22.1 The Heavenly Jerusalem is paradise (1)

Series 22

Episode 1

Prologue

Brothers and sisters, today’s topic of Treasures for the Soul is “The Heavenly Jerusalem is paradise (1).” In Luke chapter 23, the Lord said to the criminal, “...today you will be with me in paradise.” This is the first mention of “paradise” in the Bible. It’s very fitting this was spoken by the Lord. People in the Old Testament time believed the Lord would come and redeem them from their sins; therefore, they offered sacrifices in order to be saved. It’s so precious that the Lord became a Man and died for us. Hebrews 9 says that He redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. The Lord also personally went to Hades, which was turned into “paradise” by His presence being there. What’s even more precious is that He has taken all the Old Testament saints up to heaven, greatly lifting them up.

Message

All the people in this world can be categorized as one of the two criminals from Luke 23—they are either the one who repents of his sins or the other who doesn’t. You cannot stand in the middle. The Lord, who was crucified between the two criminals, went through the impossible so that we can be forgiven.

Luke 23:39-43 reads, “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

Actually, both criminals had spoken against the Lord, but one of them had a change of heart. I feel so touched that through God’s mercy, this man’s eyes were opened. His change was incredible. He then believed that the Lord would be the King, and that His kingdom would come. What was the Lord’s response to this man when He was suffering the greatest agony? He did not say to him that he would go to Hades, but that he would be with Him in paradise. This is the first mention of “paradise” in the Bible. This word was never used in the Old Testament, yet it fits perfectly here.

I mentioned last week that the soldiers did not break Jesus’ legs because He was already dead. John 19 clearly states this to fulfill the Scripture – “Not one of his bones will be broken.” Instead, the soldiers pierced His side with a spear. We now understand that the Lord’s riven side is a scar of love showing we belong in His heart. When the soldiers reached the two criminals and saw they were still alive, they broke their legs. Hence, we believe that the Lord arrived at paradise first, followed by the repented criminal shortly after.

Upon the Lord’s arrival, Hades was no longer Hades, but for the very first time, it was called paradise! His presence indeed made all the difference!

The saints in the Old Testament were anticipating the coming Saviour. They offered sacrifices and were also saved. They trusted the prophecies written in the Bible, and desired for a better country. Now imagine their joy when Jesus went to Hades and changed it into paradise! I believe the whole place must have been shaken! The Son of God became a Man as the Bible foretold. Isaiah 9:6 reads, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…” Isaiah 53 was entirely fulfilled. The Lord personally went to Hades and proclaimed the great news of joy! He cried “It’s finished!” on the cross.

There was one issue yet to be resolved: people of the Old Testament time had not been perfected. Put simply in modern terms: the forgiveness they received was like the concept of paying by credit cards–no cash was withdrawn at the moment of spending. During their time, the Lord had not died to save them, but all the oxen and lambs they offered symbolized that the Lamb of God would come and die for them. Abel offered the firstborn of his flock, which involved the shedding of blood. Abraham also offered lambs. Throughout history, countless lambs were offered as sacrifices. Lambs are one of the whitest and most tame among all animals. The people in the past were able to enjoy the fruits of the cross in advance. However, they were not yet perfected because the problem of sins had not been dealt with.

Hebrews 9:11-15 reads, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

Here, it says that the Lord’s death has redeemed the people from their sins under the first covenant–this refers to the saints in the Old Testament. When the Lord went to paradise, they must have been so thrilled! The Lord had overcome Satan, sin and death! Can you imagine what precious words the Lord must have said to them when He arrived? Abraham had been looking forward to it for a long time, and how amazing that the Lord came to him! Abraham and the others would have been overjoyed to see the Lord! He might have talked to them about His victory of love on the cross, of how He overcame Satan, sin, and death, and that He would soon be ascending to heaven. Actually, the Lord’s presence alone would bring so much joy. And their level of joy must have increased! Therefore, it’s fitting for the Lord to call the place “paradise” because He would be there. The first mention of “paradise” was from Him. He went there, and He would also take them up, and they would be uplifted even more! 

