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The Book of Luke Corrupted
A Deathbed Conversion Tale
We have shown how men have falsified or added certain accounts in Matthew
(see The Book of Matthew Corrupted). Now we will show how the Book of
Luke has suffered the machinations of men who would subtly persuade their
fellows to believe fables that deceive and enslave.
Why would they do that instead of proclaiming God’s truth, which
makes their fellows free? It is because they wish to have the preeminence
that belongs to God over the lives of others. They want to rule over men, instead of having God ruling in men.
Besides exposing as fraudulent the story in Luke’s Gospel of the
rich man and Lazarus (see The Rich Man and Lazarus
- A Pagan Parable),
we have found another passage to be questionable, that passage being
the conversion of the thief on the cross:
Luke 23:39-43 MKJV
(39) And one of the hanged criminals blasphemed Him, saying, If you are
Christ, save Yourself and us.
(40) But answering, the other rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God,
since you are in the same condemnation?
(41) And we indeed justly so, for we receive the due reward of our deeds,
but this Man has done nothing amiss.
(42) And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your
(43) And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with
Me in Paradise.
Luke reports that one of the thieves believed on the Lord and was saved.
However, that is not what we find in Matthew and Mark. An internet acquaintance,
Walter Lane, wrote:
“Matthew 27:37-45; Luke 23:38-44; Mark 15:31-32
This whole deathbed conversion thing seems to come from Luke's account
but it seems to me Matthew and Mark teach that both thieves cursed
Jesus. Am I interpreting these scriptures correctly?”
The versions of this incident from Matthew and Mark:
Matthew 27:37-44 MKJV
(37) And they put up over His head His accusation, written, THIS IS JESUS
THE KING OF THE JEWS.
(38) Then two thieves were crucified with Him, one off the right, one
off the left.
(39) And those who passed by blasphemed Him, shaking their heads,
(40) and saying, You destroying the temple and building it in three days,
save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.
(41) And in the same way also the chief priests mocked, with the scribes
and elders, saying,
(42) He saved others, but he cannot save himself. If he is the King of
Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
(43) He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him.
(For He said, I am the Son of God.)
(44) And also the thieves who were crucified with Him reviled Him, saying
Mark 15:31-32 MKJV
(31) And also the chief priests mocking, with the scribes, said to one
another, He saved others but he cannot save himself.
(32) Let Christ the King of Israel now come down from the cross, so that
we may see and believe. And they who were crucified with Him insulted Him.
We say, “Yes, Walter, you are reading and interpreting the Scriptures
correctly,” although many students and preachers of the Bible will
differ with us, asserting that the Bible can have no error in it, so
there must be a logical explanation for the discrepancy.
There are those who teach there were four men crucified with the Lord,
two thieves and two malefactors, and that one of these men believed,
while three railed on the Lord. Here is such an explanation:
Four Crucified with Christ
This is supposed to account for the apparent contradiction between Luke
and Matthew and Mark. We do not agree, and there are things that can
be said to counter this theory, the greatest being that in none of the
four Gospels is there any clear indication there were four criminals
crucified, but each Gospel leaves us with the impression that only two
Another explanation of the difference, from a man no less than the famous
English preacher, John Wesley:
“And one of the malefactors reviled him
- St. Matthew says, the robbers: St. Mark, they that were crucified
with him, reviled him. Either
therefore St. Matthew and Mark put the plural for the singular (as the
best authors sometimes do) or both reviled him at the first, till one
of them felt the overwhelming power of saving grace.”
So John Wesley first supposes the discrepancy was possibly due to a
literary technique by Matthew and Mark. We don’t buy that. It is
speculation, and though his suggestion is a possibility, it is not definite.
That is unacceptable. And it certainly is not revelation. It does not
witness with our spirits.
Mr. Wesley then presents another possibility – that the one thief
may have railed at first, but then he saw the light and believed, repenting.
While anything is possible, we don’t buy that explanation for several
One, we have no witness of this in the Spirit;
Two, we are not commanded by God to speculate or reason things out to
prove them true or false. We are commanded to have them verified by two
or three witnesses:
“But if he will not hear you, take one or two more with you, so
that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew
“I am coming to you this third time. In the mouth of two
or three witnesses every word shall be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1
“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except before two
or three witnesses” (1 Timothy 5:19 MKJV).
“He who despised Moses' Law died without mercy on the word of
two or three witnesses” (Hebrews 10:28 MKJV).
Nowhere in the Bible is there another example of the last minute conversion
of a wicked person; neither is there a statute, testimony, judgment,
law, precept, commandment, or principle in Scripture defending such doctrine.
Therefore, we have no other witness but that of Luke, which is not good
Three, the Scriptures declare this truth:
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy,
let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous
still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation
This man was a hardened criminal, a thief, a malefactor, the Bible says,
worthy of death. Man does not change suddenly; he generally dies as he
had lived. It took me years to come around to believe. I know of nobody
that turned around from black to white in hours, days, weeks, or even
months, whether personally or in the Scriptures or by any other source
Four, there is confusion in the Lord’s statement. Why would He
say the thief would be with Him that day in paradise, if the Lord was
about to spend three days and three nights in hell and death? Perhaps
He did not mean a literal day? Can we say? It is vague, isn’t it?
Unless there is indication otherwise (and there isn’t), I shall
take it at face value. At face value, He didn’t say it. We know
the Scriptures testify He would be in the belly of the earth three days
and three nights. Furthermore, He knew He would be there for that time.
There are those like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists,
and Worldwide Church of God who suggest moving the comma in the statement
(the original manuscripts had no punctuation – translators put
it in much later). Instead of having the comma after “you” and
before “Today,” as in:
“And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you shall be
with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43 MKJV).
They suggest having it this way: “And Jesus said to him, Truly
I say to you today, You shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43
This takes the emphasis off the timing for when the thief would be with
the Lord in Paradise, and places it upon the simple fact that the Lord
was making a declaration that day. One comma moved past one word – what
a difference in doctrine!
But we don’t buy that argument, either. The Seventh Day Adventist
doctrine is that when people die (believers included), they “sleep” or
become totally unconscious. We refute that argument (see Diabolical
Sleep” (The Dead in Christ Are Unconscious)).
Our point about this story, however, is that there is confusion, and
there are no witnesses to back it up.
According to God’s Word, if Luke says one thing without any support
elsewhere, and it is contradicted by two witnesses, in this case Matthew
and Mark, we must reject Luke’s account and accept the report that
has more than one witness. We conclude, then, that there was no thief
converted, as wonderful as the story may sound.
Just as someone messed with Luke’s record by inserting the false
parable of Lazarus and the rich man, so someone (possibly the same person
or persons) inserted the story of the repentant thief. For more information,
Conversions to Christ.
IMPORTANT: We must solemnly remind you that while there
are spurious passages in the Scriptures, they are few and far between.
there are many apparent inconsistencies in Scripture which have valid
explanations (not rationalizations, but true, Scripturally-sound explanations).
Our only assurance of understanding and discernment between true and
false is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, by Whose Spirit we are
given to know the Truth He is.
If Satan can sow tares among the children of God in order to sift them,
why not a false story in the Word of God to do the same? Here is such
a story, identified for what is by its nature and the fruit it produces.