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Scripture-Study List: The Spirit World


On the cross, Christ told the repentant malefactor that that very day he would be with Him in paradise. But how could Christ make such a promise if the day of final judgment had not yet arrived? Paradise refers not to a final state but rather to the spirit-world experience of those who choose to follow Christ. Paradise is where these spirits wait for the resurrection and the day of judgment. The repentant malefactor had chosen to follow Christ, and so would be with Christ in “paradise”–the spirit world–after his death.

Luke 23:39-43:

  • And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
  • But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
  • And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
  • And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
  • And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

The apostle Peter taught that between Christ’s death and resurrection He visited and preached to the spirits in prison. “Prison” refers to the spirit-world experience of those who did not follow Christ in this life. (Note that the typical connotation of “prison” does not apply here. Many honest, sincere, wonderful people will find themselves in spirit “prison” simply because they never had the opportunity to learn of Christ’s true gospel or because they were sincerely dedicated to other belief systems.) Through the missionary work Christ initiated, as described in the verses below, many in the spirit world have chosen to accept Christ and now await baptism and other essential ordinances. Mormons perform these ordinances vicariously for their ancestors in LDS temples.

1 Peter 3:18-20:

  • For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
  • By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
  • Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
  • The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

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