by Rev. Jack Barr
Recently I was reading one of your letters to a viewer and it was dealing with Paridise/Heaven. I have a question for you. According to your response in the letter you said that when a person dies "now" he/she goes to heaven right away. Not Paridise. I disagree. Recall Christ being on the Cross with the thief and the thief asked Jesus... To remember him. Jesus replied, Today you will be with me in Paridise! Not heaven!!!!! Than according to your opinion... A person would immediately go to heaven or hell. However, I've understood that No man will be judged before the final Judgement Day when the graves and seas will give up it's dead to stand judgement. What are your thought concerning this matter. Be blessed!
Hello XXXXXX, I welcome your letter. you ask some valid questions that you need answers for.
Perhaps a clarification is needed here. (See also Question about the Dead in Christ and Question about going to Paradise Now.)
Question: When will we be judged?
Hebrew 9:27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." As soon as you die, you are judged. See also Luke 16:19-26, shown below to see that as soon as each man died, Lazarus and the rich man, each received an instant judgment. Will there be a judgment in the future also, yes, The Bible tells us that there will be a judgment at the rapture, and when Jesus returns to the Earth to set up His 1000 year rein kingdom. And again at the end of the World at the Great White Throne Judgment.
The following are paraphrased.
- Mt. 25:31-23 when Jesus returns will judge the nations.;
- Jude 1:14-15 There will be judgment when Jesus returns to Earth.
- 2 Pe. 3:7 The heavens and Earth are being held for judgment (at a later time)
- Rev. 20:11 The present heavens and Earth are judged, totally destroyed.
- Rev. 20:12-15 Here the dead, who are in the book of life, will be judged out of many books according to their works. For the righteous, how much rewards they will receive, for the dead in Hell who are not in the Book of Life, how much punishment they will receive in the Lake of fire.
So you see that there several judgments, and not just the one at the Great White Throne Judgement when the sea gives up it's dead, and Hell and Death gives up their dead. For at this time it tells us that this judgement will be according to their works, which is the degree of reward in heaven, or the degree of punishment in the Lake of Fire, and not if they go to heaven or hell. Yes the Bible tells us that there are different degrees of each.
Even at the time of the Rapture, the Great Catching Away of the Saints, there is a judgment. If you are judged to belong to Jesus Christ, you will be taken off of this Earth to be part of the Bride of Christ, to spend eternity with Jesus. (1Thess. 4:16-17 where the dead in Christ rise from the graves, and the sea, and those still alive join them). If you are left behind, you have been judged to belong to Satan, and you will spend eternity with Satan. Oh, what is this? There are two places in the Bible where the dead shall rise, and one where the dead has already resin. (see below when Jesus rose from the dead)
So you see, there are many judgments. The idea that you will lie in a cold grave without feeling for several thousand years before you are judged, just does not match up with that the Bible does say. It is a false teaching. And another false teaching is that you will be held in a place called Purgatory, a place of torment like in Hell, where you must attone for your own sins, suffering until you have paid for your own sins, then you can enter Heaven. This teaching is rejecting the attonement which Jesus did for all of us on the Cross, saying that Jesus suffered on that cross for nothing, that Jesus could not take our sins upon himself, paying the price for them, but rather that we must each suffer to pay for our own salvation. This is a teaching of works, which has been rejected by the Bible. Salvation is not by works, we can not buy our way into heaven.
Question: Where is Paradise??
The Bible tells. Paradise was a part of Hell, where the righteous were held prisoner until Jesus died on the cross for all of us. "Paradise", and "Abraham's Bosom," are the same place. (I will not, at this time, go into all the verses which shows this to be true) The Word tells us that NO ONE can have Salvation without accepting the sacrifice that Jesus did for us on the cross. Salvation is only through Jesus Christ. Therefore, There could be No Salvation until Jesus died on the cross for us, and without salvation, you can not enter heaven. Acts 4:10, 12 "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth ...... Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Now, The day that Jesus died on the cross, he most certainly did go down to Paradise, for the Bible tells us that he did. Therefore, that one thief did join Jesus in Paradise that very day. The other thief went into the fires of Hell, and you can be sure that each thief could see the other one, the one in Paradise, and the other one in Hell fires. The Bible tells us this was the way it was. The explanation and example is shown to us in "The rich man and Lazarus,"
Luke 16:19-26 "There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table; moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivest thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they who would pass from here to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from there."
You could say that this is at the final great white throne judgment. Except!!!!! We go to the next couple of verses, and see that it is happening as soon as they died, for the Rich man begs for someone to go warn his brothers, so that they will not come to that place. Clearly then, this could not possibly be an event, or a judgment, taking place several thousand of years later, for his brothers would not be alive then in order for any one to warn them. He knew that his brothers were still alive on Earth while he was suffering in hell. He had been judged.
Why is Paradise in Hell? The reason that Paradise was in Hell, was that No One could enter Heaven without accepting Jesus Christ. So God set up a holding place for the godly, to hold them until the door to heaven was opened for them by Jesus Christ. This was not a place of torments, but was only a holding place until Jesus died on the cross for all of us.
So Why did Jesus go to Paradise, and not directly to heaven, when he died on the cross?
And they could not accept Jesus until Jesus paid the price for all the O.T. saints as well as us. Nobody could enter heaven until Jesus Rose from the dead, so all of the O.T. saints were held in Paradise (prison) until that time when Jesus died on the cross for them. During the three days that Jesus was in the grave, Jesus went down into Hell and preached to the prisoners there. Preaching to The O.T. saints, not the ones being punished on the other side of Hell, whose punishment was sealed for all of Eternity. When Jesus came out of the grave, so did many of the O.T. saints, and all of the O.T. saints then entered heaven. This place was no longer needed and was done away with when we could enter Heaven directly. That they came out of the graves, shows that the O.T. saints came out of Paradise.
Here is the following sequence which happened
1. Prophecy by Isaiah -- Isa. 61:1
2. Jesus tells the thief on the cross that they will be together in Paradise that day. (not in Heaven) - Luke 23:43
3. The veil of the temple was torn open when Jesus died, showing us that we now have direct access to God ourselves. The New Testament (Covenant) - Mt. 27:51
4. The graves of the saints around Jerusalem opened up when Jesus died - Mt. 27:52
5. Jesus went into hell, which is in the lower parts of the Earth - Eph. 4: 9-10
6. The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. - Jn. 5:25
7. Jesus preached to the spirits in prison. The dead - 1Pe. 3:19; 4:6
8. Jesus holds the keys to death and hell. (Jesus took the keys away from Satan.) - Rev. 1:18
9. Christ will not stay in hell - Acts 2:27, 31
10. Jesus rises from the dead. (comes out of hell) - Mk. 16:6
11. The people came out of the graves that were opened AFTER Jesus rose from the dead, and walked in the city. - Mt. 27:53
12. Jesus shows himself but has not yet gone into heaven - John 20:17
13. Jesus now goes into heaven - Mk. 16:19
There are verses which tell us that we will go to heaven, and not to paradise.
Mt. 5:3, 10, 12 - We go to heaven.
Mt 7:21 - We go to heaven.
Mt. 8:11 - We will sit with the O.T. saints in heaven.
It is my hope that this will clear up the idea that there will only be one judgment, (not true) and that we go to Paradise rather than Heaven, (not true) and that you will accept what the bible says.
May the Lord God lead you into All of His Truths. Trust what God and His Word the Bible says, and not what man says.
With the Love of Jesus
Rev. Jack Barr