As we are in the midst of another Resurrection Day, we are reminded of the ultimate sacrifice that the Father made through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He died in our stead, bearing upon himself the punishment of all our sin. He opened up a means by which we have righteousness (or right standing) with the Father. In him and through him, we have access to God the Father.
Through Christ Jesus, because he is the sacrificial Lamb of God, we have remission of our sins, through his shed blood on the cross. Our sins have been forgiven and removed from us as far as the east is from the west. Because of Jesus, we have a sure and secure final destination at harmony and through a loving relationship with the Father.
All of these things and more, are given to us freely through Christ Jesus.
Given to us freely by calling upon his name for Salvation. We know and understand all of this as Christians, but if you’re not saved and washed clean by Christ, please take a moment to check out the Salvation page, to learn what it means to be born again!
Spending Resurrection Day Under Quarantine
Historical events aren’t always glorious, victorious, or cause for celebration. Oddly enough, the majority of the past events that people tend to recall are awful. 9/11, D-Day, Pearl Harbor, Assassinations, etc…
Like those stated above, this moment in time will go down in history as a world-changing event. However, I personally believe that what we’re going through right now will pale in comparison to what’s coming later. In other words, I don’t think we’ll be looking back at this moment in time ten years from now, due to other things that will happen between now and then- making this look like a cakewalk.
But I digress…
Being quarantined, we can still celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, just differently than we typically do. In fact, I’d bet that there’s more searching out different materials online that have to do with this holiday because of being stuck at home. This is something that I took into consideration and prayer before writing this post.
We can find countless materials on the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus- either through video, live streaming, or written in blogs or websites. But what’s on my heart to talk about is less spoken about, and less understood.
Where Did Jesus Go When He Died?
We’re given multiple accounts of the goings-on in Jerusalem after the death and burial of Christ Jesus. We’re given insight into what the Pharisees were doing, what the disciples were doing, and what Herod was doing.
All of which are important to understand, to give the proper weight into the resurrection of the Lord from a physical point of view. But where did Jesus go when he died?
He certainly wasn’t just laying there, locked in the bones of his dead body, and because he was doing everything as a man, he certainly didn’t go to Heaven to be with his Father.
So, while the disciples were struggling to deal with the trauma of the crucifixion of Christ Jesus, what was Jesus doing through that period of time?
There are a few schools of thought about that, and we’ll check out both. But before we do that, we need to understand the spiritual landscape first, because things then weren’t as they are now from a spiritual point of view.
Sheol, Heaven, and Hell
It is strange to imagine that there was a time when Heaven was not on the table as far as mankind goes. We’re so used to the choice between Heaven or Hell- Heaven through Christ, or Hell without him. Right?
But what we need to understand is that the human population inside the gates of Heaven were a sum of two people in total.
Enoch and Elijah. The Lord took both of these people personally, with neither of them tasting death. But that’s it. People who passed on did not move forward into Heaven but went down into Sheol.
This confuses some people because Sheol has become synonymous with Hell itself. Yes, this is true now, but then, it wasn’t the case.
Sheol Before Christ
Jesus himself gives us a fantastic description of the general layout of Sheol in Luke 16:
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 he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
In the parable above, Jesus describes the beggar Lazarus to be in Abraham’s Bosom or otherwise called Paradise, and the Rich man was suffering the torments of Hell. Both of these areas are described to share the same real estate, save for the gulf that makes it impossible to pass from one side to the other. It could be said that being in view of Paradise yet unable to enter is a torment all on its own.
Before the resurrection of Jesus, Heaven wasn’t an option yet- but it was a hope. There was Sheol that was divided into two sections- Hell and Paradise. That was the structure set into place, assumingly when Adam fell from grace and introduced sin into the world.
God’s Original Plan
Think about it…
Why have a place set up and established for the dead- when there isn’t death? The original plan of the Father was for him to dwell directly with his creation. Dwell meaning physically being present, and we can see that on display in the Garden before the fall. He would walk with Adam in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:7-9).
We’ll not see that in the same sense till we get to the end of the book of Revelation, where all of the Lord’s original plans are rebooted from scratch with a new Heaven and a New Earth, and an enormous New Jerusalem! Death will be done away with, and man’s sinful nature will be a thing of the past.
21 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
So, there’s the setting that Jesus was entering into, as he passed on from the physical death on the cross.
Did Jesus go to Hell or Paradise?
As I mentioned earlier, there are a few trains of thought about where Jesus landed spiritually after his crucifixion. Though one must be right, and the other wrong, they both come to the same handful of conclusions.
