Thief on the cross & paradise?


#1

Hello - found the CAF while searching Google for some answers to general questions about the bible, specifically the Petros vs Petra debate. I’m not a catholic but interested in all sources for answers (“here a little, there a little”). The latest Petros vs Petra response I found on your site was dated 2010 so I won’t jump into that discussion as people may not be around anymore (and I can’t seem to relocate it now that I’ve registered, but no big deal).

However, I do have another question maybe some one can respond to - I’ve read and heard some people say ancient NT greek had no punctuation and the second comma in Luke 23:43 (“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”) would render a completely different meaning and belief if it was placed after the word “today” instead of before it. A different belief regarding going to heaven or hell upon death, related to the mortality or immortality of the soul. My sources state the comma was placed where it currently resides is because of predetermined (false) beliefs of the translators. Anybody care to comment, or pass me along to someone who would? Thanks,


#2

To the Jews, the term "paradise" would have ment what Catholics call the limbo of the Fathers, which is where the righteous dead were before the Resurrection of Christ.


#3

There is a passage where Christ describes hell/hades as containing two sections, torture for the wicked and paradise for the righteous in his parable about Lazarus and the rich man. In the Apostles' Creed we say that Christ "descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead". Christ was with the good thief in the paradise section.

Christ descended into hell (the paradise part) and set the Old Testament saints free:
Ephesians 4:8-10 Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Read about Lazarus and the rich man: biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+16%3A19-31&version=RSVCE


#4

I really love the timelessness and the utter mercy of this passage. It is almost as though JESUS, knowing HIS immediate future, was [in the midst of the immediate hell HE was undergoing] giving solace to one of the only people who was (nearmost) immediately sharing his fate.

JESUS knew, with cold certainty (if not from eternity, then from HIS 40 days in the desert), what HIS fate was, that HE would traverse hell before resurrection, which would come before HIS assumption. HE knew that HE would not that day be in paradise (unless we don't understand the time period that constitutes "Today").

So the thief could not have been with JESUS in Paradise "Today" as JESUS would not himself go for more than ~ two days.

Or else JESUS commended the Spirit of the thief to Paradise right there.


#5

[quote="devoutchristian, post:2, topic:330014"]
To the Jews, the term "paradise" would have ment what Catholics call the limbo of the Fathers, which is where the righteous dead were before the Resurrection of Christ.

[/quote]

Why would JESUS be in the "limbo of the Fathers" except to redeem them, meaning they all would have been with Him in "paradise" THAT day. Original OP: could you clarify the punctuation (post the original language and its various translations)? To me, it appears that Jesus was saying the thief/murderer (whatever he was) was GOING TO SHARE in Paradise, regardless of his sins. Jesus forgave him on the cross. That's pretty much the ultimate act of forgiveness possible! A priest (an ordinary man in an extraordinary life choice) can go to the bedside of a dying Catholic, anoint him/her, ask him/her (if the person is conscious) to recant his/her sins, and thereby give total absolution, that's what we're taught. So Jesus can't do that???? :confused:


#6

[quote="RileyRL, post:1, topic:330014"]
Hello - found the CAF while searching Google for some answers to general questions about the bible, specifically the Petros vs Petra debate. I'm not a catholic but interested in all sources for answers ("here a little, there a little"). The latest Petros vs Petra response I found on your site was dated 2010 so I won't jump into that discussion as people may not be around anymore (and I can't seem to relocate it now that I've registered, but no big deal).

However, I do have another question maybe some one can respond to - I've read and heard some people say ancient NT greek had no punctuation and the second comma in Luke 23:43 ("And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.") would render a completely different meaning and belief if it was placed after the word "today" instead of before it. A different belief regarding going to heaven or hell upon death, related to the mortality or immortality of the soul. My sources state the comma was placed where it currently resides is because of predetermined (false) beliefs of the translators. Anybody care to comment, or pass me along to someone who would? Thanks,

[/quote]

When you are hanging on a cross the last thing you want to be doing is wasting words. If you read the passage as "Verily I say unto you today, you will be with me in paradise" it is no different than saying "Verily I say unto you right now, you will be with me in paradise" which is no different than saying "Verily I say unto you, you shall be with me in paradise". That's because of course it is today.

