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Paula Bolyard

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April 19, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Crossway has a great video series on the days leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — the event Christians around the world will celebrate on Sunday. Filmed in conjunction with Crossway’s book The Final Days of Jesus, the short videos feature theologians and biblical scholars presenting the historical and theological meaning of the events surrounding Easter.

Holy Week, Day 7: Saturday features interviews with New Testament scholars Andreas Köstenberger and Douglas Moo. Dr. Köstenberger explores the role of Joseph of Arimathea in Jesus’s burial as well as first century burial customs. Dr. Moo explains where he believes Jesus was on the Saturday before the resurrection, referring to 1 Peter 3 which talks about Christ preaching to spirits in prison.

Dr. Moo says, “Traditionally, a lot of people have thought [1 Peter 3] refers to Jesus between his death and resurrection, going to Hades, proclaiming the victory he had won, even perhaps proclaiming the gospel to people who had died so they would have a chance to respond to the grace of God in Christ.”

Allowing that it’s a complicated and controversial issue, Moo said he believes that instead the 1 Peter 3 passage is talking about Jesus at his ascension, “proclaiming his victory over evil spiritual beings.” According to Moo, that is how most contemporary scholars are interpreting that text. “If that’s true,” says Moo, “then we don’t really have any New Testament evidence that Jesus went to Hades or went to Hell between his death and resurrection.”

Moo said that the best guess is that Jesus was in the presence of the Father on Saturday.

“He tells the thief on the cross that he would be together with him in paradise that day,” said Moo. “And our best guess — and it’s not much more than that — is that Jesus was indeed in the presence of the Father before his body was raised on Easter Sunday morning. “

Do you agree with Dr. Moo or do you believe Jesus was somewhere else on Saturday?

Watch the rest of the videos in the series here:

The Final Days of Jesus: Monday

The Final Days of Jesus: Tuesday

The Final Days of Jesus: Wednesday

The Final Days of Jesus: Thursday

The Final Days of Jesus: Friday

In addition to writing for PJ Tatler and PJ Lifestyle, Paula also writes for Ohio Conservative Review, and RedState. She is co-author of a new Ebook called, Homeschooling: Fighting for My Children’s Future. She is a member of the Wayne County Executive Committee. Paula describes herself as a Christian first, conservative second, and Republican third.

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Top Rated Comments   
Why must it be either one place or the other? God stands above time, having created it for the use of men. Jesus being God, He can be at all places and times "simultaneously" -- and He is, for has he not said "No man shall come to the Father but through me" -- ?

Happy Easter, everyone.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let me make this simple. Where is Jesus right now?

OK, it's a trick question, given that Jesus, being the Lord, is eternal. Eternity does not mean "really old," it means that He transcends time. As the Alpha and Omega, all moments exist simultaneously for him. And each moment exists in perpetuity.
Right now, Jesus is hanging on the Cross. And He will be until the end of time.
Right now, Jesus is also rising from the dead, and will be until the end of time.
Right now, He is creating the world, and He is judging the end of the world.

Where was He on Holy Saturday? His body lay in the tomb. And yet, He was also where He has always been and where He never left, in heaven. He could not not be in heaven -- He IS heaven. And He also, being eternal, existing in "the past" by human reckoning, as well as in "the present" and "the future," on that day before the Resurrection, the salvation of the Cross in a sense "extended back" to the beginning, just as it now extends forward to our time.

Yes, the nature of eternity can be confusing for us who are so used to thinking in terms of temporality, it terms of linear time. But Jesus is not confined to the prison of linear time.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (38)
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"Paradise" is not "Heaven". It is "Abraham's Bosom", and it was in "Hades", which had a place of comfort, and a place of torment. Jesus descended to "Paradise", and preached to those who were "captive" there (a place of pleasant "incarceration", since they were not yet allowed to go to Heaven, since they could not have heard the Gospel until Jesus' sacrifice on the cross). The thief on the cross died and joined Jesus in "Paradise", temporarily, until Jesus was resurrected, at which point "Paradise" was emptied, and all who had been there were allowed into Heaven. The place of torment in Hades (apparently being named "Gehenna" or "Tartarus") remained occupied, and has been filling since; but it will be "emptied" into the Lake of Fire at a "Day of Judgment" in the future. Simple.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, this will probably offend half the universe, but here is Garry Larson's (unpublished) "Jesus rising from the dead" cartoon:

http://allens-brain.blogspot.co.il/2012/04/unpublished-resurrection-day-comic-by.html

Larson noted that it's not so much that he wanted to offend anybody -- he DIDN'T send that cartoon to publication, it just appears in one of his books -- but that he cannot imagine what be would be like...
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hades? Hades is not part of Christian belief. Hell is where you are acutely tortured every minute, for ever and ever, amen. Jesus gave the world the first description of Hell in Luke 16:19-31.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
So basically the views come down to this: leading captivity captive either means setting someone free or it means leading them into captivity. It has to be one or the other but it can't be both because they are opposites. It the beginning of Jesus ministry he preached deliverance to the captives, and toward the end of his ministry he is preaching captivity to the captives. Israel is already captive, their kingdom is fallen, and now the Lord is preaching captivity to the captives. When Israel fell, they became Loammi: not my people and God hid his face from the nation of Israel. Instead of the nation of Israel getting their kingdom restored, they went into the opposite direction and became even worse off than they were before. The Lord LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE. I wholeheartedly believe that this is how we should view those verses.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The story of Jesus descending into Hell after the Crufixion and then rising from the dead in the Resurrection has been told for centuries. In fact, it's the basis for the first work of English literature, Beowulf.

