The Paradise of
One of the questions that go through the minds of many Christians is
the confusion brought about by the teaching that Abrahamís bosom was the
old Paradise of God. I believe that with Godís help we can find out the
truth in this matter and realize that things are not as confusing as they
First, I would like to go directly to the point and then explain what
has happened to create such a teaching. I donít believe that the Bible
teaches that there was or is such a place under the earth called
"Abrahamís Bosom or Paradise." Neither do I believe in a place called
Purgatory where the souls of men are kept until someone can pray or buy
them out. These teachings have come out of the minds of men in search of
Biblical answers to scriptures in the Bible that were hard to
In the past one of the ministers on television was teaching that
Abrahamís Bosom was the old Paradise of God. He said that all of the
church fathers believed this. I sat in my chair listening to this and
wondered how many people would believe what he had to say without ever
examining it to see if it were the truth or not. My first question
concerning his statement is this: what books in the Bible did he get this
from, and which one of the church fathers ever taught this? It is not
found in any of the Bibles that I own. We have the truth of Godís Word
wrapped up in the 66 books of the Bible that we are all familiar with and
we do not have to draw information from any other books than these. A
teaching that is taught separate and apart from the Bible would be a
deadly thing to present to others as the truth. Everything that we teach
must be based on Scripture.
Personally I believe that the teaching about Abrahamís Bosom and
Paradise being a place under the Earth came from the desire to provide an
explanation to some scriptures that were hard to understand. The root of
the problem came from the place in Scripture that said that the repentant
thief on the cross would be with Jesus that day in Paradise. And the
parable that said that the rich man was in hell and looked across a great
gulf and saw Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. Because of ignorance and not
wanting to admit our ignorance we have provided ourselves with answers
that just don't float.
When the children of God end their journey in this world they go to
heaven to be with God. They always have, from the beginning of this world
until now. And they will until the time that Christ himself will return to
this earth to gather the children of God home to be with him. Paradise and
Heaven are the same place and we find that the location is "up".
2nd Kings 2:1: And it came to pass, when the LORD would
take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went
with Elisha from Gilgal.
2nd Kings2:11: And it came to pass,
as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot
of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah
went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Jesus said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were already in heaven before
he went to the cross.
Matthew 8:11: And I say unto you, That many
shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and
Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
Another proof that Paradise is up is in what Paul told
2nd Corinthians 12: 2: I 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
3: And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the
body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4: How that he was caught up
into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful
for a man to utter.
Notice two things, one is that he was caught
up into paradise. The other was that he didnít know if he went in the
flesh or was having a vision. In other words it is possible for us like
the rich man and Lazarus to have a vision of such things and not be able
to tell the difference.
The scriptures teach us that when a man dies that his body will go back
to the dust that he was created from and that his spirit goes back to God
that gave it.
Ecclesiastes 3:20: All go unto one place; all are of
the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Ecclesiastes 12:7: Then shall the
dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God
who gave it.
Paul said that to be absent from the body was to be present with the
Lord (2nd Corinthians 5:6-9). He also explained that we had a
spiritual body waiting on us in heaven. This body was made for heaven not
this earth. Our spirit lives in a celestial body while it is in heaven in
the presence of God. While on this earth we live in a terrestrial body or
earthly body. When we die we go to be with God, not "Abrahamís Bosom."
Man never did go to a place called "Abrahamís Bosom." I will explain:
When the rich man in hell was allowed to look across a great gulf and see
Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham it was a spiritual allegory. There is a
great gulf between heaven and hell that no one can cross to go from one to
the other. God simply allowed the rich man to see Lazarus in heaven
through a vision much in the same way that John looked into heaven through
a vision in Revelation the 4th chapter.
Abrahamís bosom was simply this: When the rich man saw Lazarus in the
bosom of Abraham he was looking at Lazarus being embraced, or held in the
arms of Abraham. Abraham was greeting one of his descendants into heaven.
Abrahamís bosom is not a place, but rather the area within Abrahamís arms
that he is able to reach around and hold to his chest the same way that
people that love you hug you. Today we would say that Abraham was hugging
Lazarus. This was an expression of the honor that the beggar Lazarus was
receiving in heaven.
The other reason that people want to believe in a place such as
"Abrahamís Bosom" is because of what Jesus said to the thief on the cross
when he said this in Luke.
Luke 23:43: And Jesus said unto him,
Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in
The problem that people have with this is the
words "to day". Because they knew that Jesus would be placed in the tomb
and would not rise until the first day of the week it confuses them.
Placing the following scripture with this really causes problems unless we
understand the terminology that God uses.
Matthew 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.
A simple solution to this problem is to believe that since Jesus went
to the heart of the earth, then paradise must be underground. But the
truth is that Jesus went to heaven when he died. His Spirit and Soul just
as our spirit and soul goes back to God who gave it. This is the case of
those who are righteous. Was Jesus righteous? Absolutely righteous, He was
the Lamb without spot and without blemish. He was the perfect Lamb of God.
In the story of Jonah in the scripture above the meaning for Jesus being
in the heart of the earth for three days is to be explained like this.
Jonah being entombed in the belly of the whale was a shadow of Christ
being in the tomb or the heart of the earth for three days.
It appears to many because of certain scriptures that He went to hell
to suffer as a sinner so that we do not have to go and suffer. This is not
true because there was a great difference between His spirit and our
spirit. You see His spirit was the Spirit of God, not man. The flesh part
of Jesus was man but the spirit part of Jesus was God. He paid the full
price for sin through the sufferings in His body, not His spirit. Before
He gave up His life on the cross He said; ďIt is finished.Ē Did Jesus have
to suffer spiritual separation from God and go to hell to suffer in our
place? No, because He didnít have to. Why? Because the work had been
finished on the cross. Going to Hell had nothing to do with our redemption
or atonement; this was not part of the sacrifice. In death Jesus could not
be sentenced to Hell in the spirit. He was almighty God, the Son of God
and it was impossible for his nature to change. He is the same today,
yesterday and forever. It was impossible for His spirit to suffer because
He was God. To make Him anything less would be to take away His Deity.
