Did Jesus Go to Paradise the Day He Died?
By Mr. Barnabas Grayson
Then he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. He replied, Truly I tell you today you will be with me in Paradise. (Luke 23:42-43 NRS)
Jesus promised that He would be dead for three days and three nights by saying"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Mt. 12:40)”
The apostle Paul declared, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor, 15: 3, 4): " So Jesus did not ascend to heaven on the day of His crucifixion.
Even on the day of His being risen from the grave He told Mary, "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 (John 20:17). " Christ had yet to ascend to Heaven. So it makes no sense that the thief would already be there enjoying 'paradise.' It would be out of order in the resurrection plan of God. Jesus lived as a flesh and blood human being. He died of his wounds and was buried the same day-even as the two thieves.
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (I Cor. 15:20-23). "
Christ became the first to be risen from among the dead. But he has yet to come into His kingdom. When that time comes the dead in Christ will then be resurrected to enter with Him into His kingdom. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first (I Thess 4:16)"
"No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven (John 3:13-14)." These words were written long after the crucifixion by the beloved apostle of Christ, John. This means the thief and all other human beings who have lived and died are not in Heaven.
So, what happened to the thief? Did Christ mislead the thief?
The thief ‘s request was for Christ to remember him when He came into His kingdom (Lk.23:42). The thief is dead and buried in a grave somewhere. Paul wrote, I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (i.e., precede) them which are asleep... Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (I Thess. 4:13-17)."
The time is coming when the dead in Christ from all ages gone by till the present, will rise first. Then the living, those also in Christ who come through the Great Tribulation, will meet them in the air. No man knows when, but Christ promised saying, "...I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:3). "
Where will He come to?
Christ will return to the earth and rule from Jerusalem (Zech. 14) as king of kings. And the saints of the Most High shall then possess the kingdom forever (Dan.7:18). And with the saints as kings and priests, shall reign on the earth (Rev.5:10).
Christ was crucified on Calvary or Calvaria (Latin for skull) In Greek it was called cranium; in Aramaic, Golgotha. There the feet and hands of the Savior of mankind were fastened by nails to a stauros - a. wooden stake upon which death was cruel and torturous. Along beside Him were two thieves, one on the right hand; the other on the left. But it was Christ who received the scorn and mocking with His goodly raiment’s divided out to others by the casting of lots. And as people looked and stared at Jesus' bloody visage, his flesh ripped by numerous lashings, his lips and face swollen, his eyes blackened, his hair matted with blood from the crown of thorns jammed down upon his scalp, "the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God (Lk.23:32-43)"
Yet, in spite of His suffering, the unrelenting stinging of his wounds, his body shivering from stinging pain, Jesus was heard to say for those gathered to watch Him suffer, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do (v.34)." A soldier offered Him a sponge with vinegar (sour wine) to dull his suffering. But Christ chose to endure the pain and indignity for the joy set before Him in bringing disciples into His kingdom of God by His sacrifice.
Scripture makes known that Christ died and was laid in a sepulchre hewn out of a rock. A heavy stone was then rolled into place to seal His place of burial (Mark 15:43-47). He was in the grave three days and three nights in fulfilment of the Scripture (Mt. 12:40).
It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this-the judgment (Heb.9:27)-an appointed day in which Christ will judge the world in righteousness (Acts. 17:31). And "many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan. 12:13). " Judgment is now on the house of God and it is imperative that those within take care to suffer for righteousness sake rather than for wrong doing. "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear.
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in -well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (I Pet.4:15-19). "
At the last trump the saints of God will be resurrected and reign with Christ a thousand years. But "the rest of the dead lived not again until a thousand years were finished (Rev.20:4-6). " When Christ comes into His kingdom, he will reign a thousand years along with His saints teaching righteousness and preparing the earth in beauty and peace for the second resurrection for the rest of the dead.
God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come unto repentance. God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Every human being, however, sins and comes short of the glory of God so that there is none righteous; none perfect. But Christ came to save sinners. He came preaching good news about salvation and the coming kingdom of God saying "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt.4:17) " reinforcing the same message John the Baptist preached. The apostle Peter also preached repentance and baptism in honor of Christ for the remission of sins. And with it would come the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)."
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ (Rom.6:23). The Holy Spirit of God is the very essence of God's nature and character put into the heart and mind by the laying on of hands. But the spirit must have time to grow and not stagnate or go back into sin. For "... To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev.2:7). " And "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city (Rev. 22:14)."
The thief on the cross acknowledged Christ as the son of God, innocent and undeserving of death having done nothing amiss, but confessed that he and the other thief deserved their just condemnation for their deeds. Yes, all are deserving of the death penalty for our sins-not Christ. But through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, when we accept Him as our personal sacrifice, our sins are covered and forgiven. Jesus took upon himself the death penalty we deserve, bearing our sin to the 'cross' to blot out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, contrary to us, removing it out of the way, nailing it to his cross (Col.2:14-15).
Surely the thief must have heard Christ saying, "Father, forgive them for they know what they do. " And it must made him think before asking Christ to remember Him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus came to do His Father's will as a loving, merciful, and forgiving Savior-not willing that any should perish but that all should come unto repentance.
"Wherefore, "Christ said, “Isay unto you, All mannerof sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men . And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit , it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come (Mt.12:31-33). "
Christ now sits at the right hand of The Father as daily High Priest. ": ...And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Heb. 9:24-28).
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom (I Cor.l5:50). There must first come a change from mortal to immortality which comes at the return of Christ (v.53) at the last trump, at the resurrection when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord. (Rev. 11:15). So the thief is still buried in his grave.
If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9-10). Even though they be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow (Isa.1:18); covered in the righteous blood of The Savior who was offered to bear the sins of many (Heb.9:13).
What a wonderful hope there is beyond death-beyond the grave in a place of future happiness where the dead will be remembered and called to live again.
The Providence of God Outreach Network
This site was last updated on October 31, 2017