Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
There is a great deal of confusion in regards to this question. The concept that Jesus went to hell after His death on the cross comes primarily from the Apostles' Creed, which states, "He descende...
Jesus went into hell three days and three nights. That's what the bible plainly says. But what is this hell jesus went into? There are 3 different Greek words, each having a different meaning, which have been translated in the King James Version. The Greek word 'hades' simply means "pit" or "grave". When the King James Version was translated in 1611, Englishmen spoke of putting their potatoes in "hell" for the winter. That is simply in a hole in the ground. Hades is synonymous with the Hebrew word 'sheol'. At the time Peter was preaching his first inspired sermon after the ascension of Jesus, he says that the great patriarch David is still in Hell. He further quotes David's prophesy of the coming of jesus Christ, Psalm 16:10, "because thou wilt not leave my [David's] soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One [Jesus Christ] to see corruption" (Acts 2:27). The 2nd Greek word translated "hell" is tartaroo. It is used only once in the bible. "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell..." the word here translated hell is not a place but a condition. It refers to the 'condition of restraint' that God imposed upon those angels which rebelled against him and followed satan the devil. The term - tartaroo hell - is never used in reference to man. They must remain in that condition until their time of judgment (Jude 6). The 3rd Greek word is Gehenna. It denotes a place of punishment. Gehenna, or the Valley of Hinnom, is a place just outside Jerusalem where trash, filth and dead bodies were thrown to be burned up. Jesus and his apostles used this word consistently when they were referring to that "hell" which will burn up sinners! Gehenna hell is a synonym for the 'lake of fire' into which the unrepentant are to be cast at the end of time.
Hell is simply the grave. So I would say yes for 3 days He was sleeping in "hell". Death is parallelled to sleep in the Bible.
The question is: "Did Jesus go to hell between His death and resurrection?" First let's define what the word "hell" means. In the N.T. Hades - hell is the grave, in the ground, under the surface of the earth, or in a tomb where the dead are placed as in New Orlean's. Jesus was buried in a tomb and he remained in that tomb as a dead person until he was resurrected and appeared to his disciples who recognized him immediately. Eccl:9:5: For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing....... Psalm 115:17" The dead praise not Yahovah, neither any that go down into silence. From these verses, and there are many more, we see that the dead are buried in the ground or tombs, that after they have died they know nothing, that they go down into silence, and will remain asleep in death until they are resurrected. Now because the dead know nothing, they don't know how much time will have passed between their death and resurrection, so when they are resurrected it will seem like a split second - the same feeling we have after being suddenly awakening by a loud noise. In that moment we don't know how much time we have been asleep. Those who are dead in the lord Jesus will be resurrected when he returns and the loud noise they hear will be the sound of a loud trumpet calling them out of their graves/tombs and it will seem like a split second from the time that they died, even though hundreds of years may have gone by. The apostle Paul knew this when he said he was torn between staying with his brethren [alive] or being with the lord [dying and knowing that for him in his recollection it would seem that in the next split second he would be rising to meet the lord in the clouds when the trumpet sounded at the end of this age]. As for the Roman Catholic Church and her daughter churches teaching about an ever burning hell, like "Dante's Infurno"; that teaching is of pagan origin and has nothing to do with the revelation God has given through the inspired scriptures upon which we base our hope! I am very comforted knowing that my person friend's who have died in the lord Jesus are now in their graves awaiting there sound of the trumpet when they and I will be resurrected at the return of the lord Jesus. I would not be very comfortable at all knowing that my mother, relatives, and friends were resurrected at their death and were now in heaven looking down at all the mistakes, faults, etc., that I have made, will most probably make in the future. That cloud of witnesses is not anything that I would want observing my every move. I know with whom I have to do with and am comfortable having Him witnessing my actions knowing He will guide me in grace by His spirit to enable me to bring glory to His name - Yahovah and to his son's name Yashua - Jesus God's anointed one. Knowing that my God and my Father and His beloved son watch and know every move I make and every move all that are His makes is a great motivator to help myself and all of us walk on the narrow path that leads to age upon age lasting life in His soon coming Kingdom. May that day come soon.
The bible tells us that God love the world that he gave his only Son Jesus and those who believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life. The son's blood needed to be shed, So Christ came to the world to suffer and die for our sins. now in the old testament, they did not have the privilege of Christ death so in other for know one to make an accusation against God that they did not have the benefit of the salvation of Christ, When Jesus dead, he needed to go to hell where those who sinned even in the time of Noah to preach the gospel of salvation for three days and those who believed were saved. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water … (1 Pet 3: 18- 22) 2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The three days could have been years preaching salvation to the souls there and those who believed were safe. the bible also tells us in Luke 16:19-25 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. All this prove to the fact that Jesus indeed went to hell to preach to safe souls.
