What did Jesus do in Hell?

It is an established fact that Jesus went to hell after His death on the cross.  The next question is, what did He do while He was in hell?  The number one theory or doctrine concerning this matter is that Jesus went to hell to preach to the Old Testament saints.  It’s commonly taught that people of the Old Testament died prior to Jesus; therefore they never accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. This was a great disadvantage to them because they never had an opportunity.  The belief is that Jesus preached to them when He went to hell, giving them the same opportunity to accept Him as people in the New Testament


If this is true that Jesus gave them an opportunity to accept Him as Lord and Savior, then I submit to you that every person that died in the Old Testament is now in heaven.  Consider the rich man that died and went to hell, how he wanted just a drop of water to cool his tongue; Luke 16:24, “…he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”  Do you think this man or any man that is being tormented forever would refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior if given the opportunity?


The teaching that Jesus gave Old Testament people and opportunity to accept Him, is based on 1 Pet. 3:19, “…he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”  The only reason Jesus was in hell is that he died as a man; therefore He had to be judged; Heb. 9:27, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  The people that died before Jesus had already sealed their fate.  Consider Lazarus and the rich man, (Luke 16:19-31).  Lazarus, being a righteous man was in a place of comfort when he died.  On the other hand, the rich man being unrighteous was in a place of torment when he died.  Jesus is doing the speaking, so these men actually died prior to the crucifixion of Jesus.  Their fate was sealed at their death.  Some might say this story is a parable and not based on truth. Usually parables do not use people’s names but this story uses names and it even make mention of Moses that had lived years earlier.


Yes, Jesus went to hell when He died, but He was not there in an effort to win souls.  Jesus did all of His preaching before He died on the cross.  The spirits that Jesus preached to was the people that were alive and well here on earth.  They were the ones that are in prison because they were held captive by the law of sin and death; Rom. 8:2, “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”


Some say that Jesus descending into the lower parts of the earth is referencing Him going to hell; Eph. 4:9, “…what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth…” No, Jesus’ mission was to descend from heaven to the planet earth, to preach to mankind while they are living so that they could repent; Mt. 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”


What did Jesus do in hell?  He went to receive his judgment as a man because He was born of a woman.  He did not preach to anyone in hell.  Because hell could not find Him guilty, he took possession of the keys of hell and of death declaring all who repent to be free from the law of sin and death.