This beautiful valley of Jezreel/Megiddo will never see an end-time battle
Last-edit: March 20 2018
In defence of the sidelined God Jehovah, Creator of the Universe and Father of Humanity
To Paradise or not to Paradise, that is the question!
During a public address a JW speaker referred to Jesus' brief social interaction with the one of his dying stakeholder thieves who had accepted him as his Messiah during which Jesus responded with: And he said unto him––Verily, I say unto thee this day: With me, shalt thou be in Paradise. Rotherham 1902
Only this translation, the NWT and the Diaglot connect today with the utterance rather than with that alleged paradisiacal event. Almost all others shift the comma to their heart's desire.
Jesus and the thief died and stayed that way. The question is: What and where is that Paradise?
Here are the only NT occurrences:
Luke 23:43 . . .” And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” <3857>. NWT
2 Corinthians 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise <3857>, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. KJV
Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise <3857> of God. KJV
The word Paradise was imported from the world power Greece had supplanted: Persia, and simply means an elevated garden for produce and flowers. Nonetheless, Eden was not a or the paradise, but just a sample garden for Adam and Eve to contemplate as a pattern.
All relationships between humans and everyone/thing else will forever depend on learned behaviour willingly engaged in to facilitate a peaceful paradise-like environment at every level. It will be perfect in that those badly behaved and unwilling to modify that, will eventually be bereft of their tenure as earth's citizens and their lives.
That criteria, however, will not apply to the only real, yet virtual paradise of
Revelation 2:7, which is the heavenly abode of the congregation of the 144000 comprising
Jehovah's firstborn in their final edition as the city of heavenly Jerusalem -Hebrews
Revelation 21 and 22.
The difficulty here, is to determine if Jesus' statement means the thief was the very first one to be chosen and sanctified well before the 120 in the upper room.
Question: did that thief die after Jesus or before?
As it turned out, Jesus had died before both thieves who needed to have their legs broken to hasten their deaths, while Jesus had not since he was already dead.
But first a little background on the thief: He was an Israelite, a Jew. Although He had been baptised into Moses as part of the whole nation at the Exodus: 1 Corinthians 10:1-2, . . . our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; but not into Israel's Messiah or Christ: Jesus.
Since Israel had now been redeemed at the death of Jesus their final Atonement sacrifice and second Passover lamb, the believing thief, having now also died in Jesus, may very well have become the very first spirit anointed, sanctified sheep of the little flock to be given the Kingdom, if it were not for the prerequisite Holy Spirit to anoint him unavailable until it was sent some 50 days later.
Baptism was a necessary requirement for an Israelite formerly under the law to publicly demonstrate his individual regret, sorrow and repentance even as Jesus did as he substituted for the unrepentant law breaker Israel who were even granted repentance by God; a thing unheard of in any judicial system.
The repentant thief beside Jesus, although forgiven and redeemed in Jesus as part of the whole nation, could not possibly have undergone a baptism of repentance, stuck as he was on the executionary stake. All he could do was publicly declare his repentant faith in Christ.
That baptism is not an essential prerequisite is evident from the Roman Centurion's anointing with Holy Spirit without first being baptized. Not being an Israelite, he had no sins against the Law to be forgiven and to be baptized for. As Paul says in Romans 5: 13 in context:
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned–– 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
Paul said this in concert with the already established principle, in his own words Romans 4:15:
15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law* there is no transgression*.
* from God
* against God, resulting in a debt to God
and that in consequence
1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. esv
Finally, in view of the above, it is highly unlikely that the repentant criminal will ever reign in the 1000 year kingdom alongside his redeemer Christ as an associate King in a heavenly paradise.
Living indefinitely under the benign rule of that kingdom will nonetheless allow him to share in the ultimate fulfilment of Jehovah's inimitable purpose for humanity originally assigned to Adam and Eve and extend his life in an earthly paradise forever -Genesis 1:26-28.