Monday, April 9, 2012

Did Jesus descend into Hell?
I know. I know. Controversial subject, but hear me out.   As I'm writing this post, today is Good Friday, the day Jesus was hung on the cross to redeem all of mankind from Satan's grip.  It's a solemn day. A day to remember and reflect all that the Son of God did for us.  Many of you have watched the movie, The Passion, or at least tried to watch it. As horrible as that movie depicted the crucifixion, the physical torture that Jesus endured was beyond anything we could imagine.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

You may have heard it said that it was God's ultimate rejection of Jesus that actually killed Him and broke His heart. I agree. When the sins of the entire world, past, present, and future were laid upon Jesus on that cross, Father God turned His face away from His Son for this first time in all of eternity. And Jesus felt it. He cried out in agony:

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).  Matthew 27:46

Have you ever been rejected by someone you loved, trusted, someone you thought would always be there? I have. It hurts horribly.  Yet, the rejection Jesus felt was so much worse that that. He and the Father had been in constant communication and fellowship in a relationship closer than we could ever imagine since before time began. The loss Jesus felt was unimaginable.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
   Why are you so far from saving me,
   so far from my cries of anguish?
 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
   by night, but I find no rest
   Psalm 22

But that wasn't the worst of it.  It was much more than rejection. Jesus also suffered wave after wave of the full wrath of God for our sins while he hung there, all at the hands of His beloved Father. I can't imagine the horror of that!  Many of us know how much more painful a broken heart is than a broken bone.  Jesus suffered the worst of the worst kind of rejection.. the wrath, the punishment, the hatred of His Father, whom He adored.

But then Jesus cried, "It is finished."  And He gave up His Spirit. But then what?

“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. Ephesians 4:8-9

Jesus did descend into the lower parts of the earth, but not Hell. He descended into Hades, the holding place for the dead.  Why? For three reasons that I can find

  • He preached to them (essentially gave them the good news!)
  • He freed the Righteous Dead to go to Heaven
  • He took the Keys to Hades from the Devil  

Boy, would I have loved to be there to watch that!!   Afterward, Jesus's Spirit ascended into Heaven to await His resurrection.

But God didn't leave His Son there.

For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.   Acts 2

I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.  Revelation 1:18
I, for one, am glad Jesus is in possession of the Keys of Death and Hades!  Why does He need them? Because when He returns and sets up His judgement seat, He will release those departed souls who've been locked there through the ages and each one of them will stand before Him and give an account of their lives.

A sobering thought for those who never received His free gift of eternal life!


  1. Wow...very enlightening. I cannot wait to see Him coming in the clouds. That is going to be one long and busy day. Too much to imagine or grasp. Very good post.

  2. Mon Apr 9th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Thank-you, again, for sharing with us today. What Jesus did for each and everyone of us ... is SO very hard to comprehend ! Yet, He willingly did this, because of His love for the Father, and, for every person on Earth. How could we be anything but humbled ... by His great, perfect, and unconditional love for us !!! He not only took the weight of the sins of the World upon Himself, in its entirety ... but even God Himself had to reject Him (for that time), because He could not look upon the sin ! Oh, the rejection must have been so very horrid and heart-breaking beyond measure !
    "Thank-You Jesus ... that You were obedient unto death ... to save us all from our sins !!! You gave your life 'willingly' so that we might live. How can we do any less than to give our selves - back to You, in return !"
    Our Church has the live production going on, "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames", which began last night, and then on again for Monday and Tuesday nights. Guess 'who' is playing the part of an angel with a sword, standing by the Gates of Heaven ? Yupp !
    Thanks again, MaryLu ... for the blog today ... very sobering indeed. What a "risen Saviour we serve" !!!
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  3. So are you claiming that there is a third place, besides heaven and hell? I just want to know exactly what you mean. I understand Hades to mean hell because thats what the Greeks called it. I evven think the word for Hades is translated as hell a bunch of times in the Bible, and used as a synonym (sp.?). In Greek mythology, it was where the dead and the ruler of the dead all were, and the rich man from the story with poor Lazarus suffers in "Hades" right (or do different NIV and KJV translate differently? If they do, wouldn't that mean the root word could mean either hell or Hades?)? so wouldn't Hades be hell? Or am I just misunderstanding your post? I don't want to put words in your mouth or anything! Sorry I'm so long-winded!
    I'm not trying to be mean or anything. Just trying to understand your post! :)
    Anyway, I hope you had a blessed Easter!!! Hopefully the weather was nice and sunny for you, too!

