6-Paradise is temporary
Biblical Rules of Death, Part 6
Rule #6: Paradise is temporary (Matthew 27:53)
The place called “Paradise” is generally understood as a temporary place. It holds the souls of those, who for various reasons, have not yet been resurrected. They are in transition to their glorified bodies.
The original Paradise was the garden of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13). Adam and Eve enjoyed the provisions and the fellowship of God until they sinned. After that, they were cast out (Genesis 3:23) and the location has been hidden since.
In the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31), this special place was called the “bosom of Abraham” or “Abraham’s side.” It was in “upper Sheol” and was within speaking distance of “lower Sheol” or Hell. However, there was a great chasm between the two places and no one could pass from one to the other.
The Old Testament saints were held captive in this Paradise. All those who had obeyed God’s Old Testament laws and placed their faith in the coming “Messiah” were kept there until Jesus bore their sins on the cross of Golgotha. Jesus, after His crucifixion, and as their “Messiah”, went down and preached to them during the period prior to His resurrection on Easter morning. Then they were released from their captivity, resurrected, and escorted into heaven (Matthew 27:53, Ephesians 4:8,9). Today, that place, upper Sheol (in the lower part of the earth) is empty.
Matthew 27:51-53 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection ande went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Today, when one who has had his or her sins forgiven dies, they are transported immediately to heaven in the same way as Lazarus was transported to the “bosom of Abraham” or Paridise. The only difference is the destination. Rather than being kept in a “holding cell” as the Old Testament saints were, New Testament saints are transported to a place “under the altar” in heaven (Rev 6:9). They are in the presence of God and enjoy many of the benefits of eternal life. However, until they receive their resurrected (glorified) bodies, they are not prepared for all the wonders of eternal life. They are kept in a temporary place in heaven waiting on the resurrection of their bodies (Revelation 6:10).
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Hell is still the same as it was in the Old Testament. Those who die in their sins are sent there and endure the same punishment that the “rich man” in the story of the beggar Lazarus (see above).
23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ (Luke 16:23,24)
They will remain there – in torments – until they are called to the Great White Throne Judgment. They have already been convicted of their sins (at the time of their death) but at the GWTJ they will be reminded that their names are not in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hadeswere thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)
Where would you go, if you died today? It is essential that you make preparations for eternity. You should call upon Jesus to forgive you of your sin and wash you from all unrighteousness. When He becomes your Saviour, you are born again and inherit eternal life (John 3:16)!
1 – Lazarus and the rich man: Where did the rich man go when he died?
2 – What is the “bosom of Abraham”?
The final article in this series is “Rapture is real – Saints are Changed.”