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Thread: Jesus death and preaching to the souls in prison?

  1. #1

    Jesus death and preaching to the souls in prison?

    When Jesus died on the cross, did his spirit go into paradise (Lk 23:43), his body remained in the tomb, and his soul descended into hades (Acts 2:30-31).

    Was it at this time that Jesus preached to the souls in prison as mentioned in (1 Peter 3:19–20)?

  2. #2
    Was it at this time that Jesus preached to the souls in prison as mentioned in (1 Peter 3:19–20)?
    Let's bring up the passage, so everyone can see it:
    1 Peter 3.18-20: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
    Peter gives us this ordering of events:

    1. Christ suffered for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring us to God
    2. Being put to death in the flesh
    3. But made alive in the spirit
    4. In which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison

    It might just be me... but it looks like the the whole "preached to the spirits in prison" part came after his resurrection ("but made alive in the spirit")... if it's meant to be taken as a chronological series of events.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Let's bring up the passage, so everyone can see it:
    1 Peter 3.18-20: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
    Peter gives us this ordering of events:

    1. Christ suffered for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring us to God
    2. Being put to death in the flesh
    3. But made alive in the spirit
    4. In which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison

    It might just be me... but it looks like the the whole "preached to the spirits in prison" part came after his resurrection ("but made alive in the spirit")... if it's meant to be taken as a chronological series of events.


    How do you then connect that understanding with the days of Noah, which seems to be connected to the spirits in prison? I'm not asking because I feel I have the answer, I'm asking because I'm trying to understand how it could be after Christ's resurrection, if the spirits in prison seem to be linked to Noah's day, before Christ's resurrection.

  4. #4
    Here's something to add to the thought:
    1 Peter 3.18-20: "put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit"
    What does it mean when it says "made alive in the spirit"? Well, the best way to figure that out is to find other Scripture.

    In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul contrasts the following:

    • perishable v. imperishable
    • dishonor v. glory
    • weakness v. power
    • natural body v. spiritual body
    • living creature v. life-giving spirit
    • of dust v. of heaven

    Paul is plainly contrasting the flesh body of our earthly lives against the spirit body of our resurrection.

    In 1 Timothy 3.16, Paul says that Christ was:

    • "manifested in the flesh"
    • "vindicated by the spirit"
    Here "in the flesh", of course, refers to how Christ was born as a man. Christ's vindication "by the spirit" refers to Christ's resurrection from the dead.

    In Romans 1.3-4, Paul describes Christ, and he says to things as parallel statements:

    • Christ "was descended from David according to the flesh"
    • Christ "was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the spirit by his resurrection from the dead"
    As in the others, "flesh" and "spirit" are spoken of in parallel, to contrast each other. Specifically Paul uses the adjective "in power" to refer to Christ's resurrection, just as he does in 1 Corinthians 15. Once more we see, "the flesh" is used to refer to earthly life, and "the spirit" is used to refer to the resurrection.



    These point me in the direction that, if 1 Peter 3.18-20 is detailing a chronology of events (described in my previous post), then when Peter says that Christ was "made alive in the spirit", he is speaking of Christ's resurrection. Necessarily, this would mean that the "preaching to the spirits in prison" could not be what Christ did between his death and resurrection, because he had already been "made alive in the spirit", that is, resurrected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    When Jesus died on the cross, did his spirit go into paradise (Lk 23:43), his body remained in the tomb, and his soul descended into hades (Acts 2:30-31).

    Was it at this time that Jesus preached to the souls in prison as mentioned in (1 Peter 3:1920)?
    Hades was a term used by the Jewish people and is literally the abode of the dead. Hades is the place that Jesus described in Luke 16 (Lazarus and the rich man.) One half was Paradise (for the righteous) the other half a place of torment (for the unrighteous dead). In between those places is a great chasm that could not be crossed. Jesus told the thief on the cross "today I will meet you in paradise" Today, paradise is empty as the scriptures tell us to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord.
    Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.
    Psalm 62:5

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    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Let's bring up the passage, so everyone can see it:
    1 Peter 3.18-20: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
    Peter gives us this ordering of events:

    1. Christ suffered for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring us to God
    2. Being put to death in the flesh
    3. But made alive in the spirit
    4. In which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison
    It might just be me... but it looks like the the whole "preached to the spirits in prison" part came after his resurrection ("but made alive in the spirit")... if it's meant to be taken as a chronological series of events.
    Christ was never dead spiritually. Christ died only physically and that was only because He gave up the ghost by the will of the Father.

    When Christ proclaimed to the spirits in prison He led captivity captive. Christ gathered all the OT saints and took them into His presence to remain for eternity. Christ united the OT saints with Himself and we as NT Christians will be with Him and them.

    For the cause of Christ
    Roger

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by notuptome View Post
    Christ was never dead spiritually.
    I didn't say he was.

    Don't put words in my mouth.



