Summary: When Jesus died on the cross and was burried He descended into hell - What in Hell happened?
“What in Hell Happened?”
Elder Melvin L. Maughmer, Jr.
I want to talk about something that in and of itself is not in the Bible; however, it is a summation of the faith and belief of those of us that are called Christians. That which I want to speak about is what is called the “Apostles Creed.”
The Apostles Creed is said to be the oldest of all creeds and is the basis of all other creeds. It dates back to the 2nd century A.D. Inspite of its title it did not come from the Apostles. Legend says that each of the 12 Apostles had the opportunity to give a summation or statement of their faith before their death and these statements overtime developed into what is called today the Apostles Creed. Many religious organizations today use this creed to express one’s confession of faith at the time of baptism.
The word Creed means a set of fundamental beliefs, a brief authoritative formula of religious beliefs. They are the symbol of the faith of a person that calls themselves Christians.
The Apostles Creed reads as follows: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Master 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, From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead, I believe in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting, Amen.”
Let me clarify something right here, right now. The word “Catholic” means relating to the church universal, the body of Christ, which is made up of those that are called by His name according to His purpose, it is the universal fellowship of the body of Christ, NOT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OR CATHOLISISM. It refers to the body of Christ, not just the Apostolic, not to just the Pentecostals, not just the Baptist, or Methodist, Lutherans, or Presbyterians, but to all those that are called by His name.
In the original Greek version of the Apostles Creed, which dates back to the year 140 A.D. the phrase “He descended into hell” was not there; however, down through time it became part of the creed. Unlike the Nicene Creed or the Chalcedonian Definition the Apostles Creed was not approved by a church council at one certain time; therefore, it developed into what we have today. Ever since about 360 A.D. the phrase “He descended into hell” has been a very controversial statement. This is when the first appearance of this particular phrase was used. It appeared in the Latin version and said “dedcendit in inferna.” The Latin word “inferna” literally means “lower”. It is used to represent the grave into which the body was lowered, or the realm of the dead which was considered to be the underworld.
People ever since this time has argued the fact did Jesus descend into hell? If so why? And if He did descend into hell did He suffer in the torment of hell while He was there.
We must understand people of God that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was mainly written in Greek. In 1611 A.D. when King James had the Bible translated into the English language many words lost their original meaning and have taken on a very limited meaning in the English language. Because of this there are many misinterpretations and misunderstandings of the precious Word of God, that’s why it is so very important to study to show thyself approved unto God.
The Hebrew word for hell is “Sheol”. Sheol refers to the place of departed spirit of the dead.
*: - A grave is one particular cavity that is dug for the interment of a dead person.
Sheol is a collective name for all graves. Sheol is the region of the dead, it is never fully occupied, but desires more for Proverbs 27:20 says “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” The Bible says in Genesis 37:35 “And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave (Hebrew word Sheol) unto my son mourning.” Job 7:9 says “As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes down to the grave (Hebrew word Sheol) does not return.” David said in Psalm 139:8 “If I ascend into heaven thou art there, if I make my bed in hell (Hebrew word Sheol) thou art there.” Proverbs 15:24 says “The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell (Hebrew word Sheol) beneath.”