1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
Ensign, ‘The Things of God and Man,’ November 1977, p, 21; “You remember how the whole world believed that the thief upon the cross went to heaven with the Savior because He said: “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43.) Now the men of this world, understanding things according to man’s wisdom, thought he went to heaven. But according to divine truth, he went only to paradise where the Savior arranged for the gospel to be preached to him to prepare him so that he would be worthy to stand with the sanctified and the redeemed of his people.” – LeGrand Richards
Luke 23:43; “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
The Lord tells us in His word that scripture is inspired of Him 2 Timothy 3:16, meaning the words on that page are anything but the words of mankind!
When we take the time to study the meaning of specific words we’ll find any confusion in our minds is easily swept away. The transliteration for ‘paradise’ is ‘paradeisos’, and is a reference to Eden, a place of future happiness. It’s the same word used in Revelation 2:7, Genesis 2:15, Song of Solomon 4:13, Ecclesiastes 2:5, and Nehemiah 2:8.
As we’re all aware, no one goes to paradise unless they are righteous, so the idea Jesus went and made arrangements for the guy to hear the gospel preached is just plain silly! Ellicott’s commentary has a concise, yet thorough explanation of what Jesus meant when He spoke to the thief hanging next to Him. The thief was obviously considered to have overcome, thus granting him salvation.
“…as a synonym for the eternal blessedness of the righteous, presenting a vivid contrast to the foul horrors of Gehenna. It is remarkable, however, that this is the one occasion on which the word appears as part of our Lord’s teaching. In the mystical language of the Apocalypse, “the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God,” is one of the promises to “him that overcometh” (Revelation 2:7).
In this instance we may trace in our Lord’s use of the word a subtle tenderness of sympathy. What He said in answer to the penitent’s prayer was, in part, a contrast to it, in part, its most complete fulfilment. Not in the far-off “Coming,” but that very day…”