Good Question...


On...when and how long was Jesus in hell?



>In your reply concerning Jesus death.
>
> It has been my understanding the Jesus was in hell from
> the time of his death till his resurrection Sunday morning
> or maybe it was Sat night (based on the Jewish understanding
> of when days start).
>
> So that entire time Jesus would have been facing God's
> wrath. Could you explain why you would say that Jesus
> was only suffering for 3 hours as opposed to 3 days?

technically, "hell" doesn't equal "hell"!

1. Hell is the Eng. translation for a number of Greek (and Hebrew) words...the STANDARD meaning of the NT hell was 'the grave' (with or without notions of punishment, reward)...in some contexts, of course, the punishment notions are present, but in the parable in Luke 16 (dives and lazarus), lazarus is said to be in 'hell' when he is actually in a place of bliss...in other words, he was in 'the grave'...

what this means, is that Jesus was in hell (the grave) from his death until the resurrection without ANY implications of punishment...

2. In fact, we KNOW that Jesus went to heaven within hours of his death, since he promised one of the thieves on the cross "THIS DAY, you will be with me in paradise"...

3. the 3 hour period of suffering is based on two sayings of Jesus on the cross:

"my god, my god, why have you forsaken me?" (noon, the cry of abandonment)

and

"it is finished" (3pm, literally 'paid in full'--the satisfaction of the debt of sin)...the phrase 'it is finished' (tetelestoi) was the word used in debtors prisons...when a person was cast into prison for a debt, the 'outstanding bill' was posted outside the cell door...when the debt had been fully repaid, the bill was removed from the door, stamped with 'tetelestoi' on it, and handed to the ex-prisoner as proof he was FREE--his debt had been 'paid in full'...

on the basis of these, we generally conclude that the payment for sin was COMPLETE when Jesus said "Tetelestoi"...this would form the endpoint of the suffering period...

hope this helps...


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