Luke 23:43 – The Thief On The Cross
The Thief On the Cross (Luke 23:14)
Did Not Go To Heaven!
Did God Lower His Standard of Holiness?
Paradise and Heaven
One thing is for certain, it wasn’t heaven. It would be total speculation on our part to try and guess what Jesus meant by that phrase because paradise was not called heaven and heaven is not the place Jesus said they would be together. No more is mentioned about the thief after he is dead and taken down. We can assume that nothing out of the ordinary occurred with his body because there is no further mention of him.
This word paradise (G3857) does not have the same Greek meaning as heaven, (G3772) (the abode of God) although both are thought of as a place of happiness (possibly even a mental state of happiness, as their suffering would soon come to an end, just a thought not a stated position).
In Luke 23:43 we read of Jesus saying, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise (G3857).” But in John 20:1-17 we read that Jesus meets Mary in the garden on the first day of the week and says, ‘Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.’” In John 19:31-33 the religious leaders asked for the thieves legs’ to be broken and taken down from their crosses. They didn’t want the thieves to hang on the crosses over the Sabbath (Sunday). Jesus meets Mary in the garden on the first day of the week (Monday) and says, ‘Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father (God):
(The Sabbath is one of those debated topics, but for the purpose of this section, we accept either Saturday or Sunday as the day many set aside for this special day. By resting on the seventh day, which means refraining from work, as did God, Exodus 20:11, and sanctifying it, we remember and acknowledge that God is the creator of heaven and earth and all living things. )
With that in mind, we can see that Jesus could not have been with the thief in heaven that Friday if Jesus had still not ascended ( 3 days following His death) to the Father on that Sabbath weekend (if paradise is in Heaven).
Note: Several scriptures confirm that only Jesus has been resurrected from death and ascended up into heaven (Acts 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 10:12, Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). Also, no other “named” figure in the Bible is found mentioned as being in Heaven with God, other than Christ. (Not Enoch, Elijah, Abraham, the prophets, the apostles, the thief on the cross, etc.) See: (Who Is In Heaven? – (John 3:13))
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
20 But Christ really has been raised from death—the first one of all those who will be raised. 21 Death comes to people because of what one man did. But now there is resurrection from death because of another man. 22 I mean that in Adam all of us die. And in the same way, in Christ all of us will be made alive again. 23 But everyone will be raised to life in the right order. Christ was first to be raised. Then, when Christ comes again, those who belong to him will be raised to life.
The Placement of the Comma Totally Changes The Meaning.
In the original Greek text of the New Testament, there was no punctuation, in fact, the oldest copies of both the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament are written without punctuations. Sentence punctuation was invented several centuries after the time of Christ.
It makes a big difference where the comma is placed. The meaning would completely change if Jesus was saying, “Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). If the comma is placed after the word today, it shows Jesus being emphatic on that day of his crucifixion, saying, today when I am dying on the cross with no apparent hope, I am promising that you will be with me in paradise eventually. However, if the comma is inserted before the word today, Jesus would then be promising that the thief would be with Him that very day in paradise; thus making Jesus a liar and also contradicting John 20:17.
There is a story of a wealthy man whose wife sent him a telegram asking if she could buy a very expensive item. He sent the reply, “No, price too high.” Unfortunately, the telegraph operator left the comma out of the message. When the wife received the message, “No price too high,” she happily went and bought the expensive item. This story illustrates the importance of correct punctuation. If the punctuation is off by even one word it can mean something entirely different.
As we compare scriptures one with another we will find apparent contradictions, but if we look carefully at the clearest texts and the overwhelming evidence in the scriptures on a certain subject, we will find the truth (see Isaiah 28:10). Often it’s our preconceived ideas that lead us to think a certain verse means a specific thing. We must be careful never to take a verse out of context. The question now is, how can we harmonize this verse with the rest of the Bible?
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