In reality, the Bible does not say that.  Certainly we are assured that the Lord Jesus did rise from the dead on the third day.  It was early in His public ministry that the Lord revealed to His disciples that He would die and be raised again from the dead.  In Matthew 16:21 we read, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”  No less than 13 times, the scriptures mention that the Lord Jesus would be raised on the third day after His crucifixion.

However, the Bible does not say that Christ descended into Hell.  Perhaps you are thinking of Ephesians 4:9-10 where it says, “(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”  In mentioning that Christ ‘descended first into the lower parts of the earth’ is in comparison to the truth that He also ‘ascended up far above all heavens’.  The One who descended low is the same One that ascended high.  What does it mean, then, that Christ descended into the lower parts of the earth?  Does that mean that He went to Hell?  No, it doesn’t mean that at all.  It simply means that the Lord Jesus was put into the grave after His crucifixion.  Christ did not descend into Hell.

Where did Christ go when He died?  Let’s consider the words of the Lord Jesus to the repentant thief who hung on a cross beside Him.  In Luke 23:43 we read, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”  That’s simple enough, isn’t it?  The Lord Jesus went to paradise when He died, and the repentant thief also went to paradise when he died.

What and where is paradise?  Let’s read 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”  Notice in this portion how the Apostle Paul interchanges the word ‘paradise’ in verse 4, with the expression ‘third heaven’ in verse 2.  This is clearly showing us that ‘paradise’ IS the same as the ‘third heaven’.  The ‘third heaven’ is the place where the Lord dwells.  One more verse that makes this clear in Luke 23:46 where we have the last words the Lord Jesus spoke from the cross before His death.  That says, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”  At His death, the Lord Jesus went to paradise: the third heaven.  He went to be with His Father.  And on the third day, the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead.

The importance of the resurrection is given to us in Romans 4:25 where it tells us that Christ, “…was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”  We also read in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”  How thankful we are that Christ did indeed die for our sins and was raised again the third day for our justification.  (156.2)