Up or Down?

Wednesday, June 17

‘Paradise is also associated with hades (the sheol of the O.T.). It is the abode of the dead, both of the godly and the ungodly. Abraham’s bosom was in hades (although the Greek word is translated “hell” in Lk. 16:23). The Lazarus account indicates that both godly and ungodly souls were in hades with a huge gulf between the two. Paradise would be the place for redeemed saints, but separated from the ungodly souls. Hades is referred to as being down (Mt. 11:23). But the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, which presents a problem. Is paradise up or down? Here’s where a little speculation comes in. There is an intriguing account of Jesus preaching to the spirits in prison in 1 Pet. 3:19-20. There are several different spins on this, the most likely being that Jesus went to hades to declare the finished work of redemption. Some believe that the Paradise part of hades was moved to heaven at this time, which would explain the New Jerusalem descending. Time wise, it is suggested that it could have been between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ. This would explain why Paul referred to Paradise as being in the third heaven, and why Rev. 21:2 says the New Jerusalem came down from heaven. So we will reside in the New Jerusalem, and also in Paradise. But the salient point is that we will be with Jesus.

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