Paradise - The Warrior's Journey®

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“‘Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” (Luke 23:42-43) 

Few biblical accounts have brought such comfort to the hearts of sinners than the salvation of the dying thief. This man had absolutely nothing to offer Jesus but his sins. He could make no promises to live a better life nor pledge to redeem himself if Christ forgave him. All he could do was admit his guilt and put what feeble faith he had in Christ’s mercy. And Christ forgave and saved him. Countless millions have since seen his example of God’s grace and likewise put their faith in Jesus.   

But what is Paradise? Does it equate to heaven? Most certainly. In fact, it is the oldest image of heaven we have in the Bible. The Greek word for Paradise is paradeisos, and it occurs only three times in the NT. The first is here in Luke. But it also occurs in Paul’s reference to being “caught up to Paradise” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4), which he seems to equate with “the third heaven” (i.e. the heaven beyond the sky and space). Jesus also refers to “the Paradise of God” in which is the tree of life (Revelation 2:7).   

But in the Greek translation of the OT (i.e. the Septuagint), paradeisos occurs 47 times. And in every occurrence it is only used for the Garden of Eden/of God (Genesis 2:8, 9, 10, 15, 16; 3:1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 23, 24; 13:10; etc.). Paradeisos originates from ancient Persian and was used to describe the fabulous nature parks developed for the Kings of Persia. These parks featured flowing rivers, flowering plants and trees, and abundant wildlife. They resembled our National Parks more than any “garden.”   

Thus paradeisos perfectly described the Garden that God planted on earth as a habitation for both Himself and man to dwell together.  Paradise or the Garden of Eden was a piece of heaven on earth. That it served primarily as God’s dwelling place can be seen from its images being incorporated in the Holy of Holies of both the Tabernacle and Temple. In both of these structures there were images of palm trees, gourds, and open flowers – along with cherubim – on the walls and doors (e.g. 1 Kings 6:18, 29, 32, 35). All these images come from the original Garden of Eden. 

And Paradise also describes the beautiful garden that God has prepared for Himself and redeemed humanity as an eternal habitation. Christ forever opened up the door to Paradise through His atoning death on the cross. And who became its first two inhabitants? None other than Jesus Christ and redeemed thief who died with Him. 


  • Do you feel completely unworthy of eternal life in Paradise with Jesus Christ? 
  • Wasn’t the dying thief equally unworthy? Yet he entered Paradise with Jesus?   
  • Don’t look at your own failures, sins, and unworthiness. Look to Jesus and call out to Him as did the thief on the cross. He’ll open the doors of Paradise to you. 

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