Summary: What did Jesus do in the time between his crucifixion and resurrection. Where did He go? What happened then... what happens now?
I believe… He descended to the dead 1 Pet 3:18-4:6
2 parts: 1) What happened then… 2) what happens now?
- check out one of my sermons on tape 5th Nov 2000 am
What happened then?
May simply be a repetition of ‘crucified… died… buried’
- descend to the dead = DEAD! Went to place all go when die
- Jesus experienced ALL our experiences
- REALLY died
- = crucial to the creed (hence repetition)
- = crucial to Muslims. Big issue is over whether He died
- no death -> no resurrection. Not God
This repetition/redundancy may be one of the reasons it’s missed in some creeds
- not present until 360AD
- missed in later ones
- = because ‘unnecessary’
But, actually, I fully believe there were other reasons not included till later… missed out
= the sheer controversy… lack of clarity… diversity of opinions over what it really means
- = easier to simply steer clear of it
So, I need to say to you this morning:
- “This is not a cut and dried thing.” I’m not certain, here.
- I will nail my colours to the mast, but it’s different to last week (dogma)- this is shades of grey and conjecture
2 Descended to hell?
One thing is clear to me- it means more than just ‘died’, because there’s a number of passages in Scrip that speak about Jesus’ descent somewhere (72 hrs between death & ressurr)
- all fill in part of the jigsaw/picture
- but the picture/jig saw is still incomplete
So, where did He go? Was it to hell?
- some versions of the creed have this
- Calvin believed it: Jesus bearing the sin of the world went where sin is punished & experienced torture
- CS Lewis may have entertained some of this idea- Aslan is tortured by the witch & her minions
- (although, I’d say that was before his death- so Aslan experienced hell… but before dying)
I feel we must dispense with this opinion- and there is god Biblical reason to do so:
- none of the words re Jesus’ decent in NT are actually to Hell
- some are mistranslated that way
- ALL = to the ‘dead’
3 Descended to “the Dead”
to the ‘place of the dead
- in OT= sheol (tr grave, pit, death)
- NT = Hades
(not heaven and hell, which are final destinations at Jesus’ return
- but look a bit like it as God’s presence and judgement are there)
Acts 2:27 confirms this AC 2:27 because you will not abandon me to the grave (Hades), nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
- quoting OT sheol, using NT word Hades
But what did He do there, then?
- Peter tells us most of what we know. Can imagine him asking Jesus during his own unique appearance
4 Preached to the dead
He preached to some, there. But who?
a) disobedient spirits… angels, certainly
Confirmed in Jude 6
- all of the fallen spirits? Doesn’t seem so
- = the spirits that disobeyed before the flood
- the naughty Angels of Gen 6, who had forbidden relationships with the beautiful women of earth
- formed the Nephilim (cruel, immoral giants)
- God put a stop to this behaviour. Put a boundary in. Placed them in Tartarus (2 Peter 4)
- = part of the dead- gloomy chained dungeons… beginning their judgement
He went there and proclaimed victory over them
Many think it ends there. But I and others think there’s more
b) the saints of old
those (in Lk 16 Dives/Lazarus) in paradise/Abraham’s bosom
The opinion is that these folks still had to explicitly accept Jesus
- those who had ‘seen His day…and were glad’.. looked forward to Him, prophesied about Him- still had to accept Him
- so, Jesus went to them and they accepted Him, then
- “he ascended on high, leading them in His train… and gave gifts to men” (Pentecost, HS poured out)
- I’m pretty sure this is what’s being referred to in Eph 4:7-9, as v 9’s “descended to the lower earthly regions” is classical way of referring to sheol
- 4 tiers: sheol> earth> heavens> highest heavens (3rd heaven)
- and maybe, just maybe… the resurrection of some saints from tombs in Mt 27:51 is evidence of this
- certainly shows Jesus’ death had cosmic ramifications
c) all the dead
but I think He preached to others, too… because it doesn’t say “preached to saints”, it says
- preached to angels (who remained bound, I guess)
- preached to ‘those who are now dead’
ie everyone dead
- gave everyone the chance to accept Jesus, because they hadn’t done so explicitly