Today I want to write thinking of my sister-in-law, Judy. She's dying with brain cancer and only has a little time. I know she awaits the Lord and her family is wanting her to go and be done with the pain in this life. But there will be a loss in the their heart as they (we) say good-bye.
There pops up this little word called "Paradise". In looking up what Scholars say, it's a Persian/Iranian word and means something like "a beautiful park." The Greek writers used it of Persian public parks and in mythology there are stories from varied people where the great hero's that have died live with the gods. When one examines the word, the word is used close to fifty times in the OT Greek usually translating the Hebrew word for garden. It's not a surprise that it is used in Genesis 2-3 of the Garden of Eden. Prophets like Ezekiel and Isaiah spoke of a restored Israel and their land to a state of "Paradise". (Just read Isa. 35 to see this.) These all point to an earthly state of affairs.
It is clear that the word "Paradise" came to mean more than an earthly location. We hear it from Jesus speaking to a dying thief in Luke 23:43. Paul speaks of being caught up to "Paradise" not knowing if he was in the body or out in II Cor. 12:1-3. Upon reading these, questions begin to flood in our minds. But here's the thing. Too many equate "Paradise" as some kind of waiting-room where the forgiven wait until after the judgment and then they get into heaven. But looking more closely at II Cor. 12:1-3 and how the Jew's expressed their words, "Paradise" is heaven. The Jew's expressed there were three heavens or heavenlies. One was where the birds fly. There was the outer space beyond the realm of the earth. The third heavens was where God Himself dwelt. That's where Paul went that he calls "Paradise." Jesus speaks to the church at Ephesus in Rev. 2:7, that the over-comers would eat of the tree of life which "is in the Paradise of God." The tree of life is in this "Paradise" where the angel of the Lord protected anyone from getting to it from the very beginning (Gen. 3). Christ opened the way to God's presence.
I realize there are lots of questions and I don't claim to have it all on. I'm just reading the Scriptures for what it says without reading too much into them by speculating. It looks to me that "Paradise" is how we relate to God being with Him. It's not a somewhere up there term but a presence of God Himself and we exist in His presence. It looks like that to me but I could be wrong. I've been wrong before.
In all, from my view, Judy will be in the "Paradise" of God, eating of this eternal, grand and glorious tree of life as that is what the Spirit says to the churches for the one who overcomes! Judy will conquer death because Jesus lives!