Christ went to hell for three days after his death!?

In the bible and in the Apostles’ Creed prayer it says that Christ descended into hell for three days! Was he really there, and do you think he was suffering actual torment while down there? But he never sinned so how can Satan punish him while he was in hell?:confused:
Was it once again another way of Christ knowing what we go through as humans?:shrug:

It’s an interesting though that God went to hell for three days!:eek:

This is one of those areas where we can get into differing definitions of words used in the greek and/or hebrew. It is my understanding that Jesus went to hades - The abode of the Dead.

This might help, it is from the Catholic Catachism (This is a good searchable catachism site that I use a lot.)


I just read it all, what a great site!:bounce:

Thank you for this JRKH, it’s helped alot.:stuck_out_tongue:

Read it ALL???

Even I haven’t done that. :smiley:

Seriously though the site is a great way to find official answers when you need them.

Glad I could help.


Here is a FANTASTIC site!!! -

Want scriptures with out having to look it up in the bible for ages? Use this site now!!!:bible1::heart:

I like this one better: Studylight I use it a lot. :thumbsup:
Although in both cases they are non-catholic sites so the commenties available may not correct.


I’m working through a thing right now that has one read the Bible and CCC in one year. It’s pretty cool. I forget the website I got it from and this forum doesn’t allow attachments so I can’t upload the pdf. But, you might be able to find it with some creative searching. Additionally, I made a custom google search for finding Catholic resources at

The site is not of a catholic bible? (I didn’t think about that!) Oh, that is a shame but maybe we could try to find one by posting around to other Catholics on this site - I’m sure at least one of them has a site with it?

Actually, let’s first check the etymology of the word hell. The modern English word Hell is derived from Old English hel, helle (about 725 AD to refer to the world of the dead) reaching into the Anglo-Saxon pagan period, and ultimately from Proto-Germanic *halja, meaning “one who covers up or hides something”. The word hell was originally used to refer to the place where the dead go in general - very much like the Greek Hades or the Hebrew Sheol. The Yomi of Japanese mythology could also be a good comparison.

Note, meanwhile, that Greek mythology draws a distinction between Hades - the general abode of the dead - and Tartarus - a deep, gloomy place more closer to our Hell.

The Latin form of the Apostles’ Creed has “descéndit ad ínferos”. Infernus did not have the narrow sense that the English word has now acquired; it continued to have the generic meaning of “abode of the dead”, since the Latin word inferos (inferus, plural inferi) denoted either the dead or the gods who ruled the dead - the inhabitants of infernus. The term “infernum damnatorum” (infernum/“hell” of the damned) was used for the modern narrow sense. Therefore, some modern English versions of the Creed use the more precise “He descended to the dead” because of the negative association the word hell had accumulated over the centuries.

It is usually taught that this statement means that Jesus went to the Limbus Patrum (Limbo of the Fathers) - the abode of people who, before Jesus’ Resurrection, had died in the friendship of God, but had to wait for Christ to open heaven’s gates. Since this is a place where the (righteous) dead go, technically this is an infernus or a “hell” in the original sense of the word.

So, in a nutshell: Hell in older usage does not automatically equal the Hell of the Damned.

When they say the word hell, it makes you think that jesus was tortured by the devil while he was down there. But that’s impossible! Thanks for you help.:stuck_out_tongue:

According to the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, it was the other way around - Jesus brought the demons into panic when He went down the underworld to the Limbo of the Fathers! :smiley:

That’s right and apparently Christ actually took some people out of hell and restored them to the father because they could be pardoned.:stuck_out_tongue:

That’s what some of the crazier preachers teach - Joyce Meyer being one of them :slight_smile: She even goes so far as to say our salvation was obtained in hell, not on the cross. Rather scary thought.

Gahhhhh, there are so many nutters these days…
I spoke to a preacher who even believed that he was a God (because the bible says that we are Gods temple and he lives within us)! And my church still let him preach there!:hypno:

That’s a popular teaching among some crazy teachers too. Comes from a misconception of the doctrine of theosis, which teaches we are “gods” only because we are godly, not because we’re deities.

Just watch Trinity Broadcast Network when they’re having their telethons, and you’ll find heresies that would make Arius blush. :stuck_out_tongue:

Let me know if you find one.
Actually Sudylight is a good site and carries most of the comon tranlations. It just won’t have the Deuterocanonical Books and, like I said the commentaries might not be in line with magisterial teaching. But for looking up passages and comparing translations and such Studylight is great.
I particularly like using the “literal translations” (Young and Green I think are the two) when I’m trying to compare other translations against each other.


I see the fact that Christ went to hell to let other people out an inspiration. It reminds me that my quest for salvation is not individual. I have to go to hell like Jesus to let other people out before I can go to heaven. Nobody goes straight to heaven if they don’t let other people out of hell.

JL: In Lk16:19-31, Christ reveals there are at lest two chambers in Hell, one of torment were the soul of the rich man went. The other chamber was called Abraham’s Side or Bosom, where the soul of Lazarus went, [Lk16:25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now HE IS COMFORTED HERE and YOU ARE IN AGONY.] or as Christ said to the thief, today you will be with me in “paradise”. CCC 631-637, 1021. 1021 CCC Lk16:22 The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 1021 CCC Lk23:43 Jesus answered him, I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.

Acts 2:31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, …] For three days bodily dead, but alive in soul Christ, along with the thief, whom Christ promised would be with him that day in paradise, descended into Abraham’s Bosom, the paradise chamber of Hell=English, Hades=Greek, Sheol=Hebrew, where all the souls of the OT just were held, as heaven was not opened till Christ ascended in a cloud, [Acts1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, AND A CLOUD hid him from their sight.] With that OT great cloud of witneses, Hb12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,] and all the saints in heaven will come with Christ when he returns, Lk21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.]

Lazarus also went to the paradise chamber of Hell and was comforted there, Lk16:25. The rich man descended into the torment chamber of Hell, where all evil souls went before Christ and will continue to go till Hell is thrown into the lake of fire. Christ preached to the spirits 1Pt3:19&1Pt4:6, in Hell, the spirit world of the bodily dead.

The OT righteous were captives in paradise, Abraham’s Bosom, till Christ took their souls home were they wait the resurrection of their bodies in the end. Even when one is marooned on a paradise island, he is a captive, he cannot leave that place, till rescued by his savior.

We know Chirst took the spirits of just men when he assended into heaven. Eph 4:8 “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) We now see the just souls in heaven with our Lord, Hb 12:22-23 you have come to the city of the living God the heavenly Jerusalem to countless angels and to THE SPIRITS OF JUST MEN MADE PERFECT. [Hb10:1 THE LAW is only A SHADOW of the good things that are coming—NOT THE REALITIES themselves. For this reason IT CAN NEVER, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, MAKE PERFECT those who draw near to worship. …2…3… 4 because IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR the BLOOD OF BULLS AND GOATS TO TAKE AWAY SINS.] No one went to heaven before the resurrection and ascension of our Lord. Because only the atoning blood of Christ can take away sin and make just men perfect.

The Harrowing of Hell used to be a very popular scene for artists to paint on church walls. Usually Jesus is shown either preaching to the Patriarchs while demons cringe, or leading them out of Hell (usually shown as a monster’s mouth or a cave/tomb).

This is a good way to think!
Here is a great passage for you on your quest, budgie!

Philippians 3:8 (New International Version)

8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit