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Jesus Goes to Hell and Back For Mankind

When a human dies, physically their body immediately begins the decomposition process and so it is buried or cremated. However, immediately after the body dies, the intelligent immortal spirit of a person is automatically released. Scripture tells us that after Adam had been formed, God breathed into his nostrils an immortal spirit and Adam became a living creation (Genesis 2:7). While God caused all life on earth to come into existence, He only imbued mankind with an immortal spirit. Please see related "Do Animals Go to Heaven?"

Mankind was originally created by God to commune with Him as their Creator. God created Mankind because He wanted a family that He could love and be loved in return. The earth was designed as a perfect and peacefully place to sustain all manner of life forms. Humans were originally designed to initially live long virtuous lives on earth performing meaningful tasks in a utopian brotherhood of mankind. Even Adam was assigned the task of "tending" the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). Both the earth and man were to live in peace with one another with the earth effortlessly supplying man with abundant food and shelter as needed. In return, man would tend the earth never taking more than was required to sustain life. Both the earth and man were to have times of productivity and times of rest. We can know this because God created Adam on the 6th day, declared the earth and man as perfect, and then they rested together on the 7th day (Genesis 2:2). Over the years, every person would receive countless blessings from a loving God, and in turn, praise God for their existence in such a beatific state of being. This reciprocating love for one another creates spiritual growth that strengthens the bonds between the Creator and His creation. This understanding is the answer to the age old question, What is the meaning of life? The meaning of life is spiritual growth between a person and their Creator. Then, after living perhaps one thousand years or longer, God would reward a person by translating them from mortality to immortality and eternal life (Genesis 5:27). This is the reward that Jesus has promised to His followers.

God gave only one command to Adam as a way to test his virtue. However, Adam (mankind) made a conscious decision to disobey this one command. As punishment, mankind now had to work to survive in a dynamic ever changing world. Mankind’s longevity was also slowly reduced from approximately 1,000 years to 120 years (Genesis 6:3). And upon death, their body would now return to dust and their indwelling intelligent immortal spirit would leave their body. But, instead of receiving the gift of immortality as was originally intended, a person's spirit was now temporarily confined down in the earth to a place known as Sheol in Hebrew, Hates in Greek and Hell in English. Hell is not the Lake of Fire. The Lake currently exist but no one is in it, and it is not located on the earth. There the spirits of mankind would wait patiently in Sheol for a redeemer to release them from their spiritual confinement and allow them to enter into the presence of their Creator.

Sheol had originally been created by God as a place to temporarily imprison the spirits of several hundred angels who willfully deserted their positions as Guardians or Watchers over mankind. Instead, they mated with humans females thus creating a hybrid race known as Nephilim or giants (Genesis 6:4). So, they were the first to be confined in Sheol. As for the human race, they also knowingly rebelled against God by sinning. However, there were some in every generation who still believed in Him, respected Him as their Creator, loved their fellow man and longed to be in His presence. So, God considered these people as somewhat righteous (Genesis 15:6). However, they still had accumulated a sin debt in life that made it impossible for them to stand in the presence of a Holy and righteous God. Fortunately, God being omniscience, was prepared for this eventually. He had created an 'Eternal Covenant' that would eventually allow all mankind the opportunity to resume their position as His children, stand in His presence immortal, and receive the gift of eternal life. So when and how was this covenant created?

The Ten Commandments

First, God the Father created the Everlasting Covenant between himself and God the Word (John 1:1-3). This Covenant was agreed to before the creation of the physical world or what science calls the Big Bang. The Covenant recognized that mankind would sin and fall short of the Glory of God. That mankind would be given a code of conduct by God (Ten Commandments), but would continually fail to keep it. So, a place would be made in Sheol to house the spirits of fallen mankind until their sin debts could be payed in full and forgiven. To do this, the Word of God would become flesh and be know as the Messiah or Saviour of the world (John 1:14). He would personally teach mankind about the true nature of God. Then, at the end of His 40 month ministry, He would voluntarily take on the sin debt of mankind and allow Himself to be executed by His own creations. The sacrificial blood of this sin free Messiah would then consummate this Covenant. Only in this way could a path be created for sinful mankind to not be rightfully sentenced by a Holy God to death, the grave and eternal destruction. Instead, mankind now had a path to a life of peace that would surpass all understanding, and in death, receive the gift of eternal life.

God then created Sheol down in the earth, and four separate compartments or areas to hold four different sets of spirits. The first compartment located in the lowest and darkest depths of Sheol confined the angelic spirts of those angels that mated with the daughters of mankind and created giants. There they await judgement for their crimes against humanity (Jude 1:6). The second compartment was created to hold the disembodied spirits of the dead giants referred to in Scripture as demon spirits. During His ministry, Jesus purposefully sought out and confined the vast majority of these spirits down into Sheol also known as the Pit. Please see Paper: "Jesus the Demon Hunter". The last two areas were created to hold the disembodied spirits of the human race.

