Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jesus in Hades

Jesus in the Heart of the Earth

Efforts to picture Jesus' visit to the place where the spirits of the dead reside is bound to be confused and confusing. We do not know much about the realm of spirits separated from dead bodies, but we know that Jesus went there during the time His body was dead, beginning on afternoon of 14 Nissan, just after He uttered His last words on the cross. 

We know something about Hades by the parable of Jesus about the rich man and Lazarus, 

Lazarus in Abraham's Bosom

Luk 16:19  "There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
Luk 16:20  And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
Luk 16:21  who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22  The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried,
Luk 16:23  and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

Jesus mentioned His visit to Hades in the conversation with the thief who hung on the cross next to Jesus.

Luk 23:39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" Luk 23:40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 
Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 
Luk 23:42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 
Luk 23:43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luk 23:44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 
Luk 23:45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 
Luk 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.

From mid afternoon of Nissan 14 until before dawn on Nisan 17, counting three hours of light on the afternoon of 14th as the first day after Jesus died, is exactly three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, just as Jesus said in His message about the sign of Jonah. Mat 12:38  Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." 
Mat 12:39  But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
Mat 12:40  For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Mat 12:41  The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

His body was buried at sunset on beginning of 15 Nissan, so the body of Jesus was in the grave three nights and two days, being raised the third day, as Jesus predicted.  Mat 16:21  From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

The body of Jesus was in the tomb of Joseph, but His human spirit was in Hades, having gone there three hours before his body was buried. As the Son of David, born of the virgin Mary, Jesus had a human spirit just as all of us have, which we receive at conception. We cannot understand how the spirit interacts with our mind, but we know it is there, it is who we are, it is our center of existence, and leaves when the body dies. The spirit leaving the body is the Biblical definition of death.

Before Jesus visited Hades, the spirits of both the good and the evil were there, separated from God by sin. The wicked were tormented by memories of their failures in life, and those who trusted in God were comforted by the promise of resurrection.

Psa 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 
Psa 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 
Psa 16:10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 
Psa 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.                                                                                        
Image result for jesus preaching in hades

Jesus Preaching to the Spirits in Hades

Jesus' visit to Hades for three days and three nights was a one time event. What happened there was a result of the death of Jesus, and His visit to the realm of the dead. His spirit's visit to Hades takes precedence over the burial of His body in the grave. His body was lifeless, but His spirit very much alive, as He shared His testimony with the spirits in Hades. He had died for all mankind; past, present, and future. 

Among the spirits in Hades were all those who died in the flood in the time of Noah. They participated in a form of baptism, buried in water as they died to sin. But they were trapped in death, and had no hope of a resurrection to life, until now. 

Peter gives this account of what happened. 

1Pe 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 
1Pe 3:19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 
1Pe 3:20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 
1Pe 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 
1Pe 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. ESV

What did Jesus preach to the spirits in Hades? He preached the gospel, that He is the Son of God, who died for the sins of the world, and that all who believe in Him can be delivered from Hades and go into the presence of God to await the resurrection day and the reunion of their spirit with their resurrected and glorified bodies at the coming of Jesus on judgement day.  

1Pe 4:1  Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 
1Pe 4:2  so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 
1Pe 4:3  For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 
1Pe 4:4  With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 
1Pe 4:5  but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 
1Pe 4:6  For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. 

What happened during Jesus' visit to Hades was a one time event, and does not happen today. Everyone who has died since the Day of Pentecost lives with the expectation that each of us will face Jesus on judgment day based upon what we have done before death. Paul writing to the church at Corinth said this:

2Co 5:6  So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 
2Co 5:7  for we walk by faith, not by sight. 
2Co 5:8  Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 
2Co 5:9  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 
2Co 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil

The writer of Hebrews connects judgment day with death, with no opportunity for redemption coming between death and judgment day. 

Heb 9:27  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 
Heb 9:28  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. 

Even the living face a fearful judgment if they reject salvation in Jesus Christ. God does not save those who rebel against Him in this life, who persist in that rebellion.

