Jesus to the repentant thief on the cross:
Luke 23:43 (KJV) – And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Every single time in the Bible that “Truly I say unto you” is used (or the equivalent in various translations), it takes the form of “Truly I say unto you, [statement being made]”
Never is it “Truly I say unto you [time that the statement is being made], [statement being made]”
Therefore, if we let the Bible teach us what it means, and we don’t manipulate its words, Jesus said that the thief would be in paradise with him that very day. Not heaven, but paradise – there is a difference.
Would Adventists be willing to revise Matt 5:18 to say the following?
For verily I say unto you till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. (CommaRevised KJV)
I doubt it. Both ways is means the same thing in this case, but it would highlight the biblical truth that the fulfilment has come, something Adventists don’t believe.
Finally, consciousness after death was the mainstream belief, and Josephus attests to this. By telling the thief that he would be in paradise that day, Jesus would have made a statement that fitted perfectly with mainstream Jewish belief, and everyone would have understood it that way.
Are we really willing to believe that Jesus used false doctrine to make a point?
I believe that the Bible shows us the language it uses, and it’s clear that Adventists misplace the comma. And I do not believe that Jesus taught false doctrine in this passage.