What is Hades?
(the unseen world, the spirit-world) occurs eleven times in the Greek Testament (Matt 11:23; 1 Cor 16:18; Acts 2:31; Rev 1:18, etc.), and ought to have been retained in the English Version (as it probably will be in the Revision) to distinguish it from Gehenna ("hell"). The word is used in Homer as a proper noun for Pluto, the god of the unseen or lower world, next brother to Zeus (Jupiter). In later writers it signifies a place, viz., the unseen spiritworld, the realm of the departed, the abode of the dead. 1. The Greek view of Hades and the Roman view of Orcun is that of a place for all the dead in the depths of the earth -dark, dreary, cheerless and shut up, inaccessible to prayers and sacrifices, ruled over by Pluto. 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 till 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 N.T. 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 English Version translates Hades and Gehenna by the same word ("hell"), except in 1 Cor 15:55 ("grave"), and thus obliterates the important distinction between the realm of the dead or spiritworld and the place of torment. Hades is a temporary jail or prison-house; 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 hell [Hades] and of death." Rev 1:18.