The Great Chasm

Real with Consequences vs False with None

 Written by John Carson

In Matthew 13, Jesus’ disciples asked Him:

“Why do You speak to them in parables?”

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” 

“Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (verses 10-11, 17)

Heaven is beyond our comprehension, and yet Jesus told parables to reveal heavenly truths of which prophets and righteous people longed to hear. So if we want to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus’ words provide us with those truths about what heaven is like.

The revealing of those mysteries meant that every word of every parable had the utmost significance of meaning. This brings us to ask a few questions about the parable Jesus told in Luke 16:19-31:

  • When Jesus told the parable of two men that had died, Lazarus and the Rich Man, was there really a great chasm between them?
  • Does that parable show people exist after they die?
  • Is “Lazarus” in a place of joy, and the “Rich Man” in torment?

Jehovah’s Witnesses will want you to believe none of those are true. To them, a chasm does not exist, as they do not believe people continue to consciously exist while their bodies lie dead in the graves.

But how are we to view Jesus’ parables? Were they based upon real-life scenarios, or were they not true to reality? 

For example, if you read the parable of “The speck and the log” in Matthew 7:1-6, you will notice it is a story that is true to reality. We all know what specks, logs, and eyes are, by the fact that they really do exist. 

The telling of a parable based upon what is not real, would be the last thing we would expect Jesus to tell. Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil, including his lies.

Compare the parables Jesus taught below. I listed all 50 of them. You can click on the references to read each one. You will notice all the parables Jesus taught that are widely accepted as real-life scenarios, are marked with an R



 1.  The speck and the log

  Matt 7:1–6; Lk 6:37–43


 2.  The two houses

  Matt 7:24–27; Lk 6:47–49


 3.  Children in the marketplace

  Matt 11:16–19; Lk 7:32


 4.  The two debtors

  Lk 7:40-50


 5.  The unclean spirit

  Matt 12:43–45; Lk 11:24–26

 6.  The man building his barns

  Lk 12:16–21


 7.  The barren fig tree

  Lk 13:6–9


 8.  The sower

  Matt 13:3–8; Mrk 4:3–8; Lk 8:5–8


 9.  The tares

  Matt 13:24–30


10. The seed

  Mrk 4:20


11. The grain of mustard seed   

  Matt 13:31–32; Mrk 4:31–32; Lk 13:19


12. The leaven

  Matt 13:33; Lk 13:21


13. The lamp

  Matt 5:15; Mrk 4:21; Lk 8:16; 11:33


14. The dragnet

  Matt 13:47–48


15. The hidden treasure

  Matt 13:44


16. The pearl of great value

  Matt 13:45–46


17. The householder

  Matt 13:52


18. The marriage

  Matt 9:15; Mrk 2:19–20; Lk 5:34–35


19. The patched garment 

  Matt 9:16; Mrk 2:21; Lk 5:36


20. The wineskins

  Matt 9:17; Mrk 2:22; Lk 5:37


21. The harvest

  Matt 9:37; Lk 10:2


22. Thrown into prison

  Matt 5:25; Lk 12:58


23. The unforgiving servant

  Matt 18:23–35


24. The Good Samaritan 

  Lk 10:30–37


25. The three loaves

  Lk 11:5–8


26. The good shepherd

  Jn 10:1–16


27. The narrow gate

  Matt 7:14; Lk 13:24


28. The guests

  Lk 14:7–11


29. The great banquet

  Matt 22:2–9; Lk 14:16–23 


30. The wedding clothes

  Matt 22:10–14


31. The tower

  Lk 14:28–30


32. The king going to war

  Lk 14:31


33. The lost sheep

  Matt 18:12–13; Lk 15:4–7


34. The lost coin

  Lk 15:8–9


35. The lost son

  Lk 15:11–32


36. The unjust steward

  Lk 16:1–9


37. The great chasm

  Lk 16:19–31


38. The servant’s duty 

  Lk 17:7–10


39. Labourers in the vineyard

  Matt 20:1–16


40. The talents

  Matt 25:14–30; Lk 19:11–27


41. The persistent widow

  Lk 18:2–5


42. Pharisee and tax-gatherer

  Lk 18:10–14


43. The two sons

  Matt 21:28-32


44. The wicked vine-growers

  Matt 21:33–43; Mrk 12:1–9; Lk 20:9–15


45. The fig tree

  Matt 24:32; Mrk 13:28; Lk 21:29–30


46. The watching servant 

  Matt 24:43; Lk 12:39


47. The man on a journey

  Mrk 13:34


48. Character of two slaves

  Matt 24:45–51; Lk 12:42–46


49. The ten virgins

  Matt 25:1-12


50. The vine and branches

  Jn 15:1–6


You will notice I did not place an R beside number 37. I left it blank purposefully for you to make up your own mind on how you ought to read it. The only parable questioned by the Watchtower (based upon a scenario that is considered by them as unreal), is this story Jesus told, where there is a great chasm between Lazarus and the Rich Man after they had both died (Luke 16:19-31). Why would this one parable alone be questioned by Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Consider these questions:

Why should we believe virtually every other parable Jesus told were based upon reality, except for this one? If that chasm does not exist, wouldn’t Jesus telling of this parable mislead those listening to Him, into believing that it does exist? This would be very confusing indeed to His listeners (and those reading His words).

And, if Satan (who is the teller of lies) wanted to point to this parable to mislead people into believing something that is not true, then how would he have accomplished this? Were Jesus’ words somehow twisted by Satan? Not at all. A plain reading of those verses reveals heavenly truths Jesus wanted to communicate.

If the teaching that conscious existence continues after a person dies, is an actual lie from Satan (that the Rich Man experiencing torment, and Lazarus experiencing wonderful peacefulness, is not true), why then did it come from the lips of Jesus?

Does the great chasm in Luke 16 actually exist? If we are to read all the parables CONSISTENTLY, then what would be the basis for believing that what Jesus described in that parable was false?

There is no honest basis for disbelieving what Jesus taught, which means we should take what Jesus said to be ALL true. The chasm is real, and there is conscious existence after death.

Which side of the chasm will you be on when you die? Do you know if you will experience everlasting joy in Jesus’ Holy Presence because of His wonderful grace, or torment because you rejected Jesus Christ and His finished work? To learn more, go to our page: The Gospel

For more information on conscious existence after death, see also: Beyond The Grave