I would like to find out the explanation to the scripture in Peter where it mentions Jesus, after he was crucified, "preaching to the spirits in prison." We understand that he was buried for three days, but where was he those three days? Does it mean that he actually was in hell, or are there many different explanations to where he might have been? -- Lisanne Lo (Sydney)
Yes, there are a number of ideas about where Jesus was and what he did during that Easter weekend of 33 AD. The 'hell' to which he went is a mistranslation for Hades, the place where we go immediately after death.
According to the scriptures, he did not ascend to heaven (from Bethany, on the back slope of the Mount of Olives) until 40 days after his resurrection (John 20:17, Luke 24:50, Acts 1:2, 1:12). During this time Jesus spoke to the dead, as indicated not only in 1 Peter 3:19 but also in 4:6. The spirits could have been fallen angels or human. The exact nature of this "preaching" continues to be a matter of debate among scholars.
For more, see my 2006 What Happens After We Die? (audio set)
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