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on the Cross
answering the petition of the thief on the cross, what promise did the
Saviour make him?
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt
thou be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43.
*** What noted
tree is in Paradise?
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Rev. 2:7.
*** By what
river is the tree of life?
“And he showed 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.” Rev. 22:1, 2.
NOTE. It will be
seen that the tree of life is not only in Paradise, but is on either side
of the river which proceeds out from the throne of God. This shows that
the tree of life and the throne of God are both in the same place. and
that Paradise is therefore the dwelling place of God.
*** How long
after Christ’s crucifixion, did His resurrection take place?
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that
He was buried, and that He rose again the third day.” 1 Cor.15:3, 4.
*** What did
He say to Mary on the day of His resurrection?
“Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended
to My Father.” John 20:17.
NOTE. This was the
third day after the promise to the thief, and yet Christ could say He had
not been to Paradise since His crucifixion. As no one can for a moment
question the truthfulness of the Saviour on either of these occasions, we
must look for harmony between His statement, though it may be at the
sacrifice of previously cherished opinions.
*** What was
really the thief’s request?
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest
into Thy kingdom.” Luke 23:42.
*** When had
Christ said that He would take His followers to Himself?
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and
receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:3.
*** When and
how will all the righteous, both living and dead, be with Christ?
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead
in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall
be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the
air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:16, 17.
NOTE. It is manifest
from these scriptures that the time for taking the righteous to dwell with
Christ is at His second coming, and not before. Then the penitent thief,
doubtless, will be remembered by the Lord, and given a place in His
*** Why did
Christ use the word “today” in His answer to the thief?
Simply to give emphasis to His promise, as that was the usual way of
doing so. See Zech. 9:12. Christ had been proclaiming that He would have a
kingdom (Luke 19:12-15), and when He was taken by the Jews to be
crucified, and was actually in the throes of death, His claim was
ridiculed (Matt. 27:29, 42), and even His disciples forsook Him. The
thief, notwithstanding all this, believed the Saviour’s words, and made
his dying request to be admitted into that kingdom when it should come. To
make His promise emphatic, the Saviour said: “Verily I say unto thee
today.” A simple change of the comma from before “today,” placing it immediately after that word, solves the whole difficulty that
may exist in any candid mind, and harmonizes all the scriptures on this
point; and this is allowable, since Inspiration has nothing to do with the
punctuation of the Scriptures. That is of human origin and modern
invention, and should never establish the meaning of any scripture,
contrary to its harmony with other passages.
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