:6, "For this reason the Gospel was preached to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." The dead, face judgement, the believer faces judgement also, but for reward. Jesus crosses all barriers. Revelation 1:18, "I Am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. And I have the keys of Hades and Death." Revelation 19:6, "And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thundering, saying 'Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!'" I think that this may be one more mystery yet to be revealed. Suppose I am the worst person to ever live, unrepentant in Hades, a dog! But, in my whole life, I did only one thing to please God. Can, would, sweet Jesus in His mercy use His key to rescue me? After all, I am a creation of God...
In modern times we call these 'pressure sores.' We don't really have 'beggars' in our society like Lazarus, since self-righteous hypocrisy is widespread. We certainly still have the 'equivalent,' but we stuff them in nursing homes now 'out of sight and out of mind.' We can get 'pressure sores' from laying on one side of our body for extended periods of time, especially when we are too weak to even turn ourselves and our nutrition is bad, making our skin weak and vulnerable to bruising and tearing. Eventually, they are 'everywhere we turn.' People really didn't have 'pets' in Christ's day. The idea was clearly 'pagan' and led to viewing individual animals as 'people' and even to notions that they were somehow 'relationship mates' comparable to humans. This is the source of practices in ancient Egypt and the 'seven nations' that eventually even led them to bestiality, 'experiments' involving direct contact with their hormones and blood, (continued today as 'bovine steroids' for weightlifting,' etc...), and even pagan cults dedicated to particular animals and their 'transformational powers.' GOD arranged animals in their own 'communities' for a reason, and our 'shared affection' is supposed to be experienced through the safety of this 'cushion.' So GOD's people in Israel saw 'dogs' as an 'outlying community' whose members 'visited' in packs or individuals, alerting them to various dangers, (including invading armies or 'scouts'), acting like the 'canaries in the mine shaft' warning of unusual natural phenomenon or toxins, 'guarding' encampments by barking when roving thieves were present, and 'visiting' those being neglected, those 'lost' in the wilderness or those 'forgotten' by society. Lazarus was one of the 'forgotten.' Scripture says that all he was really looking for were 'morsels' from the tables of his society, (just like dogs expect to receive in exchange for their 'services'). The 'dogs' recognized their own, even when human society did not. Yet, Lazarus had lost his 'pack.' No one was even bothering to 'turn him over' so he didn't get pressure sores. Sound familiar? Yes. Our elderly and 'weak but not extremely sick,' (of any age), are frequently 'abandoned' in this way. Like Lazarus, they don't even have a stomach for much more than 'tasty morsels' from our tables and wouldn't want more even if you offered it. But what they are asking of us, (as little as it is), is VITALLY important both to us and to them. The bizarre irony is that we often have more time for our 'pets' than our own human family or 'extended' family. Arranging animals in this 'new' way impacts the animals negatively too. While a small number may seem quite content with all of our attention, affections and 'treats,' millions suffer in isolation in cages ''waiting' for a home that never arrives instead of spending that time in a 'community' of their own. While this 'rearrangement' back to nature might be difficult for us to achieve in our 'modern' times, it would serve us in many ways: immediately alerting us once again to 'environmental toxins'; to 'dangerous people and their activities'; to 'neglected or forgotten humans'; and to 'much better uses for our daily wasted food or resources.' Our current arrangement is 'tidier,' 'cleaner,' 'easier' and 'less obviously offensive.' But the absence of our 'communities of animal friends' is literally killing us with no advanced warnings about 'natural disasters,' 'growing crime,' 'cancerous substances' and 'expanding neglect.' By the time we realize any of that, WE are 'Lazarus' and no one ever comes around anymore to even 'lick our sores.'
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