Bible Question:

Where in the Bible does it speak of Jesus going to hell/hades after His death? Is it in the Episcopalian creed? I am puzzled. Can you help? Thank you for your time.

Bible Answer:

Scripture tells us that after Jesus’ death, His spirit went to heaven or paradise. We know this because Jesus tells the thief hanging next to Him on a cross that he would be in paradise with Him that very day,

And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (NASB) Luke 23:43

What is paradise? Paradise is heaven. So this means that Jesus went to heaven, but we are not exactly sure as to when. 1 Peter 3:18-19 tells us that Jesus descended into hell and announced victory over the fallen spirits or angels.

There are some who would disagree with this conclusion for various reasons. One reason is they assume Jesus preached a salvation message to the angels, but 1 Peter 3:18-19 does not say that. The Greek word for proclamation is not the Greek word meaning “good news” or “the gospel.” This word means “to herald” or “officiate as a herald.” It is a common word in the New Testament having the idea” to announce.” In this case, Jesus declared His accomplishment. Nor did Jesus need to go to hell as some are currently teaching to pay for His sins. Jesus was the perfect lamb of God – He was sinless. Jesus was

. . . tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (NASB) Hebrews 4:15

It seems best to understand this as Jesus’ announcement of victory.

We are not sure about the timing of all of the events because scripture does not give us all of the details. So we are left to guessing on some of the details. It is clear that Jesus’ spirit went to heaven the day His body died. We know that Jesus’ body was resurrected on Sunday. Jesus could have visited the fallen angels before or after His resurrection. We do not know exactly when this occurred.

Yes, the Episcopalian Creed does say that Jesus descended into hell,

III. OF THE GOING DOWN OF CHRIST INTO HELL
As Christ died for us, and was buried, so also is it to be believed, that He went down into Hell.

Articles of Religion (Thirty-Nine Articles)

Conclusion:

Jesus was the sinless God-man who took away our sins, ascended into paradise at His death, descended into hell, and returned to heaven until His second coming.