Not too long ago, a dear friend of mine ask me question, "Did Jesus go to hell after He died on cross?" To be honest about it, this question caught me a little off guard. In further discussion, I learned that my friend had been taught that during three days that Jesus' body was in tomb, His spirit was in hell "paying for our sins." I told him that this was not my understanding of what actually took place during that three-day period, but I would research question and get back to him. This article is in response to my friend's question.
In my research of this topic, I discovered to my dismay that this doctrine is rather wide-spread in teaching of it. Many television evangelists who follow Faith doctrine teach this concept. The Faith doctrine primarily contends that you can have anything you desire -- if your faith is strong enough. To begin, let's examine in a little more detail exactly what this doctrine is all about.
Those who follow Faith doctrine believe and teach that Jesus, while still hanging on cross, was changed form divine to demonic. In other words, He became like Satan or at least one of Satan's followers (a demon). He had all characteristics of Satan and demons. This supposedly happened because Jesus "became sin" so you and I could be forgiven of our sins. To put it another way, Jesus not only died physically, but He also died spiritually.
Continuing with this line of thinking, Jesus, or more specifically His demonic spirit, then went to hell to pay price for our sins. While there, Jesus was tortured in most hideous fashion by Satan and his followers. They literally tortured life (spiritual life) out of demonic Jesus. His spiritual body lay limp and lifeless in very heart of hell. Satan thought he had won.
However, as Faith doctrine goes, God -through His faith-filled words - began to bring Jesus back to life. His spiritual body began to fill-out with a newness of life even more powerful than ever before. When this process was complete, Jesus had been re-born in hell and was once again Son of God, a divine being. His divine spirit then re-inhabited His physical body and was resurrected.
What is your first reaction to above account? Have you ever heard it before? If your first reaction was, "YES! Victory over Satan," then please STOP and read account again before going any further with this article. Think about what this doctrine teaches.
I hope and pray that your reaction is now one of repulsion and anger. How could anyone who loves God, His Son, and Holy Spirit ever conceive of such a ridiculous doctrine. Let's take a look at what Bible teaches in respect to this.
In order for false teachers of Faith doctrine to concoct such a fable as this, various Scriptures must be twisted and distorted to their way of thinking. First, let's take a look at possibly only verse that could even begin to be taken in such as way as to confirm this doctrine: "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) If you look closely, this verse does say "to be sin for us." The question is, does this verse mean literally that Jesus became sin? To answer this, let's consider two points: practically of it and respected Bible scholars.
To begin with, sin is an abstract not a tangible object. Sin is failure to obey commands of God. It is an action or in some cases an inaction. It is what we do, not what we are. A person cannot "be sin," but rather can only act sinfully. A person can sin; be a sinner; be despicable, terrible, abhorrent, ungodly, unrighteous, and all rest. But he cannot "be sin." The Bible teaches us to hate sin but love sinner. If person was sin we would have to hate him too. Therefore, Jesus could not have been sin for us. This Scripture then must, of necessity, mean something other than literal meaning as it relates to phrase "to be sin."
So me must rely on respected, trusted Bible scholars to assist is in interpretation of this Scripture. These scholars agree that phrase "to be sin" means "bearing penalty of our sins." In other words, Jesus did not become sin but rather became person who suffered penalty for sin which we and countless millions of others throughout ages have committed. Not only do respected scholars of our time agree on this point, but Scriptures also agree. In many places in Old and New Testament Jesus is portrayed as sacrificial lamb, person who bore punishment for our sins.
Putting that issue to rest, does remainder of Scripture support or reject idea of Jesus becoming sin, going to hell, becoming a demon, etc. We will consider just a few of many Scriptures which refute this abhorrent teaching.