The Hidden Life Of Jesus
By Johnny Tatum
The Hidden Life Of Jesus
By Johnny Tatum
#13) JESUS ANTICIPATES GOING TO HADES
Jesus voluntarily went to the Cross, in full knowledge of what was going to happen, and He controlled when His heart would rupture—He did not let it happen before He absorbed all the penalty for our sins. Once the penalty was paid, the Father, all of a sudden, answered Jesus, so that He would know:
“It is finished!” (Psalm 22:31)
What happened next?
Presented In The Gospels:
And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)
Jesus of Nazareth dies. How do we know this to be true? Let us look in on what the witnesses saw.
To the Jews it was important that the crucified individuals did not stay on the Cross on the Sabbath holy day, so they asked that the victims’ deaths be hastened and then their bodies could be removed from the crucifixes.
The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; (John 19:32-33)
The soldiers saw that Jesus was dead. However, Pilate is shocked when he hears that Jesus is already dead, because it had just been a few hours, and, generally, crucifixion victims survived much longer than that:
And Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. And ascertaining this from the centurion… (Mark 15:44-45)
Pilate called the centurion (leader of this detachment of Roman soldiers), who also certifies that Jesus is dead. However, just in case they are all wrong—even though it is very unlikely—one of the soldiers says that he will check it out:
but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear,
To assure that a crucifixion victim was dead, a soldier would stick a spear in the victim’s side, so if he were still alive, he would respond; otherwise, he was already dead. In Jesus’ case, not only did He not respond since He was already dead, but something very unusual happened after this thrust with the spear:
and immediately there came out blood and water. And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. (John 19:34)
When the spear went into His side, out came blood and water, showing: Jesus was really dead – Jesus was a real Person – Jesus had already died from His heart rupturing. These hardened, trained soldiers who had conducted many crucifixions said that Jesus was dead; the centurion who was also hardened, trained, and had led many crucifixions said Jesus was dead; the soldiers and His disciple John saw the blood and water come out of Jesus’ side. This proves that Jesus was really dead.
Jesus is removed from the Cross, prepared for burial, and put into a nearby tomb.
Father, as we open Your word, we ask for Your special blessings upon us. We ask for a special anointing and outpouring of Your Holy Spirit upon us.
Please give us wisdom and insight as we read the words that miraculously describe the thoughts of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in the tomb. And as we learn of His journey from within part of the earth back to the tomb, would You bless us, give us understanding, and speak to each one of us in the power of Your Holy Spirit.
We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
In Psalm 16, we read the thoughts of Jesus in the tomb.
Note: Though this is another [so-called] Psalm of David; verse 10 says:
You will not abandon My soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. (Psalm 16:10)
And Peter tells us in Acts 2 that David’s body decayed:
David both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. (Acts 2:29)
So we know that Psalm 16 is not about David.
Even in the tomb, Jesus is thinking:
1 Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
Jesus is lying in the tomb, and, I think, in a way Jesus knows where He is going next—Hades—because He knows He has something to finish.
A Friend’s Insight: The reason Jesus had to go to Hades was to cancel our reservation!
Jesus knows He is going to Hades, because that is where people went when they died, and Jesus is dead. However, He does not know what it is going to be like. How could He?
2 I said to the LORD, “You are my LORD; I have no good besides You.”
Jesus does not know what is going to happen, so He is trusting in the LORD God.
Beginning here, notice how much we are, amazingly, on Jesus’ mind through it all:
3 As for the saints who are of the earth,
Who are the saints who are of the earth? Redeemed individuals who believe Messiah, Jesus, is their Redeemer/Savior.
Presented In The Gospels:
He loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)
He is talking about His own, about us! In the tomb, Jesus is not just passively receiving the punishment for our sins; He is actively involved in it; He is aware of it.
Remember: At any time, Jesus could have stopped the process, but He did not because He loved us to the end.
Jesus is thinking about His Father, He is asking for help, He knows where He has to go, and He is always thinking of us:
They are the majestic ones in whom is all My delight.
There Jesus is—His body in a tomb in the Middle East—and He thinks of believers with love They are the majestic ones; He is putting us above Himself. Jesus is in the tomb, however, we are the majestic ones!
Even now, however, Jesus is starting to sense that there are two groups of people:
One: Those who have accepted Messiah [Jesus] as their Redeemer/Savior and who are going to Heaven.
Two: Those who have rejected Messiah [Jesus] as their Redeemer/Savior and who are going to Hades/ultimately, to Hell.
Jesus thinks of the second group, and He says:
4 The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Wow! Jesus is about to go to heaven and spill His blood on the Mercy Seat, but He will not spill His blood for unbelievers.
