‘Christ the conqueror of Hell’ the descent into Hades from an Orthodox perspective. Written by Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev.
My reading of this book was quite ironic in the timing of it, in that halfway thru it I had a conversation with a few people on the subject of Hell itself. There was the usual banter back and forth of just the concept of ‘hell’ and what it was in our understanding and the usage of words that are always associated with it. Hell, hades,underworld, Gehenna,Sheol, grave and many others are used. It was this that was apart of our discussion along with the Love of God and the lack of the love of God to be able to send people to ‘Hell”.
Discussions like this probably could go on for awhile with opinions and scripture usage all day, but it wasn’t until I read this book, that I had some more concrete evidence of what hell was ‘believed’ to be by the actual people of the times of history that God’s son ‘Jesus’ was sent into Hell to destroy,conquer and to put it to an end of ‘prison’ as they knew it. This is where we have to stay in context with scripture and of historical times of the old testament and the new testament to understand the meaning of God’s words and his intentions. Our using our ’21st Century’ thoughts and perceptions will just not do, nor will they matter in the deciphering the motive of God.
Christ the conqueror of Hell, uses all the people, texts, ‘fathers’,prayers, hymns, and poems of the time and even years after the actual event that quoted what their traditions of belief carried them thru their practices of life to actually know God and his son ‘Jesus’.
This use of these materials has shed a new and ironic twist on what ‘we’ now should ‘see’ in the relevance of God’s son going into ‘Hell’ to conquer it, to put the then ‘ruler’ of the day to rest, and to now God to be the ‘King’ of all for all.
I would have to put this book in my top 5 books that I have read in the last 10 years. Check out this book for more insight of what the people believed what hell was,what it meant for Christ to go down into hell,breaking the gates, freeing all, from its grip of darkness.