3:19proclaimed to the spirits in prison. Four main interpretations of vv. 19, 20 may be mentioned: (a) Christ as preincarnate and preaching through Noah (2 Pet. 2:5) to the people before the Flood (Gen. 6–8). Noah called them to repentance, but they disobeyed and are now imprisoned. The point of Peter’s argument would then be that as God vindicated Noah then, He would vindicate Christians now. (b) Christ’s preaching in the short interval between His death and Resurrection, during a “descent into hell.” It is said that Christ announced His victory to the spirits of Noah’s wicked contemporaries confined in the realm of the dead. (c) A similar idea is that Christ proclaimed His victory to fallen angels, often identified with the “sons of God” of Gen. 6:2, 4 (cf. Job 1:6; 2:1), in their place of confinement. (d) Christ proclaiming His victory to fallen angels after the Resurrection, at the time of His Ascension into heaven. The point of the last three interpretations is that just as Jesus was vindicated, so too Christians will be vindicated.
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