God has promised to give us wisdom and knowledge if we ask for it, and if we are willing to actually put in the time and do the work necessary to discover more about Him. He already knows all about us, so in relationship building, it should be our desire to know more about God, and His desire will then be to reveal more of Him as we demonstrate our willingness to know Him.
If you are married…or in love, then you already know that building a relationship with your “soul-mate” means that you spend time with one another to learn more about that special person.
With God, it is no different. If we fail to talk with Him many times during the day, or we put aside reading the letter that this triune God left for us to read, then our relationship with Him will be shallow at best.
Matthew 7:7-“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8-For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
POWER OVER DEATH AND HELL –
Jesus told Pilate…the Roman governor in charge over His “trial”, that nobody on earth has power over Him.
John 19:10 –“Then said Pilate to Jesus, ‘You choose not to speak to me when I question you? Don’t you know that I have power to crucify you, and have power to release you if I choose’? 11-Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against me, except it were given to you from God.”
Jesus took any power that Satan thought he had over death and hell - after His death on the cross. The same day, Jesus went right into HELL and took the keys of the gates of hell and the power of death from Satan himself…proving that no creature on earth or under it, has greater power than God the Father - or God the Son.
Everyone who died - from Adam - until the thief who died on the cross with Jesus - are not yet in heaven!
I thought you might want to read that statement again!
Here is another statement that you will want to ponder: “Nobody is in the Lake of Fire yet! Those who have rejected Christ are in hell, and they are being tormented and can feel the flames below (coming from the lake of fire in the bottomless pit). We discover this in Luke 16:23, which is the story of the rich man and the beggar. The rich man ended up in hell,and his description is vivid. "He cried unto his Father, Abraham, who was afar off." He said, "Have mercy upon me...send Lazarus (the beggear) to me and let him dip his finger in water to cool my tongue...for I am tormented in these flames."
Yet, the lake of fire (in the lowest part of hell) and the bottomless pit are where death and hell are finally cast. This is called the "second death" twice in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 20:14 - "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
I say, “Everyone who died - from Adam to the thief on the cross, are not yet in heaven” because the Bible makes it clear that the only way to get into heaven is through Jesus, and all those who died before His resurrection, must wait to gain the promise of heaven, which is entry into it.
Hebrews 11 – the “Faith Chapter” tells us all about those who lived – and died BEFORE the resurrection. They include: Abel – Enoch, Noah, Abraham and his wife, Sarah, and every one of them also died without ever receiving the promise of access to heaven.
Their faith was tremendous, and their faith was counted unto them for righteousness, but their spirits remain in a place called “Abraham’s Bosom” until the day of the rapture takes place.
Hebrews 11:13 –“These all died in faith, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES, but having seen those promises afar off, and believed in them (the promises), and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
They ALL knew of the promises of a CHRIST who would come, and through Him, they would receive the promise of heaven.
Since the resurrection of Christ, all of us who are “born-again”, and have accepted this one-time blood sacrifice for our sins, we have been given the righteousness of Jesus. Jesus took upon Himself our sins, and exchanged those sins for His righteousness.
Those who died BEFORE the resurrection did not receive the promise of heaven. They “sleep” right now in a place called “Abraham’s Bosom”. Abraham's bosom is where the beggar, Lazarus went...."carried there by the angels." Luke 16:22.
In the end times, just before the rapture of the saints, “these dead in Christ shall rise FIRST, then, we born-again Christians which remain alive shall be caught up AFTER them – to meet Jesus in the air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
Every born-again believer in Christ is given THE PROMISE of heaven immediately upon salvation. The promise is that we shall not only inherit eternal life in heaven, but that OUR SPIRITS can immediately be ushered into heaven upon our death – BECAUSE WE ARE RIGHTEOUS. So, there is no “dead in Christ” other than those who are awaiting His return and who “sleep” in Abraham’s Bosom”…a real place under the earth.
Stick with me…we ALWAYS prove things out with the Bible.
Those who died before Christ’s resurrection have spirits, bodies and souls. Their spirit is NOT in heaven yet. In Hebrews 11:39, we read these words – speaking directly about all those who had a good report through faith: “And these ALL, having obtained a good report through faith, RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE;”
The very next verse tells US that WE DID OBTAIN THE PROMISE: “God having provided some BETTER THING FOR US, but THEY (the Old Testament saints…and all who died BEFORE the resurrection of Jesus), would NOT BE MADE PERFECT.”
