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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Hades. The unseen world, the spirit world. Occurs eleven times in the Greek Testament, Matthew 11:23; Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:31; Revelation 1:18, etc., and is retained in the R. V. to distinguish it from Gehenna ("hell"). The word is used in Homer as a proper noon for Pluto, the god of the unseen or lower world. In later writers it signifies the unseen spirit world, the abode of the dead. 1. The Greek view of Hades and the Roman view of Orcus is that of a place for all the dead in the depths of the earth. 2. The Hebrew Sheol is the equivalent for the Greek Hades, and is so translated in the Septuagint. It is likewise the subterranean abode of all the dead, but only their temporary abode until the advent of the Messiah or the final judgment, and is divided into two departments, called Paradise or Abraham's bosom for the good, and Gehenna or hell for the bad. 3. The New Testament Hades does not differ essentially from the Hebrew Sheol, but Christ has broken the power of death, dispelled the darkness of Hades, and revealed to believers the idea of heaven as the state and abode of bliss in immediate prospect after a holy life. The A. V. translates Hades and Gehenna by the same word, "hell," except in 1 Corinthians 15:55, "grave," R. V. reads "death," and thus obliterates the important distinction between the realm of the dead or spirit world and the place of torment. Hades is a temporary abode—heaven and hell are permanent and final. Since Christ's descent into Hades, or the unseen, the spirit world, believers need not fear to enter this realm through death. Christ declares, "I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of death and of Hades." Revelation 1:18, R. V.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Hades'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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