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Hell and Hades

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Received, Jan 19, 2003.

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  1. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

    I would be interested in having someone explain the relevance of Hades in light of what popular religion calls Hell these days.  Of the six uses in the New Testament, 4 times it is used strictly to mean the grave.  One time it is used as an expression, referring to the grave being the opposite of heaven in height (Matt. 11:23).  And one time, as we all are familiar with, it is used in recollection of the parable of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:23).  However, this single verse sure does seem streched to its max.  All five other verses in the new testement do not speak of Hades as being a place of torment, nor does Jesus speak of people being alive in Hell at the moment of His preaching, nor do the 65 other uses of this term in the Old Testament (Sheol) appear to give the idea of torment as well, though there are a very small amount that induce metaphor.  Some theologians hold to an unscriptural idea that Sheol in the Old Testament was divided into two compartments, one for the wicked and another for the righteous.  However, we find no support for this in scripture.  Even the verses in Luke 16 give the idea that Jesus was preaching according to the doctrine of the Pharisees, whom He was clearly speaking to - the lovers of money (Luke 16:14).  Abraham's Bosom was a term found not in the Old Testament, but in the Talmud, which referred to Heaven, or Paradise.  Given the enormous support of scripture that contradicts the literal interpretation of these verses that seem to clearly imply a deeper point made by Jesus and not necessarily a strict reality, I wonder how so many theologians today claim they are justified in believing that Hades is Hell, rather than the clear scriptural indication that Hell is indeed the Lake of Fire, spoken figuratively by Christ as Gehenna, the trash heap South-West of Jerusalem.  It would be an extreme irony if Hell turned out to be in accordance with a parable of Jesus - one verse out of 71 passages in the entire bible.  Einstein said the man of science was a poor philospoher, but I say with much distaste that it seems the man of theology can be an even worse one.  Could somebody please explain how this doctrine holds in popular theology; that is, the belief that Hades is an early version of Hell? 


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  2. Hank

    Hank has the Right to be wrong

  3. FineLinen

    FineLinen Senior Veteran Supporter

    Received....John, your numbers are slightly discombobulated. Hades is used 10 times, not six. There are a couple of other things, my friend, one of which is...hell is not the Lake of Fire. Nor is Gehenna, the Lake of Fire....Death and hell (hades) are cast into the Lake of Fire. Those who use Hell and the Lake of Fire synonomously have much explaining to do!

    Sheol is used in  31 verses of the Hebrew text, all translated hell.

    Hades is used 10 times total; translated Hell.

    4 X in the Revelation

    2 X in Matthew

    2 X in Luke

    2 X in Acts (Christ in Hell)

    Gehenna is translated 12 times as hell.

    7 X in Matthew.

    3 X in Mark.

    1 X in Luke.

    1 X in James. (in reference to the tongue)

    Tartarus is translated hell once.

    1 X in 2 Peter.

    I am a little pressed at the moment, but if you would like to take a look at the following link, you will find many answers to what you seek. May our Lord bless you in your walk with Him!

    Shoel & Hadees In The O.T.

    Five Old Testament Texts Claimed

    Meaning Of The Word

    Shoel Rendered Grave

    Shoel Rendered Hell

    All The Shoel Texts

    Testimony Of Scholars

    Heathen Ideas Of Hell


    "For God allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this; He purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in Him."

    "And this is in harmony with God's merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it--the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ; yes, things in heaven and things on earth, to find its one Head in Him."  Eph. 1: 1o 

  4. OldShepherd

    OldShepherd Zaqunraah

    John, would you be interested in how the ancient, pre-Christian, Jews understood their scriptures, on this topic? Please see quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia, below. You can then compare this to the N.T. references and see if they are essentially the same or different?Bear in mind that Jesus and His disciples were Jews.


      by : Kaufmann Kohler Ludwig Blau

      Nature and Situation.
      Sin and Merit.
      Nature and Situation.

