DID THE THIEF ON THE CROSS GO TO HEAVEN?

“One of the questions that has confused and divided Christians over the years is, “Where does the soul go after death? Does the soul sleep and remain with the body until the final resurrection on the Last Day? Or does the soul leave the body at death, to be with the Lord in Paradise (if Christian), or to a place of punishment (non-Christian)? The Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some evangelical Christians hold to the soul sleep view. Lutherans, Catholics, and most Protestants hold to the soul leaving the body view.”  Extracted from the above link.

This essay is an argument for believing in soul sleep, which Dr. Bucher thinks is in error.  To follow the argument you must open the link to his essay and read it, keep the page open so you can refer back to it as I progress in my rebuttals.   In my opinion, if you understand it one way or the other is not a damning condition.

In 2 Peter, Chapter 2 Peter is talking about the believer’s being led astray, verse 1 set the stage, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

So when Peter gets down to verse 4-9 he is still talking about giving the pearls to those who would lead the faithful astray, then in 4-11 “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;  And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;  And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:  But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.  Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.”

I ask what Noah was saved from other than the destruction of his life of which the other inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha had to suffer.  Noah was not whisked away to Paradise, rather he walked away from the destruction, giving his wife the opportunity to look back and be turned into a pillar of salt.  Bucher takes verses 8 and 9 to mean that the believer will, at death, will go to Paradise instead of the grave, “(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:”  I take it to mean that God will give His elect the power to not be led astray by the false prophets.

Then he uses this parable that Jesus told in Luke 16:22-31, “The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house- 28 for I have five brothers- so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'”

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man has been the foundation for many of the erroneous beliefs about “hell” within traditional Christianity. Some have viewed it not as a parable, but as a true story Christ told to give details about the punishment of sinners in hell. Yet a thorough, unbiased examination of this story will show that the generally accepted interpretations of this passage of Scripture are fallacious and misleading. In this article, we will go through the parable verse by verse to determine what Christ truly taught.

Those who insist that this is not a parable, but a true, literal story Christ told to describe the condition of the lost in hell must overlook several facts to arrive at that conclusion. First, Yeshua the Messiah never accuses the rich man of any sin. He is simply portrayed as a wealthy man who lived the good life. Furthermore, Lazarus is never proclaimed to be a righteous man. He is just one who had the misfortune to be poor and unable to care for himself. If this story is literal, then the logical implication is that all the rich are destined to burn in hell, while all the homeless and destitute will be saved. Does anyone believe this to be the case?  Best of Tentmaker:

If hell is truly as it is pictured in this story, then the saved will be able to view the lost who are burning there. Could anyone enjoy eternal existence if they were able to see lost friends, family, and acquaintances being incinerated in hell, yet never burning up? Additionally, if hell (as it is traditionally taught) is an abyss of fire and brimstone where sinners are tormented forever, does anyone really believe that one drop of water would relieve the pain and anguish of someone suffering in its flames?

These are just some of the difficulties we encounter when we try to make the account of Lazarus and the rich man literal, instead of realizing that it is a parable. If it is a true story, then all of the things Christ said must be factual. If all the points of the story are not literal, then we must view this tale as an analogy Jesus used to teach larger spiritual truth.

Then Dr. Bucher  brings up 2 Corinthians, Ch 5: 6-8, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  But if we look up in verse 1,  “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”  We see that it is Heaven that Paul is talking about, not Paradise.

Dr. Bucher then goes to Philippians 1:23–24, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” as proof.  Biblia.com puts it this way, “Conclusion: Those who desire that Christ may be magnified in their bodies have a holy indifference whether it be by life or death and may rejoice in all their tribulations as Christ’s witnesses, knowing that the Word of God cannot be Imprisoned and that though things do not turn to their comfort in this world, by God’s grace, they will be made to turn to the salvation of others.”  In other words, Paul is not struggling with whether to die and go to Paradise to be with Jesus, rather he is unconcerned if he lives or dies as long it is in service to our Lord.

He continues and says, “But in Philippians 1, Paul is describing “departing and being with Christ” before the resurrection, for there is no mention of the Last Day or the final resurrection in the immediate context.”

