WHAT and WHERE is PARIDISE ?



       EDITED

               

WHAT and WHERE is PARADISE?


What does the BIBLE have to say about WHERE Jesus and the thief on the cross went when they died?


One day a dear brother in our Lord Jesus Christ asked me if the thief on the cross went to heaven? He knew that Jesus said to the thief beside him, “TODAY you shall be with me in PARADISE”, but he was not sure what paradise meant. In other words, he was asking me if the phrase that Jesus spoke in Luke 23:42,43, “... TODAY you shall be WITH me IN PARADISE,” is synonymous with what many Christians refer to as going to heaven?  

Well, I myself had never really thought about what this verse actually meant at the time in my life. And thus, I could not give him an answer right then and there. It was only after I studied this passage of Scripture for myself that I learned its true meaning. And that true meaning of Luke 23:42,43 is what I will share with you in this study of God's word.

Also, I would like to point out that there is more than just one INTERPRETATION of this verse. And one such interpretation states that the comma before the word “, TODAY” was misplaced by the translators. And, therefore, according to the interpretation of that misplaced comma theory, the reading of that verse gives us the supposed incorrect impression that Jesus meant that very selfsame day that the thief on the cross would be with him in “PARADISE”.  In other words, this view or interpretation of the misplaced comma “theory” states that the dead are dead and that there is absolutely no consciousness when a person dies. So therefore, according to the misplaced comma theory, the thief could not have possibly gone to paradise that very selfsame day that Jesus spoke these words to him.

Another INTERPRETATION or another false misconception that causes Christians to not properly understand this verse is their equating the word “HEAVEN” with the word “PARADISE” at the time that Jesus spoke these words to the thief on the cross. What I mean by this is that paradise was a PART of the holding place for the dead in the Old Testament times. You see, the holding place for the dead DURING the Old Testament times had TWO parts. There was a side for the wicked dead and there was a side for the righteous dead. And the side for the righteous dead was called “PARADISE”. We will cover the verses showing this further on in this study.

And yet another misleading term that we understand differently in modern times in how the word “TODAY” is used as opposed to how God uses this word “TODAY” in the scriptures. In other words, a DAY to Almighty God in the Bible is as a thousand years and a 1000 years is as a DAY. Therefore, some Christians wrongly conclude that Jesus may have meant that the thief would indeed “someday” be with him in paradise but not necessarily that very selfsame day. 

So then, the purpose of this study is to find the sound Biblical meaning of the word “PARADISE”, the Biblical meaning of the word “TODAY” in the context of this verse in question, and whether or not the translators incorrectly placed the comma in this passage of scripture. In other words, the goal of this study is to examine ALL the evidence of each theory or INTERPRETATION in the light of the WHOLE word of God in order to arrive at the TRUTH of what Jesus means by these words “...TODAY you shall be with me in PARADISE.” Keep in mind that when Jesus spoke to the thief on the cross beside him that the QUESTION that the thief asked Jesus was to REMEMBER him when Jesus came into his kingdom. In other words, Jesus did NOT say, “Today you shall be with me in my KINGDOM”.

With that being said, let us begin this study in God's word by reading the account in Luke 23:42,43 where we are told about the thief on the cross. Now, I myself have concluded that Jesus was speaking of that very selfsame day when he told him that he would be WITH him in PARADISE. In other words, we are going to FIRST look at the misplaced comma theory where the comma has supposedly been misplaced placed by the translators. For you see, a misplaced comma does indeed place the emphasis on the word “TODAY”, as in, meaning that very self-same day in which Jesus spoke these words to the dying thief on the cross. And without the comma then this verse could be INTERPRETED in another way.

Now, the reason that I myself do NOT believe this INTERPRETATION that the comma was misplaced is that BOTH Jesus and the thief DIED that very self-same day. And that same verse teaches us that the thief would indeed WITH Jesus IN paradise. So the question now becomes,  “WHERE did Jesus himself go when he DIED on the very self-same day as the thief beside him?” Then after we look at this verse with understanding that question, we will look at the other interpretations and the arguments that other Christians who have different INTERPRETATIONS use to try and support what they believe.


Let us now read Luke 23:42,43.


“And he (The thief on the cross) said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when you come into your KINGDOM.

43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily (Or truly) I say unto you, TODAY shall you be with me in PARADISE.


Now, some Christians wrongly conclude that the Kingdom of Heaven is one and the same place as paradise. And here is why I myself believe that conclusion to be in error. We know from other passages of scriptures that when Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross that he, as in, the inner man of the spirit and soul of Jesus, descended into the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.


Please take a look at Matthew 12:40, which PLAINLY tells us this fact.


“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the HEART of the earth.”


Also, please read Ephesians 4:9,10 which again clearly teaches us that BEFORE Jesus ascended into “HEAVEN” that he FIRST DESCENDED into the LOWER PARTS of the EARTH.


Ephesians 4:9,10.


“(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also DESCENDED FIRST into the LOWER PARTS of the EARTH? (And where again did Jesus himself say that would go for three days and three nights in Matthew 12:40? Jesus said that he would descend into the HEART of the EARTH. Now, even without Ephesians 4:9,10 every Christian knows that the EARTH is NOT Heaven. So simple common sense should tell you the “PARADISE” is NOT Heaven. I suppose one could say that paradise is like Heaven on earth. Or in this case, paradise is like Heaven in the HEART of the earth. For you see, Jesus did describe this place called paradise as being in the bosom of father Abraham. This is symbolic language that paradise is the SIDE of the holding place for the dead that is ONLY for souls of the RIGHTEOUS dead where the righteous are COMFORTED in the bosom of Abraham.)

10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”


The main point that I want you to see right now is that right after Jesus died, even before his body taken down off the cross and was placed in the grave or tomb, the INNER man of the soul and spirit of Jesus DESCENDED into the LOWER PARTS of the earth that is also called the HEART of the earth. This is NOT speaking of the grave! But rather, the HEART of the earth is referring to the UNDERWORLD or the holding place of all the dead DURING the Old Testament times. And again, that holding place was separated into two parts. There was a side for the souls of the wicked dead and another side for the souls of the rights dead.

Keep in mind that the real you is your INNER man comprised of your spirit and soul that lives IN a body. Now, the INNER man which is sometimes called the spirit while at other times the inner man is referred to as the soul does not die at the moment that the physical body dies. Please understand that this does NOT mean that the soul is immortal just because the soul does not die at the very moment that the body dies. The Bible ITSELF does NOT teach us that the soul is immortal. Please read the study “IS THE SOUL OF MAN IMMORTAL?”  