Hell is the absence of God's presence. Alone - empty - lack of meaning or purpose. All that journey to heaven experience this first. Sincerity in the search for redemption of our souls to God can bring us out of hell (lower parts of Earth), and into heaven. Lack thereof, pity and despair. Ephesians 4:9, We are told that Jesus “descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” Not the Lake of Fire. Lower parts of Earth is far away from God's presence, not ascended up far above all heavens (that was afterwards). Also, See - Jonah 2:2 (ESV) 2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. This is the best way to explain it. A holding pen if you will with great despair and loneliness.
Why would He need to! Regarding hell and its inhabitats there are a few things one needs to know about that would put the confusion about Jesus descending into hell at his death, to rest once and for all. First if there is anyone currently in hell Jesus would know for He is the one who would have put them there. The scriptures conveys no account of Jesus as of yet ever putting anyone in hell. There is the account of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke which serves to inform all there this is life after death and there is a good side and a bad side but the bad side mentioned is this account is not hell it is merely the "abodes of life's departed or the abode of the dead" who inccidentally are still very much alive just not in flewsh and bones. There is one reason we can be sure that Jesus has not sent anyone to hell as of yet, Hebrews 9:27..."And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the JUDGEMENT,..." There is a major requirement for the candidates slated for hell -- their fate will be determined by Christ at the judgement He will render at His second coming where we all will have to give account. Hell therefore is the second death. So ince Jesus has not returned yet the question of His going to hell is solved for it would be a useless act on His part because "NO ONE IS THERE AND IF THEY ARE THAT WOULD MAKE JESUS A LIAR AND HE WOULD HAVE COMMITTED HIS VERY FIRST SIN BY GOING AGAINST WHAT HIS WORD TEACHES". IT IS S SAVE BET TO MAKE ABOUT THOSE DEPARTED SOULS WHO ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PLACE WHERE THEY MAY MIGHT LAZARUS' RICHMAN -- THEY ARE IN TORMENT AND HELL IS A VERY REAL FACT FOR THEM IN THE FUTURE, BUT THEY ARE NOT THERE YET. [See also Genesis 3:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:10]. Ephesians 4:8...! The book of Ephesians is the grand commentary of the unveiling of God's master plan that was such a "mystery" that even the holy angels knew about it -- the mystery of the church! And its direct tie with it head and master, Jesus Christ. Never in the entire annuals of time had there been anything on earth like the "CHURCH". There is not even anything in the Old Testament get even close in comparison; certainly not the Jewish tabernacles/ temples which dealth with both Jewish civil and religious life. Even in bilbical sybolism these are not types of the future church they actually were foreshadowigns of the Christ Himself. Specifically with regard to the discussion topic the common interpretation associated with this passage make no sense when read in the contest of the enite passage which is talking about who we because citizens of Christ's kingdom the church. The dead are already covered by Christ death and resurrection if the passed before the event occurred -- they looked forward to the promise of salvation (Genesis 3:15) using the prescribed methods laid down by God for them in their day and time the same way we and everyone past after Jesus' death looks forward to the future promises of salvation as assured by the Word of God. Paul in Ephesian 4:8 is not talking about Jesus going to hell he is rather making an analogy to an ancient war tradition regarding the treatment of the rescue of captured prisoners of war. Thesse individuals were national stripped of everything the owned or had attained prior to their captivity. After their rescue the Victor gave a tremedous ceremony of great joy and honor which involved parades and ascending and descending up and down a mountain or hillsides honoring the former captives and restoring their inheritance back to them which they had lost will in captivity. Paul's analogy is a reference to Jesus' work in rescuing all of us capture in sin and restoring to us our glorious lost inheritage when we become citizens of Christ's Kingdom the church. The passage has absolutely nothing to do with the dead but everything about the living. It also lend no support at all to the notion that Jesus went to hell... Hell either does not exist yet or if so it is totally empt
To answer this question we must look at the scriptures mentioning Christ's descent into hell, not visit scriptures speaking of other issues nor should we play word games with the word "hell". 1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison... Eph 4:9 But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? Did Jesus suffer in hell to complete payment for our sins? No, "It is finished" on the cross. Can the glorified Creator of the Universe visit hell to proclaim His victory over death to those in prison? Yes, 1 Pet 3! Do these prisoners have a second chance? No,"it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment". Just as a warden can walk around his prison letting everyone know who is in charge and without participating in the suffering himself, so can our Savior visit those being tormented day and night in hell.
