At Calvary, it is a little after 3:00 PM with the Jewish day being over at 6:00 PM. In Paradise, the believing thief recalled what Jesus had said to him while on the cross - "Today" (i.e., before 6:00 PM Luke 23:43) He would join him in Paradise . How can this be since Jesus is in the Abyss...? But then again he thought, while his eyes darted back to the Abyss, Jesus never lies...
Those in Paradise stared intently at the entrance to the Abyss. The entrance was covered by a barrier that allowed entry but no exit from this place of maximum security confinement. It was this barrier that gave the Abyss' opening the wave like appearance of a sea. Jesus had taken upon Himself all of our sin and passed through this one way sea looking barrier (Micah 7:19).
The first Adam had rebelled against a Holy God in the Garden of Eden and now the full judgment for that sin has been paid by Jesus (the Last Adam) at Calvary (1 Corinthians 15:45,47). Furthermore, Jesus has carried this OUR sin to a place where it will be remembered no more - the Abyss (Psalms 103:12).
Jesus while in the Abyss, the lowest place of all, calls out to God His Father for deliverance (Psalms 18:2-6). God the Father and God the Holy Spirit had been waiting for this moment - it was all part of the plan (Psalms 16:10.Acts 2:27) With a startling swiftness God the Holy Spirit descends into the Abyss and delivers Jesus and all the hosts of Hell are powerless to stop Him (Psalms 18:7-18.Psalms 40:1-10. Colossians 2:15).
Realize, Jesus who is God, was separated from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit when He became our sin (Isaiah 54:7,8.Isaiah 53:1-12). Jesus is now joined back again with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit thus making Him alive in the lowest of all places (Romans 8:11.1 Peter 3:18.1 Peter 1:21). Since Jesus was born again in the lowest of all places then that means it is possible for all that believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord on Earth can be born again.(Romans 10:9,10) The Holy Spirit again comes upon Jesus to empower the God - Man Jesus because He is still not using His power as God.
The power released to bring Jesus back from death to life in the Abyss causes an earthquake on the Earth's surface. This earthquake results in the veil of the temple being torn and it opened the graves of those held in Paradise (Matthew 27:50-52.Ephesians 1:18-20).
Jesus then enters Paradise shortly after 3:00 PM Thursday where He will spend the next few Earth days preaching the Gospel to its captives which are all those people since the fall of Adam that died in covenant with God (1 Peter 4:6). Oh, what a revival that must have been! He also preaches a message of judgment to the fallen angels in another compartment of Hades (1 Peter 3:18-20. 2 Peter 2:4. Jude 1:6,7. Hebrews 2:16.).
Friday the following day is the "annual" Passover Sabbath (Numbers 28:16-18.John 19:31) and Saturday is the regular "weekly" Sabbath. Thus Jesus stays in the "heart of the Earth" for three days (Thursday 3:00 to 6:00 PM, Friday 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday 6:00 AM to 6 PM) and three nights (Thursday 6:00 PM to Friday 6:00 AM, Friday 6:00 PM to Saturday 6 AM, Saturday 6:00 PM to Sunday some time before 6:00 AM) (Matthew 12:40). From another perspective, Thursday when Jesus was crucified is day zero, Friday is the first day, Saturday is the second day and Sunday is the third day when Jesus was resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:1-4.Matthew 16:21.Acts 10:34-41). We in the West are more accustomed to starting our counting with one; however, similar to scientific communities today - in the days when this was written they started the count with zero. The result is the third day of scripture would be what we would typically call the fourth day by starting the count with one instead of zero. Just a matter of perspective NOT an error in scripture.
Jesus returns to His human body early Sunday morning and first appears to Mary Magdalene. He asks her not to detain Him for He has not yet ascended to God His Father in Heaven - I must pause as these are some of my favorite words in scripture and thanks to Jesus' efforts can now be true once more for all that believe - and God OUR Father! (John 20:15-18).
Those held captive in Paradise are temporarily returned to their bodies on Earth in preparation for moving Paradise (aka., The Garden of Eden (1) which contains the Tree of Life) back to Heaven (Matthew 27:52,53.Revelation 2:7;22:2,14) where it becomes an island in the waters of the river of Life (Revelation 22:1,2). There is now no need for a temporary holding place on Earth for those that die in Covenant with God; therefore, none is provided. Jesus has made a way to Heaven for all who die believing in Him as Savior and Lord (John 14:6). Either we die believers and go to Heaven or die unbelievers and go to Hell (John 3:16-18. John 16:7-11).
Jesus then leads the rescued hostages back to Paradise in Heaven (think point of entry for planet Heaven) (Ephesians 4:8,9). What a homecoming that must have been! Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, leading back the rescued "children" held in Paradise for thousands of Earth years back to God the Father!!!
Jesus then pours out His blood on the Mercy Seat in the Temple of Heaven (Hebrews 9:11-15). God the Father restores Jesus' right to use His power as God - which He was, is and ever shall be - the eternal God that became Man (Hebrews 1:1-12). Glory!
Actually, glory is the operative word for that is what Jesus was asking His Heavenly Father for right before His arrest on the Mount of Olives. That is, He was praying for the restoration of the abilities that were rightfully His as God (John 17:1-5).
1 Corinthians 2:6-8
To be continued(1)...
Links to the entire series:
(1) Left click on underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.