Q. I read that one remains in the grave until the rapture. If this is so why did Jesus say to the robber – today you will be with me in paradise. Is paradise another place? And when the poor man died he went to a place where Abraham was and they were talking and so on?
A. We think of the grave as a hole in the ground where our dead body is put. But in the Bible the word translated grave is the place where the spirits of the dead go.
Before Jesus died for our sins, even the spirits of people who believed in the Lord could not get into Heaven so they went to a place of comfort to await the Lord. This place was called Paradise, and was also known as Abraham’s bosom because it’s believed that Abraham was in charge of comforting them there.
After the Resurrection, Jesus took them all to heaven with Him and from then on the spirits of all believers have gone directly to heaven. They will receive new bodies at the Rapture. This is what the Bible means when it says the dead will rise.