Q. Since I discovered your web site on Internet It’s been really a blessing for my soul and spirit. I know God our Lord Jesus is guiding you and I thank Him for doing so. I pray that He will always use you as He’s doing it today.
I had a talk with a friend. I know he has some knowledge about Scriptures, but sometime I feel he’s a little awkward of what he understand from the Word. He Just recently asked me if I knew where Lazarus was at the time Jesus came to resurrect him. I told him that from what I have read in Scriptures, He was supposed to be in Paradise (sheol), which was the place for saints to go after they departed. Well, He told me Lazarus wasn’t there but I felt he was telling me that not just Lazarus but all saints. He said that Jesus didn’t mention anything about paradise, he said that what Jesus said was that Lazarus was asleep. In other words I feel He was trying to tell me that Lazarus wasn’t dead, that he might be in another state of mind. Would you please shed any light on this passages?
A. For the record, Jesus did mention Paradise in Luke 16:22, where He called it by its Hebrew name (Abraham’s bosom) and Luke 23:43 where he told the man being crucified beside Him that they would go there together.
In John 11:11 Jesus used the word sleep as a euphemism for death just like Paul did in 1 Cor. 15:51. You can confirm this by reading John 11:14
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.”
In the story of the rich man and a different Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) Jesus gave the clearest description of Sheol, the abode of the dead, and differentiated the resting place of the believing dead from the place of torment for unbelievers. These two divisions were often referred to as Paradise and Torments because of their different environments.
The Bible never speaks of a third alternative before the cross. People were either alive on Earth or dead in Sheol. Since the cross believers who die go straight to be with the Lord. (Phil. 1:23-24)