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Bible Study Discussions with Gary Panell


Question: Television pastors are claiming that Jesus after His death on the cross went to hell and had to fight Satan so that our sins would be forgiven. After that He was reborn. How do I use scripture to prove that this is not biblical? Also the name it, [and] claim it. I am having a hard time finding scriptures to show if there is truth in this teaching.

Answer: Yes, the television ‘pastors’ are claiming just as you said, here are some quotes of what they are saying. From Frederick K.C. Price: “Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God…Satan and all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound. And they threw a net over Jesus and dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence.” (Ever increasing Faith Messenger [June 1980],7; quoted in D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988], 120.)

Paul E. Billheimer: “The Father turned Him over, not only to the agony and death of Calvary, but to the satanic torturers of His pure spirit as part of the just dessert of the sin of all the race. As long as Christ was the ‘the essence of sin’ he was at Satan’s mercy in that place of torment…While Christ identified with sin, Satan and the hosts of hell ruled over Him as over any lost sinner. During that seemingly endless age in the nether abyss of death, Satan did with Him as he would, and all hell was ‘in carnival.’” (Destined for the Throne, special edition for TBN [Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1988 (orig. 1975)], 84.)

Charles Capps: “If there’s any part of hell Jesus did not suffer, you’ll have to suffer it. But, thank God, Jesus suffered it all, for you! In the place of the wicked dead, all the demons of hell and Satan rejoiced over the prize. The corridors of hell were filled with joy. ‘We’ve done it! We’ve captured the Son of God! We’ll no longer be in the pit of the damned! The earth and all that is therein is ours! Forever it will be ours! Rejoicing in hell had never been so great as it was that day. But it was short-lived.” (Authority in Three Worlds, 143, emphasis in original.)

Kenneth Copeland: “Satan didn’t realize He [Jesus] is in there [hell] illegally…This man had not sinned. This man has not fallen out of the covenant of God, and He had the promise of God for deliverance. And Satan fell into the trap. He took Him into hell illegally. He carried Him in there [when] He did not sin.” (“What Happened from the Cross to the Throne” [For Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1990], audiotape #02-0017, side 2.)

Kenneth Copeland: “He [Jesus] is suffering all that is to suffer. There is no suffering left apart from Him. His emaciated, poured out, little, wormy spirit is down in the bottom of that thing [hell]. And the Devil thinks he’s got Him destroyed.” (“Believer’s Voice of Victory” program [21 April 1991]. This message was originally delivered at the Full Gospel Motorcycle Rally Association 1990 Rally at Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas.)

Kenneth Copeland: “That Word of the living God went down into that pit of destruction and charged the spirit of Jesus with resurrection power! Suddenly His twisted, death-wracked spirit began to fill out and come back to life. He began to look like something the devil had never seen before.” (: The Price of it All,” Believer’s Voice of Victory 19, 9 [September 199]:4)

Kenneth Copeland: “He [Jesus] was literally being reborn before the devil’s very eyes. He began to flex His spiritual muscles…Jesus was born again—the firstborn from the dead the Word calls Him—and He whipped the devil in his own backyard. He took everything he had away from him. He took his keys and his authority away from him.” (Ibid., 4-6)

So, yes, as you say, this is what these ‘Bible teachers’ are teaching, that Jesus went to hell and suffered, was reborn, and now He can claim victory over Satan, sin, death, and hell. The only problem with this—is that it is not Scriptural! It is a heresy of the worst kind. It takes away from Jesus’ shed blood and death on the cross. Remember what Jesus said to the thief dieing on the cross beside Him? If you don’t remember, here is what that Scripture says, “And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

How much clearer could God have made it, as to where Jesus was going after He died on the cross? Not only that, when Jesus died, what were the last words He said right before He gave up His spirit? Didn’t He say, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Didn’t He also say, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ (Luke 23:46b) He was not committing His spirit into Satan’s hands.

