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THE GATES OF PARADISE

By June 17, 2016Chip's Blog

Where Did Jesus Go When He Died?

Two things that Jesus said create a mystery that is the foundation of this story. The first was when the two thieves being crucified with Jesus were talking. One insulted Jesus, and the other defended Him. The thief then asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.

Luke tells us that Jesus said to the thief, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”

Then three days later, according to John, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found it empty. She turned away and saw Jesus standing there, and she apparently rushed to embrace Him.

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

So Jesus said that He was going to Paradise, but Paradise was apparently not Heaven, because Jesus said He had not yet been to the Father.

There is the mystery.

And Then There Is The Bosom of Abraham

There is a parable recorded by Luke in which Jesus talks about a beggar named Lazarus who died and was taken by angels into “the Bosom of Abraham.” In life, Lazarus had begged for scraps from the table of a certain rich man, who had also died. The rich man, however, was taken to Hades, which was across a great chasm dividing Hades from where Lazarus stood in the Bosom of Abraham…or Paradise.

Before Jesus came to offer salvation through faith in Him, there were those who died having gained approval by their faith. The Book of Hebrews identifies a long list of biblical heroes from ancient times. It would seem that upon their death, they were accepted into Paradise in the Bosom of Abraham. Those who died in disobedience were (and I would suggest they remain) across the chasm in Hades awaiting their final and irrevocable dispensation of divine justice.

And there is the setting of “The Gates of Paradise.”

From the welcoming of John the Baptist after his beheading, to the brief time that Lazarus joined the saints before being called back to life by Jesus, to the arrival of Jesus among all the prophets and patriarchs who had witnessed His life and death from Paradise, this story is one that has intrigued me for years. I hope it will do the same for you.

“The Gates of Paradise” will be staged every Saturday at 3:00 this summer, with the exception of Independence Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.

The Ragtown Gospel Band in Concert

Brenda Rhoades, Jay Young, and I will be unveiling a some new songs that we’re excited to sing for you. Brenda will be introducing a very tender new song called “Between Now and Then.” Of course, she sings it so beautifully. We have one that is great fun, called “Vine Ripe and Ready.” And there is another new one that is one of those big songs with a powerful message that is called “I Was Born That Way.”

We’ve also rekindled some of our personal favorites, and I plan to do something that I have seldom done. With the sad passing of Doug Smith, whose music has inspired me from the first time I heard him play the piano, I decided to perform a solo piano piece called “Galilee.”

Gather the family and friends, and come to Post this Saturday!

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Tonya says:

    I’m not wanting to be contentious, so feel free to delete my post if you disagree, but the Mormons have some thoughts about this topic. If you want to know more without trying to be converted, or Bible bashing, let me know. I’ve seen several of your productions and have enjoyed them all as doctrinally sound productions. I look forward to seeing this one too.

    • Chip says:

      Thanks for your comment, Tonya. An “undeniable possibility” is a phrase that I often use in describing the plays at Ragtown. My commitment is to write plays that never conflict with the authentic Gospel, which Jesus so perfectly encapsulated when He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, but through Me.” Instead, I always hope the story we tell will help someone see more clearly the person and promise of Jesus; His faithful perfection and the finished work of His sacrifice and resurrection, which is our only hope of salvation.

  • Caryl McAdoo says:

    There’s also the scripture that says “He who ascended. Also descended!” I’ve always believed that from the cross, Yahshuah descended into the bowels of the earth and “preached” to those in Paradise.

    I’ve written a Biblical fiction series called The Generations (it has a FB page) where Able descends into Paradise as soon as Cain murders him.

    I love it when Holy Spirit gives a new story that perfectly fits scriptures. Men are so wrapped up in their traditions – ugh! – red letter verses say that tradition makes void the Word of God!

    Have you considered the age of Adam at his creation? I tell a very different story 🙂 in book one of that series A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS.

    One of my Reader’s told me about y’all. I live way up in the NE corner of Texas but sure would love to come see your production! I planned a book to release at Passover titled THEN JUDGEMENT’ that might be very similar to the story you’re telling 🙂

    Blessings!!

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