Q. In Luke 16 we have the story of the rich man and Lazarus. In verse 30 the rich man says that if someone from the dead were to speak with his brothers they would repent. Verse 31 tells us this is not so. How can one correlate these verses with 1st Corinthians 15 where Christ’s resurrection is to be the basis for one’s belief in Christ?
Remember the context:
27 “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house–
28 for I have five brothers–in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
30 “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’
31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
We have several examples in the Scriptures of people coming back from the dead without bringing men to repentance.
In 1 Samuel 28 Saul was not brought to repentance even though the prophet Samuel appeared to him from the dead.
In John chapter 11 we have the account of the raising of Lazarus of Bethany.
43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.”
44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
45 ¶ Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him.
46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.
47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs.
48 “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
This is a very interesting account because we have another “Lazarus” who is indeed raised from the dead and who does indeed inspire repentance and belief. But not everyone who witnessed the resurrection believed in him. Those who had previously rejected the Word of God, the teaching of the Law and the Prophets regarding the Christ, refused to believe. And they went one step further. John 12:10 tells us: “But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death .”
Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared not to unbelievers, but to his apostles.
29 “When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.
30 “But God raised Him from the dead;
31 and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people.
Notice to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection. Only to those who had already accepted the teaching of the Word of God that Jesus was the Messiah. These disciples were to be his witnesses.
Acts 17:31 says………….
Acts 17: 31
31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
There is no contradiction here. God has furnished proof of his Word by raising the Christ from the dead. Those who reject the teaching about the Christ found in the Scriptures will not be brought to repentance even if one from the dead gives them a message.