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Greek word definition παράδεισος meaning 'Paradise' Strong's 3857

Introduction 3.1

People who believe in Jesus Christ have nothing to fear when they die if they have been faithful to him. Their body is usually buried and returns to dust but their spirit or soul departs and goes somewhere. This fact needs to be accepted, that when people die their bodies and their spirit or soul separate, and after that they must be dealt with as separate entities. When scripture refers to the dead it usually refers to the body, as 'the body without the spirit is dead' (James 2:26), and 'the dead ... who lie in the grave' (Psalm 88:5). When scripture refers to a soul being dead, as Ezekiel 18:4, it refers to a soul being spiritually dead, that is, separated from spiritual life, while a person is physically alive. Concerning saved people, or those who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior, when they die their spirit or soul goes to a very pleasant place to await their resurrection and judgment. This bible study gives scriptural proof that the spirits of saved dead people go to heaven when they die, and they are not 'asleep' or 'non-existent', but are very conscious and active.

#3.1 The Robber on the Cross went with Jesus to Paradise

LUKE 23:39-43
39 And one of the robbers who were hanged railed on him, saying, If you are Christ, save yourself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, seeing that you are in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man has done nothing wrong.
42 And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
43 And Jesus said to him, Amen I say to you, Today you shall you be with me in Paradise.

Note: Reading this scripture as it is written, shows that not only did Jesus go to Paradise when he died, but also that the robber who was saved went with him the same day. The word for Paradise in this scripture is the Greek word παράδεισος 'paradeisos' Strong's 3857. It only occurs three times in the New Testament (Luke 23:43), the same place where the apostle Paul was caught up into the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2), into Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:4). It also refers to the place where those who overcome are promised that they can eat of the tree of life, 'which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.' (Revelation 2:7). In each of these three places the Greek has the definite article, 'the Paradise', which could indicate that they all refer to the same Paradise. This tree of life is also in the presence of God as it is by the side of the river of life which flows out of his throne (Revelation 22:1-2). The conclusion is that Paradise refers to a place where the presence of God is, and both Jesus and the saved robber went there that day; as Jesus said, 'Father into your hands I commend my spirit.' (Luke 23:46). Any attempt to change the punctuation is deception.

#3.2 The Spirit of Jesus went to his Father when he Died

LUKE 23:46
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit2: and having said thus, he gave up the spirit.

Note: Do you think Jesus was mistaken about where his spirit would go when he died? Certainly not! This is scriptural truth from the mouth of Jesus, that when a righteous man dies his spirit goes back to God, even as Solomon also said, "The spirit shall return to God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

#3.3 The Spirit of Stephen went to Jesus

ACTS 7:59-60
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon the Lord, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, do not lay this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Note: It seems evident that when Stephen said, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit' (v59), he expected his spirit to be with Jesus when he died. He was a man 'full of faith and of the Holy Spirit' (Acts 6:3), and a bold preacher of the Word of God (Acts 7:2-53). He was full of forgiveness for his murderers (Acts 7:60), just as Jesus was when he was crucified (Luke 23:34), so we can accept that he was not deceived about what he believed. When Jesus died he said, 'Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit' (Luke 23:46), so he expected his spirit to leave his body and go back to his Father when he died. He also promised the robber on the cross that he would also be with him in Paradise the same day (Luke 23:43), so his spirit would go to God also, although both of their bodies were buried.

(Ecclesiastes 12:7) "The spirit shall return to God who gave it."

#3.4 Paul Expected to be with Jesus when he Died

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

PHILIPPIANS 1:20-24 (Paul)
20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it is by life, or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I do not know.
23 For I am hard pressed between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

10 Who died for us, that whether we watch or sleep we may live together with him.

Note: Paul said, 'For me to live is Christ,' (Philippians 1:21), and 'Christ lives in me;' (Galatians 2:20), so how could he also say 'to die is gain' (Philippians 1:21)? How could he prefer death to living with Jesus in him? If it were that he would be in some unconscious state, knowing nothing, or not exist until his resurrection, he would not say that, would he? However, he knew that if he died he would 'be with Christ; which is far better:' (Philippians 1:23); better because he would have to face no more trials, persecutions, floggings, beatings, stonings etc. (2 Corinthians 11:23-25). So just like Stephen, Paul believed that he would be with Jesus when he died. Paul was chosen by Jesus (Acts 9:15), he had spoken to and seen him (Acts 9:5; 18:9; 22:14; 26:14-16), and he had been 'caught up to the third heaven.' (2 Corinthians 12:2), where he 'heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter' (2 Corinthians 12:4). He suffered many things for the sake of Jesus and his church (Acts 9:16; 2 Corinthians 1:5-6; 4:10-11; 11:23-25; Galatians 6:17; Colossians 1:24), he had an abundance of revelations from Jesus himself (2 Corinthians 12:7; Galatians 1:11-12), and wrote a large portion of the New Testament. Perhaps we ought to accept that this man knew a lot more about life after death than those who preach 'soul sleep', or 'non-existence' when we die.