Heb 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, Heb 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 
Heb 10:26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 
Heb 10:27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 
Heb 10:28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 
Heb 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 
Heb 10:30 For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." 
Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Separating the Sheep and the Goats

Mat 25:31  "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Mat 25:32  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Mat 25:33  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34  Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Mat 25:35  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
Mat 25:36  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
Mat 25:37  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
Mat 25:38  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
Mat 25:39  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
Mat 25:40  And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
Mat 25:41  "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Mat 25:42  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
Mat 25:43  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
Mat 25:44  Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?'
Mat 25:45  Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'
Mat 25:46  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

When a wicked man, unsaved, dies today, his spirit goes to Hades to await judgment day. When a righteous man dies, saved by faith in our Lord Jesus, his spirit goes to be before the throne of God, to await judgment day. Jesus brings the spirits of the righteous with Him when He comes in the clouds on judgment day.

Resurrection Day

1Th 4:13  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 
1Th 4:14  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 
1Th 4:15  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 
1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 
1Th 4:17  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 
1Th 4:18  Therefore encourage one another with these words. 

Paul speaks about Jesus descent into Hades and His ascension into heaven, Eph 4:7   

Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. For it says:
When he ascended on high,
he took the captives captive;
he gave gifts to people.[b]
But what does “he ascended” mean except that he[c] also descended to the lower parts of the earth?[d] 10 The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. 

The early church had an understanding based upon inspiration that Jesus led the spirits of believers with him when He ascended in the spirit into heaven, opening the door for faithful spirits to be with Jesus before the throne, as they are pictured in Revelation. 

Also the writer of Hebrews has the spirits of the righteous before the throne in the Heavenly Zion, Heb 12:22  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 
Heb 12:23  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 
Heb 12:24  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 

Righteous Before The Throne

Existence of the saved in the spirit with Jesus is not our ultimate goal, but we hope for the resurrection and glorification of our bodies, and our existence as children of God in eternity, with our personal spirits living in our immortal bodies, which have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. This is the promise of resurrection day. This is glorification and eternal life.

Paul wrote this to believers:  Rom 8:14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 
Rom 8:15  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" 
Rom 8:16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 
Rom 8:17  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 
Rom 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 
Rom 8:19  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 

1 Cor 15:49-57
The Mystery of Resurrection 50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 
53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 
54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 
57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


  1. Verse 20
    that aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water:
    That aforetime were disobedient ...
    'Aforetime' flies like a banner over the whole passage; those souls Peter identified as 'spirits in prison' when he wrote were living souls generations earlier in the time of Noah. In the time of Noah they were disobedient; in the time of Noah Christ preached to them; in the time of Noah, most of them rejected salvation; in the time of Noah 'few' were saved. A few 'spirits'? no, a few 'souls,' that being what all of them were at the time of the preaching. There is absolutely no hint whatever in the entire New Testament of any spirits, at any time whatever, ever having been saved, or for that matter, even preached to. All of the nonsense that one reads about Christ preaching to the spirits in Hades is a fabrication built like a superstructure above and beyond the New Testament text. Of course, the selfishness of men enters into such interpretations. Men would like to have a second chance. Having rejected Christ in their bodies, they dream of getting preached to 'as spirits'! The popular notion held by many that Christ preached to disembodied spirits is rationally inconceivable. If he had done such a thing, why should Noah's generation alone, of all who ever lived on earth, have been singled out as the beneficiaries? No.

  2. Aforetime is talking about when the spirits perished in the flood. The banner that flies over the whole passage is Jesus, dead in the body, but alive in the spirit, descending to Hades. To deny that this happened is to deny that Jesus was human.

    Just read the stories, and leave the sophist arguments aside. Jesus, dead in the body, but alive in the spirit, preached to the spirits in Hades. The gospel was preached to the dead by Jesus.

    This gives no support to modern day second chance doctrines. Those who perished in the days of Noah were terminated by God to cleanse the earth, and He, according to the story, gave them the chance to be raised to new life by faith.

  3. Mat 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
    Mat 27:51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
    Mat 27:52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,
    Mat 27:53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

  4. So what happend when we die at present time ? If we wait in our grave untill the last trumpet or we will be in our lords presence immediately

    1. The spirits of the faithful go to be with Jesus and other faithful spirits. Jesus will bring with Him those spirits on resurrection day, to be united in the resurrected, changed, and glorious bodies. Spirits without bodies are incomplete.