Putting the comma in the wrong place makes the word redundant, superfluous, unnecessary, pointless, wastage of breath. Something you don't want to do while hanging on a cross.

The reality is those people who MOVE the comma are rendering the phrase according to their predetermined (false) beliefs, not vice versa.


#7

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.”


#8

“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
Source: newadvent.org/summa/4052.htm


#9

[quote="ellzeena, post:5, topic:330014"]
Why would JESUS be in the "limbo of the Fathers" except to redeem them, meaning they all would have been with Him in "paradise" THAT day. Original OP: could you clarify the punctuation (post the original language and its various translations)? To me, it appears that Jesus was saying the thief/murderer (whatever he was) was GOING TO SHARE in Paradise, regardless of his sins. Jesus forgave him on the cross. That's pretty much the ultimate act of forgiveness possible! A priest (an ordinary man in an extraordinary life choice) can go to the bedside of a dying Catholic, anoint him/her, ask him/her (if the person is conscious) to recant his/her sins, and thereby give total absolution, that's what we're taught. So Jesus can't do that???? :confused:

[/quote]

I don't understand your objection. Jesus forgave the good thief's sins, but Heaven was not available to men until he had both died and ressurected, so they went to a natural paradise.


#10

One can discuss the various exegetical and translational aspects regarding the passage. But did the person end up with Jesus in Heaven? Yes.


#11

Yes, according to tradition he is known as St Dismas. His feast day is March 25 as this is the day that Church Fathers believed that he and Christ died.

On a side note, Christ is said to have been conceived on March 25th because of a first century belief that the Old Testament prophets all died on the same day that they were conceived. :slight_smile:


#12

The placement of punctuation CAN really change the meanings of things as in the famous difference commas make in the illustrative sentence:

Woman without her man is lost. < no punctuation but a period.

Woman without her man: is lost. < with one colon added

Woman: without her, man is lost. < Quite a different meaning with one colon and a precisely placed comma!

In the “good thief” example you give, someone critiques the placement of a comma as being wrong and thus changing the scriptures’
“true meaning”?

*As for the source you quoted and his thesis that the punctuators of the Bible may have had predetermined false beliefs (leading them to further (?!) falsification of scripture (deliberate? accidental?) — I’d be careful about that. Not knowing either party, an accusation could be slander and a false witness (we don’t want to agree with that); and equal scrutiny ought to be given to the accuser (a testing of all spirits if you will) – if one bothers to pursue the controversy (which I’m not inclined to do further myself other than here). That said:
*

With the comma (status quo - the same) : The result would seem to be Jesus’ promising that thief that the latter would be with Jesus in Paradise (later) that same day.

Comma in proposed new location: A few different results seem possible then.

(I say to you today,): Today is when I’m speaking to you not when you will be with me in Paradise? < Where would the thief be then? Hell (no), Purgatory? Limbo of the Fathers? (for how long on the latter two being then indeterminate - though eventually the thief will be with Jesus in Paradise).

It may be OK to examine things (additions) to the Bible like punctuation, the addition of chapters, numbering of chapters and verses, translating texts into vernacular languages, mass producing what were ancient handwritten texts, etc. etc. But equal caution should be taken not to stir up needless controversies that might fracture the body of Christ (as Paul might say - and did say about some arguments).

That section of the Gospel is profound in more significant ways than comma placement though. It is astounding to account for why this thief is given a public absolution and a personal affirmation by Jesus in addition to the blanket “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!” prayer request.

[size=] Insights on the event itself

This thief, who earlier had joined the crowd in jeering at Jesus and initially asked Jesus to
save Himself (and him, the thief) - undergoes an amazing transformation and gains a promise of paradise!

  • After observing Jesus on the cross he is seen to change his mind - and instead of
    agreeing with the jeering crowd, gives a courageous witness for him.

  • He confesses his own sin, admits he deserves man’s just punishment, corrects another for jeering at Jesus (recommending fear of the Lord), speaks aloud that “This man has done no wrong …” and while Jesus is being taunted and ridiculed as being the “King of the Jews” – this thief believes in that and more (at an instant that many of his apostles might have been having a crisis of faith).

  • “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom …” replaces “Save yourself and us!” on the thief’s tongue.

Jesus speaks to him the words above. Gives him a public promise. But does not take him down from the cross nor ceases to die on His own cross. A bit more of purgatory for the thief - a bit more sacrifice for the savior was left to come.

