Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
May 30, 1997
Last Updated :
March 9, 2018
Why Did Jesus Go To Hades?, Did Jesus Preach Salvation To The Spirits Imprisoned In Hades?, Jesus Came To Save This World And Not To Judge Or Condemn It, Jesus Was The Firstfruits Of The Resurrection, The Old Testament Saints Looked Forward In Faith To Their Salvation, Counted For Righteousness Through Faith, Abraham's Faith And Righteousness, Timeless Nature Of The Spirit Realm, Resurrection Of The Old Testament Saints, Judgment Of The Fallen Angels/Watchers/Ir, Genesis Flood And The Destruction Of The Nephilim, The Bottomless Pit Or Abyss, Did Jesus Preach To Antediluvian Humans?, How Far Will God Go To Save A Soul?, The Circle Of God's Righteousness And Mercy, Would God Condemn A Sinner Unfairly?, Righteous Punishment, Gospel Preached WorldWide: We Are Without Excuse, Not Everyone Is Going To Be Saved, The Second Death And The Lake Of Fire
Continuing our discussion from part one, this brings us back to our original question. If there's zero chance of Salvation for us after our death, why would Jesus even bother going to Hell, or Hades? Is it maybe because that is where all souls or departed spirits had to go first following physical death, and thus Jesus had to fulfill that same requirement as well? Such a scenario reminds me of the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. Or is there another reason? Well, if we read again the previous verse I shared with you from the Apostle Peter's first Epistle, perhaps we can find a clue. Peter wrote:
"By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;"
1 Peter 3:19, KJV
In reading the verse, my impression is that Jesus voluntarily went to this prison, which I am assuming is a reference to Hell, or Hades. In my view, this leaves us with the distinct possibility that He may have gone there specifically to offer a chance of Salvation to those people who had perished, due to the violence and evil which filled the Earth just prior to the Genesis Flood. Notice that the verse says He "preached" to them. Now what would Jesus be preaching in such a terrible place if not Salvation? It doesn't seem likely that He would go there just to further rebuke them for being so evil. After all, as He plainly said in the Gospel of John:
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
John 3:17, KJV
"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world."
John 12:47, KJV
Let us also not forget that in both the Hebrew and Greek languages, Jesus' name means "Jehovah is salvation". It seems to me that even though roughly twenty-five hundred years had passed since their physical deaths had occurred, these souls still required a fair chance at accepting Salvation. Let us not forget that, technically speaking, until Jesus died on the Cross, no one could fully receive the Gift of Eternal Life as far as I know. After all, we are told in a number of places in the Scriptures that Jesus was the FirstFruits of the Resurrection, and the Firstborn of the dead, as we see by the following verses:
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he [Jesus] might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:29, KJV
"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
1 Corinthians 15:19-23, KJV
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature . . . And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Colossians 1:15, 18, KJV
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood . . . I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
Revelation 1:5, 18, KJV
Now some people might possibly argue, "Well, what about the Old Testament Patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses? What about the other Old Testament Saints? Are you suggesting that they were not saved?" No, not at all. As I point out in a few other articles, it is my personal belief that the Old Testament Saints looked forward in faith to their Salvation, just as we modern Believers look backwards in faith to the events of two thousand years ago for our Salvation. Because they looked forward in faith believing -- even though Jesus Christ had not even been born yet -- God counted this as righteousness to them. In other words, they were acceptable to, and approved by God.
However, their Salvation was not perfected -- that is to say, it was not complete -- until Jesus came in the flesh and died on the Cross for the sins of the world. In a way, we can say that God kind of gave them credit, because they had invested their faith in a future event. We also need to remember that in the Spirit World, time does not appear to exist. So even though Jesus had not been physically born yet during the Old Testament period, His entire life and His death on the Cross were already counted as being done by God the Father in the Spirit Realm. Consider the following verses:
"I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past."
Ecclesiastes 3:14-15, KJV
"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"
Isaiah 46:9-10, KJV
Thus, because of the timeless nature of the Spirit Realm, in my opinion, the Old Testament Saints could cash in on their investment in the future, so-to-speak. Just like the Patriarch Abraham, their faith counted to them for righteousness. Here are a few Scriptures to verify this particular point:
"And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
Genesis 15:6, KJV
"For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
Romans 4:3, KJV
As you may know, the story behind the above verses is that when as yet Sarah was still barren before Isaac was born, the Lord showed Abraham all of the stars in the night sky, and told him that his seed would multiply like the stars in heaven. Because Abraham believed, because he had faith in the Lord's word, God gave him credit for it, and Abraham was approved and accepted before God. This is what righteousness actually means in the Scriptures.
