What we learn from religious institutions is not always commensurate with the truth of the actual Scriptures. Here we researched for you what the Bible actually says about the terms ‘Paradise’ and ‘Heaven’.
When Jesus was crucified, there were two criminals hanging on crosses beside Him. One of them confessed that he was sorry about his actions and said to Jesus: (Luke 23:42)
“Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. 43 And Jesus said to him, Surely I say to you, Today shall you be with me in Paradise!”
Now we know from other Scriptures that Jesus did not go UP to his Father–God the Father of spirits–until after His resurrection! This is obvious from the story where Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb weeping, because the body of her Lord had disappeared and she had seen Angels who told her that Jesus was alive, but because she didn’t see Him anywhere, she was quite confused and broken up about it. In this state, Jesus came to her in His resurrected body and said to her:
“Woman why are you weeping!”
She thinking him to be the gardener, said to him,
“Sir, if you took away His body, please show me where you laid him, and I will take him away!”
She didn’t recognize Him! Then Jesus said, “Mary!”
She spun around, suddenly recognizing His voice and cried: “Rabboni!” (Master!) She was about to touch him—which didn’t seem to be strange for them obviously, under normal circumstances—but this time Jesus stopped her in her tracks from doing so! He said something very significant to her. [John 20:17]:
“Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father! But go to my brethren, and say to them, I go up unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
So, according to this and other Scriptures, in all the three days that His body was dead in the tomb, His spirit had not yet ASCENDED—GONE UP— to see the Father! So that raises the question: If Jesus’ Spirit didn’t go up…where was He during this time, these three days?
Well, according to what He said to the thief, on the first day he was going to be in PARADISE with the thief! Now, if he had not gone UP to go see His Father in Paradise in Heaven, He must have gone to another Paradise, where the Father obviously didn’t live!
So there must have been at least TWO Heavenly Realms, at that time! Logical?
SO WHERE WERE THESE HEAVENLY REALMS?
Well the one where the Father is, we know at least that it is “UP”! But when we study the Word further, we come to some amazing discoveries! That’s a problem sometimes, that we either jump to our own or others’ conclusions without really taking the Scriptures themselves into account. So let’s look at another interesting scripture that throws more light on this question:
“Where WAS Jesus during these three days, if he didn’t go UP!?“
“Christ… being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which [by the spirit!] he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which sometime [before] were disobedient, when at one time the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few—that is eight souls-were saved by water.
…By the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Who is gone into HEAVEN, and is on the right hand of God.”
So here we read that Jesus –dead in the flesh but alive by the spirit– went and preached to “the spirits in prison”, that had been “disobedient in the the days of Noah!” They hadn’t listened to God and Noah and put a stop all their violence & evil! But it also says that Jesus AFTER His resurrection went UP to HEAVEN to be on the right hand of God the Father!
Now the question is: where are Paradise and this spirit prison, because they’re obviously NOT the same place! Why call prison a paradise, right? Neither were they “upstairs”!
Well, when we look up the words “under the Earth” in the Bible, we find the following verses: (Philippians 2:10.)
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.”
Here it speaks about things that bow down to Jesus in Heaven, in Earth, and UNDER the earth! You might say, “Well, those are things that bow down, that proves nothing. Maybe they are earthworms?” Well the next scripture gets more specific… Revelation 5:3
“And no MAN in heaven, nor in earth, neither UNDER the earth, was able to open the book…”
So there it talks about no MAN in Heaven, in Earth, and under the Earth! So can we conclude that there are people in Heaven above, where Jesus went after His resurrection, and here in the Earth, but also UNDER the Earth? It sure sounds like it.
But what about women, you might say? Well the next verse includes them too, as He talks about EVERY CREATURE in Heaven, ON Earth, and under the Earth! That includes women as well! Revelation 5:13
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, ‘Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”
So there are women in Heaven! Thank God! And here in Revelation it includes another category of people, “such as are in the sea!” You say, “Well, of course… the sailors!”
Well yes! Sailors! But not on the sea, but IN the sea! It’s talking about dead sailors, and they even praise Jesus at this time–which is at the beginning of the soon coming Millennium!
Here are departed sailors, under the sea, and departed people under the Earth praising Jesus! INTERESTING? I thought once people went to Hell, that that was it! No more chance?! That’s what most churches preach! We’ll cover that question a little later:
“Are all the dead under the Earth –in the spiritworld– unsaved and without any hope?”