Why did Jesus go to Hell for 3 days after he died?
The reason was to keep God’s word to all those who died believing on the coming of the Messiah.
Once Jesus rose from the dead, there is no more Paradise, man now goes directly to Heaven. All the people who sat in Paradise were waiting on the promise of the Messiah, which Jesus fulfilled when He went to minister to those in Paradise, during the 3 days His body was in the tomb.
“To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79)
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off and were persuaded of them, and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the Earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
During the period in history when Jesus went into Paradise, there was a gulf that separated Paradise from Hell (Luke 16:26).
Therefore Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure” (Isaiah 5:14)
This is interpreted as Hell expanding beyond the portion that was Paradise in order to accommodate all those who would be going to Hell as the number of men going to Hell, increases without measure. There is no more gulf, when Jesus took out the Saints, Hell filled up the expanse.
“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:9)
This means that God knows how to take those out of Paradise, while leaving those in Hell who are supposed to be there.
This first company of believers from the Old Testament to the time of Christ is now in Heaven, whether they were rejoined with glorified bodies and went straight to Heaven, or they died again overtime, they are in Heaven now.
The New Testament Saints are all those who died after Christ ascension, which includes all those who died during Christ forty days on Earth, immediately after His initial ascension, but after His resurrection (John 20:17; Acts 1:3).
The group of people who died during the forty days Christ was on Earth, would have gone directly to Heaven because Jesus has already ministered to those in Paradise and that company was now in Heaven, Paradise is no more. This same Paradise that Jesus spoke of in (Luke 16:20-31), is what the Catholic Church subscribes to as purgatory today, though Paradise no longer exists in any form. This same company from the forty days of Christ on Earth, prior to His final ascension (Acts 1:9), followed the same protocol after death, that all people, including us, in this time must follow, death and then Heaven instantly.
Those who are raptured are unique in their dispensation, because this group will never experience death like everyone else does. They are transformed alive. In some way, this transition must cause physical death and resurrection simultaneously, or within moments of one another. The reason for this assertion is that it is written,
“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”
Those experiencing the Rapture are unique, having this isolated exception to the way they transition from physical life to Heaven. These will be those who never entered Heaven in Spirit form without their bodies.
The final company, those from the tribulation, is thought to be reunited with their bodies at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment. This is the only time, according to scripture, that the opportunity is given for such reconciliation.
Think of Why Jesus went to Paradise in the first place
Integrity is something we as people take for granted. We make promises and throw around our word with little thought of consequences. Consider the balance of a man’s word. We may have a different level of integrity with our spouse, than we do with our co-workers, which may be different from our word with our boss. Friends may fall in another category as with family or our children.
We give out our word based on what is important to us at the time. In business we are set up to distrust one another so we relay on a credit report. You may reason that cheating on your taxes or your credit rating is a different matter from personal integrity.
In business we have lengthy contracts because we expect the other person is dishonest and we want to set up consequences when they don’t keep their word.
The bottom line is, our integrity should be the same with EVERYONE no matter the issue or significance. If God was like us, where would we be. He is Far from us, so consider the following.
WHY should we care what Jesus did after his death. Isn’t the resurrection enough?
The fact is, what happened immediately after Christ death on the cross should matter to us. It is crucial to understanding the complete substance of our salvation.
One of the most important things for us to know is to what extent can we count on God’s word. ALL the people from Adam to the time of Christ death, died in FAITH believing on the coming of the Messiah, but they all died NOT seeing it come to fruition.
What Jesus did after his death on the cross perfects and answers all the questions of trust, memory and the credibility of God as it relates to our salvation. No one is left behind.
If Christianity hangs on the resurrection of Christ, there are some significant things that happened before Jesus rose. What happened?
Jesus Dies on the Cross and the Temple Veil is Torn
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
Immediately after Jesus shouted tetelestai and chose to die physically, the veil of the Temple was "torn in two from top to bottom."
“Tetelestai” is Greek for “It is finished.”
Tetelestai comes from the verb teleo, which means “to bring to an end, to complete, to accomplish.” It’s a crucial word because it signifies the successful end to a particular course of action.
