Mar 07

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So, just what part of “hades” do you think the spirit of Jesus went to? It was with this question that we ended the first article under the above heading. We learned that “Hades” has three parts: 1) “Abraham’s bosom,” where Lazarus was comforted; 2) the “great gulf” through which no one could pass; and 3) “torments” where the rich man found himself. Now, just think for a moment, Jesus was without sin, he did everything his Father desired of him, he was righteous; therefore, just where would his spirit fit in a place of “torments, or in place of “comfort?”
To answer the question, biblically, let us go to “Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,” where Jesus is being crucified with two malefactors, one on the right and one on the left. One of these spoke words of honesty, which also might indicate repentance, to the other: “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss” (Luke 23:40-41). Then, he also spoke to Jesus some most remarkable words: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Remarkable in that he is speaking to a dying man, but talking about his coming into “thy kingdom.” This robber, being a dying man himself, speaking to a dying man, about a kingdom that does not yet exist, but will exist in the near future. But, back to our question, “what part of Hades did the spirit of Jesus go at his death?” Jesus’ following words will answer the question, as he said to this man: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Now, which goes together, “torments” and “paradise,” or “Abraham’s bosom” and “paradise?” You don’t have to be a “Rocket Scientist” to answer this question, but you do have to be honest! It is clear that “paradise” and “Abraham’s bosom” are the same place; therefore, the part of Hades that the spirit of Jesus went to was the same place Lazarus, the beggar, went, “Abraham’s bosom” is equal to “paradise!”
Let us not forget how we got to this subject in the first place. It is a misunderstanding of Peter’s quote from Psalms 16:10, in Acts 2:27 – “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades, frw), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Note that the King James word “hell” in this verse is the Greek “hades,” which clears up one false idea, that Jesus went into “hell,” meaning eternal hell, the Greek “geenna” (Gehenna). But, is there another passage that some use to teach this same doctrine? Yes there is and it is time to look at it. The passage reads: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Pet. 3:18-20). First, please notice that the word “hell” is not to be found in the passage! It was “by the Spirit” that Jesus is said to have “went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” The conclusion reached by some is that the word “prison” refers to “hell.” However, let us notice just who these “spirits in prison” are; Peter identifies them “which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the day of Noah,” then he hit the nail on the head, “while the ark was a preparing.” So, there are the “spirits in prison.” In what “prison” were they in? How about “prison” of sin? Let us remember Noah was a “preacher of righteousness;” as Peter wrote on the same subject: “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Pet. 2:5). Therefore, it may be concluded that Jesus, through the same spirit by which he was quickened, preached through Noah to those during the time the ark was being prepared. The time the preaching was being done, was “when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” No, Jesus did not go into “Gehenna,” eternal hell, giving people a second chance. Ask yourself this question: “How many souls would be left in hell, if they had a chance to get out?”
One last thought by way of conclusion. When viewing eternal hell, “Gehenna,” Jesus taught that it is eternal, in fact, he used the word to describe both heaven and hell: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). The English words “everlasting” and “eternal” in this verse are the same Greek word, “aionios.” Therefore, whatever it means in one, it means in both!
This leaves us with the third word which is translated “hell” in the New Testament. This will be the subject of the third and final article in this series.

–Frank R. Williams

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