So I had the question sent to me by a brother, and it is “WHERE IS PARADISE? Is Paradise the same thing as heaven? Which is the Third heaven?”
These are very serious questions for only those with inquiring minds and such that want to seek God in reality without living on assumptions. Some will say brother David these things are not necessary and that what matters is just salvation.
Certainly they are not in your estimation, but here is someone who feels they are to him. Should we then ignore such minds and flip over telling them they are not necessary? But to such individuals the words of Peter seem to play out and readily comes to mind,
1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
The only thing that will make us not to answer these questions is simply when we do not have an answer to give. And sometimes it would be nice to say, “I have no answer but I will search.“ That’s the point.
Even in Matthew 19, the disciples of Jesus asked Him what will be their reward for following Him.
Friends the truth is not everybody wants or is satisfied with blind followership. People want to know, for it gives hope to such adherent to the faith.
And in my answering this question I am going to rely on the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 to do so;
2 Corinthians 12: “1It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to THE THIRD HEAVEN. 3And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4How that he was caught UP INTO PARADISE, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter”
The above passage of scriptures seems to give direction to the answer to our question.
And we read of the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross;
Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in PARADISE”
Jesus went to further promise the overcomer the tree of life in the midst of PARADISE;
Revelations 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” (KJV).
While we shall find time to look into these major passages, let it be seen that from the statement of Paul the word “Paradise” is the same thing as “the Third Heaven” and “third heaven” is one and the same as Paradise.
But we cannot start discussing these without a proper scriptural simple definition of the word Heaven. Take for instance Jesus said;
Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
What was Jesus talking about here?
Was He referring to the dwelling place of God? If so where will God be dwelling in if Heaven will pass away and even the earth? Is it that once the earth passes away then we shall have a new world called paradise? Was that what Jesus was trying to tell us?
Let me just share this with you in passing. The Jews have always referred to the Temple as heaven and earth. You can see this clearly from Lamentation 2, where the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians.
Lamentation 2:1 “How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger.”
I shall speak more on this later on.
So what Jesus meant to say was that as long as the temple was still standing, the Old covenant will be in place because the laws were still there in the most Holy place.
But the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 by the Romans brought a fulfillment to all that the law was pointing to which He came to fulfill through the cross.
And it took forty years for these words to come to pass after He made these statements. Even after Pentecost had come the Temple was still standing hence Peter could heal the impotent man by the beautiful gate, Acts 3 while they were going for worship.
The Heaven and Earth therefore passed away and the New Heaven and Earth (Revelation 20:1) was birthed which is the New Covenant.
To be continued…