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Luke Chapter 23 Verse 43
From EJ Hill & Friends

HILL'S BIBLE COMMENTARY
on Digg
LUKE CHAPTER 23 VERSE 43
by EJ Hill (1977-) submit

Significance
THERE EXISTS TWO VIEWS SURROUNDING LUKE CHAPTER 23 VERSE 43: THE UNIVERSALIST- AND
THE CONDITIONALIST VIEW.

The Universalist View

Those that hold to Universal Immortality and/or Particular Judgment, on the one hand, tend to place a
comma BEFORE the reference to "today"; reading or translating Lk. 23v43 as "Verily I say unto
you, TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE" -- in so doing (if and when so rendered), the
passage seem to indicate that both, Jesus and the thief, THAT VERY DAY, would enter Paradise: "...
implying, evidently, that it would be immediately at death." [4]

The Conditionalist View

Those that hold to Psychopannychism, on the other hand, tend to place a comma AFTER the
reference to "today"; reading or translating Lk. 23v43 as "Verily I say unto you today, YOU WILL BE
WITH ME IN PARADISE" -- in so doing, when so rendered, the passage seem to indicate that the
thief would, EVENTUALLY, be with Christ in Paradise.

So which is correct?

Transliteration
The 1530 Tyndale Bible

"And Iesus sayde vnto him: VERELY I SAYE VNTO THE TO DAYE SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN
PARADYSE." (Lk. 23v43, TB)

The 1864 Emphatic Diaglott

"And said to him the Jesus: INDEED I SAY TO THEE TO-DAY, WITH ME THOU SHALT BE IN
THE PARADISE." (Lk. 23v43, TED)

The 1902 Rotherham Emphasized Bible

"And he said unto him—Verily, I SAY UNTO THEE THIS DAY: WITH ME, SHALT THOU BE IN
PARADISE." (Lk. 23v43, EBR)

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Die 1933 Afrikaanse Vertaling van die Bybel

"En Jesus antwoord him: Voorwaar EK SE VIR JOU, VANDAG SAL JY SAAM MET MY IN DIE
PARADYS WEES." (Lk. 23v43, 1933AV, p.104)

The 1976 Contemporary English Version of the Bible

"Jesus replied, 'I promise that TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE." (Lk. 23v43, CEV,
p.1274)

The Authorized King James Version of the Bible

"And Jesus said unto him, VERILY I SAY UNTO THEE, TO DAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN
PARADISE." (Lk. 23v43, AKJV, p.466)

The Scriptures

"And YHVH said to him, 'Truly, I SAY TO YOU TODAY,X YOU SHALL BE WITH ME IN
PARADISE." (Lk. 23v43, TS, p.1014)

Commentary
Adam Clarke (1760/62-1832)

Verse 43. To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.] Marcion and the Manichees are reported to
have left this verse out of their copies of this evangelist. This saying of our Lord is JUSTLY
CONSIDERED AS A STRONG PROOF OF THE IMMATERIALITY OF THE SOUL; and IT IS NO
WONDER THAT THOSE WHO HAVE EMBRACED THE CONTRARY OPINION SHOULD
ENDEAVOR TO EXPLAIN AWAY THIS MEANING. IN ORDER TO DO THIS, A COMMA IS
PLACED AFTER σηµερον, TO-DAY, and then our Lord is supposed to have meant, 'Thou shalt be
with me after the resurrection I tell thee this, TO-DAY.' I am sorry to find men-of great learning
and abilities attempting to support THIS MOST FEEBLE AND WORTHLESS CRITICISM. Such
support a good cause cannot need; and, in my opinion, even a bad cause must be discredited by it.

