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Thread: Lyding van die Messias

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    Default Lyding van die Messias

    Gnosticism on Crucifixion and Resurrection

    Those Gnostic texts that discuss Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection display a variety of views that, nevertheless, reveal some common themes.

    James is consoled by Jesus in the First Apocalypse of James: "Never have I suffered in any way, nor have I been distressed. And this people has done me no harm."

    In the Second Treatise of the Great Seth, Jesus says, "I did not die in reality, but in appearance." Those "in error and blindness....saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was rejoicing in the height over all....And I was laughing at their ignorance."

    John Dart has discerned that the Gnostic stories of Jesus mocking his executors reverse the accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke where the soldiers and chief priests (Mark 15:20) mock Jesus. In the biblical Gospels, Jesus does not deride or mock His tormentors; on the contrary, while suffering from the cross, He asks the Father to forgive those who nailed Him there.

    In the teaching of Valentinus and followers, the death of Jesus is movingly recounted, yet without the New Testament significance. Although the Gospel of Truth says that "his death is life for many," it views this life-giving in terms of imparting the gnosis, not removing sin. Pagels says that rather than viewing Christ's death as a sacrificial offering to atone for guilt and sin, the Gospel of Truth "sees the crucifixion as the occasion for discovering the divine self within."

    A resurrection is enthusiastically affirmed in the Treatise on the Resurrection: "Do not think the resurrection is an illusion. It is no illusion, but it is truth! Indeed, it is more fitting to say that the world is an illusion rather than the resurrection." Yet, the nature of the post-resurrection appearances differs from the biblical accounts. Jesus is disclosed through spiritual visions rather than physical circumstances.

    The resurrected Jesus for the Gnostics is the spiritual Revealer who imparts secret wisdom to the selected few. The tone and content of Luke's account of Jesus' resurrection appearances is a great distance from Gnostic accounts: "After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).

    By now it should be apparent that the biblical Jesus has little in common with the Gnostic Jesus. He is viewed as a Redeemer in both cases, yet his nature as a Redeemer and the way of redemption diverge at crucial points. We shall now examine some of these points.

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    Default Re: Lyding van die Messias

    DID CHRIST REALLY SUFFER AND DIE?

    As in much modern New Age teaching, the Gnostics tended to divide Jesus from the Christ. For Valentinus, Christ descended on Jesus at his baptism and left before his death on the cross. Much of the burden of the treatise Against Heresies, written by the early Christian theologian Irenaeus, was to affirm that Jesus was, is, and always will be, the Christ. He says: "The Gospel...knew no other son of man but Him who was of Mary, who also suffered; and no Christ who flew away from Jesus before the passion; but Him who was born it knew as Jesus Christ the Son of God, and that this same suffered and rose again."

    Irenaeus goes on to quote John's affirmation that "Jesus is the Christ" (John 20:31) against the notion that Jesus and Christ were "formed of two different substances," as the Gnostics taught.

    In dealing with the idea that Christ did not suffer on the cross for sin, Irenaeus argues that Christ never would have exhorted His disciples to take up the cross if He in fact was not to suffer on it Himself, but fly away from it.

    For Irenaeus (a disciple of Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of the apostle John), the suffering of Jesus the Christ was paramount. It was indispensable to the apostolic "rule of faith" that Jesus Christ suffered on the cross to bring salvation to His people. In Irenaeus's mind, there was no divine spark in the human heart to rekindle; self-knowledge was not equal to God-knowledge. Rather, humans were stuck in sin and required a radical rescue operation. Because "it was not possible that the man...who had been destroyed through disobedience, could reform himself," the Son brought salvation by "descending from the Father, becoming incarnate, stooping low, even to death, and consummating the arranged plan of our salvation."

    This harmonizes with the words of Polycarp: "Let us then continually persevere in our hope and the earnest of our righteousness, which Jesus Christ, "who bore our sins in His own body on the tree" [1 Pet. 2:24], "who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth" [1 Pet. 2:22], but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him."

    Polycarp's mentor, the apostle John, said: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us" (1 John 3:16); and "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (4:10).

