To those who rely on the fact of the Thief was not baptised, to justify not being baptised themselves.
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” Luke 23:43.
The word paradise according to the Strong’s Concordance means a park, that is, (specifically) an Eden (place of future happiness, paradise) The root of the word meaning a park: – forest, orchard.
Lets us be rational and logical about this issue. Where did Christ go when He died? We know that He did not go to Heaven. There are those who say that He slept as if it were in the Earth. But in 1 Peter 3:18-19 “………being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” Also Ephesians 4:8 emphasis mine. “Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” We also know that when at the time of His death the sun went dark, and there was an earthquake that damaged the Temple; even ripping the curtain that divides off the area of the Holy of Holies. Of its power and magnitude we know that it was significant enough to even loosen the graves for by Scripture there were some who once being dead, rose from the grave; AFTER HIS RESURRECTION. Mat 27:53. “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
Christ was the first born of the dead(Col 1:18), and the first to enter into Heaven(John 3:13) in a new Spiritual body that had the form of human flesh. So the Thief was with Christ descending into Paradise, or a Paradise set aside in the Earth and presumably, he would have rose with the other Spirits as Christ did. The Thief being the last person to enter into this earthly pa radise, that would have contained the Patriarchs, the Prophets and all people deemed righteous by God. It is presumptuous to say for there are no scriptures, and speculative as it is, some believe that the Paradise that was in the earth was removed; and we can only assume the Spirits of just men made perfect by their belief in Jesus, would have transferred to Heaven, after Christ’s triumphant entrance.(Eph 4:8; Luke 4:18; Rom 3:25) It is interesting to note that the word paradise appears in Pauls experience(2 Cor 12:4) Paul was taken UP into paradise as opposed to Christ when He died, went DOWN!
(Heb 11) Faith is the substance of things not seen and believing in them as if they were so. The word substance according to Strong’s a setting under (support), that is, (figuratively) concretely essence, or abstractly assurance (objectively or subjectively): – confidence, confident, person, substance. It takes faith to believe, in fact you will never please Him without it. If we do anything that is not of faith then it is a sin, Rom 14:23. So Abraham pleased God before he was circumcised because his faith was accounted to him as righteousness.(Rom 4:3) We know that faith without works is dead?(James 2:20) So Abraham would have been walking in clear disobedience to God and His will for Abraham, if he had not carried through with being circumcised. The same as it is for God’s will that all men be saved(1 Tim 2:4) yet not all listen, but harden their hearts like the people in Moses generation who wandered in the dessert until an entire generation perished in the dessert(Heb 3).
What does the Bible say about baptism?
- Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:3-5. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” I just wish to make one simple point. When the foetus is in the womb he/she does not breath, but relies solely on the umbilical cord for his/her nutrients. But the foetus is safely buried or surrounded in amniotic fluid. How much water is needed to baptise you, in this analogy; is the total amount that completely covered you whilst in your mother’s womb.
- Christ clearly taught His disciples to baptise. “After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison. Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” John 3:22-27.
- Again Christ’s disciples are baptising. “Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John(though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples.)” John 4:1-2.
- One of Christ’s last commandments Mark 16:16. “He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
- The Apostles continued the tradition of baptising as recorded in Acts. The day of Pentecost Acts 2:41. Philip and the Ethiopian Acts 6:26-40. The House of Cornelius Acts 10:47-48. Johns Disciples converted by Paul. Acts 19:1-10.
- Eph 4:5. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism. [ One baptism = baptisma which is the Greek word for baptism; the root of this word being from the Greek word baptizō which = to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk) to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe, to overwhelm ] It is clearly not to sprinkle as an infant and take an confirmation class later in life. A lie from the Devil himself!
So what about the Thief?
- It was still the old covenant because Christ had not risen from the grave. So when He told the Thief he would be with Him in paradise. It was clearly in the earth, as opposed to Heaven. Christ did not go to Heaven when He died. He went to Hell or a part of Hell called paradise, reserved for the righteous. Eph 4:8-10.
- After Christ’s resurrection many saints came to life, their graves were open and they went and showed themselves to people. Most likely testifying of Christ and His power and victory over death. Mathew 27:52-53. Speculative was the Thief one of them?
- Speculative, but when Christ ascended into Heaven. Did these same spirits rise with Him? Some believe that is what is being spoken about in Eph 4:8.
What does this mean for us?
- We are justified by Christ and the keeping of His words. “If you love Me, keep My commandments…..” John 14:15.
- Christ was baptised Himself (Mat 3:13-15), He taught and commanded His Disciples to baptise.
- There is no justification for disobedience, why would you base your Spiritual walk on the life experience of the thief? Do we not look to Christ?
- Baptism by full immersion with water is a absurdly simple, Christ did it! What is your excuse? Consider Him, that through whom everything exists, who made the invisible things into the things that we see, that also glorifies and confirms His very existence. How He came and humbled Himself under the hand of an imperfect man, and showed such humility for the cause of righteousness and was baptised fully by water. So we too must after believing on Him walk into one baptism of water and be completely immersed in water.
- Sprinkling as a child, and Confirmation classes as an adult are not Biblical.
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