      The place where children were sacrificed to the god Moloch was originally in the "valley of the son of Hinnom," to the south of Jerusalem (Josh. xv. 8, passim; II Kings xxiii. 10; Jer. ii. 23; vii. 31-32; xix. 6, 13-14). For this reason the valley was deemed to be accursed, and "Gehenna" therefore soon became a figurative equivalent for "hell." Hell, like paradise, was created by God (Soṭah 22a); according to Gen. R. ix. 9, the words "very good" in Gen. i. 31 refer to hell; hence the latter must have been created on the sixth day. Yet opinions on this point vary. According to some sources, it was created on the second day; according to others, even before the world, only its fire being created on the second day (Gen. R. iv., end; Pes. 54a). The "fiery furnace" that Abraham saw (Gen. xv. 17, Hebr.) was Gehenna (Mek. xx. 18b, 71b; comp. Enoch, xcviii. 3, ciii. 8; Matt. xiii. 42, 50; 'Er. 19a, where the "fiery furnace" is also identified with the gate of Gehenna). Opinions also vary as to the situation, extent, and nature of hell. The statement that Gehenna is situated in the valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem, in the "accursed valley" (Enoch, xxvii. 1 et seq.), means simply that it has a gate there. It was in Zion, and had a gate in Jerusalem (Isa. xxxi. 9). It had three gates, one in the wilderness, one in the sea, and one in Jerusalem ('Er. 19a). The gate lies between two palm-trees in the valley of Hinnom, from which smoke is continually rising (ib.). The mouth is narrow, impeding the smoke, but below Gehenna extends indefinitely (Men. 99b). According to one opinion, it is above the firmament, and according to another, behind the dark mountains (Ta'an. 32b). An Arabian pointed out to a scholar the spot in the wilderness where the earth swallowed the sons of Korah (Num. xvi. 31-32), who descended into Gehenna (Sanh. 110b). It is situated deep down in the earth, and is immeasurably large. "The earth is one-sixtieth of the garden, the garden one-sixtieth of Eden [paradise], Eden one-sixtieth of Gehenna; hence the whole world is like a lid for Gehenna. Some say that Gehenna can not be measured" (Pes. 94a). It is divided into seven compartments (Soṭah 10b); a similar view was held by the Babylonians (Jeremias, "Hölle und paradies bei den Babyloniern," pp. 16 et seq., Leipsic, 1901; Guthe, "Kurzes Bibel-wörterb." p. 272, Tübingen and Leipsic, 1903). Because of the extent of Gehenna the sun, on setting in the evening, passes by it, and receives from it its own fire (evening glow; B. B. 84a).A fiery stream ("dinur") falls upon the head of the sinner in Gehenna (Ḥag. 13b). This is "the fire of the West, which every setting sun receives. I came to a fiery river, whose fire flows like water, and which empties into a large sea in the West" (Enoch, xvii. 4-6). Hell here is described exactly as in the Talmud. The Persians believed that glowing molten metal flowed under the feet of sinners (Schwally, "Das Leben nach dem Tode," p. 145, Giessen, 1892). The waters of the warm springs of Tiberias are heated while flowing past Gehenna (Shab. 39a). The fire of Gehenna never goes out (Tosef., Ber. 6, 7; Mark ix. 43 et seq.; Matt. xviii. 8, xxv. 41; comp. Schwally, l.c. p. 176); there is always plenty of wood there (Men. 100a). This fire is sixty times as hot as any earthly fire (Ber. 57b). There is a smell of sulfur in Gehenna (Enoch, lxvii. 6). This agrees with the Greek idea of hell (Lucian, Αληθεῖς Ιστορίαι, i. 29, in Dietrich, "Abraxas," p. 36). The sulfurous smell of the Tiberian medicinal springs was ascribed to their connection with Gehenna. In Isa. lxvi. 16, 24 it is said that God judges by means of fire.

