22 ...The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments (basanos) in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
The verses above prove that the story of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable and not a true factual account. It would be ridiculous to think that billions of dead unbelievers are able to lift up their eyes from their graves (hades) and see Abraham and believers like Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. The powerful truth of the Bible is that when a person dies, he 'sleeps' and remains unconscious until his resurrection.
Note that it does not say that Lazarus' spirit or his soul went to heaven nor does it say that the rich man's spirit or his soul went to hell. One cannot use the scripture above to prove that when a person dies, his soul is immediately judged by God to go to heaven or hell. In the previous chapter, Chapter 16, we have explained the biblical truth that people are not born with immortal souls, and after death, they remain in an unconscious 'sleep' until their resurrection.
Also, let us remind ourselves of the meaning of the Greek word basanos, which has been translated as torment in Luke 16:23 quoted above. According to Strong's number G931, the primary meaning of basanos is to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal. The use of the Greek word basanos indicates that there is a refining judgement awaiting the rich man after his resurrection and not eternal torment.
We know that nobody can be tormented in Hades (the grave), as the Bible is very clear about what happens when people die. The Bible says that all dead people remain in an unconscious 'sleep' in their graves until their resurrection. Please remember that the rich man and Lazarus story is a parable and not a true account. The purpose of this parable is to hide the mysteries of the Kingdom of God from unbelievers and it is not intended to be understood as an actual event.
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