Did Jesus go to hell?

Did Jesus go to hell during the time between dying on the cross and being resurrected? I have heard this teaching in the past, but then I came across Luke 23:43, where Jesus tells one of the criminals being crucified with him “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise”, and this suggests otherwise.

So now I’m a little confused and wondered if anyone on here could help me. Thanks.

What do YOU think?



  1. Tuckson says:

    Interesting subject. I am investigating hell at the moment for I will preach in our next sermon. The more I investigate, the more I learn, but also the more complex and wide things become. We only know só little!

    First, about hell.. a nice page to read is on this very website, namely http://www.christian-faith.com/forjesus/the-bible-on-hell-as-tartarus-and-gehenna-and-hades .

    It learns that the word hell is an general translation for several other words.

    It appears that hell as place where souls enter is not the same as hell where satan and his demons will be thrown into.

    However, related to the posts above, this leads me to the following question… Which punishment did Jesus get for our sins?

    I mean… a human dead was suffered by many. Why was Jesus dead different, He was killed by men like millions are?

    Was his human (first dead) really THE punishment in this case or did more happen? The NT mentions somewhere He got the keys of hell (hades).

    How could a simple human dead be a victory over dead and hades? Was not the victory that Jesus entered hell and, because not having sinned, He was obliged to walk away freely (as a matter of speaking)?

    Very curious to your ideas on this.


    • Tuckson says:

      hmmm… thinking further on…
      Dead in flesh wás the punishement I guess. dead entered earth because of the fall. So Christ, being without sin, would not had to die at all sins He was righteous by himself. By dying anyway (and thus entering hades) I guess, because he was without guild, he had the right and power to go out again and take others with Him.

    • Kingdom Seeker says:

      Isaiah 52:14 niv ‘Just as there were many who were appalled at Him. His appearance was so disfigured, beyond that of any man, and his form marred beyond human likeness-‘ and then scripture declares in Isaiah 53:8 ‘…. For He was cut off from from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death,though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth’
      The death that is referred to as ‘eternal death’ means eternal separation from God. Our Lord suffered that as it is written, “My God my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27;46). The Son, who had been with God since the beginning (John 1: 1-2) had been separated from God and thus the anguish. In just a short ‘earthly time’, Our Savior suffered what we were supposed to suffer for an eternity. Then God raised Him from the dead!

  2. Kingdom Seeker says:

    Sometimes I wonder whether the eternal punishment had been started before the resurrection of Our Lord, considering Romans 3:25-26. ‘ ……..He did this to demonstrate His justice at the present time, because in His forbearance, He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished… (26) He did this to demonstrate His justice…….’ Or what do brethren think?

  3. Roadrunner says:

    The teaching I heard was that Jesus went to hell to receive the punishment that should have been ours.

    I don’t understand why Jesus would go to hell to preach to souls as it was my belief that once a person dies and they are in hell they cannot be saved as its too late, my reason for this belief is from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:20-26, when the rich man goes to hell he asks that Lazarus could dip his finger into the water to cool his tongue and part of the reply is “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Luke 16:26).

    I also interpreted the scripture about Jesus preaching to the spirits in prison as Jesus preaching to people in the world who were prisoners to thier own sin, but I’m new to this and I could be wrong.

  4. Timothy Luke says:

    A couple of things here.  There is a question of punctuation, not always translatable from the text……  "I say unto you, today you shall be with me in Paradise," is the common understanding – as it fits preconceived beliefs of heaven and hell.  "I say unto you today, you shall be with me in Paradise" is another rendering with the comma moved over.  For in fact, Jesus went to hell to preach to those lost. This is clearly stated.  It is also stated that even after the resurrection, Jesus had not gone to the Father…. So, with the first rendering, it would appear this "paradise' did not have God the Father in it (which still does not make that position untenable, just different than one would expect.)


    1Pe 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
    1Pe 3:19  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
    1Pe 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    • lookinforacity says:

      Hi TIM

      In regards to what you have said about this verse.
      Luk 23:43
      And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

      The following, is a direct translation from the Greek into the English, with no preconceived beliefs, as to where a comma might or might not belong.
      This moving of the comma, is nothing more than an English grammar problem, which has come about because of the difficulty found in the Translating from Greek, into English, when the English language is so limited.
      We cannot assume the Translators arbitrarily placed the comma where they did, based upon their religious beliefs, any more than we can move it ourselves, because that is the only way we can make sense out of the verse.
      In our changing the text in any way, we then cast the light of unbelief, upon the whole of the Bible.
      In doing so, this gives us license to move anything anywhere we want, or to just discount those passages we disagree with because of our own Dogma, or Doctrine.
      Such as those we call Cessationists, those believing, the Gifts of the Spirit are “NOT” for today.
      How then can we say the Bible is the Inspired word of God, at that point it has lost all credence.
      Also the publishers of the NIV, NAS, and the like, in order to make the Bible “MORE UNDERSTANDABLE”.

      Greek – English – Interlinear bible.
      Luke 23:43
      And he said to him. Truly thee I tell, today with me thou wilt be in the paradise

      Note where the comma ended up in the Greek.

      You then say:
      “For in fact, Jesus went to Hell to preach to those lost.”

      How can this be Tim?
      Whenever someone has gone to Hell, there is then no more opportunity for repentance from their sin, because they are at that time serving the sentence for their wrong, they have been judged an sent to Hell.
      Why then would Jesus go to Hell to preach to them, wouldn’t that present a contradiction of the just punishment for their sins?

