Thieves and Robbers

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Thieves and Robbers

Being a “Crook,” I thought this topic would be something I could speak on boldly J

Often times, we see three crosses depicted together signifying the two thieves who hung on two different crosses on the sides of Jesus Christ who was being crucified with them at the time.

What is not readily spiritually seen in this depiction is just what Christ told the thieves while He was hanging in tremendous pain, agony and suffering.

As with all things Christ spoke, there is a great mystery and spiritual lesson hidden just below the surface of what Christ says “in the letter” or in “plain English” as I use to hear in my baptist upbringing.

In this study today, I hope that we will be given eyes that see and ears which hear what Christ tells each and every one of us, and the spiritual message He gives as He also told the thieves while hanging on the cross.

Indeed, at our appointed time we are all thieves and robbers, but there is One who has the solution to this “death sentence”.

“Thou shall be with me in paradise”

In starting this study, we will start with Christ’s own words. Unless otherwise noted, I will be quoting from the KJV, but for this passage I will be quoting from the ESV (English standard version) for clarity.

Luke 23:36  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine

Luke 23:37  and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

Luke 23:38  There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Luke 23:39  One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Luke 23:40  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

Luke 23:41  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Luke 23:42  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Luke 23:43  And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:44  It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,

Luke 23:45  while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

Luke 23:46  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

After coming to know Christ the way I have, and continuing to grow in Him daily Lord willing, I often hear a reoccurring theme from those who think I am just plain crazy.


Is it any wonder though, because if it happened to Christ it WILL happen to us. We claim to be sons of God, but according to what almost all of Christianity teaches, this should place us in such a good position with God that He wouldn’t possibly do such a thing as hang us on a cross!


Look at how Christ is mocked and ridiculed.


“If you are the ‘king of the jews’, save YOURSELF….”

What most of us are taught initially is that we ARE the ones who save ourselves simply by saying a “10 second sinner’s prayer”. So, it isn’t any wonder that those who mock ‘the Christ’ are the ones who expect us to save ourselves. After all, we are sons of God, no?

Not only that, but we are often mocked with the concept of us wanting to be something we are not or that we think we are better than those we are speaking with simply because we claim the inheritance that has been promised to us instead of “selling it for a bowl of pottage” like Esau did.

Of course, we do all initially sell our inheritance for things of this world, and that is exactly what this whole topic is about.

What Christ admonishes one thief on the cross with, does not apply to the other in type and shadow, but what exactly do I mean by that?

Well, one thief is accusing Christ and the other is fully admitting and accepting of the truth that he is on this cross BECAUSE of what has been worked in His life. Of course, we aren’t addressing that the thieves have no concept of God’s sovereignty.

One thief tells the other unrepentant thief, “you are under the same condemnation but you don’t fear God,” and his end point really brings home the point of, “we are receiving due reward for our deeds,” but Christ Himself has done nothing wrong.

Being that this is a familiar story for us all, I hope we can bring out a few practical points on what it is we are being told and what and how we can apply to our everyday lives.

Luke 23:42  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Luke 23:43  And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Knowing that the kingdom of God is within us, how then can the doctrine that we die and go to heaven or hell apply to the thief being told that He would be with Christ today in paradise if indeed the dead know not anything?

Ecclesiastes 9:4  For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Ecclesiastes 9:5  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

The short answer is that Christ was NOT telling the thief he would see Christ in heaven, out on a rock in space, that day.

Luke 17:20  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Luke 17:21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Luke 17:22  And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

Luke 17:23  And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.

Luke 17:24  For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

Luke 17:25  But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.


Christ told the thief he would be with Christ in paradise today, so how does that connect to the kingdom of God?

Well, there are three times that the word paradise is mentioned in the new testament and they reveal a lot about what we are learning today, but they only tell part of the story. We’ll see what we can glean from that part and then move on from there.

Luk_23:43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

2Co_12:4  How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Rev_2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

The first example we are talking about is of course what we have read in Luke. The second example is is 2 Co 12:4, so I will read from the ESV again and in context of what is being said by Paul.

2 Corinthians 12:1  I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:2  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.

2 Corinthians 12:3  And I know that this man was caught up into paradise–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows–

2 Corinthians 12:4  and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.

2 Corinthians 12:5  On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses–

2 Corinthians 12:6  though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.

2 Corinthians 12:7  So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.


Here is how the KJV states 2 Corinthians 12:7:

2 Corinthians 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Contrast that with the only other place the Greek word G5229 is mentioned in scripture:

2 Thessalonians 2:1  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 Thessalonians 2:2  That ye be NOT soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

2 Thessalonians 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

2 Thessalonians 2:4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Almost everyone hearing this message has had that son of perdition revealed to them, and if not, that —-> day <—- is coming.


“The Tree of Life in the middle of Paradise”

The third example of “paradise” being used is found in Revelation.

Revelation 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:8  And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Revelation 2:9  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.


 Notice, it is in the middle of two men that Christ is hanging on a cross.

Luke 23:33  And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.


In type and shadow, what we are seeing is that Christ is hanging between the old and new man.


Ephesians 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:14  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Ephesians 2:15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Ephesians 2:16  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:


One man is starting as a babe in Christ to speak to Christ in Truth, “for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”


The other man simply wants to be preserved, “”Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”


The crux of what we are talking about today is what is happening to the people of God as we experience this same scenario in all the situations, experiences and lives that we are caused to influence as God works everything after the counsel of His own will.

In the Garden of Eden, from the very start, mankind has been presented with TWO trees which are placed in the middle of the “paradise of God.”

If we are given eyes to see and ears to hear, we’ll notice that they are BOTH showing us in type and shadow that the kingdom of God is “planted” in the same earth!

