What many of the earliest church believed
The Lord Jesus Christ emptied hades according to many of the early church fathers. And, according to the Apostle St. Peter, preached zao life to the disobedient dead from the days of Noah "when once the longsuffering of God waited...while the ark was in preparation, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved through the water."
The two passages of the Ancient Words in 1 Peter 3 & 4 are some of the most difficult for those who cannot grasp our Lord's ongoing reconciliation on the other side of the veil. Jesus Christ Holds The Keys Of Death & Hades
The Old Covenant
Isa. 9:2....Isa. 45:2,3...Isa. 49:9,25....Zech 9:11...Psl. 68:18....Psl. 69:33...Psl. 107:16
The New Covenant
1 Peter 3:21....Matt. 12:29....Phil. 2:9,10....Col. 2:15...Eph. 4:8,9 Primitive Witnesses
Acts Of The Apostle Thomas
"Christ, the Saviour of every creature, thou who wentest down even to hades. And didst bring out thence those shut in for many ages."
Origen Regarding Psl. 68:18
"Christ drew up and set free from the recesses of hades, the souls that were held in captivity."
Eusebius Of Alexandria
Christ will descend in order that all, both on earth and in heaven and in hades, may obtain salvation from Him.
Eusebius Of Caesarea 315 A.D.
Christ, caring for the salvation of all, and bursting the eternal gates, opened a way of return to life for the dead bound in chains of death.
"While the devil thought to kill one, he is deprived of all cast out of hades, and sitting by the gates, sees all the fettered beings led forth by the courage of the Saviour."
Basil Of Seleucia
That which happened to the visible tomb of Christ (i.e. its being emptied on His rising), the same happened to hades the invisible.
St. Hilary 354 A.D.
"Christ ascended on high took (captured) those who had been captured by the devil."
M. F. Victorinus 360 A.D.
"The Saviour descends into hades by that passion of the cross in order that He may set free every soul."
"In the liberation of all, no one remains a captive; at the time of the Lord's passion he alone (the devil) was injured, who lost all the captives he was keeping."
St. Basil 370 A.D.
"The true Shepherd brought out of the prison of hades, and handed over to the holy angels, the sheep for whom He died."
St. Gregory Of Nazianzus 385 A.D.
"Until Christ loosed by His blood all who groan under tartarean chains."
Unknown Origin (From Christus Patiens)
"All of whom (the dead) Thou shalt bring forth as Thy spoils from hades...I believe Thou wilt bring forth from hades as many mortals as it has imprisoned."
St. Ambrose 375 A.D.
"The Lord descends to the infernal world, in order that even those, who were in perpetual abodes, should be set free from their perpetual bonds."
"Christ, when amongst the dead, gave pardon to those in the infernal abodes, destoying the law of death."
"Christ descending to the infernal abodes condemned death, taking from him those whom he was keeping."
"Christ snatched from hades all the devil, lost, together with Christ, all whom he was keeping."
"Christ went down to the depths of hell (Tartarus) and recalled the souls, bound by sin, to life, out of the devil's jaws."
Maximus Of Turin
"Hell (Tartarus) yields up those it contains to the upper world: the earth sends to heaven those whom it buries."
St. Jerome 378 A.D.
Our Lord descends and was shut up in the eternal bars, in order that He might set free all who had been shut up.
"In the blood of Thy passion thou didst set free those who were being kept bound in the prison of hell."
"The Lord descended to the place of punishment and torment, in which was the rich man, in order to liberate the prisoners."
Caesarus Of Arles
The eternal night of hell is illuminated as Christ descends the bonds of the damned, torn asunder, fell away every cry of the groaning still. The captive souls loosed from bonds go forth from hell (Tartarus), and the Apostle's words come true, i.e., in Jesus' name every knee bends of things in heaven, and earth, and under the earth.
"Christ, like a swift-winged hawk, snatched away all that He had from the beginning, from the devil and left him deserted."
"Christ arose, and the prison of hades was emptied."
St. Chrysostom 398 A.D.
"While the devil imagined that he had got hold of Christ (in hades), he lost all in fact whom he was keeping.
Cyril Of Alexandria 412 A.D.
"Christ left the devil there solitary and deserted."
Christ, wandering down even to hades, has emptied the dark, hidden, unseen treasures.
Maximus Of Turin
"Christ carried off to heaven mankind whose cause He undertook, snatched from the jaws of hades."
Theodoret 430 A.D.
To the devil Christ declares...."I mean to open the prison of death for the rest, but will shut up thee only. Thou wast justly despoiled of all thy subjects.
Proclus, Bishop of Constantinople 434 A.D.
"Today Christ emptied the entire treasury of death."
All the dead, wondering at His passion, cry for joy, we are healed by His stripes.
Saint Chrysostom- Cyril of Alexandria
In reference to 1 Peter St. Chrysostom said...
Christ, he asserts, not merely opened, but broke in pieces the gates of brass, in order to make the prison useless, where there is neither door, nor bar, whosoever enters is not detained. What God destroys, who can set up again? Earthly kings indeed set free prisoners, yet leave untouched the prison gates; but Christ broke in pieces the gates of brass. Christ went to the utterly black and joyless portion of hades, and turned it into heaven, transferring all its wealth, the race of man, into His royal treasury. In this, too, Christ surpasses kings, for they send messengers, but He went in person to set the captives free. So again, he says: "Our Lord, when He was in hades, set free all who were kept prisoners by death.
Cyril Of Alexandria 412 A.D.
"The devil was deprived of all power of being able to do anything for the future. The souls of men who had been caught in his toils to their ruin, came out of the underground gates, and, leaving the hiding-places of the pit escape"
Traversing the lowest recesses of the infernal regions, after that He had preached to the spirits there, He led forth the captives in His strength. For when death devoured Him who was the Lamb on behalf of all, it vomited forth all men in Him and with Him. Now when sin has been destroyed, how should it be but that death, too, should wholly perish?
......On the death of Christ, "all iniquity stopped its mouth, and the rule of death was destroyed, all sin (tes hamartias, sin generally) having been taken away, so, then, the sin of all having been taken away, we can justly say, 'O death where is thy sting?
Theodoret, the Blessed, 423 A.D.
Theodoret became Bishop of Cyrus (Cyrrhus), in Syria...he wrote of the liberation of every soul from hades....
I shall shut up thee only..."Thou," says Christ to satan, "art justly despoiled of all thy subjects. Thou shalt vomit forth all that thou hast already swallowed. I shall free all from death for I paid the debt for the race. As the debt has been paid, it is right that those confined on account of it should be set free from their prison.