My understanding is that Abraham's Bosom was the Saint's portion (Paradise) of Hades while on the other side of a great chasm (gulf) was a portion of Hades described as torment. Does this place known as Abraham's Bosom or Paradise still exist after Jesus's death and resurrection?

Luke 16:19-31

19 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.

NOTE: Paradise is not mentioned in the above Luke 16.

Additional Information Provided by Thomas Shields


2 Answers 2


This answer is in two parts. Part 1 comes from an Evangelical perspective and attempts to indirectly show that Abraham's Bosom no longer exists by arguing that it never existed to begin with. Part 2 tries to logically show how the definition of Abraham's Bosom is inconsistent with it remaining in existence after Christ's Resurrection.

Part 1: If it didn't exist to begin with...

There's a couple of arguments against its existence. I quote myself (hey, it's the same as just saying it again!)

If all those who died before Christ’s ultimate death were placed aside in an Upper Sheol (which, by the way, seems to make no sense – Sheol by definition means “low place”) then what of Enoch and Elijah? Elijah was taken into heaven by chariots of fire “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Is Elijah taken up to heaven, only to be plunged back down into the depths of the earth? Does the chariot of fire make a celestial u-turn? Or is Elijah of a special class? An elite group? Why then did Moses, the greatest prophet of all time (Deut. 33) not receive this privilege?

To be fair, the language in I Kings about Elijah's "ascension" is quite ambiguous. Calvin talks about it at length in his Institutes, which I won't quote here, but I'll quote my younger and hot-headed self again in summary:

Those who came before Christ were not refused the privilege of Heaven simply because the physical sacrifice had not yet been made. They had been redeemed, justified, and purchased. It is not as if God must await the result of the Crucifixion, hoping that Christ will succeed but all the while biting divine fingernails; – no, the Sovereign Yahweh of the Universe is not bound by time and will not be surprised by His own plan being carried out. The words of Christ echo still through eternity past, present and future, indeed, Abraham could hear “It is finished” as clearly as could the those surrounding the cross. To place the souls of those who precede Christ in a type of Limbo is to grossly diminish the sovereignty of God and his miraculous grace

That is, why should the Israelites have to wait in Abraham's Bosom for Christ to die? They were God's chosen people too!

Additionally, the whole concept of Abraham's Bosom is biblically rooted only in Luke 16:19-31, the New Testament. Did the Jews not even know about Abraham's Bosom until they got there?

Part II: Regardless, It obviously doesn't still exist

Now, I'm not being technical here. For all I know it's a physical place that, once emptied, remains there, but empty. What I mean by "non-existent" is that it no longer serves any purpose; that no one is there.

First of all, since part of the biblical foundation for Abraham's Bosom is the collection of verses that describe Christ's rescue of its inhabitants, I think we'd need to accept those verses for what they're saying.

Psalm 68:18

You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there

If Christ rescued the the captives of Sheol when he descended into Hell (as the Catholic church claims), then surely Abraham's Bosom serves no purpose. It's empty now, right?

I suppose one might argue that it's still in use for us, that as we die we go there just as the Jews did, until the last day.

Yet in Acts 7:56, as Stephen is stoned:

“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

So... unless Abraham's Bosom has Christ at the right hand of God in it, it's gone. (Plus, if that's where Christ is, is it really Sheol at that point?)

Answer taken in part from my previous blog post on this

  • @ThomasShields Thank you very much for your answer. Once again you have been very thorough, which I very much appreciate.
    – E1Suave
    May 21, 2012 at 3:54

I believe that Abraham's bosom was a holding place for the righteous of God until after the resurrection of Christ. I do believe it was in the earth because across the gulf where Lazarus was(Luke 16:19-31) could never be associated with Heaven in any way. Across the gulf means placing them in close proximity because they could see across. I don't believe God would have allowed anything to do with torment be associated with Heaven. The Word says they could look across the gulf and see one another; therefore, I don't believe that this place of holding for the wicked could be in or associated in any way with what is depicted or described of Heaven in scriptures. Further, when Jesus resurrected, the graves of the saints were opened and they were seen walking around after Jesus's resurrection which describes them coming out of the earth in which they had been buried (Matthew 27:52-53).It could be thought that these saints after having their open graves were taken into Heaven with Christ upon His Ascension. In Ephesians 4:9 the scripture speaks about His Ascension, but before that He had descended into the lower parts of the earth. Jesus told Mary when she saw Him that she should not touch Him because He had not yet ascended unto The Father(John 20:17). I believe He ascended after His meeting with Mary because in John 20:26-27 He says, "Reach hither thy finger and behold thy hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; be not faithless but believing," allowing the disciple Thomas to now touch Him. I believe that Abraham's Bosom no longer exists because Jesus took Abraham and all the saints with Him in His Ascension to Heaven and His Father.


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