Rich Man, Lazarus, Abrahams Bosom

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Matthew1344

Puritan Board Freshman
What is Abrahams Bosom? I read Calvin's commentary, and I couldn't really piece together his thoughts about it.

My understanding of afterlife is that there is some sort of Heaven and hell. A place of being in the presence of the blessings of God and a place of torment and wrath of God. But the Heaven isn't te full, finished, complete Heaven, for lack of better words. And hell is not full, finished, complete hell, for lack of better words. Heaven now is not the New Heaven and New Earth. And Hell now is not the Lake Of Fire. Is this right?

And I thought everyone that has been saved has gone to the Heaven. And everyone that hasn't has gone to this hell. And at the end of days, each person will be put in his proper place, new heavens and new earth or lake of fire.

I thought Abe bosom was just another name for Heaven. But my friend told me his view and it was pretty different.

He said that Abe bosom was a place for OT saints to go. He said they had to go there because they were not saved yet due to the fact that Christ has not attonened for their sin yet, so they could not be with God. And while Christ was in the grave, he went and emptied out Abe Bosom, and now the OT saints are with God, but they couldn't be until Christ came. So pretty much abe bosom was a place for OT saints to go to because they couldn't be saved yet because the atonement hadn't reached them yet.

I told him I've never heard that before. I asked him "how were people saved in the OT? It was by faith (And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness -Genesis‬ *15‬:*6‬ ESV; Hebrews 11). So if it was by faith where did that faith came from? I believe it came from the cross. I believe that when Christ died he purchased everything we need to be saved, including faith. And since Gen 15 and Hebrew 11 say they had faith, then I think the atomenment would have def reached them. And if the atonement reached them they would be in Heaven.

My second point that I believe shows the atonement, though had not happened in time yet, still reached people in OT was with David. Nathan the prophet said to David "The Lord has put away your sins". So how can sins be put away if there is no attonent that reached him? I think the atonement of Christ had to have reached David, if not then it would have been unjust for God to put away his sins.

So since OT believers def had faith and were saved by the blood of Christ, is Abraham's bosom still the place they would go? Or Heaven, or is Abe bosom same as Heaven?

Thanks guys! I know this is probably an easy answer for some of you guys, sorry about asking something so simple if it is simple. And secondly, sorry about my wording. I know it's not the best. I'm not the best communicator. Please feel free to ask me to elaborate.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
"Abraham's bosom" is a phrase like "the Pearly Gates." Abraham is the "father of the faithful," so there's a sense in which he is the lord of the manor.

Is.8:18, "Behold, I and the children whom Jehovah hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Jehovah of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion."

Is.49:22, "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my ensign to the peoples; and they shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders."

OT believers still in the world had an obscured view of the afterlife (not that ours is totally cleared up). They understood more than certain minimalists propose, i.e. that all just sank into the dark grave; or that they had no hope for the afterlife (what? did the ancient Egyptians have a better notion of final judgment than the Lord's people?).

It's false to speculate on the nature of the wait of OT saints/souls for the historic realization of the Atonement. They were certainly saved through the virtue of Christ's death, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," Rev.13:8; 1Pet.1:19-20. Did they have less joy until the resurrection? Were they wondering what would happen to them?

Ps.17:15, "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Was old king David released from his decrepit body, to await the resurrection, but not to behold his God's face, to revel in his blessed presence, for another thousand years? Seems to me that the wrong read of OT saints' expectations for the next life leads to lots of odd parsing of the actual revelation they left.



Westminster Confession
CHAPTER XXXII.
Of the State of Man After Death,
and of the Resurrection of the Dead.

I. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
CHAPTER VIII.
Of Christ the Mediator.
VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated into the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head, and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and today the same and for ever.
 

Matthew1344

Puritan Board Freshman
Im so glad you answered this Bruce. I almost just sent you this in a massage. Thanks so much for what you do!
 

MichaelNZ

Puritan Board Freshman
He said that Abe bosom was a place for OT saints to go. He said they had to go there because they were not saved yet due to the fact that Christ has not attonened for their sin yet, so they could not be with God. And while Christ was in the grave, he went and emptied out Abe Bosom, and now the OT saints are with God, but they couldn't be until Christ came. So pretty much abe bosom was a place for OT saints to go to because they couldn't be saved yet because the atonement hadn't reached them yet.
That sounds very similar to the Roman Catholic teaching of the Limbo of the Fathers.
 

Matthew1344

Puritan Board Freshman
He said that Abe bosom was a place for OT saints to go. He said they had to go there because they were not saved yet due to the fact that Christ has not attonened for their sin yet, so they could not be with God. And while Christ was in the grave, he went and emptied out Abe Bosom, and now the OT saints are with God, but they couldn't be until Christ came. So pretty much abe bosom was a place for OT saints to go to because they couldn't be saved yet because the atonement hadn't reached them yet.
That sounds very similar to the Roman Catholic teaching of the Limbo of the Fathers.
Is this the same as purgatory?
 