    The Gnostic Jesus is predominantly a dispenser of cosmic wisdom who discourses on abstruse themes like the spirit's fall into matter. Jesus Christ certainly taught theology, but he dealt with the problem of pain and suffering in a far different way. He suffered for us, rather than escaping the cross or lecturing on the vanity of the body.

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    Default Lyding van die Messias

    THE MATTER OF THE RESURRECTION

    For Gnosticism, the inherent problem of humanity derives from the misuse of power by the ignorant creator and the resulting entrapment of souls in matter. The Gnostic Jesus alerts us to this and helps rekindle the divine spark within. In the biblical teaching, the problem is ethical; humans have sinned against a good Creator and are guilty before the throne of the universe.

    For Gnosticism, the world is bad, but the soul -- when freed from its entrapments -- is good. For Christianity, the world was created good (Gen. 1), but humans have fallen from innocence and purity through disobedience (Gen. 3; Rom. 3). Yet, the message of the gospel is that the One who can rightly prosecute His creatures as guilty and worthy of punishment has deigned to visit them in the person of His only Son -- not just to write up a firsthand damage report, but to rectify the situation through the Cross and the Resurrection.

    In light of these differences, the significance of Jesus' literal and physical resurrection should be clear. For the Gnostic who abhors matter and seeks release from its grim grip, the physical resurrection of Jesus would be anticlimactic, if not absurd. A material resurrection would be counterproductive and only recapitulate the original problem.

    Jesus displays a positive attitude toward the Creation throughout the Gospels. In telling His followers not to worry He says, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them" (Matt. 2:26). And, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father" (Matt. 10:29). These and many other examples presuppose the goodness of the material world and declare care by a benevolent Creator. Gnostic dualism is precluded.

    If Jesus recommends fasting and physical self-denial on occasion, it is not because matter is unworthy of attention or an incorrigible roadblock to spiritual growth, but because moral and spiritual resolve may be strengthened through periodic abstinence (Matt. 6:16-18; 9:14-15). Jesus fasts in the desert and feasts with His disciples. The created world is good, but the human heart is corrupt and inclines to selfishly misuse a good creation. Therefore, it is sometimes wise to deny what is good without in order to inspect and mortify what is bad within.

    If Jesus is the Christ who comes to restore God's creation, He must come as one of its own, a bona fide man. Although Gnostic teachings show some diversity on this subject, they tend toward docetism -- the doctrine that the descent of the Christ was spiritual and not material, despite any appearance of materiality. It was even claimed that Jesus left no footprints behind him when he walked on the sand.

    From a biblical view, materiality is not the problem, but disharmony with the Maker. Adam and Eve were both material and in harmony with their good Maker before they succumbed to the Serpent's temptation. Yet, in biblical reasoning, if Jesus is to conquer sin and death for humanity, He must rise from the dead in a physical body, albeit a transformed one. A mere spiritual apparition would mean an abdication of material responsibility. As Norman Geisler has noted, "Humans sin and die in material bodies and they must be redeemed in the same physical bodies. Any other kind of deliverance would be an admission of defeat....If redemption does not restore God's physical creation, including our material bodies, then God's original purpose in creating a material world would be frustrated."

    For this reason, at Pentecost the apostle Peter preached Jesus of Nazareth as "a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs" (Acts 2:22) who, though put to death by being nailed to the cross, "God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him" (v. 24). Peter then quotes Psalm 16:10 which speaks of God not letting His "Holy One see decay" (v. 27). Peter says of David, the psalm's author, "Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave nor did his body see decay. God raised Jesus to life" (vv. 31, 32).

    The apostle Paul confesses that if the resurrection of Jesus is not a historical fact, Christianity is a vanity of vanities (1 Cor. 15:14-19). And, while he speaks of Jesus' (and the believers') resurrected condition as a "spiritual body," this does not mean nonphysical or ethereal; rather, it refers to a body totally free from the results of sin and the Fall. It is a spirit-driven body, untouched by any of the entropies of evil. Because Jesus was resurrected bodily, those who know Him as Lord can anticipate their own resurrected bodies.

