What Happened From the Cross to the Throne?
The redemption that Jesus came to this earth to obtain for us is quite tremendous, indeed! I’m sure we do not fully understand it all, but many questions are answered for us in the Bible. We must understand that God made the first man, Adam, in His image spiritually. Adam had spiritual life. When he sinned, he died spiritually at that immediate moment. As a result, he also died physically eventually. But again, the spiritual death was immediate. And as a result, this spiritual death fell on us all.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12
Jesus came to the earth to redeem us from spiritual death. He came to give us His life, which we receive when we are born again as He explained in John chapter 3. Romans chapter 10 tells us that when we hear the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith to be saved comes into our hearts. If we confess Jesus as our Lord and believe in our hearts that He has been raised from the dead, we are saved … we are born again. That eternal life comes into our hearts at that very moment. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are new in Christ Jesus. But that could not happen until after He was raised from the dead. No one could have eternal life; no one could be saved with this spiritual life until Jesus was raised from the dead. All before Jesus, all the Old Testament followers of God had a promise, but they could not experience this redemption spiritually until Jesus came, lived, died, and was raised from the dead. All of the followers of God in the Old Testament were still spiritually dead because of the sin nature that fell on all of us due to Adam’s sin. Sin separated mankind from God. Even those who wanted to obey, worship, fellowship with, and please God were separated from God because of sin. When they died, they could not go to Heaven to be with God because of sin and spiritual death. I’m speaking of those who did not want to rebel against God. They did not want to reject the law of God. I’m speaking of those who wanted to accept the Law of Moses and tried to obey and please God. Though they were willing to serve God, the sin nature and spiritual death prevented them from entering into or receiving the life of God. The Old Testament blood sacrifice could only cover sin. Jesus came to pay the penalty for sin and to remove it once and for all, by His precious blood. Jesus came to satisfy the judgment for sin. Now those who believe and call on the Name of Jesus can be saved and receive eternal life. This newness of life is in place of sin and death. It is eternal life that swallows up eternal death. It is spiritual life in place of spiritual death.
There is so much that can be said on the subject of why Jesus came to the earth. But let’s continue more specifically with what happened after Jesus died on the cross. A question/answer format may be of benefit. Many people have questions. Let’s look at what the Bible says.
Did the Old Testament followers of God go to Heaven when they died?
No. They did not go to Heaven at the time that they died. Because of the sin nature of their hearts, they could not. They were spiritually dead without the redemption of Jesus Christ. Even today, people who are alive physically, if they have not received Jesus Christ, are spiritually dead because of the sin nature of the heart that only Jesus can remove.
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. John 3:13
And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? 1 Samuel 28:15a
In the previous verse, Samuel was dead. Saul had gone to a witch to call him back, and God allowed it. This seemed to take the witch quite by surprise as if she did not expect it. She may have had some power from the devil, but like many today, she likely was a deceiver or a fake, and was one to put on a show. But again, God allowed Samuel to appear. Notice what Samuel said, though. He was brought up. He must have been down if he was brought up. Remember, too, that Jesus spoke in Luke 16 of two regions of hell, an upper region called Abraham’s Bosom which had comfort, and a lower region with torment and flames.
Did Jesus die physically and also spiritually?
