I have discovered recently that some Christians believe Abraham's bosom is an literal place.

For those who have this view, was Abraham believed to be the ruler of this place? And was it perfectly acceptable to pray to Abraham as evidenced in Luke 16:27?

  • "pray to" in these kinds of situations (to a human) has as much force as "ask to intercede for oneself." Otherwise, people confuse "pray TO" as some kind of worship, whereas it's not. 1 Tim 3:1-5; .Tobit 12:12-15; Rev 8:2-3. For people who might see a stumbling block in the words "pray to." Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 14:28
  • @SolaGratia Perhaps, but there was no plea for intercession with God on his behalf, no mention of God. In addition, Luke 16:24 basically is "have mercy on me Father Abraham".
    – Beestocks
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 15:45
  • There is no doubt that Abraham is seen as having come kind of power to change the circumstances of other souls (obviously by intercession to God who alone could grant such). P.S. "A literal place" means like Hell or Heaven. An 'abode' of spirits. Not necessarily a physical one. Scripture seems to call the 'abode' where souls went before Christ reopened heaven ("that apart from us they might not be made perfect") a "prison." This is also reason to see certain teachings of Christ along the same lines as teaching on another place, named later 'Purgatory.' Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 21:19

3 Answers 3


I cannot answer for those who might think "the bosom of Abraham" is literal because I believe the condition of those who have died is spiritual, not physical and, therefore, not literal. Many Christians appreciate that Jesus used the strongest words possible in Luke chapter 16 to describe things that are beyond our understanding this side of glory, in the state after physical death. He used adjectives like 'fire' and 'torment' or 'bliss' and 'comforted', with 'chasm' between the two places of torment and bliss. When it comes to Luke chapter 16, where Jesus spoke about the beggar Lazarus dying then finding himself in bliss in "Abraham's bosom" [or, side] we ought to know that we have entered another realm that is unknowable to us, except by divine revelation.

This revelation Jesus gave was in response to religious zealots who loved money. They despised Jesus for warning them that we cannot serve God and Mammon. This is significant for the account of Lazarus and the rich man in the after-life. The rich man found himself in torments. It wasn't that being rich, in itself, brought him the torments of hell any more than being poor brought Lazarus the joys of being besides Abraham. It was disregarding the suffering of the poor at his gate that was the rich man's problem, which he chose to ignore, until it was too late. Jesus was warning us all about that.

"Was Abraham believed to be the ruler of this place?" you ask. Back in the day, when Jesus spoke, we can discover what religious Jews thought about that. There were two Jewish rabbinical schools that believed in "Abraham's bosom" as a 'place' where good Jews who had died awaited in spirit form for the future Day of Resurrection when their departed spirits would be 'clothed' with resurrection bodies, for judgment before God. They believed that 'bad' Jews would be in torments in hell, awaiting that Day of Resurrection, and judgement. These were the schools of Shammai and Hillel, in existence before Jesus appeared on earth and for some time after. Jesus knew this, and spoke accordingly.

"The Life And Times of Jesus The Messiah" by Alfred Edersheim (1971) Appendix XIX, On Eternal Punishment, according to the Rabbis and the New Testament" (see vol. II Book V ch. vi):

"... For the views held at the time of Christ, whatever they were, must have been those which the hearers of Christ entertained; and whatever those views, Christ did not, at least directly, contradict or, so far as we can infer, intend to correct them... the first Rabbinic utterances come to us from the time immediately before that of Christ, from the Schools of Shammai and Hillel. The former arranged all mankind into three classes: the perfectly righteous, who are 'immediately written and sealed to Gehenna'; and an intermediate class, 'who go down to Gehinnom, and moan, and come up again,'... The careful reader will notice that this statement implies belief in Eternal Punishment on the part of the School of Shammai...

"Substantially the same, as regards Eternity of Punishment, is the view of the School of Hillel... In regard to sinners of Israel and of the Gentiles it teaches, indeed, that they are tormented in Gehenna for twelve months, after which their bodies and souls are burnt up and scattered as dust under the feet of the righteous; but it significantly excepts from this number certain classes of transgressors 'who go down to Gehinnom and are punished there to ages of ages.'...But since the Schools of Shammai and Hillel represented the theological teaching in the time of Christ and His Apostles, it follows that the doctrine of Eternal Punishment was that held in the days of our Lord, however it may afterwards have been modified... The doctrine of the Eternity of Punishments seems to have been held by the Synagogue throughout the whole first century of our era." (1)

This is confirmed in "Josephus' Discourse to the Greeks Concerning Hades" as in "The Works of Josephus" translated by William Whiston, 1980, page 637:

"Now as to Hades, wherein the souls of the righteous and unrighteous are detained, it is necessary to speak of it. Hades is... a subterraneous region... angels are appointed as guardians to [souls] who distribute to them temporary punishments."(2)

Then it goes on to describe another part called "the Bosom of Abraham" with a chaos, deep and large, fixed between it and the place of darkness. Souls are in either one part, or the other, awaiting the resurrection of all men from the dead.

Thus, when we read what Jesus said about what happened to the rich man who died, and to Lazarus (the poor beggar), it all makes perfect sense. Jesus was speaking to their beliefs about punishment after physical death, or to bliss in the Bosom of Abraham! Jesus did not say those beliefs were wrong. He went right along with them and taught his listeners the gravity of loving money and the need to believe God's word.

This is not about Abraham being 'ruler' of the place, nor about prayer to him, for he speaks of no longer being on Earth, in the flesh. The rich man speaks to Abraham as is done in another realm, a spiritual realm. Jesus is conveying a revelation about something we can have no knowledge of apart from divine revelation. Jesus uses words we know to teach us about something we have no knowledge of. We have to go beyond mere words to be taught by the Master about what awaits us - either a 'holding place' for those who will enter into the joy of their Master, or a place of torment for those who will never know the joy of the Master - Jesus. If we do not focus on Jesus as the Son of God who died to deliver repentant sinners from the torments of hell, we will miss the point, and miss the bliss of entering into the joy of the Master, the risen Christ.




Abraham's bosom was the place he & all other saved are until the rapture takes place. It is a place called Paradise. If you remember the their on the cross asked Jesus to remember him to the Father when he dies..Jesus replied "Today you will be with me in Paradise".. It is also referd to to in the Bible as Abraham's bosom. I apologize as I can't think of a scripture reference to give you at this time...A lot of people freak out thinking that since we don't go to Heaven right when we die that means that we are not present with God at that moment. But that is far from the truth, in 2 Corinthians 5:8 it says that when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord. So even though we are not in Heaven, we are still present with Him. I believe we go to what some call Paradise or Abraham's Bosom until the time comes for Him to bring us out and then to Heaven at the time of the rapture.. And yes there are 2 compartments that are being used right now. There's the compartment where the righteous go (Abraham's Bosom/Paradise) and then there's the compartment where the wicked goes (Sh'ol/hell), both are spoken of in Luke 6:19-31. Neither heaven nor hell is yet occupied.. I hope I haven't confused anyone..it's early for me as I have not slept much last night due to an uncle preparing to cross over to be with Abraham & all the others gone on before & with our sweet Jesus...God's blessings to you all..


The Bosom of Abraham was a place that existed in Sheol (Hell) where the righteous dead (Faithful Old Testament believers) resided. This place however does not exist anymore because it was emptied somewhere around the time of the Crucifixion and Christ's Resurrection of the Dead. This common belief in ancient Christianity is referred to as the "Harrowing of Hell".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowing_of_Hell As to the other part of the question, Abraham is a saint, so I suspect some Christians have solicited his intercessions in times past.

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