Saturday, October 19, 2013


From the days of Adam until the time of Jesus, a period of about four thousand years, when a person died, his soul went down into a place called, in the Hebrew, שְׁאוֹל (shĕ'owl), or "the place of the dead" (Ps. 55:15; Ezek. 31:15-16; Amos 9:2).  Ezekiel used the Hebrew תַּחְתִּי (tachtiy), which is translated "nether parts of the earth," five times in describing שְׁאוֹל (shĕ'owl) (Ezek. 31:14, 16, 18; 32:18, 24).  It means "the lower most part" of something, such as the base of a mountain (Ex. 19:17).  As we all know, the lowest part of the planet is the center of its core.  That reminds me of the joke that asks, "How far into the woods can a man travel?"  The answer is exactly half way, because if he continues, he is leaving the woods.  The same is true for שְׁאוֹל (shĕ'owl).   

According to the Lord's description in Luke 16:19-31, "the place of the dead" was divided into two sections:  one section was identified as "hell," and the other section was called "Abraham's Bosom":  "And in hell (the rich man) lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom" (Lk. 16:23).  It is obvious from the passage that "hell" was a place of suffering in a flame (v. 24), while "Abraham's Bosom" was a place of comfort (v. 25).  In fact, the New Testament refers to "Abraham's Bosom" as "Paradise."  Jesus, speaking to the thief on the cross, said, "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise" (Lk. 23:43).  Since Jesus died and was buried (1 Cor. 15:3-4), and was "in the grave" for "three days and three nights" (Mt. 12:40), that means Jesus and the thief spent three days and three nights together in "Abraham's Bosom."

Today, born again believers no longer go down unto "Abraham's Bosom" when they die.  The Word tells us that believers in Christ are immediately "present with the Lord" upon their death (2 Cor. 5:8)!  Because we know Jesus is now in heaven (Ps. 68:18; Prov. 30:4; Jn. 3:13; 20:17; Acts 2:34; Eph. 4:8-10; etc.), we go up to be with Him!  This is confirmed by the fact that the Apostle Paul describes "a man" as having been "caught up into paradise" (2 Cor. 12:4).  And Jesus affirms the location of paradise today:  "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7)!

There is but one Way, one Door, into God's presence:  Jesus Christ, our risen LORD!     

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