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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)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
It is common knowledge that punctuation, including commas, was introduced into the biblical manuscripts centuries after the books were completed. Therefore, commas are not authoritative.However, th...

July 01 2013 23 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Harvey Dionisio
Old Testament saints that dies does not go to heaven directly since Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And the blood of Jesus was not yet sprinkled in the holy of holies which are not made with human hands that is in heaven for the remission of sins.

The veil was not yet rent from top to bottom that signifies the sin of man. Rather they go to a place called Abraham's bosom or paradise located in Hades, but is separated from the tortures of hell by a great gulf fixed, as Jesus told in Luke16 about the rich man and the beggar. There they are being comforted while they wait for the promise redemption which was only fulfilled when Jesus Christ poured out His blood on the cross. 

Jesus did actually take the thief in paradise that day because Jesus went to hades when He died (Acts2:27) "for you will not leave my soul in hades"
Then on the third day He rose from the dead.

That Sunday morning He told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him since He haven't yet ascended to heaven as our High priest to sprinkle His blood in the holy holies which is in heaven. 

In Eph. 4:8 it says "When He ascended on high He led captivity captives" means Jesus took paradise to heaven after paying the price for the sin of mankind as He ascended on high He led all the Old Testament saints together with the thief on the cross to Heaven. As His blood that was poured rent the veil. We can now therefore come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrew 4:16) since then all believers that dies goes directly to heaven in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.

November 04 2014 12 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
'TODAY' was a rabbinical term, referring to the coming of the Messiah. There are various rabbinical parables that show how the messiah will come "TODAY". In essence, it was used to show a sort of eternal perspective as God is outside of time and not bound to our perceptions of the passage of time. Whatever day Jesus comes and we enter God's rest, it is "TODAY" - even if it feels to us like many 'todays' are passing. 

Here is one such parable:
"(Joshua) said to him: 
--"When will you come, Lord?" 
He said to him: 
(Elijah) said to him: 
--"He promised you and your father the world to come!' 
(Joshua) said to him: 
--"He told me a lie! For he said he would come today but he did not come!" 
(Elijah) said to him: 
--"He told you thus: 
'Today, if you will hear his voice" (Ps 57:7)" 
--- Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98a 

This concept of TODAY is referenced directly in Psalm 95:7-11, Heb 3:7-12, Heb 4:1-11.

"Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today....." Heb 4:6-7 

'Paradise' is in currently in Heaven. II Cor 12:3-4, Rev 2:7. It seems to be that Paradise will come to earth and be in the new Jerusalem. (Rev 22:2, 7, 14, 18). 

Jesus had not yet ascended to His father when he rose (though He did later) - so how could Jesus have gone up to heaven in the interim? In fact, Jesus' spirit 'descended' to make proclamation to imprisoned spirits. (1 Peter 3:18-21, Acts 2:23-36). He did not ascend to His father until after he rose (John 20:17) - though it is implied He had before a week had passed (John 20:24-29). [My personal theory is that he ascended before the throne at some point on the day He rose as the true/perfect First Fruits and Atonement offering (Heb 9:16-27, Heb 12:24, 1 Cor 15:23)].


As such, Jesus was probably simply telling the man that due to his faith He would enter God's rest. (II Cor 5:6-8, I Thess 4:13-18)

Such as "I say to you "TODAY" you shall be with me in Paradise (for you have heard my voice)."

He could have also just meant "I'm telling you today/right now that you will be with me in Paradise (someday)". While it does not contradict other scripture, it is not supported by the scriptures and traditions that spoke to "TODAY" having a rich meaning in reference to the messiah. 

The only translation that seems to contradict other scripture is the "I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise". (As in, on this day specifically we'll hang out in Paradise). This interpretation is the least likely as it seems to contradict II Cor 12:3-4, Rev 2:7, and I Pet 3:18-22. Jesus did not ascend to His Father until shortly after the Resurrection (I Pet 3:21-22, John 20:17), so the verse could not mean that both the thief and Jesus were to meet together on that physical day in heaven. Also, though scripture does not go into detail, it appears that while Jesus' physical body was dead, His spirit was making proclamation (whether preaching or judgement) to imprisoned spirits (whether human or angelic). It is then quite doubtful that Jesus and the thief were to be together in some suburb of Sheol meant for righteous spirits on that physical day. 

