I heard Hubert touch on this a few times on the Churches on Trial.
The Apostle Paul called Paradise...the third Heaven.
2 Cor 12:1-4... It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
There are three heavens taught in the Bible...
1. The physical universe...the sun...the moon...the stars...the planets...etc.
2. The atmospheric conditions..the sky...the firmaments, oxygen, stratosphere, etc.
3. Literal Heaven or the Third Heaven...where the souls of just men are made perfect...
Heb 12:23...To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Scriptures teach "Paradise"is the third Heaven...a place where "just men go when they die". Just men are men pardoned by God... from sin and unrighteousness. The soul's of "just men" go to Paradise in Heaven and recieve eternal life. The souls of "unjust men" go to Hell... and recieve eternal damnation.
Christ was God in the flesh. When He preached during His earthly ministry He still had power to forgive sin. Christ pardoned one thief that hung on the cross beside him and told that thief,
Luke 23:43... And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
That thief was no longer a convict... he was a "convert". He was converted enough to be with Christ in Paradise. I look forward to meeting both Christ and the converted thief when I get to the other side.