Luke 23:43 – The Malefactor on the Cross and Paradise

This scripture speaks about the dying moments of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Jesus was nailed to the cross along with 4 other Criminals or Malefactors.

This verse is often mis-quoted to prove that Christians go to heaven immediately after death, but this is an incorrect misinterpretation of the Bible.

The Bible can be confusing at times.

It is easy to misunderstand some of the scriptures, often because of the way they were originally written, or because of slight imperfections in their translations.

The idea of Christians going to heaven directly after death had to come from somewhere.

Let us explore one of those misunderstood verses in the Bible, that many preachers use to convince people that their loved ones are happily in heaven right now.

(Luke 23:42) And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

(Luke 23:43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

In Luke 23:43, the verse apparently says that Jesus is promising the Malefactor (one of the men nailed on the cross with him) that he will be together with him (Christ) in heaven, on that very same day.

I’ll explain why this interpretation is completely wrong without a doubt.

I need you to give your FULL Attention to be able to understand what I’m explaining here.

First, let’s look at the word “Paradise”.

Paradise was translated from the Greek word “Paradeisos“ from the Septuagint (Greek Bible Scriptures).

παράδεισος | paradeisos | par-ad’-i-sos

Of Oriental origin; a park, that is, (specifically) an Eden (place of future happiness, “paradise”): – paradise.

Paradeisos appears twenty-eight (28) times in the Septuagint.

21 of those appearances refer to the Garden of Eden.
7 of those appearances refer to an ordinary garden.

Paradeisos/Paradise refers to a place of beauty and delight upon earth.

It NEVER refers to the Heaven where Jesus Christ is seated with God right now.

Paradise which existed in Genesis 2 was lost in Genesis 3 by Satan’s intervention and man’s sin.

This same Paradise is not available today, nor at the time when Jesus was on this earth. It will only be restored after Revelation 22 is fulfilled, and the last Enemy, Death, is destroyed.

(Revelation 22:1) And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

(Revelation 22:2) In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

(Revelation 22:3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

(Revelation 22:14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

These verses talk about the restoration for Paradise, the Tree of life and all the beauty that was lost in Genesis 2.

So we can see here, that Jesus was not referring the Malefactor being in Paradise “Today”, because that place has not been accessible since Genesis 2.

Secondly, let’s look at the grammatical aspect of this verse.

As most people should know by now, the Bible is not without error.

This should not weaken our trust in the Bible; however, we should be aware that small and unintentional mistakes can be made, when translating the Bible from it’s original Hebrew and Greek literature, to other modern languages, such as English.

The original scriptures of the Bible did not have Punctuation marks. Punctuation was added by translators to structure the sentences to our way of writing.

Thus, punctuation marks could have easily been added in the wrong places, which in turn changes the meaning of a sentence very easily.

This is what the Greek New testament scriptures would have looked like:

(Luke 23:43) καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀμήν λέγω σοί σήμερον μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ

Greek language did not have punctuation in their writings.

This is how translators have added punctuations to that verse:
“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

It makes it seem that Jesus is saying the Malefactor will be with him in heaven that very same day.
We already know that this contradicts what the Bible says about Christ’s return for us.


So let’s try adding the punctuations differently:
Verily I say unto thee To day, shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

A simple repositioning of the comma changes the meaning of the sentence.

It now more accurately says:
“I say to you Today”
This simply adds emphasis and conviction to Jesus’ statement.
“I’m saying to you right now” – This is what Jesus means to say here.

(Deuteronomy 6:6) And these words, which I command thee this day…

(Deuteronomy 9:3) Understand therefore this day…

(Deuteronomy 11:2) And know ye this day…

This phrase of emphasis appears many times in the Bible.

With a better ordering of punctuation and words in the sentence, the format that most acturate translation from the original Greek Scriptures should read:

(Luke 23:43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee To day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.

This makes proper sense in regards to Jesus’ promise of his return for us.

Lastly, let’s look at what actually happened on that very day.

As most of us know, Jesus died on the cross that day.
Then, he was laid in a Tomb for 3 days and 3 nights; not so?

Jesus “passed away” that day, he was in gravedom.

(Matthew 12:40) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

He most certainly could not be in Heaven or Paradise on that day; don’t you agree?

