To Whom Did Jesus Preach in Hell? 
Jackson Snyder, November 8, 1994

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1 Pet 3:18-20 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, {19} in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, {20} who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.

1. The ancients understood "heaven" to be layered, with from three to ten layers. (Attested to in 2 Enoch 3-20, 3 Baruch, Testament of Levi 2:7-3:8.) Heavenly reaches are also alluded to in the New Testament. (2 Cor 12:2, Eph 1:3 & 20, Heb 4:14 & 7:26.)

2. The fifth and second heavens were reserved for the most malevolent creatures, the lustful angels and the "men of renown" described in Genesis 6:1-5, and in more detail in other sources. (1 Enoch 15:1-11 and Jubilees 5.) These spirits "in former times did not obey." They caused such outrage and destruction on earth that God imprisoned them in separate abysses. (2 Enoch 7:1-5, 1 Enoch 21:6, 67:4, and Jubilees 10.)

The "Son of Man" came to earth to destroy the works of the devil, and to bring the elect power over the malevolent spirits remaining on the earth.

2 Pet 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment...

In the end of time, the pit will be opened, and these angels and their offspring will be condemned to the Lake of Fire.

3. After his crucifixion, in his ascent to God, Christ went through "all the heavens" (Eph 4:10), announcing and asserting his triumph (Col 2:15) to "imprisoned spirits," not to the dead (not here refering to those in 1 Peter 4:5). He did not preach the Gospel, try to convert these spirits, nor release them.

2 Peter 2:4 is again mentioning the place of sinful angels, translated here as hell. The Greek word is neither hades or ge'enna (other words used for hell). The word is tartaroo, which is used only here. Tartarus was the place that the early Greek godmen, the Titans, were confined in the rebellion of the gods of Olympus against them. The story of the Titans bears much similarity to the story of the lustful angels in Genesis 6.

4. The Second Heaven's inhabitants are the offspring of women and angels, the "men of renown," described a little in 3 Baruch 3:

The angel showed me a great prison, and there were strangely shaped creatures living in it, with faces of dogs, the horns of deer, and the feet of goats. And the angel said, 'These are the ones who planned to build the tower....'

They wanted to steal the power of God by building a ziggurat to heaven.

2 Enoch 7:

[In the second heaven] I saw the condemned angels.... And I felt very sorry for them; and those angels bowed down to me and said to me, "Man of God, pray for us to the Lord!" And I answered and said, "Who am I, a mortal man, that I should pray for angels?"

5. The 5th Heaven is the prison of the fallen angels, described both in Jewish and Greek mythology as a deep abyss.

Greek Homer: Tartarus is

far below, where the uttermost depth of the pit lies under the earth, where there are gates of iron and a brazen doorstone, as far beneath the house of Hades as from earth the sky lies (Iliad 8:13-16).

Jewish Enoch:

I saw a deep pit with heavenly fire on its pillars.... The angel said, This is the prison house for the stars and the powers of heaven (1 Enoch 18:11)

Revelation 20:2-3

And [an angel] siezed the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should decieve the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while.

6. The Apostles Creed that is often recited declares "he descended into hell." This did not appear in the Creed until after 600 A.D., as attested to by the attached comparison. Now the language has again been changed to read, "he descended to the dead."

7. The following picture illustrates a modern representation of the heavens. The next page has a picture of one 1st century Jewish understanding of layered heavens