Dr. David Jeremiah's Heaven Academy

Did Old Testament Believers Go to Heaven?

Did Old Testament Believers Go to Heaven?

By David Jeremiah

Share on Facebook

Every believer who died before the ascension of Christ went to an intermediate heaven or “Paradise.” This is where Abraham and the beggar met each other in Luke 16, and this is where all the heroes of the faith found themselves at the end of their earthly terms of service. It was a wonderful place, and it brought comfort to the heart of Lazarus, the beggar of Luke 16.

But the Bible indicates a great change occurred at the moment of Christ’s ascension.

This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives

and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) (Ephesians 4:8–10, NIV)

When Jesus died on the cross, He went to Paradise—this intermediate place filled with the Old Testament heroes. We know this because of the words Jesus spoke on the cross in Luke 23:42–43. Speaking to the dying thief who believed in Him, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” So Jesus died and went to Paradise. A few minutes later the thief also died, and Jesus was already waiting to meet him.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He spent the next forty days appearing with His disciples, giving them His final reassurances and instructions. Then exactly forty days after His resurrection, Jesus led the Twelve to the Mount of Olives, lifted His hands in blessing over them, and rose into the air. He ascended before their eyes, and a cloud snatched Him from their sight. The one who entered the world supernaturally left the world supernaturally.

According to Ephesians 4, something else happened, something outside the visibility of the apostles who were standing on Mount Olivet. As Jesus rose to heaven, He took all of Paradise with Him and led them into the third heaven. He relocated Paradise and all its inhabitants to the highest heaven.

More from Turning Point Radio