1 Peter 3:19–22, Preached to the spirits in prison. Did Yeshua preach to the spirits in prison while he was dead? No. Verse 18 states that Yeshua was put to death, was then quickened or made alive by the Spirit (i.e. was resurrected from the grave), and then, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. From the context of this passage, we learn that Yeshua preached to the angelic spirits who rebelled in Noah’s time after he was resurrected from the dead. In this place of restraint, which Peter refers to as tartaroo (2 Pet 2:4 cp. Jude 6) and which in the ancient near east world referred to a subterranean or underworld prison, these evil spirits await Elohim’s final judgment (Jude 6).
Likely, Yeshua went there to inform these evil spirits that despite his resurrections and offering of salvation for human sinners, there is no redemption for these fallen demonic spirits because of the evil deeds they committed as recorded in Gen 6:2–4. Interestingly, the ancient Book of 1 Enoch gives us some additional background information that these same demons appealed their sentence in times past, but to no avail (1 Enoch 6:4; 13:12–3; 14:4–5).
This passage in First Peter ends in verse 22 with Yeshua taking his position victoriously at the right hand of Elohim above angels, principalities and powers. In other words, Yeshua has overcome all the rebellious plans and machinations of Satan and his evil demonic spirits to subvert Elohim’s plan of redemption for man. The end result of YHVH’s plan of salvation for man will be the glorification and exaltation of man at Yeshua’s second coming to a position above the angelic realm (Heb 2:6–7 cp. 1 Cor 6:3), which is something that Satan attempted to prevent through his attempted subversion of the human race and the thwarting of Elohim’s plan of salvation of man as recorded in Gen 6:2–4. By Yeshua’s resurrection and his victory over sin, death, hell, the grave and Satan, he has defeated all the enemy’s plans. Through our acceptance of and identification with Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection through the spiritual ritual of baptism for the remission of sins (1 Pet 3:21), we have access to this glorious victory over evil and the potential to become the glorified children of Elohim (John 1:12; Rom 8:14–15; 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; Eph 1:5; 1 John 3:1–2; Rev 21:7).
Prison. (Gr. phulake) There are no instances in the Bible of disobedient human souls being placed in an other-worldly prison (Gr. phulake). On the other hand, Satan is bound in a prison (Gr. phulake) for a thousand years during the millennium (Rev 20:7).
1 Peter 3:19, Baptism. This passage is equating baptism with a pledge of loyalty to the risen Savior. In the cosmic struggle between good and evil, between Satan and Elohim as specifically noted in the larger context of this passage as regards the sins of the angelic “sons of Elohim” in Gen 6:2, baptism is the public oath a new believer takes in favor of Elohim and against Satan. This is why the baptism ritual in the early Christian church included a renunciation of Satan (and his minions) and involved literally turning one’s back on the setting sun and facing the rising sun. This wasn’t an act of sun worship, but an acknowledgement of Yeshua, the Creator of the sun who is the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2) and whose face shines like the sun (Rev 1:16) and who is the spiritual light of the world (John 8:12; 1:1–9), and who came to dispel the spiritual darkness (John 1:1–9) introduced into this world by Satan at the tree of knowledge (Gen 3) and by those angels that rebelled against Elohim and attempted to corrupt humanity both physically and spiritually (Gen 6:1–6; Jude 6; 2 Pet 2:4).