The Rich Man And Lazarus Parable - What does this illustration mean?
A parable is an illustration. What is the story of the Richman and Lazarus an illustration of? Is is one of afterlife? Well, let's examine it part by part. It tells us that the beggar died and went to Abraham's bossom. Well, the Bible says that Abraham was still in the grave, since no one went to heaven before Jesus died. Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 So, where was Abraham? Abraham was in the grave, like King David, and all mankind were. Acts 2:29,34 So, how could a beggar literally go to Abraham's bossom? These and other questions will be answered shortly.
The beggar represented the common people, who accepted the message about God's kingdom that Jesus preached. (verse 16) Abraham represented God the Father. Those who listened to Jesus (common people), were in a better postion in the eyes of God the Father (Abraham), while the Pharisees (rich man) who did not listen to and accept the message that Jesus brought were in a state of SPIRITUAL death (hell or the grave) in God's eyes. Since the Pharisees were not literally PHYSICALLY dead yet, they could FEEL torments (fear). Please compare Luke 16:23 with Hebrews 10:31, which explains this meaning.
By Linda Washburn