Between Death and Resurrection.

18 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, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 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” (I Peter 3:18-20).

Where Jesus Christ was and what did He do between His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave? The Apostle Peter gives us a brief glimpse as to what our Lord was doing during this time.

Peter says that Jesus went (πορεύομαι; poreuomai) or travelled and then proclaimed (κηρύσσω; kerysso) or made an announcement to a group identified only as “the spirits in prison.” The noun spirits (πνεῦμα; pneuma) is in the plural form. Therefore, it refers to more than one spirit thereby eliminating this group being a reference to the Holy Spirit. Whoever these spirits are, they are in a prison (φυλακή; phylake) which is securely locked.

Why are they in prison? I Peter 3:20 says it is because they were disobedient or “they formerly did not obey” the demands from an authority. The authority seems to be God for Peter then writes, “When God’s patience waited in the days of Noah.” Peter then describes the days of Noah as being when Noah was building the ark in which eventually he and his family safely survived the Flood (Genesis 6-8).

So we’re back to our original question and a few additional ones. Where and what was Jesus doing between His death and resurrection? Who were the spirits in prison? What did Jesus preach to these spirits in prison?

There are at least five main interpretations given to explain and answer the question of where and what Jesus Christ did between His death and resurrection. They are as follows.

First, the “spirits in prison” are the people to whom Jesus Christ preached during his earthly ministry, for His work involved proclaiming liberty to the captives (Luke 4:16-21). This would seem to indicate that these people were deceased and perhaps Jesus preached to them while they were in Paradise, as He promised the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43).

Second, Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit preached through Noah (2 Peter 2:5) to the people before the Flood (Genesis 6-8). Noah called them to repentance, but they disobeyed and are now in prison. One commentator explains, “The point of Peter’s argument would then be that as God vindicated Noah by sending the judgment Noah proclaimed, He (God) will vindicate Christians when He judges the world according the Christian proclamation (of the gospel).”

Third, Jesus Christ preached in the short interval between His death and resurrection during a “descent into hell.” It is said that Christ announced His victory to the spirits of Noah’s wicked contemporaries confined in the realm of the dead.

Fourth, Jesus Christ preached and proclaimed His victory to fallen angels, often identified with the “sons of God” of Genesis 6:1-4; Job 1:6; 2:1) in their place of confinement. This fourth view seems to be most widely held interpretation.

Fifth, Jesus Christ proclaimed His victory, over sin, death and hell, to fallen angels after the resurrection, at the time of His ascension into heaven.

One Bible teacher says, “The point of the last three interpretations is that just as Jesus was vindicated, so will Christians be vindicated.”

The primary point that I derive from these five efforts to understand this text is that Jesus Christ achieved victory of sin, death and hell.

Praise the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

How Do We Know Jesus Rose? Part 5.

18 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,” (I Peter 3:18).

How do we know that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Aside from what the Bible says in I Peter 3:18, and elsewhere, what evidence do we have for Jesus’ resurrection?

The resurrection is the foundation stone of the biblical theology of the church. It is the primary message the church must communicate to lost sinners. It is also the primary message the church must continue to communicate to the redeemed. Not only was the resurrection preached by the Apostle Peter, but it was also preached by the Apostle Paul.

Beyond what Scripture explicitly says, what other evidence is there which supports the doctrine of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? The following must be considered.

First, there is the Bibliographical Test. Second, the Existence of the Church. Third, the Change in the Day for Worship. Fourth, the Change within the Disciples.

Finally, the Appearances of Christ. There were some 10 appearances Jesus made after His resurrection. They occurred over a period of 40 days. These appearances represented a great variety with respect to time, place, and location, to particular individuals and to large crowds. They include the following;

  • To Mary Magdalene – John 20:11-18.
  • To the other women – Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-11. These include (1) Mary the mother of James and Joseph; (2) Salome; (3) Joanna; (4) Other unidentified women.
  • To Peter – Luke 24:34.
  • To the Ten Disciples (minus Thomas) – Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25.
  • To the Eleven Disciples (including Thomas) – John 20:26-29.
  • To the Emmaus Disciples – Luke 24:13-35.
  • To the disciples in Galilee – Matthew 28:16-20; John 21:1-24.
  • To the 500 brethren – I Corinthians 15:6.
  • To James and the apostles – I Corinthians 15:7.
  • At the Ascension –Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:4-12.

Please note the resurrection appearance which the Apostle Paul encountered on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-6; 18:9-10; 22:1-8; 23:11; 26:12-18; I Corinthians 15:8). With the evidence presented it is beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus Christ indeed rose from the dead. This is the only plausible explanation.

Dr. Don Carson, professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, explains: “As important as the cross is, it is not the end of the story, for all of the New Testament writers focus equally on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The resurrection accounts are rich and diverse. There is no way they can be reduced to mass hallucination. Jesus appeared to too many people many times over a period of forty days or so. He appeared to ones and twos; he appeared to as many as five hundred at a time; he appeared to the apostles more than once; he appeared in locked rooms; he appeared on the seashore and ate some fish that he was cooking for them. The witnesses multiply. He shows up when they are not expecting him, and he shows up when they are. He cannot be categorized or dismissed or domesticated. The resurrection appearances are simply too frequent, too diverse, and supported by too many witnesses. What do you do with them?”

It is not only important for Christians to know what they believe, such as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it is also important for Christians to know why they believe what they believe.

Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

How Do We Know Jesus Rose? Part 4.

