A Biblical Exposition Of Paradise As A Place Of Eternal Rest And Bliss For Souls Of The Righteous After Death

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

The belief in paradise as a place of utter bliss, devoid of sufferings, is widely accepted by most people, both literally and figuratively. Most primitive myths believe mankind started life in some sort of paradise, but eventually lost it, and every human endeavour thereafter has been geared towards recreating some form of paradise on earth. Whether it’s the quest for an El Dorado or Utopia, man’s futile search for paradise on earth only reflects the deep yearnings of the human soul for a return to true paradise.

Paradise is presented in the Scriptures as the final resting place of the righteous, and the ultimate reward for obedience and faith in God. It thus behoves us to understand all we can about this final destination of the saints, in order to be motivated to do all we can to enter into this glorious place. In this article, we shall examine the Scriptures for a clear understanding of paradise, focusing on its location, the state of the souls there, as well as qualifications for entry into it.

When God created the first man and woman, he placed them in paradise in the garden of Eden. It was a place of delight and pleasure. There, mankind did not toil or suffer, nor was there sickness or death. Everything mankind needed for wholesome living was in abundance in that delightful garden. Thus, Adam and Eve lived blissfully in the garden of delight, until they sinned and were chased out of paradise. The man and his wife were evicted from paradise because of rebellion against God, and were sentenced to a lifetime of toil, suffering and finally death. That’s how mankind forfeited paradise, to enter the life we now experience.

Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

Genesis 2:9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground —trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.

Genesis 2:11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.

Genesis 2:12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)

Genesis 2:13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.

Genesis 2:14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

Genesis 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ’You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Genesis 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,

Genesis 3:3 but God did say, ’You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Genesis 3:4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Genesis 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Genesis 3:10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Genesis 3:11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Genesis 3:12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me —she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Genesis 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ’You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

Genesis 3:23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

Genesis 3:24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Thus, we see that paradise was initially located on the earth, in the garden of Eden. When man was expelled from it, access to it was barred by angelic beings, to prevent fallen man from getting back there in his sinful and corrupt state. Later, paradise was relocated from the earth to a region beneath the earth. At what point the relocation took place is not stated in the Scriptures. But it was relocated from the earth to a region under the earth, to house the souls of righteous men and women after death, pending the resurrection of their bodies. Until the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, paradise remained under the earth, just like hell, but with a wide gulf separating both regions. Apparently, people in both regions could see one another, but couldn’t cross over, because of the wide chasm separating them. While those in hell experience torment and anguish from the unquenchable fire that burns them without respite, souls in paradise are at peace and experience unimaginable bliss.

St. Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

St. Luke 16:20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores

St. Luke 16:21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

St. Luke 16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.

St. Luke 16:23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

St. Luke 16:24 So he called to him, ’Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

St. Luke 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

St. Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

St. Luke 16:27 “He answered, ’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,

St. Luke 16:28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

St. Luke 16:29 “Abraham replied, ’They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

St. Luke 16:30 “’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ’but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

St. Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ’If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

When Jesus died, while his body was in the grave, his soul went to paradise, to show himself to those righteous souls there, as their long awaited Messiah who had now appeared and paid the price for their sins, and thus secured their redemption. Upon Jesus’ resurrection, all those righteous souls in paradise also arose and showed themselves to people who were still alive on earth. And when Jesus ascended to heaven, forty days after his resurrection, he took along with him all the righteous souls in paradise and ascended with them to heaven. He thus relocated paradise from being co-located with hell under the earth, to a new location in the heavens. Now, paradise is located in heaven. Souls of righteous people who die now go to heaven, where paradise is located, while souls of the unrighteous still go to a region under the earth, where hell is located.

St. Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

St. Luke 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

St. Luke 23:41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

St. Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. “

St. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

St. Matthew 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

St. Matthew 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

St. Matthew 27:52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

St. Matthew 27:53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Ephesians 4:8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”

Ephesians 4:9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,

2 Corinthians 5:3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

Paradise is a glorious and beautiful place where no sin exists and where no sorrow is experienced. There is no crying and weeping there, and no sickness nor death. In paradise, the tree of life nourishes the saints of God, while they drink from the refreshing water of life. The streets of paradise are paved with gold, and the glory of the place is unimaginable. Believers have individual mansions in paradise, as our Lord Jesus told us in the Scriptures. Paul was taken to paradise in an out-of-body experience, and saw and heard things not fit for the human ear to hear, concerning the glory of the place. All Paul could say was that no man can imagine or fathom what God has prepared for the people that love him. The sight of paradise was so glorious that Paul couldn’t wait to die and leave this world in order to get there! It’s that glorious! It was the promise and glory of paradise that kept the saints of old going. It was the country promised to Abraham and his descendants, unto which they looked, and for which they counted life on earth as but dung. That same promise of life in paradise is offered to every believer and overcomer in Christ Jesus. We need to be faithful unto the end and to overcome so that we too will go to this indescribable place of glory!

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him (AKJV).

2 Corinthians 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know —God knows.

2 Corinthians 12:3 And I know that this man —whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows —

2 Corinthians 12:4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

Philippians 1:23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

Philippians 1:24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Philippians 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

Philippians 1:26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Hebrews 11:9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

Hebrews 11:12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

Hebrews 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

Hebrews 11:14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

Hebrews 11:15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also (AKJV).

Revelation 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

Revelation 22:2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

Revelation 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 22:6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

Revelation 2:7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God (AKJV).

Finally, paradise will ultimately be relocated back to earth, where it started, before sin came and disrupted everything. When the rebellion of sin is finally done away with and the wicked are judged and cast into the lake of fire, along with satan and all his rebellious angels, the earth will be renovated and paradise will be relocated from heaven back to earth. Not only will paradise be relocated to earth, God too will relocate his throne from heaven to earth, in order to dwell with his children! God will be with his children physically! We will see him physically and be with me him forever. Paradise then will have no need for the sun or the moon, for God and the Lamb will be its light. There will be no need for physical temples again, because we will see and worship God live! It will be an eternity of blissful living! The desire of all ages and the Utopia man has consistently dreamed of will be here at last! Finally, the meek will inherit the earth when paradise is brought back to the earth.

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

Revelation 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21:4 ’He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

Revelation 21:7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars —they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Psalms 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth (AKJV).

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (AKJV).

In conclusion, paradise, as the abode of the righteous, was the starting place for sinless man, and it will be his final destination. The original man lost paradise through sin, but thank God Christ’s atoning sacrifice at Calvary has purchased man’s redemption from the guilt and penalty of sin. Christ has thus restored paradise again for as many as would accept him as Lord and Saviour. Paradise should be the ultimate goal of any sane person, as the alternative to missing it is landing in hell and the lake of fire, a horrible place of sufferings and torment, where unquenchable fire burns the inhabitants without respite, for all eternity. In paradise, eternal life is restored, as well total abolition of all the effects of sin and the curse. The holy trinity will be physically present in paradise with the saints, and we will live happily for all eternity, without the devil, his angels and his human agents. We will go back to the very beginning before the fall, and without the chance of it ever happening again, because that old serpent, the tempter and deceiver, will be no more!

Thanks for visiting and for reading. God bless you!

Published by Dr. Ndubuisi Emmanuel Ojo

Dr Ojo is a Biblical scholar and teacher who believes firmly in the original Apostolic faith as the only authentic version of Christianity, and the only legitimate basis for Christian doctrine and conduct.

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