Today you will be with me in paradise


Jesus said to the good thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

But didn’t Jesus descend into Hell for three days? Didn’t the gates of heaven open after the Resurrection?

How could the thief be with him in paradise *that *day?


In the article on “Harrowing of Hell” in the old Catholic Encyclopedia it says that Jesus brought salvation to the souls between the time of his crucifixion and his resurrection. I see no reason why Jesus could not lead all the righteous dead, including the good thief, into heaven on Good Friday. That event was independent of Jesus’ bodily resurrection.


GREAT Questions my friend,

1st Our Lords trip to Hell was a visit, to establish His Mastery over everything, including Hell.

And YES, the “good thief” could not possibly have attained Heaven before the Resurrection. In the interim, He joined the Early Fathers, in the “LIMBO of the Fathers”; a place of no suffering, BUT lacking the Beatific Vision:thumbsup:


How could what He says be anything but true?

In any event…what constitutes paradise is the beatific vision and the presence of God. When the soul of Christ enters into Abraham’s bosom, upon His death, the soul that arrives in the abode of the dead is hypostatically united to the Second Person of the Trinity. In that instant, the souls awaiting deliverance are in the presence of God, in a singular manner, who has achieved the redemption through His incarnation, passion, and death.

This is addressed in the Summa Theologica, in the tertia pars, question 52.


Time per se is not an issue in the life eternal.



“True” does NOT always means “literal”:thumbsup:


Are you saying this in light of ST, III, q. 52?


I’ve heard the explanation that as there is no punctuation given in the original, the text would be better rendered as ‘I say unto you today, you will be with me in Paradise’. IOW, the time-frame ‘today’ is referring to when He said it, not to the actual being in Paradise.


That is the argument used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others, but it really doesn’t make sense. Of course it was “today” when He said it.

Someone who can’t breathe adequately isn’t going to waste words.



True, but when Jesus was speaking to a human being, he knows what our definition of time is, so it only makes sense, he would speak with terms and words a human could relate to.

In Gods realm, there is no time, but he also knows NO human being can possibly relate to that, so I tend to think whenever God says something about ‘time’ and we are the audience, it is meant to be in our time (not his).


I agree with you the that the good thief was in Abraham’s bosom, the place of the righteous deas, awaiting the gates of heaven to be opened. He did not take them to heaven, though, because He had not gone Himself until the Ascension, and opened again the Gates that were closed at the Fall.

This is why scriptures says he took the firstfruits of the resurrection with him in his following when He ascended.

Another way to read this, though, is “Today, I tell you, you will be with me in paradise”

The Gk. does not include punctuation, so we must gather the sense from the context and the Teaching of the Apostles.

I think the modern Protestants, who do not want to leave any hint of a purgatory, or place of the righteous dead that is neither heaven or hell, tend toward immediate paradise (equals heaven).

Or, paradise may not really mean the beatific vision, but the place where the righteous souls awaited the consummation of salvation through the crucifixion - not of suffering?


In honesty, I can’t reacll the exacpt post I was responding too:blush:

Easter Blessings,



Thank you for all the answers.


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Great post, thanks

Easter Blessings,



We, as humans need to remind ourselves that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and their dwelling place, namely “heaven” have not time, or space as we understand it in our limited way. God and Heaven are without time, or outside of time, so for God, in the form of Jesus to say “Today” is irrelevant to the physical time and place. He could have just as easily said, “You dwell with me in paradise now.”


Just my 2 cents.

There is no time in eternity.
So the only part of what Jesus said that could have a bearing in time would be when the thief would die.

So whenever we die, we are judged and sent one of three places…heaven, hell, or purgatory.
And the entirety of these events has no bearing on the time it is here.


:smiley: TRUE-…BUT

Heaven was not reopened until Easter Sunday and the Resurrection. So the so called “Good-thief”; like our Forefathers deserving Eternity with God were sent to the “Fathers of Limbo”

A place of no pain, no suffering BUT yet deprived for a time of the Beatific Vision: Heaven itself.:thumbsup:


Yet still, a concept rooted in OUR idea of time and space… If Jesus said “Today”, he meant today… God can do ANYTHING and it is beyond our ability to understand or question him.


Of course He can, but He works within our puny understanding, which is often trapped in the space/time continuum.

God will not reveal something that is contrary to what He has already revealed. The gates of heaven were closed until the Ascension so even if Jesus said “I tell you today…” it was not accomplished in what we consider a day.

“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2:Pet. 3:8

Purgatory is outside of the space time continuum, so those in it do not experience “days” like we do here on earth.

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