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    Default Re: Lyding van die Messias

    The Message of Jesus

    The message of Jesus needs to be seen in the context of man locked within the prison of his own creation, to interpret Jesus as some sort of sacrifice demanded by a deranged homicidal Jehovah says more about the mental state of modern man than about the real message of Christianity. The role of Jesus is that of a light being who comes from the Treasury of Light to reveal the truth about the material plane. Jesus comes as a revealer, a bringer of Gnosis, an opener of doors, he works to shatter the prison that locks the true Self into the body and awaken the light which is hidden within the heart of man. He comes as an emissary from a far away God, not the false God of creation, the screaming, demanding, arrogant Lord of Matter, but the true God, the “unrevealable, unmarked, ageless, unproclaimable Father “ (Gospel of the Egyptians).










    .

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    Default Re: Lyding van die Messias

    Quote Originally Posted by Carel van Heerden View Post

    Op die oomblik het ek waarskynlik meer vrae as antwoorde. Nie dat 'n mens nie 'n bepaalde opinie of gesigspunt rakende 'n onderwerp het nie.

    Weer eens my dank om sekere aspekte wat alreeds in hierdie forum bespreek is, weer te verduidelik. Met die inligting tot my beskikking - rakende die Lyding van Jesus - kan ek voorlopig mee volstaan.

    Carel
    Die volgende gedeelte uit die Bybel is van toepassing:

    Luk 23:39 En een van die kwaaddoeners wat opgehang is, het Hom gesmaad en gesê: As U die Christus is, verlos Uself en ons.
    Luk 23:40 Maar die ander een antwoord en bestraf hom en sê: Vrees jy ook God nie, terwyl jy in dieselfde oordeel is? —
    Luk 23:41 ons tog regverdiglik, want ons ontvang die verdiende loon vir ons dade, maar Hy het niks verkeerds gedoen nie.
    Luk 23:42 En hy sê vir Jesus: Dink aan my, Here, wanneer U in u koninkryk kom.
    Luk 23:43 En Jesus antwoord hom: Voorwaar Ek sê vir jou, vandag sal jy saam met My in die Paradys wees.


    Vers 43 van Lukas 23 het my baie laat wonder wat presies gebeur het. Het Jesus saam met die sondaar hemel toe gegaan of het Jesus eers vir 3 dae hel toe gegaan terwyl die sondaar solank hemel toe gegaan het. Die volgende blyk ‘n moontlike oplossing te wees vir dié probleem.

    Jesus kon nie dieselfde dag hemel (paradys=hemel) toe gegaan het nie om die volgende redes:

    • Volgens 1 Petrus 3: 18-19: “(18)Want Christus het ook eenmaal vir die sondes gely, Hy die Regverdige vir die onregverdiges, om ons tot God te bring—Hy wat wel gedood is na die vlees, maar lewend gemaak deur die Gees; (19) in wie Hy ook heengegaan en gepreek het vir die geeste in die gevangenis”,

    • Die sondaar kon nie daardie dag hemel toe gegaan het nie. Volgens die metodes van kruisiging was ‘n skuldige se bene gebreek voordat hy gekruisig is. Hierdie ongelooflike pynlike metode het eerstens veroorsaak dat so ‘n veroordeelde nie kon losbreek van die kruis en wegloop nie. Ten tweede het dit ten doel gehad om soveel pyn as moontlik te veroorsaak. ‘n Gekruisigde het dan enkele dae – dit blyk tot soveel as sewe dae - aan die kruis gehang voordat hy gesterf het. Jesus het dieselfde dag gesterf.

    • Dat die twee sondaars Jode was blyk duidelik uit die verse hierbo aangehaal, hoe hulle Jesus aangespreek het: “(39)As U die Christus is, verlos Uself en ons. “(40) Maar die ander een antwoord en bestraf hom en sê: Vrees jy ook God nie, terwyl jy in dieselfde oordeel is? — (41)ons tog regverdiglik, want ons ontvang die verdiende loon vir ons dade, maar Hy het niks verkeerds gedoen nie”. Hulle was duidelik bewus van wie Jesus is en van dit wat Hy verkondig het. Dan veral hierdie woorde: “(42)En hy sê vir Jesus: Dink aan my, Here, wanneer U in u koninkryk kom”. Hierdie laaste sin kan op die toekoms van toepassing gemaak word naamlik met die wederkoms.

