Sunday article by my wonderful, recently taken Home
to Heaven friend, Jack Kinsella, is especially
meaningful to me. He wrote it for hisOmega Letter
of April23, the day before Easter of 2011.
As those who know of
my own experience of that Good Friday --April 22,
2011-- my heart stopped beating on 3 separate
occasions inside of a most spectacular hour, at
least, spectacular for me!
Each time my heart
ceased beating I stood in awe before a throng of
beautiful, young, cheering men and women that looked
to be in their mid-20s --in the prime of their
The going there was
instantaneous each and every time I felt my heart
stop. Praise the Lord! I know first hand that what
Jack wrote here is absolute Truth! I hope it Blesses
you as it does me.
The Nicene Creed was adopted by the first
ecumenical council, convened in Nicea under the
Emperor Constantine. It is also called the
Apostle’s Creed by the Vatican, and is the basic
statement of faith of the Roman Catholic Church.
According to the Apostles' Creed, (the way I learned it fifty years ago),
Jesus spent Easter Saturday in hell.
“And He descended into hell, and rose again
on the third day, according to the Scriptures.”
Did He really? Or is that just Catholic
tradition? More recent revisions of the Apostles'
Creed simply say He “descended to the dead.”
True enough, but that doesn’t mean much. He was
dead for three days. He was buried. He
“descended to the dead” could be said of every
person who ever died, (including my late Uncle
Did He descend to “the dead” or did He spend the
weekend in hell? Yesterday we discussed the Wednesday vs. Friday interpretation
of the day of Crucifixion.
If the Crucifixion was on Friday and the
Resurrection took place on Sunday, then Jesus rose
on the third day.
If the Crucifixion occurred on Wednesday, then
even allowing for the most liberal stretching of the
fabric of time, if the Resurrection was on Sunday,
Jesus rose very late on the fourth day or very early
into the fifth day.
The interpretation that requires the fewest
textual gymnastics to fit the time frame is that of
reckoning Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Sunday
being the third day.
I can’t fit Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
and Sunday into three days unless I don’t count
Wednesday and Sunday and even then, the Resurrection
would have to fall on the Sabbath.
Otherwise, Sunday would count – as the fourth day.
I submit that Friday to Sunday makes Sunday the
third day. Did He then descend into hell on Friday
afternoon and stay there until Sunday morning?
First off, why is that important?
Every year at Easter,
Jon Meacham (formerly of Newsweek, now with
TIME) takes his best shot at Christianity.
For starters, if hell doesn’t exist, where did
Jesus spend Easter weekend? He couldn’t have been
On Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene was
weeping at the Lord’s grave when He called her name.
She would have rushed to embrace Him, but He stopped
“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
If He had not yet ascended to the Father – and
had to do so before He could meet with His brethren,
and there is no hell, then where was He?
Like I said, it is an important question.
Even Jon Meacham understands the importance of
the question to basic Christianity. He notes
in this year’s Easter hit piece:
“The traditionalist reaction is
understandable, for Bell's arguments about
heaven and hell raise doubts about the core of
the Evangelical worldview, changing the common
understanding of salvation so much that
Christianity becomes more of an ethical habit of
mind than a faith based on divine revelation.”
Of course. Salvation is an ethical habit of mind!
Not a faith based on Divine revelation.
"I have long wondered if there is a massive
shift coming in what it means to be a
Christian," Bell says. "Something new is in the
Actually, it isn’t new. Jesus outlined
Bell’s new Christianity in Revelation
3:14-18. Solomon outlined the root
principle that attracted Jon Meacham to Bell’s book
(and why he chose to highlight it at Easter) in Psalms
14:1 and 53:1.
If hell isn’t real, then the Easter story can’t be.
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me
when thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus
said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day
shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” (Luke
Where is ‘paradise’? It isn’t Heaven –
Heaven is the place of God’s abode and Jesus had not
yet ascended to the Father by early Resurrection
Did He go to the place of the dead? Of course.
The place of the dead was hell. That's where
Paradise was. Jesus had spoken of it previously
when He told the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke
Jesus said there was also a righteous beggar
named Lazarus. Then the Lord provides us with
a word picture description of what happens when we
“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.”
The Lord of glory confirms by this story, an
important, eternal truth. When we die, our
consciousness continues into either heaven or hell.
Hell is depicted as being buried alive in hot coals.
“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in
torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and
Lazarus in his bosom.”
What follows is a picture of hell as it was when
Jesus spent Easter weekend there.
“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.”
Jesus descended into hell, the place of the dead,
which was divided according to ultimate destination.
Abraham’s Bosom, or Paradise, was the abode of
the righteous dead, like Abraham. The
blood of bulls and rams was not enough to wash away
the sins of the righteous, but it was enough to
cover their sins until death and hell were conquered
at the Cross.
Until then, those that believed God were imputed
righteous, and awaited their redemption.
When Jesus descended into hell, He went to
paradise where the Good Thief was. And
Abraham. And Lazarus. And everybody else who
trusted in the Lord for their eternal salvation
“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.)” (Ephesians
He “led captivity captive”. Jesus descended
into hell where He gathered the righteous dead from
their captivity and then ascended unto His Father
with His prize on Resurrection Sunday.
Hell was then given over to the rich man and the
rest of the lost in the abode of the dead.
How important is this? It answers the question,
“What happens when we die?” and it answers it from
the perspective of the One Who knows best.
If the Bible is true and Jesus can be believed,
then when a saved person closes his eyes in this
life, he awakes fully conscious in the next – where
he is whisked by the angels into heaven, since
Paradise is now closed.
When a lost person dies, he awakes full conscious
in hell, alone, nameless, and buried in hot coals
where he awaits judgment at the Great White Throne
and then eternity in the Lake of Fire, since hell
itself is closed.
TIME’s Jon Meacham and guys like Rob Bell would
like for there to be no hell for two reasons that
are more-or-less universal. The first is
because they fear that’s where they are headed.
And the second is that they can’t believe a loving
God would send them there.
My guess is that they are right on both counts.
And God isn’t the one that sends people to hell.
Jesus literally went to hell and back to
procure for us a choice. The offer of pardon
is extended to “whosoever
Hell is not dead. It is very much in
operation and growing larger by the day. But
God doesn’t send people to hell – they choose that
It isn’t complicated.
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him
that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn
yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezekiel
There is a choice. But it is admittedly
limited. One can repent and trust Jesus or one
can face God clothed in one’s own righteousness and
see how things work out.
The choice, “hell does not exist” is not on
Note from Jack: We pray that you have a
glorious, meaningful and peaceful Resurrection
Sunday. Please pray for our brothers and sisters
under persecution for their faith around the world.