During the Nicene creed we say that Jesus descended into Hell and rose on the third day. The gospels record Jesus as saying to the thief that he would be with Christ in paradise. I am confused, did Jesus ascend to Heaven upon expiring and then rescue souls? What does the Church say on the matter? Your help is appreciated.
Scripture records Jesus as tell Mary Magdalene not to touch Him as He had not risen yet to the Father. That occurred on Resurrection Sunday but Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in Paradise that day which was Friday. Obviously then the paradise Jesus spoke of could not be heaven or the thief would be in heaven before Jesus. So this paradise that Jesus promises the thief cannot be heaven. In addition Jesus “descends into hell” this has been constantly interpreted as Jesus entering the abode of the dead where the saints of the OT were waiting the resurrection. It has been referred to by several names such as hell, sheol, Bosum of Abraham, etc. and corresponds to our concept of purgatory. Remember the thief admitted his guilt that his punishment was just. He appeals to Jesus and Jesus forgives him. But there is the issue of while he is forgiven he is still not clean as his sin, although forgiven, still has ramifications that must be purged. All to often we think of purgatory as a place of punishment like a temporary hell but Jesus here calls it a Paradise which, considering the fate of the other unrepentant thief , it would be.
thanks for the response