Did Christ descend into hell (sheol/hades)?

Erick M's picture

In a Hebrew lexicon published by Moody Press named the "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament" the belief in Christ descending into sheol/hades is denied. I thought this would be a good time to present this topic for discussion and get some different denominational/theological view points on it.

A couple of things that would be worth taking into account I think would be that the Greek word "hades" and the Hebrew word "sheol" have analogous meanings, while the word "gehenna" is not used exactly the same way in scripture even though all three words are translated as the word "hell" in the King James version of the Bible. The word gehenna was used in reference to the Valley of Hinnom where infants were sacrificed in the days of Mannasseh and where trash was burned in the time of Jesus. The word gehenna was usually used in discourses by Jesus and other Rabbi's in Palestine as an analogy to the eternal fiery punishment that the wicked would suffer after the judgement. The word sheol/hades referred to the holding place of souls after death.

Some verses that seem to support the idea that Christ descended into sheol/hades would be 1 Peter 3:18-20, Ephesians 4:9-10, and Matthew 12:40. For the idea that sheol was located in the earth see Amos 9:2, Numbers 16:31-34 and Ezekiel 31:16-17.

Are there any verses that contradict the idea that Christ descended into sheol?

Josephus by DNR (not verified)
Just a response by Erick M
Erick by Clay
purgatory by shoemaker

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