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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Christ descended into Hell

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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Christ descended into Hell

"He went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits." - 1 Peter 3:19

Christ descended into hell. Does that statement surprise you? It is not theory or an allusion of scriptures but rather He really did go to the place of the dead and proclaimed His victory over death itself. Amongst many reformed churches and other church traditions the Apostles Creed is read even every Sunday, part of it reads:

"Was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven."

Amongst revisionist theology there is a current trend of thinking that denies that Christ went to hell or the grave. Modern scholars all give fascinating reasons why they assume this did not happen and try and explain away any scriptures that clearly state this. Our Lord Himself taught that he would abode in the heart of the earth for 3 days (Matthew 12:40). Apostle Peter proclaims this truth that God would not leave Christ in the grave in this first sermonWE on Pentecost (Acts 2:31). St. Paul clearly speaks of this decent in his Epistles (Ephesians 4:9). St. Peter also speaks of his proclaiming the Gospel to the dead (1 Peter 4:6).

As modern believers we have a misconception of Hell. The word has been wrongly assigned. Sheol, the place of the death is not the final destination for lost souls. For the judgement is coming and those apart from Christ's salvation are cast into the lake of fire which is the second death.

The first death has already in a sense been plundered. The gates of Hell have been shattered and the captives liberated. Christ has the victory not just in the earth but also in death. The " troparion" which is part of an early church liturgy states, "Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death, And upon those in the tombs Bestowing life!"

Early Church Fathers also are in a consensus with this truth of Christ's decent. Irenaeus of Lyons says, "It was for this reason, too, that the Lord descended into the regions beneath the earth, preaching His advent there also, and [declaring] the remission of sins received by those who believe in Him." Cyril of Jerusalem says, "He went down into the regions beneath the earth, that thence also He might redeem the righteous."

St. John Chrysostom declares:

"It [Hell] took a body [Jesus Christ], and, lo, it discovered God.
It took earth and behold! it encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it could not see.
O death where is your sting? O Hades [Hell], where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you [Hell] are annihilated.
Christ is risen and the demons have fallen.
Christ is risen and the Angels rejoice.
Christ is risen and life is liberated.
Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead..."

Not only are sins forgiven in Christ but he also defeats the devil, and death! Christ is Victor. Hallelujah He is risen. Death cannot no longer hold Him.


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SI Moderator - Greg

 2018/10/11 10:28Profile
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 Re: Christ descended into Hell

Are we to take this to mean that Jesus literally went somewhere down inside the earth where ghosts walk around? If so, where is this place under the earth?

I understand the ancient Greek pagans believed in sin Hades and the Jews believed in Sheol but does that mean there is a literal place inside the earth where shades or ghosts are walking around?


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Todd

 2018/10/11 11:32Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
I understand the ancient Greek pagans believed in sin Hades and the Jews believed in Sheol but does that mean there is a literal place inside the earth where shades or ghosts are walking around?



Dear brother,

yes in Jewish belief this was held and Jesus upholder that belief that there was an abode of the dead where there was torment. But our modern belief of hell is more describing the Lake of Fire which is the final judgement and not the abode of the dead.

It is very plausible and possible that this place of the dead is in the earth itself. People are not ghosts but spirits and they are not necessarily walking around, it is a place of somewhat of containment or a Prison that Peter the Apostle calls it where Jesus preached.

This belief was held by all early christians and now seems up for grabs with modern scholarship or the biblicist thinking that everything has to come from a modern interpretation of the Bible itself. But of course such thinking can nullify certain traditions held by Jesus, the first Apostles and the 2nd generation of Bishops (apostles) who were handed the gospel. If we cannot trust these early sources we are simply then creating our own ideas with our own authority.

I saw this clearly when reading the Book of Revelation and coming against across the word: Nicolaitans. I had no idea what the word meant and what doctrine was associated with it, but it said clearly the Lord HATES it. My interpretation I accepted at first for many years was from brethren writers who popularized the idea it mean "ruling" over the laity, thus it was hierarchal christianity which is: Nicolitians. This was a convent interpretation in their day as that movement was leaving the Anglican Church and set to form their own group with no authority over it. Though I do appreciate many things about the Brethren Church today.

But in a moment of revelation I had an experience of the simple thought, what did the early Christians believe about Nicolaitans? After searching this out I was astounded that it was a conensus of belief that all agreed it was Nicol of Antioch one of the first 7 deacons who were chosen by the Apostles. Nicol apostatized from the faith and starting teaching a doctrine that was opposed to true Christian believers. After realizing this I had a 15 minute time of pause in silence and in shock. The only question in my mind was, What else could I have believed from modern interpretations that have deviated me from really the Scripture meant?

The belief that the Bible alone can interpret the Bible is not true in all cases and we also have traditions and interpretations that have been passed along in history that are reliable and true. Both are important.

With Christ descending into Hell, it is a similar. problem where John Calvin a reformer decided to teach against this belief based on his own logic and ideas and not what was accepted by "all" before him.


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SI Moderator - Greg

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 Re:

Thanks Greg but I guess my question is whether you think that this place inside the earth could at least theoretically be discovered or found, or is it merely a spiritual term that does not actually physically exist.

When David said he would go to his dead infant son (when he himself died) does that mean he rejoined his son in some literal compartment under the earth?

I guess I am thinking may it possibly have been a manner of speaking used by ancient persons but perhaps not intended to be meant literally.


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Todd

 2018/10/11 12:45Profile
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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Thanks Greg but I guess my question is whether you think that this place inside the earth could at least theoretically be discovered or found, or is it merely a spiritual term that does not actually physically exist.



Good questions brother. I personally think we cannot be dogmatic on where it is, but that it exists wether physical or spiritually we can be certain. What matters more is the truth that Christ did plunder death, proclaimed to spirits in prison and hope is offered not just here but even in death also.

I think it is good to mention also that western thought is dogmatic, factual and logical by reason only. Where eastern thought (of which our bible originates) is more symbolic and they embrace mystery and not being able to know all details. Also an eastern thought is happy to maintain 2 opposing ideas (seemingly) and hold them together finding balance between both.


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SI Moderator - Greg

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 Re:

Certainly agree with you there.

I have not thought too much about this before because I guess I never really considered that Bible writers were talking about a real physical place in the earth. I’ll have to look into it a little further.


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Todd

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 Re: twisting

Ive not heard many have a problem with Jesus descent into hell to preach to the spirits in prison.

What I did run into was a perversion of this text in Acts and Jude where Jesus according to Paul 2cor5 "was made to be sin"...interpreted Jesus became literal sin, therefore because he was 'literally sin' Jesus had to go to hell to suffer on our behalf, it is in Hell, Jesus was 'born-again' and when he became born again he ascended from hell and was resurrected.

This is the perverted Word of Faith interpretation, in their usage of this text Jesus went to hell because he was sinful, and needed to be born again like we do.

The Born-again Jesus teachings by the W.O.F crew alerted me many decade ago to the deep error of their teachings.

It was their teachings that created a great deal of confrontation between me and others when they taught Jesus went to hell sheol, hades, tartarus...makes no difference, the point was their interpretation of 2 cor 5 made Jesus 'sin' rather than the intended sin-offering and thereby created a blasphemous heresy.


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Marvin

 2018/10/12 11:36Profile
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 Re:

I agree 100% Marvin- But do you think when Jesus visited “wherever” he was literally somewhere in the bowels of the earth?


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Todd

 2018/10/12 12:35Profile





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