So as I said, in essence, the Old Testament Saints were saved by their faith in a future event; that is, Jesus' Sacrifice during the First Century. They looked forward in faith to the coming of the Messiah. However, as I noted previously, until Jesus actually died on the Cross and rose from the dead, they could not fully experience their Salvation, or the Redemption of their bodies. And that, my friends, is one of the greatest mysteries of the Bible. For you see, as soon as Jesus rose from the dead, consider the amazing event which Matthew tells us about in the twenty-seventh chapter of his Gospel:
"And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
Matthew 27:52-53, KJV
Please carefully notice that we are told that this event was a physical resurrection from the dead, whereby the bodies of the Old Testament Saints were raised from the earth, and then reunited with their spirits. This is precisely what happened with Jesus as well. Their investment of faith in the future Sacrifice of Jesus Christ had paid off. The previous verses describe how these Old Testament Saints finally -- and fully -- experienced their Salvation in every sense of the word. I am also reminded of the inspiring words of the Patriarch Job who said the following:
"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me."
Job 19:25-27, KJV
There is one other possibility which we should consider in order to obtain the widest possible understanding regarding what Jesus going to prison may possibly mean. Those of you who are familiar with my work will know that in several other articles, I mention the "ir" -- that is, the "Watchers" -- who are mentioned in the Books of Genesis, Daniel, Jude and the Book of Enoch. There are a few other places in the Bible where possible references are made to these beings as well.
According to both Jude and Enoch, we know that after their rebellion, these Fallen Angels were imprisoned in an Abyss. Following is a passage from the Epistle of Jude, followed by some extensive quotes from the Book of Enoch. Keep in mind that in the Bible, in a number of places the word "star" is symbolic of spiritual beings. If you are familiar with the Book of Revelation, you will also notice the similarities to the "Bottomless Pit", upon which a seal is set to lock in Satan. It appears that Enoch and John may be speaking of the same place:
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Jude 1:6, KJV
"Then said the Most High, the Holy and Great One spake, and sent Uriel to the son of Lamech, and said to him: 'Go to Noah and tell him in my name "Hide thyself!" and reveal to him the end that is approaching: that the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge is about to come upon the whole earth, and will destroy all that is on it. And now instruct him that he may escape and his seed may be preserved for all the generations of the world." And again the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dudael, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin.' And to Gabriel said the Lord: 'Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates, and against the children of fornication: and destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from amongst men [and cause them to go forth]: send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle: for length of days shall they not have. And no request that they (i.e. their fathers) make of thee shall be granted unto their fathers on their behalf; for they hope to live an eternal life, and that each one of them will live five hundred years.' And the Lord said unto Michael: 'Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. And whosoever shall be condemned and destroyed will from thenceforth be bound together with them to the end of all generations. And destroy all the spirits of the reprobate and the children of the Watchers, because they have wronged mankind. Destroy all wrong from the face of the earth and let every evil work come to an end: and let the plant of righteousness and truth appear: and it shall prove a blessing; the works of righteousness and truth shall be planted in truth and joy for evermore."
Book of Enoch 10:1-16
"And I proceeded and saw a place which burns day and night, where there are seven mountains of magnificent stones, three towards the east, and three towards the south. And as for those towards the east, one was of coloured stone, and one of pearl, and one of jacinth, and those towards the south of red stone. But the middle one reached to heaven like the throne of God, of alabaster, and the summit of the throne was of sapphire. And I saw a flaming fire. And beyond these mountains is a region the end of the great earth: there the heavens were completed. And I saw a deep abyss, with columns of heavenly fire, and among them I saw columns of fire fall, which were beyond measure alike towards the height and towards the depth. And beyond that abyss I saw a place which had no firmament of the heaven above, and no firmly founded earth beneath it: there was no water upon it, and no birds, but it was a waste and horrible place. I saw there seven stars like great burning mountains, and to me, when I inquired regarding them, The angel said: 'This place is the end of heaven and earth: this has become a prison for the stars and the host of heaven. And the stars which roll over the fire are they which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord in the beginning of their rising, because they did not come forth at their appointed times. And He was wroth with them, and bound them till the time when their guilt should be consummated (even) for ten thousand years.' And Uriel said to me: 'Here shall stand the angels who have connected themselves with women, and their spirits assuming many different forms are defiling mankind and shall lead them astray into sacrificing to demons as gods, (here shall they stand,) till the day of the great judgement in which they shall be judged till they are made an end of. And the women also of the angels who went astray shall become sirens.' And I, Enoch, alone saw the vision, the ends of all things: and no man shall see as I have seen."
