Let us take a few moments to
consider the word
hades with hopes of
learning more about where the dead go. It is an age-old question; for most folks
their ideas of what the afterlife holds are largely influenced by their
cultures, traditions, families, and churches.
Although some believe that when the
spirit of life ebbs from a person that they are unconsciously dead until they
are resurrected and stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to the best of our
understanding from reading the scriptures, we believe that the dead do not pass
from consciousness as the heart renders its last beat and the body is consumed
back to its base elements of dust. The body returns to the dust from where it
came while the spirit returns to God from where it came. It goes back to the One
who gave it.
The spirit enters
unseen, imperceptible realm,
the state of hades.
hades is unseen and unknown
to the natural eye and mind,
departed spirits have not passed out of existence. Man is more than a body of
clay. He is also soul and spirit. When the spirit of man passes from his
tabernacle of flesh, it goes back to God from where it came, and if the soul is
possessed by the spirit, as the apostle encouraged those in Christ to do
they together as one enter a realm unseen by the eyes of mortal beings. Let us
keep in mind that this
unseen realm, this hades, this hell
has nothing to do with torment.
Concerning his son by Bathsheba,
who died, David said, "I
shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
The apple of God's eye knew there was an unseen realm wherein he would join the
spirit of his beloved son, and we cannot imagine him thinking that this unseen,
realm that is called
in the KJV would be a place of torment. On the contrary, it would be a place and
time of great rejoicing.
occurs eleven times in the Bible.
Ten of those occurrences, it is translated as
One time as grave:
1) "O death, where is thy sting?
where is thy victory?"
1 Corinthians 15:55
2) "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to
3) "...upon this rock I will
build my church; and the gates of
shall not prevail against it."
4) "...And thou, Capernaum,
which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to
5) "And in
he lift up his eyes..."
6) "Because thou wilt not leave
my soul in hell..."
7) "He seeing this before spake
of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in
8) "...I am alive for evermore,
Amen; and have the keys of
and of death."
9) "And I looked, and behold a
pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and
followed with him..."
10) "...and death and
delivered up the dead which were in
11) "And death and
were cast into the lake of fire."
Since our Lord has the keys to
death and hell, why fear either of these unknown states of being? There is no
reason to, whatsoever. At one time we, along with the rest of the world, felt
apprehension and dread of facing this
mysterious kingdom that swallows
all living; but now
that we know Christ reigns supreme over it all, the
we should rest assured and have
perfect peace by knowing that all is well, and all will be well.
His presence permeates every realm.
Whatever happens to take place in the
will be brought to light and
according to the sure will of our Father. The plain truth of the matter is that
there is nothing outside the range of Jesus Christ's dominion. Although we
cannot see into this
unseen realm with our
natural eyes, all will be as it is with Him--open, laid bare, and understood.
Until then, we know that everything, whether seen or unseen, is in good hands.
in reference to our topic, is simply the invisible world of departed spirits,
and there are two primary regions to this imperceptible realm. One is the
and the other is the
Jesus spoke of the positive realm while upon the cross, which would be called
"And Jesus said unto him: "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise."
The negative realm is
"God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to
and delivered them into
chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment."
2 Peter 2:4.
Death is a transition from one form
of life to another. It detaches us from the mortal realm of the flesh so that we
can enter the next one; that is,
the state of the unseen,
if you will. We remain in this
the state of
until resurrection life lifts us
out from among the dead, that is, until we ascend from that realm into a greater
realm as we take on and are robed experientially in our new bodies. Paul talked
about this in his first letter to the Corinthians: "But someone will say, How
can the dead be raised? With what [kind of] body will they come forth? You
foolish man! Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to
life [germinating, springing up, and growing] unless it dies first. Nor is the
seed you sow then the body which it is going to have [later], but it is a naked
kernel, perhaps of wheat or some of the rest of the grains. But God gives to it
the body that He plans and sees fit, and to each kind of seed a body of its
own." 1 Corinthians
So please know, regardless how
attached we might be to our mortal bodies, the scriptures do not support the
thought of us being in the unseen realm with these bodies of flesh wherewith we
are presently clothed. Nor does it suggest that these will be our bodies when we
are manifested sons of God in the earth. You see, after Jesus' resurrection He
was manifested in a body no longer subjected to this world's natural laws of
physics. If He had been, He could not have appeared behind bolted doors or
instantly vanish from sight. The heavenly body upon which He was clothed was far
beyond the earthy one that walked the streets of Jerusalem and hung helplessly
upon the cross.
"Wherefore he saith, When He
ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that
He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of
the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all
heavens, that He might fill all things."
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He
might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the
Spirit: By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison..."
1 Peter 3:18-19.
And, praise God, "Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of
them openly, triumphing over them in it."
Leading captivity captive
is subduing kingdoms
and freeing those held
as slaves. It is capturing the enemy, taking dominion over them. The armies of
those conquered are captured and led captive to the victor's homeland. The
are paraded through the
city for all to see. Everything that is captured is made an open show. It is a
testimony of the great victory over the enemy.
