This world is rapidly descending into hell; it becomes more like Hell itself every day, but there is still good news here as there was also good news there and that good news is that Jesus gave us all the sign of Jonas the prophet – “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40) Jesus came to this world two thousand years ago to give us all the good news, to show us all that there is a way out of our hell here. The sign of Jonas also teaches people in Hell that there is a way out of their hell there. Jesus Himself went to Hell and preached to the spirits which were in prison there – “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1Peter 3:20) In short, when Jesus died on the cross, He went to the heart of the earth, to the underworld, to Hell, or what others call Hades, and He preached to the spirits which were in prison there. These spirits which were in prison there had been there a long long time, even as far back as the days of Noah, so for thousands of years. Jesus went there to give them hope and to show them that He was the way out of their hell there. Just as there was a way out of the belly of the whale for Jonah, so there was a way out of the belly of Hell for the people there. People simply needed to come to their senses and turn to Jesus; Jesus in this sense being the very doorway out to Hell. Jesus once talked of the gates of Hell (the way into Hell) but He also talked of the doorway out of Hell, Himself being that door. Thank You Jesus!
Anyway, here is a fascinating excerpt taken out of the writings of Father David on this very subject:
“FOR AS JONAS WAS THREE DAYS & THREE NIGHTS IN THE WHALE’S BELLY; SO SHALL THE SON OF MAN BE THREE DAYS & THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH” – “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 Spirt: By which also He went & preached unto the spirits in prison. For this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit!” (Mt. 12:40; 1Pe. 3:18,19; 4:6.)
LOOK AT THE MERCY OF CHRIST! He Himself went down into the bowels of Hell, so to speak, the “underworld”, & preached to the spirits in prison! Jesus went down there & was one of them & preached to them & gave them the Gospel of deliverance, “that they might live according to God in the Spirit”!
IN AN OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE WHICH CONFIRMS THIS, GOD, APPARANTLY SPEAKING TO HIS SON, JESUS, SAYS, “By the blood of Thy covenant I have sent forth Thy prisoners out of the Pit wherein is no water”! (Zech. 9: 11.) – “For He looketh upon men, & if any say, I have sinned, & perverted that which was right, & it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the Pit, & his life shall see the Light! Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the Pit, to be enlightened with the Light of the Living”! (Job 33:27-30.)
GOD’S GOING TO GIVE EVERYBODY A CHANCE –– DEAD OR ALIVE, NOW OR THEN – TO SEE THE LIGHT, TO HEAR THE GOSPEL, TO EVEN SEE & BELIEVE & RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR SAVIOR! – Now doesn’t that fit your picture of a truly just & merciful & all-loving God, that everybody is eventually going to have a clear-cut chance to see & believe & receive & obey Jesus Christ? Everybody! Dead or alive!
BUT THE CHURCH HAS TAUGHT FOR SO MANY YEARS THAT HELL IS PERMANENT, & they really gag on this verse in Peter about Christ preaching to these already-departed “spirits in prison”. (1Pe. 3:19.) In fact, the only way they can explain it is by saying that He went down there to preach condemnation. Can you imagine? To confirm their sentence! To show that that’s what they deserved! What a horrible, cruel interpretation of that verse, that Jesus went down there & preached to the prisoners just to make them feel worse by not giving them any hope at all! But I am convinced that He preached the Gospel to them, & that if they believed it & received it & repented of their sins, they were released! Praise The Lord!