How could the death of Jesus for three days in the grave pay for the eternal death required in hell for all mankind? First we need to understand that Jesus fully paid the penalty for our sins through his death on the cross. When Jesus died he said, "It is finished" (John 19:31). "It," in this case, was the work of redemption, which was fully completed by Christ’s death on the cross. He did not have to suffer in hell for eternity—or even for three days—in order to add to what he had already accomplished on the cross. The basis of his payment for our sins is found in the value of his sinless and sacrificial life. As the Lamb of God, Jesus alone is "worthy" to pay for our personal sins and for the sins of the whole world (Revelation 5:1-9, 1 John 2:1,2). Next we need to understand that the Bible does not teach that death in hell for eternity is like a prison sentence for a crime. What could one ever do to pay for or make restitution for a sin? Further, no one will find themselves in hell for reasons they do not understand. The reason will be well known and grievous to them on the day of judgement. They will all know that they had rejected whatever light God gave in order to restore a right relationship with Him (Psalm 19:1-4; Acts 14:16,17; Acts 17:23-31; John 3:16-20). Such true guiding light comes only from "God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3,4 NIV). Therefore, Jesus’ payment must not be seen as equal to our own penalty, or even that of all mankind. The penalty due for our sin was not placed on a balance scale with the death of Christ on the other side. What we must realize is that the sinless life of Jesus Christ was of infinite worth, while the eternal suffering of the unbeliever is nothing but the natural consequence of refusal to receive the free gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. In the end, only the Christian can begin to understand the value of this gift and will exclaim, "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV). Did Jesus really go to hell and, if so, what did he do there? Just before Jesus died he said to the thief on the cross, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43 NIV). Now, the English translation of the Apostles Creed says, "he descended into hell" (2). And according to the scriptures, "he also descended to the lower, earthly regions" (Ephesians 4:9 NIV). So, where did Jesus go after his death? Some of us realize that much of the interpretative challenge is solved when we know that the OT word translated "hell" (KJV) is actually the Hebrew word "Sheol," and the corresponding NT word translated "hell" (KJV) is the Greek word "Hades." Jesus clearly described this resting-place for the dead when he recounts what happened to a poor man named Lazarus and a certain rich man after death (Luke 16:19-31). From his description we see that Hades (or Sheol) was divided into two compartments—a place of comfort (Abraham’s Bosom, v.22) and a place of torment (v.28). Some commentators believe that this account is a parable and therefore it should not be taken as a literal description of the afterlife. However, it must be acknowledged that a literal interpretation of Jesus provides a perfect framework to organize the other relevant scriptures dealing with the work of Christ while in the grave. Let us now consider the following literal interpretation of these scriptures. According to the Bible, when Jesus died, he descended into the "lower, earthly regions" (Ephesians 4:9) to what is called "Abraham’s Bosom" or "Paradise" where the OT saints were comforted until he came and then "ascended on high" (to heaven) and thus he "led captives in his train" (Ephesians 4:8 NIV). He also went to the "place of torment" (Luke 16:28 KJV) to make "proclamation to the spirits now in prison" (1 Peter 3:18-20 NASB)(3). Here Jesus made a declaration of victory over death, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55 NIV). As we would expect, his proclamation had an opposite effect on the OT saints as compared to the unbelievers in Hades. Jesus was not "abandoned to the grave" (Acts 2:31 NIV) because he was not a captive but a deliverer. Jesus explained it in this way, "I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades" (Revelation 1:18 NIV).