Dear Ed Simon,
Seriously, have you ever actually been to church or read the Bible?
I ask this because of your recent claim on Salon.com that Christians don't understand or teach the doctrine that Jesus went to Hell after his crucifixion prior to his Resurrection.
Jesus went to hell: The Christian history churches would rather not acknowledge
It's not actually a secret. Let me ask you something: do you know WHY Jesus died on the cross? It was to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. Literally, Jesus bore the sins of all mankind on himself.
If you read the Old Testament, you will find that the entire reason for animal sacrifices was to pay the penalties for sins already committed (both known and unknown) by a person. The animal's death took the place of the person who had committed the sin.
When Jesus died on the cross, he was dying for all humanity's sin -- both that had already happened and that would happen until the end of time. Every bit of it. That means Jesus literally died with that sin on him. In the eyes of the Father, Jesus literally died a sinner. As Romans 6:23 tells us, "The wages of sin is death."
Now, there is a deep theological question as to when the moment of atonement happened from Christ's Passion and Resurrection. I'm inclined to believe it was at the moment Jesus died, because Christ's penultimate words from the cross were "It is finished." Also he said to the repentant thief who was crucified with Him, "surely I say that today you will be with Me in Paradise."
That being said, Jesus would have gone to Sheol. We don't know which part of Sheol. (It may or may not have included Hell.)
The Old Testament and New Testament speak both of what we would today call Hell as well as a place called Abraham's Bosom located in Sheol. The latter is surmised to be a place of comfort and rest where the righteous went at death prior to Jesus' once and for all sacrifice on the cross and Jesus went to Heaven "to prepare a place for us." It is believed by many theologians that Jesus brought Abraham's Bosom, and it's residents, to Heaven to reside in the Father's house -- possibly while He was in Sheol.
Was Jesus subject to the punishments of Hell? I don't know the answer to that. I'm inclined to think that the very name of Jesus and His presence took Hell hostage -- but that's just speculation.
The difference between Jesus and anyone else in Hell is that death couldn't keep Him. after 3 days he rose again, glorified and spotless and making sinners into His saints and creating a path for all mankind to abide with him in Paradise.
So yes, Ed Simon. We all know Jesus went to Hell (well Sheol, anyway). It's not news and it's certainly not a secret. It's just not an important doctrine. That's like saying the church doesn't want you to know about King David's son Shephatiah. Really, Shephatiah just wasn't that important compared to some of his brothers.
But since you're so big on "breaking news" from the Bible that you think the Church is trying to hide...I've got your breaking news story here!
Wait for it...
It's totally worth it...
JESUS WAS A JEW!
Oh. Sorry. That's also common knowledge.