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Where is the PARADISE that Jesus spoke of?


Ask the Pastor

Pastor, where is PARADISE that Jesus spoke of?
Jesus addressed the repentant thief on the cross. ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’ Where was the ‘paradise’ he was speaking about? Some people have developed very fanciful ideas about this. I heard a preacher propose that Paradise was a kind of intermediate state, – (like Purgatory, without the purging) for souls awaiting admission to heaven after the second coming. For cross- reference, the preacher referred his hearers to Luke 16:22 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 seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. He argued that Abraham’s bosom, as referred to in this passage was that same intermediate state. Is it?
To answer that question we must ask a more basic one. Where do the souls of believers go when we die? Ask many Christians and they will tell you… ‘ammm …I’m not actually sure!’ One lady in Bangor, who belongs to a distinctly evangelical church told me that she firmly believed that when EVERYBODY dies, they go ‘somewhere nice!’ So, what does the Bible teach?
Wm. Hendriksen (The Bible on the Life Hereafter) shows that Heaven, Paradise and Abraham’s Bosom are all exactly the same place, just in the same way that a house could also be called a residence, or a domicile, or a home, or a dwelling. Say that house is a grand, pretentious house, it would be a mansion, or a house or a palace… All equally valid words to describe the same building. The Bible dies this in Paul’s ‘vision’ in 2 Corinthians 12 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. Paul clearly equates heaven and paradise. They are the same place!

What of Abraham’s bosom? In Jesus’ parable, the poor man was safe, resting in the bosom of Abraham, a place of plenty after the deprivations of this life. But where was Abraham? In heaven! 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

The clear teaching of Scripture is that when a Christian dies they go to heaven, and that included the thief on the cross! Psalm 73:24-25 You guide me with your counsel, and afterwards you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 2 Corinthians 5:8  Philippians 1:23  Hebrews 12:18-24

DISCUSSION: Discuss the following proposition, “The Soul of the Christian believer goes immediately to heaven at death.” What comfort does this give to those who remain?

From → Ask the Pastor

  1. Kathleen, one of the simplest books on everything to do with ‘end times’ – both personal and general is a book called “The Bible on the Life Hereafter” by William Hendriksen. Now out of print unfortunately but perhaps available from Gowan Books. I’ve prepared a PDF of the relevant pages to help with your question, and I’ll email them to you.

  2. Kathleen moore permalink

    If our souls go straight to heaven, how do we get our new bodies and is this before the judgement day?
    Many thanks Kathleen moore
    Enjoyed the article as this is something I’m not sure about.

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