This means the Old Testament saints and all who died before the resurrection of Jesus could not be made perfect – “righteous – holy –sanctified - set apart from sin”, and it was because PERFECTION, which is Jesus, had not yet come.
Jesus would be the “one time sacrifice for sins”. Before His death, blood sacrifices were used to “cover over” or “atone” (which means to satisfy or appease God) for their sins. Jesus was the one-time sacrifice for the sins of mankind…for all who would believe.
The sins of all who lived and died before the resurrection of Christ were covered over – “atoned for” by the blood sacrifice of animals or birds.
Those who died prior to the resurrection of Jesus, but who had faith in God, have not received THE PROMISE. They did NOT RECEIVE THE BETTER THING as we have received since the resurrection of Christ.
This is why the Bible tells us, “The dead in Christ shall rise first, then those of us (born-again believers) shall also be raised to meet Jesus in the air…and we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye into beings that are pure, holy, undefiled. The body, soul and spirit of all believers who are alive at the second coming of Jesus MUST be transformed because “there is no sin (corruption) in heaven.”
So, where are all of the spirits then who died before the resurrection of Christ?
They are in “Abraham’s Bosom”. Let’s prove it with the Bible.
We discover that the spirit of Samuel, the prophet of God, was “brought up out of the earth” one day. This was a mystery to me at one time in my life.
King Saul asked a witch to “conjure up” Samuel’s spirit. If this is true, and it is, where did Samuel come UP from?
King Saul was terrified at the sight of coming up against the Philistine armies. 1 Samuel 28:5 –“And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.”
Saul enquired of God, but God sought fit not to answer him immediately. Saul then asked to have the “witch at Endor” divine him up the spirit of Samuel. Verse 11 –“Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring UP unto thee? And Saul said, Bring me UP Samuel.”
The witch knew that Saul had declared death to all witches and sorcerers, so Saul was disguised when he confronted her. Then this witch saw Samuel.
How could this be? A witch …a sorcerer…a “diviner of evil spirits”, cannot peer into heaven. So, where did she peer?
Verse 12 –“And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.”
Samuel’s spirit told the witch that Saul was the one who asked her to “bring him up” from somewhere other than heaven. Saul said, “Bring Samuel UP. Heaven is UP, so Samuel would have had to come DOWN to earth. Instead, he came UP…from “Abraham’s Bosom”.
Saul assured her that nothing evil would happen to her for "divining Samuel UP", and then he asked her what she saw.
She said…in verse 13-“I saw gods ascending out of the earth.”
Her view of what “gods” were are spirits of the deceased. This should also tell us that these spirits do freely come up from beneath the earth...from hell.
This witch saw “gods” or “spirits” coming up from one of the three levels of HELL. We will get into “levels” shortly.
In verse 14, the plot thickens.
“And Saul said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, ‘An old man COMETH UP; and he is covered with a mantle’. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.”
15-And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” Samuel was resting in "Abraham's Bosom"...and Saul disquieted him.
Many discredit the notion that the souls of saints of old “SLEEP” in this place called “Abraham’s Bosom”.
To counter those who discredit that notion, we must go to the Book of Job.
Job 14:10-14 –"But man dies, and wastes away: yes, man gives up the ghost, and where is he? 11-As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decays and dries up: So man lies down, and rises not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13-Oh that you, God, would hide me in the grave, that you would keep me secret, until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14-If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”
Job knew that his spirit would “not be woken from its “sleep” until the day of the wrath of God happens. That will take place right after the rapture of the saints. Job noted that his spirit - “Shall not awake”. The Hebrew word for awake is “Quwts” – pronounced “koots”, and it means “to awake or wake up.”
In Luke 8 and verse 52, Jesus was told about a young girl who was DEAD. He was about to raise her from the dead, but before doing so, He said, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.”
Lazarus – the brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany “slept” in Abraham’s Bosom for four days before Jesus reunited his spirit with his body.
Samuel, the DEAD and buried prophet’s spirit CAME UP and asked Saul, “Why have you disquieted (taken away my peace and tranquility) my spirit?”
Samuel then told Saul that God was angry with him for his disobedience. He said, “Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and TOMORROW YOU AND YOUR SONS SHALL BE WITH ME; the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”
Saul and his sons would be with Samuel. Where? Heaven? No, their spirits and the spirit of God’s prophet Samuel would all be in “Abraham’s Bosom”.