    • Jesus het nadat Hy uit die dood opgestaan het, nog 40 dae op die aarde vertoef voordat Hy opgevaar het na die hemel: Joh 20:17 Jesus sê vir haar: Raak My nie aan nie, want Ek het nog nie opgevaar na my Vader nie; maar gaan na my broeders en sê vir hulle: Ek vaar op na my Vader en julle Vader, en my God en julle God.

    • Die verhaal van Jesus is mondeling oorgedra voordat dit opgeskryf is. Indien ‘n mens praat, of vertel, is daar nie kommas op punte betrokke nie. So ‘n optekenaar verlaat hom op rusposes en stiltes om kommas en punte aan te dui binne die konteks van die gesprek. Indien die optekenaar dus ‘n komma verkeerd geplaas het kan dit ‘n groot verskil maak. Hierdie geld meer nog vir ‘n vertaler van die Hebreeus na Grieks waar die Hebreeuse teks geen leestekens bevat het voor die 9de eeu nie. Die antwoord van Jesus kon so geskryf gewees het:

    Voorwaar Ek sê vir jou vandag, sal jy saam met My in die Paradys wees.

    Indien die komma na vandag geplaas word, maak alles sin.

    Groetnis

    Carel
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    Default Re: Lyding van die Messias

    Carel soos jy sê die komma kan 'n groot verskil maak. Ek kon egter tot op hede 'n bevestiging kry dat Jesus "ter helle neergedaal het" nie.

    Wat die booswig betref is die skrif onduidelik oor presies wanneer hy die tydelike verlaat het.

    Groetnis

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    Default Re: Lyding van die Messias

    Quote Originally Posted by Pionier View Post

    Wat die booswig betref is die skrif onduidelik oor presies wanneer hy die tydelike verlaat het.

    Groetnis
    Pionier,

    Volgens my gee die Bybel net die belangrikste deur vir die leser. Baie van die gebeure rondom ‘n insident wat in die Bybel beskryf word, word somtyds gevind in die buite Bybelse boeke. Die volgende is ‘n voorbeeld:

    Gen 6:1 Toe die mense op die aarde begin vermeerder en daar vir hulle dogters gebore is,
    Gen 6:2 sien die seuns van God dat die dogters van die mense mooi was, en hulle het vir hulle as vroue geneem almal wat hulle verkies het.
    Gen 6:3 Toe sê die HERE: My Gees sal nie vir ewig in die mens heers nie, omdat hy ook vlees is; maar sy dae sal wees honderd en twintig jaar.
    Gen 6:4 In dié dae was die reuse op die aarde, en ook daarna, toe die seuns van God by die dogters van die mense ingegaan en dié vir hulle kinders gebaar het. Dit is die geweldiges uit die ou tyd, die manne van naam.
    Gen 6:5 Toe die HERE sien dat die boosheid van die mens op die aarde groot was en al die versinsels wat hy in sy hart bedink, altyddeur net sleg was,


    Bogenoemde is wat die Bybel sê oor die seuns van God. Die Boek Henog beskryf meer oor die “Seuns van God” en die reuse. Demone soos Azasel, waarvan ons in ons OT ook lees, word meer van geskryf byvoorbeeld:

    1 And all the others together with them, took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms
    2 and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And they
    3 became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed
    4 all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against
    5 them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and
    6 fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.


    Uit ‘n ander hoofstuk :

    1 And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all
    2 colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they
    3 were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjaza taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, 'Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel the signs of the earth, Shamsiel the signs of the sun, and Sariel the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven .


    Die belangrikste aspek wat uitgelig word in die Bybel oor die booswig is dat sy sonde vergewe is en dat hy deur bemiddeling van Jesus die ewige lewe verkry het.

    Wat vir my besonder treffend is in die onmenslike kruisiging, is die simboliek wat selfs in hierdie omstandighede uitgebeeld word. Jesus se kruis in die middel en aan beide kante twee sondaars. Die een word gered (het Jesus aanvaar) en die ander een gaan verlore (het Jesus verwerp). Is dit nie ook wat die Joodse volk gedoen het nie? Ander het Hom verwerp (selfs laat kruisig), en ander het Hom aanvaar. Vandag is dit ook die keuse waarvoor ons te staan gekom het!

