Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Did Jesus go to Hell??

Whats Wrong With This Picture?

Today, I ran into a doctrinal error I formerly believed and I spent alot more time giving it thought than I had originally planned to. Many in Christendom believe what I now believe is an error and I simply want to expose the error and bring the truth to light....Now, I believe this is a foundational error, mainly because it has to do with the death of Christ, and if we are wrong on His death, then we should ask ourselves, do we really have His life? On the other hand, this error is a small part of what happened at Calvary and I dont believe that it really jeapordizes the spiritual walk of a Christian to the point where they are facing eternal reprocussions for believing in it...but it can lead to heresy and if you believe this and refuse what "scripture saith" then you are not far from it, and we know that believing in heresies will not get you into the kingdom of heaven (Galatians 5:20)
So....the error? Ill put it forth in a question: Did the Lord Jesus Christ go to Hell after His death on the cross and was He tormented there for 3 days and nights before God declared Him righteous and He rose again? Long question, but grasp all the elements in it...because all of them are wrong.

Now, I wont come up with "Rayshawn's way" of getting around this or avoiding this issue because I'm "scared of the truth" or something.....What does scripture say on this matter and what have men made up? Some men say that Jesus went to hell, was tormented there for three days and nights and then out of nowhere defeats all of his demonic,Satanic tormentors in the midst of hell and then gets out of there - thereby conquering them. So, sometime between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Jesus went to Hell and these things happened. This way of looking at the glass is backed up by these verses:

Ephesians 4:8-10
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

1 Peter 3:18-20
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.

Acts 2:31
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Lets look at the context of these scriptures to see if Jesus' descending into Hell is found in here. Ephesians...."the lower parts of the earth". What does this mean? Many would think it means "hell" being that many believe hell is in the center of the earth...which I believe it is, but I do not think that this passage is referring to hell...rather, I think it is referring to the grave, being that "of the earth" can also be translated "lower regions, the earth (ESV)"in contrast to "far above all, the heavens". So its more like..."he drove down to Broad Street, namely to South broad street"...that is a very trite illustration, but my point is that lower regions is referring to the earth in the Greek as in Jesus was buried in the tomb, the earth. Another illustration: when we bury a loved one, we do not say we are going to bury them in hell...that would be wrong...rather, we say we bury them in the ground, the earth. Therefore, I do not think that hell is being reffered to here in Ephesians 4.

Ephesians 4:8-10 is also very similar in wording to Romans 10:6-7
But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down [from above]:)
Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

Paul refrences Deuteronomy 30:10-12 when he uses it in Romans 10:6-7 and in neither passage is the reference made to hell - therefore I dont believe that the reference is made to hell in this passage.

If we also take a look at the words of Jesus, who spoke more on hell than anyone in the Bible, he never refrences Himself as going there or needing to go there for any reason concerning the atonement. When Christ in Matthew 12:40 says that he will be in the heart of the earth as Jonah was in the whales belly, it is clear that Jesus is referring to the grave, and not hell.

Ill touch on Acts 2:31 briefly :Peter clarifies that the Psalm he is referring to is not speaking about David..why? Because David DIED and was BURIED (abandoned to death (Hades) and saw Corruption...follow me close here) but because David was a prophet, he was referring to one of his descendants (Christ) who would sit on the throne. So David spoke of Christ who would not be abandoned to Hades, "left in hell" (DEATH) nor would see corruption (the effects of BURIAL) i.e. Lazarus (he stinketh). So now lets look at the nature of hell and corruption....the nature of corruption: youre either corrupted or not - your flesh is falling off and decaying or its not. The nature of hell: its eternal, youre either in it eternally or not. I like how the ESV translates Acts 2:31 -"he was not abandoned to Hades" - meaning he didnt go there...he was in the grave, but didnt remain there, "nor did his flesh see corruption" - meaning it did not corrupt.

I Peter 3:18-20 - Instead I will use a quote I read on this subject matter:These are 5 possible scenarios that could be going on in this passage -

"View 1. After Jesus died, during the three days before His resurrection, He went and preached the Gospel to people in Hell in order to offer them one final opportunity to believe and repent.

View 2. After Jesus died, during the three days before His resurrection, He went and proclaimed to the people in Hell His ultimate victory over them and to also proclaim that their condemnation was final.

View 3. After Jesus died, during the three days before His resurrection, He went to a place where the OT believers were kept until the coming of Jesus and freed them so that they could go to Heaven.

View 4. After Jesus died or after His resurrection, but before His ascension, Jesus went to Hell to proclaim victory over the fallen angels who had sinned in Genesis 6 by taking on human bodies and marrying the daughters of men.

View 5. During the days of Noah, Jesus preached the Gospel through Noah by the power of the Spirit to those who were disobedient back then, but who were already in Hell at the time of Peter’s writing."