In paradise. The garden of Eden, mentioned Ge 2:8 , is also called, from the Septuagint, the garden
of Paradise. The word Eden, signifies pleasure and delight. Several places were thus called; see Ge
4:16 ; 2Ki 19:12 ; Isa 37:12 ; Eze 27:23 ; and Am 1:5 ; and such places probably had this name
from their fertility, pleasant situation, Septuagint have viewed Ge 2:8 . as they render the passage
thus: εφυτευσενοθεοςπαραδεισονενεδεµ, God planted a paradise in Eden. Hence the word has been
transplanted into the New Testament; and is used to signify a place of exquisite pleasure and
delight. From this the ancient heathens borrowed their ideas of the gardens of the Hesperides,
where the trees bore golden fruit; and the gardens of Adonis, a word which is evidently derived
from the Hebrew Eden: and hence the origin of sacred groves, gardens, and other enclosures
dedicated to purposes of devotion, some comparatively innocent, others impure. The word paradise
is not Greek, but is of Asiatic origin. In Arabic and Persian it signifies a garden, a vineyard, and
also the place of the blessed. In the Kushuf ul Loghat, a very celebrated Persian dictionary, the
[Arabic] Jenet al Ferdoos, Garden of Paradise, is said to have been 'created by God out of light,
and that the prophets and wise men ascend thither.'

Paradise was, in the beginning, the habitation of man in his state of innocence, in which he enjoyed

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that presence of his Maker which constituted his supreme happiness. Our Lord's words intimate that
this penitent should be immediately taken to the abode of the spirits of the just, where he should
enjoy the presence and approbation of the Most High. In the Institutes of Menu, chap.O Economics,
Inst. 243, are the following words: 'A man habitually pious, whose offences have been expiated, is
instantly conveyed, after death, to the higher world, with a radiant form, and a body of ethereal
substance.' The state of the blessed is certainly what our Lord here means: in what the locality of that
state consists we know not. The Jews share a multitude of fables on the subject.

Dr. Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

"Verse 43. TODAY, future period when the Messiah would rise or would return; but JESUS TOLD
HIM THAT HIS PRAYER WOULD BE ANSWERED THAT VERY DAY, IMPLYING, EVIDENTLY,
THAT IT WOULD BE IMMEDIATELY AT DEATH. This is the more remarkable, as those who were
crucified commonly lingered for several days on the cross before they died; but JESUS FORESAW
THAT MEASURES WOULD BE TAKEN TO HASTEN THEIR DEATH, AND ASSURED HIM THAT
THAT DAY HE SHOULD RECEIVE AN ANSWER TO HIS PRAYER AND BE WITH HIM IN HIS
KINGDOM.

Paradise. This is a word of Persian origin, and means a garden, particularly a garden of pleasure,
filled with trees, and shrubs, and fountains, and flowers. In hot climates such gardens were
peculiarly pleasant, and hence they were attached to the mansions of the rich and to the palaces of
princes. The word came thus to denote any place of happiness, and was used particularly to denotes
the abodes of the blessed in another world. The Romans spoke of their Elysium, and the Greeks of
the gardens of Hesperides, where the trees bore golden fruit. The garden of Eden means, also, the
garden of pleasure, and in Gen 2:8 the Septuagint renders the word Eden by Paradise. Hence this
name in the Scriptures comes to denote the abodes of the blessed in the other world. 2Cor 12:4 .
The Jews supposed that the souls of the righteous would be received into such a place, and those of
the wicked cast down to Gehenna until the time of the judgment. They had many fables about this
state which it is unnecessary to repeat. THE PLAIN MEANING OF THE PASSAGE IS,

"TO-DAY THOU SHALT BE MADE HAPPY, OR BE RECEIVED TO A STATE OF BLESSEDNESS
WITH ME AFTER DEATH."

It is to be remarked that Christ says nothing about the p1ace where it should be, nor of the
condition of those there, excepting that it is a place of blessedness, AND THAT ITS HAPPINESS IS
TO COMMENCE IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH (see also Php 1:23 ); but from the narrative we
may learn--

1st. That THE SOUL WILL EXIST SEPARATELY FROM THE BODY; FOR, WHILE THE THIEF
AND THE SAVIOUR WOULD BE IN PARADISE, THEIR BODIES WOULD BE ON THE CROSS OR
IN THE GRAVE.

2nd. That IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH -- THE SAME DAY -- THE SOULS OF THE
RIGHTEOUS WILL BE MADE HAPPY. They will feel that they are secure; they will be received
among the just; and they will have the assurance of a glorious immortality.

