Saturday, 16 February 2013
Contradictions In The Bible 6 :
How could the dying thief be with Christ in paradise on the day of his death?
Luke 23:43 records Christ's promise to the repentant thief who hung on an adjacent cross: "Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise." But was it not until the following Monday that Christ rose from the grave and ascended to heaven? If Christ Himself was not in paradise until Sunday, how could the repentant thief have been there with him? The answer lies in the location of "paradise" on Good Friday.
Apparently paradise was not exalted to heaven until Easter Day. Jesus apparently refers to it in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus as "Abraham's Bosom," to which the godly beggar Lazarus was carried by the angels after his decease (Luke 16:19-31). Thus "Abraham's Bosom" referred to the place where the souls of the redeemed waited till the day of Christ's resurrection. Presumably this was the same place as paradise. It was not yet lifted up to heaven but it may well have been a section of hades (Heb. se'ol), reserved for believers who had died in the faith but who would not be admitted into the glorious presence of God in heaven until the price of redemption had been actually paid on Calvary.
Doubtless it was to the infernal paradise that the souls of Jesus and the repentant thief
repaired after they each died on Friday afternoon. But then on Easter Sunday, after the risen Christ had first appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:17) and her two companions (Matt. 28:9), presumably He then took up with Him to glory all the inhabitants of infernal paradise (including Abraham, Lazarus, and the repentant thief). We read in Ephesians 4:8 concerning Christ: "Ascending on high, He led captivity captive; He gave gifts unto men." Verse 9 continues: " But what does `He ascended' mean but that he also descended to the lowest parts of the earth?"--i.e., to hades. Verse 10 adds: "He who descended is the same as He who ascended above all the heavens." Presumably He led the whole band of liberated captives from hades (i.e., the whole population of preresurrection paradise) up to the glory of the highest heaven, the abode of the Triune God.
Gleason L Archer