The Life of Jesus in Harmony
HA'DES (Gk. hades, "unseen").
This word occurs several times in the original and in the NASB and NIV,
although KJV renders "hell" (Mt 11:23; 16:18; Lk 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; Rev
1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14>; hades is KJV "grave" in <1 Cor. 15:55>, but the true reading
is thanatos, "death," which the NASB and NIV follow).
The ancient Greek view of Hades, and the Roman view of Orcus, or Inferna, is
that of a place for all the dead in the depth of the earth; dark, dreary,
cheerless, shut up, inaccessible to prayers and sacrifices, ruled over by Pluto. This
presiding god was the enemy of all life, heartless, inexorable, and hated
accordingly by gods and men.
The Heb. Sheol is the equivalent for Hades and is likewise the subterranean
abode of all the dead until the judgment. It was divided into two departments,
paradise or Abraham's bosom
for the good, and Gehenna or hell for the bad.
Believers pass immediately upon death into the presence of the Lord (Jn
14:2-3; Phil 1:23).
We therefore must reject the fables that sprung up amid the Dark Ages about
the limbus, or antechamber of hell, and the purgatorial fires, in which it
was supposed even redeemed souls had to complete their "ripening for glory"
(Read Luke 16:19-31) At the sinners' judgment of the great white throne,
Hades will surrender the wicked. They will be judged and cast into the lake of fire
(Rev. 20:13-14). However, with regard to the state of the righteous and the
location of paradise, Christ's ascension has evidently worked a drastic change.
The apostle Paul was "caught up to the third heaven . . . into Paradise
" (2 Cor 12:1-4). Paradise, therefore, now denotes the immediate presence of
God. When Christ
"ascended on high" He "led captive a host of captives" (Eph. 4:8-10). Since
it is immediately added that He "descended into the lower parts of the earth,"
evidently the paradise division of hades, He set free the saved spirit believers
of the underworld.
During the present church age, the redeemed who die are "absent from the body
. . . at home with the Lord." The wicked, by contrast, are in hades. Both are
awaiting resurrection: one the resurrection
to life and the other the resurrection to condemnation.