“Lazarus represented the God-fearing people of other nations debarred, until the close of the Jewish Age, from those blessings conferred upon Israel specially. As the linen represented Israel’s justification, so the sores represented moral defilement in this class, for whose justification no sin-offering had at that time been made. They were not even typically cleansed, and had as yet no share in the rich promises of the kingdom. They were on the contrary outcasts, strangers from the commonwealth of Israel.
“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:11-13.)
As to how these ate of the “crumbs” of divine favor which fell from Israel’s table of bounties, and how they accounted themselves as companions of “dogs,” the Lord’s conversation with the Syro-Phoenician woman, who was one of this class, offers a clear explanation.”
“He said to this Gentile woman–“It is not meet (proper) to take the children’s (Israelites) bread and give it to the dogs” (Gentiles); and she answered, “Yea, Lord, but the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”–Matt. 15:27. Jesus healed her daughter, thus giving the desired crumb of favor. Dogs were regarded as detestable creatures in those days, and the typically clean Jew called the outsiders “heathen” and “dogs,” and would never eat with them, nor marry nor have any dealings with them.”–John 4:9
But there came a change to both of these classes. The “rich man” (the Jewish nation) died, ceased to exist as a nation, and as the national representatives of God’s favors, when God’s favors were taken from them (Matt. 21:43) and given to those formerly outcasts.
“But there came a change to both of these classes, a time when the typical righteousness of the Jew ceased–when the promise of royalty ceased to be theirs, and the kingdom was taken from them to be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Matt. 21:43) The rich man died to all these special advantages and soon he (the Jewish nation) found himself in “Gehenna fire“, NOT a place, but rather a condition–a cast-off condition, in trouble, tribulation and affliction, in which they as a people have suffered (been in torment) to this very day hindered by their law prejudices (as a great gulf) from accepting of Christ.
“The “Lazarus” class also died, or ceased from their former condition, and from the Gentiles many were carried by the angels (messengers, apostles, etc.) to Abraham’s bosom. Abraham is represented as the father of the faith-full and receives to his bosom all the children of faith–who thus are recognized as the heirs to all the promises made to Abraham. For the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the “children of the promise are counted for the seed” (children of Abraham) “which seed is Christ,” and “if ye be Christ’s then are ye (believers) Abraham’s seed (children) and heirs according to the (Abrahamic) promise.”–Gal. 3:29. Yes, the condition of things then existing terminated by death–at the death of Jesus–“for if one died for all, then were all dead.” There the Jew was cast off and has since been shown “no favor,” and the poor Gentiles who before had been “aliens from the commonwealth (the promises) of Israel and without God and having no hope in the world,” were then “brought nigh by the blood of Christ” and “reconciled to God.”–Eph. 2:13.
If the two tribes living in Judea (Judah and Benjamin) were represented by one rich man, would it not be in harmony to suppose that the “five brothers” represented the remaining ten tribes, who had “Moses and the Prophets” as their instructors? The question relative to them was doubtless introduced to show that all special favor of God ceased to the ten tribes, as well as to the two directly addressed. It seems to us evident, that Israel only was meant, for none other nation than Israel had “Moses and the prophets” as instructors.”
“The rich man replied, “… but if one went to them from the dead, they would repent.” One did actually go from the dead—Lazarus by name—but still they did not repent. In other words, the fact the beggar in the parable was named “Lazarus” is a reference to the Lazarus that Jesus would raise subsequently in the Jerusalem area. Jesus was on his way there now, so this parable would have been fresh in the Pharisees’ minds when the raising occurred (and yet they neither believed nor repented). And even when Jesus himself was raised from the dead, the five brothers (Israel as a nation) did not believe.”
In a word, this parable seems to teach precisely what Paul explained in Rom 11:19-31. How that because of unbelief, the natural branches were broken off, and the wild branches grafted in to the Abrahamic promises. In the parable, Jesus leaves them in the trouble, and does not refer to their final restoration to favor, doubtless because it was not pertinent to the feature of the subject treated; but Paul assures us, that when the fullness of the Gentiles–the Bride–be come in “they (the Israelites) shall obtain mercy through your (the Church’s) mercy.” He assures us that this is God’s covenant with fleshly Israel (they lost the higher–spiritual–promises, but are still the possessors of certain earthly promises) to become the chief nation of earth, etc. In proof of this statement, he quotes the Prophets, saying: “The deliverer shall come out of Zion, (the glorified church,) and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob,” (the fleshly seed). As concerning the Gospel, (high calling) they are enemies, (cast off) for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. Romans 11:30-32.
(Excerpts taken from R283 and R1087)