Luke 16:19–31: Was the rich man in hell or purgatory?


Luke 16:19–31: Was the rich man in hell or purgatory?


Hell. There was a great chasm between him and Lazarus. And the rich man’s name was not remembered. God does not remember those who go to Hell - i.e, they are not written in the book of life (somewhere in Revelation).


That’s an interesting question. Lazarus and the rich man are close enough to be able to see one another across the chasm or gulf, and the rich man and Abraham even carry on quite a long conversation.


Neither. It was Sheol, or Hades (the land of the dead).


Ask yourself an important question: was Jesus’ goal in this parable to teach us about the ‘geography’ of Hades? Or, was He trying to make a statement about eternal punishment and about repenting while still alive?

Don’t get caught up in the mechanics of the story, and miss the forest for the trees. :wink:

And yes – in that story, the rich man is in hell, as we understand it.


Luke 16[FONT=Times New Roman,Times,serif][size=3]22 And it came to pass that the beggar died, and he was carried by the Angels into Abraham’s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell.
23 And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom:
[/size][/FONT]Haydock Commentary[size=2][FONT=Times New Roman,Times,serif][size=3]Ver. 22.[/size] Abraham’s bosom.[3] The place of rest, where the souls of the saints resided, till Christ had opened heaven by his death. (Challoner) — 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. It was thither the Jesus went after his death; as it is said in the Creed, “he descended into hell,” to deliver those who were detained there, and who might at Christ’s ascension enter into heaven. (Calmet) See 1 Peter iii. 19. — “Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham.” (Matthew viii. 11.)


Many commentators and priest in their homilies would say it is hell. Purgatory was not an option at that time, but clearly there was a third temporary state where the righteous were at and maybe more.

The conversation of the rich man to Abraham does not seem to be possible if the man was in hell given the teachings of Jesus about what Hell is like. The richman is concerned for the well being of his family and he knows they have not repented of their ways. Instead it looks more like what we know of what we call today purgatory. Where he is being cleansed immediately of his attachment to sin, and moving to caring about himself to quickly caring about others a problem he failed out while he was alive.


It was Hades. The rich man was certainly not in Hell since he had this concern for his family. Nobody in hell has any concern since from the Scriptures such a person has been described as gnashing at their teeth. Read Pope Benedict XVI’s excellent commentary on this parable in his book “Jesus of Nazareth” which was the first book of a trilogy on Jesus. One can say that Hades and Purgatory are alike in that in both instances the promise of Heaven will be there. Pope Benedict said the Lord only described to the Jews at that time what they could relate to, Hades.


Isn’t Purgatory mentioned in one of the books of the Bible in the Old Testament that Catholics have and Prostestants removed? If it is, then Purgatory existed. Maybe the rich man went there and then to Abraham’s bosom awaiting the Messiah?


A priest in my Country thinks Purgatory

Because the rich man asked for help to be given to his brothers to convert, something a soul in hell would not do,
Also Purgatory is a cleansing fire


How do you know? Do you know that a soul in hell
will bend the knee and confess that Jesus is Lord?
Phil. 2:10-11



Catholics today, with misplaced sympathy, fail to grasp the intent of the parable.

Further, Father Abraham says that between Lazarus and the rich man, there is an impassable divide, that keeps anyone from going in either direction. That is a description of hell as we know it. Purgatory does not have an impassible divide.


In the Old Testament, Job tells of “the silence of death”
but alternately, in the account of the king of Tyre going
down to hell, the other kings already there SPOKE.
But Jesus’ main point was that they should heed
Moses and the Prophets and avoid the fires of punish-
ment by repenting of their sins, so I don’t know what to
make of it?


