The other day I was thinking of an old song that I knew from when I was a kid. The song was called “Ring The Bells” and was written in 1958 by Harry Bollback.
Ring the bells, ring the bells, let the whole world know,
Christ was born in Bethlehem many years ago.
Born to die that man might live, came to earth new life to give,
Born of Mary, born so low, many years ago.
God the Father gave His Son, gave His own beloved One,
To the wicked sinful earth, to bring mankind His love, new birth.
Ring the bells, ring the bells,
Let the whole world know
Christ the Savior lives today
As He did so long ago!
Ring the bells, ring the bells, what a glorious morn!
Men and angels worship Him, singing, Christ is born!
Born to die on Calvary, born to set His people free,
God Himself in human form, tell it! Christ is born.
He has left His royal throne, He has come to claim His own,
Christ the Lord has come to earth, go spread the news of Jesus' birth.
The phrase that got was this: “Born to die that man might live, came to earth new life to give.” As I began to ponder that fact the He was born to die…it led me to thinking about some deeper thoughts.
When the Bible speaks of death, there are three types of death that are depicted. First there is physical death, which means the cessation of life. Second there is spiritual death, which means separation from God. Finally there is the “Second Death” or eternal judgment, which is damnation and punishment in hell.
It is on this thought of three types of death that I want to expound. We all readily accept the fact that Jesus experienced physical death on the cross. Most also believe that Jesus experienced type of death #2, spiritual death, separation from God, for when He who knew no sin became sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) on the cross, He cried My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me? (this is why Jesus was in such agony in the garden, because He knew the fellowship that He knew with the Father from eternity past was about to be forsaken at the cross)
This brings us to type of death # 3, the judgement death. There are many who do not believe that Jesus experienced this 3rd type of death. May I submit to you that Jesus indeed experienced this type of death as well…yes my friends…JESUS WENT TO HELL!
I know when I make that statement it ruffles a lot of religious feathers, but it is true just the same and thank God He did or we would still have to! Even the Apostles Creed tells us so:
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”
If Jesus were to truly redeem us from hell death and the grave…He must not just suffer spiritual death, separation from God; physical death, the cessation of life; but also judgment death or going to hell. Let us examine a well-known verse of Scripture:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NASB
What type of death is being referred to here in this text? Is it referring to physical death? Well, if it were the first time you lied to your parents as a child growing up, you would have fallen over dead. Is it referring to spiritual death? No, since the fall of Adam in the garden the Bible tells us that we are conceived in iniquity and born in sin, we are born physically already separated from God.
So obviously the type of death that is the wages of sin is judgment or damnation. Consider with me Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost where he quotes from Psalm 16:10:
“BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY” Acts 2:27 NASB
“He looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.” Acts 2:31 NASB
Did you notice what Peter said? He “will not abandon my soul to Hades.” Abandoned has several meanings which include deserted, left or forsaken. In order to be abandoned or left somewhere that must mean that you are there. You can’t be left in China if you are not in China. So therefore for Jesus to not be left in Hades, He must have been in Hades.
Then we can go to the writings of the Apostle Paul where he quotes from Psalm 68:18 for more clarification:
“Therefore it says, WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, (He led a parade of captives – New Century Version) AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN. Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?” Ephesians 4:8 & 9 NASB
Notice Paul also talks about Jesus descending into the lower parts of the earth; other translations say depths of the earth or lowest parts of the earth. Folks, the simple truth is this…Jesus was born to die as part of the Father’s Master Plan of our Redemption:
“But we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:7 & 8 NASB
Remember the words of Jesus in agony in the garden? If it is possible…let this cup pass from Me…Nevertheless, not My Will but Your Will be done. So during this Blessed Christmas Season when we remember His Birth, may we also remember that He was born to die…three types of death…as part of God’s Master Plan of our Redemption.