The Four Crucified With Christ
This teaching is a very good example of how man’s tradition often conflicts with the accuracy of God’s Word. The reason there has been so much confusion regarding the “others” crucified with Jesus Christ is because men have divided the Word of God to suit themselves according to tradition. Although this teaching startles some Christians, we must change our theology and beliefs to agree with the Word of God.
According to the Word of God, there were four crucified with Jesus Christ. The main problem with the traditional teaching is that they have made the two thieves and the two malefactors as if they were the same. In other words, tradition teaches that only two were crucified with Christ. Most Christians searching for accuracy will find this teaching to be interesting and exciting since it allows us to find another treasure in God’s Word. So let’s proceed with the teaching.
If we were to continue to teach that there were only two crucified with Christ, we would have a major discrepancy in God’s Word. Matthew 27: 38 and Mark 15: 27 clearly state that there were “two thieves” while Luke 23: 32 says that there were “two malefactors”. Let’s examine these scriptures more closely. As we will see, the key to accuracy is understanding the Greek words that are used for robbers/thieves and for malefactors.
Matthew 27: 38 — Then were there two thieves (or robbers — duo lestai)crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
Mark 15: 27 — And with him they crucify two thieves (duo lestai); the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.
Luke 23: 32 — And there were also two other, malefactors (duo kakourgoi), led with him to be put to death.
As you can clearly see, the Greek word used for “thieves” in Matthew and Mark is different from the word used for “malefactors” in the Gospel of Luke. A malefactor can also be called an evil doer. This is not the same thing as a robber or a thief. Let’s again turn to the Word of God for even greater proof that Jesus was both crucified with two robbers and with two malefactors. The scriptures teach that both robbers reviled Jesus while only one malefactor “railed on him” (Jesus) while the other malefactor defended Christ. First let’s look at what both thieves had to say to Jesus Christ while hanging on the cross.
Matthew 27: 44 — The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. [You should read verses 41 to 43 to understand the context here].
Luke 23: 39, 40 — And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
Isn’t that tremendous? We already have enough proof from God’s Word to see that there were four crucified with Jesus Christ, and not two, as tradition has taught us for centuries. However, when we decide to do biblical research, we continue to make absolutely certain that we are correct according to the Word of God. So let’s continue with some more examples which will help us to eliminate any doubt in our renewed mind, if any still exists. A scientist makes sure that his hypothesis is 100% correct, if possible. We want to be 1000% confident when handling God’s Word.
At this point, it should be mentioned that each of the four Gospels in God’s Word complement one another. However, they do not all contain the same information about identical subjects. What we need to understand is that even though the subject may be similar, that does not mean that it is IDENTICAL. If you’re really not that concerned with accuracy, you can simply make the assumption that evil doers are the same as robbers. But a true Christian who is after God’s own heart never settles for second-best. He or she never settles for private interpretation and tradition. God wants His people to know the score. He wants them to be able to separate truth from error and this can only be done with a diligent effort to study and apply the rightly divided, accurate Word of God. Just by examining only a few scriptures, we have already established an accurate point from God’s Word that is misunderstood by probably 98% of the Christian community. I can remember studying this morning the first few verses in Matthew Chapter 18 where the disciples asked Jesus who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Christ called a little child next to him and used that child as an example to teach them about humbleness and innocence. I will bet you that almost any little child would become excited to learn something that hardly anyone else knew. And that’s how I feel about learning that there were four crucified with Jesus Christ. How about yourself? How do you feel about it? Well, if you’re excited, we’re having fun and it is God’s Will for us all to enjoy life. That’s only one of the benefits of keeping God first in your life.
Ok, it’s time to get more scriptural proof about how many were crucified with Jesus Christ. So let’s take a look at two verses in the Gospel of John Chapter 19: 17, 18. It is so very important when doing biblical research to examine each word in the verse. If God is perfect, and He is, then His Word must also be perfect.
John 19: 17, 18 — And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus and the midst.
