Where Was Jesus After He Died On The Cross Before He Rose From The Grave?

The fourth line of the Apostle's creed says "he descended into hell."

Evidence that Jesus descended into hell is not found in the Bible. The earlier versions of the Apostles Creed do not have the phrase "he descended into hell." We don't find that phrase appearing in copies of the creed until 390 A.D. and even then, only in two copies. After that, the phrase was struck from the creed. We find it appearing again in copies of the creed written in 650 A.D. Rufinus, the author of the creed written in 650 A.D., explained in his writings that he understood Jesus into descend into the grave, not into hell itself.

What happened to Jesus between the grave and the resurrection? Scripture gives us the answer.

  1. Jesus paid the penalty of sin on the cross and finished his work there. In John 19:30, just before Jesus died on the cross, he said the words, "It is finished." By this, he meant payment for our sin was complete. All payment for our sin was completed on the cross, not in the three days after Jesus' death before the resurrection.

    And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Colossians 2:13–15 (ESV)

  2. Jesus told the thief on the cross where he was going.

    And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43 (ESV)

    Paradise is not hell. What is it?

  3. In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus explained what happened to people before his death. When people died, they went to a place called Hades (Sheol in the Old Testament). Hades is divided into two compartments separated by a great chasm. These were holding places until heaven and hell were opened for eternal occupancy. One compartment of Hades was a place for believers called "Abraham's Bosom" (Luke 16:22). It was also called Paradise. The other compartment of Hades is a holding place of torment for unbelievers. It is also called Hades. Ephesians 4:8-10 says that after his death, Jesus went into that place of holding for believers, called Paradise, for three days. Upon his ascension into heaven he took believers from Paradise to heaven with him. Today, Paradise is in heaven and when we die we go to heaven. Paul says "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:6.

  4. Revelation 20:11-15 explains that at the end of time, unbelievers who are tormented in Hades will be brought before Jesus, judged, and sentenced to a just eternal punishment in hell. This is also known as the lake of fire or the second death. Until that time, nobody, including Jesus, has experienced hell. Unbelievers are tormented in Hades.

  5. At no time did Satan rule over Jesus. In Revelation 14:10, we see that Jesus rules over hell. In Revelation 20:10, we see that Jesus rules over the punishment of Satan and the demons in hell.

    To learn more see - The message One Minute After You Die.