MichaelNZ

Puritan Board Freshman
No, Limbo of the Fathers is not purgatory. According to Romanist theology, the Limbo of the Fathers was where those who were going to go to heaven but died before Christ went. With Christ's death (and possibly resurrection - I can't remember), the Limbo of the Fathers was emptied and remains empty today.

Purgatory, on the other hand, is where Romanists believe that those who die in a state of grace (free from mortal sin) go who have either 1) some of the temporal punishment due to sin remaining, or 2) unforgiven venial sin. All who are in purgatory will eventually enter heaven, according to Romanism.
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
Luk 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
Luk 13:29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
Matt I'm not even of the opinion that this Parable (yes it is a parable) has anything whatsoever to say or do of the Afterlife or Intermediate State, which may come as a surprise or even shock to you!
This parable has everything to do with the casting off of the Jews & the grafting in of the Gentiles. According to Websters 1828 "a parable is a fable or allegorical relation or representation of something
real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction." It may mention identifiable persons, yet contains symbols that need to be interpreted.


That it is a parable can be seen from it's introduction There was a certain rich man,” which is used as an intro to other parables as well, like the 2 preceding parables, The Prodigal Son
“Luk 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:” & The Unjust Steward “Luk 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man,” so it was a method of beginning a parable.


Basically the parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus was about the then present estate of the Jews, represented by the Rich Man & the estate of Lazarus the Beggar, represented by the Gentiles.


That the Rich Man represents the Jews can be seen from the fact that:

-Firstly, the name Jew is taken from Judah.

-the Rich Man symbolically had 5 brothers, Judah also had 5 brothers, he was the son of Leah.
Gen 30:19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.
-the Rich Man was clothed in purple which symbolised Royalty, Judah was a Kingdom.
Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
-the Rich Man received his good things, symbolic of the Blessings Under the Older Covenant.
Rom 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
Rom 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.Rom 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and
the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;Rom 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
-his 5 brothers had the Law & Testimony, which is what the Jews had but reject it's true intent.
Luk 16:31 If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
-his 5 brothers would not believe if a resurrected witness were sent them, the Jews rejected belief in the Resurrection of Christ.
Luk 16:31 neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

That the beggar Lazarus represents the Gentiles:

-was a companion of dogs, even Our Lord refered to Gentiles figurately as dogs.
Mat 15:26 It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.”
-desired to be fed crumbs that fall from the rich man's table.
Matt 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
-Lazarus in his lifetime received evil things, symbolic of being in a state of rejection from God.
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye 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:
That the estate of the Jews & Gentiles has been exchanged is evident from the Scriptures,the Rich Man or Jews are now in torment symbolically,
cast away (there is still a believing Jewish remnant.) & under covenant sanctions, while the Gentiles are in Abraham's bosom & comforted.
Rom 11:11 but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles,
Unto the Jew,

Deu 28:37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
Deu 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
Deu 28:46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.
But unto the Gentiles,

Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Joh 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.



 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Matt I'm not even of the opinion that this Parable (yes it is a parable) has anything whatsoever to say or do of the Afterlife or Intermediate State, which may come as a surprise or even shock to you!
This parable has everything to do with the casting off of the Jews & the grafting in of the Gentiles. According to Websters 1828 "a parable is a fable or allegorical relation or representation of something
real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction." It may mention identifiable persons, yet contains symbols that need to be interpreted."
Well, that is a strange way to put it since this very parable speaks about death, afterlife, and recompense for how one lived his life before that death. I also find your exclamation about what the purpose of this parable is to be rather peculiar. The plainness of the message seems to have some hidden mystery that goes beyond the plain message of the parable in your understanding. Sometimes people overthink the messages of the parables and arrive at places they were not intended to go. I believe your method has done this.

That the beggar Lazarus represents the Gentiles:


-was a companion of dogs, even Our Lord refered to Gentiles figurately as dogs.
Mat 15:26 It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.”

-desired to be fed crumbs that fall from the rich man's table.
Matt 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

The Prodigal son was a companion and caretaker of swine.
The Prodigal son desired the husks the pigs ate.


I really think you have gone beyond the intent of the parable.
 

Theophilus73

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you all for the posts. I had read before this passage of Abraham's bosom was not a parable because it contains proper names of people (Abraham, Lazarus, etc), though that is nowhere written in the Scriptures as a hard rule (not to say it is false either), but the comparison above made sense to me.

One thing I can't understand though is if we all go to God immediately after our physical death, and unbelievers go to Hell, why then a Last judgment of the Righteous and of the Unrighteous? Seems like the judgment already took place as soon as they died physically.

Also, say believers die, go to Heaven, stay there a long time, then comes the resurrection, when they are put back in physical bodies on the New Earth. Wouldn't it be better to stay in Heaven? Men and women will no longer marry (and I assume no longer have children), so why come back to earth?

I've heard a couple different explanation for this but would like your input (or direction to a good resource). One answer I received from a pastor is when a person dies they go to sleep mode, and they will wake up on the Final judgment Day, but like when we are in deep sleep, we will not "feel" any time lapse, it would be like we blinked our eyes, so the Bible is correct in saying "absent from the body, present with the Lord", as well as to say there is a future judgment that will set our destinies.