    Here's another interesting tidbit, to push the study in a forward direction:

    The word "soul" is often used used as a synonym for "man". But, the word "spirit" is not once used in such a manner. It is never used in the New Testament as a synonym for "man". Rather, it is used to refer to something that a man has (i.e., "the spirit of the prophets"), but not something that a man is.

    Consistently speaking, the only times the word "spirit" or "spirits" is used synonymously with a particular living being (in the same manner that "soul" is used synonymously with "man"), it is only ever used to refer to the following:

    • God (usually the Holy Spirit)
    • Demons
    • Angels

    If the New Testament only ever uses the phrase "spirits" as a synonym for "demons" or "angels" (in, I said, the same manner that "souls" is a synonym for "men")... would it be wise to break this consistency because of one verse? It is certainly possible that Peter is using "spirits" to refer to the "spirits [of men]", especially since his personal writing style is not dependent upon the mannerisms of the other NT authors, so it can't be entirely ruled out. But, this matter of consistency should at least be mentioned.

  8. #8
    More information:

    1 Peter 3.19 refers to "the spirits in prison".

    The word prison is the Greek word phulakē. It can refer to:

    • A prison
    • A watch of the night
    • Keeping guard
    • A refuge

    This last one is particularly interesting. The Greek word phulakē is used in precisely this sense, as "a refuge", in Revelation 18.2, when it speaks of "unclean spirits" turning Babylon the great city into their "refuge".

    Yes, the word phulakē is used mostly to refer to "prison", but it's inherent meaning is not a negative place of imprisonment. It's inherent meaning is simply that of "a guarded place". And "a refuge" fits right into that overarching definition, especially when we see that it is used as such in the Revelation.

  9. #9
    I've been doing a little reading around, and here is another angle, one that I think makes a decent amount of sense. To understand it, we should pull up the larger context of the passage in discussion.
    1 Peter 3.18-22: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
    When reading this, we see that Peter is speaking about Christ, but then, for some reason, in the middle of his teaching of Christ he interjects a thought about Noah and the flood. Basically, it appears that verses 3.19-21 are a digression; Peter is speaking about Christ in verse 3.18, but then adds in a sort of parenthetical thought, and returns to speaking about Christ in 3.22. What does the text look like, if we momentarily pass over verses 3.19-21?
    1 Peter 3.18,22: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, ... who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
    What we are left with is a continuous, uninterrupted description of Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension. It is quite similar to certain "creedal" passages found in Paul's epistles. [Romans 1.3-4; 1 Corinthians 15.3-5; Philippians 2.8-10; 1 Timothy 3.16; which, as noted before, were other passages that used "the flesh" and "the spirit" as parallel statements to refer to Christ's earthly body and his resurrection] In this understanding, verses 3.19-21 a parenthetical thought Peter had when describing Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension. Hence, verses 3.19-21 would not be part of the chronology of events Peter describes in 3.18,22. Peter mentioned Christ's resurrection, "made alive in the spirit", and was struck with an additional thought, which he jotted down. Then, after finishing this thought, he continued to describe Christ, "who has gone into heaven..."

  10. #10
    Nowhere else in Scripture are "the spirits of men" described as being "imprisoned" because they were sinful. Scripture does describe how sinful men are "destroyed" or "killed" or how they are "dead". But not once are "spirits", in the sense of men, described as being "imprisoned".

    It is interesting to notice that in both of Peter's letters does he mention Noah's preservation through the flood. So let's compare the two instances.
    1 Peter 3.18-20: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

    2 Peter 2.4-5: For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into tartarus and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly...
    In the first letter we have (a) spirits, (b) in prison, (c) because they formerly did not obey, (d) God preserved Noah, (e) through the flood. In the second letter we have (a) angels, (b) committed to chains, (c) because they sinned, (d) God preserved Noah, (e) through the flood.

    Hm. We have incredibly similar statements. The only main differences is that "in prison" is held in parallel to "committed to chains", and "spirits" is held in parallel to "angels" (as I pointed out in this post).

    So in 2 Peter 2.4-5, we explicitly have angels being imprisoned. Likewise, we have Jude 1.6 as the same. What should be noted is that 2 Peter 2.4-5 defines "tartarus" (called "hell" in the KJV) as a place that is "gloomy darkness". Arguably, this could be referring to the "abyss", which the demons named Legion begged not to be cast into. [Luke 8.31] Similarly, at the beginning of the thousand years, Satan is imprisoned in the "bottomless pit" (Greek: "abyss pit").

    So, we have several examples of demons, called "spirits" throughout the New Testament, being imprisoned.

    Could this be what 1 Peter 3.19 is referring to? Demon "spirits" being in prison? This would be consistent with much of the information brought up already.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post

    Could this be what 1 Peter 3.19 is referring to? Demon "spirits" being in prison? This would be consistent with much of the information brought up already.


    To be honest, that would be my guess, but since I'm not 100% certain, I won't come out and state it matter of factly. But pretty much what you have brought out in this post, this is pretty much the same connections that I have made in the past. The question is, if all of this pans out, and turns out to be the case, would this make the sons of God in Gen 6 angels, just like many have been saying all along?

