Where Did Jesus Go When He Died?
On the previous Friday at the exact moment when Christ had died, the first earthquake had occurred. Rocks had split, tombs had opened, and his spirit had descended into the place of the dead (Hades). He had set free all the captive spirits of Gods saints who had died.
From the time of the Saviors death until his resurrection on the third day, he carried on his work in the spiritual underworld in the lower parts of the earth to all the people who had ever diedOld Testament saints and unbelievers alike.
Sunday morning on the third day, at the very moment of the second earthquake, Jesus body disappeared from the grave. As his spirit ascended into heaven, all the Old Testament saints received Christs Spirit at their own Pentecost and followed him to heaven in one glorious procession. The way to eternal life was opened.
In the spiritual realm, time as we know it does not exist. There was virtually no time between the Lords death and his resurrection in the spirit world; it was an instantaneous occurrence. Therefore he could say to the repentant thief, Today you will be with me in paradise.
When Jesus appeared on earth in the same body after his resurrection, some of the risen saints also appeared in bodies to many people in Jerusalem.
How long was Christ in the Tomb?
The Savior had already risen during the earthquake at early dawn on the first day of Jewish week (Sunday). He was buried shortly before sunset on Friday before 6 pm when the Sabbath began. In Jewish time he lay in the tomb about one hour on the day before the Sabbath (Friday), all of the Sabbath (Saturday), and ten or eleven hours on the first day of Jewish week (Sunday). In our time, he lay in the tomb about seven hours of Friday, all of Saturday, and about four or five hours on Sunday. By either time, this corresponds exactly with repeated statements that he would rise on the third day, which could not possibly mean after seventy-two hours.
To Jews, as for Greeks and Romans, the phrase meant a whole central day and any part of the first and third, thus agreeing with on the third day. According to Jewish usage, even the three days and three nights of Matthew 12:40 need not mean more than this. Christ was only in the tomb three days and his body did not see corruptionanother sign of the Messiah.
During forty days beginning with Resurrection Day (Sunday) to Ascension Day (forty days later), Christ had eleven recorded appearances that were proof of his resurrection and which prepared his followers for the transition of believing without seeing. Five appearances occurred on the day of his resurrection to: 1. Mary Magdalene, 2. other women, 3. Cleopas and another going to Emmaus, 4. Simon Peter, 5. disciples in upper room (Thomas absent).
There were six during the remaining thirty-nine days including his ascension. They are to: 6. Thomas and disciples in upper room, 7. seven disciples by Sea of Galilee, 8. five hundred on mount in Galilee, 9. James the half-brother of Jesus, 10. disciples in Jerusalem, 11. disciples at ascension.
Jesus death was only half of the redemption. The other half, the resurrection, was just as important. A dead Christ might have been a teacher, wonder worker, and a sacrifice for sin; but only a risen and living Christ could be the Savior, the Life, and Life Giver. This event was so earthshaking it split the calendar into B.C. and A.D.!