What did Jesus mean when He said, 'Today you will be with me in paradise'?


Luke 23:43

ESV - 43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.

Shippy smoke raise Captain BooBoo

Throughout His ministry Jesus states that a man must be born of water and of the Spirit to enter God's kingdom. If He gave the thief a free ticket into heaven then he is contradicting himself. Besides, Jesus didn't go to heaven that day. Where did he go? The grave!

If you look up the Greek definition for "paradise", it means, plot, garden, grave. Not heaven. So we have deducted that what Jesus was really saying was, "Buddy, great you're repentant, but you aren't coming to heaven because you haven't completed the necessary steps to enter into God's Kingdom. All you can do is go into the grave today." The Holy Spirit was not given until the Day of Pentecost, when the disciples spoke in tongues.

The subject of the thief is a subject that a lot of churches hang their hat on. We must not say that the poor, old, humble guy on the cross is going to be there in Heaven when we get there. Besides, in three of the other gospels, both thieves were railing on Jesus!

If the thief will enter in on the Great White Throne Judgment day, that is up to God to decide.

February 03 2014 Report

Stringio Jesse Ortega

 8  But what says it? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

 9  That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

 10  For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation!

February 03 2014 Report

16957887623996908263104115284753 Wanda Jenkins

Praise the Lord. Well said. WE must simply confess that Jesus is Lord as the thief realized and was repentant for his wrong doings. WE today must simply confess that we believe Jesus died for our sins and was raised. Jesus Christ is the only way. WE reach the father through him. Thank you for those scriptures. Jesus declared I am the way the truth and the life. no man cometh to the father but by me. The thief realized that.

February 03 2014 Report

Open uri20161012 21303 1c71rjd Muherman Harun

Jesus didn't go to heaven that day. Where did he go? The grave!
Please read 1 Peter 3:18,19 (NIV): 'In the spirit Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison, who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently. in the days of Noah while the ark was being built'.

February 03 2014 Report

Stringio Bruce Morgan

There seems to be a basic assumption that the dead continue to exist within Time as the living do.
From our point of view, time continues on after the death of another person.
The state of the deceased is described by Paul as "being asleep" (1 Cor 11:30, 1 Cor 15:6, 1 Cor 15:18, 1 Cor 15:20, 1 Thes 4:14-15, 1 Thes 5:10).

The dead can be reawakened, either briefly (1 Sam 28:3-20) or to continue living their life (1 Kings 17:17-24, 2 Kings 4:32-37, Luke 8:49-56, John 11:38-44, Acts 20:9-12) until their later death (1 Cor 15:22 ).

Apart from these special cases, those asleep are not in our "time stream" and for them the Day of Resurrection and Judgement is the next thing they experience after death (1 Cor 15:51-52, Luke 23:43, 1 Thes 4:13-18, Rev 20:12).

However, while the thief would be in Paradise "today" with Jesus as he would experience events (Rev 2:7), and as we will, that is not to say Jesus would go there straight away with him.

Jesus is the most special of the aforementioned special cases - he rose in his Resurrection Body on the third day (Mark 16:4-7, Acts 1:32-33) and is alive already (1 Cor 15:20, 1 Thes 4:16).

Just as he was waiting for his disciples in Galilee as he promised (Mark 14:28, Mark 16:7, John 21:1-14, Mat 28:16-20), so he will be waiting to receive us all when we awaken, including our brother the thief on a cross.
"Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Eph 5:14)

July 14 2014 Report


In the case of Lazarus and rich man did not the rich man see Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham? Prior to the Crucifixion of Jesus " the Perfect sacrifice" for our sins they sacrificed unblemished Lambs but the blood of these lambs could not wash away our sins so no one could enter to Heaven only Paradise until Jesus dies and gathers the Saints and takes them to be with him. So I believe when Jesus said to the thief that today you will be with me in Paradise that the thief went where Abraham, David, Daniel and all the other Saint.

July 02 2015 Report

Data Bruce Lyon

Someone has mentioned the interval between death and the resurrection.... A person who is asleep in the lord Jesus, has died has no recollection of time, none, as Eccl:9:10, says: " the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten." So the passage to time means nothing to a dead person. My brother knew he was dying and we talked about what would happen after his death. I reminded him that the dead know nothing.... that the moment he died for him, even though many years will have passed, it will seem as a split second when he rises to meet the lord Jesus in the air at his resurrection. So when one in Christ dies in the next split second for them they will experience rising to meet the lord in the air, and at that time they will have no idea how much time has passed from the moment they died until their resurrection!

August 29 2015 Report

Mini Robin Skinner

If it is true that Jesus went to heaven the day he died,the fact still remains that the thief didn't die that day. Their legs were broken because they were still alive when the Sabbath was coming near. Because their day's were counted from evening to evening. So if the thief wasn't dead yet, he could not have gone to heaven that day.

April 11 2016 Report

Stringio Bruce Morgan

Death by crucifixion usually took days, depending on the strength of the condemned. Hanging by the arms, the weight of the body interfered with breathing. The person had to periodically push up with their legs to ease their respiration until eventually they were too weak to do so. That is why it was such a horrible way to die. If unable to use their legs, death came quickly.

John 19:30-33 (NIV)
" When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs."

The thief died that day because the Jewish leaders made sure all three would die of crucifixion as they deserved before the "special Sabbath". They were not killed outright, sadly, only incapacitated to speed up the process. But all three were certainly dead before the Sabbath began that evening, and their bodies taken down as ordered.

April 12 2016 Report

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