Theological inquiry on FB: “If Jesus was the Son of God then why did He get sent to Hell for three long days?” Reference Scriptures: Ephesians 4:7-10; 1 Peter 3:19
The Scriptures do not say Jesus descended into Hell and why would He, there is no one capable of redemption in Hell at this time as Hell does not become relevant for human kind until subsequent the Judgement of the Condemned (Revelation 20:11-15)?
The Scriptures teach that Jesus, subsequent to the death of His Earthly body at Golgotha, while His Earthly body laid in the tomb, descended into the region known as Sheol in the Hebrew Scriptures and Hades in the Greek Scriptures and often mistranslated as “Hell” by the KJV translators (Luke 16). The Scriptures teach that though the Old Testament saints were saved by “faith” in God (Hebrews 11), their sins has not been atoned for because Messiah had not yet made atonement for sin and even in the Covenant of Law, the Holy Spirit tells us that the blood of animals could never take away sin (Hebrews 10:4); therefore, the Old Testament saints who were saved by faith were relegated to the region of Sheol-Paradise (fully conscious/fully aware) and awaited Messiah’s atonement there as the Holy Spirit has told us that “nothing impure” is permitted to enter the Kingdom of God (Revelation 21:27).
Jesus told the thief on the cross next to Him at the Crucifixion that he, the thief, having confessed faith in Jesus as Lord, would be with Jesus in “paradise” that very day (Luke 23:43). The Holy Spirit teaches that Jesus, while His body laid in the tomb, descended to Sheol/Hades-Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom – See Luke 16; Ephesians 4:7-10; 1 Peter 3:19 ) and preached liberty and freedom i.e. the Gospel to the captives there and then personally escorted the Old Testament saints into the Kingdom of God as their sin had been atoned for by Messiah’s sinless blood (Matthew 26:28). Today, everyone who dies having believed in Jesus as Lord, their spirit, free from the body of death and sin, is immediately translated into the presence of God in the Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:8) and Sheol/Hades-Paradise/Abraham’s Bosom is now empty and the only region of the dead remaining and being filled daily is Sheol-Hades-Torments (Luke 16) which is the repository of all dead (fully conscious/full aware) who have died from the Genesis forward having rejected faith in God in the Hebrew Scriptures and having rejected Jesus as Lord in the Covenant of Grace…it is here, Hades-Torments, the unrighteous dead, in their disembodied spirit, await the Judgment of the Condemned (Revelation 20:11-15).
King David also speaks of this…
1 thought on ““If Jesus was the Son of God then why did He get sent to Hell for three long days?””
I had intended to post something similar and will do so in my blog. But I take opportunity to leave my thoughts as comments. I seek your forgiveness, it is not my intention to spam with such a long comment.
In summary, the discussion posited that Jesus went to Paradise to preach to the “the Old Testament saints who were saved by faith “ so they can enter God’s Kingdom, as opposed to those that remain in Hades for they “rejected Jesus as Lord in the Covenant of Grace …awaiting the Judgment of the Condemned”.
I wish to offer an alternative view that examines the underlying understanding of what it means to reject Jesus as Lord in context of two themes.
The first theme is the justice of God the Father that judges righteously and impartially (1Pet1:17).
The second theme is the sovereignty of God the Father that does as He pleases. (Rom9:15, 19-20) and will be who He wants to be (Exo3:14).
This is getting ahead of myself, but I find it imperative to declare up-front with this alternative view, there is a risk that may appear to insinuate that Jesus is not the only way. This insinuation is both true and false.
It is true because it challenges the traditional notion of salvation by way of Rom10:9-10 where the message of salvation is delivered by preaching of the good news (Rom10:14). There is also the follow-up events of baptism whether of the Holy Spirit or Water baptism. These baptisms are arguable whether they are pre-requisites of the salvation experience which is beyond the intention of this comment.
It is false because, the belief in Christ as the way, the truth and the life (John14:16) need not be excluded from this alternative view. Notwithstanding of the ignorance of the mechanisms of its operation (how and in what forms is this opportunity presented) given the absence of clear scripture to support understanding of these mechanisms.
God the Father is a righteous and fair God. His justice demanded a suffering death of His Son in-order to satisfy His justice for the price of sin, for the soul that sins shall die (Eze18:20). I joked with my sons on one occasion, God the Father could have demanded blood from Jesus from a paper cut instead of the flogging and crucifixion.
He endures separation from His Holy Spirit that indwells the believer as the helper (John14:16-18) and as a pledge (2Co1:22) for the resurrected body preserved in heaven (1Pet1:3-5). God the Father doesn’t spare Himself to pay the price to preserve His sense of justice and fairness.
1. Believers are asked to test God’s will in Rom12:2. God the Father’s purpose and will are revealed and contained in the life circumstances of each person for He is the Father of all creation (Mat5:45). Incidentally, the Jews recognized God of the Old Testament as Father. See following two links that provide evidence of this observation – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_the_Father#:~:text=Old%20Testament,-According%20to%20Marianne&text=In%20the%20Hebrew%20Bible%2C%20in,the%20fatherly%20role%20of%20protector. And https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/was-god-known-as-father-in-the-old-testament/.
Even as Jesus’ primary purpose on earth was to do His Father’s will, all of mankind are subject to the Father’s will. The difference is whether one obeys or rebels against His will. To this end, the amount of opportunities one receives to hear the gospel and the associated life circumstances to support the receiving of the gospel varies widely between individuals. This variations occurs in-terms of both the quantity and quality. They are unfair to the casual observer.
But God is fair and just. Even His love has to respect His sense of fairness and justice. For this reason, even under the new covenant, the Law of Sowing and Reaping is very much in operation. To this end, God is not mocked. It is my observation that God has put in place mechanisms to address this unfairness as follow
1. 1Pet3:19’s that speaks of Christ going to Hades to preach to the prisoners holds 5 possible interpretations. See link for more details – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirits_in_prison
It is not my intention to defend this from a doctrinal or theological perspective, but I hold the modified view which does not fit into any of the 5 views that after Christ died, He went and preached to people in Hell, offering them a chance of salvation that they did not receive adequately on earth in-order to uphold the fairness and justice of God.
2. Eze33:20 was God’s response to the people when He was accused of being unfair to the Israelites as revealed in Eze33. Gods said emphatically, “I will judge every one of you according to his own ways”. This verse lends weight to the flexibility God wields with regards to the approach adopted. This flexibility is to preserve His eternal sense of fairness and justice. To this end, it supports the view that God will not deprive the individuals that did not get a fair chance to hear and accept the gospel to their detriment while others had a more favorable lot of life dealt to them.
3. Rom2:14-15 reveals that God will judge man, who does not have the law, by Jesus Christ using the laws written on the conscience of the heart that bears witness to their conduct. While the judgment may sound threatening but the key is not the judgment but the judge that is presiding over the judgment takes place. The judge is Jesus Christ who is gracious and died for mankind’s sins. I see Rom2:14-15 as God offering individuals a fair chance to be saved even if they had not the fair chance to hear and accept the gospel while alive on earth.
Act16:31- “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
On the back on the above 3 scriptures, it lend power to fulfilment of Act16:31 freeing God beyond the conventional path to salvation. After all this is God, for Him all things are possible (Mat19:26).