NIV Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."

NIV Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

Is the paradise located in the lower regions of the earth?

  • 3
    This looks like a theology question, not a textual exegesis question.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 7:41
  • Note that this question actually had four unanimous Close votes cast against it, which were eventually aged away. Actioned to effect this prior verdict.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 0:02

7 Answers 7


The question is based on the assumption that the passage is correctly punctuated. Let us examine this.

Luke 23:43 - “I tell you the truth today you will be with me in paradise.” The original Greek text contained no punctuation so that the adverb of time, (σήμερον semeron), “today”, could equally modify “I tell” (lego), or, “you will be” (ese). Therefore, on the basis of the Greek text and syntax of this verse alone, it is impossible to determine where the comma (if any) should be placed.

However, it is possible to examine the author, Luke, and how he used the adverb σήμερον before or after the verb it modifies. This adverb occurs just 20 times in Luke and Acts. In 14 of those, the adverb occurs AFTER the verb (Luke 2:11, 5:26, 12:28, 13:32, 33, 22:34, 61, Acts 19:40, 20:26, 22:3, 24:21, 26:2, 29, 27:33). Of the remaining cases where the adverb precedes the verb, one is a quotation from Ps 2:7 (Acts 13:33), and in three cases, σήμερον is preceded by a conjunction (Luke 4:21, 19:5, 6) which makes such a construction inevitable. The single case, Acts 4:9, where the adverb precedes the verb. Thus, placing the adverb AFTER the verb is entirely in keeping with Luke’s literary style.

In fact, Luke employs a common Hebrew idiom of adding “today” after a verb to add emphasis, and solemnity. For example: Deut 4:1 – “I teach you today”; Deut 11:26 – “I set before you today”; Deut 28:13 – “I give you today”; Deut 6:6, 7:11, 12:23 – “I command you today”; Deut 8:19 – “I testify against you today”; Deut 30:18 – “declare to you today”; etc. See also Deut 4:26, 30:19, 32:36, Acts 20:26, 26:2, etc. Thus, Luke’s style is consonant with Biblical literary style.

The question of the placement of the above comma can also be resolved by the semantics rather than the syntax of the passage. If the comma is placed before “today” (eg, as in most versions), then Jesus said that very day the two would share the joys of paradise. However, if it is placed after “today”, then Jesus employs a construction, which adds emphasis to the veracity of what He is saying. In order to choose between these two alternatives requires the answer to two more questions: What is Paradise? And, Where did Jesus and the criminal go that day?

  • Paradise: The word paradise, occurs only three times in the New Testament - Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4 and Revelation 2:7. These references suggest that paradise is synonymous with heaven.
  • Jesus and the Criminal: Jesus did not go to heaven that day, Friday, because he told Mary Magdalene on the following Sunday morning (John 20:17) that He had not yet ascended to the father. Neither did the criminal go to paradise that day because he was still alive at sunset and had to have his legs broken to prevent his escape over the Sabbath (John 19:31, 32).

Therefore, since Jesus could not have intended that He and the criminal were to be in paradise that day, he presumably intended the adverb today as emphasis as per Koine (common) Greek and Hebrew idiom. Thus the correct place for the comma is after today thus making the passage read: “I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in paradise.”

Lastly, Eph 4:7-10 tells us nothing about where Jesus was during the time He was in the grave because it talks about ascending and descending - a clear metaphoric use of language - if Jesus had ascended and "filled the whole universe", then He would have already literally ascended and contricdicted his statement to mary in John 20:17 about not yet having ascended to the Father.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 22:28
  • @Dottard You should never change the meaning of the plainspoken word based upon a “suggestion” rather than a fact.” The assumption that the thief had not died by the end of that day is preposterous. Jesus died early that day—between the sixth hour (noon) and the ninth hour when He commended His Spirit to the Father. There is absolutely no proof the criminals lived til another day after they broke his legs. Jesus' spirit went to “the heart of the earth” (Mat 12:40)—Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22)—where David was on that very day (Acts 2:25-27) and preached to those spirits including the theif. Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 17:13
  • @BillPorter - This is clearly a parable based on Greek philosophy and cannot be taken any more literally than the conference of trees in Judges 9:8-15. Could a single drop of water relieve the suffering? Do saints literally live in the bosom of Abraham? Is there discussion between heaven and hell? Will the bliss of heaven be enhanced by the sight of writhing sinners? Will God preserve evil in this way forever and punish sinners eternally for finite crimes? That is NOT a God of love but a monster! Sinners will be punished with destruction, 2 Thess 1:9.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 20:50
  • @ Dottard But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? (Romans 3:5-6) So should you Ask Dottard what God should do and when Jesus is spewing nonsense? One of the earliest principles of Biblical Hermeneutics is that when Jesus speaks of a "CERTAIN" man, etc., that is a certain person. As to Abraham's bosom, that is indeed a type of the separation of believers from unbelievers--NOT a certain literal bosom Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 21:17
  • @BillPorter - I do not disagree. Vengeance/justice is one thing, eternal torment for finite crimes is another and is not in the Bible anywhere. You now betray that you want to interpret some parts of the story figuratively and other parts literally - that is inconsistent! Lastly, how can you interpret the indefinite pronoun τις as "certain" meaning absolute literally?
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 21:20

