|Volume 22 Number 9 September 2020||
Paradise and Heaven in the Bible
Jesus told a thief on the cross beside Him, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 22:43). The apostle Paul, writing in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, spoke of going to “paradise” and “heaven,” but being forbidden to reveal what he saw in Heaven. Jesus did not go to Heaven the day He died but to Paradise. He arose and returned to earth on the third day. After returning and being seen by several people, He ascended through the atmosphere in a cloud to the third Heaven about which Paul later penned. Daniel had foretold of this in Daniel 7:13-14. We, thus, conclude that both Jesus and Paul went to both Paradise and Heaven, and Paul, in writing to the Corinthians defending his apostleship, wrote of two different places, Paradise — the temporary place for the righteous dead — and Heaven — the final resting place for those same people after the Judgement Day. Paul, though, had to return to earth and was forbidden to describe what he had seen.
A main lesson for us is that people claiming to have died, gone to the spirit world and have come back to tell us what it was like are under a delusion! Or, they lie! If the apostle Paul could not tell what he viewed and experienced, people claiming to have gone to the spirit world and returned would not be allowed to tell about it either.
All righteous who die before Christ returns in the clouds will spend some time in Paradise, but none will go straight from earth to Heaven. There was a special reason for God letting Paul view Heaven, to help identify him as Christ’s appointed apostle. To speak of people going directly from earth to Heaven at death has no Bible basis, and certainly, nobody contemporary with us has gone to Heaven and returned to earth.
Larry Huggins II
Jesus stated on many occasions that He and God were one since before the beginning of time. In Exodus 3:13, Moses asked God what to say when the children of Israel would ask what the name was of the One who sent him. In the next verse, God’s answer was, “I AM.” In John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM’” (NKJV). After He stated this, the Jews attempted to stone Him. Jesus later gave a list of “I AM” statements to show that He came to bear the sins for all mankind and the only way to Heaven is through Him.
In John 6:35 and 48, Jesus stated, “I am the bread of life.” In verse 51, we read that this bread gives eternal life.
In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” If you follow Christ, you will be in the light. In Psalm 119:130, we find that God’s words give light.
In John 10:9, Jesus said, “I am the door.” Back in verse one, we find that He is the only Door. When one is baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27), he goes through the correct door.
In John 10:14, Jesus exclaimed, “I am the good shepherd.” As a shepherd, He is responsible for the flock, and Jesus cares for and loves His flock. Our Lord loves it so much that He gave His life for the flock (John 10:15).
In John 11:25, Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In 1 Corinthians 15:23, we are told that the resurrection is pledged to us.
In John 14:6, Jesus stated “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The only way to approach God is through Jesus. According to 1 John 3:24, those who obey God abide in Him.
In John 15:1-5, Jesus said, “I am the true vine.” Each branch represents an individual who is to abide in the Vine.
We now look at the book of Revelation for the next “I AM” statements. In Revelation 1:11, Jesus stated, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.” Jesus clearly existed before the beginning (John 1:1-2).
In Revelation 2:23, Jesus said, “I am He who searches the minds and hearts.” He knew the hearts of the apostles (Mark 2:8), and Jesus knows what is in every heart (John 2:24-25).
In Revelation 22:16, Jesus declared, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Christ guides us.
All this proves that Jesus and God were one since before the beginning of time, and that Jesus’ claim to be the only way to Heaven is correct.