Friday, February 05, 2016

"Go to Hell? He Already Did That!"

Matthew 25.41 KJV

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…”

Are you a devil? Of course not. Therefore, hell is not your destiny. Hell was created by God for a specific purpose. The “everlasting fire” was “prepared for the Devil and his angels”, not you.

But Jesus, some argue, condemned people to hell... “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire”. Perhaps so, but He alone has the power to send them there and He alone knows who belongs there. Damning people was never a part of God’s original plan, nor is it my prerogative. I cannot help Him decide who belongs there. You and I have no firsthand knowledge of this awful destination. Unlike Jesus Christ, none of us have ever been there. Jesus paid a visit to the place of damnation on the day He died. He smashed the gates of hell and released the hostages from that cruel place.[1] Some of them were actually seen around Jerusalem after Christ’s resurrection:


“Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.”

“The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints
who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after
His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.”
Matthew 27.50, 52-53

“Go to hell”? Jesus has already been there and done that. He died for the sins of all humankind, took the dead saints out of hell, and promised to prepare a home in heaven for all who believe.

“…believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Fathers house are
many dwelling places… I go to prepare a place for you.”
John 14.1-2

God’s plan always has and always will be the redemption, not the damnation, of the people He so lovingly created.
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I found the photograph at the top right of this post at www.gaiaonline.com in a Gaia forum discussion string called "Cradle of lost souls, path to heaven or hell".

[1] The idea that Jesus Christ actually went to hell after dying on the cross and prior to His resurrection is admittedly controversial even among evangelical Christians. Its scriptural support comes from a variety of Bible passages including 1st Peter 3.18-20 and Ephesians 4.8:

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,... ”

“Therefore it says, ‘When He ascended on High, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.’ (Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?”

The early church articulated the concept a few centuries after Christ with the 5th article of the Apostle’s Creed: “He descended into hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead.” An alternate version reads: “He descended to the dead”.

2 comments:

groansfromwithin said...

Beautiful gracefilled perspective on damnation. Thanks Dave!

Dave Scriven said...

Thanks Groans.