Where was Jesus when he died?

He was in Sheol/hades the common grave of mankind, however, God did not allow Sheol to hold down his faithful Son and thus let his flesh undergo a gradual decay in the memorial tomb. On the third day, God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and thus fulfilled Psalm 16:10

Psalm 16:10 (NASB)

10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

Paul quoting Psalm 16:10 said:

Acts 13:35-37 (NASB)

35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.’ 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation fell asleep and was laid among his fathers and [e]underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay.

Where was the criminal next to Jesus when he died?

This promise made to the criminal hanging next to Jesus was not the promise to be in a heavenly "Paradise of God", as mentioned at Re 2:7.

Revelation 2:7 (NET Bible)

7 The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will permit him to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.’

Jesus said: "The one who conquers, I will permit him to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God." The promise was made to "the one who conquers," that is, Christ’s co-rulers in the heavenly Kingdom. (Luke 22:28-30)

Luke 22:28-30 (NASB)

28 “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Obviously, the criminal was not a conqueror of the world with Jesus, nor was he "born of water and spirit" (John 3:5, 16:33). As promised by Jesus the criminal will be resurrected as one of the unrighteous on the earthly paradise in the Kingdom of God.. [Compare - Earthly paradise: Psalm 37:10-11, 72:16, 67:6 , Isaiah 65:21-24, 67:6, 11;6-9, 65:25, 33:24, 35:5-6 , Rev.21:3-4]

Acts 24:15 (NRSVA)

15 I have a hope in God—a hope that they themselves also accept—that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.-Compare Rev. 20:4-6

So the criminal is still in Sheol/hades, the common grave of mankind awaiting the promised resurrection.- Compare John 5:28-29

  • Does he not 'sleep with Jesus' do you think ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 3:15

Where was Jesus after he was killed? On the way to the tomb and in the tomb.

Matt 12:40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Luke 9:22 The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised

Mark 9:31 The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”

By Jesus' own words, he would be killed (i.e. dead), buried (in a tomb as pre-arranged) and be raised after the required time had passed.

He also understood and expressed that he would be going to the Father after he was raised. And that his brethren would eventually join him there, John 14:2-3

John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God N/KJV

Most other translations insert 'returning' to suggestively imply Jesus was going back to the Father.

It's important to reference 1 Pet 3:18-19

For Christ ... having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison... We might note several things from this passage.

Jesus 'died in the flesh' - and was made alive IN the spirit. When was he made alive? After the 3 days and nights in the tomb. So before he was raised, he was dead.

He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Matt 16:21, 17:23

If he wasn't fully dead, and was somehow spiritually alive (even though he surrendered his spirit to the Father, Luke 23:46) we are not told this.

1 Pet 3:19 is not saying that while in the tomb, Jesus was out and about 'preaching to the spirits'. He was made alive after the 3 days and nights and raised in the spirit - IN WHICH, he 'preached etc' at another time. While he was dead, he was dead - period.


This is a question directly related to Christology, to the question who is Jesus Christ?

According to the sound theology of the Church Fathers, as defined in Church councils, precisely at the Chalchedon Ecumenical Council in 451, He is the Father's co-eternal Logos incarnated. In Him there is only one Person/Hypostasis - that of Logos, so that Logos did not adopt a human person of Jesus, but Logos adopted human nature and henceforth one of the Holy Trinity, the Son/Logos is with a created human nature.

