Christ says that first, Lazarus dies and is taken to the bosom of Abraham. Strongs: G2859 bosom, creek. the front of the body between the arms the bosom of a garment, i.e. the hollow formed by the upper forepart of a rather loose garment bound by a girdle or sash, used for keeping and carrying things (the fold or pocket) A bay of the sea. Bay: An inlet of the sea or other body of water usually smaller than a gulf. (Webster.)
I think we can agree Lazarus is not in Abraham’s chest cavity. Not in the folds of a loose robe long ago reduced to dust, so for those who wish to interpret it literally, he’s adrift in a body of water. The only way I have to think of this is: As Abraham was in the will of God by faith, we also sleep in His will by faith in His grace awaiting redemption. Perhaps Christ used Abraham in this story because He was speaking to those who saw Abraham as the father of their nation. Genesis, 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
The better question is, What does the bay represent? And, if it is representative, not literal, does this render the story allegorical?
What I read in scripture is this, They died. They sleep. The dead shall rise when Christ returns. Enoch, Elijah we know never died. Moses appeared with Christ. Not sure what that suggests. Abraham hasn’t received the promise yet. In Acts 2:29 we see here that Dave is dead and buried; “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. For those who think Christ took the “dead in Christ with him when he ascended, where is the record of it? Acts, 1:10. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” This specifically speaks of Christ, no others are mentioned.
Yet it is inherently instilled in men to be curious, we desire to know, so we surmise. We conjure at times, when left with no concrete answer, some sense of rational explanation. We put forth our best guess.
So, I’ll give it a shot.
When we think of death, it is difficult not to think of it as being without consciousness. So we assign the ability to cerebrate, cognate, to a soul without a mind, which is by nature the very faculty by which we are enabled with these functions. Scripture tells us the dead shall rise, I’ve always understood “dead,” as I believe the majority of men throughout history have, including men in scripture, as thus, unaware, unconscious, deep sleep. A return to dust. That’s what it says, this is what we’ve witnessed. Perhaps many, as the Sadducee’s believed, also believe that’s it cooked, done, erased. No resurrection. No life beyond the grave. In 1 Cor, 15:52 we see Paul when speaking of resurrection refers to it as a future event. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Christ’s mission was to redeem His creation. God created man to share in His bounty, to be loved for eternity and to love in return. To be one with Him In a place we can not imagine. What did God tell Adam? “You will die if you eat that fruit.” Paul states, “death came by one, so shall life come by one.” (Paraphrased) Again, prior to creation God/Christ knew man with his essential ability to choose, would sometimes choose wrong. So, a plan was put into effect, one that had a specific time frame, a foreseen number, and details as to when and how all things were to occur.
We were held in bondage by death, so death must be overcome. We were taken captive when Adam sinned by the curse of death. We were captured, prisoners, God’s plan thwarted by a clever, rebellious angel. What that rebel may not have known, was that God already had a plan for redemption. He had a redeemer, a way to restore souls and this time give them a new, eternal body that cannot be destroyed. Now that, in my opinion is what was foreordained. Gods provision.
He really made/makes it easy for us. To me it seems impossible to not completely love Him. It floors me sometimes. I laugh, shake my head in awe, and give thanks. God is great.
the author of Hebrews clearly tells us that Abraham, as well as all the other Old Testament saints, have not yet received the promises given to them by God.
HEBREWS 11:13 All these, Abraham, Noah, Abel, etc. died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth … 39 And all these including Abraham, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, Abraham had not yet received the promise
40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
Job 3:11-19; Psa. 6:5; 115:17; Ecc. 9:5, 10; I Cor. 15:20; Isa. 57:1-2; Dan. 12:2; Acts 2:29, 34; 13:36). These saints are awaiting the first resurrection, which will take place when the Messiah returns. (Matt. 24:30-31; I Cor. 15:51-52; I The. 4:16; Rev. 11:15-18).
The great men and women of faith listed in Hebrews 11 have not yet been made perfect and given eternal life. They, along with all the saints of God from every age, are currently sleeping.
Final answer. Old testament faithful along with dead new testament faithful will rise first. Then those alive will be caught up. Where they are? Dead, asleep. I have no desire to assign them some obscure, conjectured drunk tank for the lost, or fields of pretty flowers for the found.
Acts, 2:32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:“ Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’
Scripture is about eternal life in Heaven, through the work of Christ. That is the principle promise. Without conquering death, other promises relate to life on earth. Abraham is sleeping. Christ came to destroy death, to permanently redeem us.
Rom, 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
1 Cor, 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1 Thes 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Acts, 1:9 Christ ascended alone. Disciples watched. “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
Christ did not send Abraham and whoever some wish to conjecture ahead with a directive to proceed and that He’d catch up after speaking with His disciples. He ascended alone, the disciples watched.
This story of Lazarus is in my estimation a parable.