Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where Did Jesus Go?

It’s been taught for years. It was in the apostles creed of the catholic church. Many well-known preachers still believe it. When Jesus died, He went to Hell for us, fought with the Devil, and took his keys away from him. Sure, this makes for a dramatic message - but it’s not in the Bible! Scripture shows us exactly what Jesus did between the cross and the resurrection, and Hell was never part of that! This has always been a man-made teaching that played on our emotions!
Let’s look at a little background first.
Whenever anyone died in the Old Testament, they went to a place called Sheol, located deep in the belly of the earth.
Psalm 18:5 - “The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.”
Psalm 116:3 - “The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow.”
At first glance, it seems like Sheol is actually Hell. This gives support to the belief that Jesus went to Hell, since Psalm 16:10 prophesied about Jesus, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” So we can clearly see that Jesus was in doesn’t that mean that He did go to Hell? When we read the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), we find out that there are two parts of Sheol. There is “Abraham’s Lap” - also known as “Paradise.” It was where the righteous dead went. It was a place of comfort. It was a place where the righteous went to wait for the resurrection. The other part of Sheol was “Hades” - also known as “Hell.” It was where the wicked went after death. It was a place of torment, a place of fire, where a single drop of water was considered comfort.
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:9 declares that Jesus descended to the lower parts of the earth after His death. So which one of these compartments did He go to? The answer is so simple, everyone knows it. In fact, Jesus tells us in His own words! When He spoke to the repentant thief on the cross, do you remember what He said? “This day, you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Jesus went straight from the cross to Paradise! He never went to Hell!
While Jesus was in Paradise, the Bible says in 1 Peter 4:6, “For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” and again 1 Peter 3:19-20, “He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient...”
While Jesus was in Paradise, He preached the Gospel, the Good News of what He just did, to the Old Testament saints. He let them know that the promise that they were waiting for had come to pass at last! But remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man? There was a chasm between Paradise and Hell that no one could cross - but there was communication going on back and forth! So while Jesus preached to the righteous dead, the “spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient” were also able to listen. For them, though, it was anything but good news! The promise that they had rejected had come to pass...and they were still on the wrong side.
After three days of preaching the Gospel to the righteous men and women in Paradise, Jesus broke the power of death by rising up from the grave! He “led captivity captive” according to Ephesians 4:8. When He resurrected, He brought all the righteous men and women with Him! For a little while, until He went back to Heaven, the saints of the Old Testament were walking around on earth! Don’t believe me? Look it up for yourself - it’s in Matthew 27:52-53!
Now, the only part of Sheol being used is Hell. 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us what happens to the righteous dead now, “to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Now we go straight to Heaven!
This may not seem like a crucial issue. And as I said before, many good preachers still believe that Jesus went to Hell. But it strikes at the heart of Jesus’ sacrifice - was the cross enough? Did Jesus do everything He needed to do on the cross, or did He still have to go to Hell and beat the devil?
Colossians 2:14-15 is clear about where Jesus’ victory over Satan and his army took place, “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” It was at the cross! When He bore our sin, when He bore our sickness, when He died in our place - that was the victory He came for!
As He breathed His last breath on the cross, He told us that was enough! Remember what He said! “It is finished!” Everything He was going to do for us was done at that moment!

No comments:

Post a Comment