Also, what was finished? Was it not the punishment for our sins? Does it say anywhere in the Bible that Jesus suffered in hell for our sins? No, it says, He gave His blood, suffered and died for our sins!

“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” (Luke 22:20)

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:9)

“…and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Col. 1:20)

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition form your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18,19)

“…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood…” (Revelation 1:5) These are just a very few of the many references to the ‘blood’ of Christ saving us.

To say that Jesus saved us by suffering in hell for our sins is heresy! In the book of Galatians, Apostle Paul says of those who would change the Gospel and preach another gospel, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

What did St. Paul say was the gospel? Look with me at what he said, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1Corinthians 15:1-3) I didn’t see anything in there about Christ going to hell, did you?

All you would need to refute the ‘Jesus suffering in hell heresy’ are the above verses, but I will go into more detail here to try and show where some people get these false doctrines. As St. Peter says, “—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of Scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:15b-16)

A Scripture that sometimes people construe to mean Christ went to hell is, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison…” (1 Peter 3:18-19) Which has nothing to do with any suffering in hell, but this has to do with the Spirit of Christ that preached through Noah before the flood, those people who are now in prison (hell). So this passage has nothing to do with the spirit of Jesus suffering in hell.

Another one that could be used in a wrong way is, “Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ (Now this, ‘He ascended’—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)…(Ephesians 4:8-10) This passage also does not have anything about Christ suffering in hell.

We do believe Christ went to Hades, which had two compartments, on one side was Paradise and on the other side was hell. Before Christ died on the cross no one could be redeemed. Jesus went and took those in Paradise to Heaven with Him after He arose from the dead. There Jesus is preparing an even better place for us. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if I it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

In the Apostles’ Creed it does say Jesus descended into hell, but the more correct word would be Hades. Some older copies of the Apostles’ Creed did not have this phrase ‘descended into hell’ But even the more recent Apostles’ Creed, even though it uses the word ‘hell’ says nothing of Christ suffering there. Hades, and Sheol are sometimes translated into English as ‘hell.’ This is where someone with little or no understanding of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, might be confused.

Before Christ’s resurrection, people went to Sheol (Hebrew from the Old Testament), or Hades (Greek from the New Testament). These words should never be translated as grave. The (Hebrew) word Queber – though, should always be translated as the grave. To simplify it, Sheol and Hades mean "the place of the departed spirits." It is like we say, "Mr. Smith passed away." We are not saying whether he went to heaven or hell, we are only saying that his spirit left this earth. That is what is being said with these terms, Hades, and Sheol.

In Sheol/Hades there were two different sides or compartments, one was for torment, and the other for comfort as the passage in Luke makes clear. The hell side is not the second death; this comes after a person has been before the Great White Throne judgment. So it is more like a holding cell in a "county jail," for the sake of an example. The person has to go to trial before they are put into the "state penitentiary" (hell/the second death).

You may remember that before Jesus died on the cross, there were two thieves that were crucified with Him. One was repentant, and the other was not. Jesus said to the one thief that repented, today you will be with me in Paradise. Shortly after our Lord and Savior arose from the dead, the spirits of all in the place of comfort, known as Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise, went up with Christ, and the location of Paradise was changed to heaven.

About ten years or so after this time we believe Paul was caught up to Paradise (heaven) and heard ‘inexpressible things.’ “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4) (See our article, Will Heaven Be One Eternal Church Service?)

The unrepentant thief, on the other hand, was sent to the "temporary hell," that side of Sheol or Hades is still there, and will be there until the Great White Throne Judgment takes place. (For more on this subject of hell, go to our article named Is There a Real Hell?)

You may want to know why people went to Sheol/Hades before Christ arose from the dead. The reason for this is because, until Jesus had settled the sin question, they could not be forgiven. You see, before Christ died on the cross for our sins, animals were sacrificed, but the book of Hebrews says that the sacrifice of animals could not take away sins, only cover them for a time. Then when Jesus died on the cross He said, "It is finished!" Our sins were paid for, once and for all time, now those who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior do not have to go to Sheol/Hades, but now we go to be with Jesus in Heaven.

