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The idea that Jesus went to hell after He was crucified may come from Ephesians 4:7-10 and 1 Peter 3:18-20. Ephesians 4:9 (lower parts of the earth) may be referring to one being buried, such as when Jesus was buried in a tomb. The phrase could also be referring to Hades, the place where the souls of the faithful resided before Jesus paid the penalty for their sins. In 1 Peter 3:19 states that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison. This again could be referring to Hades, the place where the souls of the faithful resided before Jesus died on a cross for their sins. There may be other passages that elude to Jesus going to hell after he was crucified. But I do not believe there is any specific statement in Scripture that emphatically states that Jesus went to hell after He died.
Hosea 4:6 says My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Proverbs 31:8 - a King is appointed to defend the weak. Jesus is the King of kings. He was both human and divine. Hebrews 9:27- it is appointed for men to die once. Jesus experienced death as a man. He knows how we feel. Remember He prayed in Matthew 26:39, that this cup would be removed from Him. Hebrews 9:28 - So Christ was offered once, to bear the sins of many. To all who eagerly wait for Him, He will appear a second time apart from salvation. Isaiah 5:13,14 - Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge; therefore sheol (poetic name for grave) has enlarged itself. Jesus taught truth in various ways. He knew He was going to die. Matthew 12:38 - 40 The scribes and the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign. Jesus said, "For as Jonah (a prophet) was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and nights in the belly of the earth." Jesus was telling them the sign that reveals who He is. Luke 23:43- the thief on the cross was told by Jesus, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul visited paradise, the third heaven. Paradise at one time was in the belly of the earth. It was divided from torment by a great gulf. Paradise was relocated to the third heaven when Jesus went down into the belly of the earth after His death on the cross. 1Peter 3:18 - 20- "For Christ also suffered once for all sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit...by whom also He preached to the spirits in prison. (Captivity, those in the belly of the earth.) These long suffering were waiting. Isaiah 5- my people have been in captivity. I think these people of faith, Noah, David, Abel, prophets etc., did not know about, have knowledge of, Jesus. So He went to tell them about what had happened. They believed God, they were righteous, and now Jesus preached to them that He had the key to open heaven for them. He took them, and the thief, and paradise up. So Jesus went down and He went up. While Jesus was there in the depths of the earth, He also told the unbelievers in torment, that one day they would come before Him for judgement. 1 Peter 4:5 Acts 2:30, 31 - in Peter's sermon, he said David declared that Christ would not be left in Hades, nor would His body see corrupt. So, the answer to the Pharisees was a sign. Jesus went down, freed the saints, and the thief, preached to those in captivity and took paradise up to God's heaven. Psalm 16, a psalm of David, records the hope of the faithful and the Messiah's victory. Hebrews 12:18 -24- just men made perfect because they are now complete by Jesus the Mediator. Hebrews 13:20- "Now may the God of peace who brought up Lord Jesus from the dead make you complete."
This subject has been addressed in other places, and this article does a great job explaining it: https://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-go-to-hell.html The gist of it is that "hell" and "hades" get used interchangeably, and they shouldn't be.
Great question, Ms. McNeal. For years I wondered about that, too. And I even thought Jesus went to hell, or at least it was a possibility. Now I see differently. Here's why: 1 Peter 3:19 proclaimed to the spirits in prison This short phrase raises several difficult issues for the interpreter: the identity of the spirits in prison (v. 19) FSB Those who say that these “spirits in prison” were the spirits of lost sinners in hell to whom Jesus brought the good news of salvation have some real problems to solve. To begin with, Peter referred to people as “souls” and not “spirits” (1 Peter 3:20). In the New Testament, the word spirits is used to describe angels or demons, not human beings, and 1 Peter 3:22 seems to argue for this meaning. Furthermore, nowhere in the Bible are we told that Jesus visited hell. WWW
Well, usually when someone tells me that Jesus descended into hell when he died, they quote Ephesians 4:8-10 to support the claim. I'm going to show why that scripture doesn't support the notion that Jesus descended into hell. First, let's start with Ephesians 4:8-10. I'm going to give you two translations of these verses: Ephesians 4:8-10 "Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)" English Standard Version Ephesians 4:8-10 "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)" King James Version Notice the difference? In verse 9 in the ESV, it says, into the lower regions, the earth. And in the KJV, is says, into the lower parts of the Earth. Big difference, right? The former is saying that Jesus descended to the EARTH, which IS the lower regions, and the latter is saying Jesus descended into the lower regions of the Earth, which implies Hell (actually, it doesn't. It implies Sheol/Hades i.e. the grave, which is very different from Hell. But for the sake of argument, let's suppose that it does imply Hell). So, which is right? Well, recently scholars have noted that the phrase, "of the earth", should be translated as using a genitive of apposition. What does that mean? Well, it's when you want to use a noun to clarify another noun. For example, in written Greek, the phrase, "God our Father" uses a genitive of apposition, because it clarifies that "God" IS our "Father." It isn't, "God of the Father." If you want to affirm that a word is an appositive genitive insert a phrase such as, “which is,” “who is,” or, “that is.” E.g. "God WHO IS our Father", "...into the lower regions, WHICH IS the earth." If it makes sense, both grammatically and contextually, you very likely have a genitive of apposition being used in the phrase. So, the ESV is very likely correct, as opposed to the KJV. So, what is the implication of it? Well, it's merely making a reference to the incarnation; the fulfillment of Jesus' duties by coming down to Earth to do them. Jesus descended from Heaven to the Earth (the lowest regions) to fulfill his duties, and when he accomplished them, he ascended far above the heavens, and he led a host of captives(that's us), and gave gifts to people (also us). There isn't much basis to read into the scripture that, before Jesus ascended on high, he had to first descended to hell when he died. You could read it that way, if you wanted to. It would still technically be grammatically correct. But, it would be grammatically and contextually improbable considering the high probability of the use of an appositive genitive within the Greek Interlinear and the context of the scriptures.
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