Repentance, confession, forgiveness, salvation. These are the most profound lessons of that text. Though like you, RileyRL, I’d be glad of additional insights. :slight_smile:

Although the thief was alive and on earth, one can almost see the stages of his purification of spirit from proud to humble, angry and bold to penitent, swept away with the mob to making a courageous individual profession of truth.

One might question why a single second more of suffering is allowed by Jesus in this case - or the case of those in Purgatory (suffering for a time unto purification prior to THEIR entry into heaven - where nothing unclean may enter and one must “be strong enough” to “enter the narrow door”. But this instance shows just such a thing happening.

Though eternity is a long time - and this good thief (Traditionally called St. Dismas) seems to be canonized into the original list of saints (in the chronological spot of number 1?!)

[/size]:hmmm: ** - well, hmm. Of those I can name - quite possibly … :confused::shrug: But it’s a GOOD thing! :dancing::extrahappy:**


#13

parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom"

you get a lot of Luke 16: 19-31 here at CAF, and i for one believe that it is equal in “wrong-ness” to the rich man’s hard heartedness, to sell the notion that it is more noble to need/ask for/place yourself in a position requiring charity, than it is to be wealthy and proffer your charity in a way that encourages every possible move (of those in need) away from the need for charity. [To require some actual proof of needy-ness (inability to provide for oneself) before otherwise dissapating one’s capacity to help those who have demonstrated such a need]. Meaning that Luke’s “Lazarus” is cited much more than people have bothered themselves to determine where “a wealthy man’s” charity has been sown.

JESUS also said, “The poor you will always have with you.” Indeeed the wealthy man should have worked harder, more steadily and dilligently, to reduce that number, and thereby reduced or eliminated the suffering of the “needy man.” However, Society continues to generate the cited permanent class of “needy”, while also generating a permanent class of those who pray on the charity of those who can provide it.

I believe that it is the latter that accounts for uncharitable men.


#14

The part of THAT (Petra/Petros) debate that I’m familiar with I heard on the old “Bible Answer Man” program of the late Walter Martin (a self-described Calvinist). Martin’s “thesis” was basically that the Catholic claims regarding Peter were overblown or otherwise “off” because his Greek translation of the text rendered the name closer to “little rock” than “rock”.

I didn’t see what size the rock was as invalidating the bigger thing … that Christ Himself was building His Church upon the formerly named “Simon” and punctuated the moment with a renaming. What’s more, though Greek was spoken in Palestine at the time, it is likely that the when Jesus renamed Simon “Peter”, He did so in Aramaic, the spoken language of the time in that area - which would render it “Cepha or Cephas” more literally “Rock”.

The real dispute of course would run less to the trivia of the name than to its significance as per authority in the Church, the existence of an earthly Church hierarchy, the office of Pope as a successor of Peter and his office (and the charisms and powers that go with it).

Similarly, though I enjoy musing about what a difference a comma might make in the meaning of a scripture, I try to remind myself of the examined scripture’s central purpose again lest I get distracted with the (comparative) trivia.

BACK TO THE DIFFERENCE SMALL THINGS CAN MAKE:

[size=]2 Corinthian 6:2 For he says: “In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

As regards the difference a comma can make … I once heard a young girl, recruited as a lector at a youth mass read the above … except that the second NOW in the last sentence, she read as NOT!

… behold not

is the day of salvation! :banghead: :nope:
< one letter read wrong. 180 degree turn in the biblical counsel … :bigyikes:

The priest who gave the homily of course corrected the false notion - without calling the girl’s mistake into the spotlight. :thumbsup: :coolinoff: - phew!

[/size]


#15

I don’t want to change the subject here, but the petros petra difference should be viewed as a transition of Peter from a small rock denying Jesus initially at his crucifixion to then being transformed into a bold spoken no denying but proclaiming at Pentecost solid rock. There is a transformation of Peter from small to solid. I think that is what Jesus was referring to. It only took fifty days.


#16

@ CaptFun wonderful answer :thumbsup:


#17

Thank you elzeena! (I will be up all night now trying to figure out which one though). :smiley:


#18

Luke 8:49 While he was still speaking, someone from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.”

50 On hearing this, Jesus answered him, "Do not be afraid; just have faith and she will be saved."

As this** thief on the cross & paradise **thread led some of us to consider the doctrine of Purgatory a bit … both thread and doctrine have been on my mind.

