A CLOSER WALK
BEYOND THE GRAVE
Pastor Bill Meadows
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:7,10).
I have had many people who would ask me what Jesus was doing during those eventful hours between Wednesday and resurrection Sunday morning? There have been many beliefs about this subject and I would like to share what I believe and many other who stand on the Word of God. Now, let me say this that I do honor what you believe.
Way back in Matthew 12:40, Jesus told His disciples that He would be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” This is a very important verse in the Bible about where Jesus would be and what He would be doing. Jonah was a sign to the people of Nineveh because they believe that he had experienced “death,” burial, and resurrection. The only sign Jesus would give to the nation of Israel was His death, burial, and resurrection. The messages in the first seven chapters of Acts, center on the resurrection of Christ, not on His death on the cross. The Jews of that day believed that He had died; this was the chief topic of conversation (Luke 24:17-18). “And he said unto them, what manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?” If Cleopas only knew that he was talking to Jesus, He would have conducted himself quite differently. This is asked with some sarcasm!
Now, I would like to look at Ephesians 4:9. “What is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the dearth?” The words in this verse are very importation, because they tell us that Jesus was not lying in the tomb like many think and then He came out of the tomb. This verse alludes to two places; paradice and hades (which is part of hell). If you don’t believe in a place call hell, then what will you say about Luke 16:19-30. “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (vs.23). Jesus told this parable that was a true happening as a framework of the afterlife. Peter says in 1Peter 3:18:19, that helps to further clarify Jesus activities between His death and His resurrection. “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 quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; ” Jesus went first to the punishment part of hell. The word “preached” here does not mean He preached the gospel to the hearers so they might repent and be saved, these hearers are demonic forces.These also are part of the souls of the ungodly who are reserved unto the day of judgment, the Great White Throne.(And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away: and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great.
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