This is an amazing revelation to me! It makes complete sense to know that all who died BEFORE the resurrection of Christ “sleep” in this place under the earth called “Abraham’s Bosom”. I used to think that Moses, Abraham, David and the rest of the Old Testament saints went to heaven already. This is why it pays to “search the Scriptures.”
This also clears up the mystery of Matthew 20:16 –“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”
Here, Jesus is teaching us that those who were first (Israel), and who came BEFORE my resurrection, shall be LAST to get into heaven, but those who came AFTER my resurrection…and who believe in me and accept the Gospel of Christ…shall enter into heaven immediately. These who came LAST, get to go into heaven FIRST.
All who believe in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, and who believe that Jesus has the power to forgive sins are RIGHTEOUS – HOLY – SANCTIFIED – SET APART from Sin. They are SINLESS….FORGIVEN, and their spirits get to go directly into God’s presence. The others must wait until the day of REDEMPTION for their promise to be fulfilled.
In the event that there is still some doubt as to "SOUL SLEEP", and that these "dead in Christ" shall rise, we need only to turn to 1 Thessalonians for the answer:
1 Thessalonians 4:13- "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14-For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which SLEEP in Jesus (hence the term - "dead in Christ") will God bring with him. 15-For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are ASLEEP. 16-For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the DEAD IN CHRIST shall rise first: 17-Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18-Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
I hope that I am honoring verse 18 and that you are comforted with those words.
Where is PARADISE?
Some say it is not in heaven because Jesus told the thief on the cross “Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” Most believe that Jesus did not ascend to heaven for 43 days. I am of that belief because the Scriptures tell me that Jesus died on Friday (day one), was buried for Friday and Saturday (Saturday being day two), and rose on Sunday (day three). He then spent exactly 40 days from Sunday with His apostles…so 43 days passed by.
The Bible also says that Jesus descended into HELL on the day He died. (His Holy Spirit descended into HELL, not His body) Then, 43 days later, He ascended into heaven. We will uncover that mystery as well…proving the Bible with the Bible.
Paul, the apostle of Christ who did NOT know Jesus before He went to heaven, and who Jesus appointed and anointed personally, to be His 12th apostle, had this to say in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 –“I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
Paul recalled having physically been with the apostle John who told of the time that he went UP into heaven (Whether in the spirit or in the body, John knew not).
I would say this his spirit went into heaven because his body would have been “corruptible”, meaning sin would be in his conscience and body), and sin is not allowed in heaven.
Once in heaven, John saw things that he would write down. We call those writings the Book of Revelation.
Paul, however, stipulates for the record, that “John was CAUGHT UP INTO PARADISE…and this is the THIRD HEAVEN (verses 2 and 4 above).
The third heaven is where God lives. I have covered all of this in my book – Heaven – How Do I Get There.
So, I have no doubt that Paradise is heaven…the place where God is. Paradise is NOT "Abrahams' Bosom" as some have thought.
We will now have to quickly look at what Jesus said to this thief who trusted Him as Lord and Savior…the first “convert” who may or may not have been Jewish.
He was the first to acknowledge the Gospel of Christ, which is to say that this thief believed in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection…and he knew that Jesus could forgive his sins. It is, therefore, my belief that he was ushered into Paradise – the third heaven that day. It is my belief mainly because Jesus said it.
The thief said, in Luke 23: -“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43-Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
So, there is nothing strange about what Jesus said. Jesus simply said this, “Because of your faith…you will be in Paradise today…where I am from.”
I live in Norton, MA. If I had a friend, who wanted to move and live in my town, and I knew he was taking the Amtrak train from New York, I might say, “Today, you will be with me in Norton”.
It doesn’t mean that I will be in Norton today…it simply means he will be there – today - where I live.
Lest there still be an ounce of doubt, we will close this Paradise question out with Revelation 2:7 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
The “Tree of Life”, spoken of in Revelation, originally was planted in the Garden of Eden by God.
Genesis 2:9 declares that God had planted the Tree of Life (and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) in the Garden of Eden. – “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
The Tree of Life was removed from Eden and it was planted in heaven by God. Revelation 22:2 –“In the midst of the street of it (heaven), and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month…” This also should tell you that time goes on in heaven. The fruit yields her fruit EVERY MONTH.
