43And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” [simple_tooltip content=’39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”’](Luke 23:39-43)[/simple_tooltip]


Paradise was also called “Abraham’s bosom,” which He mentioned in the story of the rich man and Lazarus [simple_tooltip content=’So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.’](Luke 16:22)[/simple_tooltip]. After His death, Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth [simple_tooltip content=’Now this, “He ascended” — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?’](Eph. 4:9)[/simple_tooltip], and [simple_tooltip content=’Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”’]John 20:17[/simple_tooltip] shows that it was some time after His resurrection before Jesus ascended to His Father. Therefore, Paradise was “Abraham’s bosom,” located in sheol in the lower parts of the earth.

The phrase “led captivity captive” from [simple_tooltip content=’Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”’]Ephesians 4:8[/simple_tooltip], refers to Jesus liberating the Old Testament saints from a part of hell called sheol in Hebrew. It is this Hebrew word that is translated hell in [simple_tooltip content=’For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’]Psalm 16:10[/simple_tooltip], which prophesies Jesus saying, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” [simple_tooltip content=’27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,’](Acts 2:27-30)[/simple_tooltip].

The ungodly dead also went to Sheol, or hell, but Jesus taught in [simple_tooltip content=’19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.

20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,

21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.

23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then 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.’

25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,

28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’

29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’

30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”’]Luke 16:19-31[/simple_tooltip] that there was a great gulf fixed between the godly and the ungodly. Those in the torment of hell envied those who were enjoying the blessings of the Lord in Abraham’s bosom or Paradise.

Even though these Old Testament saints were blessed, they were not able to enter into the presence of the Lord because the atonement of Jesus Christ had not been completed. In that sense, they were captives. When Jesus died, He descended into sheol and took the captives captive. He took them to heaven, into the very presence of God, and vacated Paradise. After that, all that remained was the torment of hell.

The thief next to Jesus, when they were being crucified, asked Jesus to remember him, and Jesus assured him they would meet shortly in Paradise. Today, whether you are raptured to meet Jesus in the air or simply pass from your body in old age, you have nothing but heaven to look forward to also.