Rather the Bible itself teaches us that the life-giving spirit that is CONNECTED TO the soul remains connected to the soul unto the Day of Judgment. So then the souls of both the wicked and the souls of the righteous remain ALIVE and in a conscious state until the Day of Judgment. And thus, ONLY the soul of the WICKED will be destroyed in the lake of fire on the final Day of Judgment. The souls of the righteous IN Jesus Christ will be given IMMORTALITY and a NEW glorified IMMORTAL BODY on their “DAYS” of judgment.

Yes, I said DAYS of judgment. For you see, ONLY the RIGHTEOUS good and faithful Christians will be judged on the FIRST Day of Judgment BEFORE the literal 1000 year reign of Jesus. BUT there will ALSO be many RIGHTEOUS people DURING the 1000 year reign of Jesus that will be given eternal life at the END of the 1000 years at their FINAL Day of Judgment. So then, on the FIRST Day of Judgment, ONLY the righteous IN Jesus Christ will be judged worthy to receive eternal life AT the coming of Jesus to rule and reign WITH him for 1000 years. And then, in the second and FINAL judgment both the wicked of all the ages along with the righteous DURING the Millennium will be resurrected and judged according to their works.

So again, the question is, “Did the thief on the cross beside Jesus enter into PARADISE on that self-same day?” In other words, was the HEART of the earth, or the LOWER PARTS of the earth where the word of God clearly states that Jesus descended into on that very self-same day that he was crucified and was there for three full days and three full nights, actually PARADISE?  Was this UNDERWORLD, this place where the dead were kept, also known in Old Testament times as PARADISE?

Please keep in mind that he plainly told the thief on the cross beside him that “TODAY you shall be WITH ME IN PARADISE.” So the word of God makes it quite CLEAR that whatever place that Jesus when he gave up the ghost and died, SO ALSO went the thief on the cross to that SAME place on that self-same day. For you see, Jesus PLAINLY and CLEARLY stated the thief would be WITH HIM that VERY SELFSAME DAY.

Both Jesus and the thief DIED and went to the PLACE of the dead the very DAY that they DIED. And the word of God ALSO plainly states that Jesus DESCENDED into the BELLY or the HEART of the EARTH for three days and three nights, IMMEDIATELY upon his death, the VERY SELFSAME DAY. And thus the thief went to the SAME PLACE that Jesus went because Jesus said that he would be WITH him. So wherever Jesus went, the thief went.

Let us explore some other questions and compare some scriptures. We will begin by looking at what Jesus did WHILE he was in the HEART of the earth for three days and three nights.

The sole purpose or reason that Jesus laid down his life on the cross was to redeem ALL of mankind back to God. And this redemption includes those who died while walking in RIGHTEOUSNESS during the Old Testament times from Adam to Jesus. But you see, they died before Jesus fulfilled the scriptures of being the redeemer of the sins of the people. And the Bible tells us in Romans 3:20 that NO FLESH is justified by the law. Also, we are told in John 14:6 that the ONLY WAY to the Father was through his Son, Jesus. And Acts 4:12 clearly teaches us that there is NO OTHER name given among men other than the name of Jesus whereby we MUST be saved.

In other words, if the Bible is to remain consistent and not contradict itself, then something needed to be done in order for all of the Old Testament saints to be saved, because NO flesh is saved or justified by the law, which would include those that died BEFORE Jesus died for their sins.

The word of God also teaches us in 1 Corinthians 1:21 that it pleased God by the foolishness of PREACHING to save them that believe. So then, in order for the whole of God to be in agreement and not contradict itself, then it would be necessary for those who died before Jesus was crucified to ALSO hear the gospel preached to them in order to be saved BY the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. And this is EXACTLY what took place in the HEART of the earth where Jesus went the selfsame day that he died on the cross. He went to PARADISE to PREACH the GOSPEL to the Old Testament saints AND to the thief on the cross who went WITH Jesus to paradise that self-same day that they died.

Now please stay with me, I know that right now the word “PARADISE” does not sound anything like what we pictured the underworld or the place of the dead to be. But it will all come together if you finish reading this study in God's word. Please take a look at 1 Peter 3:19 which teaches us this TRUTH that Jesus did indeed PREACH to the SPIRITS in the heart of the earth.


1 Peter 3:19.


“By which (Referring to by the power of the Holy Spirit) also he (Referring to Jesus, as in,  his inner man, which is made up of soul and spirit) went and PREACHED unto the SPIRITS (Speaking of the SPIRITS of the dead saints of the Old Testament who were being kept by the law of righteousness unto the age of grace and the first resurrection for only the righteous. Jesus went to PREACH the GOSPEL to the SPIRITS who were) in prison.”


Now, when I myself first read this verse, while I was thinking about Jesus going to “PARADISE, I thought to myself that the word “PRISON” used here in this verse does NOT sound like PARADISE to me. So, I was impressed to look up this word “prison” in my Strong's exhaustive concordance. An when I looked up the Greek word translated as “prison” I found that this word translated as the English word “prison” has several meanings in the original Greek language. This Greek word also means a holding place or a place where something is kept watch over. In other words, in the original language these spirits, in this holding place of the RIGHTEOUS dead, were being PROTECTED and kept. The righteous souls were being watched over.

A little further on in this study you will learn that even these spirits righteous dead were being COMFORTED in the bosom of Abraham. But just who were these spirits Jesus preached to in this holding place? And why were they being kept watch over? We ALREADY KNOW the reason WHY they needed to hear the PREACHING of the gospel. Again that reason was so that these spirits of the righteous dead men, who died both before and also under the Old Covenant, could be saved under the NEW Covenant by the name of Jesus, the ONLY name given among men whereby we MUST be saved.

To answer or rather to confirm these questions, please look at 1 Peter 4:6, which compliments the reason of WHY these dead souls or spirits being watched over in the HEART of the earth NEEDED to HEAR the message of the GOSPEL.


1 Peter 4:6.


“For this cause (Or for this very reason) was the gospel preached ALSO to them that are dead (Speaking of the spirits of those Old Testament saints who DIED and who were being kept in holding place called PARADISE in the heart of the earth. This was where Jesus descended for three days and three nights) that (Or so that) they (Speaking of the spirits of dead MEN) might be judged ACCORDING to men in the flesh (That is to say, so that these dead saints might be judged in or judged with the SAME MANNER as men that are presently alive in the flesh.), but (Who) live according to God in the spirit (Or in other words, in order for ALL of mankind to be judge the SAME, then ALL of mankind NEEDED to hear the PREACHING of the GOSPEL).”