Rather, it is most likely that Jesus referred to the spiritual 'TODAY' - the thief's physical body might die, but he would enter God's rest 'TODAY', for He had heard the voice of the Lord and acknowledged Jesus as Messiah.

April 03 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
It is my understanding that our spirit never dies. That is why when paul said that when we first believed or became a believer in Jesus finshed work on the cross, that He joined His spirit to our spirit and we are complete in Him. We have His perfect righteousness through His spirit.

When we die our spirit either goes to be with the Lord, or it goes to hell. Paul said that when we die our spirit is present with the Lord and that we are awaiting the redemption of our new spritiual bodies. Our old flesh or bodies had to die because of sin. But our spirit does not die and either goes to heaven or hell.

I believe that when I die my spirit will be present with the Lord because I put my trust in Him to save me, and for no other reason.

August 29 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Richard Uhlman
Well, maybe He meant it in earth terms as well as spiritual terms. There are those who believe that if Jesus said TODAY, that's what He meant, so I think it means that too.

May 12 2015 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Georg Kouz
This Aramaic idiom " Truly, Truly I say to you, (comma,) has a special meaning. It is the same in koine Greek Biblical language..
This expression/ prefix can be found in hundreds of other verses in the Bible like.
John 14:12,
John 3:3,
John 5:19,
John 3:5,
John 8:51,
John 1:51,
John 8:58,
Matt 11:11.

Without any doubt, in the Greek scriptures Jesus meant TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.
If the comma comes after today, "Truly, Truly I say you today," this can mean that Jesus all the other times was lying, but only today he is telling the truth.

April 08 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Data Theo Robinson
I'm not sure if it matters when. I think the big picture is the Love of God. This man was worthy of hell, but the Lord Jesus had mercy on him. The theif took ownership of his sins, 1 John 1:9, recognized Christ, Roms. 10:14, and humbled himself, James 4:6. And even if the argument is made about where paradise is, the important thing is he's with Jesus.

April 08 2015 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image Elvis Peters
When Jesus died, he did not go to heaven, he went to paradise, or a mini-hell. That is the place where all the saints who could not enter heaven were.(Eph 4:8-9). All the saints came out of the grave, or paradise with him after the resurrection of Jesus(mat. 27:52-53; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 
And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.) this included the thief, who was qualified because he then believed, and accepted Jesus in his life-John 1:12. -PST Elvis Peters Uto

January 31 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20150711 11373 dvqsks Steve clonts
Many books have been written on this subject, or the question of where you go right after you die. One of the first was by a Doctor Richie, called "Return from Tomorrow". He dies in an army hospital and while dead, is shown the spirit realm by Jesus. Hundreds if not thousands have had this same experience. Many have written books. 

Jesus told Mary, "Touch me not, for I have not acended to my Father in heaven." So Jesus is telling Mary not to touch her because he hasn't been to heaven. 

John 5:25. The hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God.
1 Peter 4:6. The Gospel is preached to the dead. 

Paradise must be the Spirit Realm where the dead are, where these people who have died and were able to come back talk about. 

A day consists of 12 hours of daylight, typically. In most cases a person would hang on the cross for days before death would occur. However, Jesus, being the Son of God, knew in advance that all three of them would be dead. On that specific day. The comma argument is very weak. Besides, When Jesus was on the cross I doubt that He paused before or after the word, "today". Otherwise why even use the word,"today".

October 01 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

05a00e36 4298 4314 84c7 d5f047bb0a9a Rotimi EWEDEMI Very keen Bible Researcher
In my opinion, this question should be taken along with eBible.com/questions/7171-are-there-punctuation-errors-in-the-bible

The real answer as to what Jesus meant by saying "you will be with me in paradise" can be discerned in the light of the material in eBible.com/questions/7171 cited above.

