Where was Jesus for three days between His death and resurrection?
The Bible is clear that the human body of Jesus physically and literally died on the cross and rose to life on the third day. It is less clear concerning where Jesus actually dwelt during those three days.
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First, there is the overarching issue of the divine nature of Jesus. If He is divine, then He is omnipresent, or at all places at all times. In this sense, Jesus did not "go" anywhere. However, since Jesus became fully human, His soul would have left His human body and departed elsewhere. This "elsewhere" is what many question in terms of His activities during this time period.
In speaking to the thief on the cross, Jesus declared, "today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). Based on this passage, it is clear Jesus spent part or perhaps all of His time away from His human body living in paradise, or what is also called heaven.
First Peter 3:18-22 offers other possible insights regarding the activities of Jesus during these three days. First Peter 3 speaks of Jesus preaching to "spirits" from the time of Noah. Some interpret this passage as Jesus preaching to either humans or angels or even evil spirits during the time between His death and resurrection. Others have suggested this as a reference to Christ preaching through Noah in the past. Those who have developed elaborate theories regarding Jesus descending into hell and preaching to people and/or spirits (using Jude 6 and Ephesians 4:8-10) move into the realm of speculation rather than interpretations based upon the clear teachings of Scripture.
The most likely scenario is that Jesus spent the entire time between His death and resurrection in the heavenly realm. In fact, when Jesus entered the heavenly realm, time would not have been counted as it is on earth, meaning His time between death and resurrection may not have "felt" like three days to Him. Though the Bible does not specify the details of what took place with Jesus during this time period, what is made clear points to Jesus being in "paradise" after his death and prior to His resurrection in His physical body on the third day.
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