  12. #12
    Did Christ preach the gospel to those who had already died?

    First of all, one must ask if this is consistent with other Scripture. Of course, the quick response is, "yes!" Particularly, 1 Peter 3.19 and Ephesians 4.8 are often taken in conjunction, along with Acts 2.30-31, to prove that Christ did, indeed, go into hades and verbally preach the gospel to those who had already died.

    But, again, I must ask if this is consistent with other Scripture. For example. Hebrews 11 describes a number of people who followed God and believed in him "by faith". They were already faithful to God, and already believed in him, and (as most Christians say) looked forward faithfully to the yet-to-come Messiah.

    So, the question to be asked is... if they already believed in Christ, why would they need to have the gospel about Christ preached to them? Jesus even claims outright that Abraham looked forward to Christ's day and rejoiced. [John 8.56] Paul stated that Abraham had faith in God, and hence was justified before God. [Galatians 3.6] But what exactly was it that Abraham had faith in, in order to be justified? Again, Paul says that it was because Abraham had the gospel preached to him. [Galatians 3.8]

    So... why would those who already believed in gospel, already had full faith in God and his Messiah, need to have the message preached to them in hades? It's simply not consistent with this other Scripture.

    Now, here's the kicker:

    1 Peter 3.20 explicitly says that these "spirits in prison" were disobedient. This can't be referring to the dead Old Testament saints, because they were the "obedient" ones who had faith in God and his coming Messiah. Peter is clearly referring to individuals we would call "lost". In which case, why would Christ bother preaching the gospel in hades to those who were already condemned? What point would it serve? So they knew what they were missed out on, while waiting for the final judgment to take place? It's certainly possible. But it's not corroborated by any other Scripture.

    And, if one tries to claim as much, that these "formerly disobedient" "spirits in prison" are claimed... how does that even remotely mesh with the notion that our fates are sealed after we die, such as is found in Hebrews 9.27?

    Or, in Luke 16.19-31, we see that the rich man, who has gone to hades, clearly understands his wrongdoing after he has died, yet (apparently) Christ has not yet been crucified. So why does the text so heavily imply that the rich man is forever doomed?

    Put simply: the notion that the dead, even the Old Testament dead, will get a "second chance" after they die, is Scripturally unfounded.

  13. #13
    The question is, if all of this pans out, and turns out to be the case, would this make the sons of God in Gen 6 angels, just like many have been saying all along?
    Well... I've been studying the text for not so many hours, so I'm still (obviously) working toward a final conclusion. Of course, I would gladfully receive the additional input of others, if they have something to toss in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Nowhere else in Scripture are "the spirits of men" described as being "imprisoned" because they were sinful. Scripture does describe how sinful men are "destroyed" or "killed" or how they are "dead". But not once are "spirits", in the sense of men, described as being "imprisoned".

    It is interesting to notice that in both of Peter's letters does he mention Noah's preservation through the flood. So let's compare the two instances.
    1 Peter 3.18-20: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

    2 Peter 2.4-5: For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into tartarus and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly...
    In the first letter we have (a) spirits, (b) in prison, (c) because they formerly did not obey, (d) God preserved Noah, (e) through the flood. In the second letter we have (a) angels, (b) committed to chains, (c) because they sinned, (d) God preserved Noah, (e) through the flood.

    Hm. We have incredibly similar statements. The only main differences is that "in prison" is held in parallel to "committed to chains", and "spirits" is held in parallel to "angels" (as I pointed out in this post).

    So in 2 Peter 2.4-5, we explicitly have angels being imprisoned. Likewise, we have Jude 1.6 as the same. What should be noted is that 2 Peter 2.4-5 defines "tartarus" (called "hell" in the KJV) as a place that is "gloomy darkness". Arguably, this could be referring to the "abyss", which the demons named Legion begged not to be cast into. [Luke 8.31] Similarly, at the beginning of the thousand years, Satan is imprisoned in the "bottomless pit" (Greek: "abyss pit").

    So, we have several examples of demons, called "spirits" throughout the New Testament, being imprisoned.

    Could this be what 1 Peter 3.19 is referring to? Demon "spirits" being in prison? This would be consistent with much of the information brought up already.
    Also, in his second epistle Peter refers to Noah as a "herald of righteousness", which is one reason why I think it was Noah, not Jesus who preached to the spirits in prison. It isn't that they were in prison when he preached to them. He preached to them prior to the flood. But they are the spirits in prison now, after the flood who was the audience of Noah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BroRog View Post
    Also, in his second epistle Peter refers to Noah as a "herald of righteousness", which is one reason why I think it was Noah, not Jesus who preached to the spirits in prison. It isn't that they were in prison when he preached to them. He preached to them prior to the flood. But they are the spirits in prison now, after the flood who was the audience of Noah.
    So Noah's preaching went throughout the whole world?

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