For emphasis sake, Jesus meant that the thief will be resurrected in the future when the kingdom of God would have been established, that is after the "return" of Jesus Christ. He will be the king of that kingdom.

April 08 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

When Jesus died -- He did not go anywhere. He was dead. Cold and dead. 3 days and 3 nights later He arose and had not gone to Paradise -- which the Bible defines as the third heaven (II Cor. 12). So where was the thief? He was dead also. Jesus said "Truly I am telling you today, that you WILL be with me in Paradise." 

Paradise is the 3rd Heaven and 60 years later the apostle John wrote that NO MAN (except Jesus) had ever gone to the 3rd heaven, so the thief is in the grave AWAITING HIS RESURRECTION. No other human being has actually gone there TO LIVE -- visions, yes, but no one but Jesus is there in person today.
Keith Slough, minister.

April 28 2015 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Salem Markus Purba
According to the Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, paradise is an intermediate place or state where the righteous departed await resurection and judgement,

One of the criminals who believed in Jesus at the last minutes (Luke 23: 40-43) miraculously became a righteous man and received eternal life (John 3: 16-21) And whoever believes in Jesus will live, even though he/she dies (John 11: 25-26).

Since Jesus and one of the criminals who believed in Jesus died on the cross on the same day, Jesus told him that even though he died, he will live forever.

Do we believe this?

August 29 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

1455863745 Joe Pham
We can investigate and debate all we want about what exactly does Jesus mean by Paradise, but I can vouch that wherever Jesus maybe and that we are with Him, it is Heaven. God told Moses in Exodus 33.3, you and your people can go to the Promise land but I'm not going because of your rebelliousness and I might destroy you. Moses' response was, if your Presence is not with us, then don't send us from here. The point is, God's original plan for us was to be in His presence. He calls Himself Emmanuel to prove this point. Whether it's Paradise or Heaven, whether stricken or desolate, on the mountain top or in the valley of the shadow of Death, our peace and our joy is knowing that He is with us.

February 15 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Marvin Reynolds Retired Chaplain U.S. Army Hospital
Jesus was making reference to HOW people are being cared for PRIOR to his arrival and his death and resurrection that resolved the issue of making Heaven open to those of faith in God. This is described in Luke 16:19 making this mean that prior to Jesus It was called The Bosom of Abraham or Paradise and the side noted for non believers is called Hell or lake of Fire. Note that Jesus took a huge captive with him to Heaven at his ascent recorded in Ephesians. This sure makes the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus a major power for your eternal life by faith.

August 22 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

1515012380789778228527 RICK PORTER Chaplain [ Truckers Chapel ]-- Undeserving Child of God
Luke 23:40-43, is one of the best statements of what every human must decide in life. In the face of facts about life and death, existence now and existence after death, one must believe in faith to trust in Jesus Christ being who He says He is or dismiss that belief in faith and believe what they see.

Note, the unbelieving dying man's response, if you are who say you are, save yourself and me now and by inference, if you don't you are not The King of the Jews or religiously The Messiah.

Now, what did the other dying man do. 1. He knew he was guilty as a sinner and law breaker. 2. He knew his punishment was just. 3. He had a fear or reverence for God. 4. He believed Jesus was The King or The Messiah. 5. He only asked to be remembered in Jesus's Kingdom.

Jesus then accepted his repentance and faith and said This is The Truth, you will die and I will die on these crosses but you will not be just remembered but will be with me in Paradise today, our bodies will perish, but our Spirits will not. 

Glory to God Jesus Saves, and Glory to God Jesus's Resurrection proves it.

May 13 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Bruce Lyon Elder: Restoration Fellowship Assembly
Jesus said: 

Luke 23:43: And he said to him, “Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in the Paradise.”

Notice that the comma is in the right place.