While searching for a scripture pertaining to another subject, I happened upon Luke 8 - and these verses established a principle or “Biblical precedent” if you will (for those who need such things in addition to or*** instead of *** :tsktsk: Church teaching on the doctrine) to believe it. :shrug:

Daughter dead. (Really dead).

JESUS says: “Do not be afraid; just have faith and she will be saved.”

Q: Why does this man’s having faith “save” his daughter?

THAT it saved her we find out later. Deductively then, he DID (continue to) “have faith” and the resurrection was accomplished.

Shall we be angry about this? Was not ***Christ’s power “sufficient to accomplish ***the miracle?” < this sufficiency stuff is an argument Catholics sometimes have to deal with - but it is a change of subject actually, especially when it does not agree with things Jesus (or the Church He commissioned to “teach the nations” in His name ) SAID or has actually DONE!

I hadn’t noticed it before, but Jesus continues to attend to this man’s original intercessory request. Intercession: One person asking God to do something for someone ELSE! < Which is loving one’s neighbor, VERY unselfish, acting as part of the body of Christ or a branch of the vine (when WE do this) – and we can see the results here.

Q: Was this resurrection miracle (which included intercession and perseverance in faith)
a lesson to us the Church? Or just an interesting event relevant just to the first century Jews to whom it applied?

A: To us also - or it would not have been included in the New Testament.

Q: Since the girl later died (we must assume) what great lesson can be learned from this. WHERE does it apply to a Christian.

A: Per Purgatory: Although souls in Purgatory are all “saved” as regards eternity; they are being purified (and in need of help, graces, etc.), One who intercedes for such a soul is doing a work of mercy and loving his neighbor and showing faith in something beyond earth and being unselfish and loving, and offering a sacrifice of time and effort as this official did for his daughter.

Critics in the parable said to cease interceding. Jesus contradicted this and told the man to continue and have faith - despite the intellectual deductions of his “advisors”. And his daughter was released from death, and her previous illness.

“Saving” a departed soul from aspects of justice:

… in the (time or place or state) where some “… are saved yet only as through fire,” (1 Corin. 3:15)

… or where " … you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. (Matt 5:26, Luke 12:59) "

would be an act of love and charity.

CAN one through faithful prayers … “pray to God and he will give him life … for those whose sin is not deadly.”? < from 1 John 5:16

Verse 16 does say “who sees his brother sinning …” indicating prayer for a “sinner” who is still alive and can repent. But what of one who dies in the state of being guilty of "not deadly" sins. Since “nothing unclean can enter it …” Revelation 21:27. < heaven!

Jesus’ words to this synagogue leader to keep interceding so that his daughter would be “saved” < (this last word is Jesus’) give us some guidance.

And if one needs another scripture for guidance, THIS from the OT:

2 Maccabees 12:38 As the week was ending, they purified themselves according to custom and kept the sabbath there.

39 On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs.

40 But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain.

41 They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden.

42 ***Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. ***The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.

43 He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;*

The thief of the cross in one sense DID go to paradise that same day … yet he continued to suffer until he died. :hmmm: - something to ponder: purged here, there or both?

**** The Sadducees who did not believe in the Resurrection of the dead, nor Jesus, rejected this book from the Bible in the (so-called) “Council of Jamnia” … a non-Christian (anti-Christian?) Council held AFTER Jesus had come. Some Protestant Churches agree with that body. The Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church (and more?) hold the Septuagint including Maccabees 1 and 2 as scriptural. ***


#19

Baptism washes away all eternal and temporal punishment. The thief was not baptized. He died before the start the New Covenant on Pentecost. Everyone that Christ freed from hades, after his three-day burial, went immediately to heaven. Therefore, I would posit that the thief did not experience purgatory in the after-life just as John the Baptist and the others didn’t experience an after-life purgatory. :slight_smile:


#20

It’s possible that there may have been a pre-Ressurection state similar to purgatory for those with unrepentant venial sins*. Of course it depends on whether venial sins create intrinsic disorder within a person as mortal sins do, or whether they merely create an extrinsic disorder as attachment to sin does.

*Either way it probably wouldn’t have applied to the good thief, and definitely wouldn’t have applied to St. John the baptist.


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