I have always been puzzled by this in Scripture.

Can someone clarify these points:

If Jesus was speaking of reality then 'The End' had technically already come. Is this correct?

From Hell it would appear we can see Heaven and speak to people in Heaven as they can see us.

The last point I have comes from Revelation. We are taught that in the end everyone will live on earth. It speaks that the pure and holy will walk past those who are un-pure and un-holy day after day to worship.

It also states that there are gates to Heaven which again have people outside them. Can I assume then that Hell is basically everything outside of Heavens gates.

Why would Heaven even need gates?

  • 3
    Please separate this into distinct questions and add the relevant scriptures. Oct 25, 2012 at 14:36
  • Well @DJClayworth is right about the description of the parable (by definition it is). But the most interesting part of this parable is the revelation of the soul, I mean if the soul dies when our flesh does? With this parable show that it isn't a death as we know is another kind of dead as the bible explains.
    – Xoltic
    Oct 26, 2012 at 0:18
  • 1
    Your last two questions are irrelevant to the main question and story. Perhaps those should be asked in a new post or something? Oct 29, 2012 at 19:11
  • 1
    This is too broad / primarily opinion based.
    – fгedsbend
    Jan 7, 2015 at 16:49

3 Answers 3


First off I'd like to state that this is, in my opinion, clearly not a parable because the Bible does not state it as one like it does in these many citations:

Matthew 13:18
Luke 6:39
Luke 12:16
Luke 15:3
Luke 18:1
Luke 18:9
Luke 19:11

If Jesus was speaking of reality then 'The End' had technically already come. Is this correct?

So, to answer this question, Jesus was in fact not only speaking of reality but also of a real happening. Lazarus and the rich man was not a parable, it was real. However, The End has not yet come. In fact, Hell is going to be destroyed as well and is simply a holding place for the souls that are lost. Revelation speaks of it in Revelation 20:14:

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Note that both death (the fact that man must die for his sins) and hell are cast into the lake of fire. Furthermore, that is where the devil will end up according to Revelation 20:10:

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

So, the end has not yet come, but it's on its way.

From Hell it would appear we can see Heaven and speak to people in Heaven as they can see us.

This now makes more sense now that we have revealed that hell is a holding place for souls, but let's concrete this a bit more and see clearly that heaven is a holding place for souls as well. So, let's look at Revelation 21:1:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Here we see that heaven, which is the holding place that Lazarus ascended to, is also destroyed and a new heaven and a new earth is built. So yes, those souls in hell can see those souls in heaven until both are destroyed.

It also states that there are gates to Heaven which again have people outside them. Can I assume then that Hell is basically everything outside of Heavens gates.

I would say you don't assume that everything outside the gates of heaven is hell, the earth is outside the gates of heaven but is clearly defined as the earth in Genesis 1:1:

In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.

So hell is a different creation all by itself.

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    Welcome to Christianity.SE! I must say, this is a great first answer! I hope you'll stick around. :) Oct 26, 2012 at 1:22
  • Thanks @El'endiaStarman! I plan on sticking around! Blessings to you in the name of Jesus! Oct 26, 2012 at 1:26
  • This is really a minority view among Christians. Oct 26, 2012 at 17:59
  • @DJClayworth, I understand that, but if you'll read my division of the Word objectively I think you'll understand why I don't believe it's a parable. It's hard to swallow, and a good majority may reject it, but is my division of the Word not sound? Do you think God forgot to include the preface that it was a parable? Oct 26, 2012 at 18:34
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    "hell is a different creation all by itself created when man sinned" - this contradicts your previous correct declaration (as a quote from Revelation) that indicates hell is thrown into the lake of fire because it was prepared for the "devil and his angels"
    – warren
    Oct 29, 2012 at 15:39

In this passage Jesus is telling a Parable. Parables are stories intended to make specific points. They are not descriptions of reality. They are not "true stories". If you try push them too hard you will lose the point that is being made. We have no reason to think that there actually was a person called Lazarus to whom this happened. There is no reason to assume from this passage:

  • That Heaven actually has gates
  • That "The End" has come. Jesus could be speaking about something that was going to happen in the future, or just describing a hypothetical interaction
  • That people in Heaven and Hell can really interact

Nor can you say that "Hell is everything outside Heaven". Clearly we live in a place now which is neither. On the basis of other Christian doctrines it is true that eventually every person will be divided into those who are with God, and those who are not.

  • That being said if this Parable is correct then we could possibly assume that The Rich man knew Abraham how else would he call out to this one man. I wouldn't know Abraham if I seen him walking the street. Oct 25, 2012 at 15:04
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    Not everyone agrees this is a parable. It doesn't follow the typical form and is not introduced as such. Oct 25, 2012 at 15:17
  • @TheMonkeyMan If it's a parable then there doesn't need to be an explanation for how the Rich Man recognized Abraham. Oct 25, 2012 at 17:05
  • @AffableGeek In modern times almost everybody considers this a parable. Wikipedia has only a single webpage backing up their section on 'literal interpretations', and that's a webpage which on closer inspection doesn't itself believe in a literal interpretation - it just says that other people believe that. (And the page has animated flames - never a sign of a balanced, scholarly viewpoint). Oct 25, 2012 at 17:13
  • @AffableGeek, thanks for bringing up the fact that not everybody believes it's a parable. In fact my answer clearly shows there's somebody out there that doesn't, me. Although there is a down voter out there somewhere too cowardly to comment. Which is funny to me because in an online forum you don't even really have to face me, but I digress. Oct 26, 2012 at 9:57

Keep in mind that most English translations use the word "Hell" to describe two completely different things: "Hades" (the realm of the dead) and "Gehenna" (the lake of fire). Before Christ, there was no salvation. Jews that kept God's covenant went to a place called Paradise or Abraham's Bosom, while the rest went to Hades. As already mentioned, we are not told that this story is a parable like we are in the other parables (though that doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't). We cannot be certain if its a parable or not, and since we can't be certain about that, we also can't be certain if there was/is a way for people in Hades and Paradise to see and speak to each other.

Since "Hell" in this story is referring to Hades, we cannot infer 'the end' has come, since people were going to Hades since long before Christ. I believe your references to Revelation are speaking about the millennial reign of Christ on Earth. During this time Christ comes to rule the nations/world from Jerusalem. Hell is not outside Jerusalem, and Heaven is not inside. It is still just Earth.

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