Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the 𝘉𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘢𝘯 broadcast, teaches on Great and Holy Saturday in Eastern Orthodox Holy Week. Holy Saturday marks one of the most enigmatic of all mysteries—the mystery of Christ’s descent into Hades. Being “put to death in the body,” says the apostle Peter, He was “made alive by the Spirit through whom also he 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 it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also.” Peter here reminds us of two great and glorious truths—both of which are encapsulated in the Liturgy of St. Basil. First, we are saved through water. Second, the descent of Christ into Hades inaugurates resplendent triumph—a triumph by which Christ “tramples down death by death.” In the words of St. John Damascene, “through his descent into Hades, Christ opened the way to paradise for all and calls all to salvation. For some Christ’s preaching led to salvation while for others it only exposed their unbelief.” And adds St. John Chrysostom, “this call is not coercive or forcible. Everyone is called, but not all follow the call. For in the mercy of God there are no obstacles other than the free will of humankind.”
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