15 September 2008

Descended into hell? (Pt 7): James Jordan on Sheol

James Jordan - The Handwriting on the Wall
I really didn't expect this little look at the Apostles' Creed clause to go this far, but I continue to run over excellent comments by noted commentators that further expound and enforce the view that many in today's church have forgotten or denied. This time around, I pull a quote from the new commentary on Daniel by James B. Jordan entitled The Handwriting on the Wall.

In dealing with the resurrection passage in Daniel 12:2:
And the multitude of those sleeping in the dust of the ground do awake, some to life age-during, and some to reproaches—to abhorrence age-during. (Young's Literal)
Jordan discusses six possibilities for what type of resurrection this verse could be speaking of. For point five he states:
A fifth possibility is that this refers to the emptying of sheol into heaven when Christ ascended there. This is a concept less familiar to us today, and will be explained below. (Pg 617)
He has it right, in saying it is less familiar to us; it appears many have totally forgotten the whole concept. He then continues a little later to explain the position:
Looking first at the fifth possibility, ascension to heaven: Until Jesus went into heaven, nobody went into heaven. Those who died from Adam to Christ went to sheol, which the New Testament calls hades. The righteous went into Abraham's bosom, also called in theology Limbus Patrum, while the wicked went to an uncomfortable place. After Jesus' death He descended to sheol and sorted the dead. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He emptied Abraham's bosom and brought all the righteous dead to heaven with him. The wicked in sheol, however, are not brought up to heaven until the end of time, when they are cast into the lake of fire that is before the throne of God.
So, here we have another example, and another modern one, that has not forgotten the idea of death as portrayed in the Hebrew Scriptures.Again, if we assume this to be the proper understanding, then you should hopefully see the importance of Christ first descending into hades, and how removing this step in the salvation process causes an issue and leaves those who died prior to Christ still in bondage to death.

View the other parts of the topic

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10