This seems to be controversial. I’ve witnessed people almost get fighting-mad over this subject. I don’t really understand why this is such an issue. It seems to me that it would have to be a part of redemption for Jesus to die spiritually and then be raised up by the Spirit and by the power of God, both spiritually and physically. We believe He died physically. But why is it difficult to accept that He died spiritually? It was for our redemption, to be our complete substitute, and to purchase our spiritual life through His death. He became sin … actually became sin! And the wages of sin is death, not physical death, that’s only a result. The wages of sin is spiritual death. And again, though He never had sinned, He obeyed God and yielded His will for us. Jesus became sin. How could that occur without spiritual death? Thank God He trusted in God and was raised up, both spiritually and physically with the life of God spiritually, and a glorified and immortal body. When we receive Jesus, we receive that eternal, spiritual life instantly in our hearts, but our bodies do not experience redemption at that moment. But Romans 8:11 tells us that the same Spirit that raised up Jesus will also one day complete the redemption in us physically as well.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:11
Spiritual death is likely included in what Jesus agonized in prayer over in the Garden of Gethsemane. As horrendous and horrific as the physical torture was, there was also the spiritual. He endured beatings, thirty-nine stripes, the cross, the nails, the spear, the thorns, the verbal abuse, and extreme barbaric physical abuse. I praise God and thank my Lord Jesus Christ for His enduring the cross and becoming obedient to the death of the cross. But I want to consider what He also endured spiritually. He never had experienced alienation from God spiritually. He had never experienced spiritual death. This may have been of a much greater value to Him than we realize. In Luke 22, He prayed that He might avoid the “cup” required for redemption. He prayed until His sweat became mingled with His blood, something that can occur physically when under great stress and anguish. He knew what lay before Him. He was willing to obey. He also knew that the Scripture in Psalm 22 was appropriate. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
All of Isaiah chapter 53 gives tremendous insight into the redemption of the cross. Jesus bore stripes for our physical healing, and He became sin so we could be cleansed of sin and be born again. Isaiah 53:8 says He was cut off out of the land of the living, and verse 10 says His soul was an offering for sin. His soul was the offering for sin, not His body. By His stripes we have physical healing, but our spiritual redemption was obtained by Him spiritually. Again, He became sin … and the wages of sin is death. How could He become sin without spiritual death? This was likely a great part of the agony He experienced. What He did for us physically and what He did for us spiritually is beyond description!
Did Jesus go to hell?
Yes. But there should be a further understanding of this since Jesus spoke of two distinct regions of hell.
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Acts 2:27
(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.) Ephesians 4:9-10
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 it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Luke 16:22-26
In the above Scriptures, there are many truths that lead us to understand that Jesus went to hell when He died. And we also have insight as to why. Further, Psalm 68:18 and Ephesians 4:8 tell us that when He ascended, He led captivity captive … that is, He led those who had been captive out, but under His authority. I won’t take the time here to elaborate, but this is the cloud He ascended in, a cloud that’s growing to this day. We are now compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, and when He returns, those who are alive on the earth will be caught up with Him in the clouds. (Acts 1:9, Heb. 12:1, 1 Thes. 4:17)
But let’s continue. In the above text from Luke 16, we see Lazarus, a beggar in an upper region of hell, we call Abraham’s Bosom. This is not a parable. Jesus gave us his name, Lazarus. He never did that when telling a parable. And we also see a rich man that did not have any interest in serving God, but trusted in his riches, and went to the lower region of hell, a place of torment. Notice, being rich wasn’t the sin. Many in the Old Testament had great wealth. Many who followed Jesus had great wealth. But this rich man trusted in his own wealth and did not see a need for God. He rejected God. The lower region of hell was, and still is today, for those who reject God, and the Lord Jesus Christ. The upper region of hell, called Abraham’s Bosom, was for those who served God, but because of sin, were separated from God spiritually. They could not go to be with God in Heaven.
Now, this is important. Jesus came to pay the price for sin. He did not pay the price for rebellion or rejection. Jesus did not need to go to the lower region of hell for our redemption. He did not pay the price for those who rebelled against God. He was the substitute for sin. He became sin. He experienced the wages of sin for those who wanted redemption from sin. Again, the lower region was for those who rebelled against God and rejected God. Jesus did not need to pay the price for their redemption. They had no redemption. The upper region was for those who wanted to serve God, but because of the sin of Adam, were spiritually dead. Because of sin, they were separated from God. Jesus came to pay the price for sin and to provide redemption for those in the upper region separated from God. He came to destroy the works of the devil, which is the work of sin and spiritual death. Jesus came to destroy sin and death; He came to give life to those in the upper region, Abraham’s Bosom, and all who would call on the Name of the Lord Jesus.
He went to the upper region of hell, Abraham’s Bosom. He told the thief on the cross that he’d join him in paradise that day, which in context, was simply joining Him in comfort, but not specifically Heaven. Ephesians 4:9 is clear that before He ascended, He descended. He preached to those spirits in that prison, according to 1 Peter 3:19. Wouldn’t you have enjoyed hearing that preaching? I’m sure He preached redemption through His precious blood. John the Baptist was there already. He had preached on the earth that Jesus, the Messiah was coming. I’m certain he continued to be the forerunner of Christ in Abraham’s Bosom preaching Jesus is coming. And then Jesus died and descended into the lower parts of the earth, into the upper region of hell, and preached redemption to those Old Testament followers of God. Hallelujah!