Book of Enoch 18:6b-19:3
"And I proceeded to where things were chaotic. And I saw there something horrible: I saw neither a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible. And there I saw seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. Then I said: 'For what sin are they bound, and on what account have they been cast in hither?' Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me, and was chief over them, and said: 'Enoch, why dost thou ask, and why art thou eager for the truth? These are of the number of the stars of heaven, which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, the time entailed by their sins, are consummated.' And from thence I went to another place, which was still more horrible than the former, and I saw a horrible thing: a great fire there which burnt and blazed, and the place was cleft as far as the abyss, being full of great descending columns of fire: neither its extent or magnitude could I see, nor could I conjecture. Then I said: 'How fearful is the place and how terrible to look upon!' Then Uriel answered me, one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto me: 'Enoch, why hast thou such fear and affright?' And I answered: 'Because of this fearful place, and because of the spectacle of the pain.' And he said unto me: 'This place is the prison of the angels, and here they will be imprisoned for ever.'"
Book of Enoch 21:1-10
"And I looked and turned to another part of the earth, and saw there a deep valley with burning fire. And they brought the kings and the mighty, and began to cast them into this deep valley. And there mine eyes saw how they made these their instruments, iron chains of immeasurable weight. And I asked the angel of peace who went with me, saying: 'For whom are these chains being prepared?' And he said unto me: 'These are being prepared for the hosts of Azazel, so that they may take them and cast them into the abyss of complete condemnation, and they shall cover their jaws with rough stones as the Lord of Spirits commanded. And Michael, and Gabriel, and Raphael, and Phanuel shall take hold of them on that great day, and cast them on that day into the burning furnace, that the Lord of Spirits may take vengeance on them for their unrighteousness in becoming subject to Satan and leading astray those who dwell on the earth.' And in those days shall punishment come from the Lord of Spirits, and he will open all the chambers of waters which are above the heavens, and of the fountains which are beneath the earth. And all the waters shall be joined with the waters: that which is above the heavens is the masculine, and the water which is beneath the earth is the feminine. And they shall destroy all who dwell on the earth and those who dwell under the ends of the heaven. And when they have recognized their unrighteousness which they have wrought on the earth, then by these shall they perish."
Book of Enoch 54:1-10
Thus, from the previous quotes from the Book of Enoch, we arrive at a dreadful picture of the judgements which were to befall the Watchers -- that is, the Fallen Angels who led humankind astray through sexual perversion -- as well as befall their half-human offspring, the Nephilim giants. As many of you will know, this mighty judgment against these Nephilim occurred about one hundred and twenty years later at the time of the Flood, which occurred in the days of the Patriarch Noah. To balance out this picture, following are some verses from the Book of Revelation which also speak of the Abyss -- or Bottomless Pit -- and describe the fate of those unrepentant people who rebel against God:
"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit."
Revelation 9:1-2, KJV
"And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."
Revelation 9:11, KJV
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."
Revelation 11:7, KJV
"The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."
Revelation 17:8, KJV
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."
Revelation 20:1-3, KJV
In light of the previous verses, it should be noted that the fate of Azazel, Semjaza and all of the rest of the rebellious Angels has already been decided. They have already been found guilty. The only remaining question is whether or not their sentence has already been carried out. In other words, if we adopt a Futurist point of view -- which is open to debate -- it appears that perhaps Azazel and his companions have been locked up since the time of the Flood, and are just waiting for the final Day of Judgment, during which their sentences will be fully carried out. However, it would seem that Satan -- who is over them all -- may possibly still be loose in this world. If you are wondering why I say "possibly", please consider reading the article entitled "Did the Devil Make You Do It?". It may challenge some of your current beliefs.
