Paradise is a very good and deep subject for many Christians. The first thing that entered my mind was the following question. Where is this
paradise which is only mentioned three times in the KJV?
Rev 2:7 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.
By this I am led to understand that Paradise in none other than the New Jerusalem. The only tree of life that I am aware of is in New Jerusalem. It
was denied Adam and Eve in the Gan Eden here on this earth. If that is correct then this tree of life is the New Jerusalem.
When the thief on the cross next to Jesus declared his guilt to the world, Jesus then told him –
Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Now if I am correct then it was that day of the crucifixion that the righteous captives who were in Sheol were then placed in the New Jerusalem.
This, I believe, is the first group of people to enter the New City of God. So in effect that third heaven is where New Jerusalem is today and is the
paradise of God.
Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Eph 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
To understand that a little more it should be understood that Jesus was not unconscious or as the people then understood death. I believe that Jesus
was every bit aware of all things as his body perished. If He was in the heart of the earth (Sheol) three days and three nights then he must have
resurrected immediately after being placed in the tomb.
Mat 12:40 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. I realize that there are many Christians who are taught that Jesus was crucified on good Friday and rose on Sunday but that is not a true
account of the crucifixion. Jesus was three complete days and nights in the tomb.
What has all of this to do with paradise? If paradise is in New Jerusalem (tree of life) then New Jerusalem is the Kingdom of God that Jesus told us
about when He said that in His Father’s house are many mansions and that He would go and prepare a place for us.
Most Christians believe that there will come a rapture or as I understand it to mean a gathering of the righteous from this earth just prior to the
2nd advent of Christ.
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be
with the Lord.
In other words the people who are in this gathering will join that first group of people that were resurrected from Sheol when the Kingdom of God was
established. But note that it confirms that those who are gathered will enter the Kingdom of God which is in the air.
This is why I believe the New Jerusalem which Isaiah and John spoke about was introduced to mankind at the death of Christ and is the same as the
Kingdom of God. This is when men and women were allowed to resurrect into a celestial being. Now as the rapture takes place, then those who are
gathered will also go directly to Paradise (New Jerusalem) which is in the air. This New Jerusalem is the same New Jerusalem that John saw coming
down to the new world. I believe that the entire family of God will be in that city as it comes upon the new earth. So in effect Paradise (Abraham;s
Bosom) has been moved from Sheol to New Jerusalem and Hell has enlarger itself. Hell remains in Sheol.
Now Deteermined, I am not a scholar by any stretch of the imagination and I want you to understand that these are just my own opinions. I guess I am
so determined to understand just where these little kids are that were murdered that I may be over zealous. You now see how one little word
(paradise) can involve a whole line of theology. What do you think?