Life After Death

Chapter 4: The Experience of Jesus Christ

What happened to Jesus when He died (in the 3 days and 3 nights- between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday)?
Jesus’ experience in the 3 days and 3 nights between His death and resurrection was as a man who had just died. Therefore it reveals much about life after death for us. If He lived on as a spirit-soul after death, then surely we will also, for in order to fully identify with us, He became fully human and entered into the full human experience in life and in death. If men go into a soul-sleep upon death then Christ’s humanity would have also but we shall see that this clearly was not the case.

As a man He identified with our full human experience including what happened when He died. When He died physically on the Cross, did He cease existing or did He live in His spirit-soul?We are going to see the events from His death to His resurrection in the spirit realm. We will go on an amazing journey together!

In Luke 9:31, His death is called an Exodus: “who appeared in glory and spoke of His Decease (literally: Exodus = Departure) which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” He was about to exit this world and go somewhere else. Where?

He said to the believing thief in Luke 23:43: 
“I say unto you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” 

It is more consistent to punctuate it this way than: “I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Firstly: “I say unto you today” is a well-known Hebrew phrase used for emphasis. Secondly, if Jesus wanted to made it clear that He meant to say: “today you will be with me in Paradise” He just needed to add ‘hoti’ = ‘that’ to make it: “I say unto you THAT today you will be with Me in Paradise.” But He did not, so both meanings are possible, but “I say unto you today, you will bewith Me in Paradise” is preferable. Either way this verse cannot be used to prove that Jesus went immediately to Paradise when He died). 

This thief had just repented and put His faith in Christ, so now Jesus gives him assurance about his future. He would live on in his spirit, but he would not go to Torments with the unrighteous, but to Paradise with the believers, where he would also enjoy fellowship with Jesus. So he was not to fear death, for he would then go in the spirit to Paradise and that at some point Jesus would join Him there. Notice that they will both be conscious there. 

At this point Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom) where all believers went was in Hades under the earth, as we saw in Luke 16 (see diagram). This thief would join all the O.T believers - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Noah, and would have told them that the promised Messiah had just died on the Cross as the final sacrifice and that on the Cross He had personally had told him that He was coming soon to Paradise. This would have created a great expectation and excitement, especially as just a month before Lazarus had appeared in Paradise, stayed for 4 days telling them the Messiah had come, and then they all heard the voice: “Lazarus come forth”, and saw Lazarus immediately leave Paradise to re-enter his body.

Then Jesus said: “Jesus said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit and then He gave up (released) the spirit”(Luke 23:46) 
Again we see His human spirit would continue to exist. With His body going to the grave He commits His spirit to the Father. If it were not for the other scriptures we might deduce from this that His spirit went immediately to heaven. But as He was facing death and a difficult, dangerous journey ahead, He entrusted His spirit to the care of the Father. In this He gives us an example. When we face danger or death we should pray this prayer, trusting God to bring us safely through to the other side. When we have done all we can in a situation and there is nothing more to do, and the way ahead seems uncertain, then we should do what Jesus did. 

Knowing God loves us and that He will see us through the time ahead, pray: “Father into Your hands I commit my spirit.”We can deposit and entrust ourselves, our life, our future, our destiny into God’s hands. Having done what we can, we can commit it all to Him and enter into rest from our work. We can trust and cast ourselves upon our Father who cares for us, utterly depending on Him to see us through. As we enter into a difficult situation with many dangers and unknowns we can feel powerless, but if we entrust ourselves to the All Powerful One we can go forward in confident faith that He will bring us through. He will bring us up and out. There will be victory even through apparent defeat.


Jesus faced the greatest unknown, the hardest challenge of all - death. But He faced it with a confident faith that the loving God to whom He had entrusted Himself would see Him through the darkness and bring Him out into the light. His faith was not misplaced. On the third day God raised Him from the dead. He delivered Him from death and He brought Him out. He did not let Jesus down. Neither will He let you down if you put yourself into His caring hands. He always looks after whatever is deposited into His care. What we commit to God is in safe hands as was proved on the 3rd day when He rose from death and entered into heaven.


