Original article: Hell fire... by Terry Dashner
Apostles' Creed "He descended into Hell..."
Terry Dashner (www.ffcba.com)
"Hell fire!" To many, even to many prominent Christian denominations, the word "Hell" has become nothing more than an expletive. It's something many people say without much thought about its reality. Why have we stopped teaching, preaching on the topic of Hell? Is it because the subject has gone the way of all other politically incorrect speech? No one wants to hear about a place reserved for those who rebel against God. No one wants to be "judgmental" of some people's behavior. No one wants to frighten people with the threat of eternal punishment. I'm afraid the topic of "Hell" is just too much to process for some in this promiscuous age.
Let me give you an example of just how disdained the subject of hell is. Not long ago I wrote on the subject of hell for the daily devotions. I was amazed at the responses. I received one positive response, essentially thanking me for addressing the subject, and I received a number of requests to be dropped from the daily devotion list. Hell is hard to accept; nevertheless, it is Biblical. Jesus, Himself, talked about it. The early church preached about it, especially with an added emphasis during periods of revival. And the Apostles' Creed declares it--" He [Jesus] descended into Hell."
According to Dr. D. James Kennedy in his book, Knowing the Whole Truth, "the expression can be traced back to the late 300s, to the church of Aquileia; it later became incorporated into what we know as the Apostles' Creed. 'He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell.' The Descensus ad Infernos is a part of the Creed and it is a part of the teaching of the Word of God. 'Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,' the Scripture says."
It is often said that people, when they die, see their whole lives flash before their eyes. Every word, every scene, sharpens into focus. As Jesus hung upon the cross, He saw with the eye of His mind the entire wretched history of a depraved world. In crystal clarity, sin after sin of every human being who had ever lived or would ever live flashed before Him in all of its vileness, its uncleanness, and its horribleness. Jesus saw it all, and after His Father extended the cup of wrath before Him, He drank it down, and Christ became sin for us. Jesus experienced divine judgment and retribution for sin upon the Cross. In body and soul, He endured the incredible agonies of crucifixion, which are beyond our explanation or comprehension. But more than that, in His soul He experienced the very infinite wrath of God as the God-man, the theanthropos. At the hour of darkness as reported in the Gospels, Christ stepped into outer darkness and, experiencing that catastrophic curse of Almighty God, He plummeted into the abyss of hell. He went to the depths to proclaim to every creature there that He was the Christ. That's why the Bible says that Jesus is Lord over everything in the heavens, in the earth below, and over everything below the earth.
Neither time nor space allows me the liberty to write more about this topic. There is so much more that needs to be said but can not be said without greater explanation. The one thing I've tried to say in this devotion is this: Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, took upon Himself the wrath of God for humanity's sin. In becoming sin for us, He descended into the pits of hell to proclaim Himself as the living Savior of the world. He displayed authority over every creature in the universe, even Satan and his abode. Because Jesus took God's wrath for me and you, you and I may now call upon Jesus for salvation from sin. By calling upon the Lord for deliverance from sin, Jesus exchanges our dead works of sin for new garments of righteousness. What an exchange! I give Him my condemnation and rags of iniquities; He gives me His robe of righteousness. Believe me. I'm getting the better end of the deal. Jesus is everything to me!
Keep the faith. Stay the course. Jesus is our soon coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords.