When Jesus went to the cross, he experienced

  1. the ordeal of his arrest
  2. agony for three or so days
  3. The loss of the rest of his natural life

When a sinner sins (without accepting Jesus), he experiences a long time in Hell.

How can Jesus be said to take on the sins of mankind, if the punishments of those sins of mankind exceed the suffering Jesus actually experienced. Why would Jesus not have to personally go to Hell in order to take on the punishment of the sinners?


Note: All Scripture is quoted from the King James version.

The punishment for sin is not being sent to Hell; the punishment for sin is death.

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

That having been said there are some Denominations who believe that Jesus did indeed spend those three days in Hell, preaching to those who had died before his crucifixion.

So if the punishment for sin is death, then what is death?

Very often we are told that death is eternal separation from God, and to their credit I also believe that eternal separation from God is a large part of death, but it is not all of what death means.

The Revelation tells us that there are two deaths:

Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

In the Revelation 1:18 Jesus statement that he has the keys of Hell and Death, tells us that whether we suffer Hell or Death is dependent on him. Or in other words he and he alone is the one who will determine where we will spend our eternity. Part of that eternity can be spent in either of two places.

Those who have rejected salvation will initially be sent to Hell, and later cast into the lake of fire.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

This tells me that this is the first death, and that at physical death both body and soul will be sent to Hell to await the Great white throne judgment.

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

But neither Hell or death are eternal as is said in Revelation 20:14.

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

and those who had been in Hell will now be cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Since death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire those cast into the lake of fire will not ever escape eternity by dying but will suffer torment for all eternity.

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

  • So if Hell is not a punishment for sin, why do some go to it? Is hell just a component of death? – Clint Eastwood Mar 14 '14 at 23:54
  • @ClintEastwood This is the answer to your question: "The punishment for sin is not being sent to hell; the punishment for sin is death." That's why it was sufficient. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), not suffering or hell. The good news is that "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3). – Steve Mar 15 '14 at 0:27
  • @ClintEastwood Please reread Revelation 20:13 not all the dead are in Hell, some are in the sea, and some are in death, but they all wind up in the lake of fire. The lake of fire is eternal punishment. It was created for Satan and the fallen Angels as punishment for their rebellion against God, and man puts himself into that same category when he rejects the lordship of God. Look up what Satan said to tempt Eve, and you will see how man gets into that category. – BYE Mar 15 '14 at 1:07
  • So which sins merit death and which merit the lake of fire? Please explain explicitly how this is alluded to in Genesis. – Clint Eastwood Mar 16 '14 at 4:50
  • @Clint Eastwood All sins merit the lake of fire, that is why Jesus had to pay our sin debt. Death did not exist before the fall, but when they disobeyed God death;(both physical and second death), came into being. The second death is the lake of fire, and is not really a death, but eternal torment. All of those whose sins are not washed away by the blood of Jesus will be cast into the lake of fire. There are no degrees of sin, they all have the same penalty. It really make no difference where you await final judgment, it is the second death that we should worry about since it is eternal. – BYE Mar 16 '14 at 11:54

Since you did not ask for the doctrinal position from any particular denomination, I will answer this question from a biblical perspective. The Bible does not explain how Christ's sacrifice was sufficient, but it does make clear that it was sufficient. For instance:

Is 53:10-11 (NASB)

But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

Since the Bible is not clear as to why Jesus' sacrifice was sufficient, believing that it was sufficient is a matter of faith. There are some helpful explanations which have been given, but they are speculative:

  • Jesus was Innocent - When an innocent person accepts the punishment for someone else, it softens the wrath of the Judge and the sentenced may be reduced.
  • Jesus Became Sin - According to 2 Cor 5:21, Jesus became sin for us. Many people interpret this to mean that Jesus became sinful and was spiritually separated from His Father. He experienced spiritual death and a loss of communion with the Father. This change is beyond any specific punishments which might be experienced.
  • Jesus is Divine - As a member of the Godhead, Jesus' sacrifice is more significant than that of any mere created being.
  • I agree with all you said except that the Bible does not say Jesus death was sufficient. If you read my answer I think it does explain that Jesus death was sufficient otherwise how would he hold the keys to death and Hell? – BYE Mar 14 '14 at 17:23
  • @CecilBeckum As I said in my answer "it [the Bible] does make clear that it was sufficient." I'm not sure where I confused you, but I agree--the Bible is very clear about that point. – Steven Doggart Mar 14 '14 at 17:26
  • You didn't confuse me, I misread your answer and confused myself. please accept My apology. – BYE Mar 14 '14 at 17:31
  • @CecilBeckum No problem. If you got confused, others may as well. I think some of the confusion may have been in the way I worded the second paragraph. I reworded it to hopefully make it less confusing. Thanks. – Steven Doggart Mar 14 '14 at 17:46
  • Thanks for understanding, just as a thought why did you not quote: 1st.John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. – BYE Mar 14 '14 at 17:57

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