Friday, March 1, 2013

Sheol - Hades and Imprisoned spirits in 1 Peter

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
1 Peter 3:18-22

Imprisoned spirits that Jesus meets after His death and after being made alive again.

We could think that those who drowned in the Great Flood are kept in some kind of after-life storage place built especially for human spirits a la Sheol-Hades. This concept was quite prevalent in pre-Christian Greece and also in Judaism. But the specific steps mentioned in 1 Peter 3 - Jesus dying and being made alive again and after that preaching to the dead souls brings a complication to our simple reasoning.

We note also in the NIV translation the idea of a sign, salvation through water: "this water symbolizes baptism". Howver Greek text has here antitypon, ἀντίτυπον corresponding (“antitype”), that is, a representative, counterpart: - (like) figure (whereunto).

 ὃ καὶ ὑμᾶς ἀντίτυπον νῦν σώζει βάπτισμα

Water has crucial role in the Book of Jonah, as well, but there is no reference to that in the New Testament as far as I can see.

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