So then, these dead men or these spirits of dead men, speaking of the souls of those, who had died during the Old Testament times, to whom Jesus went to PREACH the gospel, where being kept in this holding place. And I believe that Jesus referred to that holding place of the dead where the righteous were being watched over as being PARADISE. Again, we will take a closer look at this word “PARADISE” a little further on in this study.

But for now, I will say that Jesus also spoke in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus of the RIGHTEOUS dead, represented by Lazarus, were being kept in the bosom of Abraham. You see, the central meaning of this parable of the rich man and Lazarus was to teach us that the patriarchs of the Old Testament were being kept, watched over and even comforted in a holding place for the dead. And these Old Testament saints were being watched over or kept from evil and being COMFORTED in the bosom of Abraham. And again, this place of COMFORT in the bosom of Abraham was the side were the RIGHTEOUS were kept separated from the wicked by a great gulf that no man could cross over from one side to the other. This is why I believe Jesus referred to this holding place of the dead for the RIGHTEOUS as being PARADISE.

You see, there was a great gulf that separated the righteous from the evil spirits or the demons and from the spirits of evil men that were also being kept there in this prison or this holding place. But to me, the side where the evil or wicked souls where being kept did not seem to be described as a PARADISE as we think a paradise should be like. In other words, the BIBLICAL meaning of the word “PARADISE” means more than what we of today view this word to mean.

Let us continue this study in God's word to find out more about this word “PARADISE”. Please read Luke chapter 16 verses 19 through 31 which contain the account of the rich man and Lazarus who both died and went to the grave or Hades.


Luke 16:19-31.


“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's BOSOM: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his BOSOM.

24. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but NOW he is COMFORTED, and you are tormented.

26. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27. Then he said, I pray you, therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house:

28. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29. Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”


Here is a brief summary of this passage of scripture. Basically, there were two men, a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. The rich man represents the wicked people and Lazarus represents the righteous people. Then both men died and went to this holding place in the HEART of the earth, which in this verse, this holding place is called HELL or HADES. That is to say, the side for the wicked is called hell or Hades. Jesus went to BOTH sides because the prophecy says, “You have not left my soul in hell.” I believe that Jesus went to the side called hell first because of UR sins that were laid upon him. And then after he won the victory and took back the keys of death, Jesus went to the paradise side and preach the gospel.

Now, this word that is translated as the word HELL is the Greek word HADES, which simply means the GRAVE, or the place of the DEAD, also known as the underworld. We are told that Lazarus went to the side called the bosom of Abraham, which was the side of COMFORT side where the righteous were RESTING in the BOSOM of Abraham. And I believe that this COMFORT side of this holding place that was in the belly or the HEART of the earth DURING the Old Testament times was called PARADISE by Jesus in Luke 23:43. But the rich man went to the OTHER side called hell which Jesus spoke of in this parable as being a place of great torment of flames.

Now it appears obvious that in the Old Testament times that both the good spirits and the evil spirits were being held or kept in this SAME place called HELL or PARADISE by Jesus. That is to say, ALL of the spirits were being held in the HEART of the earth DURING the Old Testament times. For you see, they could see and hear each other and talk to each other. However, there was a great gulf that separated them so that neither side could cross over to the other side. And Jesus went to this holding place of the dead, that is also called the UNDERWORLD, for three days and three nights for two reasons. And those two reasons are to bear the punishment for the sins of the entire world in the side called hell and to preach the gospel to the righteous of the Old Testament times.

Again, one reason Jesus descended into these LOWER PARTS of the earth was to PREACH the GOSPEL to these patriarchs of the Old Testament from Adam to Jesus so that the word of God would not be broken. That is to say that NO flesh is justified under there law and that salvation shall come only through the name of Jesus through the foolishness of the preaching of the gospel. Therefore, it was needful for these DEAD men or more precisely the LIVING souls and spirits of these dead men whose BODIES died during the Old Testament times, to HEAR the gospel just as much as those who lived after the resurrection of Jesus need to hear the gospel in order to be saved. For you see, it pleased God by the foolishness of PREACHING to save them that believe. So since they died BEFORE Jesus ever was crucified, it does not mean that Jesus did not die for them as well as for all of mankind that is yet living after the cross. For you see, Jesus was crucified for their sins of the WHOLE world, which includes those during the Old Testament times from Adam to Jesus. 

Now, the Bible also teaches us that we are saved by faith and that faith comes by HEARING the word of God. But how could these Old Testament saints HEAR the GOSPEL unless the gospel of Jesus Christ was PREACH to them? And how could the gospel be preached to them if Jesus was not sent to PREACH to these SPIRITS of MEN who were being kept in the LOWER PARTS of the earth? And how could the souls HEAR the gospel if so be that they are in an unconscious state until the Day of Judgment? Again, please read the study “IS THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP BIBLICAL?”

But for now, please know and understand that it was needful for Jesus to DESCEND into the LOWER PARTS of the earth and PREACH the gospel to these dead SPIRITS of men who died under the Old Testament times from Adam to Jesus. And the gospel of salvation was preached to them in order for them to be saved under the NEW Covenant. For you see, the name of Jesus is the ONLY NAME given among men whereby we MUST be saved and Scripture can NOT be broken.


Ephesians 4:8-10 says it like this.


“Wherefore he says, When he (Jesus) ascended up on high, he led captivity captive (That is to say that Jesus led a multitude of captives) and gave gifts unto men.

9. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he ALSO descended FIRST into the LOWER PARTS of the earth? (And again, Jesus descended FIRST so that he could PREACH the gospel to the spirits in PARADISE. And that place of COMFORT for the righteous dead was in the HEART of the earth DURING the Old Testament times. And remember that the thief that repented was WITH Jesus and HEARD the gospel of Jesus Christ that very same day)

10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above the heavens, that he might fill (Or fulfill) all things.”


You see, it was needful for Jesus to fulfill the word of God and be the sacrifice for those during the Old Testament times as well. And this included the children of Israel who were under the Old Covenant also. And the reason that it was needed for them to hear the gospel is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the New Covenant whereby ALL men MUST be saved if they are going to be saved. So that is why he descended first into the HEART of the earth to preach the gospel to those who died under the Law of Moses.

