Oddkin's Thoughts

harrowing of hell 

The traditional rendering of the Apostles’ Creed has a very strange-sounding line in it.

Speaking of Jesus, it says that He “was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.” It goes on to speak of the resurrection, but in between these lines it says “He descended into hell.”

What could this possibly mean? How could Jesus “descend into hell?” And what did He do while He was there?

Traditionally, the church has understood this to mean that after His death on the cross, Jesus went into the underworld and proclaimed the message of salvation to those who had died before His birth. This belief has been called “the harrowing of hell.”

There are a couple of Scriptures that may allude to such a harrowing, both in the first letter of Peter:

“He (Jesus) was put to…

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