Did Jesus go to the fires and torments of hell to be harassed by demons and Satan?
No. As in the previous answer, he only needed to go to the upper region of hell, Abraham’s Bosom to pay the price and penalty for sin. To go to the lower region would be to pay the price for rebellion and rejection. He did not obtain redemption for anyone in the lower region of hell. He did not obtain redemption for those who had rebelled against God and rejected the Law of Moses. Furthermore, Satan was not in hell, nor is he now. He doesn’t want to go there either. Jesus figuratively stripped Satan of his authority. Jesus has the keys of hell and death figuratively. Colossians 2:15 says that Jesus spoiled the kingdom of Satan and, thank God, He did! But Jesus was not in the lower region of hell, taunted and tormented by Satan, wrapped up in chains and in the midst of agonizing flames. Again, Satan was not there and doesn’t want to be there. He knows it’s coming, but he’s not going to go until he must. The torment of that lower region of hell still exists. Jesus did not end that torment for the unbeliever. He did not redeem anyone there. Jesus did not strip Satan of his authority over the world at that time. Satan has been judged and it’s coming, but 2 Corinthians 4:4 still calls Satan the god of this world. He still has authority over the world at this time and during this age. Then what did Jesus do? What authority did He remove from Satan? Jesus removed Satan’s authority over the Christian, over His Church, over His redeemed. And that was realized and obtained by Jesus going to the upper region, as sin, to pay the price for sin. Having become sin, He was spiritually dead as the others there who were following God, but separated by sin. He was there as the Redeemer. Praise God! He preached to them redemption. He trusted God that He would not be there even as long as it would take for His physical body, still in the tomb, to experience corruption. He trusted in God to give Him life, spiritual life. And then it happened! The judgment for sin was satisfied. The sacrifice was accepted. Jesus received life, God’s life. Colossians 1:18 calls Jesus the “firstborn from the dead.” He was spiritually dead, having become sin. He trusted God and was born again … the first one to be born again. At some point, before going to Heaven, the others there were born again. They were raised up. He led them out. And many of them were actually seen walking the streets of Jerusalem. Praise God! I won’t take the time to go into it here, but Jesus had to first take His precious blood into the holy of holies and obtain our complete and eternal redemption. The ones He led out of Abraham’s Bosom could not immediately go into Heaven. He led captivity captive, according to Ephesians 4:8. But at His ascension, a cloud received Jesus out of His disciples’ sight. And He led those in Abraham’s Bosom into Heaven. Praise God, I’m headed there myself one day because I have the life of God in me right now. It’s His eternal life.
Was Jesus raised from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God?
Yes! Praise God He was and is!
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Romans 8:34
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:20
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Hebrews 1:3
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; Hebrews 10:12
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. 1 Peter 3:22
Have you been born again?
It concerns me, even disturbs me to see organized religion ignore the importance of the new birth. Jesus said in John 3:7, “Ye must be born again.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 says to be in Christ is to be a new “creature” or person. Old things are passed away. To be alive to God, to be born again, one must first hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then believe and receive. Going to church, mass, confession, being a good person, having good parents, or doing good works doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s good to be faithful to a good church and be a good person and do good deeds … these things are good. But people should examine themselves in the light of God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have you been born again? Jesus said He is the way. He’s not a way or one of the ways. He said no one could come to the Father except by Him. The Bible says that there is none other Name given among men whereby we must be saved. Only Jesus lived a sinless life. He didn’t inherit the sin nature from Adam as we did. He was born of a virgin. Only Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, became the spotless blood sacrifice for the sin of the world, died, and then rose from the dead. Only Jesus can provide this same spiritual Life to swallow up the spiritual death in the heart of man. Organized religion may do religious things that have a show of godliness, but where is the power? Where is the power of His resurrection? Where is the power of a living Christ? That power begins in the heart of one hearing and receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
If you have not been born again, pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus Christ. I realize I need You and the cleansing power of the blood of Christ to remove my sins and the nature of death in me. Forgive me. Cleanse me. Save me. I confess with my mouth Jesus as my Lord. I believe Jesus was raised from the dead. Thank You for changing me now, for saving me now, for giving me newness of life now. Jesus is now my Lord. I worship You and I praise You. Thank You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
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