**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.