So with this in mind, how could Jesus Christ, our loving saviour and the purest person that ever lived, tell a big LIE like that to the Malefactor?

How could he make a promise that they would both be in Heaven today, when Jesus already knew what God had planned for him? (which was to be in gravedom for 3 days)

Jesus is NOT a liar, Satan is a liar, and the father of lies, not our Christ.

So we have covered the facts:

1) Paradise has not been accessible since Genesis 2.

2) Incorrect punctuation by translators led to a change in the meaning of Luke 23:43.

3) Jesus died on that day (of Crucifixion) and was in gravedom for 3 days before going to Heaven. Thus he could not possibly be in Heaven or Paradise with the Malefactor on that day.


Therefore, without a doubt, we should be able to understand what Jesus was really saying on that dying moment on the Cross.

Verily I say unto thee To day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.

Jesus promised the Malefactor in that moment, that he will be with Jesus in Paradise one day, when that beautiful place is restored.

After Death, the final enemy is destroyed, they, together with us born-again Christians, will be able to enjoy eternal Paradise together.

Thanks for reading! 😀
God Bless You!
-Andrew Emmanuel Davis


  1. Rev. Mark Payne
    Apr 14, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this Bible truth. I hope many people read this! Keep up the good work.

    How about the fact that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday and not Friday?

    • Natalie van den Blink
      Jul 29, 2018

      Thank you for this insight, it definitely makes more since when you remove the comma, and therefore its a promise for a later time.

    • Jake Hoek
      Jan 9, 2022

      Jesus forgave the sin confessing malefactor his sins which he acknowledged by “we indeed justly” and gave him access into heaven. Christ has authority to do so for He paid for every ungodly sinner Rom. 4: 5, verse 4 tells us the destiny of the other. The fact is Christ saved the confessing sinner, not the one who assumed to be saved.

  2. Andrew Davis
    Jun 1, 2014

    Thanks very much for your encouragement, Rev. Mark! 🙂
    Yes, I do hope that many people read this very important teaching.

    I will look further into the exact day of the week that Jesus was Crucified, and will probably write about it as a separate teaching.

    God bless you! 😀
    -Andrew Davis

  3. Robin
    Jun 24, 2014

    Im confused? so what are you saying

  4. Andrew Davis
    Jun 27, 2014

    Hello Robin, thanks for reading! 🙂
    I’m not sure which part of this teaching you do not understand.

    The conclusion is:

    1) Paradise has not been accessible since Genesis 2.

    2) Incorrect punctuation by translators led to a change in the meaning of Luke 23:43.

    3) Jesus died on that day (of Crucifixion) and was in gravedom for 3 days before going to Heaven. Thus he could not possibly be in Heaven or Paradise with the Malefactor on that day.


    The popular belief amongst many Christians, is that when we die, we immediately go to heaven.

    Luke 23:43 is often used to “Prove” that; but this verse is mis-understood.

    To learn more about what happens after death, please read this teaching:

    God bless you! 😀

  5. Linda
    Mar 31, 2015

    What about the fact that our spirit leaves our body upon death, which to me
    indicates that Jesus’ Spirit went straight to God and Heaven while his body
    remained in the grave for 3 days. I do not believe that body and spirit together stay buried until the Lord’s return. Our spirit is alive while our body is dead; therefore, we will know that we will be joined with our body at the proper time. it makes no sense for our “alive” spirit to be in gravedom. I am sure our spirits will be active while waiting for Christ. I believe we will know who we are and be somehow involved spiritually while awaiting our Lord.

  6. Mku Mdo
    Jul 11, 2015

    Hello Andrew,

    I have discovered your site just today and find your teachings and interpretations extremely interesting and thoughtful. I notice that it has had no activity since 2014. Are you intending to continue? I would very much like to read more.

    Thank you for your time and efforts with this great website.

    God Bless

  7. stephanie midgett
    Mar 21, 2017

    Thank you so much for that clarification of the much miss interpreted passages of scripture.

  8. K.
    May 24, 2019

    Brother, even if Jesus said, “Today I am telling you, you will be with me in Paradise, that doesn’t mean the man and Jesus did not go.” In fact, within the context it seems very clear, but of course, I assert that in light of other scripture, which is how we are supposed to interpret scripture. You did not address what Paul taught, “Absent from the body is present with the LORD.”
    It seems that you are more grasping at straws to try to prove that Jesus did not immediately go to Paradise. That I will not attempt to address here. Thanks for posting, but please, reply and tell me why it is a concern to you that Jesus could not have been in paradise after He said, “Father, I commend my spirit into your hands.”?

