Working our way through the Gospels, we just covered a very strange parable about how believers should act more like criminals, in a certain way. It was actually a lesson on how to use money. This upset the Pharisees, so Jesus rebuked them for seeking the praise of men over that of God (Luke 16:14-15). Then Luke provides a few miscellaneous teachings without context, despite their verse-parallels in Matthew having robust context: now is the time when people are forcing their way into the Kingdom of God (Luke 16:16), none of the Law will disappear (Luke 16:17), and people who divorce and remarry, or those who marry divorcees, commit adultery (Luke 16:18). From there, Luke takes another abrupt turn.
Luke in Hell
not quite as sure. Now, some denominations suggest that Hell is just a metaphor for an eternal separation from God, or instead suggest a permanent annihilation awaits the unsaved. Yet such positions require selective amnesia of one particular parable.
Luke 16:19-31 is where Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. It goes like this:
There was a rich man living in luxury who never shared anything with the beggar, Lazarus, outside his door. When Lazarus died, angels carried him to Abraham's bosom. When the rich man died, he went to Hades (a.k.a. Hell) where he was in a fiery place of agony. The rich man could see Lazarus with Abraham, and called out to Abraham for Lazarus to bring him at least a drop of water for some relief. Abraham reminds him how he had been given good things while Lazarus had been given bad things while they were alive, but now their fortunes were reversed; and that there was a chasm preventing travel between the side of comfort and the side of torment. So the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his still-living family, but Abraham answered that if his family does not believe Moses and the Prophets, then they will not even believe someone who is resurrected. (My paraphrase)In some ways, this is a picture of Hell in the classic sense. In fact, check out Luke 16:23-24:
In Hades, where [the rich man] was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' NIVThere are several different views on what this story may represent as opposed to being truly about Hell. To some extent, the different views can seem justified, such as when we consider how odd it seems that the rich man could see Abraham from Hell. That seems to suggest that this is just a metaphorical parable.
However, do you remember Mark's version of Hell, where the saved would look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled for all eternity? Luke's version here seems to be just a small evolution beyond that Hell; and one which had its foundation established in apocryphal Scriptures before the time of Jesus, as we see by the reference to the Bosom of Abraham in Luke 16:22.
What you do not see here is Jesus explaining what is going on in Hell. The rich man is obviously in a fiery torment, but there was no need to explain that Hell was a place of fiery torment; nor a need to elaborate on the finality and enternality of Hell. That was a given. Hades was a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus did use parables and extended metaphors to illustrate points. These literary tools did not necessarily represent literal truths. However, they were based in facts; or at least based in known concepts which could actually happen. Take any other parable in Jesus' teachings and you can, at least, understand what is going on in the literal sense because they are grounded in reality; a farmer sows seeds, a shepherd looks for lost sheep, vines produces fruit... and Hell is a place of torment after death, at least according to Jesus.
It is true that there are a handful of verses which would challenge the classical take on Hell, but these verses really do nothing more than highlight the level of self-contradiction in the Bible.