Jesus Suffered in Hell
The subject that I’m preaching about today is whether Jesus Suffered in Hell to pay for the punishment of our sins.
And I know this is a touchy topic for some.
But this is 1 issue that should not cause division among Christians.
Even though this doctrine determines the method by which God accomplished the work of salvation, it is not a salvific issue, in that the Bible doesn’t say, that if you don’t understand this doctrine that you can’t be saved!
What does the Bible say? It says in Romans 10:13: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
So we don’t have to agree on this issue, but it’s an important doctrine in that it reveals the length & depth & breadth that Jesus went through to save us.
• So let’s start with WHY Jesus had to suffer in Hell.
Let’s begin with Romans 6:23:
When we’re out soulwinning, preaching the Gospel to the lost, after explaining to them that there is none righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10) and that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), this is the very next Bible verse that comes up.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
• So death is contrasted with life.
• Now wages are what we receive as payment due for the work that we do.
• So when our work is sin, because all have sinned have fallen short of the glory of God, we receive death as our wages.
This goes back to Genesis 2:16-17: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”.
But there are 2 kinds of death:
(1) there’s physical death, which we all go through & (2) Spiritual death or hell.
When man disobeyed God, he died not only physically, but was now predestined for Hell … When Eve was deceived by the serpent & Adam was tempted by the woman.
The next verse that we bring up when preaching the Gospel is about the Second Death, from Revelation 21:8:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
So you have to understand:
• There’s the first death which is physical, we all die once physically.
• Then there’s the second death which non-believers go through, which is eternal Hell.
And that is important to understand if you’re going to get the rest of this sermon. That’s the foundation.
* For the penalty of sin to be paid in full, Jesus had to pay the price for the first death & the second death.
Otherwise … salvation would be incomplete.
And some people will say: “Well … Jesus suffered HELL ON THE CROSS.”
OK, but can you show me the BIBLE CHAPTER & VERSE?
Where does it say that Jesus endured Hell ON THE CROSS?
OK, Is our faith IN THE WORD OF GOD? Or is it in the TRADITIONS OF MEN?
You find this anywhere in Scripture, although it’s taught by the likes of reformed Calvinist theologians like RC Sproul, John MacArthur, & James White.
So let’s go ahead and look at some of the key Scriptures.
Go ahead and turn to Acts 2:22-32.
I can show you direct Scripture that says Jesus suffered in Hell.
(1) Even the NIV says (Acts 2:24): “ But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death …” [NOW WHY WOULD DEATH BE FULL OF AGONY, IF JESUS DIDN’T SUFFER WHILE DEAD].
Because this Verse doesn’t say that God freed him from the agony of death on the cross.
Jesus suffered the agony of death on the cross, the 1st death.
This is talking about WHILE JESUS WAS DEAD, he was in PAIN, during those 3 days, but then was LOOSED from it.
• NIV Acts 2:31: “Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.”
• They change the very clear KJV word: “HELL” to the “realm of the dead”.
• Why do they do that? Because there’s an agenda in the modern Bible versions to change this doctrine & undermine the enormous sacrifice that Jesus voluntarily went through to rescue us from our sin.
His sacrifice was much greater than we could have imagined.
– & Suffering in Hell was also a fulfillment of prophecy.
“But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
So Jesus is saying, This is the sign that I will give you: I’m going to go through what Jonah went through prophetically, and fulfill Scripture.
Jonah 2:2: “I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
Again, the modern corruptions change this:
NIV: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.”
There’s no doubt that Jonah was in affliction / He was suffering torment when he was in the belly of the whale.
And it’s interesting that Jesus calls this the “HEART OF THE EARTH”.
He says that the sign will be that He will be in the heart of the earth.
What is the heart of the earth? It’s the center.
It’s interesting that scientists have confirmed that the center of our earth is full of molten lava and fire that is approx. 10,000 °F.
And you’ve heard of the Bottomless Pit.
Revelation 20:3: “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
This is talking about Hell, which is described here as the bottomless pit, where God is going to cast Satan at the end of the world.
And the interesting thing is that gravity pulls from all sides at the center of the earth – that’s what science confirms – so it gives the feeling of weightlessness as though you are in zero gravity.
It feels like you’re always falling, even though you’re floating at the center.
• I believe that Hell is currently in the center of the earth, and the Bible says that one day Hell will be transferred to the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 20:14: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
And if you have to ask yourself: If Jesus didn’t go to Hell for 3 days, LIKE THE KING JAMES BIBLE SAYS, where did He go for 3 days?
• And opponents to this doctrine will say that Jesus went to the “good compartment of Hell” in Abraham’s Bosom in Sheol or Hades.
– And if you’re not familiar with this, it is a strange doctrine, it’s extra-biblical and it has no place in the King James Bible.
So where do they get this strange idea?
• Luke 16:19-31: The Story of Lazarus & the Rich Man
First, what is this passage really about?
