The rich man and Lazarus: Why Christ used pagan theology?

Why would Jesus use Greek pagan theology in a story to Pharisees who were held captive in that false doctrine?
Yes, Jesus did use a story that was well known by the Pharisees in His day. Why did Jesus use it? Simply because He wanted to correct their false views. If you notice the story carefully, while the rich man in the story (who represents the Pharisees) believed in the immortality of the soul, Abraham believed in the resurrection of the dead. This is seen clearly by the fact that the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers from among the dead. Abraham, on the other hand stated that the brothers would not believe though one rise from the dead (Luke 16:30).
Let's see the story verse by verse:
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man
A formulae for parable? Yes, “There was a man” is repeatedly used in the gospel of Luke to describe a parable (eg: Luke 15:11, a parable). Can we conclude it is what it is?
Let's proceed....
Before we proceed, let’s think about this now. Is the story of the rich man and Lazarus a story invented by Jesus?
No, this was a story well known by the rabbis. But for the rabbis, Lazarus would end up burning in torments; the rich man will end up in Abraham’s bosom. So, Jesus takes this common story and gave it a twist.
Who was this story spoken to? The pharisees, the main audience (Luke 15:14).
Who wrote the story? Luke was written especially for those of Greek mentality – written to the Greeks. Therefore, the parable fits well with the greek idea of the immortal soul that flies off at the moment of death. Jesus takes this story that is used in his day and age. He is not saying that the story is true. You will see...
What did the Pharisees believe about death?
Pharisee believed in the immortality of the soul unlike the Sadducees (Act 23:8) – Historian Josephus confirms this, who was also a Pharisee. If Jesus spoke this story to Sadducees, it would not have made sense. Even the disciples of Jesus had this idea of immortal soul according to (Mark 6:49).
Now this is interesting, the belief system of the Pharisee at death according to:
Discourse to the Greeks concerning Hades by Josephus, “NOW as to Hades, ….a subterraneous region,..” which had two compartments. One contained, “a lake of unquenchable fire” , and the other side was “The Bosom of Abraham”. (See:
So, Jesus’ explanation aligns well with the idea expressed in Josephus work. Jesus is simply speaking (rich man and Lazarus) with in their own frame of reference - Pharisees knew this idea of two part heaven and hell sort of destinations.
Notice a few points about the traditional understanding of the Pharisees vs. the bible now:
Josephus says angels gather the righteous to Abrahams bosom at death, the Bible says angels gather the elect at the second coming (Matt 25:31-46)
Bosom? Represent closeness. (John 1:18 - Jesus is in the bosom of the Father – He has a special closeness to the father). Bosom is not a literal chest of Abraham, according to Josephus; it was a region where those with a close link/connection with Abraham was taken; wonder where people were taken before Abraham existed!).
Rich man appears to be in the torments at death in the story, but all other references in the NT says the wicked are cast away into the lake of fire at the end of the age, never at the moment of death (Matt 13:40-43). Building an entire theology on this story sounds good? Hmmm. Not so! Let's continue...  
Luke 16:22 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;
Note, the Rich man was ‘buried’. Then he must be in the grave, right?  
Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
How can the rich man lift up his eyes if he is in the grave? What is he doing with all his body parts in the fire? This story doesn’t say that the rich man when he died, he immediately went to hellfire, does it? It’s an assumption that people make. If we go by the rest of the bible, the evidence indicate this event will happen at the end of the age. Evidence to the contrary?
Luke 16:24 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.
If this is at the point of death, again, why are body parts in the hellfire (tongue, finger)? This is a valid relevant question. It should happen at the end of the age!!! Body is cast into the hellfire not at death, (Matt 5:29, and 30). So, again, the story doesn’t tell us rich man got his punishment immediately at his death, does it? Let's continue...
Now this is important. Who did the rich man represent?
Luke 16:24 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.
The Pharisees - the sons of the “Father Abraham”.
Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Who had Moses and the Prophets? The Jews.

Luke 16:30 And he [rich man] said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Did the Rich man believe in immortality of the Soul? Yes, he says, send them one “from the dead”.

Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Did Jesus believe in immortality of the soul? Jesus says, if I send someone it must be someone “risen from the dead” (see: Luke 24:26). This is KEY and settles the idea of what Jesus really believed!!!!!!!
So, yes, the rich man represents the Jewish nation. Particularly the Pharisees. Incredible. Jesus uses their belief system (send someone from the dead), but Moses and the prophets and Jesus, speaks about resurrection from the dead.....  
What does Lazarus represent?
One argument for some to say this is not a parable is because parables doesn’t give names. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, there is an exception. The rich man is not named, but Lazarus is. Why do we have a proper name if this was a parable? Who does this beggar Lazarus represents? Lazarus represents the gentiles. There is a reason why name Lazarus was used, “Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”. Who was raised from the dead in actually later on?
John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Do you see how Jesus connects a Lazarus in a story with the real Lazarus? When Lazarus was resurrected that was the greatest sign of the Messiahship of Jesus. Will they still believe in Jesus? Moses and the prophets expounded on Jesus (John 5:39). The real Lazarus did not go to preach to the Jews from the dead but after he was resurrected from the dead. (John 12:9,10).
Even if this story were to be real, Jesus ( did not confirm immortality of the soul. He confirmed the resurrection of the dead.
Here's a summary of the story and points to ponder:
a) The rich man asks for Lazarus to be sent to his brethren and tell them about “hell” (the grave), but Abraham refers us to Moses and the prophets for understanding on what happens to a person when they die (V 28 – 31). That is significant – the OT is sufficient evidence on this doctrine. We can’t set aside what the OT has said.
b. We then inquire what facts the OT has give to us about death (Hell - Grave Sheol) for this is talking about sheol (V 23). Is sheol represented as a happy place or a silent place. We find that all go there, and remain until the last day.
c. If this is not a parable and if we take Jesus words ignoring the context of all scripture, we might encounter further issues. I’ll give you an example - Judges 9:7-15: The trees are talking to each other – Is this true? 2 Kings 14:9 is another example (do thistles and cedars have children?) What about Abel’s blood crying from the ground? Literal? (Gen 4:10,11)?
d. Why was this parable/story given? V14 to rebuke the Pharisees for their covetousness. They thought riches were a mark of God’s favor.
e. This parable is in a long list of parables (Luke 15 contains three, Luke 16 starts with the parable of the unjust servant; the parables don’t always say they are parables, they just start out … there was a certain man….., a certain man had two sons….etc.
f. Things in parables are sometimes referred to as having life (Isa 14:9 – 14; Eze 31:15-18; 32: 17- 32; Jer 31:15-17/Matt2:17,18). Did Rachael weep literally?
g. Trees of the field clap their hands, floods lift up their voices, mountains sing, stones cry out etc. etc.
h. The interesting thing about this parable/story is what it supposedly teaches. Notice when a person dies they go to Abraham’s bosom. QUESTION: Where did the souls go before Abraham? Did they go under the altar (Rev 6:9, 10)? Where did Abraham’s soul go? They all seem to go to different places depending on what text is used!!!!!!
i. The beggar died and was carried by the angels….. When do the angels gather us? At death or at the second coming? (Matthew 24:31; 1 Thess 4:16,17). If this is literal then it must be after the resurrection.
j. Is this a literal narrative? If so we will have to teach that souls or spirits do have tongues, hands, fingers, eyes etc.!!!
Watch: The rich man and Lazarus by Pastor Stephen Bohr