As a theology student, I spent a lot of time reading the Gospels. Every time I reflected on the topic of repentance, one story that stood out for me was that of Gestas and Dismas, crucified beside Jesus. The Bible reveals that one of the thieves acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah while the other mocked him. I remember asking my lecturer, did Gestas and Dismas go to heaven?
The Bible does not clearly state whether Gestas and Dismas went to heaven. However, Jesus told Dismas in Luke 23:43 that he would be with him in paradise. Since the bible does not state the fate of Gestas, some Biblical scholars believe that he was buried and that his soul awaits judgment like the rest of the sinners (Hebrews 9:27).
In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into the fate of the two thieves crucified by Jesus. Read on to discover answers to questions such as does the bible say which of the two thieves went to heaven, did the thief that repented go directly to heaven, and much more information!
Does the bible say which of the two thieves went to heaven?
No. What the bible suggests is that one of the thieves asked Jesus to remember him when he would come into his kingdom. In Luke 23: 43, Jesus responded, “I assure you today you will be with me in paradise” Since one of the thieves acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus promised him that he was going to a better place.
Though Christians use the names Dismas and Gestas to refer to the two thieves on the cross, these names are not mentioned in the New Testament. Additionally, The Bible does not clearly state that the repentant thief is already in heaven.
Did the thief that repented go directly to heaven?
Since no Bible verse clearly states that the repentant thief went directly to heaven, Biblical scholars have different views on this. Some people argue that the repentant thief went directly to heaven based on the words Jesus said in Luke 23:43.
Others argue that the thief did not go directly to heaven since he was buried just like Jesus. Since Jesus said that he would be in the grave for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40), they believe that the thief could not go directly to heaven before Jesus.
Other Biblical scholars disagree with this view since they argue that only the body of Jesus was buried and that his spirit went straight to his Father. They quote Luke 23:46, which talks of Jesus committing his spirit to his Father.
There is also a group of Christians that believe that Dismas, the repentant thief, did not go directly to heaven and is still in the grave waiting for the return of Christ. They argue that Luke 23:43 means that Jesus assured the repentant thief a place in his kingdom, but he did not directly take him to heaven.
What happened to Gestas after he died?
The Bible does not say what happened to Gestats after he died. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark only mention this thief mocking Jesus, telling him to save himself if he was the Messiah and save them too. Though there is not much information about what happened to Gestas after he died, most Biblical scholars assume that his body was buried just like Jesus, and his soul is awaiting judgment like other sinners. They use Hebrews 9:27, which talks about judgment, to support this argument.
When Jesus promised Dismas he would be in paradise, did that mean he would go to heaven?
This is the understanding of most Christians. They believe that Jesus used the word paradise to refer to heaven. The Bible implies that paradise is a synonym for heaven in different verses, such as Revelations 2:7, which refers to heaven as the paradise of God.
When Jesus was about to die on the cross, he knew that his spirit would soon be with his Father in heaven and therefore promised Dismas that he would also see paradise. Another Bible story that shows that paradise is synonymous with heaven is that of Paul being caught up to paradise in 1st Corinthians 12:3. Since he describes how magnificent the place is, many Christians conclude that he is talking about heaven.
Why did Jesus promise the repentant thief that he would be with him in paradise?
Jesus promised Dismas that he would be with him in paradise since he was the son of God, full of mercy. Ephesians 2:4 says, But God, who is rich in mercy, out of great love with which he loved us. Even though Dismas had sinned, God, who is full of mercy, through Jesus, accepted his repentance and promised him that he would see paradise.
Many believers also argue that Jesus promised Dismas that he would see paradise since he defended him as an innocent victim, as everyone else, including Gestas, mocked him. He also had faith in him and believed that he was the Messiah.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.