Someone on the internet claims that there are two paradises. Is this true?
The Bible refers to paradise only three times.
The first time the word “Paradise” appears in the Bible is in Luke 23:42-43.
And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42-43 (NASB)
In this passage, while Jesus is hanging on the cross between two thieves, we are told that one of the thieves asks that Jesus remember him when Jesus returns to Paradise. The Bible records that Jesus died that day (Luke 23:44-49). Since Jesus promised the thief that He would remember the man when He returned that day, we can safely conclude that Jesus did go to Paradise immediately after He died and the thief did also.
James 2:26 tells us that the body without the spirit is dead. That is, the body is dead when the spirit leaves it. This means the thief’s spirit left his body and went to Paradise or, as we will discover later, to heaven. The thief would not have had a body nor would Jesus have had a body either at that point in time. It is important to remember that scripture teaches the first resurrection of the dead bodies of mortal men occurs after Jesus’ second coming (Revelation 19:11-20:6). The passage reveals that after Jesus’ second coming, the first resurrection will occur. That is when believers will receive their immortal body. However, Jesus received His resurrection body three days after He died (Luke 24:1-12, 39). A careful reading of Luke 24:1-12, 39 will reveal that Jesus’ body was no longer only a spirit after His resurrection.
Now for the answer to your question. Please note that when the author claims that there are two Paradises – one up and one down, he uses John 20:17 to support his conclusion. Here is the verse,
Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'” John 20:17 (NASB)
This encounter with Mary occurs after Jesus’ resurrection but before His ascension. The internet author incorrectly concludes that Jesus told Mary to not touch Him because He had not ascended to Paradise previously. Consequently, the author concludes there must be two Paradise in order a) to keep His promise to the thief on one of the crosses and b) to be truthful to Mary. It is important to note the Greek word that is translated as “do not touch” should be more accurately translated as “stop clinging.” She was already clinging to Jesus. Jesus was referring to His new resurrection body – not His spirit. He had not yet ascended to the Father in His new resurrection body. He had already ascended to Paradise in His spirit. He was going to leave this earth and she could not stop Him. John 20:27 reveals that Jesus must have returned to the Father in His new resurrection body after speaking with Mary and before meeting the other disciples and being touched by Thomas.
The second reference to Paradise is found in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4
Here we discover that heaven is called Paradise. There is only one Paradise It is heaven.
The third reference to Paradise is found in Revelation 2:7.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. Rev. 2:7 (NASB)
This time the Paradise refers to the new heaven and new earth.
It is important to be careful what one reads on the internet. There are many false teachers and individuals who are untaught in the scriptures. Peter’s warning in 2 Peter 3:14-16 is invaluable,
Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:14-16 (NASB)