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What Does the Bible Say About...Jesus Between Death and Resurrection?

Where did Jesus go before he arose on the 3rd day,Heaven Or Hell?In Luke 23-43 he says to one of the criminals"Assuredly I say to you Today you will be with me in Paradise.But in the Book of John 20-17 Jesus tells Mary "Do not cling to me for I have not yet assended to my Father". I don`t think anyone could have gone to Heaven before Jesus did. So at that time was Paradise in the Bossom Of Abraham?


There have been a number of theories proposed about what happens to the soul between death and the final resurrection, and it may be presumed that these should also apply to Jesus between his death and resurrection. Unfortunately, there is no one clear-cut passage that answers your question.

Some believe the soul is in an unconscious state until resurrection; that it is essentially nowhere. Others have proposed that at death the soul goes to a waiting area which is divided between those going to punishment (gehenna) and those going to reward (paradise). Then after the final resurrection all will be judged and those who are found guilty will go to eternal punishment while those whose guilt was taken by Jesus will go to heaven. Some even propose an intermediate place (purgatory) where the wicked will work off their sins and eventually (it is to be presumed) everyone will go to heaven.

In Acts 2, Peter speaks of the resurrection and quotes Psalm 16:10: “You will not leave my soul in hell.” This would indicate that Jesus spent time “in hell.” However, the Hebrew word used in the psalm is accurately translated “the grave,” and Jesus was clearly in the grave.

The reference to “Abraham’s bosom” is in Luke 16, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The story would indicate that there is some state of consciousness of the soul after death, and so it is presumed that Jesus was in what is here called “Abraham’s bosom.”

The reference to “paradise,” however, may have nothing to do with the conscious state of the soul after death. Because of Jesus’ words to the robber on the cross, many have named that place where the souls go after death as “Paradise.” The word, itself, means garden. One interpretation of the scene on the cross is that both robbers were joining with the crowd in mocking Jesus (Matt 27:44). When the robber said in Luke 23:42, “remember me when you come into your kingdom,” according to this view, he may have been speaking sarcastically. In which case, Jesus’ response that “this day you will be with me in the garden (paradise)” is in essence saying, “you will be dead and buried today, just as I will be.” Most burials were in gardens.

In summary, we don’t know for sure exactly what happened to Jesus between his death and his resurrection. It was probably the same as will happen to us. The important thing is that, wherever he was, his body was resurrected. This gives us our hope of resurrection (1 Cor 15).