Dr. Sandra Hamer Smith| Contributing Writer202113 Sep
What Does Paradise Mean in the Bible?
We as Christians have come to realize that paradise is heaven is our ultimate destination. Paradise is mentioned three times in the Bible. It first appears in Luke 23:43. “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Here Jesus was dying on the cross. He was in between two thieves. One thief said unto Him, “Lord, remember me when thou come into Thy Kingdom.”
Heaven has been around since the beginning. I gave up on trying to figure out when God came to be. He just is and always was. My mind cannot grasp all the details of eternity. I take comfort in knowing that if I play by God’s playbook…the Bible, keep His commandments as best as I can, and do His will for my life, Heaven will be my home. Genesis 1:1 gives us an indication of how long Heaven has been around.
We know that God lives in heaven. Look at I Kings 8:30. Here Heaven is referred to as God’s dwelling place. Our God in Heaven does reveal secrets to whoever He wants to. Look at Daniel 2:28. There have been some books written about those who have gone to Heaven and come back to talk about it. I will not attempt to discredit anyone. God chooses to reveal whatever He wants to whoever He will.
Another mention of paradise occurs in 2 Corinthians 12:4. Paul writes “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” Even though he writes in the third person, scholars say Paul was referring to himself being caught up. He can’t be sure if he has undergone a bodily experience or a spiritual one (The KJV Study Bible, Barbour Publishing, 2011). Thirdly, there is a reference to paradise in Revelation 2:7. It reads, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what The Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” You know the tree of life allows you to live forever. Remember in the Garden of Eden when they ate the forbidden fruit. After Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God put them out of the garden. He did not want them to have access to the tree of life because they would live forever (Genesis 3:22). The Lord placed Cherubims at the east of the garden with a flaming sword turning this way and that way to make sure no one ate of it.
Where Is Paradise’s Location?
Wherever God is located is. We assume that Paradise is somewhere way above the Earth and past outer space. But at this point, we can only speculate. Psalm 103:11 says the Heaven is high above the Earth. It is a place that no man can enter without an invitation. You will not be able to catch one of these space shuttles to Heaven. It is safe to assume that we will all visit Heaven when we are judged by God. Unfortunately, all will not remain in Heaven. Heaven is a place where God and the angels reside along with Saints who have gone on before us. Heaven is also referred to as the Kingdom of God.
Why Aren’t We Given Many Details about Heaven?
I can only assume that God is like a great mystery writer. He wants to give us enough details to encourage us, but not too many unless we take it for granted. I assume that Heaven will be grander than we can imagine. We are given a glimpse of Heaven in various Scriptures. We know that Heaven is extremely huge. Believers who have gone before us are there and it must hold the rest who will continue to go there until Jesus’ return. Of course, the ones who get saved during the tribulation period will also be there. We know that it’s large enough to hold many cities. In Revelation 21:10, John saw that great city, the holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven. The city itself is spectacular. So, it is safe to assume that Heaven is just as spectacular.
I have often heard that every believer will have their own mansion. Read John 14:2-3. Jesus tells His disciples that in His Father’s house are many mansions. He says that if that weren’t true, He wouldn’t have told you. Let that sink in. We have places prepared for us that are even better than the fabulous places we see the rich and wealthy living in. You might be the rich and wealthy. So, it’s better than your place. Just the fact that The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are there is enough to shout about. Just the fact that you get there is enough to shout about. Who’s really trying to worry about the type of accommodations if you miss the alternative?
Now understand that some religious people who are living well will have you settle and say just wait until you get to Heaven for a mansion. For some, a three-bedroom apartment is a mansion. For others, a four-bedroom home is a mansion. Whatever God has allowed you to afford is your mansion. We just must learn to take the limits off of God. Be grateful for what you have and watch God increase you. God loves a spirit of gratitude. Jesus also said in John 14: 2-3 that He goes to prepare a place for us that where He is we may be also. Wrap your mind around everlasting peace, no illnesses, or hardships. No foolishness or theatrics from the devil and those who he uses.
God wants us to enjoy the Earth that He has provided for us. Don’t allow people to steal your joy or your peace. Receive the peace of God. Receive the prosperity that God has for you. Take the limits off of God. He wants us to be blessed to be a blessing. You ever wonder why the rich get richer. I serve a God who will show you something even before you possess it. God works with people in different ways, but it is according to your faith.
Stop trying to tear other people’s faith down. God has given to every believer a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).
5 Paradise Scriptures to Encourage You Today
“And Jesus said unto him. Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
“How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:4).
“To him that overcomes will I give to eat the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
“And I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth: for the first Heaven and the first Earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:1-3).