The Son was always with and has never departed the Father (cf. John 1:1; John 3:13 "Nobody has ascended to heaven except for the Son of Man who is in Heaven" [i.e. with the Father who is in Heaven /cf. Matthew 6:9/), and to be with Father for all eternity and infinity, that is to say sharing equal Godhead with the Father, is to be not only in the Paradise, but something even greater, for it is to be into the very Principle of Paradise – for in the term “paradise” we mean a bliss vouchsafed by God to created beings, humans, angels, from God. Moreover, for the Son it means that also He is that very Principle of Paradise alongside with the Father.

Now, it is clear that the Principle is greater than that of what it is a Principle, and since the Father and the Son are Both representing this Principle, then They are higher than Paradise and can be called as “being in Paradise” only intrinsically, causally and divinely, but not in a receptive and participatory way as the creatures.

Now, having established that the Son is always in Paradise in a Principal way with the Father, then let us see what can it mean when He says from the cross to the right robber: “I say to you today you will be with Me in paradise”? Where should we put comma? Of course, the comma or colon (:) should be after the “I say to you:” and the next clause should be read together “today you will be with Me in paradise”. Why? Because the right robber understood who Jesus was and repented, for initially he also downgraded and ridiculed Him (Mark 15:32), but when he heard that Jesus was blessing them who were sadistically killing Him and was asking Father to forgive them, he realized that it was not a human but a frightening divine phenomenon he was witnessing. The robber realized, in fact, that the Heavenly Kingdom, of which the King he divined in Jesus (Luke 23:42) was to pertain only to such people, who would imitate the King in His awesome, frightening and incomprehensible power of love and forgiveness; to people who would participate in this power. And he dared to see himself also the participant of the power he sensed in Jesus, to be ready to forgive his own enemies, and that’s why he asked Jesus, in the awesome act of repentance, to remember him in His Kingdom.

Now the love and forgiveness Jesus manifested from the cross is manifestation of God’s eternal love, and this eternity in the metaphoric language of the Holy Scriptures is called “today” (cf. Psalm 2:7; Hebrews 1:5). That is to say, Jesus says to the robber that by this very act of repentance, that followed the robber’s understanding and worshipping the loving and forgiving action of God, he became a participant of the divine life, of divine action and uncreated energy of love. Thus, since this action and uncreated energy of the Father and the Son is eternal, then also the robber became a participant of the “now”, or of the “today” of the eternity through his courageous initiative of repentance. And since the Son, Jesus is always in eternity with the Father, then “you will be with me today in paradise” can be read as “you will be with me now in paradise”, that is to say, you will understand, immediately after those words, that paradise is nothing else than what you are experiencing now in your heart, and this will last for eternity, for I and the Father have created you exactly for making you a participant of our Glory that we had before even world was made, in eternity (John 17:5), thus giving to you, a creature, also a share in Our uncreated life, and this from now on and eternally.

Pertinent here both linguistically and semantically the σήμερον ("today") of Luke 19:9, for "salvation" (=semantically "paradise"), came in Zacchaeus' heart and house through his repenting words; and here also the salvation or paradise came to the heart of the right robber through his repenting words. Was "salvation" that came to Zacchaeus' house through the latter's repentance any less than the "paradise" which came to the right robber through his repentance? No, for both "salvation" and "paradise" mean the same here, i.e. restoration of communion with God and uprightness of conscience. Therefore, it is the σήμερον or "today" of repentance - for which always is "today" (cf. Hebrews 3:15), that opens gates of divine eternity=divine "today" and alwaysness of mercy, while acquisition of this mercy through repentance is in essence "paradise".

  • 1
    Yes, agreed. (Up-voted +1). Would you be able to state which of the Church Fathers (mentioned in your answer) upheld this view ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 6:44
  • Thanks! Fathers stress on the immediacy of forgiveness+entrance to Heaven in the word "today". Chrysostom: "Christ brought the thief into Paradise before the whole world, before the Apostles. By a mere word and by faith alone he entered into Paradise, that no one after his sins might despair. Mark the rapid change, from the cross to heaven, from condemnation to Paradise..." or St Ambrose: the Lord says, "today you will be with me in paradise. For life consists in being with Christ: where is Christ, there is the Kingdom. The Lord therefore forgives promptly, because the other quickly converts. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 19:00
  • 1
    "Of course, the comma or colon (:) should be after the “I say to you:” … Why? Because the right robber understood who Jesus was and repented, …" sounds a lot more like eisegesis than exegesis. You're taking your belief and using it to justify your interpretation, rather than objectively interpreting the text in its original context (e.g. as Dottard's answer does). No one is disputing that the robber will see Jesus again, the question is whether that reunion would be today, but you are using that non-existent dispute to prove your point. Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 16:09
  • 1
    The good side of Abraham's bosom is what is meant. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 16:45
  • 1
    And this today doesn't necessarily mean what you suggest. It could be. "I tell you today, that you will be with Me in paradise." Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 20:14

