Actual Places

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; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Luke 16:22-23

Whether we see this account as another parable or a record of actual people does not matter. Jesus never taught in fantasies. Therefore, even if this is a parable, the events and people can occur. 

That means heaven and hell are both real, and they are both populated.

The Bible does not give us a lot of details about heaven or hell but this little passage tells a great deal. 

First of all, we can see that there is no intermediate state between death and the afterlife. When they died, each of these men was immediately in either heaven or hell. Their bodies went into some sort of grave, but before that, their souls went immediately to either heaven or hell. This also rules out the heresy of “soul sleeping.” When we die, we are conscious of what has happened, immediately.

For the children of God, peace and joy are an instant reality. When we close our eyes in death, we immediately open them in the presence of our Savior. Jesus promised this to the thief on the cross:

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Luke 23:43

And the Apostle Paul confirms that to be absent from the body (death), is to be present with the Lord.

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

2nd Corinthians 5:6-8

We can further see that heaven is a place of complete comfort, rest, and safety. The metaphor of Abraham’s bosom would have been most comforting to a natural Jew. Interesting also is the fact, that we do not see Lazarus interacting with the rich man or anyone else on earth. We are told it is impossible for him to leave his place of comfort and rest. What a great hope we have!

We also learn that the state of the rich man is not annihilation. Wicked people are conscious and in torment for the sins they committed during their lives. It also appears that part of their punishment is that they can see the children of God in the comfort of heaven.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s