This is what is meant in Ephesians
4:8 when Jesus entered hades and
led captivity captive.
He conquered totally the powers therein. By His sacrificial death on the cross,
He went into the strong
man's house; He conquered and spoiled principalities and powers; He took the
treasures of darkness; He made an open show of them; He triumphed over them; He
led captivity captive; He led those He subdued captive!
Through the power of His death, and
also His resurrection, our victorious Lord broke the prison bars of Satan and
all pertaining to him. Jesus swung wide the gates of hell. He made a way for
man's heart to flow freely and joyfully back to his Creator, the Father of all.
And that is not all. He
"And He gave some, apostles; and
some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the
body of Christ."
After conquering the enemy,
subduing the adversary, leading every vestige of captivity captive,
and having destroyed the works of
the devil (1
John 3:8), He
began to build up. His focus was on reconciling, restoring, and delivering
everyone from bondage. In His triumph, He divides the spoils with His own. What
a wonderful King!
Jesus not only went into the state
of hell, that realm of the dead, He conquered the principalities and powers
therein. They were utterly vanquished and could not hold Him. Their first defeat
since Adam brought open shame to their power, especially when He returned and
unselfishly gave unto us the spoils of that marvelous victory. And now, as with
Him and through Him, we can also prevail. It is as the apostle said: "We are
more than conquerors through him that loved us."
So that we will be able to be His body that will build up the Church into His
full triumph, even into the fullness of His own stature. That is, "Till we all
come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
Our Lord retrieved from the enemy
everything that was taken from man due to the deceit of the serpent, and what a
tragic loss it was! By the slight of tongue, the father of lies caused man to
turn everything of worth over to him as well as all the dominions which God has
entrusted to him. But, praise God, we now know that this was not the end of the
story. The Savior of the world conquered that strong one of darkness and death,
and He came back, returning to man that which was stolen plus much more! But
will we with extended chests and proud looks brag about who we are and what we
will be doing? The answer was given many years ago in one of Ray Prinzing's
Daily Overcoming Devotionals:
"'Yet God forbid that I should
boast about anything or anybody except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which
means that the world is a dead thing to me and I am a dead man to the world.'
(Gal. 6:14, Phillips).
"One translation reads, 'Because of
that cross my interest in all the attractive things of the world has been killed
long ago." The world can no longer interest you, for you do not belong to its
realm, you are not of its kind, your citizenship is in another kingdom, God's.
So you are ignored, passing through unnoticed, as if you do not exist. Why then
try to seek for its applause?' No need to put on a grandstand play for the dead
corpse of the world, it will not rise to applaud you. When He causes the world
to be crucified to you, it is time to forget it, and go on to find your new life
in Christ, in Him alone 'is fullness of joy, and pleasures for evermore.' (Ps.
"But there is also another side to
this crucifixion, for 'I am a dead man to the world.' The world's interest in me
is over. I am a misfit in their circles, and they do not want to know what God
is doing in me. It hurt to be among acquaintances, perhaps even friends and
relatives, and find they had no interest in what was happening in my life. And
inwardly I wept, if only they would give a casual interest. Then the Spirit
spoke this truth, 'you are dead to the world.' They cannot find interest in you,
for to them you are nothing, and why talk to nothing? Yes, they ask about the
family, the natural things, discuss the weather, the political action, but your
real inner life is foreign to them. But the more we are crucified with Christ,
the less it hurts to be ignored, shunned, and esteemed of no report.
"And though we
wonder why a stranger we become
To all the world
around, and even dead to some,
It is because in
Christ, we, too, are crucified,
The world to me,
and yes, unto the world I died.
We cannot pine
again for things that used to be,
The old must pass
away - now is reality."
-- End quote
This is a very real working part of
our Lord's cross in our lives that will help to bring us in due time the
manifestation of His dominion over all. However, for the present we will be
reminded that, "...now we see not yet all things put under Him," although we
could be drawing very near to that hour when victory on every front will begin
to be openly manifested. I do think many will agree, that we are nearing the end
of this present age; for surely we are in the transition period of moving from
one age to another. At the dawning of the new age, there will be manifestations
of Christ's power and glory, and exponentially, we will find Christ's dominion
and power ruling over all, yet in such love and peace. All that He has secured
for man while in the unseen
is going to finally become a
reality. It will be more than what anyone had ever hoped for or thought or
imagined. As Paul said: "... Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that
love him." 1
Now that we are seeing a little
about what hell is and what it is not, and that Jesus went into its depth and
led captivity captive, and also we can and will do the same. let me pose a
question: Who wants
to go to hell with me?
Those of you who know your calling
to sonship, which is to be a part of reconciling the world, the whole world, and
on both sides of the veil, will be eager to join me. Others, perhaps not. Even
so, until next time, be blessed by the riches of God's Kingdom that resides
right now in each of us!
To be continued...
Elwin R. Roach
The Pathfinder • PO Box 4004 • Alamogordo NM 88311-4004