Does v 31b means "the rise from the dead" will not persuade unbelievers at all?

Text: Luke 16:30-31(ESV)

30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

  • 2
    In the direct context it's the rich man's brothers. In the broader context it's the faithless Israelite religious leaders.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 7, 2020 at 7:12
  • I agree with curiousdannii. Your answer is in the verses close to the ones you quote from, in close context.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 7, 2020 at 8:02

2 Answers 2


The answer here, grammatically, is easily solved by following the pronouns back to their immediate antecedent. I have highlighted these in that which follows from Luke 16:27-31:

Then I beg you, father,’ he said, ‘send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also end up in this place of torment.’

But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let your brothers listen to them.’

‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone is sent to them from the dead, they will repent.’

Then Abraham 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.’”

Thus, the "they" in V31 is simply the "five brothers" of V28.

Now, how one wishes to interpret this parable is an entirely different matter. The events surrounding Jesus' telling this parable clearly show to whom He referred - the leading Jews who would not listen to the truth of the Jesus' teaching. Ample evidence of this is given in the raising of Lazarus which precipitated in the final plans of the Jews to kill Jesus, John 11:45-54.

Ellicott reaches the same conclusion in his comments on Luke 16:31 -

If they hear not Moses and the prophets.—We are accustomed, rightly enough, to look on our Lord’s own Resurrection as leading to the great fulfilment of these words. We should not forget, however, that there was another fulfilment more immediately following on them. In a few weeks, or even days, according to the best harmonists, tidings came that Lazarus of Bethany was sick (John 11:1). In yet a few days more that Lazarus did “rise from the dead;” cured, we may believe, of whatever love of this world’s good things had checked his spiritual growth, a witness of the power of Christ to raise, as from the shadow-world of Hades, so also from the darkness of spiritual death to newness of life. And yet that wonder also brought about no repentance, Scribes and Pharisees, and Sadducees and priests simply took counsel together that they might put Lazarus also to death (John 12:10). We can hardly believe the coincidence of name and fact in this instance to have been undesigned.


It is referring to what happened in the following passages:

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” ... 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. (John 11:45-48; 12:10–11, ESV)


11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. (Matt. 28:11–15, ESV)

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