Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Paradise–a place of extreme Beauty, Delight, or Happiness



2 Corinthians 12:2-4

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.


What is Paradise?

Paradise is a term used for a Persian Garden.  The Greek translation of the Bible called the Septuagint calls the Garden of Eden paradise.  Paul says someone experienced paradise in an “out of body” experience in 2 Corinthians 12.  I believe that someone was Paul.   The thief on the cross that died trusting in the Lord was taken with the Lord to paradise.  The overcomers or true believers in the Ephesian church are going to have access to the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God (Revelation 2:7).  While each of these letters in Revelation 2 and 3 seemed to be addressed to a specific church that existed in that day, each message is to those who will hear in all of the churches.  So paradise seems to be the eternal state of the believer.  And that is something to anticipate with joy.


Where is Paradise?

Paradise was in the Garden of Eden.  That was a beautiful garden that had not been spoiled by sin.  But paradise for the thief on the cross, for Paul and for the remnant of true believers in the churches of Revelation 2 and 3 seem to be in different places.  While theologians might argue about whether paradise for the thief on the cross is exactly the same place as paradise for Paul in his out of body experience, it is obvious that paradise is a beautiful place that has been prepared for the those who have turned from the sin of unbelief and have trusted in this One who has been willing to bear the punishment that we deserve because of our sin.  The final dwelling place of the believer is obviously a paradise in the sense that it will be a place of extreme beauty, delight and happiness.  I suppose that the Father’s house in John 14 must be in the center of this garden.  I think that the real attraction of that Garden will be the Lord Himself.  The Lord had unhindered communion with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before sin entered into the picture.  Because of the cross, there will be unhindered communion with the Lord in the final abode of the believer called paradise. 


If Only We Could See!

In our day, people who claim to have visions and revelations are generally considered to be mentally unstable.  Many of them are.  People who have written about “out of body” experiences have in many cases had beautiful things to report while “dead” and yet by their own testimony, they died “the first time” as unbelievers.  These stories are not to be believed since they do not agree with the Biblical truth that only those who are saved, born again, and converted will see paradise.  The rest have the wrath of God abiding on them according to John 3:36.  Satan is a great deceiver and he is doing his best to keep mankind deceived. 


However, there are people that I know who have had the veil between the physical world and the spirit world drawn aside, and like Paul, they have seen things that they couldn’t properly express.  In addition, there are records of this veil being drawn aside in the Bible. Just like today, the experiences weren’t common, but those that occurred were very real.


Jacob saw a ladder ascending to heaven in Genesis 28:12.  Elisha and his servant saw the chariots of fire protecting Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6:17.  In Isaiah 6, Isaiah saw the Lord in heaven on his throne with the angels ministering to Him.  Peter, James and John had the veil pulled aside when they saw the Lord talking to Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.  And then there is the experience that the Apostle Paul recounts of a man in 2 Corinthians 12.  That man seems to have been Paul.  I personally believe that Paul had this experience when he was stoned and left for dead at Lystra in Acts 14:19.  After being dragged out of the city, he got up and went back into the city. 


The Future is Glorious for the Believer

I don’t expect to see paradise until I am there eternally.  I don’t expect to have the experience of Paul.   But I do expect to see paradise.  It will be beautiful and the Lord will be the attraction there.  We may get to talk to Moses and Elijah and Paul if we are willing to stand in a long line.  We will also be reunited with loved ones who were “overcomers” or true believers. 


I am quite happy to stay here, but I am excited about seeing the other side as well.  I hope all of my friends and loved ones will be reunited with me in paradise.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of August 2, 2015

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