THE PRISON IN HELL
Gates of Hell #2
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The “gates of Hell.” For part #1, go to 12/18/2014 The Gates of Hell
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus refers to the “gatesG4439 of Hades (Hell)” (i.e., the gates of death). The word “gates” is used of the gate (pulōnG4440) of the rich man's palace where Lazarus lay (Luke 16:20). When the owner of that gate died, his soul went to suffer in Hades (Luke 16:23). Strong's Dictionary of Greek defines Hades as the “place of departed souls.” Jesus describes two parts of Hades. One is comforting for deceased innocent souls like the beggar Lazarus and the other is a place of torments. There's a impenetrable gulf between the two. Hades is described then as a waiting place for souls until their resurrection and final Judgment Day.
Some denominations have creeds that say that there is no consciousness in Hades. The followers of Ellen G. White and Russell & Rutherford used to teach that. Their Scriptural quotes usually came from Ecclesiastes' “no knowledge” in death; however, the book of Ecclesiastes explores existence, consciousness, and opportunities as being “under the sun” which precedes the grave. Our opportunities to please God are described there as only “under the sun.” This is a lesson in itself.
In Jesus' parables and/or accounts Jesus uses truth to teach truth. Obviously, Jesus does not take a single opportunity to make up a fanciful nonexistent setting. When He speaks of a field and sowing, there are actual fields and farming experiences such as sowing and harvesting. Would there not then be a conscious realm of comfort divided from that of torture as Jesus describes in the Lazarus and Rich Man account?
Jesus was crucified and His soul went to Hades (Acts 2:31). On the cross Jesus called the place of His destination “paradise” (Luke 23:43). He promised the thief hanging on a nearby cross that he would be with Him that day. It is an error for those that would deny this fact by trying to move the comma in the KJV English to indicate that Jesus did not mean the very day of their common death on the cross. Jesus did not speak in English. Wherever Jesus went that day, it is a sure thing that the penitent thief traveled also. Jesus called it (in the anglicized word) “paradise.”
Another issue is whether Jesus bypassed the blissful state of “paradise” (or its equivalent, the Jewish “bosom” of Abraham) and visited the prison in Hell to preach to lost souls and rebellious angels suffering in torment and waiting for the eternal Judgment on the resurrection day. Did Jesus go there to either add to their torment with regrets or to offer them a second chance? First, the passages used in 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 2 Peter 2:4-5 teach otherwise. Second, (Hebrews 9:27) teaches that there is no second chance after death.
Peter does say that there is such a place there as “a prison.” That is,
a phulakē G5438 defined by Strong's as “a guarding or (concretely guard), the act, the parson; figuratively the place, the condition, or (specifically) the time (as a division of day or night), literally or figuratively: - cage, hold, (im-) prison (-ment), ward, watch.”
Peter wrote that Christ “... 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 Peter 3:18-20).
Peter in both passages accentuates the deity of Jesus, His eternal existence, and His work in a Trinity, especially with that of the Holy Spirit. He does this by connecting Jesus and the Holy Spirit with the current dead who had been disobedient to the patience of God in the days of Noah.
“Jesus is quickened.”
Quickened means to be “Made alive; revived; vivified; reinvigorated” (Webster).
The Bible teaches that God raised up Jesus.i But the Bible also teaches that God's Spirit raised up Jesus (Romans 8:11; “according to the Spirit” Romans 1:4). This same Spirit is the Spirit by which Jesus preached to the antediluvians during the patience of God. When was this? They were disobedient in the days of Noah. God was patient with them in the days of Noah. Noah preached to them in those days.
“And [God] 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 Peter 2:5).
Jesus existed as God, the Logos, during the days of Noah (John 1:1-3). He preached through Noah by the Spirit. “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3). God's patience lasted 120 years with Jesus preaching by the Spirit through Noah.
Jesus, the Logos of God, preached through the prophets of old. “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11).
“For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (1 Peter 4:6). When is the gospel preached to the dead? God judges men according to the flesh. He preaches to them while they are in the flesh so that they might live. As Ecclesiastes points out man's opportunities are when they are under the sun and can repent and serve God and live in the Spirit.
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them [those who died in Canaan]: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2).
It is true then that Jesus preaches to us who are alive “under the sun” via His Spirit through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16,17). If a teacher would teach, let him teach and “let it be with God’s words” (1 Peter 4:11).
“Wherefore (as the Holy Spirit saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:7,8).
Throw Out the Lifeline
subjects: trinity, under the sun, prison, when Jesus preaches, work of the Spirit, the work of the preacher, the work of the teacher, the duty of those alive
i(Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40;17:31; Romans 4:24; 1 Corinthians 6:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Peter 1:21)