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What did Jesus mean by “Today you will be with Me in Paradise”

Jesus was crucified between two thieves, each represented mankind, one repented the other did not. One would receive a promise for his repentance, the other did not. Luke 23:42 One thief asked  "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." While hanging on the Roman cross Jesus said to the one who repented, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Lk. 23:43)

“today- Strongs Concordance 4594 semeron neuter (as adverb) of a presumed compound of the art. 3588 and 2250; on the (i.e. this) day (or night current or just passed); generally, now (i.e. at present, hitherto): KJV-- this (to-) day.

Same word used in Matt 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.” And in Luke 2:11 "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Both meaning that particular day.

Clearly it means the same day. Meaning this same or very day the thief will be with Jesus. Not only does he say this day, but says he will be WITH Him in PARADISE. And the only way to be there was to die.

The Jews did not let anyone continue to hang on the Sabbath (Passover) they took them down. John 19:31-33 “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.

Jesus died before the thieves did, so he was already in paradise but they all died the same day. One of the thieves who asked to be with him in his kingdom was promised to be with him, the other was not promised this.  Jesus told the one thief who repented his request would be answered on that day, at his death.

From Jesus' teaching we can be assured there was existence after death, a conscious fellowship with him in Paradise.

Paradise at this time was still one of the two compartments inside the earth but when Jesus ascended to heaven 50 days after the location of paradise was permanently moved to where he would be.

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