A preacher once told me, when you’re trying to show how crooked a stick is, just find a straight stick and lay it beside the crooked one. I haven’t followed that wise advice always. I’ve often, for example, contradicted Kim Jong Il, who claims that his version of Korea is a Paradise. Communist propaganda has shared that imagery often through its history. The worker’s Paradise.
Have you ever chuckled when you realize that these founders of atheistic states use Biblical imagery to describe their strange concoctions?
Today I lay before you and Mr. Kim and the workers of the world the straight stick. The real thing. The Bible’s description of Paradise. Those who are averse to Biblical literalism will have trouble with this. But I believe in a literal God who sent a literal Saviour into a literal world to save literal mankind from its literal sins. A literal reward is in store for them, totally out of this world Mansions for sale in Miami.
The presence of the tree of life in the middle of the garden called Eden in Genesis 2:9, ties Eden to the place that John calls Paradise (Hebrew, Pardace, “forest, orchard” ) in Revelation 2:7, where the tree surfaces again.So anything that can be said of Eden can be said of Paradise. Not only that, but the descending city of God called the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 and 22 likewise contains that tree. That’s three names for the same incredible capital of the New World. The Bible actually speaks much of this place, enough to make us desire it with all our heart if we are His.
The original man and woman were placed in a simple garden. But they encouraged an unwelcome guest there, and defiled the entire place. God could not allow them to partake of eternal life in their sinful condition. They were cast out.
Paradise was then hidden from man’s view by angel guards who to this day do not allow any unauthorized persons to enter. Can a garden be uprooted and taken into the sky, or was this place somehow disconnected from the mainland to begin with? That seems to be the greatest mystery, one which we will thoroughly understand when we need to.
Meanwhile, Jesus says that in His Father’s house are many dwelling places (John 14) and that He has gone to prepare a place for us. We assume he has been building this city, house by house, over the years until now it is a luscious place that combines the finest architectural styles of heavenly beings with the natural wonders of the original “park” (the oriental meaning of Paradise ).
Did Jesus really believe in a place called Paradise? Oh yes. He would not have lied in His dying breath – or any breath. He promised his cross-fellow that on that very day, after the pain, after the shame, they would be together in Paradise (Luke 23:43).
Other famous house guests include the apostle Paul, II Corinthians 12:4, who became a believer in a literal Paradise one day when he was suddenly whisked up to the place himself. His fleshly pride would not have been able to bear the talking about such splendors that he saw, if he had not been given from then on a grievous thorn of reminder, 12:7.
Oh it’s real. It’s coming. Just as we have always heard. Jesus promised it to all just as He promised it to the thief, in Revelation 2:7, ” To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.”
Pray for North Korean believers today. Pray that they will overcome the Satanic torment that follows them into concentration camps and hunger and loss. Pray for Western Christians too, that they will overcome riches and comfort and lukewarmness.