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Summary: The Gospel reports agree that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was empty before daylight on Sunday morning. Since He arose at 6:00 P. M. on Saturday/Sunday there are twelve mysterious hours during which time Jesus Christ went on a preaching mission.

EASTER TWELVE UNACCOUNTED FOR HOURS

TEXT: Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1

INTRODUCTION: The Gospel reports agree that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was empty before daylight on Sunday morning.

Since He arose at 6:00 P. M. on Saturday/Sunday there are twelve mysterious hours during which time Jesus Christ went on a preaching mission.

When Jesus was on the cross, one of the malefactors being crucified turned to Him and said, 42… Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:42-43

This is where Jesus went at death along with the first trophy of His passion. Let’s look at this paradise, this place of the departed spirits and learn a few basic facts to understand what actually took place during the span of these unaccounted for twelve hours.

In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus told the story (not parable) of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. In telling us this story He pulled the curtain of eternity aside and allowed us to look at the prison house of departed spirits, both saved and lost.

We are told that it is located in the “lower parts of the earth” Eph. 4:9. The place is identified in the O. T. by the word “sheol.” In the N. T. it is identified by the word “hades.” Both words refer to the same place – the heart of the earth – the prison of departed spirits.

It is evident that there are several compartments in hades. One is where the saved went at death before the resurrection of Jesus. They were “comforted” (Luke 16:25), but were nonetheless prisoners, because Satan held the power of death.

Jesus went to this place at His death. He was as much a prisoner there as any of the others who were confined there.

Next, there was the compartment of the lost. They are “tormented” (Luke 16:24). In this compartment the lost experience the equivalent of physical suffering, memory, despair – these all make the compartment of the lost a place of agony and hopelessness.

From this place the lost will one day come and be judged at the Great White Throne judgement. There they will be forced to stand in God’s holy presence and will be sentenced to eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

This is a lot like a criminal who is confined in the local county jail until his trial when he is sentenced to the penitentiary to pay for his crime.

All of the people who had died were in either one or the other of these compartments before Jesus Christ arose and led “captivity (the saved) captive” Eph. 4:8.

There are at least two other compartments in hades. One is called Tartarus. It is the place where the fallen angels identified with the sins of Genesis 6:4 are confined (2 Peter 2:4).

The other is called the bottomless pit and is probably the “great gulf” (Luke 16:26) separating paradise from the compartment of the lost.

The demons asked Jesus not to send them to this place in Luke 8:31, 31And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. Deep = infernal, abyss, bottomless pit.

This may be another prison for the demons.

There is another prison – the Lake of Fire – called hell and translated from the word gehenna. It is used only eleven times, all in the N. T.

Ten of these eleven times where the word is used were spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself. The only other time it is used by James in his epistle 3:6 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

This then is a small description of the place of departed spirits to which Jesus descended at death. He was Himself a prisoner and consequently, while there was not preaching.

For three days and three nights, while His body lay in the guarded tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, He experienced the pains of death, suffering the hell we deserved, taking the place of the penitent sinners.

Acts 2:23-24 23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

God “loosed the pains of death,” that is, released Him from the prison. Remember that as man, He died for man’s sins. As a man, He was imprisoned for man’s penalty. As man, He was brought from the prison by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Michael James Monaghan

commented on Jun 29, 2012

Dennis , you ''sound'' different than on the ''comments''. But , Two good sites for you may be bibleunderstanding.com/death.htm and The rich man and Lazarus by E.W. Bullinger - also as a booklet . About Mark 16 . You may have to remember that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees . It wasn''t a parable . But it may well have been a parody of their doctrine. By the way , the amount of times ''sleep'' is mentioned as describing death , is much in the scriptures .

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