Nor will I take their names upon My lips.
In the tomb, Jesus makes the decision not to take the names of unbelievers with Him to heaven.
These are the thoughts of Jesus while He is in the tomb: He is thinking of us, and then, again, He thinks of His Father:
7 I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
Jesus might not have known that He could start calling the LORD Father again.
Jesus is in darkness, but He says:
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
[I believe-] This is that little window of time when Jesus is in the tomb—before He makes His journey—and His mind is racing.
Jesus is in darkness, He knows He has to go to Hades, and He does not know what to expect; however, look what He says:
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.
It is dawning on Jesus—Holy Spirit is telling Him—clearly He knows where He is going.
Look at what Jesus says:
10 For You will not abandon My soul in Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
I can understand why Jesus says You will not abandon My soul in Sheol (Hades), because God the Father is going to pull Jesus’ spirit out of Hades. But why does He say You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay?
Presented In The Gospels:
During the three-day interim, there is danger of the Body starting to decay. I think that is why the gospel writers make a special case of the burial spices and the wrappings that were put on Jesus’ body. What happened to His body? In John 19:
After these things Joseph of Arimathea…asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus…also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-40)
This unusually large amount of spices—myrrh and aloes—would have been very expensive. Myrrh came from the resin of a tree in Arabia and it was a gummy, sticky substance; aloes came from a tree in Arabia and it was a very fragrant, aromatic wood that was pulverized to a powdery consistency. So the myrrh was sticky and the aloes was powdery.
According to Jewish custom, they would take the linen wrappings and separately wrap each limb (each leg, each arm) and separately wrap the trunk. Between each wrap, they would sprinkle some of the powder and some of the gum—wrap, sprinkle; wrap, sprinkle; wrap, sprinkle—which would make the linen wrappings, in a relatively short time, as hard as cement.
Why would they do this? This was not an embalming process, because the Jews did not embalm like the Egyptians did. The Jews anointed the body—
Joseph and Nicodemus hurried their anointing of Jesus’ body to beat the Sabbath, because Jews did not work on the Sabbath.
Speculation: God is overruling His Son’s anointing—delaying the decay process of His body—to fulfill His prophecy You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
Jesus is anticipating going to Hades, and the reason He can endure what is coming is that He is looking through it:
11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Where is Jesus going to sit when this is all over? At His Father’s right hand. Again, I believe this is just a small interlude when Jesus is in the tomb, and He is preparing Himself for the journey He is about to make:
Presented In The Gospels:
At His trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus says:
But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God. (Luke 22:69)
Then something happens. It has been still and quiet, but now Jesus moves and His spirit goes somewhere. We pick that up in Psalm 18.
4 The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
Now you see that it is not that Jesus took our sins in just an accounting manner—our sins were placed on His ledger and His righteousness was placed on our ledger—or in just a legal manner—our sins were placed on Him, He was declared guilty, and He paid the death penalty for it—it was more than that. This was real: Jesus literally, consciously, went to Hades.
Look what He says:
4 The cords of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.
Obviously, the place where Jesus went had not been redeemed yet.
Question: Did Jesus Go To Hell?
The problem is: that is not the best way to phrase the question. Literally, Jesus did not go to Hell, because Hell did not exist then. Where did Jesus go? He went to the same general place where everybody (all believers and all unbelievers) who died before the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension went: Hades. And apparently, that place is literally in the center of the earth. Look at what Jesus says in Matthew 12:
For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)
Yes, He could be speaking figuratively, but it seems to me that Jesus is going out of His way to say that it is in the center of the earth. If we take the literal meaning, then there was a place called Hades where people went; and that is where Jesus went. Also, Peter says:
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…(1 Peter 3:18-19)
Hades is the general place where everybody went; however, there were two compartments in Hades. How do we know that? In Luke 16, we read the story of Lazarus (the poor man) and the rich man. It could be a parable, but I do not think it is because Jesus gives names; I think it is a true story.
Lazarus was a poor beggar who begged at the rich man’s gate; and they both died:
Did the angels carry Lazarus away to heaven? No, he was taken to Hades. We know that unbelievers were taken to Hades, and here, Jesus clearly says that Lazarus was carried away to Abraham’s Bosom:
to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
The rich man and Lazarus are in the same general place, because they can see each other. Also note that the rich man lifted up his eyes and he saw things around him—he was seeing physical, geographical things, so there must have been interim bodies.
