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Harrowing of Hell, Michael Burghers

This 17th-century engraving is based on a medieval illustration showing Christ, in the armor of a warrior, freeing the souls of the unbaptized dead from the mouth of Hell, depicted as a ravaging beast. In Christian theology, the Harrowing of Hell (from the agricultural term for breaking up the stubborn soil so that crops might be planted), also referred to as the descent of Christ into hell, is understood by tradition as occurring between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. It implies the bringing of salvation to the righteous who had died since the beginning of the world, but before the arrival of the Messiah. In the Apostles Creed, we say "he descended into Hell" or "he descended to the dead."


© Michael Burghers via Wikipedia Public Domain