Dear brother Paulose,
In the portion you quoted in the initial frame communicates that the author was asking the question about the need for Christ to go to hell to accomplish atonement. God was satisfied at the finished work of Christ on the cross. There was nothing to be added to it. It was complete and perfect. However, the author stated that there are people who insist that Christ has to go to hell to complete the atonement for our sins. This the author opposed.
Now, let me address the title of this thread. It is about ‘spiritual death on the cross.’ What is this spiritual death? In another thread, I wrote about three different kinds of death. They are:
1. The physical death of the separation of the body, soul, and spirit;
2. The spiritual death of being dead in trespasses and sin;
3. The second death of being cast into the Lake of Fire.
Since you have not defined what you meant by the term ‘spiritual death,’ please let me know about what I wrote.
If #2 above is your understanding about ‘spiritual death,’ then what do you think about what you quoted in the first frame? I am asking only to understand what you comprehended from reading it.
I am restating what I wrote about death in the other thread. We learn from the Scriptures that that there are various aspects to ‘death.’ Basically, it is a separation. The death in the flesh, also known as physical death, is the separation of the body, soul, and spirit that were joined in creation and continues to be so in our conception. Psalm 138:14-16 is one of the places in the Scriptures that tell us about it. Man continues his spiritual death in trespasses and sins. That we read in the New Testament (Ephesians 2:1). During this death in trespasses and sins, the body, soul, and spirit remain united. This could also be considered as similar to Adam’s life after he was sent out of the Garden of Eden till he died in his flesh. We read about the second death in Revelation 20:11-15. Before the second death the body, soul, and spirit that were separated at the death in the flesh (physical death) are united together and made stand before the Great White Throne to be cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.
What happens to the body, soul, and spirit at the death of the flesh or physical death? Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us that the spirit returns to God who gave it. What happens to the soul at the death of the flesh or physical death? When the spirit goes to God, the soul goes to place that is different from God. Christ said that Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom and the Rich Man went to a place of torture. The New Testament saints are told that they will be with the Lord. A place of torture is not a prison. It is a place where the souls of unjust are kept and tortured. The souls of men will go to different places according to their standing with God. The bodies are placed on the earth and remains on the earth till their resurrection.
The proponents of Christ going to hell to complete the atonement work may find their solace in 1 Peter 3:17-22. It is willful manipulation to deceive the unsuspecting and innocent people. Let me quote 1 Peter 3:17-22, “For it is better, if the will of God should will it, to suffer as well-doers than as evildoers, for Christ indeed has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God; being put to death in flesh, but made alive in the Spirit, in which also going He preached to the spirits which are in prison, heretofore disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noe while the ark was preparing, into which few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water; which figure also now saves you , even baptism, not a putting away of the filth of flesh, but the demand as before God of a good conscience, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, gone into heavens, angels and authorities and powers being subjected to Him.” In 1 Peter 3:17-22, we do not read about the souls, but about the spirit that were disobedient. Their disobedience was connected with the time of Noe. There is no salvation for those spirits. Only man receives salvation. In 1 Peter 3:17-2, we read about disobedient spirits and souls of men. Only eight souls were saved and we do not read about all other souls that perished. The spirits that are mentioned are mentioned as the ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6. Their disobedience is mentioned in Genesis 6. Christ did not pray for the spirits, evil or good. He prayed for sinners.
In this connection, let me take a brief look into the different Greek words that are translated as ‘hell.’ They are:
1. SHEOL – This is a Hebrew word that indicates ‘the unseen world.’ It is translated as ‘hell’ in Deuteronomy 32:22 and many other places. The Psalmist prayed that the wicked should be burned in hell -- SHEOL (Psalm 9:17). The Psalmist also prayed that God should not leave his soul in hell – SHEOL (Psalm 16:10). This is reflected in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
2. HADES -- This is a Greek word and it indicates ‘the unseen world.’ The Rich Man saw Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, but they were separated by a chasm or gulf. We read about this hell (HADES) in Matthew 11:23. The same Greek word is used in Luke 16:23 about the Rich Man. It is this Hades that delivers up the dead to stand before the Great White Throne to be cast into the Lake of Fire, because their names were wanting in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:13-14).
3. GEHENNA – This Greek word indicates the ‘Valley of Hinnom,’ and is translated as ‘hell.’ There was a place, outside of Jerusalem, where the trash was dumped and set on fire. As time passed, this fire continued to burn without going out, because there was a continuous dumping of trash to fuel it. Worms and other creatures lived very close to that fire. Christ compared the end of the disobedient man to be in such a place. We read this in Matthew 5:22, 29, etc.
4. TARTAROW -- It is pronounced ‘Tartaroo.’ This is commonly known as ‘Tartarus.’ This is the ‘deepest pit of gloom.’ In 2 Peter 2:4, it is translated as ‘hell.’ This is where the angels that sinned during the time of Noah are kept.
5. PHULAKH – It is pronounced ‘Phulake,’ and translated as ‘hell.’ The meaning of this Greek word indicates that it is a ‘place of guarding’ prisoners. In the New Testament, this Greek word appears for the first time in Matthew 5:25. It also appears in 1 Peter 3:19. When we compare 1 Peter 3:19 with 2 Peter 2:4, we come to learn that they are the same place. We also learn from Revelation 20:7 that it is the place where Satan will be imprisoned for the 1,000 years. He is not there now, but some of the evil angels who disobeyed God during the time of Noah are there.
6. LIMNH TH KAIOMENH PURI – pronounced as ‘LIMNE TE KAIOMENE PURI. Its meaning is ‘lake burning with fire.’ We usually mention this as the ‘Lake of Fire.’ This is where all those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be cast into. This is where they will meet Satan and his angles and continue in the second death. We read about this in Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8.
If we consider all these different places as ‘hell,’ because we read that word in the English translations, then we may have difficulty to comprehend the truth. We read in the epistles of Peter that Christ went to the prison where the disobedient spirits are kept and preached the gospel to them. It was not the gospel of salvation, but it was the Gospel that the “Seed of the Woman” has bruised the head of the Old Serpent, their leader – Satan. The good news was that they will be soon taken out that prison and will be cast into the Lake of Fire. It may not be good news to them, but it is the good news of God to man that He preached to the spirits that made man to sin and brought the flood of Noah’s time.
Before I close, let me say that there was a time of separation of the Son of Man from God, while He was on the cross. That happened before He declared, “It is finished.” There was darkness for three hours and the Son of Man cried, “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani.” That is, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me.” It is God who forsook Him. The Triune God forsook the Son, while He was carrying my sins as my substitute. [To me, this is personal. You may do so, too.] That is, even the Son forsook the Son. I cannot understand this completely, but all I know is that when I stand in the place of another person, I cannot forsake myself. My Lord Jesus Christ, the Son, was forsaken by the Triune God and it was for me to be called a son of God thru adoption into God’s family. He went through the second death on the cross, so that I do not have to go through it. I did that in Him. In human time span, it was three hours. For God who lives in eternity, including the Son, it was an eternal separation. At that moment, the Son cried “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” What a salvation!! All I could say is, HALELUAH!!!
I hope that this will be helpful to you.