3rd. That state will differ from the condition of the wicked. The promise was made to but one on the
cross, and there is no evidence whatever that the other entered there. See also the parable of the
rich man and Lazarus, Lk 16:19-31.

4th. It is the chief glory of this state and of heaven to be permitted to see Jesus Christ and to be with
him: 'Thou shalt be with me.' 'I desire to depart and to be with Christ,' Php 1:23, Rev 21:23, 5:9-14."

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[4]

Keith Walker

"The Watchtower (WT) teaches that the soul is not immortal so that when a person dies, their soul is
extinguished like the flame of a snuffed candle. Thus, when Jesus and the two thieves died, they
ceased to exist. IF JESUS WAS TELLING THE THIEF THAT HE WOULD BE WITH HIM "TODAY",
THEN THAT WOULD PROVE THAT SOULS ARE INDEED IMMORTAL. ONE LITTLE
PUNCTUATION MARK PREVENTS JW’S FROM ACCEPTING THIS BIBLICAL TRUTH." [3]

Consummation
Derivatives

Firstly, we should take into consideration that LUKE CHAPTER 23 VERSE 43 WERE
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN GREEK, NOT ENGLISH - CONTAINING NO PUNCTUATION
MARKS.

Punctuation

Secondly, we should realize that THERE WERE NO FORM OF GREEK PUNCTUATION
UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED AMONG THE ANCIENT GREEKS. WHERE GREEK TEXTS
WERE TO BE PUNCTUATED was a subject of debate in ancient Greek schools, where such
scholars as Clement of Alexandria and Origen received their literary training. This was part of the
course of instruction known as TO MEQODIKON (as distinguished from TO HISTORIKON, the
assemblage of explanatory comments in order to illuminate the content and reference of the text
under scrutiny).

Keeping the above in mind, the text could be read as, EITHER "I SAY UNTO YOU, TODAY YOU
SHALL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE" OR "I SAY UNTO YOU TODAY, YOU SHALL BE WITH ME
IN PARADISE".

Therefore, FROM PUNCTUATION ALONE, WE'D BE HARD-PRESSED IN ESTABLISHING
EITHER VIEW.

Translation

Thirdly, bearing in mind that historically there existed no form of Greek punctuation universally
recognized among the Greeks - one would have to conclude, that WHERE THE COMMA WERE
PLACED IN A PARTICULAR TRANSLATION, WERE BY-AND-LARGE INFLUENCED BY
THE THEOLOGICAL LEANINGS OF THOSE INVOLVED IN ITS TRANSLATION.

It is also interesting to note, that, while MOST OF THE MODERN TRANSLATIONS (1933AV,
AKJV and CEV) PLACED THE COMMA BEFORE THE WORD "TODAY", WITH THE
EXCEPTION OF THE MESSIANIC JEWISH (TS) AND EMPHATIC (EBR and TED) VERSIONS,
WHICH RENDERS THE COMMA AFTER "TODAY"; OLDER TRANSLATIONS (TB) PROVIDE
NO COMMA AT ALL.

Language

As always, Scripture Illuminates Scripture - the Bible explains itself. Unlike the Universalists, WE

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DON'T ASSUME ANYTHING.

As the Messianic Jewish Institute for Scripture Research explains, Lk. 23v43 MAKES USE OF "A
HEBREW IDIOM, A SOLEMN IDIOM, USED FOR GREATER EMPHASIS, USED NO LESS THAN
42 TIMES IN THE BOOK OF DEBARIM!" [1] (a.k.a Deuteronomy).

