I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
    And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord
    Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary
   Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell
Apostles Creed

Did you grow up speaking the Apostle’s Creed out loud at Church? Why do or did Churches do that? It most likely wasn’t written by the Apostles themselves. However, it does capture the fundamental teachings of the Apostles in a concise, faithful and easy to memorise piece of writing. We are up to sentence 4.

Unlike so many of the figures of other ancient religions (e.g. Mohammed/Buddha), we know the time and place of Jesus. The governorship of Pontius Pilate is confirmed by the “Pilate Stone” and by references in the accounts of Tacitus, Flavius & Philo.

Jesus’ dead and buried is similarly attested to, not just in the four gospel accounts (though this is more evidence than most ancient events), but also in Tacitus, Julius Africanus and Josephus.
So far so good. But what about this last bit? He descended into hell… Two options. Some think that Jesus genuinely went into hell as a natural consequence of the justice of God.

I’m not convinced. I think the issue is the word - hell. The Greek word in the Creed is actually Hades. Hades wasn’t the typical word for what we think of as hell. But more accurately points to what we might call the intermediate state. Where God’s people go when they die but before Christ’s return.

There, as 1 Peter 3:19 suggests, Jesus proclaims His victory to the dead. Imagine that, the souls of Abraham,  As we will see on Tuesday, after three days in Hades, Jesus is raised from the dead and forty days later He ascended to heaven there to prepare to receive His people for eternity.

For Today:
  • For further reading - https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/christs-descent-dead/ 
  • Do you believe that Christ died, was buried and descended into Hades?
  • Have you declared the Creed recently?
Pray: Praise the Father that He has the power over life and death. Give thanks for Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried and went to Hades to proclaim His victory. Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and others trust in Jesus death.
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