Holy (Silent) Saturday & The Harrowing of Hell
It is common now (in America at least) to brush aside the idea that during the three days after His death and Resurrection Christ went down to The Place of the Dead, took the Keys to Hell and brought all those beleivers who had died prior to the Incarnation & Resurrection of Christ up to Heaven with Him.
This has been an issue within primarily the fuzzy boundaries of "American Evangelicalism" for probably 20 years or more.
(For an indepth study of this issue read the following books: "He Descended to the Dead": An Evangelical Theology of Holy Saturday by Matthew Y. Emerson (link), and : The Battle for the Keys: Revelation 1:18 and Christ's Descent into the Underworld by Justin W. Bass (link)
Did Jesus Descend Into Hell Apostles' Creed by Michael Heiser
Video from Theoria Logos
"Did Jesus Descend Into Hell Apostles' Creed by Michael Heiser' from video introduction
I will not debate that subject here but will go forward with this as fact. It is my belief that our current theological knowledge in the church has become tainted by secular and scientific opinion.
18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of Death and Hades.
Like every human of that time Jesus human spirit went to the place of the dead but there was one huge difference! Christ had conquered death, He was the Word! His power was supreme!!
Christ was Now the Lord of the Living and the Dead!
So the silence of that Saturday was only a silence as perceived by the people of that time and space. Could they have heard the sounds within the unseen realm I have no doubt that Satan and his Demons where screeching and moaning and cursing.
Jesus was very busy, he was not just standing around watching, He continued on His passion, His exaltation!
Did they remember our Lord's promise of resurrection?
On Saturday of Holy Week, Jesus lay dead in the tomb. This day has often been called Silent Saturday because God seems as to be silent yet we know that is not true.
A night passed and within the Tomb lies buried the body of the Man-God. Death seems triumphant in that silent cave, and seemingly holds captive "Him" that gives life to every creature.
The soldiers watched, as men do, over that grave but they cannot hold Jesus prisoner. very soon the moment for His resurrection would come. Then the Holy Angels would be there, adoring and caring for the lifeless body of Christ.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
This body, the body of Jesus, for a brief interval, was separated from his soul, but was still united to the Person of the Son of God yet not for an instant, lost its union with the Word.
During this time the soul of Jesus makes its presence felt in the abode of the dead. He takes the journey with joy.
Christ sang Psalm 16:
1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.
5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Jesus came at last to the City of Death. He entered its gates, through the doors that no man can open and slammed them shut behind him. But Jesus was no mere mortal. Unlike the men who had come before, he had come to this city willingly and voluntarily. He had laid down his life of his own accord, and he had the power to take it back up again. He had come to rip the doors off the City of Death and to blaze a path of life back to eternity at the right hand of God, not only for himself, but for every sheep that followed him.
Colossians 2: 14-15
14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Michael Heiser — What Happens to a Person Who Dies Without Christ?
Video from Houseform Apologetics
"When the believer dies, they reside in the afterlife—that is, the spiritual realm. We even apply geographical terminology when we talk about the disembodied spiritual world (i.e. passing on, in a better place, etc.). Perhaps, that is the best we can do to process the afterlife. So where does a believer who has died reside until the return of Jesus Christ? Paul makes it clear, we are away from the body and at home with the LORD (2 Corinthians 5:6–8). It’s an “intermediate state,” a term that is a precursor to the new heaven and new earth. What we experience in death as believers when we are with the LORD is just as real as what you will experience after we have a new heaven and new earth, a globalized Eden, because that is where God’s presence will be as well. One isn’t more real than the other is. We sort of think of this pre-state as something lesser than the ultimate Kingdom. It’s natural to do this, mainly because we can’t really imagine what life is life disembodied—whereas, we can when we talk about the new heaven and the new earth. Again, both are just as real, because both are where God is. Yes, there is a difference because we are re-embodied in our glorified bodies in the latter existence. If you look at afterlife descriptions in the NT, prior to the ultimate consummation of the Kingdom (the new heaven and the new earth)—we still have embodiment language being used. When Peter, James, and John see Moses and Elijah, well, they have to be looking at something. So we get this sense that this spirit realm, the afterlife where Moses and Elijah are, God makes discernable. When prophets have visions, they are seeing embodied spiritual beings. I think this is such a wonderful concession to the believer, God is letting us know—hey, you’re still you, and you will be able to recognize people in the afterlife!' from video introduction
The silence of Saturday would be shattered with the shouts on Sunday of “The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!” Hallelujah, everything was about to change.
And it did!!