Much of what Christians know about where the souls of the departed go after death, is found in Luke 16:19-31. Some view this passage as a parable, and as such, they say it is not to be taken literally. The following arguments explain why the passage is a description of reality:
1. It would be the only parable in the Bible that describes certain things that are outside of the realm of human experience. All the other parables talk about things with which we are familiar, such as birds, seed, fields, pearls, wheat, barns, leaven, fish, etc. (see Mt. 13). This passage is different because it talks about what happens to two men after death, and this is a realm where none of us have had any personal experience. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual significance but Luke 16 transcends the realm of the earthly.
2. It would be the only parable in the Bible that uses a proper name (Lazarus).
3. It would be the only parable in the Bible that makes mention repeatedly of a historical person: Abraham. Moreover, this historical person actually carries on a dialogue with the rich man! Indeed, mention is also made in this parable of Moses, another historical character. What other parable speaks of real, historical persons?
4. It would be the only parable in the Bible that describes the places where the dead go. Hades is a divided place, with the two sides being called "Abraham's bosom" or "Paradise," and "Hell" or "the place of torment."
5. It would be the only parable in the Bible that makes mention of angels. Compare Matthew 13 verses 24-30, 36-43, 47-49 where angels are mentioned in the explanation of the parable but not in the parable itself.
6. If Hades is not really a place of torment, then this would be the only parable in the Bible where the Lord Jesus taught error instead of truth. GOD FORBID!
Born again believers "by-pass" Paradise, and go straight to heaven (2 Cor. 5:8)!