Jesus was saying to the thief who had said to him: “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom,” that the thief would be with him in the kingdom [paradise] and so Jesus was promising the thief that he would be resurrected and meet Jesus in the clouds when he returns to take his place on the throne of David at Zion. We know that a person resurrected as an immortal being will indeed be in paradise on this earth ruling with the lord Jesus over the nations of the world with Israel as the lead nation. The meek shall indeed inherit this earth which will be renewed under the rule of the lord Jesus to become a beautiful paradise just like the garden of Eden!

What Jesus did not say was that the thief would be in paradise that day or the day following as Jesus knew he would be dead and buried in the tomb for 3 nights and 3 days. Those who are dead in Christ which the thief would be a part of will be resurrected when Jesus returns to take his place on the throne of David at Zion. Paul says the dead in Christ shall rise first, that is the destiny of the thief and all those who are in the lord Jesus God's anointed one.

February 15 2016 20 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
First, Jesus told the thief on the cross, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). Where was Jesus going that day? To heaven. The reference to Paradise indicated that Jesus accepted the faith of the man on the cross and provided salvation to him that began that day in heaven with the Lord.

"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). In this passage, Jesus is assuring one of the criminals on the cross that when he died, he would be with Jesus in heaven. This was granted because even at the hour of his death, the criminal had expressed his faith in Jesus, recognizing Him for who He was (Luke 23:42).

And see the King James version of Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

It was providential that Jesus was crucified between the two thieves, for this gave both of them equal access to the Savior. Both could read Pilate’s superscription, “This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews,” and both could watch Him as He graciously gave His life for the sins of the world. 

The one thief imitated the mockery of the religious leaders and asked Jesus to rescue him from the cross, but the other thief had different ideas. He may have reasoned, “If this Man is indeed the Christ, and if He has a kingdom, and if He has saved others, then He can meet my greatest need, which is salvation from sin. I am not ready to die!” It took courage for this thief to defy the influence of his friend and the mockery of the crowd, and it took faith for him to trust a dying King! When you consider all that he had to overcome, the faith of this thief is astounding. 

The man was saved completely/totally/entirely by grace; it was the gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9). He did not deserve it, and he could not earn it. His salvation was personal and secure, guaranteed by the word of Jesus Christ. The man hoped for some kind of help in the future, but Jesus gave him forgiveness that very day, and he died and went with Jesus to paradise (2 Cor. 12:1-4).
Luke 23:43 "paradise" -- The Greek word used here, paradeisos, appears in the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the OT) to describe the garden of Eden (Gen 2:9; 13:10).

Jesus told the thief at His side on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Not only did the thief receive eternal life, he received eternity with the Lord himself. Jesus also taught that the moment we die physically, eternal life with God continues (Luke 16:22; John 11:26; Phil 1:23). After believers in Jesus die, they are forever and always with Jesus.

In 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul said, “We … prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” Following death comes the experience of Jesus’ victory over death.

Believers in Jesus will ultimately gain imperishable, glorified, spiritual bodies (1 Cor 15:42-44) and be like Jesus in this way (1 Cor 15:49). We will know God and one another as we are known (1 Cor 13:12). And we will eat of the tree of life and live forever (Rev 22). For those who trust in Christ, there is hope after death.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in His day;*********
And there have I, though vile as he,
Washed all my sins away:
Washed all my sins away,
Washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he,
Washed all my sins away.

*******a fountain filled with blood,
drawn from Immanuel’s veins,

And see this hymn:

Lord, When Thy Kingdom Comes

“Lord, when Thy kingdom comes, remember me”;
Thus spake the dying lips to dying ears;...

Remember me, and, ere I pass away,
Speak Thou th’assuring word that sets us free,
And make Thy promise to my heart, “Today
Thou too shalt rest in Paradise with Me.” 