    Groetnis

    Carel
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  8. #28
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    Default Re: Lyding van die Messias

    Quote Originally Posted by Carel van Heerden View Post

    Jesus kon nie dieselfde dag hemel (paradys=hemel) toe gegaan het nie om die volgende redes:

    • Die sondaar kon nie daardie dag hemel toe gegaan het nie. Volgens die metodes van kruisiging was ‘n skuldige se bene gebreek voordat hy gekruisig is. Hierdie ongelooflike pynlike metode het eerstens veroorsaak dat so ‘n veroordeelde nie kon losbreek van die kruis en wegloop nie. Ten tweede het dit ten doel gehad om soveel pyn as moontlik te veroorsaak. ‘n Gekruisigde het dan enkele dae – dit blyk tot soveel as sewe dae - aan die kruis gehang voordat hy gesterf het. Jesus het dieselfde dag gesterf.
    Ek stel graag die volgende in die aanhaling reg.

    Dit behoort as volg te lees:

    • Die sondaar kon nie daardie dag hemel toe gegaan het nie. ‘n Gekruisigde het enkele dae – dit blyk tot soveel as sewe dae – aan die kruis gehang voordat hy gesterf het. Jesus het dieselfde dag gesterf.

    Die volgende gedeelte uit die Bybel gee die “breek van die bene” korrek weer.

    Joh 19:31 En dat die liggame nie op die sabbat aan die kruis sou bly nie, aangesien dit die voorbereiding was—want die dag van daardie sabbat was groot—het die Jode Pilatus gevra dat hulle bene gebreek en hulle weggeneem moes word.
    Joh 19:32 Die soldate het toe gekom en die bene van die eerste een gebreek en van die ander een wat saam met Hom gekruisig was;
    Joh 19:33 maar toe hulle by Jesus kom en sien dat Hy al dood was, het hulle sy bene nie gebreek nie.


    My foutiewe inligting word betreur.

    Groetnis

    Carel
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    Default Re: Lyding van die Messias

    Goeiemiddag,

    Na aanleiding van Stefanus:

    " Nee, dit word wel voorgehou dat deur sy lyding hoef ons nie ewige lyding te ervaar nie. Ek sê nie die Vader het Hom gemartel nie, maar uit Sy liefde het hy dit toegelaat. Daar is egter 'n voorwaarde aan verbonde nl. Ons moet weet en glo dat Hy die enigste is wat ons saak by die Vader kan bepleit."

    Ek verstaan jou antwoord as dat ons nie ewige lyding hoef te ervaar nie, maar my vraag is: moet/hoef/gaan ons 'n lyding ervaar? en het ons dan 'n keuse?

    Romeine 8 vers 17 ... en as ons kinders is, dan ook erfgename, erfgename van God en mede erfgename van Christus, as ons saam met Hom ly sodat ons ook saam met Hom verheerlik kan word.

    Hebr. 12 vers 4 .... Julle het nog nie ten bloede toe weerstand gebied in julle stryd teen die sonde nie.

    Hebr 11 vers 37 Hulle is gestenig, in stukke gesaag, versoek, deur die swaard vermoor. Hulle het rondgeloop in skaapvelle en in bokvelle; hulle het gebrek gely, hulle is verdruk, mishandel- .........

    Help asb.

    Groete.
    Last edited by leerling; 3rd November 2009 at 17:26.

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    Default Re: Lyding van die Messias


    What does the Apostles' Creed mean when it says that Jesus descended into hell?


    The Apostles’ Creed is used as an integral form of worship in many Christian bodies. One of the more puzzling statements in that creed is: [Jesus] descended into hell.

    First of all, we have to look at the creed from a historical perspective. We know that the Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles, but it’s called the Apostles’ Creed because it was the early Christian community’s attempt to give a summary of apostolic teaching. This, like other creeds in the church’s history, was partly a response to distorted teachings that were present in some communities; it was statement of orthodox belief. The earliest reference we can find to that “descent into hell” element of the Creed is around the middle of the third century. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t in the original—we don’t know when the original was written—but it seems to be a later addition and has caused no small amount of controversy ever since. The reason for it is theological as well as biblical.