Where did Jesus’ spirit go after death? Some just think He went straight to Paradise, but it is not as simple as that. 

*PHASE 1: His Descent into Hades. In fact Jesus Himself told us where He went:

Matthew 12:39-40: "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” 

Jesus said He would be in the HEART (CENTRE) of the earth, that He would go in spirit to Hades - even the lowest regions of Hades. In Luke 16 the rich man in Torments looked UP to Paradise. Torments was below Paradise. This means Jesus went to the lowest region-Torments. This is confirmed by 2 other scriptures:

Ephesians 4:8-10: “Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men." (Now this, "He ascended" --what does it mean, but that He also first descended into the lowest parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things).” Before He rose again He went down to the lowest parts of the earth, before He went up to Paradise, then up to the grave, then up through the universe, up into the 3rd Heaven.

Romans 10:6-7: “the righteousness of faith speaks in this way: "Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or,"Who will descend into the Abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”

Back to Jonah: “as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be 3 days and 
3 nights in the heart of the earth.” ‘As Jonah ... so will the Son of Man be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.’ In other words, Jesus was saying: “If you want to know about the 3 days and 3 nights between 
My death and resurrection, look at what happened to Jonah.”

If you study Jonah’s prayers in Jonah 2, where he recounts his experience you will see that he actually died and went in spirit to Hades. He was thrown overboard and sank to the bottom of the ocean (2-3 mins), when he died and his spirit kept going down under the earth. Meanwhile God sent a great fish to collect his body from the sea-floor, and transport it to where He wanted to go.After 3 days God raised Jonah from death and his spirit went back into his body and that is where we pick up the story in Jonah 2.

Jonah 2:1
 “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly (upon his resurrection, he found himself in the fish). 

v2 And he said: "I cried out to the Lord because of my AFFLICTION (in Torments), and He answered me. Out of the BELLY of SHEOL (HADES) I cried, and You heard my voice.” Notice that he had gone to Hades, but not to Paradise, for he was in affliction (not comfort) and so he was in Torments. 

v3 For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 

v4 Then I said (while sinking), `I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.' 

v5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul (life); the deep closed around me; weeds were wrapped around my head. 
As he reached the sea-floor he was on the point of death.

v6a I went down to the moorings (roots) of the mountains; 
This is the proof of his experience. He saw mountains on the sea-floor. This has only been recently discovered, because you need special submarines to survive the extreme pressures on the ocean floor. But Jonah went down there 2500 years ago and came back to tell us about it. But he did not stop going down when he reached the sea-floor, for his spirit left his body and continued to go down to Hades under the earth. Next he describes his entry into Hades:

v6b: “the earth with its bars closed behind me forever 
(he entered into a prison under the earth); 

v6c: Yet You have brought up my life from the PIT, O LORD, my God. 
v7: "When my soul fainted within me (when he died), I remembered the Lord; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple. 
v8: Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy. v9: But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; 
I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord." 

v10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

*Are you not sure about life after death stories? It is Biblical. Jonah was the first and he wrote his book to tell about his experience! By all means test the experience against the scriptures. Do not build your doctrine on them, but be inspired.

*Why did Jonah as a believer and prophet go to Torments? 

1. Perhaps because he was out of fellowship with God at death? 

2. More importantly: to be a Type of Jesus Christ in His death

Jonah was a Type of Jesus Christ
: “As JONAH..., so JESUS....”

1. Both were prophets, who died and descended into Hell (see the Creeds), where they suffered in affliction (Torments), but believed God for their deliverance.
2. After 3 days, God brought them both out of Hades (Hell) and raised them from the dead.
3. Then they both appeared alive showing in their flesh the scars of their death and preached for 40 days, causing many to be saved.

: Although Jesus had paid the ransom price in full for us by His Blood on the Cross, there were other aspects of His Work of Redemption that He accomplished in the 3 days and 3 nights. He descended into hell (as the creeds say) and suffered there as part of His identification with cursed humanity. He took the curse (torment) of hell so that we would not have to go there.

