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The majority of professed Christians in the world today believe that the thief on the cross went to paradise that day with Jesus, and they use this account to try and back up their theory that the soul of man lives on after death. But did the thief really go to paradise that day? Did Jesus Himself even go to paradise that day? The truth may just surprise you! So let us take a look.

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, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.'

On the face of it, it seems like that is exactly what Jesus is telling the thief. But there are several important points in connection with this passage which reveal the real truth of what is being said, and which the majority of professed Christians in the world are missing. The first point to make is the actual request of the thief. In the King James Version above it reads ... "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." That word 'into' in nearly 2,000 other instances of the word in the New Testament, had been translated as simply 'in,' which is what it really means in this instance also, especially when joined with the word 'comest' or simply 'come.' So this verse is better read as ... "Lord, remember me when thou come in thy kingdom," just as Jesus and Paul confirmed as follows:

Matthew 25:31-32 ...'When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.'

2 Timothy 4:1 ...'I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.'

What is Christ and Paul speaking of above? The second coming! And this is exactly what the thief on the cross was pointing to when he said "Lord, remember me when thou come in thy kingdom." The thief realised who Jesus was and he looked forward to a time when Jesus would return to pronouonce His judgment upon the world and resurrect His people. This is why the thief said the words "Lord, REMEMBER me."

This is also shown by the parable of the nobleman in Luke 19 who "went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." In Luke 19:11 Jesus stated that this parable was given to correct the impression which some had obtained, that the kingdom should immediately appear. Christ teaches that the kingdom is yet future (the literal kingdom that is); that he is now gone to the far country - Heaven - to receive it, and that when he has received it he will return and reward the righteous and punish the disobedient in line with Matthew 25:31 onwards. The thief looked forward by faith to the time which Christ directed all his followers to look - the time when he should return and receive them unto himself as confirmed in John 14:3 ... "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." The request of the thief was not that he should be taken by Christ to some place of happiness there and then, but that Christ should remember him when He would return. This is an important point that many miss today.

Let us next answer the question that must be asked, due to the prevailing belief in the churches today. Did Jesus go to 'paradise' that day? And what is the best way to answer this? By using God's Word. The book of Revelation unlocks the key regarding this:

Revelation 22:1-2 ...'And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.'

Revelation 2:7 ...'He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the MIDST of the PARADISE OF GOD.'

Do you see? The river of life flows from the throne of God and the tree of life is on either side of that river. And Revelation 2 confirms the tree of life to be in the midst of the paradise of God. Where is all of this? New Jerusalem where God Himself is, which Revelation 21:10 - 22:5 explains.

Friend, paradise is not some kind of strange "holding place" for "souls" that many believe in the churches today. Paradise, according to the Word of God, is where God Himself is and where His throne is in New Jerusalem. So did Christ go to be with God (His Father) the day He died on the cross? Let us allow Jesus to answer this Himself:

John 20:16-17 ...'Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, 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.'

This is the THIRD DAY from supposedly telling the thief on the cross that he would be with Him THAT DAY in paradise, which the scriptures tell us is in the presence of God the Father and His throne. And yet Jesus tells Mary that He has NOT YET ascended to the Father (to Paradise). Then what was Jesus really saying to the thief on the cross? Before we confirm the simple truth of what Jesus was saying, let us make another point to hammer this home. Look at what Peter said in Acts 2 regarding Christ:

Acts 2:23,24,27,30,31 ...'Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it ... Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption ... Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.'

Wait a minute! Many today believe that Christ went to paradise with the thief on the day of the crucifixion, and yet Peter confirms that Jesus went to "hell" and God promised that His soul would not be "left in hell", but would be resurrected! And it wasn't until AFTER being raised that Jesus would go to paradise and sit on His throne with the Father.