And when Jesus rose from the grave he led a multitude OUT of PARADISE or that HOLDING PLACE for the righteous dead WITH him. And I am certain that he led ONLY those spirits that were held captive which BELIEVED the words that Jesus PREACHED unto them all. In other words, it MAY be that those spirit of the unrighteous on the side that are being tormented also heard the GOSPEL as well seeing that they could see, hear and talk with father Abraham on the other side of the gulf that separated them. So it MAY be that some of them REPENTED.

Or it may be that those on the side of torment already made it quite clear to whom they wanted to serve BEFORE they died. For you see, EVERY human being has a CONSCIENCE. So personally I believe that those on the side in torment already made their choice by DISOBEYING their CONSCIENCE. And thus they died while living in their sin of disobeying their conscience.

But to ME, it is CERTAIN that those who LIVED RIGHTEOUSLY during the Old Testament times from Adam to the cross of Jesus CHOSE to BELIEVE the message of the GOSPEL of their salvation and ROSE from the DEAD WITH Jesus when he arose from the grave. Now, what I am NOT certain about is IF the gospel was preached to those on the WICKED side of the holding place for the souls of the dead.

My main point right now is for you to understand that just because these Old Testament saints rose from the dead with Jesus does NOT mean that they received eternal life. In other words, I personally believe that “PARADISE” was MOVED to Heaven the day that Jesus was raised from the dead. To say this another way, I believe that the saints that rose WITH Jesus are now in heaven under the altar of God. But again, that does not mean that they have actually received eternal life or their new immortal bodies as yet.

I will explain what I mean by this further on in this study. But for now, I want you to see and understand that many saints were indeed resurrected from the dead at the same time that Jesus arose from the grave. In other words, Jesus was raised from the dead and when Jesus arose from the dead he led many saints OUT of the grave with him. Please take a look at Matthew 27:52, 53, which clearly shows us that MANY SAINTS arose from the GRAVE or PARADISE right along WITH Jesus when he arose from the grave.


Matthew 27:52,53.


“And the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept AROSE. And came out of the graves after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared unto many.”


Now to ME, it does NOT make any sense whatsoever for these dead saints, who have just risen from the dead and came OUT of their graves, to go right back into the GRAVE. Personally, I myself, believe that these resurrected saints ASCENDED into heaven with Jesus when he ascended into heaven the FIRST time BEFORE he came back down to the earth with his glorified body to be seen of men for forty days.

Now some Christians who teach the doctrine of soul sleep may argue and use John 3:13 and try to use the argument that Jesus himself plainly states that NO man has ASCENDED to heaven except he which descended from heaven. They argue, we all know that Jesus is speaking of himself in John 3:13. So, therefore, according to their interpretation of John 3:13, they reason and conclude or interpret this passage of scripture to mean that absolutely NO ONE, including the thief on the cross, is in heaven or in paradise except Jesus. And they continue in their argument to say, we all know that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. And thus they conclude that paradise must be heaven.

But I have already shown you that paradise was in the HEART of the EARTH during the Old Testament times.

And then those Christian who teach the doctrine of soul sleep use the misplaced comma theory and go on to say that the dead are as dead as a doornail, so to speak. And to them, this means that the dead have absolutely NO CONSCIOUSNESS whatsoever in the grave. In other words, some Christians believe that absolutely NO ONE except Jesus has ascended into heaven. And thus, they believe that ALL the dead except for Jesus are still in their grave. And not just in the grave but also that every soul of the dead is completely without any consciousness. And that the SOULS of the dead will be in their graves with their decaying bodies until their resurrection. Whether it is the righteousness souls to eternal life or whether the unrighteous souls to eternal damnation where the wicked are destroyed in the lake of fire, the souls of the dead remain in the GRAVE until the Day of Judgment, according to those Christians who believe in the false doctrine of soul sleep. 

But is this INTERPRETATION of the dead being without any consciousness whatsoever and no one going to heaven to be present with the Lord truly what this passage of scripture in John 3:13 means? Does John 3:13 truly teach us that absolutely NO person has ever ascended to heaven except for Jesus? Now IF this interpretation is true, then this would mean that absolutely no person goes to heaven or goes to be present with the Lord when they die.

Let us take a side journey for a moment and read John 3:13 in its context to learn what this passage of scripture is truly teaching us. Please read John 3:1-18, where Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, a master or teacher of the Jews, who was having trouble UNDERSTANDING the things that Jesus is teaching. And while you read this passage of Scripture keep in mind that Jesus descended FIRST to PREACH the gospel to the righteous who died during the Old Testament times from Adam to the death of Jesus on the cross. Also, keep in mind that faith come by HEARING the gospel. So HOW did the HEAR if so be that they were in an unconscious state? And remember what HAPPENS when a person BELIEVES? They are BORN AGAIN to become new creatures IN Jesus Christ.


Now, with these things in mind please read John 3:1-18.


“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.

3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4. Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7. Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again. (Were we not BORN AGAIN when we heard and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Yes, we were. So that means that the souls of them who HEARD the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the HEART of the earth were ALSO BORN AGAIN when they HEARD the Gospel and BELIEVED. And under the New Covenant written in the New Testament does not the word of God teach us that when a Christian dies they are absent from their body to go to be PRESENT WITH the Lord? Can you not see, that many CHANGES have taken places from the Old Testament times to the NEW Testament times? And one of those changes is that PARADISE was MOVED to Heaven under the altar. And can you not see that a soul sleeping in an UNCONSCIOUS state would not be able to HEAR the Gospel being PREACHED to them? And can you not see that the inner man of the soul and spirit of Jesus was NOT in an unconscious state when he DIED?)

8. The wind blows where it lists, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

9. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10. Jesus answered and said unto him, Are you a master of Israel, and know not these things?

11. Verily, verily, I say unto you, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and you receive not our witness.

12. If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

13. And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (All this verse means is that UNTIL Jesus himself ascended into Heaven that was no other man BEFORE that time that ascended into Heaven. It does NOT mean that no man will ever ascended into Heaven except for Jesus. Even those who teach the doctrine of soul sleep teach that SOMEDAY Christians will ascend into Heaven. So why could not that someday BE the very SAME DAY that Jesus ascended into Heaven?)

14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of man be lifted up:

15. That whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”


The verse in question is again verse 13, which some INTERPRET to mean that NO one goes to heaven when they die, but rather they remain DEAD with absolutely NO consciousness until they are resurrected from the dead and given new immoral bodies at the second coming of Jesus. 

