Meaning of Hell

In a broad sense the term “hell” refers to any place where one goes to after death before the resurrection of Christ. This includes Limbo which is a more specific term used to refer to both the place unbaptized infants were believed to go (We know God cannot leave them as they’re innocent of personal sins) and where our dead patriarchs went after death including Abraham, Moses, etc since none of them could actually enter heaven until Christ resurrected.

1. The first meaning is that Christ experienced death as every man. This is the first meaning the Apostles had in mind when they preached.

2. Where Christ actually went isn’t the “Hell” of the damned, but to “Limbo” to set free all the holy ones who had died before his coming. The word “Hell” was also used to speak of “Limbo” in the ancient times since they all are deprived of the Vision of God, however those in Limbo were at rest.
3. Jesus destroyed the power of death to bring life to all who believe in him:

CCC 635 says:

“Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Jesus, “the Author of life”, by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.”  Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades”, so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

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