So then, based on this understanding, it does not seem very likely that Jesus would have any reason to go to said prison to preach to these particular spirits; that is, to the Fallen Angels. That leaves us with only one possibility in my view: He preached to the spirits -- or souls -- of the human beings who were destroyed during the Genesis Flood. This, of course, brings us right back to the basic question with which this whole series began: Exactly how far will God extend His mercy to save a soul? From what we have now seen, and if my personal speculation is correct, quite far; even beyond the bounds of death. But is there even a limit to this? It appears that there is.
It seems to me that once Jesus died on the Cross and went to preach to the souls in Hades, or prison, He had bound up all of the loose ends. He had taken care of those people who had perished before the Flood. He had completed the circle of God's own Righteousness and Mercy. I would think that it is also safe to assume that Jesus took care of those people who were born following the Flood as well. We must remember that during the Post-Flood era, beginning with Abraham, the Lord manifested Himself to the people of the Earth in a variety of ways, as becomes evident by the many miracles He did for the children of Israel. In other words, the knowledge of the God of Israel was well known. Even the defeated enemies of the Israelites were aware of His great power.
In short, I suspect -- but cannot conclusively prove - that everyone who had lived prior to Jesus' time were probably given the message of Salvation when Jesus preached in Hades. Taking this a step further, perhaps those people who accepted and believed in Him may have been a part of the group who arose during Jesus' own Resurrection, as is described in the verses I shared with you earlier from the Gospel of Matthew. As I said, I cannot prove any of this beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is my personal speculation at best, which you can either accept or reject according to your own faith.
However, I do believe in the absolute Righteousness and Mercy of God. As such, I am not of the opinion that our God would condemn a sinner unfairly, any more than a good parent would punish their child for something which they did not know was wrong. As I explain in other articles, for any punishment or judgment to be righteous, children must first be made aware of the rules. I believe that God operates in the same fashion. While we as parents may sometimes fail in this regard due to our own anger or impatience with our children, our God is a perfect God, and I don't believe that He makes such mistakes.
Hence, if all previous bases are covered as I have described for you in the previous paragraphs, then that only leaves us with one group of people: those of us who have lived in the two thousand years since Jesus walked the Earth. Clearly, we are all without excuse. Thanks to the faithfulness of the original Disciples who traveled far and wide, and the many faithful scribes who made a record of the amazing events which transpired during the First Century, and modern-day preachers who share the Message of Salvation in so very many different ways, people the world over who have reached the age of accountability, have had ample opportunity to either receive or reject God's precious Gift of Salvation.
Just as Jesus was willing to travel to the bowels of this Earth -- that is, to Hades -- in order to give those lost souls a chance at Salvation, this global preaching of the Gospel in so many different languages during the past two thousand years -- "in the ages to come", as the Apostle Paul referred to it -- again clearly demonstrates the degree of God's Mercy, Patience and Righteousness. He has made the rules known to us. He has set forth the conditions for our Salvation, so that we may know them and decide what we want to do about it. On a side note, you may also wish to refer to the article entitled "Dead to the Law: God's Laws Written on Our Hearts".
Those people who have knowingly rejected God's Mercy through Jesus Christ, and who have adopted other false religions -- and they number in the billions -- have done so of their own accord and volition. As such, they have absolutely no excuse, and they will have to answer for themselves. To reiterate my message, for the past two thousand years, humankind has been given ample opportunity to receive God's Love and Salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are given our whole lives to decide. If we haven't done so, whose fault is it but our own? Even staunch atheists who reject the Bible are also without excuse, because God has revealed Himself to them in other ways. I am reminded of the following verses:
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
Romans 1:20, KJV
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
Hebrews 9:27, KJV
In my original quote which began this series, I said that God will not be happy until He has saved as many people as He possibly can. Please notice that nowhere did I say that absolutely everyone will be saved. As I pointed out in other articles which are listed at the end of this series, we know from the Scriptures that the Beast, the False Prophet and their followers are cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the Second Death. We also know that even after the Millennial reign of Christ on Earth, there are those people who rebel against God's righteous rule. No matter how far God goes to extend His great Mercy, there are still people who choose to reject the Truth until the absolute, bitter end when both their bodies and their souls -- or spirits -- are completely destroyed in the Lake of Fire. Such people are reprobates and incorrigibles.
Please go to part three for the conclusion of this series.
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