Did Jesus visit Hell?

Question: What does the Apostle’s Creed mean when it says that Jesus descended into Hell?

Answer: Sometimes the word “hell” has been used to designate the place of the dead (alternatively called Sheol or Hades). Jesus indicates in Luke 16:19-31 that there are two areas in the place of the dead, one a place of torment and the other a place of comfort (“Abraham’s bosom”). Another name for this place of comfort is “Paradise”. Jesus told the thief on the cross who believed, that he would be with him in Paradise that day. That means that Jesus’ spirit went to the place of comfort, Abraham’s bosom, or Paradise immediately upon death. What he did there we do not know, but when he ascended into heaven he must have taken all the believers with him, because now when believers die their spirits go immediately to Jesus in heaven (2 Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:21-24).

Randall Johnson


2 thoughts on “Did Jesus visit Hell?

    • There is nothing that directly answers this in Scripture. Samuel it seems is in Paradise (Abraham’s bosom, Luke 16) and comes up to speak to Saul, though he is called up contrary to God’s command by a witch. That is not quite the same thing as you are describing. There have been many people who have been near or at death and resuscitated only to describe being out of their bodies and seemingly going either to heaven or hell before coming back. There was a movie made about the pastor’s son who died temporarily and when he came to mentioned meeting relatives he wouldn’t have known, and describing things he couldn’t have known, except by actually experiencing heaven for a short time. Can we believe these accounts? There seems to be some validity to them but it is always dangerous to build a case on this kind of evidence. Does it matter? There are a few apologists (defenders of the Christian faith) who have used this as an argument for faith. But ultimately, the only thing that matters is if you embrace Jesus as Messiah and trust in his sacrifice for us as the basis for your sins being forgiven. It is not worth pursuing this line of experience unless you are first focused on knowing Jesus as Savior.

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