But Paul does not say how long  after his departure before he would 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. See 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Tim.4:7, 8.  If no-one goes to be with Christ till after the resurrection, how would it have been better for Paul, so far as he was concerned, to depart then, rather than live on?  As no cognizance is taken of the lapse of time, after a person becomes unconscious in death (Eccl. 9:5; Ps. 146:4), though 2,000 years should elapse before Paul’s resurrection, it would seem to him but the twinkling of an eye.

I will respond to his interpretation of Luke 23:43 and then terminate my discussion, bty I am not a Seventh Day Adventists.  Jesus said to the thief on the cross next to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”  This I have no bone to pick with, I believe that Jesus took him to Paradise with him.  But some don’t, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.”  See the difference in understanding the placements of the comas make?

1 Corinthians 15:3-4‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.’ So, according to this verse, Christ didn’t rise from the dead until the THIRD day after His death on the cross. Do you now see the problem with the statement: “TODAY you will be with Me in paradise”? Well, maybe Christ went to heaven when He died? The answer to that question is found in the verse in John 20:17”Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am NOT YET ascended to My Father.” So Jesus had risen from the dead on the third day after His death, and meets Mary and says to her, “I have NOT YET ascended to My Father”. So do we have a contradiction with what Jesus said to the thief and what actually happened? We know we cannot question the truthfulness of Christ, because He is without sin and perfect. So we must look for harmony between His statements.   Did the Thief on the Cross go to Heaven?

With this I bid you adieu, you will have to make up your own mind.

Rexx
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Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 09:16  Comments (7)  
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  1. WHO IS THE LIAR? BY STEVE FINNELL

    Who is the liar, God or the devil?

    Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,(NKJV)

    God cannot lie.

    John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

    The devil is the father of lies.

    When Jesus and the apostles spoke they were speaking the words of God the Father. John 14:10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority: but Father who dwells in Me does the works.(NKJV) John 12:49, John 7:16-18 John 16:5-14, John 14:24-26.

    Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved..(NKJV)

    Was Jesus being a liar when He said “He who believe will be saved?” Was Jesus being a liar when He said “He who is baptized will be saved?”

    Are those who say baptism is not essential for salvation telling the truth, lying, or simply misunderstanding the words of Jesus?

    1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (NKJV)

    Was the apostle Paul lying when he said some Christians will depart from the faith?

    Are those who claim “once saved always saved” telling the truth, lying, or just misinterpreting Scripture?

    1 Timothy 4:2-5 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy…..3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from food God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the the truth…..(NKJV)

    Was the apostle Paul falsifying God’s word by pointing out false doctrinal practices?

    Are those who forbid people to marry or impose dietary restriction, liars, telling the truth, or honestly misunderstanding the word of God?

    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

    Was the apostle Peter lying when he said repent for the remission of sins? Was the apostle Peter misconstruing the facts when he said be baptized for the forgiveness of sins? Was the apostles Peter in error when he said they would receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit after they received forgiveness from sins?

    Are those who claim that the 3000 were baptized because their sins were already forgiven, being dishonest, or are they honestly misinterpreting Scripture?

    Romans 10:9 that is you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.(NKJV)

    Was the apostle Paul guilty of being a prevaricator when he made as a provision of salvation, believing God raised Jesus from the dead.

    Are those who claim men today can be saved like the thief on the cross, even though the thief did not believe God raised Jesus from the dead, lairs, misinformed, or simply in error.

    If you were saved like the thief, then were saved without being baptized in water.

    If you were saved like the thief, then you are saved without believing God raised Jesus from the dead.

    If you were saved like the thief, then you were saved before the new covenant was in force.

    If you were saved like the thief, then you were saved before Jesus said he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Jesus said that after he was raised from the dead.

    IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD TO LIE. Jesus and the apostles were speaking for God the Father.

    If men contradict the words of Jesus and the apostles, then they are either liars, confused, honestly mistaken, in error, uninformed, accepting men opinions as fact or misinterpreting God’s word.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    Posted by Steve Finnell at 7:02 AM No comments:
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    • You ask a lot oif question that have been in my mind for a while now.

  2. ARE MEN SAVED BEFORE THEY PUT ON CHRIST? BY STEVE FINNELL

    Are men saved before they become part of the body of Christ? Are men saved prior to putting on Christ? Are men saved before they are baptized into Christ? The answer is no, no, no.

