Luther’s Jenseitige Eschatology

To Luther, the dying Christ in Luke 23:43 did not at all mean, nor say, to the penitent thief on his cross: "I tell you today, you shall only after the resurrection of the body at the very end of World History be with Me in Paradise!"   Instead, to Luther and to the Church Universal of all ages, Christ here meant what He actually said, viz.: "I tell you — today you shall be with Me in Paradise!"   For, as Luther remarks: "Here Heaven and Paradise are one!"1

Indeed, apparently mindful of the poor man (Lazarus) right after his death going to "the bosom of Abraham" in Luke 16:22-31, Luther further remarks: "Abraham, after death, lives with God; serves Him; and also rules with Him….   How the soul ‘rests’ [cf. Revelation 6:9-11 & 14:13 & 20:4-6], we are not to know.   It is certain, however, that it lives!"2