- Jesus did indeed wind up in Sheol and didn’t head to Heaven till he came back, spoke to Mary for a moment, and headed to the Father. (John 20:17)
- When all was said and done, the gulf between Hell and Paradise was breached, and eventually, Hell expanded into it. (Isaiah 5:14)
- Jesus preached his gospel or good news to the people of Paradise. (Psalm 22:22-31)
The Hell Side First
Some people believe that Jesus landed on the Hell side of Sheol first. This belief is held because it’s thought that he needed to further suffer the pains of Hell in some sort of way that defies time, in order to properly pay for the sins of all mankind.
When done suffering on man’s behalf, he then rose from the torments, taking on his Godly nature rather than that of a simple man, and made an example out of the rulers of that realm.
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
After that, he defied that gulf between Hell and Paradise and preached to his brethren (the people of Paradise). From that point, those in Paradise became born again and passed from death to life- moving from Paradise to Heaven.
Paradise Side First
The other side of the coin, Jesus went straight to Paradise after his death. I agree with this view.
There are several reasons why I believe that Jesus first went to Paradise, and needed not to suffer any more than he did in the flesh. The first reason why the suffering ended with the flesh is:
By the which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
We’re sanctified through the offering of the body, not the soul or spirit. For me, that removes the notion of having to continue suffering to pay the penalties for our sins- once for all.
Also, Jesus gave us a bit of a tip as to what his next stop would be:
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
He specifically said “today” to the criminal next to him while he was suffering upon the cross.
The following is how I see it through some conjecture, scripture, and deductive reasoning. In no way do I say that this is “thus sayeth the Lord,” but is what makes the most sense to me scripturally.
Preaching in Paradise
Jesus died on the cross and was then collected by angels, to be transported to Paradise. I draw from what he said in the parable about Lazarus and the rich man- that Lazarus was “carried by the angels to Abraham’s Bosom” in Luke 16:22.
I will declare Thy Name unto my Brethren
While in Paradise, he preached to them the good news, offering those in Paradise to be born again in him. Remember, before the completed works of Christ, mankind was spiritually dead.
Without being born again, they would not have access to be removed from Paradise, and relocated to Heaven, to be with the Father. As Jesus said, none can come unto the Father but by him. He never specified between the living and the dead.
One can only assume that all of the inhabitants of Paradise opted to continue on with the Lord. If they weren’t the type to have listened to the Lord, they wouldn’t have been in paradise in the first place in my opinion.
Spreading the Word, Collecting all Sheep
Because of the task, it can be assumed that this might have taken up much of the time that he spent in the grave. Remember, he was only gone within three days.
Who knows how many thousands or millions of people were there? It probably took some time to get everyone on the same page. Regardless, after having secured everyone, this is where some changes start to happen.
Shattering the Gulf
The scripture says that Jesus “spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly.” (Colossians 2:15)
- Jesus shattering or otherwise removing the gulf that was fixed between Hell and Paradise.
- Multitudes of angels flooding into paradise to grab and carry away people who were awaiting the Lord’s coming, taking captivity captive in grand fashion.
- Meanwhile, Jesus boldly takes the keys of death and hades from the powers and principalities ruling over Hell.
- While Paradise is still being overrun by Christ’s angelic hosts, following through with his orders, Jesus ascends back en route to the Father.
- Along the way, he reveals himself to Mary.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
- He then continues on to the Father, and is rejoined to his body, but not a mortal body of flesh as it was before, but a glorified body.
- With Paradise now abandoned, and the gulf breached, hell enlarges itself.
Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
- Jesus has effectively made all things new spiritually. A new spiritual paradigm that requires new and simple rules compared to what was necessary prior to his coming.
- The Old Testimate Saints and the people who made it into Paradise have been brought into the rest of the Lord, in places that were prepared and built for them by the Lord God Almighty.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
- And we pick it back up where Jesus appears to his disciples in the midst of them, housed within his new glorified body.
This is how it all makes sense to me. You may have other interpretations of the goings-on during those few days, and that’s fine. As long as the end results are the same, there’s nothing wrong with different interpretations of these kinds of things, where some puzzle piecing needs to take place.
Let God be true and all men a liar, rather than being stuck on something. But, all of what I just went through is how scripture tells the story, at least in my eyes. How about you?
The significance of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is without measure, without cease, was something that the Old Testament Saints were waiting for, and is something that we can all benefit from to this day.
As this world gets deeper into the darkness of sin, let’s always remember that the greatness of God will always be greater than any time of trouble or distress that might come our way. Jesus is our Savior, and there is an Almighty God on the Throne in Heaven!+
May you all have a safe and blessed Resurrection Day, and give praise and thanks to the Father for making all of these things possible through his sacrifice sent to the Cross, in the person of his only-begotten Son.
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