Q. I love your site and have referred many friends to you. My question is this: What was the point of Jesus going to Hades for those three days to preach to the unsaved dead? It’s not like they were going anywhere or getting a get-out-of-Hades pass or anything. So why even bother? Is it because they did not have the choice of a Savior before He died? And He was then giving them One? I don’t get the point of Him going there at all.
A. 1 Peter 3:19-20 says that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago in the days of Noah. Some say Jude 6 explains that these were the angels who took on human form and married human women producing cross breed offspring called the Nephilim in Genesis 6:4. If so they’re the ones Peter also spoke of in 2 Peter 2:4. Others say that these spirits are those who perished in the flood by refusing Noah’s pleas to get on the Ark.
I lean toward the former view, but either way Jesus wouldn’t have preached a salvation message to them. The Bible does not speak of redemption for angels. And giving a 2nd chance to men who refused to get on the ark would have violated His word in Hebrews 9:27 that we die but once and after that face judgment. What he most likely did was to proclaim His victory over the one who had led them into rebellion.
1 Peter 4:6 tells us He also explained the Gospel to believers who had died before the cross, telling them their faith had saved them. No one could enter Heaven before the Lord sprinkled His own blood on the altar there. Instead they went to Paradise to await His coming. After the resurrection He took them to Heaven (Ephes. 4:8).
But I think the most important reason was to fulfill the promise He made to the Jewish leaders that by remaining in Hades for three days and three nights He would prove to them that He was their Messiah (Matt. 12:39-40). To anyone who wanted to believe in Him, it was an unmistakable sign.