First of all, please know and understand that I am not teaching that the physical BODY of a righteous person in Jesus Christ goes to heaven. But rather, I am teaching what the Bible itself teaches. And that is that the SOUL and SPIRIT of the righteous go to heaven when they died while their physical BODY that died remains in the grave to decay. Some of you may already know, or by now it has become obvious to you, that I do NOT believe in this false teaching that the dead are dead and that the SOUL and SPIRIT have absolutely no consciousness once they leave the physical body when a person dies.

And by the way, I might also add that SOME who teach this false line of reasoning of soul sleeping in and unconscious state also teach the false doctrine of “universalism” which states that ALL of mankind will eventually one day be saved and granted immortality. In other words, one error leads to another error which keeps leading to more and more errors. You can do your own research on Universalism. But before you, do I strongly implore you to read the study that I have that exposes the errors of interpretation that are made by those that teach “UNIVERSALISM”, which again states that eventually ALL of mankind will be saves in the end. The study that I wrote is called “IS UNIVERSALISM A SOUND BIBLICAL TEACHING?” 


But for now, let us take a closer look at John 3:13.


“And no man has ascended up to  heaven, but he that came down from  heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”


But again, is this interpretation that no one goes to heaven when they die truly BIBLICAL? Does the soul sleep doctrine agree with all other scripture? I mean, IF the words, NO man has ASCENDED to heaven except the Son of man truly means that ONLY Jesus alone has ever ascended to heaven, then consequently one must conclude that absolutely NO ONE goes to heaven when they die. But do these words truly mean that no man has ever ascended into heaven except Jesus, because IF they do, then that INTERPRETATION of this verse in John 3:13 CONTRADICTS other verses of scripture that clearly teach us that the SOULS and spirits of the righteous IN Jesus, who have died, are PRESENT with the Lord IN HEAVEN.

First of all, IF the dead are dead with NO consciousness, then HOW did Jesus PREACH to the SPIRITS in the heart of the earth? You see, Jesus himself DIED, but yet the clear word of God states that he PREACHED. Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, who believe that the dead have no consciousness and that no one goes to heaven when they die, simply cannot be the truth of the whole word of God. For you see, Jesus himself DIED. And yet the spirit and soul of Jesus, while his physical body laid lifeless in the tomb for three full days and three full night, PREACHED the gospel to the SPIRITS in this heart of the earth. In other words, an UNCONSCIOUS spirit and soul cannot possibly PREACH. Nor can unconscious spirits in the heart of the earth HEAR the gospel being preached IF so be, that the INTERPRETATION of Psalm 146:4 truly means that the dead have absolutely NO consciousness in the grave. So let us take a closer look at this verse in the Psalms when it is left in its CONTEXT in order to learn its true meaning in the light of the whole word of God.


Psalm 146:3-6.


“Put not your TRUST in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is NO help. (WHY? Why are we taught in God's word NOT to place our TRUST in MAN, but rather to place our trust in God? The answer is given to us in the very next verse that has been taken OUT of context and incorrectly INTERPRETED to mean that the soul of man has absolutely no consciousness in the grave.)

4. His breath goes forth (Or when a man draws his last breath and dies), he returns to his earth (Or the physical body of a man turns back to earth or the dust of the earth from which it was made); in that very day his thoughts perish (Or in that very day in which a man dies his THOUGHTS, as in, speaking of the PLANS of that man that he was THINKING of doing perish or comes to an end).

5. Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

6. Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keeps truth for ever:”


In others words, you can be sure that if you place your trust in God, that God who does not die, will keep his word of truth. The Hebrew word that is translated as “THOUGHTS” here in the King James Version literally means the PLANS of man come to an end when a man dies. Please read this same verse from the New Living Translation.


Psalm 146:3-6 from the New Living Translation.


“Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.

4. When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their PLANS come to an end.

5. But happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

6. He is the one who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He is the one who keeps every promise forever,” 


So clearly, this verse is NOT speaking of the dead being in an unconscious state when they die and their bodies are buried in their grave. But rather this is just a FALSE INTERPRETATION that some have concluded by taking this verse out of its CONTEXT.

Well, some continue to argue and say what about Psalm 6:5 that says there is no remembrance in the grave. Surely having no memory means that those in the grave are in an unconscious state.


Psalm 6:5.


“For in death, there is NO REMEMBRANCE OF YOU; in the grave who shall give you thanks?”


As I have said many times, any verse when viewed alone and apart from the whole word of God, may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT TRULY saying. So yes, apart from the CONTEXT and the rest of God's word, then this verse may SEEM to be saying that there is no remembrance in the grave. But I assure you that this is NOT what this verse or any other verse in the word of God teaches us. For you see, this INTERPRETATION of absolutely no consciousness in the soul and spirit of a person that dies contradicts the more clear, plain, and simple verses. Please read all the studies under the heading >>>THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP<<<


Now getting back to John 3:13. Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus and to understand its true meaning, then you must, first of all, realize that Jesus is talking about his own FUTURE death, resurrection, and his ascending into heaven WITH a BODY.  

At first, Jesus does NOT allow anyone to TOUCH him UNTIL he descended back to the earth with his new glorified IMMORTAL body. And THEN Jesus allowed his disciples to TOUCH him. In other words, right after Jesus was raised from the dead he told Mary Magdalene to NOT touch him BECAUSE he had no yet ASCENDED to his God and Father. But that SAME day in the evening he told his disciples to TOUCH his new glorified immortal body to be assured that he is NOT a SPIRIT. And then forty days later Jesus ascended back into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father. My point is that Jesus was telling Nicodemus all these yet FUTURE events BEFORE it ever happened.

So then, the truth of the matter is that no one actually knows exactly what Jesus meant by these words in John 3:13. In other words, all we can truly do is INTERPRET verses like this in the light of the whole word of God. And thus, this verse can be interpreted in different ways. It may be that Jesus meant that no man has ascended to heaven BEFORE this time in history, that Jesus himself would one day, very soon, ascend into heaven. Keep in mind that at the time in which Jesus was speaking these words to Nicodemus, Jesus had not yet died on the cross let alone ascended into heaven two times separated by forty days.

You see, in verse 14, we see Jesus using the Old Testament of the serpent being lifted up on a pole to teach Nicodemus and us as well of his own death on the cross, which had not yet taken place at the time he spoke these words to Nicodemus. In other words, Jesus is teaching us a timeline, so to speak, of what has not yet taken place at the time he was speaking to Nicodemus.

