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Author Topic: Paradise  (Read 6473 times)

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« on: June 06, 2006, 10:39:01 AM »

Hello Ray:
I have E-mailed you a few times over the last couple of years and you have always been gracious enough to reply.
I was telling a Christian Lady Friend of mine that when you are DEAD and await judgement day and at some point will THEN go to Heaven and that you do not automatically go to Heaven when you die (Hey, am I hired?!)
She brought up the thing Christ said on the Cross. I DID read your reply to this question you sent a reader awhile ago. I must admit that if I was standing there on the Mountain while Christ was crucified and I HEARD him utter "Today You shall be with me in Paradise" the first thing that would come to my mind would NOT be a debate on where the comma should be placed...I would take Christ at his Word. Secondly, Christ DID use the word "Paradise". My questions are two-fold..... If "Paradise" does NOT mean "Heaven", than what does it mean?.....and # 2 why then DID Christ use the term "Paradise"? With most of your writings I feel you are 100% right-on....but I must admit I am "not seeing the light" on this issue. In your reply to the reader I mentioned you seem to fluff over the whole issue of "Paradise" and talk about other matters (and I agree with your the point where I irritate my men's group and they say I should stop reading your Web site! !!) . I must admit what happens to one when you die still bothers me a bit.....I want to agree with you but then again Christ clearly says NO man is the ultimate judgement is that NO man once again it is left to Christ's Grace saving mankind (in which case why the delay in joining him?).  

Dear Scot:
I would think that no less than 50 times over the years, I have said that I will (some time in the FUTURE) write a paper on this. This is NOT a priority with me. There are many more important subjects that I mujst write on before I do a paper on this subject. If a short 3 or 4 sentence answer is all that is needed, I would have done that already in the dozens and dozens of emails I have received on this question over the years.
It is not kosher to quote half of a verse when it has a larger context.   Jesus did not begin a sentence with: "TODAY you shall be with me in paradise," did He?  No, Jesus said: "Verily I say unto thee TODAY shall you be with Me in paradise."  But even that is King James translating, and King James is not inerrant.  Notice how the great scholar Joseph Bryant Rotherham renders this verse:  "Verily I say unto thee this day:  With me shalt thou be in Paradise."  But as a footnote he suggests that "This day with me shalt...." as a possibility. So what's the solution?  God tells us how to solve this Verse and every other verse of Scripture:  "That no prophecy of scripture becomes self-solving" (II Pet. 1:20, Rotherham), "That no prophecy of scripture at all is becoming its OWN explanation" (Concordant LNT).
We must go to other Scriptures to explain what is mean by this Scripture.
But is this what theology does?  No, theologians say this this verse EXPLAINS ITSELF--"That VERY DAY the thief when with Christ TO HEAVEN."  Oh really?  That is not what the REST of the Bible teaches.
DON'T "assume" that "paradise" means heaven. Why would you do that?  Is there any Scriptural justification for that?  NO, no there isn't.  In what way do the Scriptures liken paradis to heaven?  Most theologians assume things that AREN'T there, and then teach the absolute opposite of what things ARE in the Scriptures.  "Paradise" is a Persian word that means "park or garden."
There is the mention of only two primary "gardens" in Scripture: The "tree of life" (Gen. 2:9) is found in Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9).  And what else is that Garden of Eden called?  Answer: "To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the TREE OF LIFE, which is in the midst of the PARADISE of God" (Rev. 2:7).
[1]  The "Garden of Eden."  Was that garden, "heaven?"  What did we find in that garden:  (1) the knowledge of EVIL, (2) rebellion and SIN, (3) a flaming SWORD, (4) the pronouncement of CURSES, and (5) the lying SERPENT (Satan--Rev. 12:9).
[2]  The "Garden of Gethsemane."  Was that garden "heaven?"   What did we find in that garden?  (1) The Apostles DESERTED Jesus in this garden,  (2) Judas BETRAYED Jesus in this garden, (3) an army of wicked elders, scribes and chief priest with clubs and SWORDS, (4) Jesus is carried away from this garden to be CRUCIFIED, and (5) This garden contained the TOMB in which the DEAD Jesus was placed.
Do any of this evils in these two paradise gardens sound like "heaven" to you?   I don't care if there are NO commas in Luke 23:43.  Commas do not make or break the Scriptures of God.  This verse does not contradict hundreds and hundreds of other Scriptures as the Church teaches it does.  That day, "today," both Jesus AND the thief, DIED AND THEY WERE DEAD
This is a large subject involving the different resurrections, and the Judgments of God. It will take a sizable paper to cover it properly and I cannot do it now. Hope you understand.
God be with you,
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