Acts 2:23-27 confirms that while His body went to the grave, His soul went to Hades (Torments): "Him ... you have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the PAINS of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: ‘I kept the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart (spirit) rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For (1) You will not leave my soul in Hades (Hell), nor (2) will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” In Acts 2:31, Peter says that this speaks: “of the Resurrection of Christ: that (1) He (His spirit) was not left in Hades and that (2) His flesh would not see corruption.”

*He fulfilled the Type of the scapegoat in Leviticus 16.
(1) One goat FOR THE LORD - killed
(2) The other goat goes ALIVE into the wilderness TO AZAZEL.

In Leviticus 16:5-22
, two goats formed a single sin offering. After the first goat was sacrificed to the Lord, the sins of Israel were put on the 2nd (living) goat (the scapegoat or ‘goat to Azazel’) which then carried their sins away into the wilderness. This was a picture of Jesus, Who, after His sacrificial death, went to Hades in His spirit as our scapegoat, carrying our sins away.

The Scapegoat Leviticus 16:5,7,8,9,10,15,20,21,22
v5 "And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

7 "He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 

8 "Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.

9 "And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness. 

20 "And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. 

21 "Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send itaway into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 

22 "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”

Here we have a beautiful type of a two-fold work of Christ in Redemption. On the Day of Atonement two goats are chosen for a sin-offering. One is killed and its blood placed on the Mercy-Seat, clearly picturing Christ’s death on the cross with his blood poured out for us (verse 15). However, the work is not yet over. This goat by its blood had purchased forgives and reconciliation (verse 20) for Israel. Then the sins of Israel were transferred to the live goat (the scapegoat) which was then sent away into a barren, desolate wilderness (v 21). The goat went alone bearing all the sins away into a lonely place (v22). Thus this goat had to bear the consequences of sin-separation and death. Although the price for forgiveness had been paid by one goat, another half to carry their sins away into a far place - a place of separation and death.

Jesus fulfilled this type perfectly! On the cross he is the sacrificial goat - his blood purchasing our Redemption, the forgiveness of sins - receiving the full penalty and punishment for our sin from God. Then having obtained forgiveness and reconciliation he had finished the first part of his work and became the second goat. Carrying the sins of the world, he now had to suffer the full consequences of sin and the satanic nature. He descended into a barren, forsaken place - the place of separation and death. Thus he removed our sins to the deep and buried them there. Leviticus 16 describes the goat taking the sins to a solitary place - a land of separation. This was the pit or abyss - the depths of hell. Thus Jesus was our scapegoat when in his spirit he descended into hell and suffered in that land of separation the consequences of our sin.

On the Cross (as the first goat), he paid the penalty purchasing redemption by his blood. In hell, as the second goat, he carried our sins to the deep suffering their full consequences. In this two-fold way, pictured by the two goats he fully entered into and dealt with man’s problem. We can see more from this type. Biblically sheep represent believers and goats ‘sinners’. Jesus became a ‘goat’ for us so that we might become the Lord’s sheep. The sin-offering on the Day of Atonement had two parts represented by two goats which together shows God’s full dealing of the sin-problem in Christ. So we see Jesus in the cross as a goat (as sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), spiritually dead - thus ‘as a sinner’) but also we see Jesus after his death, as he changed location to the solitary place, STILL as a goat! Thus as he descended to hell he is still seen as a goat - thus Jesus was still spiritually dead, bearing our sins away. He is still seen as ‘sin’ and this legally must have gone to the place where sinners go. In the resurrection he became a ‘sheep’ and our Great Shepherd.

A. First goat 1 was sacrificed as a sin-offering. It’s blood purchased forgiveness. Jesus fulfilled this when he died physically pouring out his blood.

B. Then goat 2, representing Jesus’ inner man, was ‘left alive’ but carried the sins upon itself.

C. Then it was sent away - there was a change of location from where the first goat was sacrificed to the ‘land of separation’. Thus Jesus changed location from the Cross to the Pit. The goat carrying the sins away was still under judgement. So Jesus in Hell was still cut off from God.