18 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,” (I Peter 3:18).

How do we know that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Aside from what the Bible says in I Peter 3:18, and elsewhere, what evidence do we have for Jesus’ resurrection?

The resurrection is the foundation stone of the biblical theology of the church. It is the primary message the church must communicate to lost sinners. It is also the primary message the church must continue to communicate to the redeemed. Not only was the resurrection preached by the Apostle Peter, but it was also preached by the Apostle Paul.

Beyond what Scripture explicitly says, what other evidence is there which supports the doctrine of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? The following must be considered.

First, there is the Bibliographical Test. Second, the Existence of the Church. Third, the Change in the Day for Worship.

Fourth, the Change within the Disciples. Where once they had been a band of frightened cowards they became disciples of courage and conviction in Jesus Christ. These same men who fled for fear when Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26:31, 56; Mark 14:27, 53-54; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-27) and who would deny Him became bold and were willing to die if necessary for their faith. (Acts 4:1-22; 5:21-32; Philippians 1:21).

In fact, one of the most strident persecutors of the early church (Saul of Tarsus) was himself converted (Acts 9:1-9; 22:1-22; 26:9-20) and endured much persecution. See 2 Corinthians 6:1-10; 11:21-33. What could have happened to so change these men? The Bible submits that the only plausible answer is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

More to come!

Soli deo Gloria!

How Do We Know Jesus Rose? Part 3.

18 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,” (I Peter 3:18).

How do we know that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Aside from what the Bible says in I Peter 3:18, and elsewhere, what evidence do we have for Jesus’ resurrection?

The resurrection is the foundation stone of the biblical theology of the church. It is the primary message the church must communicate to lost sinners. It is also the primary message the church must continue to communicate to the redeemed. Not only was the resurrection preached by the Apostle Peter, but it was also preached by the Apostle Paul.

Beyond what Scripture explicitly says, what other evidence is there which supports the doctrine of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? The following must be considered.

First, there is the Bibliographical Test. This refers to the eyewitness accounts of the resurrection: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Are these witnesses credible? There is substantial evidence that the gospels, and for that matter the entire New Testament, is indeed credible and truthful regarding what they teach, especially as it pertains to the resurrection.

Second, the Existence of the Church. It is worldwide in scope and significant in its depth of influence. Its history can be traced to A.D. 32. The early church constantly referred to the resurrection as the basis for their teaching, preaching, living and most significantly, dying. (Acts 2, 4, and 7).

Third, the Change in the Day for Worship. Sunday is the day of worship for Christians. This can be traced back to A.D. 32. There must have been something truly remarkable to change the day of worship from the Jewish Sabbath. In fact the Christians celebrated Sunday in recognition of the resurrection.  This is all the more significant when you realize the first Christians were in fact Jews. See Acts 2.

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ stands the test of time. More to come!

Soli deo Gloria!

 

How Do We Know Jesus Rose? Part 2.

18 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,” (I Peter 3:18).

How do we know that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Aside from what the Bible says in I Peter 3:18, and elsewhere, what evidence do we have for Jesus’ resurrection?

The resurrection is the foundation stone of the biblical theology of the church. It is the primary message the church must communicate to lost sinners. It is also the primary message the church must continue to communicate to the redeemed. Not only was the resurrection preached by the Apostle Peter, but it was also preached by the Apostle Paul.

  • I Corinthians 15:12-19. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (I Corinthians 15:12-19, ESV)

The Apostle Paul places great importance on the resurrection. He makes eight observations in I Corinthians 15. In a series of eight conditional statements, Paul sets forth the importance of the resurrection for the believer.

  • 13 – if no resurrection … then Christ is not raised.
  • 14 – if no resurrection …then our preaching is empty.
  • 14b – if no resurrection … then our faith is empty.
  • 15 – if no resurrection …then we are false witnesses.
  • 17 – if no resurrection …then our faith is futile.
  • 17b – if no resurrection …then we are still in our sins.
  • 18 – if no resurrection …then those who have died in Christ have perished.
  • 19 – if no resurrection …then we are of all men the most pitiable.

(See also Acts 4:2; 13:35; 17:18; 24:15; Philippians 1:21-23; 3:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Revelation 20:6).

To deny the resurrection is to deny the gospel of Jesus Christ.

More to come! Happy New Year!

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

How Do We Know Jesus Rose?

18 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,” (I Peter 3:18).

How do we know that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Aside from what the Bible says in I Peter 3:18, and elsewhere, what evidence do we have for Jesus’ resurrection?

Dr. R. Albert Mohler writes, “Christianity is founded upon certain nonnegotiable truths, and those truths, once known, are translated into beliefs. The beliefs that anchor our faith are those to which we are most passionately and personally committed, and these are our convictions. We do not believe in belief any more than we have faith in faith. We believe the gospel, and we have faith in Christ. Our beliefs have substance and our faith has an object.”

The resurrection is the foundation stone of the biblical theology of the church. It is the primary message the church must communicate to lost sinners. It is also the primary message the church must continue to communicate to the redeemed.

I refer you to two of three significant texts concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Both are taken from a message preached by the Apostle Peter.

  • Acts 2:22-24 – Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22-24, ESV)
  • Acts 2:29-36 – Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:29-36, ESV)

The very first presentation of the gospel by the Apostle Peter centered upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To deny the resurrection of Christ is to deny the very gospel of Christ. Both truths are linked together.

More to come!

Soli deo Gloria!