Another person told me the New Earth is a figurative language not necessarily meaning the utter destruction and recreation of our planet.

Either way, I have yet to come across an integrated view of all this that made complete sense to me.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Emerson,
Please abide by the board rules and make a signature so your posting privileges may continue. Click on the link I am providing in this post to read the rules concerning a signature.
vBulletin FAQ
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Emerson concerning your question one thing that is missing is that God has appointed a day where every man and apostate angel will give an account for the deeds done in the body. That is reserved for the resurrection or the consummation of all things to the Glory of God.

You might be assuming that a disembodied soul is better off in Christ's presence than a man who has been fully redeemed and restored as he was created to be with a body. Here is the Westminster Confession of faith. I would also refer you to other works on this topic. Robert Shaw has done a commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith that you might enjoy gaining from. You can read his commentary on Chapters 32 and 33 here.

An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith


Westminster Confession of Faith





Chapter XXXII
Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead


I. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption:1 but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them:2 the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies.3 And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day.4 Beside these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledges none.


II. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed:5 and all the dead shall be raised up, with the selfsame bodies, and none other (although with different qualities), which shall be united again to their souls forever.6


III. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor: the bodies of the just, by His Spirit, unto honor; and be made conformable to His own glorious body.7





Chapter XXXIII
Of the Last Judgment


I. God has appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ,1 to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father.2 In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged,3 but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.4


II. The end of God's appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of His justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.5


III. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin; and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity:6 so will He have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.7
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
Robert, under that view, is there significance to the name Lazarus?
Well the name Lazarus is defined in the Bible Dictionaries on eSword as follows:

ISBE says laz´a-rus (Λάζαρος, Lázaros, an abridged form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, with a Greek termination): Means “God has helped.” In Septuagint and Josephus are found the forms Ἐλεαζάρ, Eleazár, and Ἐλεάζαρος, Eleázaros.
The name was common among the Jews, and is given to two men in the New Testament who have nothing to do with each other.

Easton's An abbreviation of Eleazar, whom God helps. Fausset's LAZARUS or ELEAZAR ("God helps".). Smith's Laz'arus. (whom God helps). Another form of the Hebrew name, Eleazar.

Albert Barne's Notes on the Bible has it as, Named Lazarus - The word Lazarus is Hebrew, and means a man destitute of help, a needy, poor man. It is a name given, therefore, to denote his needy condition.

they say his name means God has helped or helps, which is in fact what he has done, though parables contain symbolic meaning it is a mistake to try put a meaning to every inference.
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
Matt I'm not even of the opinion that this Parable (yes it is a parable) has anything whatsoever to say or do of the Afterlife or Intermediate State, which may come as a surprise or even shock to you!
This parable has everything to do with the casting off of the Jews & the grafting in of the Gentiles. According to Websters 1828 "a parable is a fable or allegorical relation or representation of something
real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction." It may mention identifiable persons, yet contains symbols that need to be interpreted."
Well, that is a strange way to put it since this very parable speaks about death, afterlife, and recompense for how one lived his life before that death. I also find your exclamation about what the purpose of this parable is to be rather peculiar. The plainness of the message seems to have some hidden mystery that goes beyond the plain message of the parable in your understanding. Sometimes people overthink the messages of the parables and arrive at places they were not intended to go. I believe your method has done this.

That the beggar Lazarus represents the Gentiles:


-was a companion of dogs, even Our Lord refered to Gentiles figurately as dogs.
Mat 15:26 It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.”

-desired to be fed crumbs that fall from the rich man's table.
Matt 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

The Prodigal son was a companion and caretaker of swine.
The Prodigal son desired the husks the pigs ate.


I really think you have gone beyond the intent of the parable.

Randy,

what about the Parable of the Vineyard in Matt 21:33-41, Mk 12:1-9 & Lke 20:9-16, If I were to say this is not really about a man who owned a vineyard & leased it out to wicked husbandmen, but really is descriptive of God's covenant with the jews in giving them a Land (read vineyard), God then sent his beloved Son to his covenant people but they rejected Him, beat & killed Him, you would probably say that's what the story & characters represented, would you not?


But what if I were to say,

that doesn't take the obvious literal meaning, that that is a strange way to put it since this very parable speaks about lords, husbandmen & vineyards, I also find your
exclamation about what the purpose of this parable is to be rather peculiar. The plainness of the message seems to have some hidden mystery that goes beyond the
plain message of the parable in your understanding. Sometimes people overthink the messages of the parables and arrive at places they were not intended to go.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
First off Robert the point of the parable of the Vineyard is given in plain sight in the previous and following passages. It is about believing in Christ and obeying him as opposed to not believing in Christ and forsaking him. Even the Pharisee's understood it.

Mat 21:42    Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
Mat 21:43    Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.
Mat 21:44    And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."
Mat 21:45    When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.
 
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