#3.5 The Righteous Dead under the Altar in Heaven

REVELATION 6:9-11 (John)
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who were killed for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little while, until their fellow servants also and their brothers who should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

Note: When does this take place? During the fifth seal (v9), and so while men are still alive on the earth, and before the rapture at Jesus' second coming. Who are there? 'The souls of those who were killed for the Word of God' (v9), which means the souls of righteous dead people. Are they unconscious? No, they are speaking, and asking questions (v10), receiving white robes, and waiting for their brothers to be killed as they were (v11). This shows that they are not asleep, or unconscious, or non-existent, but alive in a spiritual sense. The fact that they are waiting for others to be killed also, confirms that this is before the rapture, while people are still alive and suffering persecution on the earth, so before the resurrection.

#3.6 The Righteous Dead Before the Throne of God in Heaven

7.9 After this I looked, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation belongs to him who sits upon the throne to our God, and to the Lamb.
7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be to our God for the ages of the ages. Amen.
7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, Who are these who are arrayed in white robes? And where did they come from?
7:14 And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are those who came out of THE great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he who sits on the throne shall dwell among them.
7:16 They shall hunger no more, nor thirst anymore; nor shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
7:17 For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Note: This occurs after the sealing of the 144,000 Israelites (Revelation 7:4-8). They are a great multitude out of 'all nations' and standing before the throne of God (v9), which is in heaven (Revelation 4:2). They came out of THE great tribulation (v14), so they would be martyrs who were killed during that time. They are not 'asleep', nor 'non-existent', nor in some 'unconscious state' until the resurrection, but are crying out with a loud voice (v10) and giving glory to God. This scripture therefore refutes the false teaching about 'soul sleep' or righteous dead people being non-existent after death.

#3.7 The Righteous Dead on the Sea of Glass in Heaven

REVELATION 15:1-8 (John)
1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and those who have the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways, you King of saints.
4 Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name? for you only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before you; for your judgments are made manifest.
5 And after that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breast girded with golden girdles.

Note: Where does this take place? In heaven (Revelation 15:1). Who is there? Those 'who have the victory, over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name' (Revelation 15:2), thus they are people who were alive on the earth during the time of the mark of the beast, in the last days. What are they doing? They are standing on the sea of glass (Revelation 15:2), which is before the throne of God (Revelation 4:6), which is in heaven (Revelation 4:2). They are singing 'the song of Moses' and 'the song of the Lamb,' (Revelation 15:3), thus they are not 'asleep', nor 'non-existent', nor in some 'unconscious state' until the resurrection. When does it take place? It is before the last seven plagues upon the earth (Revelation 15:5-6), and so before Jesus' return to earth, and so before the translation (or rapture) of the saints. Thus these are not resurrected people, as that does not take place until Jesus returns (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18), on the last day of this present age (John 6:39-40; 6:44; 6:54; 11:24), and it contradicts many other scriptures also. This scripture therefore confirms that spirits of the righteous dead are alive and conscious in heaven, between death and the rapture, at Jesus' second coming.

#3.8 Moses was Seen by the Apostles after he Died

MATTHEW 17:1-3
1 And after six days Jesus takes Peter, James, and John his brother, and brings them up into a high mountain apart.
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face shone as the sun, and his clothes were white as the light.
3 And, behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with him.

MARK 9:2-4
2 And after six days Jesus takes with him Peter, and James, and John, and leads them up into a high mountain apart by themselves: and was transfigured before them.
3 And his clothes became shining, exceedingly white like snow; so as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

LUKE 9:28-31
28 And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his clothes were white and glistening.
30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, who were Moses and Elijah:
31 Who appeared in glory, and spoke of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

Note: Moses died on mount Nebo, in the land of Moab, when he was 120 years old (Deuteronomy 34:1-8), and yet he appears here, hundreds of years later, talking with Jesus (Matthew 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30). How is this possible if the dead are not alive in a spiritual sense after they die physically? Some have suggested that Moses has been resurrected in his glorified body, but where are the scriptures to say so? Remember that this occurred before the death of Jesus, and that after his resurrection Jesus is called.

(Acts 26:23) "the first that should rise from the dead."
(1 Corinthians 15:20-23) "the first-fruits of those who slept."
(Colossians 1:18) "the firstborn from the dead."
(Revelation 1:5) "the firstborn from the dead."

Compare also Psalm 2:7 and Acts 13:33. So how then can Moses be resurrected before Jesus? If Moses rose first, then Jesus could not be called 'the first that should rise from the dead', or 'the firstborn from the dead', or 'the first-fruits of those who slept', or 'the first begotten of the dead', could he? If Moses had been resurrected, then it would also contradict other scriptures.

(Job 14:12) "So man lies down, and does not rise: till the heavens are no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep."

As the heavens pass away when Jesus returns (2 Pet 3:7-12), how then could Moses be resurrected prior to this?

(Job 14:14) "If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, until my change comes."
(1 Corinthians 15:22-23) "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward those who are Christ's at his coming."

This scripture also says 'Christ the first-fruits', and then goes on to confirm that others will not be resurrected until Jesus returns, so how could Moses be resurrected first? Jesus' people will be resurrected in their glorified bodies on 'the last day' of this present age (John 6:39-40; 6:44; 6:54; 11:24), so how then could Moses be resurrected? Did Jesus himself get it wrong? Perhaps we ought much rather to conclude that these scriptures point to the fact that the spirits or souls of the dead are not 'asleep', or 'non-existent', or in some 'unconscious state', but they are alive in a spiritual sense, and can also speak. Thus what the disciples saw was not resurrected physical human beings, but a 'vision' (Matthew 17:9).

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