What Is Abraham’s Bosom?

What is Abraham’s bosom? Are there still people there today? Abraham’s bosom is only found once in the Gospels. There has often been a lack of understanding the finished work of the cross and what the Lord Jesus accomplished when he died and resurrected. 

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20) And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21) And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22) 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; 23) And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24) And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25) But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26) And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27) Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28) For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29) Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30) And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31) And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:19-31 KJV

This was one of Jesus’ parable teachings in which he was teaching about heaven and hell. He paints a picture for us in regards to separate areas found in hell also known as “hades” or “sheol”.

*Abraham’s Bosom *

Before the finished work of the cross everyone who died and believed in the Messiah went to a separate place in hell known as “Abraham’s bosom”. This was also referred to as “paradise” in another scripture just before Jesus died on the cross with the two thieves. It was separated by a fixed gulf and could not be crossed by either side.

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43 KJV

Strong’s dictionary says this was thought by the later Jews to be the abode of the souls of the pious until the resurrection. 

The bible tells us Jesus descended to the lower depths before he walked with the rest of the saints in town for 40 days. This means he went to hell to free those who believed in him and took them out before he ascended to heaven. 

*Graves Were Opened *

Since Jesus had not ascended to the Father the saints or believers in Christ would have remained around the town as well. They would not be able to go to heaven without Jesus if he was not there himself. 

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53) And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Matthew 27:53-53 KJV

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3) To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: Acts 1:2-3 KJV

Clearly the last scripture reveals people saw Jesus for forty days around town speaking things pertaining to the kingdom. Therefore, the people who rose from the graves also remained in town until the forty days were up.

* Treatment of A Stranger *

The parable found in Matthew 25:35-46 also coincides with his teaching of how one treats a stranger who was hungry, thirsty or naked, sick or in prison. The same way a stranger gets treated by a person who can in this life is the same way a person will receive treatment in the afterlife. Lazarus was comforted after he had suffered a life of hardship and misery. The rich man, on the other hand, was tormented and had no one to console him. 

The Lord is just in his ways. Not only did he free the righteous but he first went to save the unrighteous. The unjust in the other side of hell may not have heard of Jesus in their lifetime so in those 3 days while he was in the earth he ministered to them and offered salvation. Those souls still had a chance to be saved. They too needed faith to leave hades.

(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:9-10 KJV

In order for Jesus to fill all things his presence was in hell and took back power and dominion of it. He also experienced death.

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:18 KJV

Strong’s dictionary defines the “keys” as having power and authority over hell and death. So the question initially was “are there still people there today?” One would be compelled to say no because when Jesus descended he released the captives. There is no longer a need for Abraham’s bosom because once a believer dies after the work of the cross they go directly to the presence of the Lord in heaven. 

7) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:7-8 KJV

* A New Covenant *

The word of God tells us that everyone after the cross has the truth in their hearts and minds so Jesus does not need to minister in hell again. 

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14 KJV

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  Hebrews 10:16 KJV

According to the scriptures, through the one time offering (meaning through the one sacrifice Jesus made) God made a new covenant with mankind. Anyone born or alive after the cross would have God’s law written in their hearts and minds. This means they will know who God is in their hearts and in their mind. This ultimately means they will not be able to deny they did not know who God is or that He exists. Everyone knows of Him and that He does indeed exist. The only difference is accepting or rejecting this truth. It is still a choice through free will. 

* Salvation Through The Word of God *

In the last scripture of the parable of Abraham’s bosom Jesus teaches us salvation comes through hearing the Word of God and the prophets. 

29) Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. Luke 16:29 KJV

31) And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:31 KJV

If people hear the word of God and they do not believe it then a miraculous work of God would not convince them either. They choose not to believe the truth. For this reason there is only one sin which will be judged in the end. Jesus used this parable to help people understand heaven and hell.