Yes, because He is the Almighty:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – KING Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:8)
(i) Has anyone ever been saved from Hell mentioned in the Bible?
Yes, the “spirits of those who were formerly disobedient (disbelieved) during the time of Noah” as it is written:
“in which He (Lord Jesus) also went and preached to the spirits in prison, who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:19 – 20)
(ii) When did this “preaching” (of the Gospel to the spirit, dead) happen?
“Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which He also went and preached to the spirits in prison,” (1 Peter 3:18 – 19)
This happened after “His Death” when Christ was in “His Spirit” (gave up ‘His Spirit’ following His Death in the Flesh on The Cross; That is, ” made Alive in the Spirit, He preached to the spirits in prison”).
(iii) Insights —> To the “dead” who were in “spirit” punishment during their afterlife?
Notice that the verse mentions that Christ was in “His Spirit” (after bodily Death) when He preached to these “spirits”. Thus both Christ and these spirits are in an ‘afterlife state’ because Christ in Spirit means after His Earthly Death on His Cross.
The Word “prison” indicates that “these spirits” are ‘not’ Old Testament saints or the righteous but rather “wicked” (disobedient, unbelieving) ones who were ‘punished in (an afterlife) prison”. Saints and believers are ‘not’ put in “prison”.
The Word “prison” to mean ‘afterlife punishment’ for the “wicked” is clearly mentioned in the Gospel too by our Blessed Saviour where He states (keyword, “prison” linking these verses),
“Reconcile quickly with your adversary, while you are still on the way to court. Otherwise he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:25 – 26)
(iv) Isn’t it a “forever” punishment?
No! The time duration is till the “next coming age (singular)” in the ‘Lake of Fire’ post Great White Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20:11 – 15, Matthew 25:31 – 46) ; An “age” is an undisclosed long period of time usually.
The duration of that punishment for the “wicked” is to the “age” from Judgment Day henceforth as written:
“And they (the wicked) will go away into age-during punishment, but the righteous into age-during life.” (Matthew 25:46)
(v) What is the age-during punishment or age-during life?
It is the “life of reward & blessedness” for the “righteous” for a “duration of an age” while the “wicked” are contrasted to be punished in Hell (Lake of Fire, in the age-during Fire) during this time period.
(vi) Who are the “wicked”?
The “wicked” means both the “wicked servant” (which refers to “wicked believers” not doing His Will) as well as the “unbelievers” too.
“The Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect Him, and at an hour of which he is unaware. Then He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.” (Luke 12:46)
(vii) Will the “wicked” servant be punished eternally together with the unbelievers?
Not eternally but to the ‘coming age’ (current age & the next age) agreeing with verse in point (iv) as His parable-like description of the ‘afterlife punishment’ also agrees to this as follows:
Firstly, “punishment” is rendered to the “wicked” (note the phrase ‘wicked servant’):
“Then the Master summoned him and declared, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave all your debt because you begged Me.” (Matthew 18:32)
Till when is this punishment (duration)? Till he ‘repays all he owed’ (punished for his sins accordingly in the ‘afterlife Judgment’).
“In His anger, His Master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should repay all that he owed.” (Matthew 18:34)
Notice that it is “not” written that “he (the wicked) will never get out or that he is punished never-endingly” as so commonly erred. The word “until” refers to an “end of time” (not forever) to which the Punishment is meted out that is “until he repays all is owed” (see Matthew 5:25-26 meaning this same way too).
(viii) In 1 Peter 3:19, how do we know that these ‘spirits in prison’ will eventually ‘return to God’?
Notice the phrase “who before were disobedient” (i.e. “formerly disobedient”) in the verses below which indicates that they are “not” disobedient anymore!
Let’s read again:
“in which He also went and preached to the spirits in prison, who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:19 – 20)
These ‘spirits in prison’ primarily refers to the “wicked” who were disobedient/disbelieved during the time God ‘destroyed’ the previous world by water in the time of Noah.
This time He will destroy the world by Fire and the parallel alluded to ‘as in the Days of Noah’ and even the ‘Gospel preached to the spirits from Noah’s time’ seem to indicate a similar symbolism of Judgment based hope for those ‘wicked’ (spirits that was, is & will be in prison) by the end of this age.
Notice that the “Preaching of Christ” (He preaches the Gospel & nothing else) to these “spirits in prison” resulted in them being “formerly disobedient/formerly unbelieving”. This means that only “Christ’s Preaching” to these in “prison” (Hell) causes or begins “their repentance” to move toward the direction of ‘not being disobedient nor unbelieving anymore ‘ as the verse clearly implies this transformation Power found only in “Christ’s Preaching (His Word)”. Wow!
