Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Have you ever heard a preacher say that Jesus spoke more about Hell than He did about Heaven?  Well, I am sorry to have to inform you that your preacher erred in failing to check the validity of the what he had read or heard.  The word "heaven" appears 582 times in 550 verses in the K.J.V., while the word "hell" appears only 54 times in 54 verses in the entire Bible.  The Book of Matthew alone, mentions "heaven" 68 times, and it is mentioned in the four Gospels 129 times!

So, what does all that have to do with Paradise?  Well, many people mistakenly think of Heaven when they hear the word "paradise."  Today, they are correct, but in Christ's day, that was not the case.  The word "paradise" appears on three times in the Bible.  In the first of these, Jesus promised the thief on the cross next to Him, that he would be with Him in Paradise that very day (Lk. 23:23).  We know that Paradise could not have meant Heaven, because Jesus did not ascend to Heaven until forty days later (Acts 1:3-9).  That means there had to be a place called Paradise somewhere other than Heaven.

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells of the death of two men.  One man is described as being in torment, and the other being "in Abraham's bosom" (v. 23).  While the word "paradise" is not mentioned in this passage, "Abraham's bosom" and Paradise must be the same place (at that time).  In Ephesians 4:8-10,  Paul says, "Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things." 

I believe that the phrase "He led captivity captive" refers to Christ taking those who were temporarily being held in "Abraham's bosom," to Heaven.  No one could go directly to Heaven until after Jesus, "the First Fruits," ascended (1 Cor. 15:20, 23).  I base my belief upon two facts:  1) that, according to the other two references to Paradise, it is in now in Heaven.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 that he knew a man who ascended into Paradise, or the third Heaven.  And John wrote that overcomers will "eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God"; it is obvious that John is speaking of Heaven; and 2) that today, when a born again believer dies, he or she is immediately present with Jesus in Heaven (2 Cor. 5:8), and there is therefore no need for a place called "Abraham's bosom."

Today, Paradise and Heaven are the same place; at the feet of Jesus!

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