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Question:  Bob, Another question: 1Thes. 4:16 - And the dead in Christ will rise first. - Who are these? When we die don't we go to Heaven instantly? Is Paradise the same as heaven, or is this a "Holding" place until the Rapture? Anxiously awaiting your comments! God Bless  

Response: First, you will find detailed information on the resurrection in Peter lesson #20, and detailed information about the "rapture" in Peter lesson #27. Paradise is covered in detail in The Satanic Rebellion, part #1. Below is an overview that speaks to your questions, but the fine points are in the studies just mentioned. According to 1st Corinthians 15:23-24, The resurrection comes in three installments: 1) Christ, 2) those who are His at His coming (i.e., all believers who have died from Adam to the second advent, including those still alive at the second advent), 3) the end (all believers who have died since the second advent, including those still alive at the end of the Millennium). All who have died or will die before Christ's return are in heaven now and are in an interim state which includes a temporary body (2Cor.5:3 - in the Greek - most English versions translate this verse incorrectly; Rev.7:9-10), but which is not the ultimate resurrection body like the one our Lord now occupies (1Cor.15:42-44). 1Thes.4:16 refers to the second advent of Jesus Christ, following the great Tribulation (not to a pre-tribulation resurrection). At that time, believers who survive the tribulation will be resurrected alive and rise to meet our Lord at His return - but they will not precede the dead in Christ (all believers who have perished since Adam) who will be resurrected first. As to these dead in Christ, between their deaths and this next phase of the resurrection, they have (since Christ's ascension) been in heaven with the Lord. Yes, heaven is [a] paradise, but the next paradise and the ultimate paradise will be on earth (the millennial kingdom of Christ and the ultimate Kingdom of God respectively). Paradise beneath the earth was the holding place for the dead believers until Christ "led captivity captive" back to heaven with Himself when He ascended to the throne room of the Father following His victory at the cross (Eph.4:8-10).  For more information on these subjects, please see the following links:

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride (in Coming Tribulation part 5)

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

The Blessed Eternal State of the Saved (in CT 6)

The Nature of Life after Death

What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell?

What is "heaven" like according to Christian teachings?

The Transfer of Believers from Paradise to the Third Heaven,  in BB 4A

The Seven Edens (i.e., seven paradises), in SR 1

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.

Aspects of the Resurrection II

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.

Transmutation, Resuscitation, and Resurrection.

In anticipation of all these blessed things to come,

Yours in Christ,

Bob Luginbill


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