Did Jesus Go To Hell After His Death On The Cross?

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Published by Kenneth Garcia


Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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We may wonder, “Did Jesus go to Hell?” While the Bible contains several references to Jesus’ crucifixion and eventual resurrection, there is no explicit mention of Him going to Hell. However, some have argued that certain scriptures imply He did experience some form of separation from God following His death on the cross.

One such example can be found in Psalm 16:10, where the psalmist says, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” This has been interpreted as Jesus going to a place of punishment or torment after His death on the cross (i.e., Hell) before being resurrected alive and ascending into Heaven.

Key Takeaways

  • The Bible does not explicitly state that Jesus went to Hell, and interpretations vary among theologians.
  • Some scriptures suggest Jesus might have descended to a place for souls, like Sheol or Hades, but this is open to interpretation.
  • Jesus’ death and resurrection symbolize His power over sin and death, offering believers the promise of eternal life.

What Happened To Jesus After He Died?

The Bible is clear about what happened to Jesus after He died. After being arrested and put on trial, Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb. According to the New Testament, Jesus rose from the dead three days later and ascended[1] into Heaven (Matthew 28:6). His followers saw Him ascend in a cloud before their very eyes (Acts 1:9–11).

Jesus’ resurrection was an expression of His power over death and sin; it was God’s way of showing that death has no power over Him or those who believe in Him. It symbolized the conquering of death itself and God’s promise of eternal life for all who trust in Him (1 Corinthians 15:54–57).

But did Jesus go to Hell? The Bible does not explicitly state that He went to Hell after His death. In fact, the Apostle Peter declared, “For Christ also suffered once for all time for sins, the righteous one for the unrighteous ones, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). This verse implies that Jesus took the punishment for our sins, so we don’t have to. Therefore, it seems clear that Jesus did not go to Hell when He died.

Did Jesus Go To Hell?

The debate over whether Jesus went to Hell after His crucifixion has been a longstanding one. The truth is that the answer largely depends on your interpretation of scripture and how you understand the place of the dead from different accounts in the Bible.

Some theologians believe that when Jesus died, He descended into Sheol, a place for souls who had not yet received redemption from sin. According to this view, Jesus was either in Paradise or Hades during the three days between His death and resurrection to atone for sins committed by mankind. In this scenario, Hell is seen as an extension of Hades, where those destined for eternal punishment are sent.

Others argue that Jesus did not go to Hell but descended into paradise, or Abraham’s bosom—the resting place for believers in God. In this interpretation, Jesus’ death had already fully atoned for the sins of mankind, and so there was no need for Him to remain in Hades until the resurrection.

The Bible does not explicitly say whether Jesus went to Hell after His crucifixion. However, certain scriptures may indicate that He did. One example is found in Ephesians 4:8–11, where it speaks of “Jesus descending into the lower parts of the earth” and a “descent into Hell.” Luke 24:7 also mentions that “the Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again.”

a person in hell surrounded by fire and did jesus go to hell

Why Did Jesus Descend Into Hell?

The descent of Jesus into Hell is a biblical teaching found in the Apostles’ Creed, which states that He descended into Hell. This doctrine held by the early Church teaches that after His death and before His resurrection, Christ descended from all the heavens to Earth and then went down to the depths of Hell.

The Bible does not explicitly state why Jesus descended into Hell, but theologians have proposed several reasons for Christ’s descent. One reason is to proclaim deliverance and victory over death to those already held captive in Hell. When Jesus declared, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) on the cross, He was proclaiming His victory over sin and death—including those suffering torment in Hades—and announcing their freedom through Him.

Another possible reason Jesus descended into Hell was to make atonement for the sins of all mankind. Jesus had already accomplished vicarious atonement on the cross, but His descent into Hell could be seen as an extension of this work. This view holds that although Christ paid the price for all sin, He also went to hell and suffered there on our behalf—to fully demonstrate His commitment to redeem us from bondage.

What Did Jesus Do When He Descended Into Hell?

When Jesus descended into Hell after His crucifixion, the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was again unified. According to Revelation 1:18, Jesus had “the keys of hell and death” in His hands as He descended. The Holy Catholic Church believes that when Jesus entered Hades upon His death, He went as a triumphant victor over sin and death rather than as a captive.

The Bible does not provide details about what happened during this time in Sheol (Hell). Some theologians believe that it was here that Christ made atonement for sinners who died before His crucifixion. This atonement was known as the “Harrowing of Hell,” which was described by Origen in the third century.

Theologians also speculate that Jesus Christ preached His gospel to those in Hell before His death and resurrection. This is based on a passage from 1 Peter 3:19: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” This could signify that Jesus offered those in Hell a chance at salvation through Him.

depiction of people suffering in flames and did jesus go to hell


Ultimately, the question of whether Jesus descended into Hell forever is an open one. The Bible does not explicitly state that He did, but some interpret certain passages as evidence. Whether or not Jesus’ descent to Hell was true, we are certain that His death and resurrection have universal implications for all believers.

Jesus Christ conquered sin and death through His death and resurrection and offered us a chance to be reconciled with the Father Almighty. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” By placing our faith in Him, we can receive the promise of life everlasting through Christ Jesus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did Jesus Go To Hell After His Crucifixion?

The Bible does not explicitly state that Jesus went to Hell, but some interpretations of scripture suggest that He may have descended to a place for souls, such as Sheol or Hades.

What Does The Bible Say About Jesus’ Time After Death?

The Bible mainly focuses on Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, without specifically mentioning a descent to Hell.

Is The Concept Of Jesus Going To Hell Supported By Scripture?

While the Bible doesn’t directly state that Jesus went to Hell, certain scriptures, like Psalm 16:10 and Ephesians 4:8–11, are often cited as potential implications of His descent.

What Is The Significance Of Jesus’ Resurrection?

Jesus’ resurrection is significant as it represents His power over death and sin, symbolizes the conquering of death itself, and underscores God’s promise of eternal life for believers.

Does The Apostles’ Creed Mention Jesus Descending Into Hell?

Yes, the Apostles’ Creed, a statement of faith used in Christian liturgy, includes the assertion that Jesus descended into Hell.

What Might Jesus Have Done In Hell According To Theological Views?

Some theologians believe Jesus might have proclaimed victory over death to those in Hell, or He could have made atonement for sinners who died before His crucifixion, a concept known as the “Harrowing of Hell.”

How Do Different Christian Denominations View Jesus’ Descent to Hell?

Views on Jesus’ descent to Hell vary among Christian denominations, with some interpreting it as a literal event and others as metaphorical or symbolic.

What Is The Harrowing Of Hell?

The Harrowing of Hell is a theological concept that describes Jesus Christ’s descent into Hell to free the righteous souls who had died before His crucifixion.

How Does Jesus’ Death And Resurrection Affect Believers?

Jesus’ death and resurrection are central to Christian faith, offering believers salvation, redemption from sin, and the promise of eternal life through faith in Him.

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