And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’
The rich man begs for mercy, but Abraham tells him No, you had your chance:
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’” (Luke 16:22-26)
Prior to the Cross, the Crucifixion and Resurrection, everybody went to the same place, but there were two compartments in this place, as follows:
One: The believers were in a special section called Abraham’s Bosom that, apparently, was not an area of total bliss. All that we know is it was not an area of torment by any means; it was a special section of comfort for the believers.
Two: The unbelievers were in Hades to a section of utter torment.
When Jesus died, He went to Hades because, like all people who died, that is where everyone went. If Jesus did not really go to Hades, then He did not really die; therefore, believers would be in trouble because the wages for their sins were not paid for—their reservations would still be valid in Hades.
Note: The reason some people argue that Jesus did not go to Hell—to Hades—is they are arguing the wrong thing. People think that we teach that Jesus went to Hades to give people a second chance. Certainly not! People also think that Jesus went to Hades just to say Nanny-nanny, boo-boo to Satan and the demons. That is a misunderstanding; Jesus would not have done it for that reason.
Question: Why Did Jesus Go To Hades?
One: TO FINISH PAYING THE PENALTY
Our sins merited eternal separation from God; for believers to have eternal life with God, the debt had to be paid.
Two: TO TRIUMPH OVER SATAN
Satan must have been overjoyed at seeing Jesus’ spirit descending down to Hades; however, this was Jesus’ own doing—He was fulfilling what was promised thousands of years earlier; He was crushing the serpent.
God told Adam and Eve there was to be a coming Descendant: the Seed of a woman—Jesus of Nazareth, born of a virgin (Mary)—and serpent will bruise you on the heel, and your Descendant will crush him on the head (Genesis 3:15). This is the crushing right here. At this punishment, Satan was crushed on the head, meaning he was knocked out of the heavens. The crushing of Satan’s head did not kill him; actually, in that sense, he will never die. And Satan is not completely impotent now; however, his power is severely restricted and he has no more access to heaven.
Note: There is more punishment to come on Satan in the future. At the end of the Great Tribulation, he will be thrown down form the air to the earth and his powers will be even more restricted:
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:9)
He was thrown down to the earth, meaning Satan will have no supernatural powers anymore. In fact, the saints in heaven will ask Is that wormy creature the one who deceived all the nations? [I picture some sniveling, little snake saying Please do not hurt me.] At the end of the Millennium, Satan’s last step will be straight to the Lake of Fire:
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
Good News For The Redeemed:
Prior to the Cross, Satan had more authority and power than he does now. For example, with God’s permission, Satan touched Job. However, Satan can no longer do the things to believers that he did to Job. In 1 John 5, John states very clearly:
The evil one does not touch him [who is born of God]. (1 John 5:18)
The word touch means have any influence whatsoever. Obviously, something changed between Job’s days and ours. What is that? A little thing called the Cross: Jesus triumphed over Satan and Satan was crushed.
Application: We give Satan w-a-y too much power in our minds. People make excuses for their own sin by saying Satan did it. Satan threw that idea into my mind. [Even comedian Cliff Wilson used to say, “The devil made me do it!”]
In Mark 7, Jesus gives a long list of bad thoughts, which do not come from outside the world (from Satan):
And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:20-23)
How else could Jesus have said it? These thoughts all come, not from Satan, but from the heart of man – from our flesh.
Three: TO RESCUE THE PEOPLE WHO WERE IN ABRAHAM’S BOSOM
Jesus descended into Hades to introduce Himself Hello! I am your Redeemer. I am the Person you trusted in, believed in. Why did Jesus have to introduce Himself? The Old Testament saints were in Abraham’s Bosom because they were looking forward to the coming Messiah and they were trusting in the coming Messiah to pay the penalty for their sins. And though many of them had remarkable knowledge about the coming Redeemer, not all of them had a full understanding of who Messiah was. So Jesus introduces Himself I am the Messiah you have been waiting for; I am Jesus.
What did Jesus do after greeting the saints? He took all of the saints up to heaven with Him, as we see in Ephesians 4:
Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to me.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?) (Ephesians 4:8-9)
From that point forward, any believer who dies goes immediately to be in the presence of the Lord, because Jesus got the keys of death and of Hades, as we know from Revelation 1:
I have the keys of death and of Hades. (Revelation 1:18)
How did Jesus get the keys of death and of Hades? He went down to Hades to get them.
Does that mean that Satan was ruling over Hades? No! God, not Satan, has always been sovereign over Hades. Jesus went down to Hades primarily to rescue the people in Abraham’s Bosom. Since He did that, there is no longer a compartment in Hades called Abraham’s Bosom. Only unbelievers who die go to Hades—sort of a holding tank since there is no such place as Hell or the Lake of Fire yet—and are awaiting Hell.
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