Tuesday, December 10, 2013


     The word paradise occurs 3 times in most English translations of the
New Testament. (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7) Paradeisos
is a Persian (Iranian) loanword. The Old Persian word  pairidaeza originally
meant "enclosure," then "park" or "garden." It occurs in Biblical Hebrew as
pardes. (Nehemiah 2:8; Song of Solomon 4:13, and Ecclesiastes 2:5) In
Jewish Aramaic the word is pardes(a) meaning "garden." In the Septuagint
(LXX) paradeisos denotes God's garden. (Genesis 2:8-10,16)  In  the  New
Covenant  the  word paradeisos is used to describe the realm of the blessed.
The word appeared  in  French as paradis, and  eventually  into  English
as paradise.

     Each  of  the  three  occurrences  of  the  word  paradeisos in the New
Testament sheds important light about paradise, its nature, and inhabitants.
Let us briefly examine the contexts and resultantly overflow with exuberance
as we anticipate life beyond the grave.

     Luke 23:43. This passage is set in the context of Jesus' conversation
with the repentant criminal while they hang on their crosses. Two criminals
were crucified with Jesus. One of them railed at the Lord," 'but the other
rebuked him saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same
sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the
due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.' And he said,
'Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.' And he said to him,
'Truly,  I   say   to   you,   today   you   will   be   with   me   in   Paradise.' "
(Luke 23:39-43; ESV) Interestingly, the Greek phrase is en to paradeiso
("in the paradise"). This is likely the par excellence use of the article. This
paradise is incomparable. It is the ultimate "paradise" unlike any other place
of happiness, pleasure, and blessedness. That  very  day  the  man would be
"with Jesus" in the Paradise. He would enjoy fellowship with Jesus! While the
criminal was crucified on the cross, he crucified his old self and took up his
cross to follow Jesus from death to life eternal! The suffering the criminal
would endure on his cross would pale in comparison to what awaited him
immediately after death!

     2 Corinthians 12:3. In  this  context, Paul  writes  about  "visions  and
revelations of the Lord." (v. 1) Then he speaks of himself as a "man in Christ
who fourteen years ago was caught up into the third heaven...caught up into
the paradise." The phrase "third heaven" (tritou ouranou) refers to the very
home of God. The highest of the heavens. "The paradise" (ton paradeison)
is used to identify the "third heaven" as a place of blessedness and release
from  earthly  struggles. (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27)   Paul   needed   the
encouragement that resulted from this transcendent experience. He also
learned two great lessons: (1) A "thorn in the flesh" can be used as a positive
inducement to humility. (2) Divine grace is sufficient to give power to endure
weaknesses. Paul   said,   "For   when   I am  weakthen  am I  strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:10)

     Revelation 2:7. The congregation of Christ in Ephesus was told, " 'To
the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the
paradise of God.' " The tree of life was in the garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:8-9)
Yahweh planted the garden in Eden. (Genesis 2:8) The tree of life is in the
paradise of God (to paradeiso tou theou). This is God's "garden" and the
most important "tree" (source of life) ever known is there. Those who conquer
are granted permission to eat from the tree of life. They have conquered sin
through Jesus the Messiah .  The "paradise of God" in this context is the
place for conquerors and the place of life. It is the place where the righteous
will  experience full  communion  with  God, the  author of  life, the  giver
of  blessedness, and the guarantor of immortality. It is in God himself that
these things become reality. (cf. Isaiah 51:3) The congregation had
abandoned the love it had at first. She had fallen and needed to undergo a
radical change. By doing so her fellowship with God would be restored.
Then she would be at home with God and have a place in his courts to rest!
                                                                                                  R. Daly
Copyright 2013




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