It was Saturday that Jesus Christ went to Hell.”
This is one phrase that Christians, whether mainline or evangelical, Catholic or Protestant, will likely not hear from the pulpit this week. And yet the story of Christ’s descent to the underworld has deep roots in tradition.
The fourth century Apostle’s Creed tells us that following his crucifixion, but before his resurrection, Jesus “descended to the dead.” The Athanasian Creed of at least a century later is more explicit, Christ “descended into hell.” Depending on context and translation Jesus either journeyed to Sheol, Hades, or Hell. But allowing for differences in language Christianity held—and technically still holds as a central tenet—the view that Jesus spent the gap between his death and resurrection “harrowing” Hell, that is journeying to the underworld to liberate the imprisoned souls of the Hebrew patriarchs…
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