Where Did Jesus Go After His Crucifixion?

Question: “Where did Jesus go immediately after His crucifixion?”

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Some question if Jesus immediately went to Paradise/Heaven after His crucifixion, or if He first went to hell.

Jesus went to Hell first

Psalm 16:10 foretold of Christ being in hell.  For you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 2:31 confirms that Christ went to hell. David, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ that His soul was not left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption. And, For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40). The Bible is clear, hell is inside the earth and Christ spent three days in hell. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (Ephesians 4:9).

And why did Christ go to hell, to get the keys of victory and to set the captives free.  I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:18).

Some believe that Luke 23:43 implies that Jesus enters Paradise after His crucifixion?  Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.


Since Christ could not go to both hell and paradise after being crucified, and as we have a number of verses stating that Christ went to hell, then we need to review Luke 23:43 to see if we are looking at it correctly.


The original Greek had no comma and did not use commas. English translators added the comma in the late 1500. The location of the comma could be as represented, before “today” or the correct location for the comma could be after the “today.” The uncertainty of the comma’s location clouds the authenticity and meaning of what Christ actually said.

Did Jesus Christ tell the thief on the cross that “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise,” that they would be together in Paradise that very day, or did he say, “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise,” that they would be together in Paradise sometime in the future? Some have argued that the text is ambiguous on the location of the comma, because the position of the comma (before or after the word "today") determines the meaning of Christ's statement.

Since the position of the comma lacks authority, the punctuation “Truly I tell you, today you shall be with me in paradise” would leave a reader with a discrepancy between what had been promised and what actually happened. On the other hand, the alternative punctuation “Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise” has been supported as free from such problems since it does not state when they would be in Paradise.


We should also examine the previous verse.  

The criminal said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom [Meaning, "When you come with glory and power"] (Luke 23:42). The criminal asked to be remembered when Jesus returned to His kingdom with glory and power. This was the statement that Jesus responded to. As Jesus would first be going to hell, it is more logical that Jesus would answer by saying, “I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”


We must also give consideration to timing.

From the third hour (9 AM) to the ninth hour (3 PM), six hours, Jesus suffered on the Cross and He died. Normally it took 2 to 5 days for a person being crucified to die. Christ died before the criminal died, who was asking to be with Christ.  As such, Christ would have already paid the price for his sins and the criminal would have gone straight to Heaven.


I knew a man in Christ … such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man … How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter (2 Cor. 12:2-4). Paul first spoke of Heaven, then repeating himself, says Paradise. Clearly heaven and paradise are the same.


Given that the comma appears to have been put on the wrong side of “today” and that Paul said that Heaven and Paradise are the same, and that Christ died before the criminal – having completed salvation so that the criminal would go straight to Heaven, we can say that Christ first went to Hell, the criminal went to Paradise/Heaven, and Christ joined the criminal in Paradise/Heaven three days later.

Next Section - Where was Jesus for three days after His                      death?

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