Of God’s Word #29
Dr. Luther was asked whether the history of the rich man and Lazarus was a parable or an actual fact? He replied: The earlier part of the story is evidently historical; the persons, the circumstances, the existence of the five brothers, all this is given in detail. The reference to Abraham is allegorical, and highly worthy of observation. We learn from it that there are abodes unknown to us, where the souls of men are; secrets into which we must not inquire. No mention is made of Lazarus’ grave; whence we may judge, that in God’s eyes, the soul occupies far more place than the body. Abraham’s bosom is the promise and assurance of salvation, and the expectation of Jesus Christ; not heaven itself, but the expectation of heaven.
Excerpted from Marin Luther’s Table Talk: Luther’s Comments on Life, the Church and the Bible, (Christian Heritage, 2003).