The timeline goes as follows:

First, Jesus was to be crucified on a cross. And then Jesus was to give up the ghost and commit his spirit to his God and Father as he drew his last breath and died for the sins of the world. Then Jesus, as a soul and spirit being, would DESCEND into the heart of the earth to preach to the dead spirits in paradise. Then after three full days and three full nights, being in the lower parts of the earth, Jesus would be raised from the dead and appear to Mary Magdalene. Jesus does not tell this part to Nicodemus but later we learn that Jesus told her NOT to TOUCH him BECAUSE he had NOT YET ASCENDED to the Father. Then Jesus obviously ASCENDED to the Father and then DESCENDED back to the earth that SAME day of his resurrection, because a little later Jesus appears to his disciples and tells them to TOUCH him so that they would know, without a doubt, that he is NOT a ghost or a spirit, but rather has a BODY of flesh and bone. Then after being seen for forty days after his resurrection, Jesus then ASCENDED into heaven with his new immortal glorified body of flesh and bone where he remains unto this day and will remain until his second coming back to the earth to gather his bride and execute the wrath of God upon the disobedient to the gospel and the ungodly.

In other words, Jesus was NOT teaching us in John 3:13 that absolutely no one has ever or will ever ascend into heaven when they die. But rather Jesus was teaching Nicodemus of his, speaking of Jesus’ own yet future crucifixion, resurrection, and then his TWO ascensions into heaven along with his brief return to the earth before he ascended back to his Father the second time. Again, these were all still yet FUTURE events at the time Jesus was speaking these things to Nicodemus.

Also, keep in mind that Jesus is the only one who has ever ASCENDED into heaven WITH his new glorified immortal body of flesh and bone. In other words, these resurrected SAINTS that rose with Jesus did NOT have their new glorified immortal bodies of flesh and bone when they ascended into heaven with Jesus who was clothed with his resurrected OLD body that he would not allow anyone to TOUCH. We just do not KNOW with absolute certainty what kind of body Jesus had when he first arose from the dead that he would NOT ALLOW anyone to TOUCH. But we can assume that since hi old physical body was no longer in the tomb that the soul and spirit of Jesus enter back into his OLD body before he came out of the grave or tomb. 

And this leads me to believe that Jesus must have ascended into heaven the first time in his OLD body that was just resurrected that he had when he died. And that he is why Jesus would not allow anyone to touch to touch him. And then, while he was in heaven or AS he was ascending to Heaven, Almighty God gave his Son Jesus a new glorified immortal body before Jesus descended back to the earth to be seen of men for forty days. In other words,  the resurrection of Jesus was somewhat like we are taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 about the resurrection of the dead in Jesus Christ. We are taught that the dead in Christ shall rise FIRST, and THEN we shall ALL be CHANGED in a twinkling of an eye.

So then, it may be that after Jesus arose from the grave in his OLD physical body that it still yet needed to be CHANGED into a new glorified IMMORTAL body. So it may very well be that Jesus meant by no man ascending to heaven except he who has descended from heaven, in that, no man has been given an immortal body as yet. That is to say no man but the Son of man that ascended to heaven in his OLD physical body that had been resurrected. And then, while he was in heaven he was CHANGED and given an immortal glorified body of flesh and bone. Or it may be, that no man has ascended to heaven with a PHYSICAL body, resurrected or not, except the Son of man.

As I said before, no one KNOWS for sure what Jesus truly meant by these words in John 3:13. All we can do is compare scripture with scripture until we find an interpretation that does NOT contradict any other part of God's word.

Moving on to another point. As I said earlier, I would explain what I meant by the righteous dead being in heaven, but yet they have not yet actually received their reward of eternal life nor have they been given their new immortal bodies. In other words, the Bible speaks of these dead saints in heaven as being “SOULS”. Please read Revelation 6:9-11, which clearly teaches us that the righteous are present with the Lord in heaven under the altar of God, waiting for God to judge the wicked.


Revelation 6:9-11.


“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the SOULS of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

10. And THEY cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was SAID unto THEM, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”


Here in this passage of Scripture, we can clearly see that there are SOULS up IN HEAVEN of the righteous dead. We can see that the souls of the saints are under the altar of God. And we can also see that the souls of the saints obviously have MEMORY or CONSCIOUSNESS that God will one day judge the wicked. Also, please notice as you read these verses again that these SOULS of the righteous saints who have DIED can SPEAK and that they are speaking to Almighty God himself. Notice that these souls of the saints are asking God HOW LONG or how much longer will it be until he judges the wicked? Now to me, this clearly shows that these SOULS in heaven have recognition or MEMORY of time. We also see they can HEAR as well as speak. For you see, they are told that they should REST a little longer. And thus, these souls were CONSCIOUS in order for them to HEAR the words for them to REST for a little season until their brethren are killed as they were for the testimony of God and Jesus.

So to ME, these SOULS of the righteous, who have died are without a doubt in a CONSCIOUS state. They have MEMORY, they can HEAR, and they can SPEAK. So obviously they are NOT dead as a doornail with absolutely NO consciousness whatsoever as some falsely teach.

Now, while we are on this side journey to see if the SOULS and SPIRITS of the righteous dead are PRESENT with the Lord IN HEAVEN, we may as well take a look at a few other clear, plain, and simple verses that teach us that the righteous, who have died, are indeed IN HEAVEN. So then, let us begin with 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, which clearly teaches us that our INNER man goes to be PRESENT with the Lord when our physical OUTWARD body dies.


2 Corinthians 5:1-10.


“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (In other words, the real person is the INNER man that is comprised of the spirit and the soul. And this inner person lives IN a BODY)

2. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:

3. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (This verse is speaking of the WICKED that will NOT receive a new immortal body.)

4. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (In other words, the FAITH of the righteous IN Jesus Christ is that we will indeed be clothed upon with new IMMORTAL gloried bodies)

5. Now he that has wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

6. Therefore we are always  CONFIDENT, KNOWING that, while we are at home in the body, we are ABSENT from the Lord: (In other words, while we are yet alive still abiding IN our BODY we are not PRESENT with the Lord IN HEAVEN)

7. (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 

8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent FROM the body, and to (Or so that our inner self our SOUL and SPIRIT can)  be PRESENT with the Lord.

9. Wherefore we labor, that, whether PRESENT OR ABSENT (In other words, whether we are dead and PRESENT with the Lord IN HEAVEN, OR we are yet alive and remain in our physical bodies being ABSENT from the Lord IN HEAVEN at the coming of Jesus) we may be accepted of him.

10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.”


