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Get your daily dose of God's Word through today's devotion, and use the prayer to start your heart-to-heart talk with your Savior.  Check out the Faith Q&A for Biblical answers to questions of faith and practice or general information about WELS; it's like an online Bible Class with answers from trained theologians.
Today's Devotion
Faith Related Q and A
I was speaking with a friend the other day who mentioned that not all "Christian" denominations believe that Christ not only died the worst earthly death, but also suffered in hell for the sins of all people for all eternity. He also mentioned that this was reflected in the Apostles' Creed, and that it was changed years ago. Being a member of the WELS, I am familiar and fully agree with the statement "He descended into hell." However, some denominations changed it to "He descended to the dead." My questions involve a couple concerns: 1) When was this change made and why? 2) Does this change reflect that some Christians don't believe Jesus fully suffered in hell? Thank you.

For years, there have been misunderstandings and false teachings regarding Jesus’ descent into hell. Roman Catholic Church theology maintains that Jesus descended to a limbus patrum, a limbo of the fathers, to free Old Testament believers and take them to heaven. Traditional Reformed theology teaches that Jesus’ descent into hell was part of his suffering for sin. Some churches and people also erroneously believe that Jesus’ descent was to the realm of the dead where all people go upon life’s end: a Sheol or Hades—a place apart from this world that does not take into account their judgment to heaven or hell. “He descended to the dead” reflects that kind of thinking. The English Language Liturgical Consultation is an international group that seeks to gather information and consensus on liturgical forms. Their mission is then to produce and promote common texts. Their version of the Apostles’ Creed states that Jesus “descended to the dead.” The Consultation’s influence is evident when we consider that churches like the Reformed Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America make use of their version of the Apostles’ Creed. Jesus’ suffering for sin came to an end on the cross. After Jesus’ body and soul were reunited in Joseph’s tomb on Easter Sunday morning, and before the risen Lord appeared to his followers on earth, Jesus descended into hell to proclaim his victory over Satan (1 Peter 3:18-20). Jesus’ descent was a victory march (Colossians 2:15), the first step in his state of exaltation.

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