  9. Tevita
    Jun 9, 2019

    Give me more
    I’m hungry
    Can I have pdf file
    Love it
    Thank God

  10. Reverend Mr. Black
    Oct 23, 2019


  11. Rosa
    Nov 13, 2019


  12. saundra deener
    Sep 18, 2020

    it was a promise given by Jesus to the malefactor because he asked for forgiveness and Jesus granted it immediately, the other malefactor did not.

  13. Jeff W
    Jun 12, 2021

    First, we note that every major Bible translation inserts the comma before the word today. Thus, the KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, and RSV all agree that Jesus was speaking of the time that the thief would enter paradise. The thief would be in paradise with Jesus on that very same day.

    Also, Jesus prefaced His response with the phrase, “I tell you the truth” (“Verily I say unto thee” in the KJV). Many scholars have noticed that Jesus uses this as a prefix phrase when He is about to say something that should be listened to with care. Seventy-six times in the New Testament, Jesus uses the phrase. Interestingly, no one but Jesus ever says it. When the Lord says “I tell you the truth,” He is affirming that what He is about to say is worthy of special attention. It was Jesus’ way of saying, “Listen up! What I’m about to say is very important and should be listened to carefully.” We’re too used to hearing the phrase to appreciate the astonishing authority it expresses and the often solemn nature of the announcement that follows. In every one of the 76 times Christ uses this introductory phrase, He simply says it and then makes a startling statement.

    It would be strange indeed if, in this one instance, Jesus departed from His normal way of making His signature statement by adding the word today to it. In every case where this sort of introductory phrase is used, Greek scholars add a punctuation break after the phrase in question and before the rest of the statement. So, the translators have it right. The comma in Luke 23:43 belongs where they put it.

  14. jake Hoek
    Jan 9, 2022

    Maybe you should compare scripture with scripture. Study Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus, verse 13 in John 3, tells us the Trinity remained unbroken while Christ was on earth. Showing us creatures God’s ways and thoughts are higher than yours and mine. Kind Regards. Jake.

  15. Linda C
    Apr 21, 2022

    Jesus didn’t go to paradise that day, in fact the only place he went to that day was the grave, and to witness to the spirits in hell. It’s very clear he didn’t go to paradise that day. So the comma MUST be in the wrong place. Notice the malefactor asked him about WHEN JESUS CAME INTO HIS KINGDOM (future time), not where he would go that very day. Jesus promised the malefactor, on this very day when all seems lost, you WILL be in the kingdom/ Paradise with me. Because of the malefactor’s believing, which will be reckoned unto him for righteousness. .At the judgment of the first resurrection, of the just.

  16. Born Again Baptist Believer
    Sep 10, 2022

    I am just concerned on how you said that the Bible is not without error. If the Bible has errors, then how would we know which teaching is right. Didn’t Jesus said in Matt 4:4, ” But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” There must be a Bible today, accessible to today’s generation that has “every word of God.” God promised to keep the Bible infallible in Ps 12:6-7, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (7) Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

    Why would God preserve an incorrect Bible? You are deceiving men and one day you will be accountable to God.

    My second concern is that you said that no where in the Scripture does paradise refer to heaven where Jesus is seated in the right hand of God. 2Co 12:2, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. (4) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

    The paradise in the verse refers to the third heaven.

    And then you said that the Bible when it was written did not have punctuations. Mt 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

    How about the jot and tittle? You dishonestly moved the comma to the right of the word “To day” in Luke 23:43, to justify your false doctrine of soul sleep.

    Hope everyone realizes that you are a false witness and not a true witness of Jesus Christ. The Bible has no errors. You are the one with errors.

  17. Misheel Enkhsaikhan
    May 24, 2023

    Hi, I totally agree with you! This is an amazing website. May God continue to bless you. Everything makes so much sense biblically since Jesus said many times when someone is died that the person is only “sleeping” and the parable of the ten virgins also use the metaphor of “sleep” quite literally translating into “death”.

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