3.4.10 Jesus Christ's activity in the realm of the dead

In 1 Peter 3: 18-20 we read that, after His death on the cross, the Son of God preached to those who had been disobedient in Noah's time. He did this in order to offer them salvation: "For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit" (1 Peter 4: 6). Thus the saving activity of Christ also encompasses the dead. Just as the Son of God had turned to sinners while He walked on earth, so now He turned to those who had been disobedient to the will of God during their earthly lives.

Ever since Jesus brought His sacrifice it has also been possible for the dead to attain redemption (see 9.6). He Himself said: "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live" (John 5: 25).

Through His sacrificial death, the Son of God took the power over death away from the Devil (Hebrews 2: 14-15). He, Jesus Christ, holds the keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1:18). Here "Hades" does not mean "the place of eternal damnation", but the "realm of the dead". To "have the keys" means to exercise rule.

In Romans 14: 9 it says: "For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living." As Lord, He has been exalted over all things by the Father: God has given Him the name "which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth" (Philippians 2: 9-10).

The Son of God's entry into the realm of the dead is the triumph of the Victor of Golgotha, who has broken the power of death and relieved it of its finality.

SUMMARY

The salvific actions of Christ also encompass the dead. (3.4.10)

Jesus Christ possesses the keys of death and Hades. The entry of the Son of God into the realm of the dead is the triumph of the Victor of Golgotha, who has broken the power of death and taken away its finality. (3.4.10)

See also