Skip to comments.What is the Difference between Sheol, Hades, and Gehennah?
Posted on 10/20/2010 5:23:03 PM PDT by wmfights
This month I would like to explain the difference between the immediate state of the dead (what happens after death) and the ultimate destiny of the human race (Lake or Fire or New Jerusalem).
In the Bible, various words are used to describe the state of the dead. The terms Sheol, in the Hebrew Bible, and Hades, in the Green New Testament, are EQUIVALENT. This is very important to understand. They mean the same thing-the place of Departed Spirits! In Psalm 16:10, we read these words of David:
For thou (YHVH) will not leave me soul in Hell (Sheol)
neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one (Jesus) to see
corruption. Psalm 16:10
David says that GOD will not leave his soul in SHEOL. Sheol is the PLACE OF DEPARTED SPIRITS. Prior to the resurrection of Christ, Sheol was under the earth and had TWO COMPARTMENTS (Luke 16:22-24).
The verse that we quoted in Psalm 16 is REPEATED in the New Testament. In Acts 2:27, Peter quoted from Psalm 16. When we read the word hell it is really HADES (in Greek). Thus HADES and SHEOL are EQUIVALENT.
Prior to Christ, everyone went to SHEOL. No one went directly to heaven except Elijah and Enoch. Even Christ went to SHEOL, for the Scripture says, He (Christ) also DESCENDED first into the lower parts of the earth (Ephesians 4:9). We must understand that Christ and the righteous dead of the Old Testament went to the UPPER COMPARTMENT of Sheol, which is called PARADISE, or Abrahams bosom. The unrighteous dead (i.e. the rich man in Luke 16, etc.) went to the LOWER COMPARTMENT of Sheol.
When Christ died on the cross, he told the thief, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). He took this man to paradise, or Upper Sheol. Some churches have creeds that state that Christ DESCENDED INTO HELL. This is actually HADES (SHEOL). After His resurrection, He emptied Upper Sheol (Paradise) and took the righteous dead to heaven (Ephesians 4:8). Only LOWER SHEOL remains in the earth and is the destination for the lost. LOWER SHEOL will be emptied into the LAKE OF FIRE (GEHENNAH) at the final judgment (Revelation 21:14).
And death and HADES were cast into the LAKE OF
FIRE (Revelation 21:14).
The term GEHENNAH is different from SHEOL (Hades), for it refers to the FINAL ABODE of the unrighteous dead. One place where it is used is Matthew 5:22: Thou fool, shall be in danger of GEHENNA fire. The confusion comes because GEHENNA is also translated hell in the King James Bible. GEHENNA IS NOT SHEOL but the FINAL JUDGMENT, which is often called the Second Death! (Revelation 21:14-15).
Between UPPER and LOWER Sheol, there was a great gulf or some kind of division (Luke 16). The righteous dead went to the upper compartment
Often I ask of my Christian breathern, “Who do you hate so badly that you do not want them to even have a chance at heaven?” To which the normal reply is “no one”.
Then why have you not told them about Christ? If you truely beleive in the scriptures, and you know in your heart that Christ is the way to salvation.... how can you NOT tell someone? Can’t you have enough compasion to just offer them the chance to come to church to hear a message?
Wow, this is quite timely. I’ve been doing some research for my own interest. From what I can gather, Sheol and Hades is basically an abode for the dead. Not ethically or morally based.
Gehenna, on the other hand is where people/souls pay for sins they have committed.
only two are towns in Ohio
Well, not exactly. As the article correctly states, there was a place for the unrighteous (unbelieving) dead and a place for the righteous (believing) dead.
We see this clearly in the story Jesus told about Lazarus and the rich man. The believing side of Sheol is referred to there as "Abraham's Bosom."
"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day; and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table; moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.
"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried: and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you, cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
"Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Yes. It's the eternal Lake of Fire described in the book of Revelation.
Good article. Right on the mark.
Gehenna was the garbage dump outside Jerusalem obviously this is what we think of as hell where you burn the refuse. Sheol was were Jesus descended to preach to the prisoners 1 Peter 3:19 or so and relates also to the apostles creed and you can throw Eph 4:8-10 and Psalm 68:18 into that thought and Hades is where you go if you vote democrat. Hell we don’t know and neither does anyone else for sure.
“David says that GOD will not leave his soul in SHEOL. Sheol is the PLACE OF DEPARTED SPIRITS. Prior to the resurrection of Christ, Sheol was under the earth and had TWO COMPARTMENTS (Luke 16:22-24).”