Mankind needed two areas because there have always been people who believed in a Creator God and those who did not. Since the time of Adam, some people had always worshiped the God of Adam, or a God that they believed created the world. These people showed their respect and devotion for this God by performing animal sacrifices, helping their fellow man and creating works that made their world a better place for others. Because of their faith and actions, God in His mercy considered them as worthy of redemption and in a certain sense righteous (Romans 4:3). That is not to say that they were so righteous that their sin debts could be forgiven. Instead, they were seen as sincerely repentant of their sins and would accept the gift of salvation if they had the opportunity. The second set of spirits were those of the decidedly and incurably wicked and unrepentant people that knowingly rejected the sovereignty and will of God their Creator. For them, life was only about greed, lusts of the flesh and dying the richest person in the cemetery.

The Unrepentant Spirits in Sheol

So, God took an area of Sheol and divided it with a deep chasm. He put the repentant human spirits on one side and the unrepentant spirits on the other. Because the repentant sinners had faith in God, they were still under His watchful eye. So, while their side of Sheol was rather uneventful, it was pleasant and extremely restful. It was referred to by Jesus as "Paradise" (Luke 23: 42-43). It was not nearly as nice as Heaven, but a very comfortable place in which to wait for a Messiah or the end of the Age of the Rule of Man.

Most civilizations believed in an afterlife of some sort. The Jews believed in a resurrection of the dead at the end of the Age of Man. So, Sheol was believed to be a place for the spirits of the departed dead around the world to assemble and await the great resurrection which would be followed by what they referred to as a Messianic Age. Please read related, "Jewish Doctrine on Death". The Biblical Jewish Exodus into the Promise Land of milk and honey was always only a shadow event of Jesus leading His followers, both dead and alive into Heaven. However, because the unrepentant had knowingly severed all ties with a faith in God, they now experienced a very uncomfortable existence on their side of Sheol as they awaited a final judgement. This place was uncomfortable because it was removed from the presence of God. Thus, a created being removed from their Creator will experience great discomfort. If a land in the presence of God creates a sense of peace, beauty, fulfillment and rest, the land of the unrepentant was the exact opposite. It created a sense of anxiety, destruction, constant agitation and unrest. Yet, even though these spirits are very unhappy in Sheol, they still would rather remain unrepentant and uncomfortable than to offer praise to their Creator on bended knee.

You may ask, why doesn't God just rearrange their thinking on this issue and cause them to acknowledge Him. Here's why. God will never take away a person inalienable right to make their own decision concerning their relationship with Him. He freely gives His love to His creations, and wants His Creations to freely love Him in return. However, when a creation defiantly turns its back on its Creator, it is refusing the gift of salvation and eternal life. This decision means that a person has, in effect, judged themselves by refusing their pardon. So, if they do not want to be associated with God, then they are confined in a place removed from God. This place is the exact opposite of the places God has designed for those who love and respect Him as their Creator. Every thoughtful decision made has its own rewards, and the Lake of Fire is the reward for a life filled with unbridled sin, and the conscious rejection of a pardon paid for by the redeemer of mankind. Please see related, "The Man Who Refused a Pardon".

Satan Rules His Minions From His Kingdom Above the Earth

Satan, on the other hand, is not held down in Sheol. He is aware of Sheol and for a long time enjoyed the idea that all the spirits of the dead were gathered there and were not enjoying being in the presence of God. Instead, Satan has been temporarily allowed by God to have a kingdom in the heavens above the earth (Ephesians 2:2). And it is because Satan rules from this area that the second day of creation, which involved the earth's atmosphere, was not blessed by God. It is from here that he currently tests the virtue of mankind, and where his legions of fallen angels do his bidding and worship him as their leader. Scripture suggests that Satan and his lieutenants are given by God limited access to the area of Sheol where the demon spirits are currently contained (Revelation 9:1-11). While Satan never had access to the righteous side of Sheol, he was very happy with the understanding that the righteous spirits were indefinitely held there and incapable of communing with God. And, he was very happy knowing that the unrighteous spirits will be joining him in the Lake of Fire. He does not want to go there and even has what he believes is an escape plan. However, he does receive great satisfaction knowing that he and these other spirits would always remain a nagging disappointment to God. But, Satan was completely caught by surprise and stunned when He learned his plan that involved Judas having Jesus arrested and executed had completely backfired on him.

