Easton's Bible Dictionary
that which is out of sight, A Greek word used to denote
the state or place of the dead. All the dead alike go into this place. To be buried,
to go down to the grave, to descend into hades, are equivalent expressions. In
the LXX. this word is the usual rendering of the Hebrew sheol, the common receptacle
of the departed ( Genesis 42:38 ; Psalms 139:8 ; Hosea 13:14 ; Isaiah 14:9 ).
This term is of comparatively rare occurrence in the Greek New Testament. Our
Lord speaks of Capernaum as being "brought down to hell" (hades), i.e., simply
to the lowest debasement, ( Matthew 11:23 ). It is contemplated as a kind of kingdom
which could never overturn the foundation of Christ's kingdom ( 16:18 ), i.e.,
Christ's church can never die.
In Luke 16:23 it is most distinctly associated with the doom and misery of the
In Acts 2:27 - 31 Peter quotes the LXX. version of Psalms 16:8 - 11 , plainly
for the purpose of proving our Lord's resurrection from the dead. David was left
in the place of the dead, and his body saw corruption. Not so with Christ. According
to ancient prophecy ( Psalms 30:3 ) he was recalled to life.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
in Revised Version. [See HELL]
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ha'-dez (Haides, haides, "not to be seen"):
Hades, Greek originally Haidou, in genitive, "the house of Hades," then, as nominative,
designation of the abode of the dead itself. The word occurs in the New Testament
in Matthew 11:23 (parallel Luke 10:15); Matthew 16:18 ; Luke 16:23 ; Acts 2:27
, 31 ; Revelation 1:18 ; 6:8 ; 20:13 f. It is also found in Textus Receptus of
the New Testament 1 Corinthians 15:55, but here the correct reading (Tischendorf,
Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, the Revised Version (British and
American)) is probably Thanate, "O Death," instead of Haide, "O Hades." the King
James Version renders "Hades" by "hell" in all instances except 1 Corinthians
15:55, where it puts "grave" (margin "hell") in dependence on Hosea 13:14. the
Revised Version (British and American) everywhere has "Hades."
1. In Old Testament:
Sheol: In the Septuagint Hades is the standing equivalent for Sheol, but also
translates other terms associated with death and the state after it. The Greek
conception of Hades was that of a locality receiving into itself all the dead,
but divided into two regions, one a place of torment, the other of blessedness.
This conception should not be rashly transferred to the New Testament, for the
latter stands not under the influence of Greek pagan belief, but gives a teaching
and reflects a belief which model their idea of Hades upon the Old Testament through
the Septuagint. The Old Testament Sheol, while formally resembling the Greek Hades
in that it is the common receptacle of all the dead, differs from it, on the one
hand, by the absence of a clearly defined division into two parts, and, on the
other hand, by the emphasis placed on its association with death and the grave
as abnormal facts following in the wake of sin. The Old Testament thus concentrates
the partial light it throws on the state after death on the negative, undesirable
side of the prospect apart from redemption. When in the progress of Old Testament
revelation the state after death begins to assume more definite features, and
becomes more sharply differentiated in dependence on the religious and moral issue
of the present life this is not accomplished in the canonical writings (otherwise
in the apocalyptic literature) by dividing Sheol into two compartments, but by
holding forth to the righteous the promise of deliverance from Sheol, so that
the latter becomes more definitely outlined as a place of evil and punishment.
2. In the New Testament:
Hades: The New Testament passages mark a distinct stage in this process, and there
is, accordingly, a true basis in Scripture for the identification in a certain
aspect of Sheol--Hades--with hell as reflected in the King James Version. The
theory according to which Hades is still in the New Testament the undifferentiated
provisional abode of all the dead until the day of judgment, with the possibility
of ultimate salvation even for those of its inmates who have not been saved in
this life, is neither in harmony with the above development nor borne out by the
facts of New Testament usage. That dead believers abide in a local Hades cannot
be proven from 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ; 1 Corinthians 15:23 , for these passages
refer to the grave and the body, not to a gathering-place of the dead. On the
other hand Luke 23:43 ; 2 Corinthians 5:6 - 8 ; Philippians 1:23 ; Revelation
6:9 ; 7:9 ; 15:2 teach that the abode of believers immediately after death is
with Christ and God.
3. Acts 2:27 , 31:
It is, of course, a different matter, when Hades, as not infrequently already
the Old Testament Sheol, designates not the place of the dead but the state of
death or disembodied existence. In this sense even the soul of Jesus was in Hades
according' to Peter's statement (Acts 2:27 , 31 -- on the basis of Psalms 16:10).
Here the abstract sense is determined by the parallel expression, "to see corruption"
None the less from a comparatively early date this passage has been quoted in
support of the doctrine of a local descent of Christ into Hades.