David says his soul, not his spirit and the Scriptures make a distinction between the two at Heb. 4:12,
“For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
In speaking of those who ascended to heaven John said only Christ had (John 3:13) and indeed Elijah didn't die and go to heaven as he was alive and well, some time later writing as a prophet. (2 Chron. 21:12-15)
But what of the rich man and Lazarus of Luke 16?
Jesus was speaking a parable that involved the Pharisees, who were listening closely. They were money lovers (Luke 16:14) and considered themselves the spiritual heirs of Abraham, “father Abraham”, (John 8:39), and having as a Father; God. (John 8:41)
But the group that like the man Lazarus, poor and diseased and counting on the little crumbs of spiritual food from the religious leaders tables, end up in a position of favor, “in the bosom position”, with Abraham in the parable.
The Pharisees considered anyone who put faith in Christ ignorant of the Law and cursed,
“Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him ?
But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.”
So this parable was about the attitude of the Pharisees and how a change of fortunes was going to occur and expose them for what they were in God's sight.
I would add more but I have to go now.
This is what got me interested in looking at this topic. It also gives a clearer understanding of:
Matt. 16:18 ...and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
IOW, the gates of Hades can not stop Christ from going in and taking His people home.
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1) Paradise or Abraham’s Bosom for all OT believers. (Hades)
2) a Great Gulf Fixed between 1) & 3)
3) The Torments, for all OT and NT unbelievers after death until the Great White Throne Judgment. (Hades)
4) Tartarus, or a place where demons are chained in thick darkness until the Judgment on the Great Day, where then they will be sent to the Lake of Fire. (Hades)
5) The Abyss or bottomless pit, where the great demon Apollyon also is chained until the Great Tribulation.
The ultimate misunderstanding in the Christian faith is the timing of when we are saved. If we were to ask 10 Christians when a person is saved we would get 10 totally different answers. But there is one truth which Ihttp://antinomianism-salvation.blogspot.com/p/when-are-you-saved wrote here.
The ultimate misunderstanding in the Christian faith is the timing of when we are saved. If we were to ask 10 Christians when a person is saved we would get 10 totally different answers. But there is one truth which I wrote here — http://antinomianism-salvation.blogspot.com/p/when-are-you-saved
Excellent article. Things changed at the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Old Testament upper Sheol is where the Catholics get the errant idea of Purgatory.
All we have to do is remember:
2Cor. 5:6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord...(8)...to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
Yes. The fathers of the Church had a lot to say on the fact that the poor man is referred to by name. Most agree with you:
AMBROSE; This seems rather a narrative than a parable, since the name is also expressed.
CHRYS. But a parable is that in which an example is given, while the names are omitted. Lazarus is interpreted, "one who was assisted." For he was poor, and the Lord helped him.
CYRIL; Or else; This discourse concerning the rich man and Lazarus was written after the manner of a comparison in a parable, to declare that they who abound in earthly riches, unless they will relieve the necessities of the poor, shall meet with a heavy condemnation. But the tradition of the Jews relates that there was at that time in Jerusalem a certain Lazarus who was afflicted with extreme poverty and sickness, whom our Lord remembering, introduces him into the example for the sake of adding greater point to His words.
GREG. We must observe also, that among the heathen the names of poor men are more likely to be known than of rich. Now our Lord mentions the name of the poor, but not the name of the rich, because God knows and approves the humble, but not the proud. But that the poor man might be more approved, poverty and sickness were at the same time consuming him; as it follows, who was laid at his gate full of sores.
I wonder where St. Gregory got his ethnographical observation about the heathens.
The purgatory is taught directly in 1 Cor 3:8-15.
Tartarus would be the Greek equivalent to Gehenna/Hell.
>>The purgatory is taught directly in 1 Cor 3:8-15.<<
In that letter to the Corinthians Paul is talking about the carnal state of the believers at Corinth. He is saying that he and Apolos are working to build the true Church of God on earth. If the ministers of the Gospel are truly of God the foundation they lay and the work they do among the people will last. It teaches nothing of purgatory.
Surely that can not be a passage the justifies a belief in purgatory.
Bible scholars differ as to whether this particular story was merely a parable addressing the Pharisees, as you said, or was it ALSO a story, not only addressing the Pharisees, but also telling us something about the nature of the afterlife--at least before the resurrection. It could easily have served both functions, being a kind of true-story-as-parable.
As to the tri-part view of human nature, that's very doubtful as:
The lists of parts varies:
"Jesus replied: ' "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."'" (Matt 22:37) "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut 6:5)
Other passages indicate two parts only:
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt 10:28) "But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness." (Rom 8:10) "Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit." (I Cor 7:34b)
Or maybe even 4 parts:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."(Mark 12:20; Luke 10:27)
Or possibly, 2 to 7(?)parts:
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
The little charts I learned in bible school on the the neat and tidy 3 part nature of man don't really come to grips with scripture, so I'll stick with scripture.
