Question: Is Luke 16:19-31 a parable? We are told it is and that it has no reference to an after life.
Answer: This most certainly is not a parable. The certain rich man of Luke 12:16 is said to be a parable, but not here. People are not usually named in parables, like this account where the beggar was named Lazarus. Those who would make this a parable with a symbolic meaning are only those who do not believe in the realities of life hereafter. This account clearly teaches what happened at that time to those who died lost and those who died saved. Lazarus was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom (a place of comfort Luke 12:25). The rich man lifted up his eyes in hell, being in torment. Luke 12:23-24. It is clear from this , ‘that “hell” or “hades” was a place in the heart of the earth where departed souls (not bodies) went, waiting the resurrection. It was composed of two compartments; one, a place of torment for the lost, the other a place of comfort for the saved.
There was a great gulf fixed so there was no crossing over from one to the other. When Jesus died His soul went down into hell (Abraham’s bosom) Acts 2:31 while His body lay in the tomb. In resurrection God did not leave His soul in hell neither did His body see corruption in the tomb. When he arose it would seem from (Ephesians 4:8) that He lead a multitude of captives back to heaven with Him. We now read that the “spirits of just men made perfect” are in heaven, Hebrews 12:24.
The Bible teaches that since the resurrection of Christ to “be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” 2 Corinthians 5:6 and 2 Corinthians 5:8). The teaching of our Lord in Luke 16:19 is that there is life after death and that those who are unsaved enter into a state of misery waiting the resurrection of their bodies to be cast both body and soul into hell. Matthew 10:28 and Revelation 20:15. How important it is then to be saved. The same Jesus that says “Come unto me” now will say “Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire” then. Matthew 25:41 If you will heed His “Come” you will never hear His “Depart” Acts 16:31.