Where is “Abraham’s Bosom”?
The first use of the word BOSOM is found in Genesis 16:5 - “And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom…”. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, told Abraham that she put her handmaiden, Haggai into Abraham’s bosom – (enclosed arms to be held).
The Hebrew word found in that verse is “Cheyq”, and this meaning comes from an unused root, meaning to “enclose - An enclosure - to surround…as to hold someone in their arms.”
Therefore, somewhere within the earth, between the crust layer and hell is an “enclosure” hollowed out to contain the spirits of all who have died before the resurrection of Christ.
Saul’s spirit and those of his two sons were in the same “holding place” as Samuel, the prophet of God.
That begs the question, “Where, in that case, is hell, and who is now there?”
If all spirits who died before the resurrection of Jesus are in “Abraham’s Bosom” are there any spirits in hell yet?
I would have to say yes, and the reason I believe that this is true is that Luke 16:23 (The rich man) is there now and he describes being tormented and he describes the heat and flames.
That said, the final judgement of God known as the “Great White Throne of Judgment” comes at soem point in the future where every person who ever lived will be judged under the Law...by God, or their names will be in the Lamb's Book of Life, and those will not be condemned. (Romans 8:1).
Revelation 20 deals with the Great White Throne of Judgment, but for now, let’s look at Matthew 22. It speaks of a “parable” of a great wedding between the bridegroom (Jesus) and the bride (the Church – the body of believers).
Let’s look in on that wedding feast that is taking place.
Verse 10 – “So those servants (angels) went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both BAD and GOOD: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11-And when the king (God) came in to see the guests (saved and unsaved), He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12-And God said to him, Friend, how is it that you came in here not having a wedding garment? And the guest was speechless.” The guest had no words to utter in his defense.
God wanted to know why this man did not have on the proper wedding garment.
The man should have appeared clothed in the righteousness of Christ. That is the only wedding garment necessary to stay at the wedding feast - and to then stay in heaven for eternity.
13-“Then said the king (God) to the servants (angels) ‘bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
When the unsaved meet a holy and righteous God, and they have rejected what Jesus did on the cross for them, it is deemed to be “the UNPARDONABLE SIN”. Details about the “unpardonable sin” are in the Heaven book found in the Faithwriter's Online e-book store.
So…all who are not clothed in the righteousness of Christ SHALL BE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE….THE LOWEST PART OF HELL - AFTER the Great White Throne Judgment...(See Revelation 20:13-15).
How do we know that they will be cast into a “lake of fire?” Revelation 20:15 spells it out rather clearly. “15-And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Their "first death" was when they were condemned by the Law and sent to hell, but not cast into the bottomless pit where the lake of fire is. That comes after the Great White Throne of Judgment.
In my book, Heaven – How Do I Get There, I spell out who is in the Book of Life, and who is not. Suffice it to say - for this article, if you reject Christ as Lord and Savior, your name will not be in the Book of Life.
Where is HELL? Who is in it now? Are there levels of HELL?
The first time the word HELL is used in the Bible is found in Deuteronomy 32. God’s wrath against Israel is kindled (again). “20-"And God said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward (disobedient) generation, children in whom is no faith.”
Now take a look at verse 21 and 22 –“They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a FIRE is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the LOWEST HELL, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.”
There are levels of hell, as we just discovered!
God has reserved the lowest part of HELL for those who have no faith in Him or in His Son, and “HELL SHALL CONSUME THE EARTH WITH HER INCREASE.”
God is telling us that, “Hell will, in the future, consume all the increase of people on the face of the earth who have not believed in ME or later, in MY SON.”
Psalm 9:17 – written by King David…who is also in Abraham’s Bosom, tells us,“The wicked shall be turned into HELL, and all the nations that forget God.”
David also knew of hell and the lowest part of it. “For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest HELL.”
If the Bible used the term “lower” hell, I might be persuaded that there are two levels, but God used the term LOWEST HELL, and proper English determines there would be at least three levels. Low-Lower-Lowest.
Therefore, if hell has “levels”, there must be an “upper level”, and we find that in the first use of the word “HELL” in Deuteronomy 32:22 –“ For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the LOWEST HELL, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.”
The word HELL in this verse in Hebrew is “Sheol”. - the Old Testament designation for the “abode of the dead”
Therefore, to shorten the time here, I am going to say that there are three levels of HELL.
