by Julia May
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We recently had a discussion in our SS class about the meaning of 1 Peter 3:19-20. “By which also He (Jesus) went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient; when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water.”
Does this mean that Christ after His crucifixion went to an actual place to preach to the unsaved dead of Noah’s time? Why? Would He give them a second chance? Nowhere is it found in scripture that God gives second chances after death. Also, nowhere that I can find in the bible are humans called spirits, after death. We are usually called souls.
Or does it mean He preached to those who had faith in God but were in a holding place or purgatory -if you will- until the death and resurrection of Christ? The bible speaks about a place called Abraham’s bosom in Luke 16. It tells about a rich man who died and went to hell the same day that a poor beggar named Lazarus died. But Lazarus ended up in “Abraham’s Bosom.” The rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to him with a drop of water for his tongue, as he was being tormented. Abraham’s response was he could not because there was a gulf between them that neither could pass. The scriptures in Luke indicate that Lazarus was blessed in his death, while the rich man was tormented.
Or, do these verses mean neither of these two theories?
If you look at verses 13 through 17 of 1 Peter 3 it talks about Godly living in the world and suffering for righteousness sake. It says happy are ye if you suffer for righteousness sake. It talks about it being better to suffer for well doing than for evil doing. In verse 18, it says Christ suffered once for sins, him being just for all of us (the unjust), that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.
Then you come to verse 19 where it says He also went and preached to the spirits in prison. Verse 19 seems a little out of place at first. But in context, the people in Noah’s time were not righteous. They suffered for being unrighteous. The whole context of these verses is about suffering.
I think the answer to verses 19 and 20 may be so simple that we miss it. Maybe we are trying to read too much into it.
Could it literally mean exactly what it says? In the days of Noah, Christ, by The Holy Spirit through Noah preached to the sinners (in prison) before the flood? Might this prison be not a place but rather a predicament? These people were prisoners of their own sin just as we are. They were obviously disobedient to God. But God was longsuffering toward them. For many years while building the ark, Noah preached by the Holy Spirit’s leading to all these people to try and warn them of the coming wrath of God – the flood. Did Christ not also preach to the prisoners of sin in His three years of ministry on earth? And doesn’t He still preach to prisoners of sin today through His Holy Spirit by His chosen Ministers of the Gospel?
Jesus is the Word. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus (who is God) had Noah preach to the prisoners of sin. But none listened, except Noah’s own family…
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One thing I do know, He gives us every chance at knowing Him. He pursues us and that is it's meaning to me. We may never fully understand on this side of heaven.
Nowhere is it found in scripture that God gives second chances after death. Julia --- Exactly right !!!and this brings to my mind the urgent preaching from Christ Jesus in His earthly ministry proclaiming , The first word... REPENT !! It wasn't - don't worry about it. You can repent after you are done living on earth . That is a lie . Keep writing , Julia ! Your pieces bring the truth of the Gospel and this is what is urgently needed today !! Love and blessings , Julie
It didn't print out above - but He started off proclaiming to all to -- Repent !! After we die it is too late to repent to our Lord of Life. Keep writing , my friend . Your writings have blessed me so ...Julie