"Today" in paradeisos



Another text commonly misunderstood is when Jesus told the man on the cross, "Today, you will be with me in Paradise". Is he referring to being in “heaven” as traditionally taught?
There are a few possibilities, but two likely explanations to this passage outside of traditional thought which tends to favor an inexcusable and unsubstantiated doctrine.
As I have stressed on numerous occasions, context is very important and sets the tone for what is happening and being said. The passage is found in Luke 23. In the story being told, the one “thief” (another subject) is rebuking the other on Jesus behalf, and then at the beginning of his interaction with Jesus says (vs 42), “(Jesus), remember me (lord) when you come as King.” With everything we know from the testimony and the “word of the Lord” to the prophets, what day will Jesus (son of man, messiah) come as king? At the resurrection, the coming kingdom, the great and awesome day of the Lord, the last day, or in Greek, parousia. This is the context of the man’s request; the day Jesus comes as King.  
The alternative explanations of this passage, based in the context involve the word “today”. Firstly, in the Greek there is very little punctuation used, so it is a point of disagreement in the original text because it is the translator that chooses one rendering over another. It could easily enough be translated “I am telling you today (meaning on this very day; now, at this moment) that you will be with me in Gan-Eden” (paradise [of God], a future day)(Gan-Eden used of the age to come). Another way it could be said, I tell you today, that you will be with me then (when I come into my Kingdom, paradeisos). The man already expressed to be remembered when Jesus “comes as King.” This is one way that it can be examined.
 The second possible explanation involving “today” is that it can also be rendered as “this day”, but in a different way. The man asked to be remembered “when Jesus comes as king,” so Jesus answers “this day,” what day? He is speaking of the day the “thief” just referenced, the “last day” according to the scriptures teaching of the resurrection. So it could easily also be translated, “I promise that “this day” [of which you spoke; when I come into my Kingdom] you will be with me”.
There would be little room to read a heaven doctrine into this passage. Many of the interpretations of scripture have been given certain “sways” to bend in favor of specific doctrines. It has been years of reading a bias into these passages that make it difficult.

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