There are several different places/terms often translated as 'hell' in the Bible or thought of as 'hell' in common parlance, so to determine where Jesus went while in the tomb, a brief examination of these is in order: Sheol/Hades: "The grave" or "The pit", the Hebrew term Sheol and the Greek term Hades refer to the grave or the physical state of bodies after death, such as decomposing in the ground. Sheol/Hades are linked with physical death and are often referred to as 'the realm of the dead'. All the dead, righteous and unrighteous, end up in Sheol. Hades/Sheol is not a place of fire or torment*. [I find a useful visual for Hades to be the Earth's crust; the dead decompose in the soil or have their ashes spread on the Earth] While Jesus' body was placed in the tomb and hence Jesus' body was in Sheol/Hades, He was not there long enough to decay (Acts 2:22-33, Acts 13:26-37), for the Father did not abandon Him but raised Him up. Gehenna "The Lake of Fire". Not all the dead end up cast into the Lake of Fire, but only unbelievers. It is also the final destination of Satan and his fallen angels (Matt 25:41). The Lake of Fire leads to the destruction of both body and soul (Matt 10:28). To be cast into Gehenna is an eternal judgement/sentence from which their is no appeal (Mark 9:47-58). It is important to note that no one is currently in Gehenna; no one will be tossed into the Lake of Fire until the Final Judgement (Rev 20:13-15). Also of note is that Death and Hades will be tossed into the Lake of fire after they are emptied of their dead (Rev 20:13-15). [I find a helpful visual for Gehenna is the Earth's mantle; a place of fire and destruction.] Jesus never entered this Lake of Fire, nor will He ever enter it. *There is one place in scripture where Hades is used instead of gehenna to describe a place of fiery torment, and that is the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. (Luke 16:19-31). This is because the setting of this parable is after both men have died and been judged, and hence Hades has been thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:11-15, Dan 12:2, Matt 25:46). Tartarus This term is only used once in scripture, in II Pet 2:4, and as such little is concretely known about it. In essence, Tartarus is a deep, dark prison that holds angels (II Pet 2:4, Jude 1:6). [I find a helpful visual for Tartarus is the Earth's core: Dark and deep] Did Jesus go to Tartarus? It is possible. One curious passage says, "For Christ... having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient..." (I Pet 3:18-19) Given the seeming cross references in II Pet 2:4 and in Jude 1:6, these verses can be read as showing Jesus, dead in body but alive in spirit, descending to Tartarus to proclaim victory to the imprisoned demons. [Another common view, though less supported, on I Pet 3:18 is the theory that Jesus, while physically dead in the grave, was spiritually preaching to Noah's generation by His spirit speaking through Noah, and hence Jesus was preaching to human spirits]. Regardless of whether Jesus went to Tartarus or not, or one's personal view on whether the spirits he preached or proclaimed to were human or angelic, the fact that Jesus was "alive in Spirit" shows that Jesus physically died, but did not spiritually die. To summarize Jesus did go to hell, as his body was in Hades for three nights and days (Matt 12:39-40), and in Spirit He was (probably) making proclamation to spirits imprisoned in Tartarus (I Pet 3:18-19, II Pet 2:4, Jude 1:6) He did not go to the Lake of Fire, nor did He go to Paradise while in the tomb. Related topics: https://ebible.com/questions/2790-did-god-die-if-jesus-was-god-and-jesus-died-on-the-cross-does-that-mean-god-died https://ebible.com/questions/953-what-did-jesus-mean-when-he-said-today-you-will-be-with-me-in-paradise#answer-19855
In my view Jesus died just like everyone else since Adam has died, He slept in his grave for 3 days and was resurrected on Sunday morning. He did not go to hell as we understand hell to be. In fact I will hasten to add that no one else for that matter has ever gone to hell, the lake of fire. By just using common sense if anyone deserved not to go to hell it was Jesus. If Jesus would have gone anywhere He would have gone to heaven. But (John 20:17) Jesus said, "Don't cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'" So Jesus did not go anywhere but was peacefully sleeping in death in His tomb having just accomplished the salvation of Mankind. The verse that is frequently quoted to me does not say anything about Jesus’ descending to hell or going to heaven during the 3 days he was dead. Eph 4: 8-10 in my view is quoted completely out of context. I would suggest that we use the Message Bible, it brings out what I think is the correct message from these verses. (Eph 4:7) But that doesn't mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. (Eph 4:8) The text for this is, He climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the booty, He handed it all out in gifts to the people. (Eph 4:9) It's true, is it not, that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? (Eph 4:10) And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, (Eph 