      Gehenna is dark in spite of the immense masses of fire; it is like night (Yeb. 109b; comp. Job x. 22). The same idea also occurs in Enoch, x. 4, lxxxii. 2; Matt. viii. 12, xxii. 13, xxv. 30 (comp. Schwally, l.c. p. 176).

      It is assumed that there is an angel-prince in charge of Gehenna. He says to God: "Put everything into my sea; nourish me with the seed of Seth; I am hungry." But God refuses his request, telling him to take the heathen peoples (Shab. 104). God says to the angel-prince:

      "I punish the slanderers from above, and I also punish them from below with glowing coals" ('Ar. 15b). The souls of the sons of Korah were burned, and the angel-prince gnashed his teeth at them on account of their flattery of Korah (Sanh. 52a). Gehenna cries: "Give me the heretics and the sinful [Roman] power" ('Ab. Zarah 17a).


      It is assumed in general that sinners go to hell immediately after their death. The famous teacher Johanan b. Zakkai wept before his death because he did not know whether he would go to paradise or to hell (Ber. 28b). The pious go to paradise, and sinners to hell (B.M. 83b). To every individual is apportioned two shares, one in hell and one in paradise. At death, however, the righteous man's portion in hell is exchanged, so that he has two in heaven, while the reverse is true in the case of sinners (Ḥag. 15a). Hence it would have been better for the latter not to have lived at all (Yeb. 63b).

      They are cast into Gehenna to a depth commensurate with their sinfulness. They say: "Lord of the world, Thou hast done well; Paradise for the pious, Gehenna for the wicked" ('Er. 19a). There are three categories of men; the wholly pious and the arch-sinners are not purified, but only those between these two classes (Ab. R. N. 41). A similar view is expressed in the Babylonian Talmud, which adds that those who have sinned themselves but have not led others into sin remain for twelve months in Gehenna; "after twelve months their bodies are destroyed, their souls are burned, and the wind strews the ashes under the feet of the pious. But as regards the heretics, etc., and Jeroboam, Nebat's son, hell shall pass away, but they shall not pass away" (R. H. 17a; comp. Shab. 33b). All that descend into Gehenna shall come up again, with the exception of three classes of men: those who have committed adultery, or shamed their neighbors, or vilified them (B. M. 58b).

      The felicity of the pious in paradise excites the wrath of the sinners who behold it when they come from hell (Lev. R. xxxii.). The Book of Enoch (xxvii. 3, xlviii. 9, lxii. 12) paraphrases this thought by saying that the pious rejoice in the pains of hell suffered by the sinners. Abraham takes the d#mned to his bosom ('Er. 19a; comp. Luke xvi. 19-31). The fire of Gehenna does not touch the Jewish sinners because they confess their sins before the gates of hell and return to God ('Er. 19a). As mentioned above, heretics and the Roman oppressors go to Gehenna, and the same fate awaits the Persians, the oppressors of the Babylonian Jews (Ber. 8b). When Nebuchadnezzar descended into hell, all its inhabitants were afraid that he was coming to rule over them (Shab. 149a; comp. Isa. xiv. 9-10). The Book of Enoch also says that it is chiefly the heathen who are to be cast into the fiery pool on the Day of Judgment (x. 6, xci. 9, et al.). " The Lord, the Almighty, will punish them on the Day of Judgment by putting fire and worms into their flesh, so that they cry out with pain unto all eternity" (Judith xvi. 17). (see image) Valley of Ge-Hinnom.(From a photograph by Bonfils.)The sinners in Gehenna will be filled with pain when God puts back the souls into the dead bodies on the Day of Judgment, according to Isa. xxxiii. 11 (Sanh. 108b). Enoch also holds (xlviii. 9) that the sinners will disappear like chaff before the faces of the elect. There will be no Gehenna in the future world, however, for God will take the sun out of its case, and it will heal the pious with its rays and will punish the sinners (Ned. 8b).

      Sin and Merit.

      It is frequently said that certain sins will lead man into Gehenna. The name "Gehenna" itself is explained to mean that unchastity will lead to Gehenna (; 'Er. 19a); so also will adultery, idolatry, pride, mockery, hypocrisy, anger, etc. (Soṭah 4b, 41b; Ta'an. 5a; B. B. 10b, 78b; 'Ab. Zarah 18b; Ned. 22a). Hell awaits one who indulges in unseemly speech (Shab. 33a; Enoch, xxvii.); who always follows the advice of his wife (B. M. 59a); who instructs an unworthy pupil (Ḥul. 133b); who turns away from the Torah (B. B. 79a; comp. Yoma 72b). For further details see 'Er. 18b, 101a; Sanh. 109b; Ḳid. 81a; Ned. 39b; B. M. 19a. On the other hand, there are merits that preserve man from going to hell; e.g., philanthropy, fasting, visiting the sick, reading the Shema' and Hallel, and eating the three meals on the Sabbath (Giṭ. 7a; B. B. 10a; B. M. 85a; Ned. 40a; Ber. 15b; Pes. 118a; Shab. 118a). Israelites in general are less endangered (Ber. 10a) than heretics, or, according to B. B. 10a, than the heathen. Scholars (Ḥag. 27a; comp. Men. 99b and Yoma 87a), the poor, and the pious (Yeb. 102b) are especially protected. Three classes of men do not see the face of hell: those that live in penury, those suffering with intestinal catarrh, and those that are pressed by their creditors ('Er. 41b). It would seem that the expressions "doomed to hell" and "to be saved from hell" must be interpreted hyperbolically. A bad woman is compared to Gehenna in Yeb. 63b. On the names of Gehenna see 'Er. 19a; B. B. 79a; Sanh. 111b; et al.

      Bibliography: Winer, B. R. i. 491;
      Hamburger, R. B. T. i. 527-530;

      Hastings, Dict. Bible, ii. 343-346;
      H. Guthe, Kurzes Bibelwörterb. pp. 271-274, Tübingen and Leipsic,
      G. Brecher, Das Transcendentale, etc. pp. 69-73, Vienna, 1850;
      A. Hilgenfeld, Jüdische Apocalyptik, Index, Jena, 1857;
      F. Weber, Jüdische Theologie, pp. 336 et seq.;
      E. Stave, Der Einfluss des Parsismus auf das Judenthum, pp. 153- 192 et seq., Haarlem, 1898;
      James, Traditional Aspects of Hell, London, 1903.K. L. B.

      Copyright 2002 JewishEncyclopedia.com. All rights reserved.

  5. drmmjr

    drmmjr Regular Member

    It's interesting to note that, just like us, even the Jews have several views on this.

    (from:Judaism 101: Olam Ha-Ba: The Afterlife)
  6. seangoh

    seangoh Veteran

    At this juncture, it may be proper to ask, "Why did Jesus tell a parable based on current beliefs that do not accurately represent truth as set forth elsewhere in the Scripture and in His own teachings?" The answer is that Jesus met people on their own ground, capitalizing on what was familiar to them to teach them vital truths. Many of His hearers had come to believe in a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection, though such a belief is foreign to Scripture. This erroneous belief was adopted during the intertestamental period as part of the process of Hellenization of Judaism and had become a part of Judaism by the time of Jesus. In this parable, Jesus made use of a popular belief, not to endorse it, but to impress upon the minds of His hearers an important spiritual lesson. It should be noted that even in the preceding parable of the Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-12), Jesus uses a story that does not accurately represent Biblical truth. Nowhere, does the Bible endorse the practice of a dishonest administrator who reduces to half the outstanding debts of creditors in order to get some personal benefits from such creditors. The lesson of the parable is to "make friends for yourselves" (Luke 16:9), not to teach dishonest business practices.
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