I have been listening to a sermon series on the apostle's creed and there is a line in the creed that says Jesus descended into hell. There is also a verse in Ephesians :“Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?”Ephesians 4:9 NASBThis particular pastor says this is figurative. I have never really given this much thought but what are some views out there on whether Jesus figuratively or literally descended into hellafter dying on the cross?
JHerndon,I think the answer is that 'hell' can mean just the grave (the place of the dead) and pre-calvary no one went to heaven. Jesus was the first 'man' to enter in as a fore runner for us. There is a view that Christ when He went to the grave (hell) he preached to the captives, those held by death and released the righteous from Abraham's Bosom to follow Him into heaven.The verse preceding the one you quoted in Ephesians says 'He led captivity captive'. Also in 1 Peter 4:6 it says.."For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."Then there is the gospel accounts when Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, that many who were in the grave rose and were seen walking around Jerusalem (Matt 27:52-53).These scriptures together seem to point to this fact, but not sure we can be absolutely certain what actually went on when Christ descended into the lower parts of the earth.