Here's something that I replied to on the Paracletes forum. I hope that this might answer some questions you might have had on the passage in Luke 23:43. I have tried to make the inquirer's questions clearly distinct from my reply. Well...read this and consider the points that the Scriptures make. Feel free to contact me, as well! (Kenny Wells)
BEGINNING OF REPLY
Well...this URL may answer SOME questions, and then I'll try to answer all of your questions in a second (IF THE POWER DOESN'T GO OFF!!)
Okay, here goes with my opinion:
Do you believe that the comma before the word "today" was misplaced; that the comma should have been placed after today?
I see nothing wrong with it. The author of the article states that this was an opening clause, "verily I say to you"...with a pause for Him to take a breath..."thou...paradise." Anyways, it was very hard for Christ to breathe and the proper place would be where the comma is after you, and before today, not after. Also, the article's author mentions that this is consistent with Jesus's WHOLE style during His ministry.
Since Jesus told Mary at the tomb not to touch him since he had not ascended to the Father; could the thief actually been with Jesus in Heaven.
Well...what had not ascended? His physical body, I believe, and I think this is more consistent with the rest of Scripture. Jesus's spirit HAD, in fact, ascended. Otherwise, His soul would have been merely sleeping, and we know this to not be a Biblical alternative for Paul mentions in 2 Cor. 5:8 that He would be pleased to "be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." (Furthermore, Phil. 1:23 proves the point of saints being with Christ right after they die). So, if one is not in the body (through death obviously), then one is with the Lord. Plus, we must remember Christ's words on the cross. What did He say? Christ, in His dying breath, uttered the words, "Father, into your hands I commit My spirit." His spirit was then with the Father, and in the Father's hands.
Did Jesus mean; the paradise of Abrahams bosom?
I don't know if Abraham's bosom is really Scriptural or not. The term "Abraham's bosom" (found in Luke 16:22)--according to John MacArthur, Jr.--is not distinct from Heaven, for "this same expression (found only here in Scripture) was used in the Talmud as a figure for heaven. The idea was that Lazarus was given a place of high honor, reclining next to Abraham at the heavenly banquet." 1. Later on, in his reply to the question of a special place for the OT saints, MacArthur states:
There is no reason to suppose, as some do, that --Abraham's bosom-- spoke of a temporary prison for the souls of OT saints, who were brought to heaven only after He had actually atoned for their sins. Scripture consistently teaches that the spirits of the righteous dead go immediately into the presence of God (cf. 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23). And the presence of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (9:30) belies the notion that they were confined in a compartment of Sheol until Christ finished His work. 1
To me, that makes perfect sense...it is consistent with the teachings of the Scripture and reminiscent of simply a term in the Jewish Talmud for Heaven.
Did the thief really die the same day, since crucifixion normally lasted more than a day?
Well...I don't believe that crucifixion normally lasted more than a day. Now, the Jewish Sabbath hadn't started yet, and since it was the preparation day (John 19:14, 31) before the Sabbath--A Friday--they asked that the legs be broken and that they should be taken off before the start of the Sabbath. The Bible tells us that the soldiers "came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was not crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs" (John 19:32, 33--NKJV). From this we see two things. First, both of the others beside Jesus had their legs broken. Second, the breaking of the legs caused death because the Scripture states that Christ death was what caused them not to have to do this, for He was already dead. To show this, the Geneva Study Bible says that "Breathing was so difficult in crucifixion that if the legs could not help by lifting the torso, a person would quickly die." 2
My conclusion is that the thief died the same day AND went to Heaven to be with Christ the same day. Hope this is of some help to you, Brother in the Lord!! (o:
1. MacArthur, Jr. John. The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997.
2. The New Geneva Study Bible. Gen. Ed. R.C. Sproul. Nashville:
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995.
END OF MY REPLY
Well...I hope this has helped someone, and if it has, drop me a line over e-mail. Either mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or you can reach me at email@example.com. God bless! (o:
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