Series 22

When Believers Die, They Will Go to the Heavenly Jerusalem

Message Date: 2020-04-03

This message assures us that the spirits of believers who have passed away are now in the heavenly Jerusalem. The Old Testament does not mention that believers will go to paradise. Instead, both believers and non-believers would go to Sheol after they die. Luke 16 tells us that there are two parts in Hades, separated by a great chasm. When non-believers go to Hades, they suffer great agony. On the contrary, believers in Hades will not feel lonely, but would be joyful. The Bible says clearly that when the Lord died, He went to Hades. However, He did not stay there; He resurrected and ascended to heaven. It is so precious that during His crucifixion, the Lord said to the criminal next to Him, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” The Lord Himself went to Hades, and it was then called paradise. How joyous it must have been when the Lord met that criminal and the saints from the Old Testament time! Although the Bible does not explicitly say that when the Lord ascended to heaven, He also brought along the spirits of those believers in Hades to the heavenly Jerusalem, but the Bible says “When He ascended on high, He led a host of captives.” (Ephesians 4:8a) Those saints of the Old Testament time used to be captives of sin, and were once captured as we were. However, because of the Lord’s salvation, we have all become the Lord’s captives. Therefore, it makes sense to believe that when the Lord ascended on high, He also brought them up to heaven together with Him. Moreover, multiple Bible passages tell us that nowadays, when believers pass away, they will for sure go to the heavenly Jerusalem. When Paul mentioned his experience in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, he mentioned the third heaven, which is paradise. Revelation 2:7 talks about the fruit of the tree of life in the paradise of God; clearly this paradise refers to the heavenly Jerusalem. Paul also said that to be with Christ is far better. Now that Christ is ascended to heaven, preparing a dwelling place for us, we can be certain that when believers pass away, they must go to the heavenly Jerusalem. Hebrews chapter 12 says that we come before God, that is, to the heavenly Jerusalem, in which are many glorious people, things and matters, including the spirits of the righteous made perfect, who are the saints of the Old Testament. The word paradise means the king’s garden. The heavenly Jerusalem must be more magnificent than the Garden of Eden recorded in Genesis. It is designed and built by God. In New Jerusalem, it is beautiful everywhere, full of God’s presence. Everyone in this city will be full of love towards one another, living joyfully together till eternity . Episode 1 The heavenly Jerusalem is paradise (1) Episode 2 The heavenly Jerusalem is paradise (2) Episode 3 The spirits of the righteous made perfect
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22.1 The Heavenly Jerusalem is paradise (1)

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22.2 The Heavenly Jerusalem is paradise (2)

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22.3 The Spirits of the Righteous Made Perfect

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Introduction

01 Introduction of Treasures for the Soul

Series 1: Being Heart to Heart with the Lord

1.1 The Most Blessed Generation
1.2 Message from John the Baptist
1.3 Abide in the Lord Always
1.4 Abide in the Lord’s Love at All Times
1.5 The Lord Speaks to Us and Helps Us in Our Hearts

Series 2: Being Heart to Heart with the Lord Throughout this Year

2.1 God’s Greatest Work Starts in Our Hearts
2.2 To Be Heart to Heart with the Lord Throughout the Year
2.3 Our Spirits can Feel God and Have Fellowship with Him
2.4 The Importance of Peace
2.5 Our Spirits Need the Words of God
2.6 Give the Lord Time and Space to Speak in Our Hearts

Series 3: Let Our Hearts be Influenced

3.1 The World Needs People Who Deeply Experience God
3.2 Just as His Anointing 
Has Taught You, 
Abide in the Lord
3.3 Be Influenced 
by the Lord Throughout 
this Year

Series 4: The Importance of Peace

4.1 Enjoying God’s Peace in Your heart
4.2 Let Not Your Hearts be Troubled, Neither Let Them be Afraid.
4.3 How Should Our Spirit Respond to the Lord?

Series 5: Our Spirit Being Able to Enjoy the Lord

5.1 Our Spirit is Satisfied Only When We Worship God and Deeply Experience Him
5.2 How to Worship God with Our Spirit
5.3 Looking at the Lord with our Inner Eyes
5.4 Our Spirit Needs to Enjoy the Lord Himself
5.5 The Song of Solomon Often Mentions About “Eyes”
5.6 Realize Being Heart to Heart with the Lord in Singing and Worship

Series 6: Live out the Life of being Heart to Heart with the Lord

6.1 Living a life of union with the Lord in a stable pattern every day
6.2 Enjoying the Lord and not being disturbed
6.3 The Importance of Seeing Him with Our Spiritual Eyes

Series 7

7.1 Learn to Protect Our Spirits From Virus Prevention
7.2 Our Spirit Can Hear, Think, and See
7.3 How to Live a Life of Faith
7.4 The Importance of the Mind
7.5 David’s Eyes Beheld the Lord Always

Series 8: During the last supper, the Lord spoke about the essence of the blessings of the new covenant.