    We see this problem: Jesus, when he’s on the cross in his dying agony, speaks to the thief next to him and assures him that “today you will be with me in paradise.” Now that statement from Jesus on the cross would seem to indicate that Jesus was planning to go to paradise, which is not to be confused with hell. So in some sense Jesus goes to paradise. We know that his body goes into the tomb. His soul apparently is in paradise. When does he go to hell? Or does he go to hell?

    In 1 Peter 3:19, Peter talks about “this Jesus, who by the same spirit by which he is raised from the dead goes and preaches to the lost spirits in prison.” That text has been used as the principal proof text to say that Jesus, at some point after his death, generally believed to be between his death and his resurrection, went to hell. Some people say that he went into hell to experience the fullness of the magnitude of suffering—the full penalty for human sin—in order to give complete atonement for sin. That is regarded by some as a necessary element of Christ’s passion.

    But most churches that believe in an actual descent of Jesus into hell do not see him going to hell for further suffering because Jesus declares on the cross, “It is finished.” Rather, he goes to hell to liberate those spirits who, from antiquity, have been held in prison. His task in hell then is one of triumph, liberating Old Testament saints. I personally think that the Bible is less than clear on that point because the lost spirits in prison could very well refer to lost people in this world. Peter doesn’t tell us who the lost spirits in prison are or where the prison is. People are making a lot of assumptions when they consider that this is a reference to hell and that Jesus went there between his death and his resurrection.


    It is sometimes argued that Christ descended into hell after he died.

    The widely used Apostles’ Creed reads, “was crucified, dead, and buried, he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead.”

    But the phrase “he descended into hell” does not occur in the Bible.

    Where did the phrase come from?

    A murky background lies behind much of the history of the phrase itself. Its origins, where they can be found, are far from praiseworthy.

    It is surprising to find that the phrase “he descended into hell” was not found in any of the early versions of the Creed (in the versions used in Rome, in the rest of Italy, and in Africa) until it appeared in one of two versions from Rufinus in A.D. 390.

    Then it was not included again in any version of the Creed until A.D. 650.

    Moreover, Rufinus, the only person who included it before A.D. 650, did not think that it meant that Christ descended into hell, but understood the phrase simply to mean that Christ was “buried.” In other words, he took it to mean that Christ “descended into the grave.” (The Greek form has hadēs, which can mean just “grave,” not geenna, “hell, place of punishment.”).

    We should also note that the phrase only appears in one of the two versions of the Creed that we have from Rufinus: it was not in the Roman form of the Creed that he preserved.

    This means, therefore, that until A.D. 650 no version of the Creed included this phrase with the intention of saying that Christ “descended into hell”—and the only version to include the phrase before A.D. 650 gives it a different meaning.

    Later when the phrase was incorporated into different versions of the Creed that already had the phrase “and buried,” some other explanation had to be given to it.

    There have been three possible meanings proposed throughout church history:


    1. Some take this phrase to mean that Christ suffered the pains of hell while on the cross. Calvin takes this approach, as does the Heidelberg Catechism.
    2. Others have understood it to mean that Christ continued in the “state of death” until his resurrection. The Westminster Larger Catechism, Question 50 takes this approach: “Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried, and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day; which hath been otherwise expressed in these words, He descended into hell.”
    3. Finally, some have argued that the phrase means just what it appears to mean on first reading: that Christ actually did descend into hell after his death on the cross.

    .

    What does the Bible say? 5 passages used to support the descent into hell

    There are five Bible passages used to support the idea that Christ really did descend into hell between his death and resurrection.


    1. Acts 2:27

    This is part of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, where he quotes Psalm 16:10: “because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead [KJV: “leave my soul in hell”], nor will you let your faithful one see decay.”

    Does this mean Jesus entered hell? Not necessarily. Peter is using David’s psalm to show that Christ’s body did not decay—he is therefore unlike David, who “died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day”


    2. Romans 10:6–7

    These verses contain two rhetorical questions, again Old Testament quotations (from Deut. 30:13): “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”

    But this passage hardly teaches that Christ descended into hell. The point of the passage is that Paul is telling people not to ask these questions, because Christ is not far away—he is near—and faith in him is as near as confessing with our mouth and believing in our heart (v. 9).


