The Dead — Where Are They? 14 The Spirits in Prison

Continuing on the posed question of where the dead people might be, we continue to look at some answers given in one of the Biblestudents magazines in 1909

The Spirits in Prison

“19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 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.” (1Pe 3:19-20 AV)

This passage (1 Peter 3:19-20) has presented great difficulties, especially to those.’ who have not discerned the Scripture testimony concerning the future blessing.
They have been puzzled to understand why, if some were preached to by our Lord, with a view to repentance and salvation, no similar provision was made for subsequent sinners.
The spirits that were disobedient in the days of Noah are not to be understood as spirits of deceased human beings, for the Scriptures have shown us that the dead man is not survived by the soul or spirit. The dead man knows not anything.

The disobedient spirits were the spirit beings who kept not their first estate, but associated themselves with the human race in a manner not approved by God. (Gen. 6:1-4; 2 Peter 2: 4; Jude 6.) For this they were imprisoned — “bound in chains of darkness” — and cast down to “hell.” Here the phrase “cast down to hell” is a translation of tartaroo. This is the only occurrence of the word “tartaroo” in the Scriptures.

“1  And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3  And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4  There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” (Ge 6:1-4 AV)

“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;” (2Pe 2:4 AV)

“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.” (Jude 1:6 AV)

The disobedient, “cast down” angels were in the earth’s atmosphere at the time of our Lord’s first ad- vent, and He often came into conflict with them, driving them out of some who were possessed and crazed by them. To them our Lord “went and preached.” *

What did He say to the disobedient angels? How did He say it?

These interesting questions are fully answered in 1 Peter 3:18,19 —

“”For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by [literally “in”] the spirit; by which also he went and preached unto tbe spirits in prison.”

Our Lord preached to these fallen angels by his suffering, his death, and his resurrection.
There was no formal discourse on a fixed date. His entire ministry and his reward by the Father constituted the “preaching and to the angels it must have been a wonderful object lesson on the reward of obedience as contrasted with the penalty attached to their own disobedience.

Is this preaching likely to profit the disobedient angels?
It was intended to do so, if they will learn the lesson; for it is written that the dispensation of the fullness of times is not only for the purpose of blessing all the families of the earth under Jesus, but also for the purpose of gathering under the one Head the heavenly beings now out of harmony, that is, the imprisoned beings to whom Christ preached by his life, death and resurrection. — Eph. 1:10.

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” (Eph 1:10 AV)

If the disobedient angels turn from Satan, and submit themselves to Jesus, they will join in the glad ascriptions of praise and honour to God and His Son (Phil. 2:10; Rev. 5:13 ) ; if they wilfully persist in disobedience, they must be destroyed; for, “All the wicked will He destroy.” — Psalm 145:20; Matt. 25:41.

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” (Php 2:10 AV)

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Re 5:13 AV)

“The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” (Ps 145:20 AV)

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Mt 25:41 AV)


* “Went” is here used in that superfluous manner, more common in times past than now, which still survives in our expression — “I’ve gone and done it.” In this case, “gone” does not imply that a journey was taken; neither is this implied by “went” in 1 Peter 3:19). Examples of pleonasm are fairly numerous in Scripture. See Deut. 29:18; 1 Kings 9:6; Isa. 2:3; Jer. 29:12; Matt.9:13; 19:21; Mark 2:13; .John 15:10; Eph. 2:17.

– The New Covenant Advocate June 1909 p 40-41



The Dead — Where Are They? 1 Universal Inquiry

The Dead — Where Are They? 2 Scientific Answer

The Dead — Where Are They? 3 The Spiritualist’s Answer 

The Dead — Where Are They? 4 The Bible’s Answer

The Dead — Where Are They? 6 Death for man and beast

The Dead — Where Are They? 7 Man became a living soul

The Dead — Where Are They? 8 Man in God’s likeness

The Dead — Where Are They? 9 The Resurrection of the Dead

The Dead — Where Are They? 10 Depart and be with Christ

The Dead — Where Are They? 11 Absent from the Body, Present with the Lord

The Dead — Where Are They? 12 The Thief on the Cross

The Dead — Where Are They? 13 The Souls Under the Altar


The Dead — Where Are They? 15 Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration



  1. What is the worth of a soul?
  2. 1 Peter 3: Living the Word
  3. 1 Peter 3: Do Not Fear?
  4. Raising Questions About Raising Jesus
  5. Yahweh’s Salvation Stories
  6. 1 Peter 3:19
  7. 1 Peter 3:20
  8. Welcome the New Day with Joy
  9. More Than Human? Or Different Than Human? A Probably Pointless, Rambling Response
  10. Noah, A Man of God
  11. Like the Days of Noah
  12. As in the Days of Noah: Chimera?
  13. The World Was Caught By Surprise
  14. The Twelfth Judge – Miracle Birth
  15. What will the End of the Age Look Like?
  16. Will You Hear the Call?

14 thoughts on “The Dead — Where Are They? 14 The Spirits in Prison

  1. Pingback: De doden – Waar zijn ze? 14 De Geesten in de Gevangenis | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  2. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 15 Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  3. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 16 Elijah taken up to Heaven | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  4. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 17 Enoch Translated | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  5. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 18 King Saul and the Witch of Endor | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  6. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 19 Body, Soul and Spirit | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  7. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 20 Dives and Lazarus | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  8. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 21 The Prodigal son | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  9. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 22 The unjust steward | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  10. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 23 The Rich Man and The Beggar | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  11. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 24 Stories, first death and heavens | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  12. Pingback: The Dead — Where Are They? 25 The Second Death | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

  13. Pingback: Dead do not speak – Some View on the World

  14. Pingback: Not to tell people that God loves them – Some View on the World

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