Where were Sheol or Hades located? The Scriptures are also clear about this, look at these references: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40) Jesus went to the Paradise side of Sheol/Hades when He died. Abraham, Samuel, Lazarus, and millions of others would have been there, and then Jesus and the repentant thief on the cross went there as well.

Then just after the three literal days were up (look at the article on the Resurrection from the Four in One Gospel Part Two) Jesus declared victory over Satan and proclaimed release to the "captives" that had been in this temporary place of comfort, but at no time did Jesus go to hell to suffer. Then Jesus transported the spirits of the Old Testament Saints to Heaven. Heaven is in preparation for us now; also Paradise (The Garden of Eden) has been moved there as well. "In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2-3)

When Jesus died on the cross He went down into Sheol/Hades to the Paradise side with the repentant thief on the cross, the other unrepentant thief ended up in torment, or the hell side of Sheol/Hades. When Jesus rose from the dead three days later, He took with Him all that were in the Paradise side and they went to heaven with Him.

"Therefore he says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ (Now this, ‘He ascended’—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:8-10) We said all this to point out that: "He ascended –what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?" Notice, it does not say to hell and suffered!

We know by other Scriptures that the lower parts (heart) of the earth referred to here was Sheol, as we read, "For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption." (Psalm 16:10) This is explained by the Apostle Peter as referring to the Lord Jesus. "Because you will not leave my soul in Hades [the temporary Paradise], nor will You allow your holy One to see corruption." (Acts 2:27)

From these two passages we see first that "Sheol" in the Hebrew is the same place that is named "Hades" in the Greek. Secondly, that the body and soul of our Lord Jesus were separated. In Isaiah it says: "And they made His grave (Queber) with the wicked—but with the rich at His death…" The Grave had His body and Sheol His soul.

So, nowhere do we see in any of Scripture, that Christ suffered in hell!

Now, let’s go on to talk about the second part of your question ‘the name it, and claim it’ teaching. Of all the false doctrines perpetrated on man, this one seems to be so obviously wrong that it is hard to understand how people could believe it. I say that, but then in the next breath I think, but it does cater to man’s selfish nature. Also, if a Christian is not into the word and just listening to T.V. evangelists, they could be easily deceived.

I cannot go into great detail here about this teaching, so let me tell you about two books that you want to get your hands on concerning this subject. These books are both by Hank Hanegraaff. The books are Christianity in Crises, and Counterfeit Revival. However, here I will try to summarize the beliefs of the name and claim it group, and then give you some Scripture to refute it.

Let me quote to you a little on this subject from Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraaff, “Tragically, Price is not content to wreak havoc upon the centrality of Christ’s work upon the cross. [Referring to the subject we just discuss, the false teaching about Jesus suffering hell.] He also portrays a completely different Christ during His earthly ministry. Consider, for example, Price’s argument that Jesus ‘must have had a whole lot’ of money. Here’s how he puts it:

“The Bible says that He [Jesus] had a treasurer…named Judas Iscariot; and the rascal was Stealing out of the bag for three-and-a-half years and nobody knew that he was stealing.

You know why?

Because there was so much in it…If He had three oranges in the bottom of the bag and he stole two of them, don’t tell me He wouldn’t know that some was missing. Beside that, if Jesus didn’t have anything, what do you need a treasury for?” (“Ever Increasing Faith” program on TBN [23 November 1990]).

“Upon such a flawed foundation rests a fundamental Faith fantasy—namely, that Jesus was wealthy, that He wore expensive clothing, and that His disciples lived in luxury.