4:11) filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher (Eph 4:12) to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, (Eph 4:13) until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. Paul is simply telling us that Jesus ascended to the Father in heaven because He came down to earth (what others have called hell) and He gave us various gifts. I know some people will not be happy with this version but it brings the point home! The same goes with 1 Pet 3:18-20. In my view it has been grossly misinterpreted. “That's what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all--was put to death and then made alive--to bring us to God. He went and proclaimed God's salvation to earlier generations who ended up in the prison of judgment because they wouldn't listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact--saved from the water by the water.” Message Bible. The parable in Luke 16 in my view has also not been appropriately used by some over the ages. This is simply an illustration by Jesus based on what common people understood during that time. The great chasm that separated Lazarus from the rich man was a depiction of the impossibility of repentance beyond the grave. To suggest that the rich man was burning in hell and longing for water defeats the concept of hell that a lot people believe. I am not sure anyone burning in a lake of fire would wish for water than to be rescued from the fire. This sounds like a very hot day in the desert! The bible (Acts 1:11) tells us clearly that Jesus will come back to earth the same way that He went, all eyes seeing Him. He did not go secretly to the Father between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.
In Luke 23:43 Jesus tells thief " Today you will be with Me in paradise", then in Luke 23:46 Jesus says "Father into Your hands I commit My Spirit". From these two verses, I can see no indication of soul or spirit sleep. Jesus's body was put in the tomb for Friday night, Saturday, the Sabbath, and Saturday night, three twelve hour periods that in Jewish accounting was as whole days. As has been discussed 1 Peter 3: 18-19 says Jesus body was put to death but His Spirit was made alive and He went and proclaimed to imprisoned spirits. It seems by these descriptions the Holy Spirit is saying through Luke and Peter that Jesus's body was in tomb till His Bodily Ressurection and His Spirit went into Hades or Sheol and proclaimed to those, the unbelievers in torment that He Jesus was the Messiah. Then He took those believers in Abraham's Bosom to Paradise.
Matthew 12:40 tells us exactly what Jesus knew would happen to him between death and resurrection. The sign of Jonah, for the unbelieving generation was his entombing for 3 days followed by his resurrection. Jesus spoke nothing of an 'underworld' experience. He died, he was buried, he was raised. The question presupposes a form of spirit life after death, which is read in to the Eph 4:8-10 and 1 Peter 3:18-20.verses, together with vivid Dantesque and Greek mythological imagery of caves and chambers. To think that Jesus went and preached to the dead and offer them a second chance of salvation (faith existed before Christ) after their deaths goes against many scriptures (we die once and then are judged says the writer of Hebrews). The leading of captives should be seen as Jesus resurrection completing his mandate to set all captives free from the prison of sin and death. Not heading a procession. He was raised by the power of the Spirit, who also spoke through Noah to the rebellious pre-flood people. That they did not believe meant they were 'now in prison', locked in the grave until final judgement and the second death. It is possible to see Peter describing these 'spirits' as those fallen angels that had inhabited earth before the flood, and who were now incarcerated as described by Jude. It seems odd to believe in a kind of Greek underworld of spirits being bound in certain chambers and be restricted in their movements by ordinary matter, yet not see the cognitive dissonance required when we see Jesus moving freely into locked rooms unhampered by our material world. Consequently, we should accept Peter's words in Acts 2:29 that David was still in his grave after Jesus's resurrection and not in 'heaven', still awaiting the return of Christ. The scripture quoted is a prophetic statement by David that Jesus would die, be buried and be raised to life. And that is exactly and simply what happened.
The entire humanity can be grouped into two sets viz (1) those lived in the BC Era and (2) those who have seen and heard Jesus Christ and those who have the benefit of oral/written words of God. When the Lord sits for the Last Judgment He shall have to consider the advantage of the second group over the first group. God will never discriminate between the two broad divisions of humanity. So by His grace God did give an opportunity to Adam and his progeny who died prior to the Incarnation. So our Lord in Spirit went to the place where the souls of all the departed ones were kept, preached His gospels to them, and those who believed in Him were taken to paradise.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.