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SALVATION QUESTION 43
It would seem that they are the same place. When Jesus and the thief died that day their souls went down into the heart of the earth in a place called "hell or hades."
This is clear from Acts 2:31. "His soul was not left in "hades." Up to this time all those who were saved went down there in the part where Abraham was. David speaks of this in Psalms 16:10, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol or hades)..." It was not possible for them to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord," 2 Corinthians 5:8, because the Lord Jesus had not yet open that "new and living way" in heaven. (Hebrews 10:20)
They were only "present with the Lord" in the sense that His Presence was in "sheol" also. (Psalms 139:8) Though they were there in Abraham's bosom comforted, they were in a state of captivity because they were not yet perfected. (Hebrews 11:40) Paradise, where Jesus and the thief went on that day was down into "hades" in Abraham's bosom. This is clear because that is where our Lord went for three days. (Acts 2:31) When He ascended on high, (Ephesians 4:8) He took Paradise and the occupants to heaven with Him. Hence, Paul was caught up into the third heaven and Paradise. (2 Corinthians 12:1-4.) Those imperfect saints of "hades" are now seen in heaven as "the spirits of just men made perfect." (Hebrews 12:24) Now only those who have repented of their sins and trusted Jesus as their personal Saviour will go there when they leave this scene.
What about you dear readers? Are you saved? Do you know that your sins are forgiven? Trust Him today.
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated March 1st, 2014 by Sandra Felix