Bible Indicates Paradise Was Once Part Of Hades

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise’.” (Luke 23:43)

The Bible reports that sometime between His crucifixion and His resurrection, Jesus went to hell. In fact, Ephesians 4:9 says that Jesus “first descended into the lower parts of the earth.” Why? The Bible says it was to set the captives free and to take the very keys to hell away from Satan. Otherwise, how could we ever claim to have victory over death?

That’s what Jesus meant when He said in Revelation 1:18, “I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

If all that is true – and it is – then how could Jesus have been in two places at the same time? After all, He told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

You might find it a little surprising, but the Bible records that Paradise was in Hades. That’s right. Jesus spoke about it when He told the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:22-23)

The truth is that Scripture supports that Hades included both hell AND heaven (Abraham’s bosom, or what Jesus and many of the everyday Jews of his day referred to as Paradise). According to Jesus, in between the two was “A great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.” (Luke 16:26)

There’s even more biblical evidence that Paradise may not have been in heaven at that time. Remember, just three days after Jesus told the thief that he would be in Paradise with Him, He asked Mary Magdalene, who first saw Him in resurrected form, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the My Father.” (John 20:17) If had not yet ascended to the Father, then Paradise was not located in heaven.

It certainly makes you think, doesn’t it? Even more thought provoking is what Paul said to the Church at Corinth. Paul also referred to Paradise, but spoke of it synonymously with the third heaven. “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was caught up in the third heaven. And I know such a man – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (II Corinthians 12:2-4)

Could it be that there were two places called Paradise? I don’t think so. However, I admit that what I do believe cannot be found in Scripture except to say that some very strange things happened between the death of Jesus and His resurrection, not the least of which is that He went to the very jaws of hell to make sure that we could have victory over sin and death.

Professional golfers often refer to the Saturday in the tournament as “moving day”. It’s the day when they position themselves to win on Sunday. I tend to think the same philosophy was going on in the mind of God. The Saturday between the death of Jesus and His Resurrection Sunday was moving day. Paradise was moved from Hades to Heaven. Captives were set free, and Jesus was showing the world that victory would come on Resurrection Sunday, and every day thereafter!

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