John Avanzini

“Dr. John Avanzini bills himself as a noted Bible teacher and recognized authority on biblical economics. ‘Brother John,’ as he likes to call himself, claims to have studied the life of Christ to the extent that he is now prepared to dispel the popular misconception that our Lord was poor. Contrary to ‘tradition’ Avanzini asserts Jesus was so wealthy that He wore custom-made designer clothes. [“Believer’s Voice of Victory” program on TBN (20 January 1991].

“Avanzini uses John 19:23 in an attempt to make his point. What Avanzini doesn’t seem to realize is that what he describes as a seamless custom-made designer coat is considered by competent Bible scholars to refer to an undergarment. Thus, if we are to take Avanzini seriously, he has built the case that Jesus wore custom-made designer underwear!”

“Avanzini continues his attempt to demonstrate that Christ was wealthy by pointing out that, contrary to what people have been taught, ‘Jesus had a nice house, a big house.’ Anticipating a rebuttal, Avanzini offered this response to Matthew 8:20:

“Foxes have holes and the birds in the air have nests, but the Son of man hath nowhere to lay His head” is not a declaration that Jesus didn’t have a house…It meant that [the] Samaritans canceled the meeting that He was going to, if you remember the account. And in those days, there wasn’t a Holiday Inn on every corner…If your advance men got canceled, then you walked to the next meeting and take up there. It’s very clear that He had a house…The Bible states he had a house. [John Avanzini, “Praise the Lord” program on TBN (1 August 1989)]

“This is no mere academic point, for, according to Avanzini, until you know that Jesus was prosperous, you won’t be either. Elsewhere he says, ‘If Jesus was poor, I want to be poor, if Jesus slept under a bridge, I want to sleep under the bridge, but if Jesus was rich, I too want to be rich.” [John Avanzini, “Praise-a-Thon” program on TBN (15 September 1988)]

“Armed with a bundle of biblical texts which he takes out of context, Avanzini teaches people that they should give to get. Avanzini has even suggested that ‘a greater than a lottery has come. His name is Jesus!’ [John Avanzini, “Praise-a-Thon” program on TBN (April 1991)]

“Perhaps the saddest fact of all is that Avanzini takes the Word of God—which was designed to bring men light—and reduces it to a means to bring in funds. In the words of Benny Hinn, “The wicked are piling up the funds and I love the way John teaches on this. He’s the best there is when it comes to teaching you on how to get the wealth of the wicked. Man, I like it!” [Benny Hinn, “Praise-a-Thon” program on TBN (6 November 1990)]

We could go on to the teachings of Robert Tilton, Marilyn Hickey, Paul Yonggi Cho (David Yonggi Cho), Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Morris’ Cerullo, Paul Crouch, Kenneth Copeland, T.L. Osborn, and Kenneth Hagin, but I think you get the picture.

These same ‘teachers’ have taught thousands of other teachers, and millions of viewers a lie from the pit of hell, and they will have to answer for it one day. I believe when this kingdom of theirs comes crashing down, it will be obvious to all, that God has judged this teaching!

The Word of God teaches just the opposite of them on the area of giving. We don’t give to get; in fact, Jesus said it is better to give than to receive. “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Saint Paul Acts 20:35)

Jesus was poor in this world’s goods, but rich spiritually! Nowhere in the New Testament are we told to try and get riches, just the opposite! St. James says: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days…” (James 4:13-5:3)

Thanks for the questions; I hope you get a chance to read Christianity in Crisis, and Counterfeit Revival by Hank Hanegraaff. These are too large of subjects to do them justice in the space we have here. These are serious problems in the Church today, and God will judge all such teachings, but He will do it in His timing and in His way.

This is why people that don’t have a sound Bible knowledge should not teach what they can’t prove from the Word of God. They are twisting the Bible to make it say what they want it to say. We need to use the context of Scripture, the verses before and after the one we are looking at, to find the text's true meaning. Someone has said, “A text without a context is a pretext.” Brother James says, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1)

Your brother in Christ,

Gary T. Panell

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Keywords: Jesus, Hell, Satan, Hades, Sheol, Bible, death, cross, paradise, heaven