Welcome to “Real Truth. Real Quick.” My name’s Rick Smith. I’m here with Todd Wagner. How you doing Todd?
Well Rick. Hello friends. Well listen, so we know what happened on Friday, Good Friday, Jesus died on the cross fully dead, fully dead. We know what happens on Sunday. Jesus came back from the dead fully alive but that Saturday, what happened between his death and his resurrection?
The reason this is even a question is because of what is known as the Apostles Creed, written in the fourth century, you know basically as a representation of all the statements of the Apostles put together into an early creed of the church and so what they try to do is take the scripture and take traditional things that the Apostles, the 12 original followers of Christ or 11, had said and put that into a Creed says “I believe in God the Father creator of heavens and Earth. I believe in Jesus Christ His only Son he was conceived by the Holy Spirit born of the virgin Mary, he suffered under Pontius Pilate was crucified, dead and buried.” And then if you look in many of the books that have the Apostles Creed they’ll be a little asterisk like you can read this next statement or not, “He descended to hell.” All right and then it says “the third day rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.” And so that little phrase where did it come from? “He descended to hell.” Answer – Ephesians 4:9. And it’s an unfortunate translation and interpretation of Ephesians 4:9 so what does Ephesians 4:9 say? Let me read it to you okay? Ephesians 4:9 I’ll start in verse 8 where it quotes from Psalm 68 when it says “When He ascended on high,” the Messiah “He led captive a host of captives and He gave gifts to men.” Meaning when Christ the Messiah freed us who were slaves to sin and were in bondage to the enemy and delivered us triumphantly as a conquering warrior would he would give those that were part of his army if you will, bounty or booty, that would be an expression of his victory. Part of Christ’s victory, he gave us his spirit and gifts that go with his spirit each one of us to be used to further his kingdom but it says then in verse 9 “Now this expression ‘He ascended’ what does it mean except that he also descended into lower parts of the earth?” The original writers of the Apostles Creed took that to mean the lower parts of the earth like lower than earth itself. What really is talking about there is “He descended” meaning the Messiah from heaven itself to the lower parts the earth where He demonstrated his love for us and that while we are yet sinners Christ died for us. Every scholar believes what’s going on in Ephesians 4:9 is the incarnation not what happened between the crucifixion on Friday and Sunday. This is what the Bible says happened between Friday and Sunday. There’s two places that you need to know to get the answer to this question and not a misinterpretation as is in the asterisked part of the Apostles Creed or wrong understanding of Ephesians 4:9. In Luke chapter 23, the two criminals of the cross next to Jesus we’re bantering back and forth one of them said “Hey Jesus if you’re who you say you are save us both.” The other guy said “What are you doing? Don’t you know we deserve to be here. this man’s innocent.” And then he turned to Jesus in verse 42 and he said “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Next verse Luke 23:43 “Jesus truly I say to you today you shall be with me in paradise.” So here’s where we know Jesus went on Friday, he went to be with the Lord in heaven. He went to be in paradise. That’s where the other thief on the cross went with him. What else did Jesus do between that Friday and the resurrection on Sunday? I think there’s an answer for us in 1 Peter 3. On 1 Peter 3:18 it says “For Christ died for our sins once and for all.” Okay, part of the problem that comes from people’s understanding the Apostles Creed that Jesus had to go and pay for our sins in hell and suffered for three days like his suffering for three days could pay for our eternal torment. No. Christ shed blood and broken body on the cross is where our atonement was accomplished. “It is finished” he said. But there is in the scripture a place where he, if he will want to call hell a lower part of the earth, he descended. This is in now 1 Peter 3 after it says in verse 18 “For Christ died for our sins once and for all the just for the unjust so that He might bring us to God have been put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit so alive in the spirit.” Verse 19 says this “He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison who were once disobedient.” Verse 20, “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.” What seems to be indicated right there is that Christ went and proclaimed to those that mocked God and have rejected God and his person that Jesus went and proclaimed to them God is sovereign, he is Lord, Noah was a servant, Abraham was the father, okay and Isaac and Jacob had the covenants, and your rejection of that God, your desire not to have faith in Him and to believe in his provision through the sacrifices that were an expression of faith in God’s graciousness in the Old Testament and though ultimately the sacrifice of his coming Messiah which has now been accomplished through me has cost you everything. And so you could make a case that part of where Jesus went is to declare to those that were already dead and part of the captives if you will that he in a sense led hosts were those that were in what’s called Upper Sheol in the Old Testament to be with the father, okay, in paradise the actual resurrection of those bodies hasn’t happen yet. That’ll happen on the last day when Christ blows his trumpet but where Christ went between the cross and the resurrection is to be in paradise with the father and I believe to proclaim and proclaim to those that have rebelled against him and it would trusted him but he was the Messiah that God is good, God is a provider of those who have faith in him like he was for Noah and that their eternal destiny is fixed. He didn’t go preach the gospel to give them a chance. “It’s appointed for men to die once” Hebrews 9:27 “and after this comes judgment.” So, there is no second chance and there is no other provision for our atonement other than what he did in the cross so there was no further suffering and if you take a look at Luke 23 a right understanding of Ephesians 4:9 and a right understanding of first Peter 3:18-20 the answer to the question is He went to be with the Father and to declare what is going to be known throughout all eternity, He is king of kings and Lord of lords and there is no other name under heaven by which men must be saved except Jesus.
All right good stuff. You know some people that that we’d said earlier you know that Creed’s aren’t inspired that’s the inspired Word of God. So someone that’s really hung up on Creeds we think Creeds are beautiful, they’re useful, but they’re not the Bible.
No. And especially like there’s a reason they pulled that part out. Many folks coming to Lutheran or Catholic or Methodist or Presbyterian tradition who read the Apostles Creed some of them said “He descended to hell” and they go “Wow!” That informed their belief but rightly I think a lot of people have taken that out they don’t even say He descended to hell anymore and you need to always test everything you hear that isn’t scripture by the scripture. This “Real Truth. Real Quick.” the message you’re going to hear on Sunday from your pastor and make sure you read your Bible correctly and make sure that you interpret it correctly and don’t write a Creed that’s incorrect. It’ll will cost you.
All right. Hey thanks. In the show notes which you can find in our description, if you’re on Facebook or in the description on youtube or on our website realtruthrealquick.com we’re going to put links to some other resources, some other Easter related “Real Truth. Real Quick.” that we have done before and we hope even more than this question that you know the Jesus of Easter. If you have any questions about that shoot us an email that’s a question we would love to answer.
Trust of his provision on the cross. It is enough and it is finished.
Alright we’ll see you next week on another episode of “Real Truth. Real Quick.”