The Goat transferred sin from Israel into a desolate place. Jesus transferred sin from the earth’s surface to the depths of the earth and buried it there. He did it as our scapegoat - thus he was still separated from God until this job was done. In scripture a three day journey is considered to represent a complete separation. Thus by the scapegoat’s three day journey sin would be completely separated from Israel. By Jesus’ three day journey to the Deep sin was completely separated from us and buried, permanently in the Deep! He carried our sins there and so was cut off from God’s presence during this time as the scapegoat 1. was. So he certainly was not in Paradise but in the ‘land of Separation’ where the sin was to be buried. he was still a ‘goat’ so went where the ‘goats’ were not where the sheep were. he died as a ‘goat’, went to Hades as a ‘goat’ and thus went to the place where the ‘goats’ are kept. Jesus as the scapegoat removed our sins as far as the East is from the West to be remembered no more. In his descent he buried our sins in the lowest part of hell, in the depths (heart, centre) of the earth to be remembered no more. In the three day journey he completely separated us from our sin!

Micah 6:19
 “He will have compassion upon US, He will subdue OUR iniquities and YOU WILL CAST ALL THEIR SINS INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA (the Abyss).” 

Messianic Psalms, especially Psalm 88 speak of Messiah in Hades.

: He was made alive in the spirit with resurrection power.

“... God was manifest in the flesh, JUSTIFIED 
(declared righteous) in the spirit...” (1Timothy 3:16)

“...being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) in the spirit” (1Peter 3:18).

Ephesians 1:19,20 speaks of “... his power to usward who believe according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead...” 

Then Ephesians 2:5,6 says
: “Even when we were (spiritually) dead in our sins, He made us (spiritually) alive, together with Christ, and raised us up together with Christ, and made us to sit in heavenly places together with Christ.” 

Colossians 2:12 agrees
: “Ye are risen WITH HIM through the faith in the operation of God who raised him from the dead.” 

This happened in our spirit in the new birth (but not our body yet). We have been made alive and raised up TOGETHER with Christ.
That means His human spirit as well as His body was made alive, raised up above all controlling powers and ascended into heaven.

*PHASE 3: He stripped Himself of principalities and powers.

Colossians 2:15:
 “Having disarmed (spoiled, stripped Himself of) principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” He defeated the devil in dynamic conflict (Gen 3:15) -as a man! We were in Him, co-conquerors!

He took the keys of death and hell from satan (for a jailbreak!).
Revelation 1:17,18: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of Death and Hades.”

*PHASE 4: He proclaimed His Victory to the fallen angels in Tartarus (Hell). 

1Peter 3:18,19
: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit (by the Spirit), 
by Whom also He went and preached (proclaimed His Victory) to the spirits in prison.” Certain fallen angels are already imprisoned in the Abyss. They are in holding cells until the final judgement of the Lake of Fire. 

2Peter 2:4: “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, 
but cast them down to HELL (literally: TARTARUS, at the bottom of the Abyss) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for (final) judgement.” 
This was common knowledge for Jews - in the book of Enoch.

Jude 6: “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.”

ABYSS-Revelation 9:1: “Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, (releasing demons)....11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.”

Revelation 20:1: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 
v2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; v3and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”

Luke 8:31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the Abyss.

*PHASE 5: He went in triumph to the believers in Paradise.

Now Luke 23:43 was fulfilled when Jesus announced to the thief on the Cross: “You will be WITH ME in Paradise.”

1Peter 4:6
: “For this reason the Gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

Lazarus, Thief - all were waiting for Him. Imagine the excitement and expectation! Jesus preached the Gospel of His death and resurrection, that He is Lord, so that through believing they could receive remission of sin and the New-Birth, so now their new-creation spirits made perfect in Christ could ascend to heaven.

Jesus does a jailbreak, taking all the believers with Him up into heaven! Ephesians 4:8: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive."

: He then ascended to the earth’s surface (taking the believers in Paradise with Him), where He went to His tomb to be reunited to His physical body (the burst of resurrection power probably created the image on the Turin Shroud). 