Now, this FACT that the souls of the dead IN Jesus Christ go to be present with our Lord in heaven does NOT mean that we immediately receive our new glorified immortal bodies of flesh and bone like Jesus now has. In other words, the righteous shall not be glorified with their new IMMORTAL BODIES until the coming of Jesus. This is made clear to us in Hebrews 11:39,40 which teaches us that the Old Testament saints will not be made perfect UNTIL we ALL are made perfect TOGETHER and this takes place AT the second coming of Jesus.


Hebrews 11:239,40.


“And these all (Speaking of all of the Old Testament saints), having obtained a good report through faith, received NOT the promise: (WHY? Why have these SOULS under the altar in heaven of these Old Testament saints and those who have died IN Jesus not yet been given the promise of eternal life which is their new glorified immortal bodies? The answer is in the very next verse.)

40. God having provided some better thing for us (In other words, God has a better plan for all of us than for each and every believer to receive their reward of eternal life one at a time, so to speak. But rather, God decided that it would be BETTER that we all receive our new immortal bodies at the same time together at the marriage supper of the Lamb), that they without us should not be made perfect.”


So then, the righteous SOULS in Jesus Christ going to heaven to be present with the Lord does NOT mean becoming immortal the very moment that a Christian dies. And just because the SOUL and SPIRIT leave the body when it dies, does NOT mean that the soul is IMMORTAL as some falsely teach. Please read the study  “IS THE SOUL OF MAN IMMORTAL?” But for now, let us continue with this study in God's word to learn what and where PARADISE is and if the thief on the cross went to paradise with Jesus the very self-same day that he died. 

Now again, some Christians, who hold to the misplaced comma theory in Luke 23:42,43, make the claim that the translators incorrectly placed the comma in the wrong place. And thereby, this misplaced comma has misled Christians to believe that Jesus was saying that the thief would be with him in paradise that very self-same day when actually Jesus was saying something more like “TODAY I say unto you that you shall be with me in paradise.” Here is Luke 23:42,43 again without any comma before the word “TODAY”.


Luke 23:42,43, according to the misplaced comma theory interpretation.


“And he (The thief on the cross) said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.

43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily (Or truly) I say unto you TODAY shall you be with me in PARADISE.”


Now to ME, why would Jesus even use the word “TODAY” if he was just meaning that he was telling the thief on that very day that he would indeed remember him and that he would one day in the future be with him in paradise? I mean why even use the word “TODAY at all? For you see, they were being crucified and were about to die in a few hours. So obviously the thief already knew without a doubt that Jesus was telling him that particular day or that moment in time that he would remember him.

It just makes no sense to me for the word “TODAY to have been used at all, UNLESS Jesus wanted to assure the thief on the cross that “TODAY”, meaning this very self-same day, that he would be WITH Jesus IN PARADISE. This was a way of Jesus saying that he forgave the thief of all his sins and that he need not be afraid of dying, because as soon as he died he would be in “PARADISE” WITH Jesus.

In other words, I myself do NOT buy into the misplaced comma theory to try and change the meaning of this already clear passage of scripture that agrees with the rest of God's word with the comma left right where the translators have placed it, where it emphasizes the word “TODAY” as meaning that very self SAME day the thief would be IN PARADISE WITH JESUS.

Now, the second reason Jesus descended into the heart of the earth was in order to triumph over the enemy and get back the keys of hell and death.


Take a look at Revelation 1:18.


“I (Speaking of Jesus) am he that lives, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of hell and death.”



Many Christians and Bible scholars teach that while Jesus was in the lower parts of the earth where the dead were kept that he defeated all principalities and powers and rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. For you see, by the simple fact that Jesus was crucified as an innocent man without just cause, the enemy of God was defeated. The word of God teaches us that had they KNOWN, then they would NOT have crucified the Lord of glory. You see, when Satan and his devils deceived men to crucify Jesus they sealed their own doom, so to speak. And, therefore, Satan was then forced to surrender the KEYS of hell and DEATH to Jesus.

Now, Satan is still the god of this present world for a while longer until Jesus returns to bind him for 1000 years in the pit. Then AFTER the 1000 years are finished, Satan will be let loose for a little time to once again DECEIVE the nations to rebel against God and his people. And at that time, after the Millennium has ended, then the final part of God's WRATH will be poured out and Satan will be judged and cast into the eternal lake of fire. I cover all of this in some of my other studies such as “IS THE 1000 YEAR REIGN OF JESUS LITERAL?” And I cover the reason WHY Satan is let loose AGAIN after he has been bound for 1000 years in the study called  “UNDERSTANDING WHY?”

But for now, let us continue this study in God's word to learn more about PARADISE.


Please take a look at 1 Corinthians 2:8.


“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”


In other words, had Satan known that by crucifying Jesus, an innocent man, a lamb without spot or blemish, that he would set free ALL of mankind who BELIEVE whom he once held in bondage by causing them to sin and disobey God, then Satan would have NEVER nailed Jesus to that cross by deceiving men to crucify him.


SECTION THREE


Now that we have taken a look at what Jesus did in PARADISE those three days and three nights, let’s take a closer look at this place in the HEART of the earth and see why Jesus referred to it as PARADISE.

The word “PARADISE” is only found three times in the entire Bible and only in the New Testament. The Strong’s number is #3857 and the Greek word is “parsdeisos”, which means a place of blessedness. The base meaning of the word means GARDEN. Here are the three places that the word “paradise” is found in the New Testament.

The word “PARADISE” is found in Luke 23:43, which is the verse in question, or the verse we began this study in God's word where Jesus told the thief on the cross that TODAY you will be WITH ME IN PARADISE.


Luke 23:43.


“…Today shall you be with me in PARADISE.”


Then we find the word “PARADISE” in 2 Corinthians 12:4. 


“How that he (Speaking of Paul) was caught UP into PARADISE.”


So in this verse, we see that PARADISE is UP, rather than DOWN in the HEART of the Earth. So then, are their TWO different PARADISES? It may surprise you that the Bible speaks of even MORE than TWO paradises. So let us keep reading to learn WHERE these other paradises are found. Please read Revelation 2:7 where we learn that the TREE of LIFE is located in the MIDST of the PARADISE of God.


Revelation 2:7.


“To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the MIDST of the PARADISE of God.”


Now all three scriptures at first don’t seem to be connected in any way, but rather these three verses lead one to believe that there are three different paradises.

In order to bring some clarity on this, we need to go back to the first PARADISE in which we read about that is found in Genesis 2:7,8. Remember that the Greek word means a PLACE of BLESSEDNESS and a GARDEN.


Genesis 2:7,8.