    3. Ephesians 4:8–9

    Here Paul writes, “In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth?”

    Does this mean that Christ “descended” to hell?
    It is at first unclear what is meant by “the lower parts of the earth,” but another translation seems to give the best sense: “What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?” (NIV). Here the NIV takes “descended” to refer to Christ’s coming to earth as a baby (the Incarnation). The last four words are an acceptable understanding of the Greek text, taking the phrase “the lower regions of the earth” to mean “lower regions which are the earth.”
    Paul is saying that the Christ who went up to heaven (in his ascension) is the same one who earlier came down from heaven (v. 10). That “descent” from heaven occurred, of course, when Christ came to be born as a man. So the verse speaks of the incarnation, not of a descent into hell.


    4. 1 Peter 3:18–20

    This passage says: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.”

    For many people this is the most puzzling passage on this entire subject. Let’s unpack several questions surrounding this text:


    Does 1 Peter 3:18–20 refer to Christ preaching in hell?

    Some have taken “he went and preached to the spirits in prison” to mean that Christ went into hell and preached to the spirits who were there—either proclaiming the gospel and offering a second chance to repent, or just proclaiming that he had triumphed over them and that they were eternally condemned.

    But these interpretations fail to explain adequately either the passage itself or its setting in this context. Peter does not say that Christ preached to spirits generally, but only to those “who formerly did not obey…during the building of the ark.” Such a limited audience—those who disobeyed during the building of the ark—would be a strange group for Christ to travel to hell and preach to.
    If Christ proclaimed his triumph, why only to these sinners and not to all? And if he offered a second chance for salvation, why only to these sinners and not to all? Even more difficult for this view is the fact that Scripture elsewhere indicates that there is no opportunity for repentance after death (Luke 16:26; Heb. 10:26–27).
    Moreover, the context of 1 Peter 3 makes “preaching in hell” unlikely. Peter is encouraging his readers to witness boldly to hostile unbelievers around them. He just told them to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). This evangelistic motif would lose its urgency if Peter were teaching a second chance for salvation after death. And it would not fit at all with a “preaching” of condemnation.


    Does 1 Peter 3:18–20 refer to Christ preaching to fallen angels?

    To give a better explanation for these difficulties, several commentators have proposed taking “spirits in prison” to mean demonic spirits, the spirits of fallen angels, and have said that Christ proclaimed condemnation to these demons. This (it is claimed) would comfort Peter’s readers by showing them that the demonic forces oppressing them would also be defeated by Christ.

    However, Peter’s readers would have to go through an incredibly complicated reasoning process to draw this conclusion when Peter does not explicitly teach it. They would have to reason from (1) some demons who sinned long ago were condemned, to (2) other demons are now inciting your human persecutors, to (3) those demons will likewise be condemned someday, to (4) therefore your persecutors will finally be judged as well. Finally Peter’s readers would get to Peter’s point: (5) Therefore don’t fear your persecutors.
    Does it not seem too farfetched to say that Peter knew his readers would read all this into the text?
    Moreover, Peter emphasizes hostile persons, not demons, in the context (1 Peter 3:14, 16). And where would Peter’s readers get the idea that angels sinned “during the building of the ark”? There is nothing of that in the Genesis story about the building of the ark. And (in spite of what some have claimed), if we look at all the traditions of Jewish interpretation of the flood story, we find no mention of angels sinning specifically “during the building of the ark.” Therefore the view that Peter is speaking of Christ’s proclamation of judgment to fallen angels is really not persuasive either.


    Does 1 Peter 3:18–20 refer to Christ’s proclaiming release to Old Testament saints?

    Another explanation is that Christ, after his death, went and proclaimed release to Old Testament believers who had been unable to enter heaven until the completion of Christ’s redemptive work.

    But again we may question whether this view adequately accounts for what the text actually says. It does not say that Christ preached to those who were believers or faithful to God, but to those “who formerly did not obey”—the emphasis is on their disobedience. Moreover, Peter does not specify Old Testament believers generally, but only those who were disobedient “in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark” (1 Peter 3:20).
    Finally, Scripture gives us no clear evidence to make us think that full access to the blessings of being in God’s presence in heaven were withheld from Old Testament believers when they died—indeed, several passages suggest that believers who died before Christ’s death did enter into the presence of God at once because their sins were forgiven by trusting in the Messiah who was to come (Gen. 5:24; 2 Sam. 12:23; Pss. 16:11; 17:15; 23:6; Eccl. 12:7; Matt. 22:31–32; Luke 16:22; Rom. 4:1–8; Heb. 11:5).