There was a time that I believed that Jesus suffered in the spirit in
our place but with time I have come to realize that he couldnít have. Our
sins were placed on His body not His spirit. The separation that Jesus
felt and only felt was at the time of His death. Jesus never died
spiritually because His spirit is eternal He is eternal life.
Some teach that Jesus had to die spiritually as well as physically and
that He was actually born again the same as us. They base this on the
scriptures that says that He was the first born of many brethren and first
born of every creature (Romans 8: 29, Colossians 1: 15). But these
scriptures are not saying that Jesus was the first to be born again. They
are saying that he is the first born. What this would mean to a Jew would
be that He is the heir. The first born in the generations of the Jewish
people was always the heir and all the other children in the family would
look up to him. He would be in charge so to speak. If the father were to
die the others would depend on Him for their answers, to resolve disputes
and take care of family affairs. He also had a double portion over the
rest, this Jesus has and more for sure. Once again to have Him being born
again would have Him to be less than God, which He isnít. But Jesus did
not go to hell because just as our spirit goes back to God at our death,
so did his. Him and the thief on the cross were in Heaven that day just as
Jesus had promised.
Many people use the scriptures below as proof text to prove that Jesus
went to hell. It is to my shame and dismay that I am guilty of preaching
this very thing in the past. I thank God for his forgiveness. I will do my
best to explain what each of these in reality mean. We begin in the Book
27: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in
hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see
31: He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of
Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his
flesh did see corruption.
The first thing to consider is that there
can only be two possibilities for the meaning of the term "thou wilt not
leave my soul in hell." The first is that we must realize that the souls
of the righteous in death go back to God that gave it. So speaking in this
view his soul would not be taken or left in hell because he was righteous
and it would be impossible for this to happen. The second possibility
would mean that his soul would not be left in hell in the sense that hell
is the grave or Hades. As Christians we often fear to use the term "grave"
for hell because the Jehovah's Witnesses and some other cults over
emphasize this to promote their false teachings. But sometimes the word
for hell or Hades in the Greek does in fact mean "the grave." There are
three meanings for the word "Hades" in the Greek and that is hell, the
grave, or death. Since we know that "soul sleep" or the soul staying with
the body in the grave is not a true teaching we can also say that the soul
of Jesus was not in his body in the tomb. So this could apply as well as
the first meaning.
The next scriptures that seem to indicate that Jesus went into hell are
8: Wherefore he saith, When he
ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave
gifts unto men.
9: (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also
descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
explain these scriptures we will break them down because it discusses
captivity, gifts and the lower parts of the earth. Jesus has ascended on
high and is seated at the right hand of God making intercession for you
and for me. He gave his blood to save us. The idea that he led captivity
captive is speaking of man's inability to keep his own self from going
into captivity to sin. All of mankind was in captivity; there was none
righteous no not one. When Jesus died he broke the power of this captivity
through his death. We are now born again creatures of God and are free
from captivity and it is Jesus that did it. The term "he led captivity
captive" is speaking of being made free from the nature of sin that all of
us had before the new birth. We were held in bondage to it whether we
wanted to be or not. Because of this Satan was able to take us captive at
his will. We are free from this and Jesus led us into this
"The lower parts of the earth" that many believe to mean
speaking of hell is to be interpreted as lower destiny, or lower
assignments that was given to him. The word "parts" is the key to this
mystery. Read it in the Greek, the first meaning of this word is a part
due or assigned to one, a lot, and destiny. In order for Jesus to ascend
on high and be exalted he first had to be abased in humiliation and
suffering this was his lower destiny. By this God exalted him above all
and made him Lord over all things.
1st Peter 3: 14: But and if ye suffer for righteousness'
sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be
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:
16: Having a good conscience;
that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed
that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
17: For it is
better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for
18: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just
for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the
flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19: By which also he went and
preached unto the spirits in prison;
20: Which sometime
were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the
days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight
souls were saved by water.
Basically these scriptures are not
speaking of Christ going into hell and preaching to the lost souls that
were not saved in the days of Noah. But is reminding the Christians that
we should be long suffering towards those that do not listen to our
message about salvation through Christ. As God was patient and
longsuffering with the lost that are held in bondage to sin in the days of
Noah, we should be the same way.
Noah preached to the lost during the
days that he and his sons were building the Ark. It was the Spirit of
Christ that was using Noah to preach to them and was patient in spite of
their stubborn rebellious natures and preached none the less offering all
an opportunity to be saved. This was a shadow of the day that we now live
as we ourselves often speak to the lost around us by the Spirit of Christ
that is within us to try and save the lost souls of our own time. We
should always be long suffering and continue to do good even though our
testimony of Christ may bring upon us suffering and persecution as it
surely did in the days of Noah. The souls that we are trying to reach are
held in a spiritual prison and cannot be made free until their hearts turn
to the Lord in repentance. This is the meaning of these scriptures. Jesus
did not go into hell and preach to the lost souls in hell. Judgement is
fixed and final.
As we come to the end of this teaching we can clearly see that Jesus at
the time of his death on the cross went to Heaven taking with him the
thief on the cross. His body was laid down in the tomb and was resurrected
by the power of God. He was the first born of the resurrection because his
body was the first to put on immortality. We will also have this same
blessing to look forward to as we patiently wait for his return. May God
bless you, I hope that you have been able to glean some things from this
teaching and that it will cause us to love Jesus more than ever.
Your brother in Christ