  4. Mon Apr 9th,
    "Hey, again ....."
    Actually, I always believed that both 'Hell and Hades' were interchangeable .... meaning, 'the same thing'. Just wondering ....
    In Him,
    Brenda Hurley

  5. Sorry for the confusion, Ladies. Here's what I know. There are two Greek words for Hell: Geenna - the eternal lake of fire and Hadas - the region of the dead where all departed souls go. In fact, before Jesus's ascension, this is where ALL departed souls went. There was a great divide between the "bad" side and the "good" side. Remember the story of Lazarus in Luke 16? Anyway, when Jesus died, he descended into Hades where he set the righteous dead free to go to Heaven and where he grabbed the keys from Satan. Now, when the righteous die, they automatically go to Heaven. They couldn't do that before the cross. Also there is still a Hades for the unrighteous dead awaiting their final judgement. After that judgement, Hades itself is cast into the Lake of fire (Hell) See Revelation 20:14. Hope that helps...

  6. Oh MaryLu, excellent post! What an awesome Savior He is. He endured SO much for us. There's an old David Meece song where it talks about Jesus saying to the Father, "Forgive them, no matter what they've done. Forgive them, and tell them they are loved. And give to them a chance to go on living, and give to them a life that they could never have before." And then He died for us. WOW! To think He loves us that much. Thanks again for this post.

    Brenda, I've seen Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames. Makes you think, doesn't it?

  7. Brenda, I meant to add.. How very cool you get to play a mighty angel with a sword!!! And guarding the gates of Heaven! Awesome. Wish I could come see. I've never heard of Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames.. sounds like an awesome play. Let us know how it goes..

  8. Excellent post today, MaryLu. What an awesome Savior He is. He went through SO much for us. There's an old David Meece song that I think is such a fantastic representation of what Jesus did for us. In the chorus, Jesus says to the Father, "Forgive them, no matter what they've done. Forgive them, and tell them they are loved. And give to them a chance to go on living. And give to them a life that they could never have before." And then He died for us. WOW! To know that Jesus loved us, and still does, that much. Thanks again for that reminder. :)

    Brenda, I've seen "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames". Makes you think, doesn't it?

  9. Tues Apr 10th ....
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames" live production, is going very well. It is both an honour and a priviledge to be a part of this outreach, that is going on around the Globe, literally !
    I didn't ask to be an angel with a sword ... just an angel. However, I was one of the two tallest people wanting to play the part of an angel ... so the two tallest (and I'm only 5' 5") were chosen to guard the "Gates of Heaven", with a "giant" sword that is both tall, and, heavy ! At the beginning of the play, Jesus is coming down the aisle carrying His cross. Then, he is beaten, and hung on the cross. He dies, then rises again.
    Before each Presentation ... we are up in a prayer-room gathering ... to pray for people to be drawn in -- from all over. That - hearts, eyes and ears spiritually speaking, will be open and receptive.
    Throughout the drama, there are about seven little scenario-scenes going on, one at a time of course. Each depicting the lives of that particular group ... and then, they die. Standing before "the Book of Life" angel ... one or all in that skit may end up going to Heaven, or, being taken away by satan to go to Hell.
    In the Heaven scenes ... my 'fellow-sword-holding-angel' and I lift our swords held high, with the Halelujah chorus going on. If they are taken to Hell and barred from the Gates of Heaven, we cross our swords ... and the other angels all have to turn away too. Lots of sound effects, music, lighting, strobe lights, and a smoke machine going on around us. It is very dramatic and powerful. It is about a 50-minute presentation. Many have come forward to the altar, following the Play, to receive Jesus into their hearts.
    Guess what MaryLu ... my son Jeff wanted to come to see the play, desperately it would seem. So I drove to Hamilton, an hour away from here to pick him up. He gave his heart back to the Lord, and sobbed, and sobbed and sobbed.
    He is still fighting a battle internally (I can see that) ... and he has NO Christian friends where he lives. I now know 'where' he will spend Eternity ... but his present life on this Earth ... he still has demons to fight, addictions to win over. He is SO lonely, and struggles with major depression at times. On March 31st, Jeff turned '31' ... and he wanted to die. He was in such misery and torment and deep depths of overwhelming sadness ... just wanting the pain to end.
    We're going to try to help him locate a good, solid Christian Church ... I'll even drive down to Hamilton to help him with that. Please pray he has "God's strength" to remain true to being a 'child of God'. He sways to and fro very easily !
    Just wanted to share all of that .... sorry for writing 'a book' here !!!
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  10. Brenda, that is so wonderful that you know your son will be going to heaven one day! I will be praying that he would find friends to support and help him grow in his faith.