Study of Revelation Lesson 28 Day 4
7. God’s promise of eternal life in paradise
This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we’re raised, we’re raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality! (Emphasis added)
But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own. (Emphasis added)
Headings for this passage in various translations, sum up its message:
- Eden Restored (NIV)
- The Perfect Life (AMP)
- The River of Life (ESV, NKJV, and others)
- The Source of Life (HCSB)
- More About the New Jerusalem (NLV)
- A Further Glimpse of the City (Phillips)
- The River of Life Flowing From The Throne of God (DLNT)
The saints who die before the new or renewed heaven and earth are in Paradise.
The five versions I checked, all use the word Paradise. I’m curious, so I decided to look for more scripture references and details.
This paradise that Jesus spoke of (in Luke 23:43) must have been the same place that Jesus called “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22) when He gave the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Ephesians 4:9 with Acts 2:25-31 make it very clear that Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth after His death, and John 20:17 shows that it was some time after His resurrection before Jesus ascended back to His Father. Therefore, this paradise was the “Abraham’s bosom” located in “Sheol” (Amplified Bible) in the lower parts of the earth (Matthew 12:40).
Paul later spoke of a man being caught up into paradise, and he used this word interchangeably with the term “the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2,4). Paradise is also spoken of as being in heaven in Revelation 2:7. It must be that when Jesus went to paradise that was then in the heart of the earth and led the godly captives out (Ephesians 4:8-9), He moved paradise to heaven with Him. Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary. (Emphasis added)
Luke 23:39-43 MSG
One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!”
But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”
He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.”
So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. (Emphasis added)
Philippians 1:23 AMP
But I am hard-pressed between the two. I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; (Emphasis added)
9. Sharing about eternal life
As exciting as this passage is to those of us who already believe, others are usually concerned about an “of this world” problem. The “sweet by and by” seems irrelevant unless they are terminally ill or have lost the will to live.
Many people believe there is some sort of life after death, but it’s often too vague and seems irrelevant at the moment. So telling them they need to think about it can be tricky.
Everyone needs to know Jesus loves them now where they are. He knows their challenges, their sorrows, their pain, and He loves them passionately. Offer to pray for their deepest concern. Ask God to meet them now. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will show to me what to say. God-given words testify to the love and power of God like nothing else.
I don’t know what to say or do to reach the people who are on my heart. I trust that as I pray, God will reach them through some means. He cares about their current and eternal destinies even more than I.
He may give them a dream, send someone who has their attention, put a book in their hands when they are bored, use something I unwittingly do or say, or any number of unique ways. Or He may give me an opportunity.
When He shows me what to say or do, I’m determined to obey even if it doesn’t make sense to me. I’m an introvert, so sometimes He has me send a card or letter, post something on social media, or start a blog.
I think of the way Jesus related to people while He was on earth. He met their current, pressing needs.
If they needed dinner, He fed them.
If they were sick, He healed them.
If they stopped breathing, He woke them up.
If they needed to know their life had value—
—He stopped others from throwing stones;
—He invited a former prostitute to a dinner party;
—He cuddled babies;
—He sent a woman to preach the first sermon announcing His resurrection.
Regardless of the method, the essential ingredient is love.
My answers—not THE answers—to study questions for BSF Revelation Lesson 28 Day 4
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