It was not time for the vast majority of the others with Him to be raised, for it was not yet time for the complete harvest - just the First-fruits, which was Christ and a few select individuals who had been recently buried in Jerusalem:

Matthew 27:51-53
: “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 bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many."

1Corinthians 15:20-24a: ‘But now Christ is risen from the dead and become the FIRST FRUITS of them who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death by man also came the resurrection of the dead, For as in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in His own order:

1. Christ the First fruits
2. afterwards those who are Christ’s at His Coming
3. then comes the end.” 

Leviticus 23:10,11
 - First fruits next time (Feast fulfilment).

*PHASE 7: He then ascended to the Father in Heaven as the First Fruits, bringing all the believers in Paradise with Him to Heaven, where He also presented His Blood to God, opening up the New and Living Way for us to enter into God’s Presence in Heaven (Hebrews 9:12, 23-25; 10:19,20). 

John 20:17: “Jesus said to her: “Do not cling (hold on) to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father, but go to my brethren and say to them: “I am ascending to My Father and your Father and to my God and to your God.”

This was the time of the morning sacrifice 8-9 am (the day after the Sabbath) the prescribed time of offering the First-Fruits, which started the countdown to Pentecost - that is why the time was fulfilled at 9 am - Acts 2:1). The Firstfruits Offering was holy and so should not be touched by man before being offered up to God, so He told Mary not to touch Him for He was about to ascend as the First-Fruits Offering. Later that day after He had ascended to Heaven and offered Himself to God as the Firstfruits and returned to earth, He was happy for them to touch Him and to hold onto Him (see Matthew 28:9, John 20:27).

Jesus ascended as First-Fruits with selected believers as the wave-sheaf and took all the spirits made perfect with Him to Heaven.

*He was given all authority - installed as King (Matthew 28:18, Philippians 2). He was given Name above every name (Daniel 7).

*He presented His blood in Heavenly holy of holies (Hebrews).
So now all believers can enter heaven through the blood accepted in heaven.

Ephesians 4:8-10:
 “He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men."

Now Paradise, where believers go, is no longer under the earth, but in heaven (Jesus relocated Paradise on the day of His resurrection).

So now when believers die in the Lord, they do not go DOWN to Paradise in Hades under the earth, but UP to Paradise in Heaven, to be with the Lord, for Jesus relocated Paradise to Heaven on the day of His Resurrection. This is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4: “A man in Christ 14 years ago, (whether in the body or out of the body, I can't tell) was caught UP to the 3rd heaven.., caught UP into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words.”Last time we saw scriptures showing how believers now go up to heaven not down. 



*Acts 1. Jesus then returned to the earth to instruct, prepare His disciples for 40 days for the new dispensation then finally ascended to heaven and sit on His throne until the time of His Return. There were 40 days between His two Ascensions (Acts 1:2,3,9).

 So we have seen that Jesus, in His human spirit-soul, lived on and was conscious after His physical death (while His body rested in the tomb). Jesus fully identified with us, becoming fully human, our representative Man, the 2nd Adam, and entering into the full human experience, both in life and in death. This must mean that after our physical death, we, like Him will continue to exist and be conscious as a spirit-soul. The experience of Jesus in the 3 days and 3 nights is therefore further proof of man’s continued conscious existance and experience as a disembodied spirit-soul.
*Believer: Rejoice He has risen, conquered hell and death for us and opened a new and living way for us into heaven’s glory. 
 *Warning to unbeliever: But unbelievers still go down to Hades-Torments to await their final sentencing. We have this life to choose life or death, heaven and hell. CHOOSE LIFE. 
 *Antidote appeal
 *RECEIVE JESUS and His salvation (only antidote that can work) and when you do He will come in by His Spirit and fill you with His love and power to live a change life. Put all your trust in Him for forgiveness, salvation and eternal life. Then live a life that proves your faith (trust) in Him is genuine.

*If you have not yet put all your trust in Him and so do not have assurance pray this prayer with me.

*Sinner’s Prayer



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