In Matthew 27:51 we read:
“Then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom: and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many of the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised…”
The veil separating you and me from direct access to God was torn…by God…top to bottom. No more religion and need for once a year atonement. Now, it is you and Jesus moment by moment.
In 1 Peter 3:19 it says: “by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison…”
On Silent Saturday, Jesus was preaching to those Old Testament saints who had died but had not yet had the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood cover their sins.
In Luke 16 we read the story of Lazarus and the rich man. “And so it was when Lazarus died, and was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom.” The rich man died and was buried. “And being in torments in Hades, lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
The story goes on to share how the rich man who treated Lazarus so poorly in this life was begging to have Lazarus simply dip his small finger in water and give him a taste. He also asked to have word of salvation sent back to his family. But it was too late.
The point of this story in part is simple:
1. Old Testament saints (believers) were sent to Abraham’s bosom, a holding place of heavenly disposition, as they awaited Jesus actual death and blood sacrifice to cover their sins.
2. Apparently, next to Abraham’s Bosom was Hades a place of eternal torment and death. A literal hell.
3. In this configuration the rich man could see and talk to Lazarus.
Jesus tells the rich man if his family hear from a resurrected person they would not believe, (remember Jesus had already raised three people from the dead).
Hell is a literal place, once Jesus set the captives free from Abraham’s bosom it was closed since now, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
However, the Catholics have taken Abraham’s bosom in part, and turned it doctrinally into “purgatory.” Not good. It puts emphasis of salvation in a works context and folks can become slaves to superstitions and worse.
What to do? First, share the Gospel wherever you can, hell is gonna be, well, HELL! Second, consider this. . . after massive suffering, death, burial and…on Silent Saturday Jesus went into the bowels of Abraham’s bosom and Hades (remember Lazarus in Hades could see, hear and speak to those in Abraham’s bosom), and preached the good news to them.
Today, Jesus, behind the scenes of your life, in the most difficult and dangerous places for you, is choosing YOU! He is choosing to rescue you, help you, find and fight for you! Amazing!
“The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.”