They would be –“Level One – Sheol or Abraham’s Bosom – the place hollowed out to keep the souls of the dead who trusted in God and His word.
The next level down – “Level Two” would be a place where the spirits of the unsaved would be. This is likely the place where the witch at Endor saw “gods” being active (not asleep), and coming to and fro from this place. This is referred to as “a prison or a holding tank”. According to Luke 16:23, the rich man (who is there) says he is tormented and can feel the heat of the flames.
The “upper level” or Sheol – or “Abraham’s Bosom” is where we will start. It is the place where the story of a rich man and Lazarus, the beggar, unfolds. Luke 16 illustrates “Abraham’s Bosom” clearly.
Luke 16:19 –“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20-And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21-And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.”
22-“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into ABRAHAM’S BOSOM”: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 –“And in hell (level two) the rich man lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
The rich man in hell can see the lowest part of hell and he can see the uppoer part called Sheol...the place where the dead sleep. He is in "level two" of hell.
The rich man is awake, and listening to those who KNOW they have a destiny to face at the Great White Throne of Judgment later. At that point, death and hell will both be cast into the bottomless pit...the lake of fire.
The rich man, knowing this,has to be akin to having a mom tell her children, “You just wait until your father gets home.”
I clearly recall those words. I also remember how that punishment while awaiting the wrath of my father was “torment”.
That said, all of the angels that God kicked out of heaven - when they and Satan rebelled against Him, are chained up in this level – “Level Two”. They are awaiting the final judgment of God, too.
Do you think these “fallen angels” would not be tormenting this rich guy?. 2 Peter 2:4 “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” So, you can see that the angels who God kicked out of heaven were immediately chained in this “Level Two waiting room”.
This rich man can smell the fire and see the flames of the pit below. That’s torture enough, but he also catches a glimpse of where Lazarus, the beggar is waiting. This has to be additional torture...knowing he can never get there.
Abraham reminded the rich man of why he was where he was. In Luke 16:25 he said, "Son, remember that, in your lifetime, you received all of your good things, and likewise Lazarus received “crumbs” from your table: but now he (being in Abraham’s Bosom), is comforted, and you are tormented.”
I pause here to remind readers that this guy has been in this condition for about two thousand years now. Can you imagine?
Then, imagine that you or your loved ones will spend a million times longer than that in the lower pit where the lake of fire is…….if you or they reject Christ.
Abraham said, in verse 26 –“And beside all this, between us (in Sheol) and you (in level two of hell, there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from Abraham’s Bosom to you cannot; neither can they pass (from your waiting area) to us.”
27 – “Then he (the rich, Jewish man who heard the Gospel of Christ and rejected it) said, ‘I pray thee therefore, father (Abraham), that thou would send him (Lazarus) (from Sheol) to my father's house: 28-For I have five brothers; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
This is what I meant earlier. Why is it that people who have been taught the Gospel of Christ…in this case a wealthy Jew (I say he is Jewish because he calls Abraham his father) want to tell everyone about the danger and torment of hell AFTER they get there? Why not just trust Christ’s Gospel NOW?
29-”Abraham said to him, ‘They (your Jewish family) have Moses and the prophets; let them continue to just listen to them.”
Abraham tells the rich guy that his family has all the teachings of Moses and the Laws, and the prophets being taught to them, so let your family listen to those teachings, and let them be happy with those traditions.
30 –“And the rich man said, No, father Abraham: but if one (like Lazarus) went unto them from the dead, they will repent.”
31 – “And he (father Abraham…father to all Jews and Arabs) said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
In other words, “If they didn’t hearken to Moses and all those prophets, then they won’t listen to Lazarus – even if he could go tell them about this one called Jesus – the one who rose from the dead.”
Abraham knows that Jesus rose from the dead. He knows because Jesus visited all of the saints in “Sheol” and He also went into Satan’s territory on the day that His body was buried in the garden tomb.
Upon the death of Jesus (When He “gave up the Ghost…in His case, the Holy Spirit), He (now as the Holy Spirit portion of the triune God) DESCENDED into HELL.
Why would Jesus do that? 1 Peter 3:19 tells us that Jesus did descend into HELL..in his resurrected spirit, and He “preached to them in this prison”.
Therefore, we see that Jesus calls this holding tank – where spirits are held until the Day of Judgment - a “prison”.