      Would it not be more feasible, for Jesus to have gone to the place which He had spoken of in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Abraham’s Bosom), which appears to have been the place for those having died before the Law, and those under the law, those that did not have the opportunity for Salvation that is only to be found in Jesus.
      Such people as ( Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Sampson, David, Solomon,) this seems to be the place that those people went to, awaiting the promise. Because without the sacrifice of Jesus, they could not enter Heaven, on the grounds of what Paul says in Hebrews.
      Heb 10:4
      For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

      Therefore those Righteous dead, such as Noah, Abraham, or those Jews dying before Jesus, could not enter. Yes there are exceptions, Enoch, Elijah but that is exactly what they were (Exceptions) because God can do in His Creation what He wants to do.
      But because there were exceptions, we cannot even expect Adam and Eve to have gone to Heaven either, they too would be in the Bosom of Abraham also.

      As far as your reference to 1 Pe.
      1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
      1Pe 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
      1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

      I have never understood verse 18 to mean He suffered in Hell for our sins, but to the contrary it does say,
      (“Christ hath once suffered for sins, being put to death in the flesh”)

      That is the Essence of what a Sacrifice does, it takes the sin upon itself, then it dies for that sin, it does not go someplace else to pay the price for the sin, the punishment for all sin is DEATH.
      If we are to understand that Jesus went to Hell to receive the punishment for our sin, we would have to understand that He could never come out, because the sentence of Hell is an everlasting punishment.
      Mat 25:41
      Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into (EVERLASTING FIRE), prepared for the devil and his angels:
      Mar 9:44
      Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

      The Prison spoken of in verse 19, is nothing more than a holding place, a place to be confined, it is not a place of punishment, ie, Abraham’s Bosom.

      Be Blessed

      • Timothy Luke says:

        Jim, so are you saying there are commas in the greek text? If there are none, then the translators had no choice but to add them in english where they thought appropriate. So, I suppose, you would say the translators were inspired and so the meaning stands as written?

        I can say he preached in hell because scripture says he preached to the spirits in prison.  Would you say that the prison where spirits are is not hell then? What would you suggest calling that…. I am open.,


        I agree with you.  I am not saying he went to hell to pay the penalty for our sins.  The Bible does not say that. It says he went to preach to the spirits in prison.  There is more to be said to answer where Jesus was. I do not believe he was anywhere but in the grave for 3 days and nights, and on Saturday night, he preached to the spirits in prison, before he returned to see Mary and Mary at the tomb.  The stone was rolled away, not so he could get out, but that they might see that he had already risen. He was laid in the tomb at sundown. I believe he was resurrected at sundown, for that is the distinct and clear sign he gave of his authority…..


        Interesting discussion.  It is always nice going back and forth with you. I like your desire for truth.  Seeing through a glass darkly, we must allow for differences every now and then!




        • lookinforacity says:

          Hi TIM

          I think that’s what I said, but just for clarification

          The word comma comes from the Greek for, “a piece cut off”, and as the Greeks invented commas, it’s safe to say that the bracketing comma is the oldest form of comma ever used.

          The bracketing comma:
          A pair of bracketing commas are used to indicate a weak interruption that doesn’t disrupt the smooth running of the sentence.
          As in, “She groped for her cigarettes and, finding them, lit one.” Which could also be written as, “She groped for her cigarettes and lit one.”
          The words within the bracketing commas can be taken out of the sentence without disrupting its meaning.

          If this weak interruption comes at the start or end of a sentence, it is acceptable to use just one bracketing comma: because you can’t start or end a sentence with a comma.
          So in the sentence:
          I think we can say that, all in all, we’ve done very well.
          Could also be written as:
          I think we can say that we’ve done very well, all in all.
          Which means we can safely leave off the (all in all) without doing damage to the meaning.
          ………. Reference: Videojug – How to use commas

          Therefore when we come to this verse in Luke, we see the Bracketing Commas coming into play, which means we can remove the (Verily I say unto thee) and retain the complete thought, meaning of the sentence.
          Luk 23:43
          And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

          I hope this helps in your understanding.
          PS. Sorry about the reference to Cigarettes, but that is what was written.{:>)
          Be Blessed

          • Timothy Luke says:

            Here is an article that addresses the point more fully.  It in fact was written by the church that I attended the Bible school of… so at least it explains where I got my belief from, even if not proving any point! 🙂  http://www.gci.org/bible/luke/comma


            How do we compare this with Matthew 12:38-40?


            "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

            I presume your reply would be to say Paradise is in the heart of the earth? This would explain why the dead "rise" at the resurrection.  Jesus was no where but in the ground for 3 days and 3 nights…. of course, we can say that he meant his physical body and that in spirit he went elsewhere…. however, at the end of it all, he still had not ascended to the Father, whom one would assume was in Paradise.  I will blog my understanding of this topic as to make it most consistent with the whole of scripture as I see it…. 




  5. lookinforacity says:

    Hi Laura

    Just what was the teaching you have received about Jesus going to Hell?

    1) Was it that He went to Hell, to receive the punishment that should have been ours?
    2) Or was it that He went to Hell, to preach the Gospel to those lost souls?

    Are you saying that the verse in Luke, contradicts any teaching that He did in fact go to Hell?

    Be Blessed

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