Abraham’s bosom,Purgatory Yes?, No?, Maybe?


**Luke **16:22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,

** Haydock’s Bible Commentary**
Ver. 22. Abraham’s bosom. The place of rest, where the souls of the saints resided, till Christ had opened heaven by his death.
It was an ancient tradition of the Jews, that the souls of the just were conducted by angels into paradise. The bosom of Abraham (the common Father of all the faithful) was the place where the souls of the saints, and departed patriarchs, waited the arrival of their Deliverer.
Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham.” Matt. 8:11.
Ver. 25. It appears that the Jews not only acknowledged the existence of souls, and their state of happiness or misery after this life, but also that the souls of the saints and patriarchs interceded with God for their descendants, and obtained from them the succour (help) they stood in need of.

1 Peter 3:19 In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison,

Ver. 19. In which (to wit, soul or spirit) also he came, and preached to those spirits who were in prison. The true and common interpretation of this place seems to be, that the soul of Christ, after the separation from the body and before the resurrection, descended to a place in the interior parts of the earth, called hell in that which we call the apostles’ creed, (sometimes called Abraham’s bosom, sometimes Limbus Patrum, a place where were detained all the souls of the patriarchs, prophets, and just men, as it were in prison) and preached to these spirits in this prison; i.e. brought them this happy news, that he who was their Redeemer was now come to be their deliverer, and that at his glorious ascension they should enter with him into heaven, where none could enter before our Redeemer, who opened as it were heaven’s gates. Among these were many who had been formerly at first incredulous in the time of Noe, who would not take warning from his preparing and building the ark, but it may be reasonably supposed that many of them repented of their sins when they saw the danger approaching, and before they perished by the waters of the deluge, so that they died at least not guilty of eternal damnation; because, though they were sinners, yet they worshipped the true God, for we do not find any proofs of idolatry before the deluge. These then, and all the souls of the just, Christ descended to free from their captivity, from their prison, and to lead them at his ascension triumphant with him into heaven.
See here a proof of a third place, or middle state of souls: for these spirits in prison, to whom Christ went to preach after his death, were not in heaven, nor yet in the hell of the damned; because heaven is no prison, and Christ did not go to preach to the damned.


Thank you for the references.



Was there a question here? :confused:


Just trying to get opinions / educated guess if “Abraham’s Bosom” was in fact “Purgatory” based on the references I found :shrug:


OK. The answer is ‘no’, then… since the citations you provided say nothing about ‘purgation’ or ‘being made perfect’. Rather, Abraham’s bosom, sometimes called the Limbus Patrum, or even, in an archaic sense, ‘hell’, was a place where souls waited until Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice was complete, after which time they rested in heaven.

IIRC, someone does make the claim that Abraham’s bosom is purgatory, but (again, IIRC), it isn’t a particularly convincing case.

As a tangent: this isn’t really a “third place”, as asserted in one of your citations, unless someone is asserting a temporary place. There are only two final destinations: heaven and hell.


I’d say probably not. It definitively declares there is a place other than Heaven, hell and the earth. But I would think Purgatory is yet another place besides Abraham’s Bosom.

But there is nothing definitive, it could be.


I would also say no. In the passage in question, Abraham states there is a chasm which separates them which CAN NOT be crossed. Purgatory allows souls to pass into Heaven.

Furthermore, everything about that parable indicates that the rich man (who was buried and remained nameless) was being punished not perfected.

St. Thomas Aquinas commented that in this parable, the fact that the rich man is worried about his brethren coming to this end is yet another sign that his soul was damned. (He did not want them accusing him of causing their damnation too, adding to his own misery.)

Do not try to dilute the rigors of the Gospel. The Gospel is a message of joy, but also warning.


Thanks for all the comments :thumbsup:


This has a good explanation of the levels of hell



True, but they’re not talking about moving into heaven – they’re talking about sending someone into hell. There’s no escape from hell or entry into it for those who are not condemned.

Furthermore, everything about that parable indicates that the rich man (who was buried and remained nameless) was being punished not perfected.

Aah… I get it now. The question wasn’t whether the rich man was in purgatory, though, was it? I thought the question was whether the poor man – in Abraham’s Bosom – was in purgatory…


[quote=Gorgias]Aah… I get it now. The question wasn’t whether the rich man was in purgatory, though, was it? I thought the question was whether the poor man – in Abraham’s Bosom – was in purgatory…

Aah! Well, in that case I don’t see how Lazarus (who IS named) was in Purgatory, as he was in a restful and blissful state in Abraham’s bosom, which implies not Purgatory. Since this parable was delivered before the gates of Heaven were opened, and because it more than likely reflected pious Jewish opinion of the time, and because it was perfectly apt in the parable, the bosom of Abraham is used to describe the final resting place of those who had earned their reward.

But that is precisely why Jesus was preaching all over Palestine to repent, that the Kingdom of Heaven was at Hand! It finally was!


Sheol-“Hell” as in “He descended into Hell” and “The harrowing of Hell”:


Hell has nothing to do with Abraham’s Bosom or Purgatory, neither of which are part of Hell.


Abraham’s Bosom seems to be a place of great comfort, so it’s not purgatory.


I agree. But, that was the OP’s question – whether Abraham’s Bosom is Purgatory.


Hell is that state of being which is outside of Heaven. It is every level of separation from the Beatific Vision.


Hell (infernus) in theological usage is a place of punishment after death. Theologians distinguish four meanings of the term hell:

Hell in the strict sense, or the place of punishment for the damned, be they demons or men;

The limbo of infants (limbus parvulorum), where those who die in original sin alone, and without personal mortal sin, are confined and undergo some kind of punishment;

The limbo of the Fathers (limbus patrum), in which the souls of the just who died before Christ awaited their admission to heaven; for in the meantime heaven was closed against them in punishment for the sin of Adam;

Purgatory, where the just, who die in venial sin or who still owe a debt of temporal punishment for sin, are cleansed by suffering before their admission to heaven.


Purgatory is NOT part of Hell.


The Catholic Encyclopedia and Doctors of the Church disagree with you. It is better to say that Purgatory is not heaven, therefore it is a form of hell because it is a separation between you and the Beatific Vision of God. As i quoted in my previous post, Hell does not exclusively mean the “infernus” of damned.


I disagree with you.

Hell is where those who are condemned go.
Purgatory and Heaven is where those who are saved go.
Nobody in Purgatory can go to Hell.
Everybody in Purgatory will go to Heaven.

Purgatory is not part of Hell.


In contemporary usage, you’re right. In a more archaic usage, though, they called all these which are not heaven, ‘hell’. The trick is to look at archaic references and not make contemporary conclusions. :wink:

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