This is just a quick answer to the question but in the next article that will be written on this subject, I’d be making a more elaborate teaching on this subject.
Jesus did not wrestle with the devil after the cross experience. It was on the cross that Jesus made a public disgrace of the Devil. The Bible says in Colossians 2:15
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Jesus went to the land of the dead to preach the gospel to those who were dead and that is why He said to the robber “TODAY, you shall be with me in paradise.” Paradise is not heaven, Hades is not hell… Those were wrongly translated. Both Paradise and Hades are locations in the land of the dead. Those who died in faith were at Abraham’s bosom in Paradise and those who didn’t die in faith where at Hades. Jesus showed us this in the story of Lazarus and the Rich Fool. In heaven, there is no Abraham’s bosom… We are seated with Christ! How do I know that Jesus went to preach the gospel to them? The Bible gives us a clue in 1 Peter 3:18-19 saying
“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the spirit, in which He also went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built. In the ark a few people, only eight souls, were saved through water.”
When Jesus resurrected, He said to Mary “Don’t touch me because I haven’t appeared before my father!” (John 20:17) He didn’t go to Heaven immediately He died but why say to the robber “TODAY” concerning being in Paradise? This is because the robber died in faith too and will meet Jesus in Paradise…
This is the expectation the world has been groaning for!
What a story of love for the righteous (people of faith) and the unrighteous (people without faith!) who were dead! They resurrected with Jesus too and probably ascended with Him just like in the Spirit we are seated with God! The Bible says in Matthew 27:52-53
“The tombs broke open, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After Jesus’ resurrection, when they had come out of the tombs, they entered the holy city and appeared to many people.”
They had become Saints now!
God’s plan of salvation included everyone!
If the dead had to hear the gospel and believe, you too have to believe so that it can become yours!
Expect a more detailed teaching on this subject later as we’d be looking more on the terms “hades, paradise, shoel” and how it is not heaven and hell.
~ George O.N