Jesus came in the flesh and redeemed us with his precious blood through the offering of his body for our sins. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and said the following:
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. ~ Luke 24:39
The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus took on flesh and blood to redeem us.
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. ~ Hebrews 2:14-16
Notice in contrast to the nature of angels, Hebrews tells us that Jesus took on the seed of Abraham. What is the nature of Angels? The answer is found in chapter 1, where the writer of Hebrews says: And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. ~ verse 7
Angels are spirits. In contrast, Jesus came in the flesh as the seed of Abraham.
And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. ~ 1 Timothy 3:16
The words, justified in the spirit, in 1 Timothy 3:16 (above) actually mean: “vindicated in the spirit,” or “declared righteous.” Jesus was condemned unjustly in the flesh when he suffered at the hands of sinful men. Yet, he was vindicated in the spirit through his resurrection from the dead, and his exaltation at the right hand of God.
The vindication of Jesus through his resurrection and exaltation comes through strongly in Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-36. It is from the context of this sermon that the words “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” and “his soul was not left in hell” is sometimes extracted and used to advocate that Jesus suffered in hell.
However, the context to which these words belong is the death, burial, resurrection, & exaltation of Jesus Christ. In Acts 2, the apostle Peter is quoting from Psalm 16:8-11 and proving to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.
8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10 For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
In Psalm 16:10, the Hebrew word sheol is translated as hell. Throughout the old testament, sheol is translated in three ways: 1. the grave, 2. hell, and 3. pit. Both the wicked and the righteous go to sheol (the grave) when they die:
Jacob said, “For I will go down into sheol (the grave) unto my son in mourning.” ~ Genesis 37:35. Consider also Job 17:13: If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.
In the New Testament hell is translated from three Greek words.
- Tartaroo, (translated once) the place of the wicked dead, the place of outer darkness.
- Gehenna, (translated 12 times) the place of future torment, the lake of fire, i.e. hell fire.
- Hades (translated 10 times) the grave, or the abode of the dead, the place of departed souls.
The apostle Paul uses the word hades in reference to the grave, over which believers will have victory at the coming of the Lord.
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:22
Paul’s word’s above also support the truth of a physical resurrection of the righteous at the coming of Jesus and not a spiritual (mystical) resurrection in 70 AD as taught in full preterism.
In Acts 2:27 & 31 the Greek word hades is used as a reference to the grave and not a reference to suffering torment in the regions of the damned.
Consider the following:
- There is no mention of suffering in hell (i.e., in the place of torment) in Psalm 16 or Acts 2.
- The sentence structure infers hope and victory:
- Therefore did My heart rejoice ~ Acts 2:26
- My tongue was glad ~ Acts 2:26
- Moreover also My flesh shall rest in hope ~ Acts 2:26
- Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, ~ Acts 2:27
- Neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption ~ Acts 2:27
- Thou hast made known to me The ways of life ~ Acts 2:28
- Thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance ~ Acts 2:28
The sentence structure in Acts 2:26-27 and 2:30-31 infers victory over death by means of the resurrection. Jesus was dead and his soul was not left in the abode of the dead because God raised him up again. Literally, the scripture is saying: “My flesh shall rest in hope, because you will not leave (abandon) my soul in hell (to the power of the grave).”
In Peter’s sermon, his emphasis is that the body of Jesus did not decay because God raised him from the dead. This is why Peter makes it clear that when David said these words he wasn’t referring to himself but to Jesus.
Men and brethren let me speak freely unto you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption… For David is not ascended into the heavens, but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. ~ Acts 2:29-36
Notice that Peter interprets the words regarding the soul of Christ not being left in hell as victory over the grave, rather than torture in the regions of the damned.
Peter tells the people that these words were not referring to David but to Jesus. Now think about it. Do you think that those who were acquainted with this prophecy of scripture and thought it referred to David viewed David as suffering in the torments of Hell? Certainly not!
Why then, should we think this of Christ?
Peter interprets the phrase “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” as the fulfillment of God’s promise to David that from among his descendants, according to the flesh, God would raise up Christ (the Messiah) to set on his throne forever.
In Paul’s sermon in Acts 13, we find similar language.
And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption . ~ Acts 13:34-36
The phrase “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” belongs to the promise that the Messiah’s body would not decay in the grave. This is the sure mercies which God promised to David concerning Christ, whom he raised from the dead. It was not God’s promise that Jesus would need to suffer the torments of eternal damnation to redeem us.
Those who teach that Jesus suffered in hell will sometimes teach that Jesus died two deaths; a physical death and a spiritual death. Yet the Bible expounds only on the physical death of Jesus. The new testament gives no clear indisputable evidence that Christ suffered in hell or died twice, physically and spiritually.
If Jesus would have died in his spirit and suffered in hell, the New Testament writers would have laid it out in plain view for all to see, and there would be no need piece-mill a couple of random scriptures together to prove such a doctrine.
The new testament gives indisputable evidence of the physical sufferings of Christ on the cross and redemption by his blood. The physical sufferings of Christ on the Cross and the purpose for his shed blood are clearly stated throughout the New Testament.
His Body was broken for us:
1 Peter 2:24; John 6:51-57; Ephesians 2:13-18; Colossians 1:20-22; Luke 24:36-40; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:9-17; Hebrews 10:5-10, 18-22; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 4:1; Matthew 26:7-13; 14:8; Luke 22:19-20; John 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-27).
His Blood was shed for us:
Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; 1 Pet 1:19; Col 1:20; Hebrews 9:22; 10:18-22; Romans 5:9
Jesus died on the cross for our sins!