Many Christians believe the Lazarus and the rich man parable should be taken as a literal account of heaven and hell. They think the rich man was tortured in hell while Lazarus enjoyed heaven. Are these assumptions accurately derived from the parable’s text? Firstly the rich man is said to be in torment, but you have to assume he is being tortured like many believe that is what happens in hell. How does a disembodied soul feel pain? If true, this teaches the soul is not a disembodied separate entity. It would need to have some form of a material body in order to feel physical pain, yet many Christians believe they have a disembodied immortal soul as taught by their doctrine. Hades describes where the dead go, which is the grave or sheol in Hebrew. Many Christians believe hell is a place of eternal torment and torture with no escape, yet we are told that death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire at the very end, after the ungodly have been resurrected from death and hell. Take note of verse 10 explicitly telling us that it is the devil who is tormented day and night for ever and ever, not humans. How is it possible for the grave and hell to give up their dead to stand trial if there is no escaping from hell? Hell is not the final resting place of the wicked, the lake of fire and brimstone is the final resting place for them.
Revelation 20:10-14 King James Version
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Abraham would have to be alive in heaven for the account of Lazarus to be literal. But God says the faithful are waiting so we can all be made perfect together. Why do they have to wait? What could be better than being rewarded immediately?
Hebrews 11:39-40 King James Version
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.