Starting in verse 18, Peter reveals, 18-“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but QUCKENED (made alive) by the (Holy) Spirit: 19 –“By which (Holy Spirit) also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”
We have no clue as to what Jesus would have told these “prisoners” ...those spirits who would have to wait thousands of years to be able to enter heaven.
It would be conjecture on my part, but I suspect that Jesus went into both Abraham’s Bosom, which is a “holding tank” of saints, and preached (told them all about) heaven and what waits for them there.
Then, I believe He went to the next level of HELL (Level Two), where Satan and his disciples (demons) operate freely from, and He took the authority that Satan had over death and HELL away from him. Jesus “took the keys to HELL from Satan.”
Jesus plans to lock Satan up in HELL (Level Three...the LOWEST LEVEL - The pit - The Lake of Fire" – along with all other of his followers who believed his evil lies that Jesus was not who He said He was.
Jesus speaks of HELL in Matthew, only this time the Hebrew translation of HELL is “Gehenna” – pronounced – “gheh'-en-nah” meaning, “ Hell is the place of the future punishment called "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire". This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.”
This would be the LOWEST LEVEL - Level Three - the “Lake of Fire”….the “bottomless Pit” spoken of in Revelation 9:2 –“ And He opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.”
This great fiery furnace is where spirits are sent who do not trust Christ as their Lord and Savior.
It is time to call your friends and relatives or co-workers to tell them of this place. Who would ever willingly choose to go there because they failed to trust in the Gospel of Christ?
The “clergy” - leaders of entire religious belief systems - preach that Jesus was a good man…a carpenter’s son, but they stop short of telling people that Jesus is the Son of the living God.
All records indicate that Jesus is the Messiah, and records demonstrate that He came to earth, died on the cross for the sins of all mankind, and He wants to save their souls from this place called HELL.
All 2000 or so prophecies about Jesus came true…according to record.
Our calendars are based on the arrival of Jesus on the planet. “B.C. – “Before Christ” and A.D. – “Anno Domini” or “After the birth of Christ”…”The Year of Our Lord”.
Why then, do people reject this Savior? Why do they risk being wrong? Why would everyone choose to believe what men have taught them…over what God’s Word teaches?
We shall ALL be at the great feast in heaven one day SOON. Some will be cast into this “Lake of Fire” to be tormented day and night FOREVER.
Matthew 13: 42 and 50 say the same thing: “And God shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” ”HELL - where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not.” Mark 9:44-49.
Others will be welcomed into the place where God lives – FOREVER.
Jesus was speaking with His apostles one day, and told them to preach this: Matthew 10:28 –“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
“Don’t fear man or the devils who can kill the body (if authorized by God), but these cannot kill the soul (in this case spirit). But DO fear Him which is able to destroy both the body and the spirit in Hell, and that is God.”
Luke 12:5 – The apostle Luke had this to say, “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” There should be no doubt as to whom we shall fear, and that is God because only HE has the power to cast into the lowest hell.”
Later, the apostle Peter writes this in Acts 2:29 …concerning what we just learned of King David: “29-Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.”
Peter went a bit further- Verse 30 – “Therefore being a prophet (David was a prophet), and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31He (being a prophet of God also) seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”
David saw that a CHRIST would come in the future, and that this CHRIST (Messiah) would be crucified, buried, and resurrected.
That assurance that David, as a prophet of God, allowed him to KNOW that his soul (spirit) would not be left in the Sheol – Abraham’s Bosom, nor would his body see eternal death and corruption, but it and his spirit would someday be changed into an incorruptible body and be ushered into heaven because of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
We see that as plain as day in verse 34 – “For David IS NOT ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS: but he said himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand.”
David, as prophet (seer of the future) said, “The LORD (JEHOVAH) GOD said to my Lord (Jesus), come and sit on the right side of me at my throne.”
David , as a prophet, witnessed the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah…the CHRIST, and that this crucified one would be seated at the right-hand of God.”
David realized, “Because of this, my soul would not be left in Sheol…Abraham’s Bosom.” Yet, his soul IS NOT ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN to this day, according to the expert testimony of Peter…the apostle and disciple and prophet of Jesus Himself.
Studying God’s Word gets to be exciting when we understand what is going on!
Hell was originally designed by God to contain Satan and his angels. We prove this by reading Matthew 25:41 – “Then shall God say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS.”