Genesis 2:8  And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Genesis 2:9  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The reason I named this study, “Thieves and Robbers,” is that in all of our lives we will certainly be presented to the Lord, via His will in our lives, as the “thief” who contends with Christ and God and challenges Christ to PROVE who He says He is by SAVING the “thief” which has no repentance.


Likewise, for a FEW NOW, we will start off and Lord willing continue, to address Christ with a repentant heart which looks towards Christ and sees Him as He is…


… a Saviour who brings salvation from DEATH which our physical life has NO HOPE of receiving but that our NEW MAN has HOPE to GAIN.


“Who are thieves and robbers?”



The phrase “thieves and robbers” is found in various places in scripture.


Since we are focused on the two thieves hanging on the right and left of Christ, we’ll search the Word to see how they are defined.


First let’s confirm in the Word that we are talking about the same “thief” in the Greek.


Matthew 27:38  Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.


Mark 15:27  And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.


In the Greek, the Word mentioned in the gospel of Matthew and Mark is G3027.





Total KJV Occurrences: 15

thieves, 8

Mat_21:13, Mat_27:38, Mat_27:44, Mar_11:17, Mar_15:27, Luk_10:30, Luk_10:36, Luk_19:46

thief, 3

Mat_26:55, Mar_14:48, Luk_22:52

robber, 2

Joh_10:1, Joh_18:40

robbers, 2

Joh_10:8, 2Co_11:26


The Strong’s concordance defines “lace tace” as “From ληΐ́ζομαιlēizomai (to “plunder”); a brigand: – robber, thief.”


John 10 starts to paint a wonderful “Word” picture on just who we are talking about.


John 10:1  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief (G2812 – a stealer) and a robber (G3027).

John 10:2  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

John 10:3  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

John 10:4  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

John 10:5  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

John 10:6  This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

John 10:7  Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

John 10:8  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

John 10:9  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

The word used in the Greek to describe those who Christ was hung with is better understood when you understand that there are thieves who impulsively steal things of which we typically think of as a “crook”, and then there are thieves which are a different sort.


These thieves are those who steal, but also KILL and DESTROY. In other words, these are the plunderers who Christ is hung with. They are those who are considered brigands.


To bring home this point and to see the magnitude of what this means, let’s see what the “sum of the Word” says on the matter with what we can say within the timeframe of this study.


The same Word “lace-tace” is found here:


Matthew 21:10  And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?

Matthew 21:11  And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Matthew 21:12  And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

Matthew 21:13  And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Matthew 21:14  And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

Matthew 21:15  And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,

Matthew 21:16  And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?


Where is it written “my house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves?”


            Jeremiah 7:1  The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

Jeremiah 7:2  Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

Jeremiah 7:3  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.

Jeremiah 7:4  Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.

Jeremiah 7:5  For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;

Jeremiah 7:6  If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:

Jeremiah 7:7  Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.

Jeremiah 7:8  Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.

Jeremiah 7:9  Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;

Jeremiah 7:10  And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?

Jeremiah 7:11  Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 7:12  But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

Jeremiah 7:13  And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;

Jeremiah 7:14  Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.

Jeremiah 7:15  And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.

Jeremiah 7:16  Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.


You my friends are the thieves hanging beside Christ! Don’t you know that YOU are the TEMPLE of God and the Spirit of God DWELLS in YOU?


1 Corinthians 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1 Corinthians 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Corinthians 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.


At one point in our walk, we are the plunderer who challenges “the Christ” to save himself or herself and me with Him.


If God wills, we are also told by Christ, enter into the door and become the shepherd, the watcher of the Gate, the plunderer who comes to “KILL all the LIES” that dwell in the temple, all with a Head at the helm leading us.


Indeed, our very walk with Christ now consists of being the “porter who openeth the door”, “pillars in the temple of God” who are used to bring others to Christ.


Jeremiah 7:2  Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.


John 10:2  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

John 10:3  To him the porter (G2377) openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.







From G2374 and οὖροςouros (a watcher); a gate warden: – that kept the door, porter.


The Way we watch the gate is with the Word of God. The way we “amend our ways” is to worship God in Spirit and Truth.


John 4:22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

John 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.


Christ is the Way, Truth and Life and in this Life, we must be those who are hanging on the cross WITH CHRIST, acknowledging that He is the Christ, and asking Him to “remember me”.


This can only come from a repentant heart which knows that the old man will receive the reward of death for the sin that dwells in his members, but also realize that with DEATH COMES LIFE.


We must rebuke the old man in ourselves and others and “claim the paradise” that Christ tells us we will join Him in now as the blessed and first, in down payment form and later in the holy resurrection, Lord willing.


The paradise we now have access to through Christ is that we sit with Christ in the heavenly mind that is of His Father.

We die daily and in doing so we rise unto the Life of Christ daily by picking up our cross and following Him.


1 Corinthians 15:31  I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.


Matthew 16:24  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.


When others condemn us for being “the Christ” we MUST realize that it is not of their own doing or our own doing that we are hanging on a cross with Christ, but that it is the will of God to bring about the new man in us, the great mystery of Christ in us our hope and glory.


Nonetheless, we must always speak the Truth to those enemies if the cross both within ourselves and within others.


Philippians 3:16  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Philippians 3:17  Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

Philippians 3:18  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

Philippians 3:19  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Philippians 3:20  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:


Let us continue on towards the mark of the price of the high calling and mind not the earthly things that keep our walk in this life separate from that of the Life in Christ.


We must seek first the kingdom of God where Christ dwells with God the Father.


Luke 23:40  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

Luke 23:41  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Luke 23:42  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Luke 23:43  And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

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