There is one small word in verse 18 which should arrest our attention, and that is the word “midst”. This word is a keyword because grammatically one individual cannot be crucified in the midst of two. Always, with the use of the word “midst”, 4, 6, or 8 are indicated. When a person is situated with one on either side, that person is BETWEEN and not in the “midst”. A PERSON IS BETWEEN TWO, BUT IN THE MIDST OF FOUR. This is not hard to understand and it also clearly demonstrates the minute accuracy of God’s Word when it is rightly divided and researched.
Now here is a little diamond that should really drive our point home and remove any doubt from your mind. We’re going to take a look at the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament. This is a translation of the Stevens Greek Text, from which the King James Version was translated.
John 19: 18 — where him they crucified, and with him, others two on this side and on that side [one], and in the middle Jesus.
*** Now here we see something that is most interesting. As I am examining this verse in the Interlinear, it is clear that there is a corresponding Greek word above every English word except the word “ONE”. And also, as you can see, the word “one” is placed in brackets. This is to indicate that the translators added the word “one”. Now go back to the verse and read the verse without the word “one”. . . . . “two on this side and on that side”. And there it is, the perfect accuracy of God’s Word. There were two on one side of Jesus Christ and two on the other side of Jesus Christ. Two plus two equals four. Now let’s study this point a little further so we are absolutely clear on how and why this happened.
The word “one” never appeared in any Critical Greek texts, so why is it in the King James Version? Because by 1611 the Western world had become so indoctrinated by pictures showing Jesus Christ on the center cross with one evil doer on each side of him, that when they were translating this particular verse in John, THEY INSERTED THE WORD “ONE” to agree with established traditional beliefs.
It is true that truth needs no defense. We should be completely convinced that Jesus Christ was crucified in the midst of four, and not two. However, we’re going to go to God’s Word one final time and conclude our study with a very simple, but very convincing example from the Holy Scriptures. Even though we need to learn to walk by the spirit, God knows that we need to be able to understand and make sense of what we believe. This final example is as straightforward and simple as can be. It is my heart’s desire that you are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt and that you know that you know that you know the truth and minute accuracy of the Word of God concerning how many were crucified with Jesus Christ. Let’s conclude with this final example and may God bless your heart for your diligent effort to learn and apply His Word in your life.
John 19: 32, 33 — Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which [who] was crucified with him. But when they came [having come] to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
Do you see the simplicity of this example? If we believe what tradition teaches us, the soldiers would have to have broken the legs of the first miscalled thief, THEN THEY MUST HAVE GONE AROUND JESUS, then they broke the legs of the second miscalled thief. Then the soldiers came back to Jesus, and said to themselves, “He is dead already” so they did not break his legs. This scenario is not only illogical, it is senseless. The Word of God clearly states that they broke the legs of the first and of the other which was crucified with Jesus and THEN they came to Jesus. Is that so hard to understand? It depends whether we want to believe the rightly divided Word of God or the traditions of men. Which one do you want to believe?
As the soldiers progressed in the row, they came to Jesus in the third place and found him already dead. In actuality, according to God’s Word, the two malefactors were nearest to Christ, one on each side. The two thieves were one removed from Jesus the farthest away, one on each side. Now let’s go over this one more time. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first robber. Then they came to the malefactor and they broke his legs. Then they came to Jesus and they saw that he was dead already. Now the Word of God fits like a hand in a glove with a mathematical exactness and scientific precision. Finally, let’s go back and study John 19: 32, 33 in light of what we’ve learned from our research of God’s Word.
John 19: 32, 33 — Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first [duo lestai – a robber], and of the other [duo kakourgoi – a malefactor], which [who] was crucified with him. But when they came [having come] to Jesus [in progression], and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
The concluding chart should help to simplify matters even more. This teaching will probably stay in your heart the rest of your life. It is one of the better examples of how private interpretation (i.e. guesswork) and tradition result in the wrongly dividing of God’s Word, mistranslations, and misinterpretations which only result in erroneous doctrine, very slyly introduced into secular religion by the god of this world.
Remember, God is perfect, so His Word must also be perfect. Now you know that there were clearly four (4) crucified with Jesus Christ because that’s what the Word of God teaches.
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