God’s Word Is Alive
The Promise of Paradise
JESUS is telling the dying man next to him: “You will be with me in Paradise.” Both these men next to Jesus are criminals. One of them has just finished throwing insults at him: ‘You are the Christ, aren’t you? Save yourself and us.’
However, the other criminal believes Jesus. He turns to him, as you can see here, and says: “Remember me when you get into your kingdom.” At that Jesus promises: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:39-43.
But what does Jesus mean when he says: “You will be with me in Paradise”? Where is Paradise? When will it come? Will this criminal live there with Jesus? And why will Jesus permit a criminal to live in Paradise?
Well, where was the paradise God made at the beginning? It was on earth, wasn’t it? Jehovah God put the first human pair, Adam and Eve, in the beautiful paradise called the garden of Eden. So when we read of this criminal in “Paradise,” we should picture in our minds this earth made into a beautiful place in which to live, for the word “paradise” means “garden” or “park.”—Gen. 2:8, 9.
Will Jesus Christ be right here on earth with the former criminal in Paradise? No, Christ will be in heaven ruling as king over the earthly Paradise. So he will be with that man in the sense that He will raise him from the dead and care for his needs, both physical and spiritual. But why will Jesus permit a man who was a criminal to live in Paradise?
It is true that this criminal, along with millions of other persons whom Jesus will resurrect, did wicked things. (Acts 24:15) But they did these wicked things because they were ignorant of God’s will. So in Paradise they will be taught what God’s will is, and they will have the opportunity to prove that they really do love God by doing his will. Won’t it be wonderful to live in Paradise where all your needs are cared for and people love one another?
The good news is that we don’t have much longer to wait until that time. Jesus gave a sign that would mark the end of this wicked system of things. When this sign is completely fulfilled, God will rid the earth of all badness. That this sign is now being fulfilled, and that the end of this system of things is very near, is proved by evidence you will read in the following articles.