    Men do not put on Christ before they are baptized in water.

    Faith in Jesus precedes being baptized into Christ.
    Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved..(NKJV)

    Faith in Jesus precedes being baptized into Christ.
    Galatians 3:26-27 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (NKJV)

    Baptized into Christ
    Romans 6:3 Or do you know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (NKJV)

    Baptized into Christ
    Romans 6:3 Did you forget all of us became part of Christ Jesus when we were baptized? In our baptism we shared in his death. (ERV)

    Baptized into Christ
    Romans 6:3 Did you forget that all of us became part of Christ when we were baptized? We shared his death in our baptism. (NCV)

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    • Does it matter or not if the baptize is full immersion
      or not?

  3. It’s awesome designed for me to have a website, which is good designed for my know-how.
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  4. I WANT TO BE SAVED LIKE THE THIEF ON THE CROSS! BY STEVE FINNELL

    Those who choose to reject water baptism as being essential for salvation all want to point to the thief on the cross as their hope of dry cleaning away their sins.

    Did you ever notice these same people do not want to be saved without confessing Jesus as Lord and believing in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave? Why not?

    Romans 10:9-10 that if if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

    The thief on the cross was saved without believing God raised Jesus from the grave. Does that mean men today can fail to believe in the resurrection of Jesus and still be saved? Of course not. They also cannot be saved without being baptized in water.

    Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.

    Enoch went to be with God . Enoch did not believe Jesus was the Christ. Enoch did not confess Jesus as Lord. Enoch did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Can men today be saved like Enoch? Of course not, nor can they be saved like the thief on the cross.

    2 Kings 2:1-11And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven……11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

    Elijah failed to confess Jesus as Lord, and he did not believe that God had resurrected Jesus from the grave. Did he go to heaven? Yes. Can contemporary men be saved like Elijah? Of course not. There is not a whirlwind plan of salvation available under the new covenant, nor is there a water-less salvation available like the thief experienced.

    Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became ah heir of righteousness which is according to faith.

    Noah did not confess Jesus as the Christ. Noah did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. He did not accept Jesus as Lord. Did Noah become an heir of righteousness? Did his household receive salvation? Yes. Can men today be saved like Noah? Of course they cannot, nor can they be saved like the thief on the cross. There is not a Noah nor is there a thief plan of salvation available under the new covenant.

    Matthew 9:2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, :Take courage your sins are forgiven.”

    The paralytic’s sins were forgiven because of the faith of friends. He did not confess Jesus as Lord. He did not believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Was the paralytic’s sins forgiven? Yes. Can the men of the twenty-first century have their sins forgiven because of faith of friends? Of course they cannot. There is no provision under the new covenant to be save by the faith of friends. There is also no provision under the new covenant to be saved like the thief on the cross.

    Was the thief on the cross saved? Did Enoch go to be with God? Did Elijah go to heaven? Was Noah and his household saved? Was the paralytic’s sins forgiven? The answer is YES YES YES YES YES.

    Can men today be saved without confessing Jesus as Lord? Is salvation possible without believing that God raised Jesus from the dead? Are sins forgiven absent water baptism? Can men be saved without repentance? The answer is NO NO NO NO!

    WANTING TO BE SAVED LIKE THE THIEF ON THE CROSS DOES NOT MAKE IT A REALITY!

    THE THIEF WAS NOT SAVED UNDER THE NEW COVENANT!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    • The response I have for this is this question, is it of grace or of works? If it is by grace you have to do no act to receive your salvation, if it is of works, then your work (an action) is what saves you. If you must get yourself baptized to be saved, then you are equal with Jesus in getting that salvation.

      As Paul wrote in Romans 1:16-18, ” For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.”

      He did not say that it is written, “he through faith and gets baptized is righteous shall live.” It is true that in Acts 22:16, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” but he says in says in 1 Cor. 1:17, “that he was not sent to baptize but to preach the gospel.”

      I know that we will not come to a meeting of the minds over this since I am not settled in my own mind about it. How does the sprinkling of water as compared to complete immersion affect salvation? What of the people who accept Jesus, but die before they can get baptized?


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