Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bittersweet Refinements: Chapter XXIII

The following is a rewritten chapter from Bittersweet Refinements.  If you would like to read the entire book, from start to finish and in the proper order, please go [here].

Chapter XXIII
The Descent?
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 4:8-10 KJV]
The answer to the proposed question is a resounding yes to many.  For they have been led to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ did indeed descend into Hell during the time between His crucifixion and resurrection in order to set all of His children by faith free from shackles of death.
The doctrine is primarily based upon a New Testament passage that addresses something that happened in the early days of the so-called Old Testament era.  For it is written: For Christ also died for sins once for all, {the} just for {the} unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits {now} in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through {the} water. [1 Peter 3:18-20 NAS]
Add to the mix the fact of Christ Jesus now holding the keys to Hell and death [Revelation 1:18], and there appears be little that can be said to the contrary.  For He would have had to have gone down there and get them—right?
On the other hand, is this not to look at things from a very limited point of view [1 Corinthians 2:6-16]?  For if it can be accepted that the water that flowed from the rock in the desert for the children of Israel during their exodus from Egypt [Exodus 17:1-7] came from the Lord Jesus Christ [1 Corinthians 10:1-5], how could it be so hard to accept that He was the One who went and made proclamation to those who are NOW in prison because of refusing to accept what He told them back then—albeit through His Holy Spirit in Noah [2 Peter 1:20-21]?
No, it is not the intent of what I have been given to say (nor that of my own personal desires) to unfairly demean, embarrass, nor insult anyone in any way for whatever they may have come to accept as being the truth about anything, but did He not suffer enough [Ezekiel 18:4] without having to also go down into the pit of Hell [Mark 9:43-48]?  For the anguish that He subjected Himself to [John 10:18] was more than what any of us can even start to naturally comprehend—be assured [Luke 22:42-44].
Yes, it can be argued that it was surely a joy for Him to display His power over the forces of darkness [John 14:30] by taking the keys of Hell and death from Satan, but have they not always been in His hands [Hebrews 13:8]?  For it is written: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. [Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV]

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