Paul wrote:The fact that Jesus would ascend to the Father after His bodily ressurection, doesn't have anything to do with His going to heaven or not before His resurrection. Ofcourse paradise is heaven, and the Lord said that to comfort the thief on the cross. Quite a cruel thing to do, if he would be lost after all.
I've heard your argument once before that the thief supposedly wasn't saved. It is usually people that are strong advocates of work-righteousness that are really in the dark about the grace of God that a sinner is actually saved by faith in Jesus Christ - not by works lest any man should boast - as this thief was.
well as I've stated, I disagree that paradise is Heaven but I'm quite open to being wrong since it really doesn't matter that much. As for the Thief, I wouldn't say he got a one way ticket to heaven but he most certainly was given a chance or was flat out saved. I was not in the slightest saying Jesus lied or that the thief was doomed. As I attempted to point out, the thief condemned himself as worthy of punishment and then stated a purity of faith not with salvation in mind. He had repented from his sins as well. The other thief might have believed if he got something out of it...
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
Two things, this doesn't say when Jesus ascended but that he took captives with Him from the lower parts of the earth.
1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water
Again Jesus preached/proclaimed to captives
Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
A thought question for you, Was the rich man already judged? or was he waiting for judgment next to the lake of fire?
Was Abraham's bosom Heaven? or maybe paradise? Was hell a place of torment or compartmentalized into two sections?
This stuff really isn't a big deal to us one way or another. I believe that death bed confessions are the riskiest way to be saved and I would be skeptical you can live your life rejecting God and at the end decide that God was right and make it. That in my mind would show a belief in God and a desire to live for yourself rather then God. The judgment of God is just and I truly cannot say they are not saved but I would argue the Bible is full of teachings that suggest rebellion is a bad plan for salvation.