Matthew 27:53 Context

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. 55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

  • Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for your contribution. Please take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works. Please explain how this quoted text sheds light on the the question at hand.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 21:09
  • 1
    I up-voted your other answer. May I suggest you edit this one into that other answer for the sake of completeness ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 3:14
  • My other answer, was deleted, Considered controversial, and yes it's literal. My question is, how can I answer here, the question that is asked, by the Word of God as our final Authority, Only to have one person decide to delete it, because his faith may be weak, or goes against what he learn't? I do understand my need to explain in my own words, But not to have a biblical answer deleted. Because then this forum then becomes Cultish, in that it is controlled, to guide the narrative.. And so I will not be contributing further, but according to the Word, leave and wipe the dust off my feet!
    – user38850
    Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 10:59
  • @user38850 - your answers were not cultish nor is this site. The objection to your previous question was based on the lack of explanation and logic leading to a conclusion.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 3:01

Jesus himself said that he would be in Hades.

Matthew 12:40

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Ellicott's Commentary

"the heart of the earth," standing parallel as it does to "the heart of the seas," the "belly of hell"--i.e., Sheol and Hades--in Jonah 2:2-3, means more than the rock-hewn sepulcher, and implies the descent into Hades, the world of the dead, which was popularly believed to be far below the surface of the earth;

Pulpit Commentary

many commentators, beginning with Irenaeus ('Adv. Haer.,' V. 31.) and Tertullian ('De Anima,' Iv.), understand it as directly denoting the place of departed spirits

A mini resurrection took place during that time because of Jesus' death.

Matthew 27:51

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and e went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

It was a productive 3 days of work before Mary Magdalene saw Him.

  • Not sure what last para means, Jesus was dead, his spirit returned to the Father, he wasn’t doing anything.
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 20:27
  • Can you provide any Bible references to support you contention that "the heart of the earth" is hades?
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 20:45
  • 1
    Yes, agreed. The Son (of man) is in heaven, always, as he saith. Even when his human soul was in hades, as you correctly say (thou wilt not leave my soul in hades) yet, still, the Son of God is in the bosom of the Father. And as @Ryan notes, he went unto the souls in prison and preached to them. So, yes agreed, a productive three days. Up-voted (+1). Welcome to BH.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 3:11
  • 1
    Sorry, you are reading it wrong.' ...having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; ----- in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison' He isn't preaching anything while dead, but when made alive - which is AFTER the 3 days and nights - not during.
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 8:37
  • @user48152 Which Bible translation are you quoting from? The KJV translates 1 Peter 3:18 as Jesus "being put to death in the flesh, but quickned BY the Spirit; the NIV says "He was put to death in the body but made alive BY the Spirit." Big difference to saying "made alive in the spirit".
    – Lesley
    Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 11:17

The OP's question asks "where was Jesus" after He stopped breathing on the cross. this presents a problem because "death" seems to be quite common among mankind as shown beginning in Gen 5:5:

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

and 5:8:

And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.

On and on throughout Scripture, all those who in the past have believed in the good news that the Lord God gave to Eve after man's sin have died. All these were listed in Scripture as being Saints long before Jesus Christ was manifest in the flesh as the Son of man/Son of God. Each and every one of the believers were anxiously awaiting the "seed of the woman" promised to Eve to come and to redeem them, even after their eminent future deaths.

THEN, we are more fully informed about this great faith in the promise of the WORD of God, and of the death that we are so curious about, in Genesis 25:8:

Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. (My emphasis)

Again, Gen 35:29:

And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. (My emphasis)

So the death of Abraham and Isaac consisted of their ghost being given up --separated-- from their bodies and those bodies were both buried after they gave up the ghost and died. So, what exactly was gathered to their people, and who were their people? Job brings to light quite a bit about this when he speaks of his own death together with his faith in his redeemer in Job 19:25-27:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (My emphasis)

Without question, Job is expecting a bodily resurrection here. Moreover, Job also speaks of the the difference between people like himself who have faith in the WORD of God--that seed of the woman, and the unbelievers scheduled for judgment in Job 19:25-29:

