Monday, July 4, 2011

Question #15

If there is no conscious awareness after death, how could the "spirits in prison", who lived during the time of Noah, be preached to by Christ after His death (I Pet 3:18-20) and how could the good news be "declared even unto the dead" (I Pet 4:5-6)?

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A comparison of I Peter 3:18-20 with Jude 6 indicates that the spirits in prison are the demons. Jude describes them this way: "And the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day."

Whereas Peter describes them as spirits in prison Jude says they are angels under eternal bonds.  Clearly, they are not disembodied souls of humans, as the uninformed questioner imagines. The wicked angels are under restraint from re-materializing as men, as they had done before the Flood. Jesus preached to the incarcerated spirits after his resurrection, in that, Jesus triumphed over the Devil and the demons in their attempt to cause him to sin against God or deviate from his sacrificial course. Jesus' very presence in the heavens as a spirit served notice upon them that Satan's boast that he could turn all men away from God had failed and their doom was sealed. 

As for 1 Peter 4:5-6, the questioner does not understand the basic spiritual language of the Scriptures. A home Bible study with Jehovah's Witnesses clarifies many of this passages for those who are rightly disposed to accept the truth. 

For example, Jesus once told a man who hesitated to become his follower so he could wait for his aged father to die, to "let the dead bury their dead." How could the dead bury the dead? Likely the questioner would explain it in terms of shovel-wielding zombies, or something equally absurd; but the simple truth is, that, Jesus was saying that if a person was not born spiritually they were dead, at least in God's eyes. 

And that is also how 1 Peter 4:4-6 is to be understood. The context concerns those who are engaging in worldly pursuits, also called dead works. The good news was preached to those who are practicing dead works and who are themselves considered as good as dead, that they might abandon a deathly state and come alive in Christ.

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