Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
[206:1] Luke, xxiii. 44, 45.
[206:2] Matthew, xxvii. 51-53.
[206:3] Amberly: Analysis of Religious Belief, p. 268.
[206:4] Life of Christ, vol. ii. p. 643.
[207:1] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 71.
[207:2] Rhys David's Buddhism, pp. 36, 37.
[207:3] See Potter's Æschylus, "Prometheus Chained," last stanza.
[207:4] Farrar's Life of Christ, p. 52.
[207:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 616, 617.
[207:6] See Ibid. and Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. pp. 159 and 590, also Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, book xiv. ch. xii. and note.
Impiaquæ æternam timuerunt sæcula noctem."
[207:8] See Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. pp. 159 and 590.
[208:1] Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 46.
[208:2] Ibid. pp. 61, 62.
[208:3] Ibid. p. 270.
[208:4] Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 822.
[208:5] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 106.
[209:1] See Kingsborough's Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 5.
[209:2] The Fathers of the Church seem to cover the whole earth with darkness, in which they are followed by most of the moderns. (Gibbon. Luke, xxiii. 44, says "over all the earth.")
[209:3] Origen (a Father of the third century) and a few modern critics, are desirous of confining it to the land of Judea. (Gibbon.)
[209:4] Seneca, a celebrated philosopher and historian, born in Spain a few years B. C., but educated in Rome, and became a "Roman."
[209:6] Seneca: Quaest. Natur. l. i. 15, vi. l. vii. 17. Pliny: Hist. Natur. l. ii.
[209:7] Gibbon's Rome, i. 589, 590.
[209:8] Matt. xvi. 20.
[210:1] Hamlet, act 1, s. 1.
"HE DESCENDED INTO HELL."
The doctrine of Christ Jesus' descent into hell is emphatically part of the Christian belief, although not alluded to by Christian divines excepting when unavoidable.
In the first place, it is taught in the Creed of the Christians, wherein it says:
"He descended into hell, and on the third day he rose again from the dead."
The doctrine was also taught by the Fathers of the Church. St. Chrysostom (born 347 A. D.) asks:
"Who but an infidel would deny that Christ was in hell?"[211:1]
And St. Clement of Alexandria, who flourished at the beginning of the third century, is equally clear and emphatic as to Jesus' descent into hell. He says:
"The Lord preached the gospel to those in Hades, as well as to all in earth, in order that all might believe and be saved, wherever they were. If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the gospel, as He did descend, it was either to preach the gospel to all, or to the Hebrews only. If accordingly to all, then all who believe shall be saved, although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there."[211:2]
Origen, who flourished during the latter part of the second, and beginning of the third centuries, also emphatically declares that Christ Jesus descended into hell.[211:3]
Ancient Christian works of art represent his descent into hell.[211:4]
The apocryphal gospels teach the doctrine of Christ Jesus' descent into hell, the object of which was to preach to those in bondage there, and to liberate the saints who had died before his advent on earth.
On account of the sin committed by Adam in the Garden of Eden, all mankind were doomed, all had gone to hell—excepting those who had been translated to heaven—even those persons who were "after God's own heart," and who had belonged to his "chosen people." The coming of Christ Jesus into the world, however, made a change in the affairs of man. The saints were then liberated from their prison, and all those who believe in the efficacy of his name, shall escape hereafter the tortures of hell. This is the doctrine to be found in the apocryphal gospels, and was taught by the Fathers of the Church.[212:1]
In the "Gospel of Nicodemus" (apoc.) is to be found the whole story of Christ Jesus' descent into hell, and of his liberating the saints.
Satan, and the Prince of Hell, having heard that Jesus of Nazareth was about to descend to their domain, began to talk the matter over, as to what they should do, &c. While thus engaged, on a sudden, there was a voice as of thunder and the rushing of winds, saying: "Lift up your gates, O ye Princes, and be ye lifted up, O ye everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall come in."
When the Prince of Hell heard this, he said to his impious officers: "Shut the brass gates . . . and make them fast with iron bars, and fight courageously."
The saints having heard what had been said on both sides, immediately spoke with a loud voice, saying: "Open thy gates, that the King of Glory may come in." The divine prophets, David and Isaiah, were particularly conspicuous in this protest against the intentions of the Prince of Hell.
Again the voice of Jesus was heard saying: "Lift up your gates, O Prince; and be ye lifted up, ye gates of hell, and the King of Glory will enter in." The Prince of Hell then cried out: "Who is the King of Glory?" upon which the prophet David commenced to reply to him, but while he was speaking, the mighty Lord Jesus appeared in the form of a man, and broke asunder the fetters which before could not be broken, and crying aloud, said: "Come to me, all ye saints, who were created in my image, who were condemned by the tree of the forbidden fruit . . . live now by the word of my cross."