Today in Paradise

Started a new bible study. … It’s about Heaven…

I am truly amazing how many misconceptions I had about something that I am supposed to know about and… “long for”; “look for”; and “set my heart on”, Col 3:1; 2 Pet 3:12, Heb 11:6. You would think that someone who has spent decades caring for bereaved parents whose babies have died, would have spent more time exploring the scriptures to see what God has revealed about His dwelling place… “the tabernacle”… hmm… I am not sure what that means or says about my short sightedness, but I have an observation…
I am in a quandary… the more I learn, the more comfort about the future I feel, but the more God reveals about the joy that awaits those who choose to follow Christ, the more I desire other people to go there too…

Remember the debate Christ had with the two murderers …

“Two other men, both of them criminals, were also led out to be put to death with Jesus.
When they came to the place called “The Skull,” they crucified Jesus there, and the two criminals, one
on his right and the other on his left. … One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong. And he said to Jesus, Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King! Jesus said to him, I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me” (Luke 23:32-43).

I am sure it had to be a great shock for both criminals to hear, today will be your last. There is an innate desire in all of us that wills us, propels us towards life. I wonder, if up to this point, they still had hope that maybe, just maybe, they would get out of the death sentence. Crucifixion commonly lingered for days… could there be a rescue in the works…no. Jesus was emphatic, today is your last… but, wait, what did he say, “you will be in Paradise with me” (Luke 23:32-33, 39-43).

Jesus, being God, foresaw that measures would be taken to hasten death and one of the men would soon be in Paradise… Christ, even merciful at death…this is the rescue… the hope… getting out of the death sentence and going to Paradise. Hmmm… Paradise…

Barnes purports, “the word Paradise is of Persian origin, and means a garden, particularly a garden of pleasure, filled with trees, and shrubs, and fountains, and flowers. In hot climates such gardens were especially pleasant, and hence, they were attached to the mansions of the rich and to the palaces of princes. The word came thus to denote any place of happiness, and was used particularly to denote the abodes of the blessed in another world. The Garden of Eden means, also, the garden of pleasure, and in Genesis 2:8 the Septuagint renders the word “Eden by Paradise.” Hence, this name in the Scriptures comes to denote the abodes of the blessed in the other world”.

It had to be comforting to know that there would be an end to the intense pain and suffering. Better still, a place of exquisite pleasure and delight awaited. Oh, what joy and ecstasy, grace bestows. Punishment so justly deserved but “grace abounding all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5: 20-21).

Christ offers everyone the gift of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life. Have you said yes to Christ’s invitation of rescue and thus, spend eternity with Him in His dwelling place? If so, you have reason to rejoice because today, you could be with Christ in Paradise.


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