Is this a chasm between parts of Sheol/Hades? Does this take place after death?
NASB - 26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'
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Greek: chasma (G5490) is used to refer a gaping opening, a chasm, an impassible gulf so that none would pass between the two compartments of hellt; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. The idea here is the "Eternal separation" from loved ones or from the redeemed which they can see beyond an impassable gulf (Lk. 16:23-26) between paradise and the torment compartment of hell. A phrase used among the Jews to signify paradise. It is called "paradise" in Lk. 23:43 and was located in the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:8-10 Mt. 12:40). There is another paradise in the third heaven (2Cor. 12:1-4 Rev. 2:7). The Greek for paradise is paradeisos (G3857), a park, forest, or orchard; it is used in the Septuagint for the garden of Eden. The Hebrew: pardec (H6508) is translated orchard (Song 4:13; Eccl. 2:5) and forest (Neh. 2:8). Being in the bosom of another means the one next to him at the time (Jn. 13:23). It is also an idiom of close relationship (2Sam. 12:3; Isa. 40:11; Jn. 1:18).
In my opinion, the mention of the "chasm" in the passage cited in the question is not intended to evoke questions or discussion with regard to the relative "geography" of Heaven, Hell, Hades, Sheol, or Paradise, but to emphasize the utter separation between the redeemed and the lost in eternity (in whatever specific realm or domain they may respectively be). To me, the essential teaching point of the passage is that God's judgment after death is fixed, final, and irrevocable, so that, even if the redeemed, motivated purely by mercy, were to desire to somehow alleviate any suffering that those who are lost are experiencing, they would not be able to do so. (Not that I believe the redeemed will wish to -- first, because they will be experiencing ultimate and eternal joy, and also because (again, in my opinion) they will have yielded any such longings or desires (as even the condemned will) to acknowledgement of God's sovereign and righteous judgment.) (Note that the rich man in the passage does not request to be removed from his torment, since, even as he suffers, he realizes that it is a deserved judgment from God.)
This is a complex question that cannot be fully addressed in the space allowed here. So I would like to offer some working definitions of the key terms that are involved in this issue to aid in discussion of this story that Jesus told. Spirit - this is the invisible part of human beings that is made in the image of God and that lives forever Soul - this is the invisible part of human beings comprising their mind, will and emotions and that lives forever Body - this is the physical part of human beings that dies because of sin. All people will be resurrected and receive new bodies. All people will live in bodily form forever - either new earth or hell Angels - these are spiritual beings created by God to worship and serve Him who will live forever in heaven. Some angels fell in Lucifer's (Satan's) rebellion. These demons will be sent to hell forever at Jesus 2nd coming. Believers (the holy/righteous ones) - In the Old Testament these are people who lived by faith in and obedience to God's revelation to them, trusting in him for their earthly and eternal blessings (forgiveness of sins). In the New testament these are people who lived by faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and obeyed God by accepting Jesus as the Lord of their lives. Unbelievers (the evil/wicked ones) - In the Old testament these are people who rejected faith in God's revelation to them and rebelled against God's will - choosing to live their own way. In the New Testament these are people who rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ and also rebelled against God's will - choosing to live their own way. Heaven - this is the temporary resting place for the souls and spirits of all believers. New Testament believers come immediately here upon their physical death. Old Testament believers came here with Jesus when he was resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven. All believers will return with Jesus at his second coming and their final home will be the New Earth that God will create. Hell - this is the final place of eternal judgement for all demons and all unbelieving human beings. God created hell to punish demons, he never intended for a single human being to end up here, but he gave everyone the free will to choose their own destiny. All unbelievers will be reunited with their bodies at the second resurrection and then face the white throne judgement of God, after which they will be sentenced to Hell for eternity. Sheol - this is the temporary place of judgement for the demons who united with the daughters of men (called Nephilim) in violation of God's command. When they died in Noah's flood they were sent here. At the white throne judgement of God they will be sentenced to Hell for eternity. Hades - this is the temporary place of judgement for all people who lived prior to Jesus death and who rejected a life of faith in God. Upon his death Jesus descended here to proclaim his judgement against them for rejecting God's plan of salvation. At the second coming of Jesus their bodies will be resurrected from the dead and reunited with their souls and spirits. At the white throne judgement of God they will be sentenced to Hell for eternity. Paradise (or Abraham's Bosom) - this is the temporary resting place of all Old testament believers who lived by faith in God. Upon his death, Jesus descended here to proclaim his gospel message that he is their saviour and sprinkled them with his blood for the forgiveness of their sins. When Jesus was raised from death their souls were raised with him and some of them appeared in Jerusalem. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he took all of these Old testament believers with him. Paradise is now empty. These believers will be reunited with their new bodies at the first resurrection. Rapture Sometime before or during the Seven Year tribulation Jesus will return and all believers alive on the earth and all believers who died united to Christ will rise to receive their new bodies and return with Jesus to heaven
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