His angels are already chained up in this “waiting room” in hell. They aren’t going anywhere. Notice also that God told ALL THOSE ON HIS LEFT to “depart” for HELL. We will cover that in a few moments.
I always believed that Satan’s angels (originally in heaven) are the demons that we hear or read about now. If those angels are in chains in HELL (Level Two), then who are the devils or demons that we know occupy the earth today?
They would be all of the followers of Satan…his “disciples” who believed his lies…then they died. Those spirits are devils….demons. How did I arrive there?
The first use of the word “devil” in the Bible is found in Deuteronomy 32: 16-17 –“They provoked God to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17-They sacrificed unto DEVILS, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.”
The word DEVIL found here translates from the Hebrew word –“Sa`iyr” - pronounced “saw-eer” –meaning “he-goat”.
So, the people of Israel went “whoring after strange gods” – provoking God’s wrath.
These “DEVILS” were “he goat gods”…idols.
Every spirit BEFORE the resurrection of Christ who, under the Laws of Moses, failed to believe and serve God - and EVERY ONE WHO FAILED TO BELIEVE the Gospel of Christ AFTER the resurrection, are destined for the fiery pit.
God separates all of Christ’s followers to the right of Christ who is to the right of God. God calls those to the right of Christ – “sheep”.
To the LEFT of God are all of the usaved…unrighteous…”evil” spirits. God Himself refers to them as “goats” ––“Sa`iyr” - “devils….all are “evil” spirits.
During the Great White Throne Judgment spoken of in Revelation 20, we find that God casts all the ones to His left into the fiery furnace.
He allows all the ones to His right (the sheep), those on the right side of Jesus…to stay in heaven forever. Let’s now see how these people are separated.
In Matthew 25,31 –we begin to get the picture: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: 32-And before Him shall be gathered ALL NATIONS (ALL PEOPLE OF THE EARTH FROM ADAM TO THE LAST SOUL AT THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE): and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his SHEEP from the GOATS:
33-And He shall set the SHEEP on his right hand, but the GOATS on the left.
34 -Then shall the King (Jesus) say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”
2 Peter 2:4 demonstrates that Hell was designed by God to put Satan and his angels/demons there. “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Level Two), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be RESERVED UNTO JUDGMENT…”
“Judgment Day” is the Great White Throne of Judgment” spoken of in Revelation 20.
Revelation 1:18 –When we all get to heaven….saved and lost alike, Jesus will introduce Himself, formerly, to all. “I am He that lives eternally. I was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of HELL and of death.”
The mystery of the twelve apostles.
Jesus said that twelve apostles will judge the twelve tribes of Israel in heaven. Why will they judge the twelve tribes of Israel?
They will judge their spirits. There will be twenty-four thrones. Twelve will seat the apostles. The other twelve seats belong to the twelve sons of Jacob who are the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel.
None of these spirits existed AFTER the resurrection of Jesus because they would have the free will to choose salvation because of what Jesus did on the cross…or they would choose to trample His blood under their feet.
The apostles (saved…full of the Holy Ghost…in heaven now) shall ‘judge the spirits of the Nation of Israel.
Luke 22:30 –Jesus said, “Ye apostles may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
All of those of Israel who died BEFORE Christ was resurrected, but who served God, are judged under the Law…the Ten Commandments.
All of those of Israel who died AFTER Christ’s resurrection, and who never trusted Him as Messiah, Christ, Savior and Lord, are going to be standing in the line to the left of God with the GOATS. They are in hell now, but will be cast into the bottomless pit - where the lake of fire is once that Great White Throne of Judgment takes place.
ALL people on the planet have the choice to accept or reject what Jesus did on the cross…regardless of their race, color, creed, gender, or religion.
God tells us this truth in Titus 2:11 -"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men”, so nobody will have the excuse, “I didn’t know”.
There are no mysteries in the Bible.
God wants all of us to dig in…study His Word, and He has promised to make things known to us if we do.
We will all be WITHOUT EXCUSE.
The born-again believers will escape that Great White Throne of Judgment. Instead, because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, we will only be judged by Jesus for the things we did – or did not do -for Him. We will receive “crowns” and rewards, or we will lose crowns and rewards based on His assessment of what we did to point others to Him.
John Tyler, Author
Please feel free to visit www.ChristianDailyBread.com
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
Read more articles by John Tyler or search for articles on the same topic or others.