The Thief on the Cross


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Did the "Thief on the Cross" enter PARADISE immediately?

He DIED for our sins. Then He came to life. He arose! John gives us further proof where Jesus was. There "--in the tomb--the grave--" they laid Jesus John It was Jesus who was laid in the tomb, not merely the body of Jesus. Jesus was dead! He is risen; He is not here: see the plum where they laid HIM! Jesus was in the grave that day, lying there asleep in death. He did not go to Paradise that day. He was not with the thief that day-the thief was not buried with Him in the same tomb! What could be more clearly proved! To make this even plainer, turn to Acts 2: This verse, translated in the King James Version, proves that Jesus was not in Paradise, but in hell.

The Bible uses another word for that. Hell or the grave is not Paradise. Since Jesus did not enter Paradise that day-the day of the crucifixion-then neither did the malefactor enter it. Therefore the malefactor who repented odd mot have preceded Christ to Paradise. Whenever the repentant malefactor enters Paradise, Christ will be there too! Many have seized upon I Peter as supposed proof that Jesus was alive when He was dead--that He preached to spirits in prison during the three days and three nights in which He was in the grave asleep in death!

Even if Jesus had gone to a prison during that time--which He did not do--certainly Paradise is no prison! Paradise is just the opposite from a prison! In order for the text to be true, as written, then both Jesus and the thief would have to end the day in heaven. Otherwise, Jesus would be lying! Does the rest of the Bible support such a scenario?

Apologetics Press - The Thief on the Cross

She talks with Christ, thinking He is the gardener. When she realizes that He is the risen Lord, she moves to hug him. His response in verse 17 tells us something important about death and the afterlife. He still had not been there as of Sunday morning!

Who was the "Thief on the Cross" ?

Jesus could not have been telling the thief that they would be in heaven together that very day. He would have been speaking a lie. How, then, can we understand the text in Luke 23? The problem actually lies with the placement of the comma. As it reads, the text says both men would be in heaven on Friday. See Deuteronomy , , , , , and for some examples. In fact, the original Greek manuscript contained no punctuation at all!

In light of the other biblical evidence, it becomes clear that the comma, which was not part of the inspired original writing, was misplaced by a translator and copied by everyone else subsequently. Christ did not go to heaven at His death because He spent the Sabbath day resting in the grave.

The repentant thief also went to the sleep of death and is awaiting the return of Jesus Christ with the rest of the sleeping saints. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Featured Videos. Are people conscious after they die? Are those who have committed suicide going to be saved? Astrology Today. Baptized Paganism. It is found in the question at Pentecost, "What shall we do?


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And it is found in the believers at Cornelius' home. The thief on the cross believes; his prayer to Jesus is bursting with faith. He has more faith that day than any other human observing this gruesome scene. So far as adults are concerned, nearly all Christians would agree that baptism accompanies faith, and should follow as soon as appropriate after faith at least it seems to in all the examples we see in the New Testament , but I would contend that baptism itself does not save.

We could multiply references to the primacy of faith, such as, " whosoever believes in him John , 36; , "your faith has saved you" Luke , and many others. It is not that you can or should separate baptism from salvation. You shouldn't. They go together. Nor should one construct doctrine from exceptions. But the thief on the cross gives us an illustration of saving faith apart from baptism, and that is instructive to us as we seek to understand this mystery of salvation. The example of the thief on the cross is often cited as the precedent for deathbed conversions.

And so it is. I don't doubt that the thief had attend one of Jesus' outdoor teachings and come to some sort of faith there.

And so have many who repent and confess Christ on their deathbeds. The difference between "some sort of faith" and "saving faith" is true repentance and the commitment to Christ that repentance implies. It IS possible, I believe, to be saved at one's deathbed. But I've seen too many people who say, "I'll follow Christ later. But now I want to have fun. Some of them are taken in accidents or from heart attacks, and never have a chance to repent at the end of their days.

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Yes, deathbed salvation is possible -- the thief on the cross indicates this -- and it may even be real God only knows the heart , but it must not be relied upon. What a wonderful promise Jesus gives the believing thief: presence with Christ in paradise! Our English word "paradise" is a transliteration of the Greek word paradeisos , and that comes from an Old Persian word pairidaeza , "enclosure. Judaism of Jesus' day equated Paradise with the New Jerusalem, and saw it as the present abode of the souls of the departed patriarchs, the elect, and the righteous.

In 2 Corinthians Paul seems to equate the "third heaven" with paradise. I think we can identify paradise with heaven and be pretty safe. Jesus is promising the believing thief that he will be with Jesus in heaven "today. A few Christian groups teach a doctrine known as "soul sleep.

Indeed, there are a number of times when "sleep" is used as a euphemism for death Luke ; John ; Acts ; 1 Corinthians , 20, 51; 1 Thessalonians ; ; etc. But three passages make it quite clear that the soul is NOT unconscious until the resurrection:. How about passages that indicate that Jesus "preached to the spirits in prison" 1 Peter ; after his crucifixion and before his resurrection? No matter how you understand these verses, they don't prevent Jesus in the Spirit from ushering the thief into heaven.

How about the Apostles' Creed which states, "He descended into hell" based on Acts ; Matthew ; and Romans ? Philip Schaff observes that the phrase "descended into hell" is a later addition, and that the translation "hell" is "unfortunate and misleading. There is no conflict with the Apostles' Creed and our belief that the thief was with Jesus in paradise immediately upon death.


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We know what an encouragement the account of the Thief on the Cross has been to Christians down through the ages. But how about Jesus, dying alone on the cross? What did it mean to him? I believe the Father blessed his Son with this strange companion during his last hours -- a believer, and a very strong believer at that. Jesus had often chaffed at the unbelief he saw around him. His disciples themselves sometimes exhibit "little faith" ; Matthew ; ; ; Jerusalem as a whole doesn't realize the hour of their visitation But occasionally, Jesus encounters someone with great faith. A Roman centurion tells him that he doesn't need to physically come to heal his servant; all he had to do was speak the word and he has authority to have it accomplished Jesus is amazed at the man: "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel"

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