For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
He became Sin for Us
God who so loves us, desires that none should perish but that all would turn to him and be forgiven. So to make this possible, he sent his Son Jesus Christ who took our sins upon himself. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Yes itʼs true, “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
Yes, this same Jesus whom the Father sent, loved us and gave his life for us, and “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.” (Galatians 2:20, Hebrews 12:2) And not only that, he suffered by the hands of sinful man through beatings and whipping's as well, “by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Peter 2:24) And then last of all, Christ died and spent three days and nights in hell. For Jesus said: "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." (Matthew 12:40)
What was it Like?
So, what was it like for Jesus in the heart of the earth? Well, personally I don't think any of us can truly expound fully on that. And yes, there are those who try to detail it all for us, but only end up making a mess of it. However, we can get a clue of what it was like from the words of Jonah himself. For in the book of the prophet Jonah we read: ”Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice." (Jonah 2:1-2)
So, we can see that Jonah was experiencing affliction and he quoted it as being in hell. (Luke 16:23) And furthermore, Jesus called Jonah a prophet and even at one point said: "in the volume of the book it is written of me." (Hebrews 10:7, Psalm 40:7-9) Also, we can see from the account of the "rich man and Lazarus" that hell is a place of torment, for we read concerning the rich man: "And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." (Luke 16:24) So, from all this we can see that Jesus experienced affliction and torment during his three days and nights. For as Jesus stated earlier: “as Jonah was - so shall the Son of man be.”
KEY PASSAGES CONCERNING JESUS IN HELL
The Promise to the Dying Thief
This passage poses a few problems because in most translations we have Jesus promising the repentant thief that they would be together today in paradise. But we also know that Jesus said he had to spend three days and nights in hell as well. So, even though I do believe that the KJV is the best translation ever, Iʼm still convinced that the Passage: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise,” Should be reading: Verily, to you am I saying today, with me shall you be in paradise. (Luke 23:43) So we can see by moving the coma after the word "today," we can understand that Jesus was not promising the thief that they would be together that literal, physical day.
This I believe is true, because we first see the thief saying to Jesus: "remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Next we have Jesus saying the Greek word "Amen" (truly) to the thief; affirming his request for a future in paradise with him. Also, let us remember that there were no comas in the Greek, so the translators had to place them to the best of their knowledge. This alternate reading above is supported in several bibles, which include: Concordant Literal New Testament, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, Companion Bible by E. W. Bullinger. This would change the need to come up with the theory of the underground paradise which has no support in any of the scriptures.
Other Passages in the KJV which affirm the alternate reading are:
Just Hanging Out with the Saint?
Now, there are those who say that Jesus went to a place of paradise in the heart of the earth called "Abrahams Bosom" (Hell) for three days and nights. Here they claim the dead saints are waiting for the resurrection day. But, the scriptures never say that. And if Jesus short three day stay was just to hang out with the saints (some who would have been there for more than a few thousand years), why was he so glad to get out of there as quoted earlier? Let's remember while praying in agony Jesus said: "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39) So, wouldn’t this agonizing prayer be not only for the cross, but over his three days and nights in hell as well?
So, Where is Paradise?
So, let’s deal with the word "paradise" which Jesus said to the thief and see where the Bible says that it is. First we read: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7) So, we can see that this paradise of God is where the tree of life is. And where is the tree of life? And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2)
Also, we have Paul's own testimony which he said, "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) So according to God’s word, paradise is up in heaven and not in some abode inside the earth.
So, Where’s Abraham and the Saints?
So, where is Abraham and all the Saint of God who have died? Well, what does the scripture say? For we read in Hebrews: "since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV) So, it sounds more like we're surrounded by them. So when it says that the dead in Christ shall rise first, wouldn’t this simply mean the bodily resurrection of those saints who have died. For even though ones body may be decaying in the grave, the souls of the dead are still quite alive.