--William Dalrymple Maclagan

October 22 2019 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Img 5726 Leslie Coutinho
Luke 23:43: And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

For all those who crucified the two men along with Jesus on the cross, as the sabbath day for the holy convocation was approaching, no manner of work would be done. (Exo 12:16) Therefore, they had to bring the two men along with Jesus down from the cross to be buried. The soldiers broke the legs of both the men who were crucified along with Jesus. However, when they came unto our Lord Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they did not break his legs. (John 19:31-33) It was our Lord Jesus who gave up the ghost, and his Spirit went out of the body. Thus, the body was lowered down from the cross and put in the sepulcher where no man was laid in it. (John 19:41)

Lord Jesus laid down His life and had the power to take it again, given unto him by His Father. (John 10:18) During that time, many bodies of saints slept in the graves. The graves then were opened, and many bodies of the saints who slept arose and came out of the graves, after Lord Jesus's resurrection. They went into the Holy City and appeared unto many. (1 Cor. 15:3-5) 

When the Lord appeared unto Moses, He told him that He was the God of the living, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob. (Exo 3:6/Mat 22:32) Therefore, to prepare ourselves for the reunion with our Lord, every church will encounter the adversary seeking to resist. But the Lord’s angels, who are sent out, will show unto us our filthy garments and take them away in the right wisdom. For He shall cause our iniquity to pass from us and will clothe us with rich robes of raiment, which is the wisdom of God. This raiment will guide us to walk in His ways and to keep His charge by His servant the BRANCH and that is our Lord Jesus. (Zech 3:1:8)

Isaiah 64:6: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

March 21 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Daniel Veler
We know when Christ died it wasn’t until 3 days later he rose from the Grave in glory. He told Mary not to touch him.

John 20: 16: Jesus saith unto her, "Mary. "She turned herself, and saith unto him, "Rabboni; which is to say, "Master." 17 Jesus saith unto her, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father."

By this scripture we know Christ did not ascend to the Father when he died. 

So where did he go for the three days before his ascension? The answer is In Ephesians 4:8: Wherefore he saith, "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?)

We see before Christ ascended he first went down to the lowest parts of the earth. This event was to fulfill the word of God. In Psalms it is written:

Psalms 16: 10: For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell;
neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

If you read this verse without knowing its true meaning you would think David was speaking of himself when he said, “For thou will not leave my soul in Hell."

But what David was telling us was that God would not leave Christ’s soul in Hell or allow his body to see corruption. 

The explanation that I just gave you is explained in the book of Acts.
Acts 13:34: And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, "I will give you the sure mercies of David." 35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, "Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

Christ did descend first into Hell before being raised. But there were two parts to Hell. You had the ones in Abraham’s bosom. Then a gulf separated the unrighteous who were being tormented.

We see. During this time Christ at his resurrection brings those out that are in the bosom of Abraham. This two is shown to us in scriptures.

Matthew 27: 52: And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

We see within this scripture many of the saints came out of the grave at Christ’s resurrection.

This fulfilled the scripture, "He led captivity captive" in Ephesians 4. 
Ephesians 4: 8: Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive.

Do you remember the account of the rich man being in Hell and Lazarus being in the bosom of Abraham? The rich man pleaded for mercy to Abraham. He was suffering and in pain. Whereas Lazarus was not. 

When Christ told the man on the Cross saying, "This day shall you be with me in paradise," he was with Christ going down into the bosom of Abraham. After the 3 days had been completed, Christ rose taking those in Abraham’s bosom with him.

The questions that I believe needs to be asked is why did Christ just take those in Abraham’s bosom? What about all those from Adam to Abraham?

March 26 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
Whatever the word "today" means, I personally believe that the thief could only have visited Paradise because Christ accompanied him. He by no means could have entered Paradise on his own merits after his death, regardless of his confession of belief in Christ. When Christ left Paradise to be later resurrected did the thief remain in Paradise until his judgment? This isn't clear, but I think it is more likely he also left Paradise and was taken to another place to remain until his judgment. His visit was only temporary to give him a taste of what he could be experiencing if he became a full follower of Christ before his judgment.

Many Christians have left accounts of their visits to Paradise, but I know of none where Paradise is a permanent dwelling until judgment. It is more of a place for temporary rest and recuperation from the severities of their earth life.

August 22 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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