What was the purpose of Jesus Descending into hell before the Resurrection?
First and foremost, we need to understand that He didn’t descend to Hell in the modern sense of the word. The hell that Jesus went to was Hades or the abode of the dead. It was neither a place of punishment or joy but just a waiting room of sorts. Waiting for the time when the Messiah would come to preach the gospel to them, and that is why he descended prior to His resurrection. So, why did He descend? To preach the Gospel.
"18] For Christ also died for sins once for all, 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 preached to the spirits in prison,
20] who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
1 Peter 3
so you’re saying hell changed?
[quote=jeffreedy789]so you’re saying hell changed?
Not at all. When you think of hell what do you think of? I would assume it’d be the Lake of Fire. Where there is eternal suffering. Remember that until Christ rose from the dead no one could enter into heaven, and the final judgement obviously hadn’t yet taken place. So, none of the deceased were in heaven or hell (in the mordern use).
In the Greek they had two different words.
[left]Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.
They “hell” here is the Greek “geenna.” Which would be the same as what you think of today.
[left]Luke 10:15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
Now the RSV here translates it as “Hades,” and rightfully so. It is a different word than the verse before. But if you look at the KJV it says, “Hell.”
So, Hades was just a waiting room for all the dead. The reason you may not really be aware of this difference is because we have the possibillty of going straight to heaven. Which we should strive for, so it kind of has been forgotten.
(This next part is my own opinion, I’ve not heard anyone else ever deny or confirm it, so take it with a grain of salt.) I still think Hades exsists today because the damned are not cast into the “Lake of Fire” until the end of the world. So, those who are not worthy of heaven are just waiting until the final and general judgement before they are cast away.
See 1st Peter 3: v 19
v19. In which also coming, He preached to those spirits who were in prison.
Peter called hades a “prison”. The Spirit of Christ after it separated from His body after Christ died and before His resurrection descended to a place which in the Apostle’s Creed is called hell. This place is also sometimes called Abraham’s Bosom and also Limbus Patrum. This is a place where the souls of men were detained. It was as if these souls were in prison.
Jesus came to deliver the happy good news. That was that the Messiah had come to deliver them. They were told when He ascended to heaven that they would go with him to heaven.
So yes, Jesus Christ’s Spirit did preach to the souls in Prison (Purgatory)
[quote=Exporter]This place is also sometimes called Abraham’s Bosom and also Limbus Patrum.
I’m not positive, but I think the Limbus Patrum is something a little different than Hades. I man they’re similar, but not the same.
[quote=Exporter] So yes, Jesus Christ’s Spirit did preach to the souls in Prison (Purgatory)
I don’t think it is proper to say that the Hades that Jesus descended to and Purgatory are the same place. In Purgatory you know you’re going to Heaven, where as in Hades the souls there in still had the will to reject the Gospel which Christ brought.
The “Hell” referred to here is the abode of the dead, Heb. Sheol, Gk Hades. The Latin Limbus Patrum is used to refer to this transitory state before the Redemption, but the more precise Latin term is infernorum, literally, lower places (therefore, infra-red: radiation below the frequency for red light). It was a place where the souls of the just waited will Christ opened heaven for them. This is not the hell of the damned.
it’s not likely, however, that this was purgatory, although interpretations do not exclude this possibility. What IS definite, however, is the existence of a third state, other than heaven and hell (Gehenna, the hell of the damned), junking objections that only heaven and hell are possibilities.
[quote=porthos11]it’s not likely, however, that this was purgatory, although interpretations do not exclude this possibility. What IS definite, however, is the existence of a third state, other than heaven and hell (Gehenna, the hell of the damned), junking objections that only heaven and hell are possibilities.
[quote=David L]What was the purpose of Jesus Descending into hell before the Resurrection?
See CCC Article 5, sections 631-637. There is a truly beautiful passage on the Lord’s descent into hell in section 635 which begins: ‘Today a great silence reigns on earth. . . .’
No-one should miss this.
Thanks for the answer I was seeking, i.e. how do I explain the part of the Apostles Creed “He descended into hell” to a Protestant.
I heard a Protestant preacher say that there was no place in the Bible where it states that Jesus descended into (hell), but to the lower places of the earth. He said that was figurative speech.
Great thread! I want to thank everyone who participated. Thank you!