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SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 171B
May 11, 2004
Two Different Places – Paradise & Abraham’s Bosom
There are a lot of different ideas concerning Paradise and Abraham’s Bosom! I recently had a young man, on our E-mail prophecy update notification list present me a question about the soul’s “middle life” position, held by the late Dr. J.R. Graves, which involves Abraham’s Bosom in the Gospel written by Luke. I want to avoid having to address the same subject repeatedly to other individuals. So I will offer my opinion in brief form, concerning Abraham’s Bosom and Paradise, on this Update. I have listened to many different viewpoints on this subject, and we may never really understand it until we stand before either Christ’s judgment seat for the saved in II Corinthians 5:10, or the judgment seat for all the lost in Revelation 20:13 to 15.
II Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Revelation 20:13-15 – And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Luke 23:42,43 – And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise (PARADEISOS).
I have always taught a simplistic location for the word PARADEISOS, which is translated as Paradise in the New Testament. It is wherever the Godhead decides to locate, and it is now what some call the third heaven.
I have always taught that Abraham’s Bosom was found as a vast cavern in the upper mantle of the earth, and that the saved Old Testament souls were kept there until Christ actually shed the promised blood that freed them from the condemnation of God.
What I believe on the subject of Abraham’s Bosom and Paradise is basically contained in the time period from Christ’s death on the cross until he appeared to the two disciples, walking on the Emmaus Road, following his resurrection.
Event 1 – The man Christ Jesus dies and his Spirit, the Spirit of the eternal Son of God, leaves his dead body to begin a spiritual journey that ends at the resurrection of the man Christ Jesus, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.
John 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Luke 23:45,46 – And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Event 2 – His Spirit proceeds to Abraham’s bosom, where the souls of most of the O.T. saints have been kept from Adam up to, and including, the thief on the cross. He proclaims the Gospel, which is the good news they have been set free from Abraham’s Bosom by this sacrifice, and that he, as the Messiah of Genesis 3:15, is going to carry them with him to Paradise because of their belief in that promise.
Luke 16:22-24 – And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
I believe that Abraham’s Bosom was a wonderful place of comfort under upper strata of the earth, where the souls of all the O.T. believers were kept until the actual blood sacrifice of Christ was shed to cover all their sins, but Christ himself descended down into their place of comfort, and took them into God’s presence in Paradise because his blood sacrifice had made the full atonement for what all the animal sacrifices only pictured.
Hebrews 9:11,12 – But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Romans 3:23-25 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of SINS that ARE PAST, through the FORBEARANCE of God;
Hebrews 10:11-14 – And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Event 3 – The Son justly removes the souls of the O.T. saved from Abraham’s Bosom, and JUSTLY carries all their souls into the heavenly Paradise of God. There, just as the law pictured it, the Son waves them before the Father as representing the first fruits of the harvest from Abraham’s Bosom, and God receives them. The sheaf waving was to be made on the Sunday following the Passover Sabbath, and a he lamb without blemish, of the first year, was to be offered at that time.
Romans 3:26 – To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
I Peter 3:18-20 – For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Ephesians 4:8-10 – Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Leviticus 23:9-12 – And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:  And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord.
Event 4 – After carrying the thief and all the Old Testaments saints to Paradise by his Spirit, his Spirit then returns to the tomb to resurrect the physical body he occupied until its death on the cross.
John 10:17,18 – Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Philippians 2:6-11 – Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Colossians 2:9 – For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
After his resurrection from the tomb in his glorified body, he is first seen by Mary Magdalene, at which time he made the following request.
John 20:17 – Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am NOT YET ASCENDED to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God.
He did not want to be touched by sinful human flesh until after he had ascended into the presence of his Father. It is also at this time that many souls of the O.T. saints are seen in Jerusalem, possibly in glorified bodies.
Matthew 27:53 – And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Event 5 – He ascends to heaven and then returns to the earth to make numerous appearances, beginning on the famous Emmaus Road with two disciples, and finally ending when he was taken up through a cloud into Paradise.
Acts 1:9-12 – And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.  Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
I believe that Abraham’s Bosom has been empty ever since Christ cleared it out, and I believe that the souls of those who were saved after his resurrection have gone directly to Paradise solely on the basis of his completed sacrificial work as the Messiah. I believe those souls in Paradise are anxiously awaiting the time when their old bodies will be resurrected and changed, at which time they will be returning to occupy them.
Revelation 6:9-11 – And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar THE SOULS of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.