Your word is a lamp
for my feet and a light
for my path.
Psalms 119:105

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Somebody told me that Saint Peter must have a higher position than the Lord Jesus because St. Peter has the keys to heaven, whereas the Lord Jesus has the keys to hell. Where do we find this in the Bible and please explain? (W.P.M.)

<ANSWER>--A "key," in the symbolisms of the Scriptures, is representative of the opening power vested in the one who has been duly authorized to act, just as is sometimes expressed in the vernacular--"He holds the key to the situation." St. Peter was given two "keys" (`Mat. 16:19`), one of which he used on the day of Pentecost when he opened the way for the Jews to enter into the Kingdom by preaching the Gospel of Christ and the Kingdom (`Acts 2:22-36`.) Three thousand Jews entered in though this opened door (`verse 41`) on that very day. The second key was used three and one-half years later when St Peter opened up the way for the Gentiles to enter into the Kingdom, by preaching the Gospel to Cornelius who accepting the message, and believing, became the first Gentile convert to Christianity. (`Acts 10:44,45`.) In `Rev. 1:18` the glorified Savior is represented as speaking, saying "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death." The Lord Jesus, by virtue of His death and resurrection, accomplished the redemption of the race of mankind from death and hell-- hades, the grave. Because He thus bought the race, He has the "keys," the opening power, to release all mankind from the great prison house of death and the tomb, as we read concerning the Lord Jesus--"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." `Isa. 61:1`.

Is it a Biblical fact that Christ descended into hell after His crucifixion and before His resurrection?

<ANSWER>--Many Christians are quite perplexed as to where the Lord Jesus was from the time of His crucifixion to the time of His resurrection. Some have the thought that He was away somewhere preaching to the spirits in prison (`1 Pet. 3:19`); some that He was with the thief in Paradise (`Luke 23:43`); some that He was in Heaven, and some that He was in a place of fire and brimstone called Hell. (`Psa. 16:10`; `Acts 2:31`.) However, the Bible does not leave us in doubt about the matter but plainly teaches that the Lord Jesus was in hell during the three days following the crucifixion. The hell of the Scriptures is not the hell of the creeds, but the condition of death, the grave. Jesus was in the tomb, the grave. He was dead, as the Bible affirms, and was raised the third day. See the following Scriptures and forget about the confusion of the creeds which in the main are unscriptural. (`1 Cor. 15:3,4`; `1 Cor.12:16`; `Acts 2:24`; `Rom. 6:4`; `1 Pet. 1:21`.) The Hebrew <sheol> the Greek word <hades,> and the English word hell all signify the same thing--the grave, the condition of the dead. All enlightened Bible Scholars and clergymen versed in the original languages of the Scriptures will acknowledge, if they are honest and unprejudiced, that there is not the slightest suggestion, in the original meaning of these words, of fire, brimstone and torment. We have not the space here to give an explanation of the Scriptures referred to at the beginning of this reply, but can assure all that these are in entire harmony with themselves, rightly understood, and with all the rest of the Scriptures which teach that our Lord was in the tomb for the three days preceding His resurrection.

Where is hell, and who created it? (I.N.J.)

<ANSWER>--The so-called "orthodox hell," of a vast furnace of fire and brimstone, manned by fire-proof devils with pitch forks in their hands, who are busily engaged in jabbing and tormenting the billions of poor unfortunates--all of the human race, with the exception of the few saints, who with much difficulty manage to squeeze through the pearly gates into the heavenly city--exists only in the feeble minds and perverted imaginations of those who have given heed to the "doctrines of demons" (`1 Tim. 4:1`) and who have never thoughtfully studied the Scriptures. This "hell" was created in the Dark Ages of the past by corrupt and ignorant priests influenced by evil spirits who misrepresented and blasphemed the character of the Almighty God, who is wise and just, loving and merciful, as the Scriptures everywhere affirm. In the increasing light of our day, when the people are brushing the smoke and dust of the Ages of gloom from their eyes, it is clearly seen that "hell," in the Scriptures, is nothing more than the condition of death--the tomb. The Hebrew word <sheol> and the Greek <hades> from which the word hell is used in the English translations, have this significance. All go to hell--the grave--the death state, and will remain there until the resurrection. Adam created, or brought this "hell," or condition of death, upon the race by his disobedience. See `Rom. 5:12`.


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