Before we head into the kitchen to bake Resurrection Cookies again, I wanted to share this beautiful encounter between Christ and Adam when He descended into Hades.
We know that Christ was crucified on Thursday, and when His soul left His body, it spent three days and three nights in Hades. We read in Matthew 12:40, “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.”
We also know that St. John the Forerunner (Baptist) was not only His forerunner on earth, but also in hell. This is why we see him depicted in some icons with wings. Because after the second coming, St. John will take the place of Lucifer as head archangel. Full story here…
For those of you in the Psalter Group, you are definitely familiar with Psalm 24. For those of you not in the prayer group, perhaps you recognize the following passage from the pre-communion prayers or simply from the book of Psalms. But I think it’s really interesting to learn who was actually saying the words spoken of in the Psalm. We read in that Psalm that Christ descended into hell “divinely, in warlike… lordly fashion.”
The book The Feasts of the Lord tells us,
Christ descended into the sunless prison of Hades with thousands, myriads, tens of thousands and thousands and thousands of angels. Before He reached reached the gates, Gabriel, the leader of the heavenly host arrived to announce the coming of Christ. He said,
“Lift up the gates, ye princes.”
And Archangel Michael cried:
“and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors”.
The powers of the angels said: “stand aside, door-keepers, outlaws”.
And the authorities: “break chains, break your chains…Tyrant outlaws, be afraid.”
Christ appeared in Hades and caused great fear, tumult and horror. Whereupon the leaders of Hell cried out loudly,
“Who is this King of Glory?”
Then all the powers of heaven cried:
“The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle… The Lord of the powers, He is the King of Glory.
St. Epiphanios describes wonderfully Adam’s conversation with Christ. Adam heard Christ’s footsteps approaching, just as he had heard them in Paradise after his transgression and disobedience. Then, he had felt trepidation and fear, but now he felt joy and gladness. The repentant Adam cried out to all the souls: “My Lord be with you all”. And Christ replied: “And with thy spirit.” And Christ took Adam by the hand, raised him up, telling what he had done for his salvation, as well as for the salvation of the entire human race.
Just thinking about this fills my soul with joy and gratefulness to Christ our God, knowing that not only did He suffer and be crucified, even after death He continued to fight for our souls. May we become worthy of His gift.
Many prayers to all of you for a joyous and blessed Pascha! I’m still a little early but,
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!