“And the Lord God planted a GARDEN eastward in EDEN, and there he put man whom he had formed.

8.  And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the MIDST of the GARDEN, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”



Again, please remember and keep in mind that the base meaning of the Greek word translated as “paradise” means GARDEN and a place of blessedness. Also, please note that we just learned from the word of God that the tree of life was in the MIDST OF THE GARDEN here in Genesis 2;7,8. And when we compared scripture with scripture and compare Genesis with what we have just also learned in Revelation 2:7 then these two verse match almost perfectly.


Revelation 2:7.


“…the tree of life, which is in the MIDST OF THE PARADISE of God


So then, this gives us an important clue. For you see, we know that the word PARADISE means GARDEN. And BOTH places, the GARDEN of God and the PARADISE of God, in the MIDST of BOTH of these places are found the TREE of LIFE. So then, are these TWO trees of life? I would say no to that question and say that there is but one tree of life. Therefore, to me, there just ONE PARADISE or GARDEN of God in which there is ONE tree of life.

The whole idea or meaning of PARADISE is a place of comfort and blessedness, such as a GARDEN. Remember that the original garden of God was planted in EDEN. Now the word “EDEN” gives us another clue. For you see, this word “EDEN” also means PARADISE, delight, and flat land. It is quite obvious that God’s desire or will for mankind is to live in a state of comfort and blessedness from simply observing the first GARDEN of God found in Genesis and from the description of the PARADISE of God found in Revelation. Again, remember that the word “paradise” means garden. But what about the PARADISE Jesus referred to as being in the HEART of the earth. It doesn’t sound like it would be a GARDEN or a place of comfort and blessedness.

Please keep in mind what we already learned about the Old Testament saints being kept COMFORTED in the BOSOM of Abraham, while the ungodly souls SUFFERED on the other side of the great gulf.


Now take a look at part of Ezekiel 31:14.


“…they are all delivered unto death to the NETHER parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the PIT.”


This word “nether” means depths, or below. Sometimes this word refers to the UNDERWORLD, and the realm of the dead. The word “nether” simply means that it is the lower or lowest parts, or in other words the HEART of the earth. Now skip down to the last part of verse 16.


Ezekiel 31:16.


“…I cast him down to HELL with them that descend into the PIT and all the trees of EDEN, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be COMFORTED IN the NETHER parts of the earth (Or IN the HEART of the Earth, or more precisely all that drank water shall be COMFORTED IN PARADISE which is IN the HEART of the Earth or in the NETHER parts of the Earth).”


Now put it all together and you have the HEART of the earth or the NETHER part of the earth, which are the LOWEST and DEEPEST part of the Earth that Jesus called PARADISE. This place was where ALL of the dead, BOTH the righteous and the wicked, were kept in the Old Testament times. For you see, Jesus DESCENDED into this prison or the holding place of the dead in order to PREACH the GOSPEL to these dead or these spirits of dead men in paradise. Now the dead would include those under the covenant as well as the uncircumcised BEFORE the Law of Moses. Please keep in mind that this area in the HEART of the earth was divided into two parts that were separated by a great gulf. One part or side was called the bosom of Abraham which was the side of REST and COMFORT. And I believe that the bosom of Abraham side was called PARADISE by Jesus because only the righteous saints were being COMFORTED in the bosom of Abraham.

Now, the other side is called hell and it is known as the side with NO REST and a side of being in the torment of the flame. Also, remember that ALL those that drink WATER shall be COMFORTED. I believe that drinking WATER refers to the WORD of God. And while the righteous were alive they trusted in God. And in the parable of Jesus, I believe that the righteous being given water is symbolic of the living water we will receive in the world to come. Again, I believe that Jesus PREACH the GOSPEL to them in this place called PARADISE that was in the HEART of the Earth. And then, when Jesus was resurrected he led them OUT of this holding place to a NEW holding place IN HEAVEN in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, we can be assured that this PARADISE that used to be in the heart of the earth is now IN HEAVEN because ONLY the WICKED are spoken of as going DOWN into the pit when they die. You can do your own research in the word of God on the wicked only going down into the pit.

Also, please keep in mind that our permanent home is not IN heaven. But rather we shall live and reign, with Jesus from the city of God ON the EARTH. Then, when Almighty God creates a NEW heaven and a NEW earth after the Millennium, we are told in the word of God that Almighty God, the Father, will come down and dwell with man. Beyond this, we are not told anything other than it has not entered the mind of those who love God what he has prepared for them.

Now, to summarize I find at least four different paradises referred to in the Bible. The first PARADISE is the garden that God planted in Eden, where man walked with God in the cool of the day. The second PARADISE is the heart of the earth, where the Old Testament saints were comforted in the bosom of Abraham. The third PARADISE is the third heaven or the throne of God where the presence of Almighty God resides and where the presence of God is, there is joy unspeakable and full of glory. And the fourth PARADISE is the New Jerusalem where every tear shall be wiped away and there shall be no more sickness, sorrow, pain or death. And there may perhaps be a fifth and final PARADISE in the age to come, after the 1000 years reign.

But again, it may be that there is just ONE paradise or the one PLAN of a paradise on Earth. And this ONE paradise is moved to where ever the people of God, who have FINISHED the race, will abide for all eternity in COMFORT and BLESSEDNESS in the presence of Almighty God and his Son Jesus our Lord and Savior.

Nonetheless, I find that PARADISE is, in ESSENCE, a place of comfort, a place of blessedness and rest. So the fact that Lazarus was COMFORTED in the bosom of Abraham would be enough for me to conclude that Jesus was referring to the HEART of the Earth, as at least “a” PARADISE or “a” place where the righteous are comforted temporarily. For you see, no matter where you yourself may conclude the dead to be resting, we know that ONLY the RIGHTEOUS are being COMFORTED. And we know that the souls of the righteous in Jesus await their resurrection to receive their new immortal glorified bodies of flesh and bone like Jesus.

Therefore, for ME, there is no doubt that the thief on the cross joined Jesus that very SELFSAME day in which they both died and gave up the ghost or spirit, by leaving their dead BODIES on the cross and their spirits and SOULS went to the paradise that used to be in the heart of the Earth.  I hope this study answered your question about WHAT and WHERE is PARADISE my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord. May God bless you richly as you continue to study the Holy word of God. Thanks for reading.

As far as those of you who may still be clinging to the false teaching of soul sleep that states that the dead are dead and therefore completely in an unconscious state, then I encourage you to read all the studies under the heading >>>THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP<<<


Your brother in Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.

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