"TO-DAY" (Luke 23.43)
E. W. Bullinger
[Appendix 173, from The Companion Bible]
The interpretation of this verse depends entirely on punctuation, which rests
wholly on human authority, the Greek manuscripts having no punctuation of any
kind till the ninth century, and then it is only a dot in the middle of the
line) separating each word.
The Verb "to say," when followed by hoti, introduces the ipsissima
verba of what is said; and answers to our quotation marks. So here (in Luke
23:43), in the absence of hoti (="that"), there may be a doubt as to
the actual words included in the dependent clause. But the doubt is resolved
(1) by the common Hebrew idiom, "I say unto thee this day," which is
constantly used for very solemn emphasis; as well as (2) by the usage
observable in other passages where the verb is connected with the Gr. semeron=
14:30: "Verily I say unto thee, that (hoti) 'this day ... thou shall
deny me thrice.' "
4:21: "And He began to say unto them, that (hoti) 'This day is this
scripture fulfilled in your ears.' "
5:26: "Saying (hoti=that), 'We have seen strange things to-day.' "
19:9: "Jesus said unto him that (hoti), 'This day is salvation come to
this house.' "
other examples of the verb "to say," followed by hoti, but not
connected with semeron (to-day), see Matt. 14:26, 16:18, 21:3, 26:34, 27:4;
Mark 1:40; 6:14,15,18,35, 9:26, 14:25; Luke 4:24,41, 15:27, 17:10, 19:7.
2. Without hoti: --
the other hand, in the absence of hoti (=that), the relation of the word
"to-day" must be determined by the context.
22:34: "And He said, 'I tell thee, Peter, in no wise shall a cock crow
to-day before thou shall thrice deny that thou knoweat Me.' " Here the
word" to-day" is connected with the verb "crow," because
the context requires it. Compare Heb. 4:7.
It is the same in Luke 23:43: "And Jesus said to him, 'Verily I say unto
thee to-day [or this day1, when, though they were about to die,
this man had expressed so great faith in Messiah's coming Kingdom, and
therefore in the Lord's resurrection to be its King -- now, under such solemn
circumstances] thou shall be, with Me, in Paradise.' " For, when Messiah
shall reign, His Kingdom will convert the promised land into a Paradise. Read
Isa. 35, and see note on Ecc. 2:5.
We must notice also the Article before "Paradise." It is "THE
Paradise," viz. the paradise of which the prophets tell in such glowing
language, when the Lord shall come in His Kingdom. See Ps. 67:4,6,
72:6,7,16,17; Isa. 4:2; 30:23,24, 35:1,2,5,6, 41:18,20; Jer. 31.5,12; Ezek.
34:25-27, 36:29,30, 47:8,9,12; Hos. 2:18,21,22;. Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13-15;
It has no connection with Babyloninn, Jewish, and Romish tradition, but is a
direct answer to the malefactor's prayer. His prayer referred to the Lord's
coming and His Kingdom; and, if the Lord's answer was direct, the promise must
have referred to that coming and to that Kingdom, and not to anything that was
to happen on the day on which the words were being spoken.
It is alleged that the Lord's promise was a reply to the man's thought; but
this is an assumption for which no justification can be found, Moreover, how
can we know what his thought was, except by the words he uttered?
The Lewis Codex of the Syrian N.T. reads in v. 39: "save Thyself and us
to-day." So the Lord's word "to-day" may have reference
to the revilings of the one, as well as to the request of the other.
1 It is
rendered "to-day" eighteen times in the Gospels, Hebrews and
James; but "this day" twenty-three times (five times in Matthew;
once in Mark; four times in Luke; nine times in Acts; once in Romans; twice
in 2 Corinthinns; and, once in Hebrews).