During passover, Saturday is not a day of religious obligation. Holy Thursday is a day of obligation, because it's the day of the Last Supper and of Judas's betrayal. Good Friday is a day of obligation, because it's the day of the trial and Crufixion. Saturday is a day of mourning, because it's the day that Jesus was buried. Easter Sunday is a day of obligation and celebration, because it's the day of the Resurrection.

Jesus descended into Hell, even though he was without sin, because as the Son of Man he had to fully experience the existence of Man. And as Christ, he had to show his dominion over Lucifer, who had betrayed his Father in the beginning. And also to comfort the souls of the damned, before he ascended into Heaven.

21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dr. Moo needs to ruminate a bit more on the scriptures. Jesus told Mary at the tomb he had not yet ascended to the Father. This was a private ascension, not the public one forty days later. On the other hand, Revelations shows us a scene in heaven in which the freshly slain lamb appears to open the scrolls. So when was this?

Jesus told the thief on the cross they would meet again that very day in Paradise. But Peter's sermon in Acts tells us Jesus descended into hades.

And then there's the Jonah connection in which we see in type Jesus in the belly of the earth(whale) for three days and nights only to be resurrected (vomited up) by an underworld which could not digest him.

So the answer to where was Jesus on Saturday is ... It's complicated.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dr Moo must have missed John's account of Mary meeting Jesus outside the tomb, because Jesus clearly states that as of that time He had not been to His Father.

John 20:17

17 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.

According to this Jesus only went to the Father after he had been resurrected.

But He did say to the thief on the cross "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)

From these bible passages we can see that paradise is not where the Father lives - since Jesus said that the thief would be with him in paradise that day, but also told Mary that he had not been to the Father yet when he met her outside the tomb.

So what are we to understand of Paradise? What is it if its not the place where the Father lives? This is one of the places where the writings in the Book of Mormon dove tail with the Bible to give us a much clearer understanding.

Alma 40:11-14

11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.

So Paradise is a place of reward for the righteous to await their resurrection. The unrighteous, on the other hand, wait for ressurection in a not so rewarding environment (this is the spirit prison of 1 Peter 3).

In 1918 is was revealed to Joseph F. Smith, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, that while His body lay in the tomb Christ visited paradise (Doctrine & Covenants Section 138). This is consistent with his statement to the thief on the cross that they would be together in paradise that day. The revelation explains that while there Jesus organized the righteous spirits and empowered them to visit the "spirits in prison", mentioned in 1 Peter 3, so that the spirits in prison could be taught the gospel, and accept Jesus Christ.

Teaching of the spirits in prison was not possible prior to Jesus completing his work in the garden and on the cross, because there was no way for them to leave the prison due to a "great gulf" as described in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31). Jesus' atonement in the garden and on the cross bridged the gulf and made it possible for the spirits in prison to be liberated by accepting Christ and receiving the ordinance of vicarious baptism. 1 Cor 15:29 confirms the reality of a bodily resurrection, and the need for baptism for all who wish to enter the kingdom of God (even the dead), as per John 3:5. In this way those spirits in prison can exercise faith in Christ through hearing the preaching of the righteous spirits and enjoy paradise while they wait for their resurrection (they must act on faith just as we do because they don't see Christ in person, just as we don't).

Though in paradise it's not all chez lonuges and fruity drinks with little paper umbrellas. The spirits in paradise (even the newly liberated ones) are busy teaching the gospel to the remaining spirits in prison. Through the preaching that goes on in the world of spirits God's work reaches all members of the human family that ever were, regardless of the place or time in which they lived. To me that's awesome.

I hope that helps with understanding the answer to the question "Where was Jesus on Saturday between his death and his resurrection?"
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
According to the Apostle's Creed we recite every week at Mass, Jesus descended to Hell.

21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
First off, Jesus was most likely crucified on Thursday, not Friday so He's buried for all of Thursday night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. Jesus was in paradise because that's where He said He was going. The same word is used by Paul to describe the third level of heaven, i.e. not the atmosphere, not outer space, but rather God's heaven. As has already been stated, God is transcendent of time and space so Jesus was meta-existing during the three days and three nights in the tomb.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's like asking what Zeus was doing when he was hiding in a cave in Crete.

It didn't really happen. Taking it literally misses the point of the allegory.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Peter and Paul must have missed the point terribly then.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem with all those allegories is that not much remains of the faith (and I am an atheist too). I have more respect for biblical literalists than to those who claim that it is all an "allegory".

Monty Python had their number in "Life of Brian", with the listeners trying to hear Jesus's sermon:

-- (Woman): I think it's a blessing on the cheesemakers...
-- (Man, in a patronizing voice): You souldn't take that too literally, my dear. It applies to all dealers in dairy products.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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