Jesus christ in hell

In the apostles Creed we profese that Jesus “He descended into hell”; my question is what did Jesus went to do in hell?.**

It is more correct to say Hades, there is some translation issues there. He went to the place of the dead, where the righteous were waiting in Abraham’s bosom. He proclaimed the gospel and opened the gates of heaven to those waiting.

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the [n]spirit; 19 in [o]which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the [p]water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God [q]for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

1Peter 3

This question has been asked many times already, I will try to explain what is meant by “hell”.

In the language of Jesus and also in the greek there were words that denoted a “place” even though it is not a place that we can point to like a location on earth where the souls of the dead would go after death.
The Jews understood that since the sin of Adam the souls of the departed could not go to heaven were GOD dwelled.
They also believed there were 2 places where the departed could end up.

The Bussom of Abraham, since Abraham was recognised as a just man that died in the favour of GOD (we would declare him a blessed for sure probably a Saint if the requirements were met). This place was also called the Hell of the just, here the souls did not suffer except perhaps the sufferening of being separated from GOD.

The other place they Jews recognized was the hell of the damned or “Gehenna” here the souls of those that had died not in friendship of GOD would end up.

Jesus descended to the hell of the just to preach the good news to them.
Those that accepted his message were freed from the prison they were held in an were taken to Heaven to be reunited with the Father.

Hope this helps.

Then the next question raised:What happened to those who died before Abraham, in which bosom did they go? :slight_smile:

:thumbsup: As always. I would add only 1 Peter 4:6

6 That is why dead men, too, had the gospel message brought to them; though their mortal natures had paid the penalty in men’s eyes, in the sight of God their spirits were to live on.[2]

And the footnote by Monsignor Ronald Knox:

[2] ‘Though their mortal natures had paid the penalty in men’s eyes, in the sight of God their spirits were to live on’; literally, ‘that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit’. This much-disputed passage probably refers us back to 3.19 and 20 above; there were souls who, through incredulity, incurred the outward penalty of temporal death at the time of the Deluge, and nevertheless, through contrition, were reserved for spiritual life, which was brought to them by Christ after his Passion. This illustrated why God ‘judges the dead’ (verse 5); physical death is only a temporary penalty, and their eternal destiny had still to be settled.

Before Jesus died, no human being could entered to heaven. After the original sin committed by Adam and Eve the doors of heaven ended up permanently closed to humans because if the huge breach that occurred between humans and God. No human could ever repair the damage done by Adam and eve. The only way to redeem humanity was to send his own son that was holy to incarnate as human and to sacrifice his blood to clean the sins of the world. There is a group of theologist that say when Jesus died heaven’s door were closed so Jesus first went to hades, however because he was holy and saint he then ascended to heaven in that way opening heaven’s door to humans and giving us salvation from eternal death. Other group of theologist say that the just who died before Jesus time like Abraham were in some kind of limbo state not in heaven not in hell but waiting for Jesus to save them. When Jesus dies and redeems us with his blood he first went to this limbo place to get those just people who were waiting for him and then brought them into heaven.

Thank you for stating the entire history of Redemption, and not answering the question! :thumbsup:

EDIT: Just checked to see if my religion states that I’m Catholic. Look at that! It does. God bless!

Cleveland. I don’t care what yinz say, I maintain that it means ‘Cleveland’. :wink:

(And yes, I’m a die-hard Steelers fan, which might explain my exegetical stance… ;))


Go, Pats! :stuck_out_tongue:


Ouch sorry if I wasn’t clear the answer is there. Where the just before Abraham went- some theologist say that they went to a state similar to limbo. Not in hell but not in heaven. Any just person before Abraham, as well as Abraham himself went to the same place. Theologist do not know exactly the place where people that lived before Christ and were just, went. (This is similar to the issue of where aborted babies go). They also don’t know with precision who was to be condemned and who was just. Abraham was the model of being just so because Abraham could not go to hell they call the limbo place the blossom of Abraham. Anyone who was just in a similar way as to Abraham before or after Abraham went to the same place.

Why did the creed says jesus descended to hell - because heavens door were closed so when Jesus died he did not go to heaven directly. He either went to hades, hell first and after that went to heaven but he did not go to heaven first. Hopefully that is more clear.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Christ Descended into Hell

CCC 632 The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.

CCC 633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”: “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.” Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.

CCC 634 “The gospel was preached even to the dead.” The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfilment. This is the last phase of Jesus’ messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

CCC 635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that "the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."Jesus, “the Author of life”, by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.” Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades”, so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him - He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”

Good to see that snark still rules around here… :rolleyes:

OK… so, if that statement didn’t do it for you, let’s take it a bit more slowly, and see if that helps. George Washington died at Mount Vernon, and was buried in the family vault, which became known as “Washington’s Grave.” So, here’s my question for you: where were his family members buried, before George Washington died?

Duh! They were in the family vault! It’s not like they had to be re-buried, elsewhere, once Washington died, in order that they might be buried in Washington’s Grave! It’s just that, once he passed away and was interred there, it became known as “Washington’s Grave”! They had always been there, and remained right where they were interred!

Same thing here: it’s not Abraham’s Bosom because of some divine status of Abraham or because it came into existence after he died. And, it’s not like the dead had to pack up and move there once Abraham passed away. Rather, the place where the virtuous dead waited until Christ came for them – the Limbus Patrum, or ‘Limbo of the Patriarchs’ – became known as Abraham’s Bosom, and that’s how Jesus referred to it in his parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man.

Hope that helps…

It is called “the harrowing of hell.” See here and here.

P.S.: I might add, for those who lived and died before Christ opened the gates of heaven, this was a very big deal!

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