What was this veil, and how did its tearing signify the end of the Temple, why should we care?
The veil of the Temple was a huge curtain (60 feet long, 30 feet high, and about 4 inches thick; composed of 72 squares sewn together; that formed the barrier between the Shekinah presence of God and all human beings. (It was so heavy that it required 300 men to lift it)
This veil (along with all of the Temple details) represented the separation between God and humanity because of our sins. No one was permitted to pass through the veil into God's presence except for the High Priest, once a year (Day of Atonement), with the blood of an unblemished goat for the sins of the people.
Through this symbolism, God was teaching that we are not acceptable to him because of our sins. He was also teaching our need for a blameless Substitute whose death would pay for our true moral guilt and open the way for us to draw near to God.
The decisive tearing of this veil (not gradual fraying from the bottom up) at the exact moment of Jesus' death communicated a clear message from God. The author of Hebrews explains it.
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.
The way into God's personal presence is now open for all--as long as we come through the death of Jesus. Jesus' death fulfilled what the animal atonement sacrifices could only symbolize. He actually paid the penalty for our sins against God and removed this barrier.
With Jesus' death, the whole Old Covenant system of relating to God through priests and their ritual sacrifices, has been fulfilled and set aside (Hebrews 10:1-14).
Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Since this system only foreshadowed the true way by which God would deal with our sins "once and for all"
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
The Levitical priests continued their service for another forty years, but they were really out of business from this moment on. Perhaps this event explains why so many priests came to Christ in the days immediately following.
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
A.) Gods word is good and He can be completely trusted beyond death.
1. Jesus Dies and has a special covering on him so that he does not have to remain in Paradise
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
For great [is] Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
This corruption refers to the Blood of his body, that he will return to it before his body begins to decay and that God made a special prevision for Jesus so he enters Hell differently.
B.) God is Compassionate, God had compassion to create the Salvation of man Immediately after Adam in the garden. By having man give a sacrifice of a lamb as with Cain and Able, in that early period God set up the provision for salvation and did not leave man to be lost.
2. Jesus ministers to those in Paradise/Sheol/Hell
Jesus went into Paradise to minister to all those who died in faith from Adams death to the time of his arrival in Paradise.
To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Now this is an important development for many reasons, all of those who had been dead in Christ had to receive Jesus as the Christ. This is important, because God left none behind in salvation. It is at this place that God kept his promise to all those who had believed on his coming prior to death. This is where we see God keeping his word beyond physical death.
It was not enough to believe on the coming of the Christ, to perfect their salvation, Adam, Abraham and everybody else had to accept Jesus personally and directly after their death while they waited in paradise.
There is an actual place called Hell or Hades and there was a place called Sheol or Paradise. For the sake of this discussion lets relate to Hell as one big place with two sections. Hell and Paradise.
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.
One side, Lets call it Hades, is for the lost. Those who never accepted Christ, or believed on the coming of the Christ. This section of Hades, is sealed by God, so those who are in Hell will be there until they are ultimately cast into the lake of fire.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
The other side we will refer to as Sheol, or Paradise. This side is for those who died in Christ.
Sheol or Paradise was the same place Jesus referred to with the thief on the cross.
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
The account itself is valuable in many ways, but the particular aspect I want to focus on is the description Abraham gave. In verse 26, Abraham describes the divide. More specifically, he and Lazarus are in (COMFORT vs. 25)
They are able to SEE the rich man who is in torment in flames.
We also see Sheol and Hades in proximity. Close enough proximity that we have recognition, memory and the ability to speak across the divide.
Not to mention the retention of sensations.
"Consciousness", you take it all with you.
So here we know that the rich man was in Hell or Hades, and Abraham and Lazarus were in Sheol or Paradise. This is relevant to understand our condition after death.
Question, if you had ALL of your senses in Paradise, and you could see your loved ones in torment, how would that be Paradise?
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Life is the proofing ground for where you will spend your eternal life after you die. What seals your fate is death. Once dead, you can make no more choices. So, once you die, you wake up in your judgment.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
To this point I have visited the process of what Christ went through and the significance of his actions after the cross. What it means for us TODAY is simply we can count on God’s word even through death.