We can see this to be true from what we read about the rich man and Lazarus. For the rich man was conscious of his surroundings, feeling the torments of hell while Lazarus was being comforted in the arms of Abraham who was quite alive himself. And let's also remember that Moses and Elisha appeared before Peter, James and John when Jesus was transfigured before them. (Matthew 17:1-4) So, even though ones body may be buried in the ground, their soul would be still alive, whether it be in the realm of the saints, or being tormented in the flames of hell.
So, all this should be proof that they're not stuck underground somewhere in a so called “Abrahams Bosom.” And last but not least, let’s remember what Jesus said to those religious rulers who were challenging him concerning the after life. For he said: But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Matthew 22:31-32)
Further reading concerning this:
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Those who do support the story of a paradise inside the earth also point out the fact that the rich man in hell was able to talk to Abraham afar off. They say that this is proof that there is a chamber called Abrahams Bosom inside the earth. But there is a few problems with this. First of all, the rich man has never seen Abraham before, so how could he have recognized him far off in the distance among a huge mass of people. That would be like you sitting in a packed stadium and recognizing a well known radio host all the way on the other side whom you never seen nor heard before; and then on top of that, you being able to talking with him as well amongst the noise of the crowds.
So on the contrary, wouldn’t this be a vision of some sort, just as it was with Stephen who was looking up and seeing Jesus standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-56). So, that great gulf thatʼs fixed between the rich man and Lazarus could have been simply the distance between hell beneath the earth, and the Saintly realm of the dead above it.
What about the Atonement?
So, am I saying that our atonement for sin wasn’t accomplished when Jesus shed his blood on the cross? Not at all, for his word says:
So Why Hell?
So, I know that this may still leave the question "why would Jesus still have to spend three days and nightʼs in the heart of the earth if his blood already atoned for all sin?" Well, that’s because hell is the temporary abode for all who have died in their sins (Luke ch.16) And it's also worth noting that Jesus died a sinners death, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) And: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)
And let's remember that God is not a respecter of person. All who die in sin, do end up in hell. So, because Jesus took upon himself our sins, it would reason that he went to hell because of our sins as well. So, I believe that Jesus had to experience hell because it was part of the penalty of those who died in sin (he took our sins upon himself), yet at the same time his blood was the atonement for our sins?
Jesus, Our Perfect Sacrifice
We must remember that all sacrifices had to be done according to procedure which was written in the law. For not only was the blood of the lamb to be shed and applied for the remission of sins, but the lamb also had to go through the fire. One was not to be done without the other. And if by chance a step was missed or neglected, would God even regard it? God said: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11) But God also says: "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. (Exodus 12:8)
So, the blood of the lamb did atone for their sins, but they had to partake of its flesh which went through the fire as well. And so it is also for us Christians as well. For Christ blood does atones for our sins, but we also have to partaken of him by receiving him in our heart. And this could only have fully come about after all he did for us not only on the cross, but in hell as well.
God so loved the World
But by the power of our God, Jesus was raised from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. For it's true that our God wants all to be saved, for his word says: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9). And this is also true in the Old Testament where we read in Ezekiel: Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11) This is so true.
Now, Let’s Focus on something We All Know
We must realize that not every body is at the same level of faith when it comes to God's word. For there are some who have just a limited knowledge of the word yet they are still saved. On the other hand there are those who have a much deeper knowledge of the word and are saved as well. And let's remember what Paul the apostle said to the Corinthian believers: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
Well, I hope that this would stimulate a desire in you to dig in and study his word for yourselves on this. For it should be our desire to truly recognize and see all that Jesus Christ did and accomplished for us sinner. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) Amen
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5)
YouTube Web Links on this Subject:
All Scripture is taken from the KJV bible unless noted otherwise
Let us always be aware of the price that God the Father paid for us in his love for us. He gave his Son Jesus whom he loved, all for us sinners who have gone astray. So let us always be "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)