Distortion

In defiance of the above: Albert Barnes (1798-1870) still habituate "THE PLAIN MEANING OF THE
PASSAGE" as being "TO-DAY THOU SHALT BE MADE HAPPY, OR BE RECEIVED TO A STATE
OF BLESSEDNESS WITH ME AFTER DEATH"; claiming that "JESUS FORESAW THAT
MEASURES WOULD BE TAKEN TO HASTEN THEIR DEATH, AND ASSURED HIM THAT THAT
DAY HE SHOULD RECEIVE AN ANSWER TO HIS PRAYER AND BE WITH HIM IN HIS
KINGDOM" Likewise, Keith Walker also conclude that "JESUS WAS TELLING THE THIEF THAT
HE WOULD BE WITH HIM TODAY" [3]

Timeframe

The Universalist View has a number of exegetical problems: If, as they contend, Jesus ascended into
Heaven the same day He died - HOW COULD HE HAVE BEEN "IN THE HEART OF THE
EARTH" FOR "THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS"? (Mt. 12v40, 27v63; Mk. 8v31) Furthermore...
WHY, AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, DID HE SAY HE HASN'T "YET ASCENDED TO" HIS
FATHER IN HEAVEN? (Jn. 20v17)

Immortality

Lk. 23v43 are often quoted in defense of Universal Immortality:

Amongst these, Adam Clarke (1760/62-1832) sought to establish from Lk. 23v43 "A STRONG
PROOF OF THE IMMATERIALITY OF THE SOUL". Likewise, Keith Walker also claim Lk. 23v43
as proof "THAT SOULS ARE INDEED IMMORTAL" [3].

Clarke even goes as far as to claim that, "IT IS NO WONDER THAT THOSE WHO HAVE
EMBRACED THE CONTRARY OPINION SHOULD ENDEAVOR TO EXPLAIN AWAY THIS
MEANING" by placing a comma "AFTER σηµερον, TO-DAY".

It seems, however, that it is Clarke himself, that fails miserably in establishing any "STRONG PROOF
OF THE IMMATERIALITY OF THE SOUL" in placing a comma BEFORE ,σηµερον TO-DAY.

Scripture References

"{13} O THAT THOU WOULDEST HIDE ME IN THE GRAVE, that Thou keep me secret, until
Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and REMEMBER ME! {14} IF A
MAN DIE, SHALL HE LIVE AGAIN? ALL THE DAYS OF MY APPOINTED TIME WILL I WAIT,
TILL MY CHANGE COME." (Job 14v13-14, AKJV, p.248)

"{39} But He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a
sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: {40} For AS JONAS

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WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE WHALE'S BELLY; SO SHALL THE SON OF
MAN BE THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH." (Mt. 12v39-40,
AKJV, p.427)

"And NO MAN HATH ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN, BUT HE THAT CAME DOWN FROM
HEAVEN, even the Son of man which is in heaven." (Jn. 3v13, AKJV, p.468)

"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I AM NOT YET ASCENDED TO MY FATHER: but go to
My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and
your God." (Jn. 20v17, AKJV, p.479) ref. Jn. 20v17

"For DAVID IS NOT ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto
my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, ..." (Acts 2v34, AKJV, p.481)

Footnotes
X
"This is a Hebrew idiom, a solemn idiom, used for greater emphasis, used no less than 42 times in the book of
Debarim!" [1] See, Deut. 4v4, v8, v39-40, 5v1, 6v6, 7v11, 8v1, v11, v18-19, 10v13, v15, 11v2, v8, v13, v26-28,
v32, 12v8, 13v18, 15v5, v15, 19v9, 26v3, v18, 27v4, v10, 28v1, v13-15, 29v12-13, v18, 30v2, v8, v11, v15-16,
v18-19, 32v46

Bibliography
1
Footnote concerning Lk. 23v43: The Scriptures (Northriding: Institute for Scripture Research Pty Ltd, P.O.
Box 1830, 2162, South Africa, 1993 [1998, 2000]), p.1014. http://www.messianic.co.za/ ISBN 0-620-22490-8
2
The Comma of Luke 23:43. (19/06/2008) http://www.wcg.org/lit/prophecy/comma.htm
3
Keith Walker; Paradise and Punctuation (Evidence Ministries). (15/05/2008) [http://www.happyxwitness.com
/jehovahswitnesses.php?viewarticle=32 http://www.happyxwitness.com/jehovahswitnesses.php?viewarticle=32]
4
Dr. Albert Barnes; "Luke 23:43": Notes on the Bible (GnomeSword).

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