Abraham’s Bosom

3rd heaven 2

Q. In Lk 16:22, it looks like Abraham is in heaven. Deuteronomy 10:14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Which heaven was he in?

A. Before I answer your question, let me explain the levels of heaven in the Bible:
1. First heaven – atmosphere. Mt 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
2. Second heaven – universe. Ps 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
3. Third heaven – God’s dwelling place. 2 Co 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.

Refer http://raykliu.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/third-heaven/

As to which heaven Abraham was in, there are two schools of thought. The first is that Abraham’s bosom = paradise = heaven, based on:

2 Co 5:6, 8 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. … We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

At home in the body (alive) = away from the Lord
Away from the body (dead) = at home with the Lord (in heaven)

This school believes that Abraham’s bosom is simply referring to a place of eternal blessing. As Abraham is with the Lord, and the Lord dwells in heaven, therefore Abraham is in heaven, more specifically, the third heaven.

Abraham's bosom 4

The second school makes a distinction between the time prior and subsequent to Jesus’ resurrection. They believe, based on Lk 16:19-31, that there are two compartments in Sheol (place where the spirit of the departed go, Hades in Greek), with a great gulf separating them:

• Abraham’s bosom for the righteous, waiting for Christ;
• Place of torment for the wicked, waiting for judgment.

They further believed that after Jesus’ death on the cross, He descended into the lower parts of the earth (Eph 4:9), led a host of captives, and ascended on high (Eph 4:8). In other words, He took all the waiting OT saints with Him to heaven, and Abraham’s bosom is now empty. This is possible but not shared by all scholars. Under this view Abraham was not yet in heaven at the time of Lk 16, as Jesus had not died yet. I favor this latter view, but in the end it does not matter, as all believers, whether OT or NT, end up with the Lord in heaven.

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