Friday, March 11, 2011

Where did the spirit of Jesus go between His death and resurrection?

Question from Danny:
Does the Bible say where the spirit of Jesus went between His death and resurrection?

Answer from Pastor Bob:
Christians have different opinions about that, but the best explanation I can find is from 1 Peter 3:18-20, which says of the time of His death and resurrection, that Jesus "went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah..."
This passage may mean that at His death, Jesus' spirit went to preach the gospel to those who lived before Him, to give them the opportunity to believe in Him. This interpretation seems to be affirmed a few verses later in 1 Peter 4:5-6, where Peter says that everybody will face Judgment Day, which is "why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead..." apparently meaning Jesus' trip to the land of the dead before His resurrection. Otherwise, it would not be necessary for Jesus to preach to the dead, because Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed unto mankind once to die, and then face judgment, implying that now that Jesus has come, after death it is too late to make a decision for Christ.
No wonder the apostle Paul says in Romans 3:25-26 that God patiently waited to judge the sins committed before Christ, leaving them unpunished until "the present time." But now that Christ has come, all people must be judged by their response of faith to Christ, even those who died before Christ.

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