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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

WBC 28/10/01

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?

1 Died!

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

1 peter 4:6

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

- saints

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