The phrase ‘Abraham’s Bosom’ is used only once in the Bible. Let’s read Luke 16:19-23, “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to ABRAHAM’S BOSOM; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.” (NASB)

This is a true account concerning a man named Lazarus and a rich man. Lazarus was desperately poor and apparently crippled. The rich man lived in splendor. Both died. Let’s consider the fate of each one, and answer your question as we go.

LAZARUS – This is obviously NOT the same Lazarus that the Lord Jesus raised from the dead in John, chapter 11. This poor man, who had suffered greatly during his life, died. While nothing is said of the spiritual life of either of these men, we can correctly assume that Lazarus was a believer on the Lord Jesus. Jesus, Himself said in John 14:6, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” The only access to God is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that he was given a divine escort, he “was carried away by the angels…”. We read of the work of the angels in Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” Upon his death, Lazarus is taken up by the angels and delivered into ABRAHAM’S BOSOM. It might also be implied that the Lord Jesus was also escorted to Heaven by the angels as He ascended there after His resurrection. Luke 24:51 says of the Lord, “While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was CARRIED UP into heaven.”

What is Abraham’s bosom? I believe that this is synonymous with Heaven itself. The Jews highly esteemed Abraham. They often bragged, “We have Abraham for our father.” (Matthew 3:9). The Jews had no doubt that Abraham was in paradise. To say that Lazarus was in his bosom was therefore the same as saying that he was admitted to heaven and was happy there. We read similar language in regards to a future day in Matthew 8:11, “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”

THE RICH MAN – Let’s briefly consider this man. The fact that he could witness the sufferings of Lazarus and not reach out to help him speaks volumes about his lost condition. Upon his death, we read nothing of angels escorting him. No, we read plainly that, “the rich man also died and was buried.” With no loving hands to minister to him, we find this man in Hades…in torment. Many refer to this man as Dives, which means ‘wealthy man’. It is instructive to note that although in his life he was rich, his name is not mentioned in the Bible. Proverbs 10:7 tells us, “The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.” While he may have been important in this life, because of his unbelief, his name is no longer important. There is no record of his name. Of his eternal fate, we read in Revelation 20:15, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

It is vital for us to realize that Lazarus did not go to Heaven because he was poor. Neither did the rich man go to Hades because he was rich. No, our eternity depends upon whether we have received the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior. My friend, I trust you have put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ so that you are eternally saved and your name is written in that book of life. (331.6)