8.1 The Lord established with us the eternal love covenant by His blood
8.2 The Lord Treasures the New Covenant and Break-Bread Meeting the Most
8.3 Love Encounters
8.4 Before His Crucifixion, the Lord clearly explained the essence of the blessings of the new covenant: the fourth blessing
8.5 Before His Crucifixion, the Lord clearly explained the essence of the blessings of the new covenant: the first blessing (1)
8.6 Before His Crucifixion, the Lord clearly explained the essence of the blessings of the new covenant: the first blessing (2)

Series 16: We Have Come to Mount Zion and the Heavenly Jerusalem

16.1 See that the Lord is at the right hand of the Father
16.2 Coming to Mount Zion (1): the meaning of Mount Sinai
16.3 Coming to Mount Zion (2): the difficulty in forgiveness of sins
16.4 Coming to Mount Zion (3): to Live in Grace
16.5 Having Come to the Heavenly Jerusalem
16.6 What is in the heavenly Jerusalem (1)?

Series 9: Being Heart to Heart with the Father

9.1 Being Heart to Heart with Abba (Part 1)
9.2 Being Heart to Heart with Abba (Part 2)

Series 10

10.1 The Love Desire in the Depths of Abba and the Lord’s hearts
10.2 Fruit of the Lord’s Crucifixion: Eternal Life
10.3 The Lord Came to Manifest the Father’s Name
10.4 The Father Sent His Only Begotten Son
10.5 Reminders on enjoying heart to heart with the Father
10.6 The Father’s Desire for Me is Forever Steadfast

Series 11

11.1 The preciousness of the Letter to Philemon
11.2 The most profitable; the most accepted.
11.3 Charge That to My Account
11.4 The Father made the Lord our eternal High Priest by an oath (1)
11.5 The Father made the Lord our eternal High Priest by an oath (2)
11.6 We are the Lord’s darling love

Series 12

12.1 The Lord’s Words at the Last Supper
12.2 Apart from the Lord, we can do nothing.
12.3 What is true faith?
12.4 Look upon the Lord in glory
11.5 Trust and Peace (1)
12.6 Trust and Peace (2)

Series 13: The Lord’s Gentleness and Humility

13.3 The Lord’s Gentleness and Humility (Part 2)

Series 14: Manifold evidence

14.1 How does the infinite Lord see us?
14.2 We are the ultimate and final love of the Lord
14.3 The Lord is forever a Man; He once died for us
14.4 The Lord’s manifold love evidence (Part 1)
14.5 The Lord’s manifold love evidence Part 2

Series 15: Understand How Our Spirit Works And Be Heart To Heart With The Lord Continuously

15.1 We Can Only Enjoy God By Faith
15.2 His Words Abide In Us
15.3 Live With The Lord
15.4 Seek The Things That Are Above
15.5 Understand How Our Spirit Works: Will, Mind And Feelings
15.6 Guard And Uplift Our Mind

Series 17: Know that the Church is the Firstborn

17.1 Know that the church is the firstborn
17.2 The Blessing of the Firstborn (Part 1)
17.3 The Blessing of the Firstborn (Part 2)
17.4 The Lord redeemed us to be the firstborn (Part 1)
17.5 The Lord redeemed us to be the firstborn (Part 2)

Series 18: The Blessings to be the First Born

18.1 Israel is God’s Firstborn Son (Part 1)
18.2 Israel is God’s Firstborn Son (Part 2)
18.3 To be united with the Lord and become the Firstborn
18.4 The Lord is the Firstborn
18.5 The Blessing of the Firstborn: Kingship
18.6 The Blessing of the Firstborn: a Double Portion of the Blessings

Series 19: Coming to Mount Zion to Appear Before God

19.1 The Lord is the way, and the truth, and the life
19.2 Live in Grace. Enjoy the Father and the Lord
19.3 Mind the things that are above (1)
19.4 Mind the things that are above (2)
19.5 Appear before God in Mount Zion

Series 20: The final destination of our spirit and eternity is the heavenly Jerusalem

20.1 The Lord Desires Most for Us to Draw Near to Him (1)
20.2 The Lord Desires Most for Us to Draw Near to Him (2)
20.3 The Lord Becomes the Way so that We can Come Before God with Confidence
20.4 The Heavenly Jerusalem, Destination of Our Spirits and Eternity (1)
20.5 The Heavenly Jerusalem, Destination of Our Spirits and Eternity (2)

Series 21: Live Out the Life of the Firstborn: Be A Priest

21.1 The Father made the Lord the High Priest
21.2 Priesthood: One of the Blessings of the Firstborn
21.4 The Precedents of Priests in the Bible (2)

Series 22: When Believers Die, They Will Go to the Heavenly Jerusalem

22.1 The Heavenly Jerusalem is paradise (1)
The Heavenly Jerusalem is paradise (2)
The Spirits of the Righteous Made Perfect

Series 23: New Jerusalem is a real city

God has prepared a heavenly home for us
Is the heavenly new Jerusalem a real city?