Ultimately, it’s about unbelievers who were unmerciful in this life, will receive the wages for their sins in the next.
And that believers will be rewarded w/ paradise.
But people take this passage for their own use to create this fictional abode of the dead, called Abraham’s Bosom, the supposed “good compartment” of Hell or Sheol.
And it all comes about from a twisting of Scripture and corruptions in the modern versions.
• This passage is talking about the literal Abraham in heaven.
• V.22 – When the beggar died, he was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.
• V. 23 – So now we see that Abraham’s bosom is no longer a place, but the actually bosom of Abraham the person.
• NIV CORRUPTION: “In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.”
• V.24 – the rich man cries out to Abraham, saying have mercy on me … So Abraham’s bosom isn’t a place, but an actual person: Abraham himself.
• V.25 – ABRAHAM speaks back! So again, he’s not a place, but a person. He’s just Abraham in heaven.
So this whole Abraham’s bosom doctrine is non-sense. It’s rooted in corruptions of God’s Word and extra-biblical interpretation.
• 2 Corinthians 5:8 proves that once we die, we are instantly in heaven with Christ. Paul says: “We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
21 For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this [is] the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [is] more needful for you.
OK, but people will say that’s the NT … in the OT, people went to Abraham’s Bosom, which we already proved is not a consistent, Biblical teaching.
Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Psalm 73:24-25: “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me [to] glory. Whom have I in heaven [but thee]? and [there is] none upon earth [that] I desire beside thee.
Proverbs 15:24: “The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.”
Amos 9:2: “Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down”.
Psalm 139:8: “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”
So these are all OT concepts!
• And let me just throw one more thing out there: think about Elijah, who was taken up in a chariot of fire into heaven …
HE WAS AN OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET!
• Where did the idea come from that Hell is any different in the OT?
From the MODERN BIBLE CORRUPTIONS.
From extra-Biblical books like the Book of the ENOCH.
From pastors and theologians who take 2 semesters of Greek & Hebrew & think they know more than the King James Bible translators who were among the smartest men in all history and were fluent in over a dozen languages.
Another objection that people bring up:
• THE THIEF ON THE CROSS
Luke 23:43: “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
But isn’t God omni-scient, omni-potent, omni-present?
Look at John 3:3: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
He’s the Godhead.
Jesus is saying to the thief on the cross, today you will be with GOD in paradise.
You’ll be with the Godhead, of which He is a part, omnipresent in all things.
Colossians 2:9: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
OBJECTION: “IT IS FINISHED”
John 19:30: “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
What was finished? His work on the cross was finished.
Does that mean that the work of salvation was complete?
JESUS HADN’T EVEN RISEN YET FROM THE DEAD.
RESURRECTION IS A PART OF THE WORK OF REDEMPTION?
So clearly, saying “IT IS FINISHED” did not mean that everything that had to be done was done.
It was a prophetic statement …
Jesus’ earthly ministry was finished; He had done all He could do. Now it was up to the Father to rescue Him from Hell and the Holy Spirit to raise Him up from the dead.
He had done His part.
OBJECTION: “Led Captivity Captive”
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
1 Peter 3:18-20:
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
But “leading captivity captive” actually goes back to Psalm 68:18, because the exact phrasing is used:
“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
This is just saying that Jesus redeemed us. While were yet sinners, captive to sin … Jesus freed us from captivity.
Galatians 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Captive is the same as bondage and it’s the opposite of liberty.
He’s saying that Jesus set us free, but descending into Hell and paying the price for the SECOND DEATH!
2 Timothy 2:24-25
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
OBJECTION: King Saul called up Samuel from the earth.
1 Samuel 28:11-15
This is the most difficult of all the objections.
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty …
Latin word for “Hell” there: “inferno”.
So this isn’t some new thing that we’re teaching. It’s been the teaching of the church for centuries. It’s just not being preached anymore!
Let me close with this.
I saved perhaps the most compelling Biblical evidence for last.
This further strengthens the case that Jesus Suffered in Hell, because He was the Sacrificial Lamb
& all the burnt offerings from the OT were a foreshadowing of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.
Ephesians 5:1-2: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
• Now keep in mind the phrase: “SWEETSMELLING SAVOUR”. We’re going to come back to this. It’s the link between Jesus being the Lamb of God and the burnt offering.
Jesus, as we all know, is the PASSOVER LAMB. The entire Passover foreshadowed Christ.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roastwith fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
ALL the offerings were all burnt with fire.
Leviticus 1, the Sin offering in verse 4, was “a burnt sacrifice of the herd … a male without blemish”.
6 And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
8 And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
This goes back to Ephesians 5:1-2: “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
Numbers 18:17: “But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.”
Numbers 28:2: “Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season.”
Genesis 2:22 of Abraham’s Offering of Isaac as a Burnt Sacrifice, again foreshadowing Jesus Christ as the substitute for our sins:
“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
JOHN THE BAPTIST called JESUS: “The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Luke 24:26-27: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”