Throne of Triune Godhead

What Satan did not know was that before the creation of the world and mankind, God the Father had made the Eternal Covenant with God the Word concerning the ultimate salvation of mankind. And, he did not know this this Covenant would be consummated in a unique and unprecedented way. God the Word had agreed to step down from the Triune Throne of God, become human and voluntarily allow Himself to be self sacrificed by his creation mankind as a propitation for their sins (I John 2:2). This was a concept that left Greek philosophers in a complete stupor. The Word of God would do this because His sacrificial death, and the shedding of His blood on behalf of His creation, was the only way to satisfy the forgiveness of the extraordinary sin debt mankind rightfully deserved to be convicted and punished for. Only the sacrificial life blood of mankind's sin free Creator would be sufficient to consummate the Eternal Covenant between man and the Triune Godhead. Then, as a final show to mankind that the Godhead had accepted His sacrificial offering, and that the Covenant was now fully in force, the sacrifice would be raised from the dead and ascend bodily back to the Throne of God. There He would serve as High Priest, defender and redeemer of mankind as He had personally reconciled mankind to God (John 14:6). This redemption plan astounded Satan, the angels in Heaven, the Greeks, the Romans, the Jewish religious leaders and the disciples. And, it continues to confound all the false religions of the world today. You see, they have no founder who was willing to sacrifice and then resurrect Himself on behalf of the sins of his followers. Thus, they have no redeemer to help them escape the wrath of God concerning their sin debts. So, how was this Covenant remotely possible between a human man and a Spirit God?

The Angel Gabriel Explains Mary's Immaculate Conception

Jesus, was both the Son of Man by way of the 23 genomes He received from His human mother Mary. Yet, He was also the biological Son of God. This occurred at His conception when God His Father supplied the other needed 23 genomes by way of the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:34-35). So, as a Son of Man, He could legitimately represent mankind and be indwelled with their sins while on the cross. He then died as do all humans, His spirit departed Him as with all humans, His body was buried as with all humans, and His spirit descended into Sheol just as it was with all humans. However, as the Devine Son of God, His divinity did not allow the full wrath of God against the sin debt of mankind to destroy Him while He was on the cross. Just like the shadow event of Moses and the bush that burned yet was not consumed (Exodus3:1-6). It was Jesus as the Word of God who spoke to Moses from the bush. Jesus was buried, but because He was without sin, His body did not see corruption or decay (Acts 2:31). Because of His divinity, His spirit had the power to arise from Sheol on Sunday morning and re indwell his corpse. He arose immortal and a new creation (I Corinthians 15:42, 52-55; II Corinthians 5:17). He then met with a number of His female followers that came to His tomb. He then ascended to God, His biological Father in Heaven where He consummated the Everlasting Covenant placing His own sin free blood on the Mercy Seat of the Heavenly Ark of the Covenant (John 20:17; Hebrews 13:20). He later descended back to earth where He met with Peter, then a married couple walking on the road from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus (I Corinthians 15:5; Luke 24:13-15).

At sunset, He briefly returned back down into Sheol. It was then that He announced to the righteous spirits that their sin debts had been paid in full. He commanded that these spirits from Abel to the most recent arrival of His followers to "Come Up" and follow Him as He lead them into Heaven (Matthew 27:51-53). Now, all followers of Christ are immediately with Him in Heaven at their deaths.

The Rapture Taking the Righteous and Leaving the Unrighteous to be Tested During the Seven Year Tribulation Period

This was another shadow of the Rapture of the Church when Christ will once again give the command to, "Come Up!" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 4:1). It was then that all these righteous spirits were raptured up from the earth, through the atmospheric kingdom of Satan and into the presence of God. The unrighteous spirits were left in Sheol to await their trial at the Great White Throne Judgment of God.

So, here we read that the risen Christ, went back down into Sheol on Sunday evening. Therefore, He was crucified on Friday, He did arise on Sunday and He was in the heart of the earth for a total of three days and three night just as He Himself had prophesied. He took the keys of Hell which were now His property (Revelation 1:18), unlocked the gates and announced that the righteous spirits held in captively for so long, were now captive under His authority and His protection. Thus the phrase, "He (Jesus) took captivity (righteous spirits) captive (under His command)" (Ephesians 4:8-10).

In doing so, Satan had lost control of the gates of Hell that he assumed would be forever locked, thus holding his precious treasure trove of lost souls from ever being in the presence of God. He completely lost his most prized repentant God loving souls he assumed would be held there eternally. After all, how could they ever receive a sin pardon from a righteous God. He then had to watch as these righteous souls traveled without fear nor harm effortlessly through the very heart of his kingdom in the air. And, to add insult to injury, he knew they were now experiencing the honor of being in the presence of God. But the most agonizing realization that brought him screaming to his knees, was knowing that by assisting in the crucifixion of Jesus, not only had he inadvertently help destroy his greatest weapon against mankind, the fear of death, the grave and Hell, but he had insured that mankind would now receive immortality and eternal life.

So, while Resurrection Sunday is heralded as the greatest day for mankind in the history of the world, it was also a very, very long and extraordinarily sad day for Satan.

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