4. Revelation 20:13 ; 6:8 ; 1:18 :
The same abstract meaning is indicated for Revelation 20:13. Death and Hades are
here represented as delivering up the dead on the eve of the final judgment. If
this is more than a poetic duplication of terms, Hades will stand for the personified
state of death, Death for the personified cause of this state. The personification
appears plainly from Revelation 20:14: "Death and Hades were cast into the lake
of fire." In the number of these "dead" delivered up by Hades, believers are included,
because, even on the chiliastic interpretation of Revelation 20:4 - 6, not all
the saints share in the first resurrection, but only those "beheaded for the testimony
of Jesus, and for the word of God," i.e. the martyrs. A similar personifying combination
of Death and Hades occurs in Revelation 6:8 ("a pale horse: and he that sat upon
him his name was Death; and Hades followed with him"). In Revelation 1:18, on
the other hand, Death and Hades are represented as prisons from which Christ,
in virtue of His own resurrection, has the power to deliver, a representation
which again implies that in some, not necessarily local, sense believers also
are kept in Hades.
5. Luke 16:23:
In distinction from these passages when the abstract meaning prevails and the
local conception is in abeyance, the remaining references are more or less locally
conceived. Of these Luke 16:23 is the only one which might seem to teach that
recipients of salvation enter after death into Hades as a place of abode. It has
been held that Hades is here the comprehensive designation of the locality where
the dead reside, and is divided into two regions, "the bosom of Abraham" and the
place of torment, a representation for which Jewish parallels can be quoted, aside
from its resemblance to the Greek bisection of Hades. Against this view, however,
it may be urged, that if "the bosom of Abraham" were conceived as one of the two
divisions of Hades, the other division would have been named with equal concreteness
in connection with Dives. In point of fact, the distinction is not between "the
bosom of Abraham" and another place, as both included in Hades, but between "the
bosom of Abraham" and Hades as antithetical and exclusive. The very form of the
description of the experience of Dives: "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being
in torments," leads us to associate Hades as such with pain and punishment. The
passage, therefore, does not prove that the saved are after death in Hades. In
further estimating its bearing upon the problem of the local conditions of the
disembodied life after death, the parabolic character of the representation must
be taken into account. The parable is certainly not intended to give us topographical
information about the realm of the dead, although it presupposes that there is
a distinct place of abode for the righteous and wicked respectively.
6. Matthew 11:23:
The two other passages where Hades occurs in the teaching of our Lord (Matthew
11:23 parallel Luke 10:15; and Matthew 16:18) make a metaphorical use of the conception,
which, however, is based on the local sense. In the former utterance it is predicted
of Capernaum that it shall in punishment for its unbelief "go down unto Hades."
As in the Old Testament Sheol is a figure for the greatest depths known (Deuteronomy
32:22 ; Isaiah 7:11 ; 57:9 ; Job 11:8 ; 26:6), this seems to be a figure for the
extreme of humiliation to which that city was to be reduced in the course of history.
It is true, 11:24, with its mention of the day of judgment, might seem to favor
an eschatological reference to the ultimate doom of the unbelieving inhabitants,
but the usual restriction of Hades to the punishment of the intermediate state
(see below) is against this.
7. Matthew 16:18:
In the other passage, Matthew 16:18, Jesus declares that the gates of Hades shall
not katischuein the church He intends to build. The verb katischuein may be rendered,
"to overpower" or "to surpass." If the former be adopted, the figure implied is
that of Hades as a stronghold of the power of evil or death from which warriors
stream forth to assail the church as the realm of life. On the other rendering
there is no reference to any conflict between Hades and the church, the point
of comparison being merely the strength of the church, the gates of Hades, i.e.
the realm of death, serving in common parlance as a figure of the greatest conceivable
strength, because they never allow to escape what has once entered through them.
The above survey of the passages tends to show that Hades, where it is locally
conceived, is not a provisional receptacle for all the dead, but plainly associated
with the punishment of the wicked. Where it comes under consideration for the
righteous there is nothing to indicate a local sense. On 1 Peter 3:19 ; 4:6 (where,
however, the word "Hades" does not occur), see articles ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW
TESTAMENT; SPIRITS IN PRISON.
8. Not a Final State:
The element of truth in theory of the provisional character of Hades lies in this,
that the New Testament never employs it in connection with the final state of
punishment, as subsequent to the last judgment. For this GEHENNA (which see) and
other terms are used. Dives is represented as being in Hades immediately after
his death and while his brethren are still in this present life. Whether the implied
differentiation between stages of punishment, depending obviously on the difference
between the disembodied and reembodied state of the lost, also carries with itself
a distinction between two places of punishment, in other words whether Hades and
Gehenna are locally distinct, the evidence is scarcely sufficient to determine.
The New Testament places the emphasis on the eschatological developments at the
end, and leaves many things connected with the intermediate state in darkness.
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