    A more satisfying explanation of 1 Peter 3:18–20

    The most satisfactory explanation of 1 Peter 3:18–20 seems rather to be one proposed (but not really defended) long ago by Augustine: the passage refers not to something Christ did between his death and resurrection, but to what he did “in the spiritual realm of existence” (or “through the Spirit”) at the time of Noah. When Noah was building the ark, Christ “in spirit” was preaching through Noah to the hostile unbelievers around him.
    This interpretation is very appropriate to the larger context of 1 Peter 3:13–22. The parallel between the situation of Noah and the situation of Peter’s readers is clear at several points:


    • Both were a religious minority
    • Both were surrounded by hostile unbelievers
    • Both were facing the possibility of imminent judgment
    • Both were to witness
    • Both were finally saved


    Such an understanding of 1 Peter 3:18–20 seems to be by far the most likely solution to a puzzling passage.

    5. 1 Peter 4:6

    This fifth and final passage that supports Jesus’ descent into hell says, “For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God.”
    Does this verse mean that Christ went to hell and preached the gospel to those who had died? If so, it would be the only passage in the Bible that taught a “second chance” for salvation after death and would contradict passages such as Luke 16:19–31 and Hebrews 9:27, which clearly seem to deny this possibility.
    Moreover, the passage does not explicitly say that Christ preached to people after they had died, and could rather mean that the gospel in general was preached (this verse does not even say that Christ preached) to people who are now dead, but that it was preached to them while they were still alive on earth.
    This is a common explanation, and it seems to fit this verse much better. It finds support in the second word of the verse, “this,” which refers back to the final judgment mentioned at the end of verse 5. Peter is saying that it was because of the final judgment that the gospel was preached to the dead.
    Thus, “the dead” are people who have died and are now dead, even though they were alive and on earth when the gospel was preached to them.
    We conclude, therefore, that this last passage, when viewed in its context, turns out to provide no convincing support for the doctrine of a descent of Christ into hell.

    3 passages that indicate Jesus did not descend to hell

    In addition to the fact that there is little if any biblical support for a descent of Christ into hell, there are some New Testament texts that argue against the possibility of Christ’s going to hell after his death.


    1. Luke 23:43

    Jesus’ words to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43), imply that after Jesus died his soul (or spirit) went immediately to the presence of the Father in heaven, even though his body remained on earth and was buried.

    Some people deny this by arguing that “Paradise” is a place distinct from heaven, but in both of the other New Testament uses the word clearly means “heaven”: in 2 Corinthians 12:4 it is the place to which Paul was caught up in his revelation of heaven, and in Revelation 2:7 it is the place where we find the tree of life–which is clearly heaven in Revelation 22:2 and 14.


    2. John 19:30

    In addition, the cry of Jesus, “It is finished” (John 19:30) strongly suggests that Christ’s suffering was finished at that moment and so was his alienation from the Father because of bearing our sin. This implies that he would not descend into hell, but would go at once into the Father’s presence.


    3. Luke 23:46

    Finally, the cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46), also suggests that Christ expected (correctly) the immediate end of his suffering and estrangement and the welcoming of his spirit into heaven by God the Father (note Stephen’s similar cry in Acts 7:59).


    If Jesus didn’t descend into hell, then what happened when he died?

    These texts indicate, then, that Christ in his death experienced the same things believers in this present age experience when they die: his dead body remained on earth and was buried (as ours will be), but his spirit (or soul) passed immediately into the presence of God in heaven (just as ours will).

    Then on the first Easter morning, Christ’s spirit was reunited with his body and he was raised from the dead.

    This fact has pastoral encouragement for us: we need not fear death, not only because eternal life lies on the other side, but also because we know that our Savior himself has gone through exactly the same experience we will go through — he has prepared, even sanctified the way, and we follow him with confidence each step of that way.

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