But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

So there are two categories of human dead, believers in the seed of the woman, and unbelievers. That seed was promised to come through Abraham by the promise of the WORD of God. That seed was not a large body of Abraham's physical sons, but rather the promise of one son, Jesus Christ, as shown in Galtians 3:15-18:

Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (My emphasis)

THEREFORE, it is appropriate that the term, Abraham's bosom, means the confidence in God's promise to Abraham by faith, not in Abraham's physical bosom that has certainly, by now, decayed with the help of worms. Yet, Abraham was (by faith) expecting that same bodily resurrection of his body that Job (by faith) expected of his body. That promise was understood and expected to be a bodily resurrection because it included a physical death, just like Job's physical death, as we see in Genesis 15:13-15:

And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

So that one seed would come forth out of the (many) seed of Abraham--the people--nation of Israel. That one seed was later promised to that nation to be of only one particular seed of only one Jewish virgin, in Isaiah 7:13-14:

And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

That Son is Jesus Christ who was also promised to take upon Himself the sin of the world and to be put to death for that sin--not his own sin. When Jesus was put to death, His death was not unlike that of any other man, even though His Spirit was the very Spirit of God. At the time of His death, that Spirit was separated from His body just like that of Abraham and Isaac, as we see in John 19:30:

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (My emphasis)

Jesus' body was left wrapped up in a nearly grade-level tomb for three days and three nights--not in the heart of the earth. The malefactor's spirit was also separated from his body. Clearly, if Christ's body was not in heaven, but rather in a tomb, the malefactor's body could not have accelerated ahead of Jesus into heaven. Jesus' body was not in the heart of the earth. But Jesus was in the heart of the earth for those next three days and three nights, according to Jesus--not known to be a liar--in Matthew 12:39-40:

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 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. (My emphasis)

1 Peter 3:18-19 reveals:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

This clearly shows the separation of the Spirit from the flesh, because, those spirits who Jesus preached to could not have been in heaven, or there would have been no need for Jesus to preach to them. They were in Abraham's bosom in the heart of the earth--Hades-- while awaiting the good news of their Salvation to be fulfilled by that seed of the woman, Jesus Christ. Jesus was preaching to them that their faith in the sacrificial death of the seed of the woman was not in vain. It had already happened, and that Jesus was about to lead those captive souls captive with Him to a place for them to await their bodily resurrection.

All those saints, having all these years believed the promise of God, have not yet received the FULL PROMISE-- the resurrection of their physical bodies to be enjoined with their new eternal spirit that has now been already provided them through faith. That resurrection will happen at one great event--the coming of Jesus Christ appearing to them in the clouds without sin. At that time, even all the living bodies who believe shall be changed, and the church, as a group of resurrected women, men, and children, will be MADE PERFECT, as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Yes, the malefactor's spirit was with Jesus that very day--in Abraham's bosom in Hell--Hades--in the heart of the earth. No, the malefactor's body was not with Jesus that day, their bodies were in different places--different tombs. In fact, all those saints bodies which were put through all kinds of torture and suffering are still waiting for that appearance Of Jesus Christ--without sin--to resurrect our bodies and take them up into heaven enjoining them with His eternal spirit, to be with Him forever, as we see in Hebrews 11:39-40:

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

  • The 'spirits' cannot be people or saints awaiting resurrection - they are spirits. The resurrected Jesus said he wasn't a spirit, how can his brethren be? (of which he is first born of many Rom 8:29) We wont be 'spirits' but will have spiritual life with glorified bodies.
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 22:10
  • @user48152 It is written and re-cited in (Heb) 1:7) And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire; and (Luke 20:36) Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection; and (Mat 22:30) For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 15:33
  • Again with the proof texts, if they disagree with other texts, you have misunderstood something. The problem arises from believing Jesus is a man/god - he is made like us, tempted like us, dies like us, none of which apply to God, as he was bodily raised, so will we be with new spirit life filled bodies. Your error is making assumptions about ‘like the angels’.
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 19:54
  • @user48152 It is further written (Rom 8:11) "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. And again in 1 Cor 15:53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 5:18
  • Yes, so what - that doesn't make us spirits! We are like Christ ascended - he is not a spirit! Why will we be? We will be transformed from mortal to immortal - but still have bodies - as he said he had. He was always a man - the first born from the dead - we will follow him and be like he is. Just read yr bible and stop guessing, supposing and assuming. "so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man." 1 Cor 15:49 MAN, see?
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 5:38