1 Peter 3:19 – By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1 Peter 3:20 – Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
There has always been much debate about who the spirits in prison that Jesus went and preached to after he died and resurrected were. From what I gather from the scripture, I believe that the spirits in prison were the angels that sinned and left their own habitation, who were the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6 who saw the beauty of the daughters of men, and came in unto them, and the children that were born unto them became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 2 Peter 2:4 – For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. Jude 1:6 – And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Jesus said that the angels in heaven do not marry – Matthew 22:30. But these angels sinned, meaning they would be disobedient to that very fact, and furthermore the Bible says they left their habitation, their first estate – which was in heaven, they were not created wicked, they made their own choice to disobey. And we know that angels can appear as men from the story of Lot and accounts all through the Bible, and even from Hebrews which tells us some have entertained angels unawares. There is a lot more that could be said and there is much conjecture on who the sons of God were, it is important to rightly divide the word, and let God speak through his word. The spirits in prison may be those people, spiritually in bondage to sin before the flood who Jesus by his Spirit through Noah preached to for many years as the longsuffering of God waited. The Bible says that the gospel has been preached to everyone, and Peter says the gospel was preached to those who are dead. Past, present, future, we are all without excuse, we all have heard to the gospel, the Bible says the grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared unto all men. Please note, after you die, there is no second chance, there is no limbo, there is no purgatory, the Bible said that the rich man was in hell immediately after he died, Peter was referring to those who had already died, and indicated that they, like us, were without excuse. Ultimately, the important thing is that the world before the flood, referred to in 2 Peter 2:5 as the old world, became corrupted and full of violence and wickedness. In the days before the flood the Bible says that the wickedness of man was very great, that man’s imaginations were only evil continually, that the earth was corrupt and filled with violence, and that all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
And the Bible says that eight souls were saved by water. Noah’s flood actually saved Noah and his family. It saved Noah and his family because the flood, the righteous wrath and judgement from Holy God, was what took all the sin, corruption, wickedness, and evil away from the old world. Matthew 24:39 – And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away. We often think about world before the flood and can feel a bit sorry for them. But the reality is the old world was a terrible place in which to live. Genesis 6:13 – And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Evil, unrepentant, unbelieving, self willed mankind combined with rampant spiritual wickedness and activity turned the world into a nightmare in which to live. The Bible says that God was longsuffering, and that God’s longsuffering is salvation, something which those of us who are saved know about, as we realize how longsuffering God was with us before we got saved, and also after we are saved when we continue to fall into sin and stray from him. God’s longsuffering waited and gave space in the days of Noah, but then God decided to destroy the world completely. The wickedness and prevalence of evil and corruption was to the point that Genesis 6:6 – And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Genesis 6:8 – But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was a man that had faith in God. It was by faith that he obeyed God and built the ark. He was a preacher of righteousness, his life, his words, his deeds were a witness and a light in the darkness of the world. And then there came a day when God told him to enter into the ark with his family and the animals that God was saving. And then God shut him in. And then the raindrops began to fall. The flood saved Noah. The waters which poured down from heaven, and broke up from underneath the earth saved Noah. The waters overflowed the earth. 2 Peter 3:6 – Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. 2 Peter 3:6 is not referring to a pre-Adamite destruction of earth, it is referring to Noah’s flood. Noah’s flood is perpetually scoffed at, mocked, ridiculed and disputed – it is because man choose to be willingly ignorant, because the flood is confronting and not what many of us want to hear. Noah’s flood stands as an eternal reminder of the fact that God has the right, the authority and the power to judge his creation. And there is nothing you or I can do about it. And God sees and knows his own, and he knows how to save his own, this is why we who are saved must never be fearful. 2 Peter 2:9 – The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. 1 Corinthians 8:3 – But if any man love God, the same is known of him. And these waters which destroyed everyone and everything else are what saved Noah. Genesis 7:17 – And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. The waters which drowned the wicked world, are the same waters which lifted the ark to safety up above the earth!
Jesus said in Matthew 24:37 – But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Are we not living in a similar world to what Noah was? We are on a slippery slope. Look around you, look outside of whatever comfortable bubble you may exist in. Look at your own life, your own sinfulness, we are all sinful and unworthy and hell deserving. Wickedness is rife. The earth is corrupt. Sin and wickedness abounds. There is corruption everywhere. And it is getting worse. The Bible says in 1 John 5:19 that the whole world lieth in wickedness. While a flood of water is not coming, something else is coming. 2 Peter 3:7 – But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But you do not have to be destroyed like the old world was. You do not have to live in bondage to your sin, to your own flesh, to wickedness, to devils. You do not have to go to hell. You do not need to go to the lake of fire, which was not even designed to hold you, which the Bible says was prepared for the devil and his angels. Like Noah, you can be saved, and all it takes is faith in God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the ark, he is our ark, get in the ark! Believe and receive the gospel, which is the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in your place, for you, and is what saves you. Receive the gospel, you must receive him personally, you must own what he has done for you. And it is a free gift. It is between you and God. 1 John 5:5 – Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? Noah overcame the world. You can overcome this wicked, doomed world as well. And like Noah did when he stepped out of the ark when the waters had abated, when God’s wrath is passed with you in safety, you will be able to step out into an eternity free from the ravages of pain, sin, suffering, sickness, slavery, darkness, evil and your feet will settle in a new world, an eternal world, an infinitely better world, a world consisting of new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. This is his promise. And God keeps his promises.
1 John 5:11 – And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1 John 5:12 – He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.