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Dictionaries :: Paradise

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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Paradise:

a Persian word (pardes), properly meaning a "pleasure-ground" or "park" or "king's garden." (See EDEN.) It came in course of time to be used as a name for the world of happiness and rest hereafter (Luk 23:43; 2Cr 12:4; Rev 2:7). For "garden" in Gen 2:8 the LXX. has "paradise."

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Paradise:

par'-a-dis (pardec; paradeisos):

1. Origin and Meaning:

A word probably of Persian origin meaning a royal park. See GARDEN. The word occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures but 3 times: So 4:13, where it is translated "an orchard"; Ne 2:8, where it is translated "a forest" (the Revised Version margin "park"); Ec 2:5, where it is in the plural number (the King James Version "orchards," the Revised Version (British and American) "parks"). But it was early introduced into the Greek language, being made specially familiar by Xenophon upon his return from the expedition of Cyrus the Younger to Babylonia (see Anab. i.2, section 7; 4, section 9; Cyrop. i.3, section 14). In Septuagint the word is of frequent use in translating other terms of kindred significance. The Garden of Eden became "the paradise of pleasure or luxury" (Ge 2:15; 3:23; Joe 2:3). The valley of the Jordan became ‘the paradise of God' (Ge 13:10). In Eze 31:8,9, according to Septuagint, there is no tree in the ‘paradise of God' equal to that which in the prophet's vision symbolizes the glory of Assyria. The figures in the first 9 verses of this chapter may well have been suggested by what the prophet had himself seen of parks in the Persian empire.

2. Use in Jewish Literatare:

In the apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature the word is extensively used in a spiritual and symbolia sense, signalizing the place of happiness to be inherited by the righteous in contrast to Gehenna, the place of punishment to which the wicked were to be assigned. In the later Jewish literature "Sheol" is represented as a place where preliminary rewards and punishments are bestowed previous to the final judgment (see APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE; ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; and compare 2 Esdras 2:19; 8:52). But the representations in this literature are often vague and conflicting, some holding that there were 4 divisions in Sheol, one for those who were martyred for righteousness' sake, one for sinners who on earth had paid the penalty for their sins, one for the just who had not suffered martyrdom, and one for sinners who had not been punished on earth (En 102:15). But among the Alexandrian Jews the view prevailed that the separation of the righteous from the wicked took place immediately after death (see The Wisdom of Solomon 3:14; 4:10; 5:5,17; Josephus, Ant, XVIII, i, 3; B J, II, viii, 14). This would seem to be the idea underlying the use of the word in the New Testament where it occurs only 3 times, and then in a sense remarkably free from sensuous suggestions.

3. Used by Christ:

Christ uses the word but once (Lu 23:43), when He said to the penitent thief, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise" (see ABRAHAM'S BOSOM (compare HADES)). This was no time to choose words with dialectical precision. The consolation needed by the penitent thief suffering from thirst and agony and shame was such as was symbolized by the popular conception of paradise, which, as held by the Essenes, consisted of "habitations beyond the ocean, in a region that is neither oppressed with storms of rain, or snow, or with intense heat, but that this place is such as is refreshed by the gentle breathin of a west wind, that is perpetually blowing from the ocean" (Josephus, BJ, II, viii, 11).

See ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

4. Other Forms and Uses:

Nowhere in His public teaching did Christ use the word "Paradise." He does indeed, when speaking in parables, employ the figure of the marriage supper, and of new wine, and elsewhere of Abraham's bosom, and of houses not made by hands, eternal in the heavens; but all these references are in striking contrast to the prevailing sensuous representations of the times (see 2 Esdras 2:19; 8:52), and such as have been introduced into Mohammedan literature. Likewise Paul (2Co 12:4) speaks of having been "caught up into Paradise" where he "heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." See ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. But in 2Co 12:2 this is referred to more vaguely as "the third heaven." In Re 2:7 it is said to the members of the church at Ephesus who should overcome, "I (will) give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God," where the Eden of Ge 2:8 is made the symbol of the abode of the righteous, more fully described without the words in the last chapter of the book. The reticence of the sacred writers respecting this subject is in striking contrast to the profuseness and crudity both of rabbinical writers before Christ and of apocryphal writers and Christian commentators at a later time. "Where the true Gospels are most reticent, the mythical are most exuberant" (Perowne). This is especially noticeable in the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Acta Philippi, the writings of Tertullian (De Idol. c. 13; De Anim. c. 55; Tertullian's treatise De Paradiso is lost), Clement of Alexandria (Frag. 51), and John of Damascus (De Orthod. Fid., ii, 11). In modern literature the conception of Paradise is effectually sublimated and spiritualized in Faber's familiar hymn:

"O Paradise, O Paradise,

I greatly long to see

The special place my dearest Lord

Is destining for me;

Where loyal hearts and true

Stand ever in the light,

All rapture thro' and thro',

In God's most holy sight."

LITERATURE.

The articles in the great Dicts., especially Herzog, RE; HDB; Alger, Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life; Schodde, Book of Enoch; Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. on Lu 23:43; Salmond, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality, 346 ff. For a good account of Jewish and patristic speculation on Paradise, see Professor Plumptre's article in Smith's D.B, II, 704 ff.

Written by George Frederick Wright

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g3857 Greek: paradeisos

Paradise:

is an Oriental word, first used by the historian Xenophon, denoting "the parks of Persian kings and nobles." It is of Persian origin (Old Pers. pairidaeza, akin to Gk. peri, "around," and teichos, "a wall") whence it passed into Greek. See the Sept., e.g., in Neh 2:8; Ecc 2:5; Sgs 4:13. The Sept. translators used it of the garden of Eden, Gen 2:8, and in other respects, e.g., Num 24:6; Isa 1:30; Jer 29:5; Eze 31:8, 9.

In Luk 23:43, the promise of the Lord to the repentant robber was fulfilled the same day; Christ, at His death, having committed His spirit to the Father, went in spirit immediately into Heaven itself, the dwelling place of God (the Lord's mention of the place as "paradise" must have been a great comfort to the malefactor; to the oriental mind it expressed the sum total of blessedness). Thither the Apostle Paul was caught up, 2Cr 12:4, spoken of as "the third heaven" (ver. 3 does not introduce a different vision), beyond the heavens of the natural creation (see Hbr 4:14, RV, with reference to the Ascension). The same region is mentioned in Rev 2:7, where the "tree of life," the figurative antitype of that in Eden, held out to the overcomer, is spoken of as being in "the Paradise of God" (RV), marg., "garden," as in Gen 2:8.

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Paradise:

This is a word of Persian origin, and is used in the Septuagint as the translation of Eden. It means "an orchard of pleasure and fruits," a "garden" or "pleasure ground," something like an English park. It is applied figuratively to the celestial dwelling of the righteous, in allusion to the garden of Eden (2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7). It has thus come into familiar use to denote both that garden and the heaven of the just.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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