“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:13-18).
We know that Jesus was put to death (Matthew 26:17-27:56) as was foretold (Isaiah 53:1-12). After His death they buried His physical body (Matthew 27:57-61). When a person dies, that person’s soul goes on to a place called Hades [translated “hell” in the KJV] (Luke 16:19-31). From an account of a conversation while Jesus hung on the cross, we know that the part for the faithful in Hades is called Paradise (Luke 23:38-43). Had Jesus been retained in Hades, His resurrection would have never occurred. The church would have never been established. We would have never been given the opportunity to be saved. Let’s think about this in our study.
It Was Not Possible For Him To Be Holden
In a recorded sermon preached by Peter and the eleven we read this: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:22-36).
We should first understand that it was not possible for the spirit of Jesus to be retained in Hades. Jesus has authority over death and Hades (Revelation 1:18). In addition to that, it was not possible for death to defeat Him for His whole purpose would have been spoiled if such occurred.
The body of Christ, the church (Ephesians 1:22-23) was God’s mysterious plan since the beginning of the world (Ephesians 3:1-11). The church and salvation are synonymous (Acts 2:47 and Ephesians 5:23). The church would not exist had Christ not risen. He would have been a liar. The prophets would have been wrong. Salvation is not possible without the resurrection.
Salvation and Jesus being the firstborn from the dead are tied together (Colossians 1:12-23). When Paul wrote the Corinthians about the resurrection from the dead (I Corinthians 15:1-58), he wrote this: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Corinthians 15:13-19). Jesus was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification (Romans 4:24-25).
We need to be eternally grateful that Jesus’ soul was not left in Hades. We have faith in our being risen to meet the Lord (I Thessalonians 4:13-18) because He was first risen from the dead (I Corinthians 15:20-23). Our lively hope of being raised from the dead exists because Jesus was risen from the dead (I Peter 1:3-9 and Revelation 1:5). Even before Jesus had died and was risen on the third day, He identified Himself as “the resurrection” (John 11:25). Can you appreciate all of this we have briefly studied? Take some time to think about how great it is that death could not prevent Christ from His mission; our salvation!
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