[size=][size=][size=][size=]for weeks lately in MailCircle and even longer in several previous forums, we all ponder about
„how does Luke 23,43 and John 20,17 go together?[/size][/size][/size]“
In Luke 23,43 Jesus says to Dismas. YET TODAY YOU WILL BE TOGETHER WITH ME IN PARADISE - in some translations even TOGETHER WITH ME IN HEAVEN or IN MY FATHER’S.
In John 20,17 the risen Christ says to Mary of Magdala
NOLI ME TANGERE AS I HAVEN’T BEEN AT MY FATHER YET.
All my life I said countless times that no-one ever will ever be dead, for all who die, see ever since Jesus’ salvation; God the very same day.
This Salvation was done when the world heard the dying Jesus’ word IT IS DONE; and He returned His Spirit into the hands of The Father.
I (and many unknown with me) fight on two fronts. On our side the fight for "there is no death“ - on the other side the claim „there is no heaven“. Both is wrong with the restriction that St. Paul wrote in 1Cor 15,55, Death where is your sting?! But he writes in his next sentence: The sting of death is sin.
So; death is there and existent ever since sin came into the world by Satan’s temptation. Death however as a to stride death - never though to be dead. Death in anycase just as the door for eternal life - in the worse case as door to eternal life in hell. Conceivably as „apparent death“ for those, who because of disbelief will be awakened not before Last Judgement (which I don’t believe, because of the senseless problem of "interim storage“ of the lifeless souls).
Of course we find in the Catholic Encyclopedia (LThK) lots of hints, but all of them most unsatisfactory, as all of them are not absolute but relative; such as: It’s thought that…, Newer Theology speaks of…, It lays in an alignment line with…, etc.
Thankfully Pope Benedict spoke in absolute words instead of relativisms and so returned to the Church more safety in her teaching-assignment. I myself try to avoid as far as possible relativisms such as „most probably“ in cases where Jesus’ teaching seems not too clear and obvious.
Misinterpretation, misunderstanding and absolute incomprehension up to total refusal, we’ll always meet, for in Mt 13,10 we hear, that only he will understand whom understanding and conceiving is given by God’s grace. A hint for us, that it’s not all are allowed to understand and so never will, unless they return to belief. The restriction is clearly to be heard in John 3,16: For so much God loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Not those too who do not believe in Him!
Our Church teaches, together with St.Peter in 1Peter 3,19 and 4,6, that Christ freed between His death and resurrection the redeemed „Dead“ to the Father - accordingly even today are „spirits (souls) in prison“ so neither in heaven nor in hell - but in another place or state - they live far away from God - but LIVE and are not dead until last Judgement. Such in contrary to those who will not be judged - named in John 3,18 or Mt 7,1.
Thus he who lives in Christ, will recognize the truth, as Jesus is the truth Himself -as He announced to Pilate.
When St. Peter writes in 1Pet 3,16 that Christ teaches the death, it becomes clear that no-one ever is dead. Peter wrote under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration not "work of man“ as many claim, but God’s words and teaching.
Now, does Jesus’ word on the cross YET TODAY YOU WILL BE TOGETHER WITH ME IN PARADISE - with Me in heaven!
No, as Jesus on the resurrection-day tells Mary; NOLI ME TANGERE as I was not yet at My Father’s.
Yes, if Jesus together with Disman „just“ was in that heaven, where Abraham, Moses, Elijah and all the others were who had believed in God - in another heaven like those Paul mentions in 2Cor 12,4.
Still: When the dying Christ said "IN YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT“ - then it’s actually very clear that He went straight to the Father; - alone without Dismas, who stayed back in „Paradise“ until Christ opened heavens where The Father dwells.
All the same it’s clear, that Jesus did not go directly to the Father, as he said so to Mary.
What is the truth? Pontius Pilatus asked such, and Jesus revealed Himself as >THE TRUTH< - thought Pilate asked out of other motives.
But let’s hesitate and hold on here, and ponder if this question is probably too intimate to be put?
I dare to doubt, if the question as to where Jesus went first after His death, is at all salvation-relevant, or if it’s not far more so, that it’s one of these questions that forehand has nothing to do with us.
Answers we will receive in heaven - enough for all eternity.
We all enjoy the grace of late birth; - thus after Christ’s salvation through His Passion, death on the cross and resurrection. All born before - many of them lived much longer before Christ’s salvation, than we today after. Accordingly long was the time in God’s „waiting-rooms“ (other heavens or paradises); be it on "Abraham’s bosom“, Purgatorium, Paradise or whatever else existing bit ambiguous places or state of being.
Clear evidence that hat all of them were alive and not of them was „dead“, is the appearance of Moses and Elijah at Christ’s transfiguration, when they were obviously in conversation and thanked Jesus for the coming Passion with it’s atrocious brutality Christ went through voluntarily and out of love.
But back to the fundamental question
how does Luke 23,43 and John 20,17 go together?
Is there any answer at all?