By your own unbiblical definition then you believe that Earth your current existence that Heaven is passable. That would make you a Peligian heretic in which you believe by your own works you can enter into Heaven. Catholics on the other hand reject that outright. It is only by God’s grace and his life in us that regenerates us and makes us a child of God that the gates of Heaven our open to us. You see it is ONLY by the power of God that makes it passable, and not by your works or the works of men. What about the passage in the Bible that nothing unclean enters heaven. You are sinner now, so if you were to enter Heaven the must be a state that you go from no longer sinning and that your will is perfectly aligned with God’s will as Jesus prayed in the garden, “not my will but yours”. That state after death for the person who dies in a state of grace, but still has attachment to sin is call purgatory, and yes we do not posses any power whatsoever to cross over. God calls us and we say, “Here I am Lord”.

The place in the OT the other poster is referencing is from 2 Macc 12:40 ff in which the Bible explicitly states that prayers for those who have died is a Holy and righteous act.

In the OT we know for a fact that the Holy ones were remained in a place for the righteous after death (a temporary and not a permanent place) Jesus went then to release them as Saint Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3. It was called prison or Abraham’s bosom, and maybe the same temporary place that is now referred to as Purgatory, or Purgatory may be a different place altogether.

All we know is that Heaven and Hell are permanent places, and that God through Holy Scripture has revealed that there is a temporary place that those destined to Heaven and only that that are destined to Heaven pass through, so that all those worldly attachments may be burned up and discarded, so that we become perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. See 1 COR 3.


Puhleeze! :rolleyes: You have entirely missed the point of my post and somehow (I don’t know how) turned me into a Pelagian heretic, because I referenced exactly what it says in the parable!

I’ll recap: Father Abraham tells the rich man that the reason Lazarus can’t help him, is because there is a chasm separating them, which no one can pass in either direction. I said this is a description of Hell as we know it. Purgatory does NOT fit that description because those in Purgatory CAN PASS to heaven, AND those in Heaven (and on earth) can help those in Purgatory. So the parable is NOT about Purgatory. :shrug:


Ambrose, when I read that I just started laughing. I was engaged in late night (tired) hyperbole to draw out a point on impassible. I take it back you are not a Pelagian heretic.:thumbsup:


According to St. Catherine of Siena in her Dialogue, he was in hell:

"How the damned cannot desire any good.

“And their hatred is so great that they cannot will or desire any good, but they continually blaspheme Me. And do you know why they cannot desire good? Because the life of man ended, free-will is bound. Wherefore they cannot merit, having lost, as they have, the time to do so. If they finish their life, dying in hatred with the guilt of mortal sin, their souls, by divine justice, remain forever bound with the bonds of hatred, and forever obstinate in that evil, in which, therefore, being gnawed by themselves, their pains always increase, especially the pains of those who have been the cause of damnation to others, as that rich man, who was damned, demonstrated to you when he begged the favor that Lazarus might go to his brothers, who were in the world, to tell them of his pains. This, certainly, he did not do out of love or compassion for his brothers, for he was deprived of love and could not desire good, either for My honor or their salvation, because, as I have already told you, the damned souls cannot do any good to their neighbor, and they blaspheme Me, because their life ended in hatred of Me and of virtue. But why then did he do it? He did it because he was the eldest, and had nourished them up in the same miseries in which he had lived, so that he was the cause of their damnation, and he saw pain increased to himself, on account of their damnation when they should arrive in torment together with him, to be gnawed forever by hatred, because in hatred they finished their lives.”"


Thank you for this quote. It’s very interesting. I certainly could not on my own deduce that the soul that go to hell will have different degrees of suffering. I guess that would have to be revealed… And, on top of that the causes for the different degrees. It certainly stands to reason that those who mislead souls would bare a greater burden.

One little things no one has noted which strikes me in what the rich man said, is that he is asking for the poor man to be ordered. I just caught that lack of respect for the dignity of the Lazarus by the rich man. Even though the rich man sees that Lazarus is in a better place he still cannot get himself to respect him as a person.


Actually, Jesus said that to those who much has been given much will be expected (paraphrase). I guess the same would apply in hell but, still - it would have to be revealed - I would think. So, people will be compensated in accordance to their fruits and so, the severity of punishment in hell depends on the evils committed. Interesting.



There is no compassion in hell

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