Do you see the problems with this mainstream belief regarding the thief on the cross? It does not tie up with scripture whatsoever. How could Peter say that God promised not to "leave Christ in hell" and yet Christ be in paradise? The simple truth is, Christ went to the GRAVE after His crucifixion, and this is what the word "hell" [hades] means in this instance. Look at what Peter said in Acts 2:24 above. God raised Christ up, "loosing the pains of DEATH, because He could not be held by it." It was DEATH and the GRAVE that could not hold Christ. He wasn't in some place of burning and neither was He in paradise. He was in the GRAVE. See these verses to help understand this - Ecclesiastes 9:10, Psalm 6:5, Psalm 115:17, Isaiah 38:18. The disciples who wrote the New Testament would have had this clear understanding.

So this leaves us with the conclusion that Christ did NOT tell the thief that he would be with Him that day in paradise. So what DID Christ really tell the thief? Well, the first thing we need to remember is that in the original scriptures there was no punctuation. This was added by the English Bible translators and the placing of them was not inspired by God. Therefore, we are at liberty to either remove the punctuation, or place it elsewhere to bring the particular verse in line with the rest of scripture. So let us do just that. Look how the verse reads by simply moving the comma to the correct place:

King James Version - Luke 23:43 ...'And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.'

Comma moved - Luke 23:43 ...'And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise.'

Do you see the difference the placing of the comma makes? Jesus wasn't telling the thief that he would be with Jesus in paradise THAT DAY, as we have clearly proved throughout this page. Jesus was simply saying to the thief ... "I tell you NOW, you WILL be with me in paradise" - in the FUTURE when Jesus returns to resurrect him. Remember what Jesus said in John 14?

John 14:1-3 ...'Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to PREPARE a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.'

Jesus NEVER promised to take us to be with Him at death, never! He promised to RETURN one day and THEN take us to heaven to be with Him. And this is what Jesus was also promising the thief on the cross.

"In order to fully realize the wondrous nature of this whole occurrence, we must bear in mind Christ's circumstances. He had been betrayed by one of his own disciples, into the hands of a brutal mob. All his other disciples had forsaken him and fled. He had been hurried from one place to another during the night previous, and was worn out with waking and fasting. He had been scourged almost to the point of death. His temples had been pierced with sharp thorns, he had been spit upon, and struck in the face with the reed and with the fist, until 'his visage was so marred more than any man.' He had borne the cross, which of itself was a disgrace, until he had fainted beneath the burden; and of all the throng who a few days before had shouted, 'Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord,' there was none to speak a word in his favor. All united in reviling him, or else preserved the silence of despair. When his disciples saw him submit to all these indignities, and finally to the cruel and shameful punishment of crucifixion, their hopes fled entirely. They thought that he had been deceived in regard to himself, when he had received their homage as King of Israel, and had told them of his future glory. But now the thief showed a faith that was almost miraculous. That which was darkness to the minds of the disciples, was clear to him. He recognized the divinity of Christ notwithstanding his humiliation, and by faith he looked beyond the grave and saw Christ coming in power and glory. On the strength of this faith he cried out, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom ..."

"How refreshing this acknowledgment and trustful prayer must have been to the bruised spirit of Jesus. And He who never turns from the prayer of any humble suppliant, said, 'Verily I say unto thee to-day, Thou shalt be with me in Paradise.' What force there is in this emphasis on the adverb 'to-day.' To-day, although suffering all the insults and tortures that cruelty can suggest; although forsaken by my followers, and shut out from the presence of God; although apparently the weakest and most helpless of mortals,-notwithstanding all this, even to-day I can promise you a place in my kingdom. Here also is a sublime exhibition of faith. He could not feel his Father's presence as he had always felt it, and he was left alone, yet his faith was strong in his mission, and he knew that at the appointed time he could return to earth, a glorious conqueror." (E.J.Waggoner, Signs of the Times, Nov.23, 1882, p.520)

Hallelujah and Hallelujah! Praise be to God!

I pray that you can see the clear truth regarding the thief on the cross. He did not go to paradise that day with Jesus and neither did Jesus tell him such a thing. The whole issue with that verse is simply the comma is in the wrong place. Sadly, many today take a verse on it's own and disconnect if from the rest of scripture. But we cannot expect to come to the truth if we do this. We must let scripture interpret scripture. So many churches are still holding onto the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, which is where most of the false teachings have come from, including the teaching of the immortal soul. It is time to listen to what God is teaching, not what man is teaching.