Well qaz, I think it could go either way in terms of Ephesians 4 - don’t see it as too big a deal personally. I sort of settled with preterism as well, however the only thing that is making me question that very seriously is due to the point that Messianic Jews today still see it as a future worldwide event.
Don’t be too sure of that, qaz— though it really looks that way in reading modern translations. For example:
Luke 23:43 (ESV) And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
In the Greek manuscripts there was no comma before today. Indeed, there were no periods either or even spaces between words. What if we insert the comma after “today”?
Luke 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
With the comma in this position, it could be thousands of years later that the thief would be with Him in Paradise! Indeed, as I see it, the thief as well as the rest of us won’t be with Him until He raises us from the dead at the last day—the last day of this age—the day when Jesus returns.
Some people have objected to placing the comma after “today” saying, “We don’t talk that way, 'I say to you today.” Well… I would translate it as, “I’m telling you today.” And we do talk that way. Haven’t you sometimes heard a person say, “I’m telling you right now…” I have—many times.
I don’t believe in “soul sleep” either. I go much further. I don’t believe we exist after death until Jesus raises us from the dead. It seems that Paul didn’t either. He indicated that unless there is a resurrection, we might as well eat, drink, and be merry, for there would be no after-life for us. Here are Paul’s words:
(1 Cor 15:32) … If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
But, praise God, the dead are raised! Jesus will raise to life His disciples on the last day:
(John 6:40) For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
(John 6:44) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
(John 6:54) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Yea Paidion thats a great point. A concept that really should be taught to people nowadays. You could also see that in Matt 24:5 “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” and change it to "For many will come in my name claiming I am the messiah, and will deceive many. Think the translators got that one right though.
I’ve been thinking about the passage in question.
We know the circumstances - Jesus and others have been stripped naked, nailed hands and feet to the cross, knowing they were going to die later that day. They have been tortured; Jesus was pierced with a sword, face bloodied by the piercing crown of thorns jammed into his scalp, was being mocked and jeered at, felt abandoned by his God.
Then he says, in response to that thief:
a) I truly say to you that you will be with me in paradise, or
b) I truly say to you today, that you will be with me in paradise, or
c) I truly say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
In that context, it seems to me, (a) and (b) are essentially the same. No new information is added by the use of ‘today’ in (b). Everyone, Jesus and the others, and the people on the ground watching, KNEW it was ‘today’. I have trouble thinking that in (b) the ‘today’ in any way would give any comfort to the thief, who already knew it was ‘today’.
What other day could Jesus have spoken to the thief? Of course it was ‘today.’
OTOH, there is a HUGE difference in ©. It is equivalent to: “You will be with me in paradise 'today. '” THAT would be a more present, affirming and comforting promise to that thief - which I take it was the point.
In this, I think context rules the placement of that comma. © makes the most sense to me.
Sound logic Dave
I think the context probably gives greater weight to the standard reading and accepted understanding, as per…
The Greek word translated “when” or “whenever” is ὅταν hotan. Thus Jesus’ reassurance to the thief’s petition of… “whenever it is you come into your kingly reign…” has Jesus’ categorical response as… “today” i.e., henceforth or hereafter aka from now on etc. IOW… from that point forward this thief would know and be a part of all that was to be involved with Jesus’ ascending (Eph 4:8) to his throne of majesty.
And further to that… consider how unusual and unnatural these texts below read when applying this same peculiar rendering…
Lk 13:32 And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures; today and tomorrow and the third day I shall be perfected.’
Lk 19:9 And Jesus said to him today, “Salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.”
Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son today, I have begotten You”?
It neither logically nor linguistically works.
Good exegesis Daves.
True Dave. But then whether Joe says to Sam, “I’m telling you, this is the direction you must take” or “I’m telling you right now this is the direction you must take,” these two are also essentially the same.
So why would Joe utter the second rather than the first? For emphasis.
So Jesus may have meant your sentence a) and yet uttered b) for emphasis.
And yes, either one would be a huge difference from c)
You ask, "What other day could Jesus have spoken to the thief? Of course it was ‘today.’ "
Certainly! But that proves nothing. What other time than “right now” would Joe be telling Sam, “This is the direction you must take.” But yet he utters it for emphasis.
Perhaps so! BUT I think the context of the sayings as I laid it out has the strength of being clear and understandable, even logical.
I’m certainly not trying to sneak in ‘soul-sleep’ or any other doctrines - it just seems clear to me where that comma should go.
But it all came to me as I was having a cigar, so there’s that to consider also.
If I’m not mistaken, preterist Kurt Simmons thinks one of the millennia in Revelation was the saints in paradise until AD 70.
Thoughts? Is it possible to make bimillennial preterism universalistic? @davo what are your thoughts on bimillennialism?
Personally I see this as scripture doing its best with human language to describe the much more complex, and possibly non-linear, time experienced by God himself. If we try to describe eternal conditions in temporal language we get apparent contradictions.
This happens in our world too. If we get too far from the everyday we find things that look wrong but aren’t. A typical example is the mathematical theory of infinity, Initially it appears self contradictory but it is also a very powerful mathematical tool.
I think Eph 4 is about the resurrection of the physical body but the prior event “today you shall be with me in paradise” is not the resurrection but that at death the believers Spirit goes to heaven. Jesus expression “Truly truly i say to you” is similar to the OT expression “thus saith the Lord” and does not seem natural to add the word “today” to it as Paidion thinks.
I’m telling you today, it’s perfectly natural!
But “thus saith the Lord” or “truly/verily I say to you” were used many times and never with the word “today” added on.
Steve to Paidion.
Maybe I’m missing an “inside joke” somewhere!
Luke 23:43 New International Version
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Well the disagreement is where the comma would have gone if they had used commas back in the day!
I gave an explanation of the whole common-sense comma back up the page…
This thread’s bump has gotten me rethinking the issue. @davo do you think the “paradise” Jesus and the thief went to on Good Friday was sheol?
I couldn’t really say with any authority… we know sheol was the grave so yeah that’s a given they went there, from out of which Jesus was raised. There are certain Greco-Roman interpretations reflected in the NT but whether these are more than the typical understanding of those ancient times is anyone’s guess.
I for one, do. As I said elsewhere:
Again, the idea that Sheol was previously divided into two compartments before “the harrowing of hell” is used in the common interpretation of the story of the rich man and Lazarus:
Luke 16:24, 26
24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
I would suggest that all humans are currently in a temporal classroom, in one of three locations. We are each right now either,
- here on earth, not yet having died
- up in a part of heaven called “Paradise”
- down in Hades
We recall Paul was caught UP to Paradise:
2 Cor. 12:3-4
And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.