(ix) How do we know that the context of 1 Peter 3:19 speaks of the ‘general removal of sins of to whom it is applied to’ thereby causing ‘Salvation through/by/in Christ’s Act alone?’
Let’s look at it together with the previous verse 18 as follows (for emphasis):
“Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which He also went and preached to the spirits in prison, who before were disobedient,…” (1 Peter 3:18, 19, first part of 20)
Notice that the theme here is “Salvation” (‘being Saved’) because the phrase “Christ also suffered for since once” means this & the echo of John the Baptist’s bold prophecy that ‘Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the World!’ (John 1:29) is ever clearer.
Now, the phrase “Righteous (Christ) for the unrighteous (‘you’ & the ‘spirits in prison)” implies Salvation as Christ takes away the sins to whomever it is applied to. The question is this, ‘Is Peter meaning only the removal of sins & thereby Salvation for a believer only or is this apostle revealing a deeper mystery pertaining to it?’
Let us read carefully and note this wonderful truth that apostle Peter mentions “two distinct groups” to which Christ’s Act revealed in His Gospel ‘removes sins & brings forth obedience’ to the subject(s) applied namely “you” (referring to ‘believers only ‘ here) as well as the “formerly disobedient spirits in prison in the afterlife”. Wow!
That is, Peter is revealing the Deeper Mystery that Christ Died to bring “you (believers) to God” as well as He “also” (notice this word in Original Greek, it implies ‘not’ limited to ‘believers only’) but that these ‘spirits in prison’ (those in Hell, from Days of Noah being the symbolism of it) also become ‘formerly disobedient/formerly disbelieving’ (implying a repentance or change toward being obedient/believing from that point on after the Blessed Messiah’s Great Preaching in Hell itself! HalleluYah!)
(x) Now, does this Preaching of Christ to these ‘spirits (the dead) in prison (in Hell)’ will eventually result in Christ Jesus saving/reconciling them?
We find apostle Peter clearly mentioning this “Reason” and the “final result” of “Salvation” to the “dead” after “the Gospel is Preached to them” in the subsequent chapter concluding this Mystery as follows:
“For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6)
Consider the words and their respective implications as listed below (in sequence, chronology):
“For this cause” = “Reason”
“The Gospel is preached to the dead” = “example of but not limited to the spirits in prison hearing Christ’s Preaching because ‘the dead’ quantifies ‘all dead who have not heard the Gospel, in context”
Upon hearing this “Gospel”, they are “judged in the flesh” (come under Judgment in the current & next age as discussed in points (iii) to (vii) earlier).
The “final outcome” is that “these dead” (including the ‘formerly disobedient spirits in prison’) end up “living to God in the spirit” (restored, reconciled to Him in His Will by His Blessed Acts Alone, Praise God!).
Details of the outworking may be hidden but the big picture of Christ Saving from Hell is certainly a Biblical Mystery agreeing to.
so many other verses speaking of this “Universal Reconciliation in Christ” eventually that finally at the end when all these are accomplished, “God may be all in all!”.
Common misinterpretation of these passages are easily seen when the above is understood correctly. For example, the common shallow (Non-biblical, no verse) objection that “the dead” in 1 Peter 4:6 refers to “spiritually dead” or “some living ones but are dead now” are easily refuted as follows:
The phrase “spiritually dead” doesn’t occur here but rather “the dead” only. We should not dare to add the word ‘spiritual’ when it is “not” mentioned by the apostle either when speaking this verse.
Also the context of “which dead” is referred to in 1 Peter 4:6 is permanently put to rest when we see the previous verse (1 Peter 4:5) together with it as follows:
“who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this cause was the gospel preached also to the dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:5 – 6)
If “the dead” in verse 5 refers to “those men not living on earth anymore” (contrasted with the living), likewise “the dead” in verse 6 refers to the “same dead”. Simple truth & clearly seen when “no” twisting of Scripture, “no” new adding of words and “no” cleverly devised manipulations are done.
As apostle Peter warned regarding misinterpreting apostle Paul’s letters too:
“as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)
Nice verses agreeing to it (short list):
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:32)
“then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” – Probably King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
“We will certainly die and be like water poured out on the ground, which can’t be recovered. But God would not take away a life; He would devise plans so that the one banished from Him does not remain banished.” – Wise woman of Tekoa (2 Samuel 14:14)
“Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?” – GOD to Job (Job 38:17)
“The secret things belong to Yahweh our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children to the age, that we may do all the words of this law.” – (Deuteronomy 29:29)
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in the heavens.
Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,
that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,” – apostle Paul (Colossians 1:16, 20, 25, 26; emphasis mine)
“It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Prescribe and teach these things.” – apostle Paul (1 Timothy 4:9 – 11)
“I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,” (Psalm 78:2)
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 13:35)