As you can see, I agree with choice 5 and this is why -
Choices 1-4 contradict the scripture in Hebrews 9:27 where "it is appointed unto a man once to die and then the judgment". There is no second chance for those who sinned against God because the law of God was written on their consciences and His attributes were made known to them (Romans 1:20-22)
Also, these spirits whom are being preached to are not fallen angles who married humans. Jude 1:6 tells us that those angels who left their first estate are doomed...forever. The gospel is also not meant for angels but for man, so for Christ to preach the gospel to those who dont even qualify to be recipients of it would be useless.
Colossians also tells us when and where He defeated principalities and powers (Colossians 2:14-15)..."nailing it to the cross"
Furthermore, If Christ only went to preach to Noah's generation, then that isnt fair to all the other nations, tribes, and tounges that rebelled against God even after the flood. These people in Noah's day heard the preaching of Christ...through Noah's Spirit-empowered preaching BACK THEN and now they are in prison.

My final point concerning this error is focusing once again on the nature of hell.
1) Hell is not Paradise. Jesus tells us exactly where He went that Friday afternoon when He died on the cross...heck, he even tells us that he is bringing a guest with Him...to Paradise (Luke 23:43) Christ also tells us where His spirit went when He died "Into THY HANDS" (Luke 23:46)
2)Abraham's bosom was the abode of the righteous = heaven, maybe not the third heaven or even the throne room of God, but we know that it wasnt hell because the righteous are still counted as living while the unrighteous are counted as dead and tormented....check out Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-26) There was a huge gulf between "the bosom" and Hell...they were not the same place in different compartments....this is an idea of some purgatory wich is heretical...people only go to one of two places when they die...heaven or hell. Paul said "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord".
How bout Elijah? He was taken up in 2 Kings 2:11 in a chariot to where? HEAVEN
Enoch: was not for what? God took him (Genesis 5:24)to where, a temporary hell? No, Heaven.
Abraham, Issac, Jacob - Jesus says in Matthew 22:32 "God is not the God of the dead; but the living." Even when Jesus discusses where these men are in Matthew 8:11, "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." we can see that this is no temporary hell called the bosom of Abraham. In contrast to the kingdom of heaven, in the next verse of Matthew 8 we can see that there is only one other place to go "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. "
Psalms 73:24Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me [to] glory.
Psalm 49:15 God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me.

I will say this in closing, when Christ on the cross said "It is finished"..that statement would have been incomplete if after the cross He would have to go to hell and endure 3 days worth of "hell". It is finished means It is finished...the wrath of God had been absorbed, the sins of the world had been atoned for...the veil in the temple was rent (Luke 23:45) and Christ had died.

See, the error that many fall into concerning the atoning work of Jesus Christ is that many believe that it was to Satan to whom the ransom was paid...but Christ gave His life as a ransom for many to remove the wrath of God from over the lives of those who would believe on Him...not the wrath of Satan. It was God who would punish for sins committed, it was God who would execute His wrath upon sinful mankind , and it was God to whom the price had to be paid to. It would make Satan some sort of sovereign if he were to hold us hostage with a gun to our heads, until God "finally came up with a plan to get us back". That is a "romantic" view of the gospel, but it is romantically wrong. Christ was foreordained to die for His people from the foundations of the world (1 Peter 1:20).When we were sinners who rebelled against God, hated him severely and worked against Him daily - God, not because of who we were "his darling beloved, precious, free-willed, in desparate need, children" -because we were not this...we were sinners, enemies, the ungodly and helpless, spiritually dead in sins, walking according to the course of this world, following after satan like a child follows his father (Romans 5:6-10; Ephesians 2:1-3; John 8:44) but God,not because of who we were, but in spite of what we were,because He is love, and unconditional agape love at that, chose - because of His own good pleasure to send His Son to die to save for Himself a people who He will conform to the image of His gloriously beloved Son.

The reason Christ made an open show and triumphed over principalities is because "He's got it like that" and just when Satan thought He could somehow stop God, by decieving Adam and Eve, God had already had a design for it way before Satan ever put the fruit in front of Eve...The plan of salvation wasnt a "reaction" to a bad event....it was God's glorious plan from the beginning, and Christs death on the cross and His triumphing vicroty over Satan was a God-Glorifying reminder to let Satan know "All things were created for the glory of God - even Satan, principalities, powers, and sin" "All things were made for Him (Colossians 1:16)....and here is the mystery Paul was speaking of...because if the devil knew about Christ being crucified in order to save...then he would have tried to stop that from happening (which he did try)but because God is Sovereign and in control of ALL THiNGS, what Satan devises and means for evil (killing the Son of God) God strategizes and works for good (it pleased the LORD to crush Him (Isaiah 53:10) ...God is Sovereign and none can stay His hand. "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."- 1 Corinthians 2:7-8

Christ bore the wrath of God upon the cross and God doesent need Satan to somehow "validate" Christ's sacrifice by tormenting Him in hell for 3 days until God says stop...God was the one we sinned against, not Satan, and God was the one who saved us....yes, from Himself...

No comments: