We recently had asked of us a great question about Jesus as he’s being crucified. In Luke 23, he looks at the thief beside him and says, “You will be with me this day, in paradise.”
Where is paradise? What is paradise? I think the Bible gives us a clear definition of what paradise is. I think it’s the direct presence of God. I think it’s a celestial kingdom. The reason I think that, is because of 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 and Revelation 2:7. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul is talking about into the celestial kingdom before the presence of God. You’ll see in verse 2 he talks about the celestial kingdom and then in verse 4 he refers to the celestial kingdom as paradise. Paul’s using that word interchangeably. The word “paradise” is actually a Persian derived word. It was a place of bliss, it was a place that the Persians would use to build gardens. People of wealth would build these gardens on top of their homes. It was a place of solace, rest and comfort. They would go up there to relax. For those who had such a place, or the means to be in such a place, it was viewed as heavenly. So the word for paradise began to be adopted as a word that described a heavenly atmosphere. Paul’s using that word to describe heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, as the celestial kingdom and I believe John does it in Revelation 2:7.
So when Jesus says to the thief, “You’ll be with me this day in paradise,” I think it’s indicating to us that after Christ’s crucifixion, he went and let captives free in Abraham’s bosom, and he took everyone with him straight to paradise.