Jesus and the good thief


When Jesus said "today you'll be with me in paradise", does paradise means heaven or sheol (the 'underworld prison' of the righteous dead) ?


I think it means heaven although it could mean either. The reason I think this is that the thief says “remember me when you enter into your Father’s kingdom” and that kingdom is heaven not limbo


Both seem reasonable…

Maybe the key word is “today”, as opposed to “from now on”.

This would support the belief that Christ is both fully human and fully divine. And, so at his instant of death he sees God, which would indeed be “paradise”, before he decends into hell until he rises on the third day.

So, in regards to the good thief, since he is only human and not divine, he also faces God at his moment of death to decide whether he believes and will eventually gain salvation, or not.

After seeing God (and so fleetingly experiencing paradise) he (through the grace of God) enters heaven, or (the scenario that makes more sense to me, but only God, who I am incapable of fully understanding knows) is cast into Hell for eternity or Purgatory for purification before gaining final rest in The Lord.

Either way, the man experiences paradise “today”, and scripture is validated.

peace and all good!


I am sure I have seen the popes say it refers to heaven.
God bless


Ver. 43. I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise; i.e. in a place of rest with the souls of the just. The construction is not, I say to thee this day, &c., but, thou shalt be with me this day in the paradise. (Witham) — In paradise. That is, in the happy state of rest, joy and peace everlasting. Christ was pleased by a special privilege, to reward the faith and confession of the penitent thief with a full discharge of all his sins, both as to the guilt and punishment, and to introduce him, immediately after death, into the happy society of the saints, whose limbo (that is, the place of their confinement) was now made a paradise by our Lord’s going thither. (Challoner) — The soul of the good thief was that same day with Jesus Christ, in the felicity of the saints, in Abraham’s bosom, or in heaven, where Jesus was always present by his divinity. (St. Augustine) — St. Cyril, of Jerusalem, says he entered heaven before all the patriarchs and prophets. St. Chrysostom thinks that paradise was immediately open to him, and that he entered heaven the first mankind. (Tom. v. homil. 32.)

From Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary.


“Our Lord’s expression is not to be understood of the earthly corporeal paradise, but of a spiritual one, in which all are said to be who enjoy the Divine glory. Accordingly, the thief descended locally into hell with Christ, because it was said to him: “This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise”; still as to reward he was in paradise, because he enjoyed Christ’s Godhead just as the other saints did.” - St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 52

Catechism of the Catholic Church
633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” — Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek—because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”: “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.” Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.

634 “The gospel was preached even to the dead.” The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment. This is the last phase of Jesus’ messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Jesus, “the Author of life,” by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.” Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades,” so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”


=fabio rocha;10897886]When Jesus said “today you’ll be with me in paradise”, does paradise means heaven or sheol (the ‘underworld prison’ of the righteous dead) ?

“Paradise” MEANS heaven:D

That said: “today” in this context does not mean "“TODAY” as we understand it. WHY?

Because Redemption is tied directly to Christ Ressurection, not His death. The gate of heaven [for which Peter alone holds the key] was “Locked” as apart of the consequences of Original sin.

Christ Resurrection reopened that access to heaven Thus ALL od humanity is Redeemed; but only a few will attain salvation.


The Greek verb is in the aorist it refers to a behavior that has started and will continue into the future. We do not have a similar construction in English, but it may be approximated in this manner. On the day you make the final payment on your mortgage, you would say today I am a homeowner. Your state will continue into the future. Paradise is explanatory of the phrase “be with me.” It has nothing to do with any physical place, as I have heard Jehovah’s Witnesses argue.


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