Questions & Answers

Harold S. Paisley

Question: Would you please explain the meaning of the ex­pression "spirits in prison"? (I Peter 3:19).

Answer: The words "the spirits which are in prison" plainly describe those persons who heard and disobeyed the message of Noah from God through the Holy Spirit in the days when the longsuffering was evident, prior to the coming of the flood. Finally, the flood came and took them all away in judgment and thus their spirits are imprisoned, waiting the final punishment in the Lake of Fire.

It has been taught that our Lord Jesus went after His death to the unseen world to preach to imprisoned spirits of men who died in ages past. Such an interpretation is unacceptable. It is quite clear that those who heard the voice of the Spirit were on earth at the time, but are now in the prison beyond all hope. Those in any age who hear and reject the voice of God in this life will have no further opportunity.

Question: Do the words "His stripes" (1 Peter 2:24) have any reference to the scourging of the Lord Jesus before His crucifixion?

Answer: It is our understanding that the verse in 1 Peter refers alone to what the Lord Jesus bore in His own body on the tree and cannot therefore refer to the scourging which He endured before He was crucified. The words "His stripes" are given by the Holy Spirit to present something of the penalty due to our sins which came upon Him on the cross when the sword of justice smote Him as He died in our stead (Zech 13:7).

Question: It has been mentioned in ministry that Psalm 17:15 should be quoted as "when I awake in Thy likeness" and not "with Thy likeness." Is this correct?

Answer: We must not import the glorious truth of the New Testament, "we shall be like Him" (1 John 3:2) into the Old Tes­tament. We have found no translation that renders the preposition "in." Every translation conveys the thought that we shall in res­urrection be satisfied, filled with joy at what we find God to be and satisfied with His likeness, the object of wonder and worship.