What does this mean? “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”

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    This has been answered on Bible Hermeneutics What is meant by 'Paradise'
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 23:44
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    Welcome to the site, F. Mcintyre. If your question could provide a bit more information / research, that would be helpful. It's also important to direct your Q to particular religious groups as they usually give different answers. For instance, some groups take issue with where the comma should be placed. To attract answers, you need to be more specific. Do take the Christianity Stack tour to learn more about us: christianity.stackexchange.com/tour This shows how we are different to other sites.
    – Anne
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 6:09
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    Welcome to Christianity Stack Exchange. When you have a moment, please take the Christianity Stack tour to learn more about us. This is a site that discusses the beliefs of many different Christian denominations and traditions. You need to specify the Christian tradition or denomination from which you seek answers and avoid questions that are primarily opinion-based. Good questions show research and provide evidence of any claims made. christianity.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Lesley
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 7:24
  • I believe this is still a unique question as @F. Mcintyre asked for the meaning of the whole text, and not simply the word "Paradise". If he changes his question then it may be a duplicate. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


From the SDA perspective this is a problematic text, as we believe (according to the Bible) that when people die they don't immediately go to hell or heaven. This text seems to contradict many Scriptures in the Bible:

  • Ecclesiastes 9:5, The dead don't know anything
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, The righteous dead are sleeping, awaiting resurrection at the return of Christ.
  • John 5:28-29, Some shall be raised in the resurrection of life and some shall be raised in the resurrection of damnation.
  • John 11:1-16, Jesus calls Lazarus death a "sleep", and his resurrection "waking him up".

There are many more, but this suffices to show why this verse is at odds with the text you are referring to:

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:43

1. The verse numbers and punctuation are not inspired

In the original Greek, the verse numbers and punctuation were not present, so these were added later by translators to make sense of the text. This means that the verse could be:

a. And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

b. And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”

This single comma changes the meaning of the verse dramatically. But which is correct? There are two reasons why I believe the second is correct, but first we must understand where Jesus was referring to as 'Paradise'.

2. Paradise is heaven, where the Father is

Paradise of God is where the Tree of Life is.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:7

In 1 Corinthians 12:1-4 Paul also refers to this Paradise.

The Tree of Life is where the very throne of the Father and the Lamb(Christ) are:

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1-2

3. Were they in Paradise that day?

In order for the normal reading of Luke 23:43 to be true 2 things MUST be true: 1. The thief was in Paradise that very day (Friday). 2. Jesus was in Paradise that very day (Friday).


It is likely that the thief did not die on Friday as the Sabbath was drawing near and the thieves were still not dead, prompting the Jews to ask for their legs to be broken to finish them off.

Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

John 19:31-33

I concede that it is possible the thief could have died on Friday though but what about Jesus?

4. Jesus did not go to Paradise of Friday

Jesus died on Friday, was in the grave on Sabbath, and resurrected on Sunday. On Sunday morning, Jesus said the following to Mary:

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

John 20:17

Jesus said He had not ascended to the Father, which means He was NOT in Paradise on Friday, since He had not gone on Sunday yet. Because of this I believe the correct reading of Luke 23:43 is

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”

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    I'd like to offer 2 references about the placement of the comma in the history of greek manuscripts, highlighting what is at stake (the doctrine of soul sleep): this and this. Commented May 2, 2019 at 21:46
  • About point 1. The thieves not dying on Friday. I think the whole point of the text is they wanted to speed up their deaths, that were, inevitable anyways. They surely didn't last for long. As for Jesus, I'd point out that while corporal he was on earth, his spirit never ceased to be in Heaven with God (God, and Jesus being God, is omnipresent.)
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 26, 2021 at 21:44
  • @Dan I don't really agree with this interpretation as it doesn't seem to be really Biblical. As Jesus Himself said to Mary, He hadn't ascended to the Father. If Jesus was already there in "spiritual" form, why would He need to ascend? Also, when Jesus says to the Father, "Into your hands I commend my spirit" the Bible says Jesus "gave up the ghost". Why would He commend His spirit and give it up if it was already with the Father to begin with. It doesn't make sense. Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 16:05
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    @Dan The separation of body and soul as separate living entities is not Biblical but spiritism. It opens the way for things God forbade such as communication with the dead. It also makes God a liar and the serpent truthful, as God said that the soul that sins shall die, but the serpent says "you shall not surely die". It is an inversion of the Bible, and in my eyes, dangerous theology not grounded in the Bible. Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 16:08
  • @JesusIsComingSoon starting to agree with you my dear friend...
    – Dan
    Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 16:21

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