The last quote is Hebrews 4:12.
¨If I knew God I´d be Him.¨
Though I know many well meaning Christians would say, ¨But we do know him through Christ¨. But I´m an Old Testament guy more comfortable with the God who says, ¨And I shall take away My hand, and thou shalt see My back; but My face shall not be seen¨. (Exodus XXXIII: 23)
The passage speaks of the believer being purified of inferior stuff that he allowed to get accrued through his life, and then entering heaven. Read what is written.
>>The passage speaks of the believer being purified of inferior stuff that he allowed to get accrued through his life, and then entering heaven. Read what is written.<<
You have got to be kidding me! How can anyone get the interpretation from that chapter? What church promotes that interpretation?
A valley southwest of Jerusalem which developed an evil reputation among Jews because of idolatrous and barbarous events that took place there during the reigns of Ahaz and Manasseh (II Chronicles 28:1-4, 33:1-6). Jeremiah deplored the superstitious excesses and renamed it the Valley of Slaughter (Jeremiah 7:32). Yahweh warned the inhabitants it would become a "city of desolation" (Jeremiah 19:8). In the New Testament the name in Hebrew acquired the meaning of Hell. Jesus used it on numerous occasions, warning sinners they would be condemned to Hell if they continued their sinful ways (Matthew 5:22, 5:29; Mark 9:43).
The Hebrew word for hell, corresponding to the Greek Hades. At first a vague, gloomy place in which departed souls lived, gradually it was looked upon as a place of terrible punishment for unworthy souls. The lesson is vividly taught in the New Testament that Sheol is the destination of souls dying in sin. Luke speaks of the "torment in Hades" (Luke 16:23). The letter to the Hebrews warns of "the dreadful prospect of judgment and of the ragin fire that is to burn rebels" (Hebrews 10:27). Revelation describes "the fire and brimstone in which they will be tortured in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb, and the smoke of their torture will go up forever and ever" (Revelation 14:10-11).
In Greek religion the god of the underworld; consequently the kingdom ruled over by Hades, or the abode of the dead. In the Bible the Greek translation of the Hebrew sheol, also meaning the abode of the dead, or death, or the power of destruction, or the place of the wicked after death. (Etym. Greek Haid_s, the nether world.)
The place and state of eternal punishment for the fallen angels and human beings who die deliberately estranged from the love of God. There is a twofold punishment in hell: the pain of loss, which consists in the deprivation of the vision of God, and the pain of sense, which consists in the suffering caused by outside material things. The punishment of hell is eternal, as declared by Christ in his prediction of the last day (Matthew 25:46), and as defined by the Fourth Lateran Council, stating that the wicked will "receive a perpetual punishment with the devil" (Denzinger 801). The existence of hell is consistent with divine justice, since God respects human freedom and those who are lost actually condemn themselves by their resistance to the grace of God.
The place or condition in which the souls of the just are purified after death and before they can enter heaven. They may be purified of the guilt of their venial sins, as in this life, by an act of contrition deriving from charity and performed with the help of grace. This sorrow does not, however, affect the punishment for sins, because in the next world there is no longer any possibility of merit. The souls are certainly purified by atoning for the temporal punishments due to sin by their willing acceptance of suffering imposed by God. The sufferings in purgatory are not the same for all, but proportioned to each person's degree of sinfulness. Moreover, these sufferings can be lessened in duration and intensity through the prayers and good works of the faithful on earth. Nor are the pains incompatible with great peace and joy, since the poor souls deeply love God and are sure they will reach heaven. As members of the Church Suffering, the souls in purgatory can intercede for the persons on earth, who are therefore encouraged to invoke their aid. Purgatory will not continue after the general judgment, but its duration for any particular souls continues until it is free from all guilt and punishment. Immediately on purification the soul is assumed into heaven. (Etym. Latin purgatio, cleansing, purifying.)
1 Cor. 3:15 does not teach purgatory as a place we go to in order to have some of our sins cleansed from us. It teaches that even though the person is justified by faith and cannot face damnation, his works will, however, be judged on “that day.” Those works which are good will survive the fires of judgment the way gold, silver, and precious stones can survive fire. But false works will be consumed the way fire consumes wood, hay, and straw. What is left has no bearing on whether or not we are saved. It has to do with rewards in heaven.
Purgatory is a dangerous doctrine that makes the Cross of Christ insufficient by requiring the person to undergo suffering in order to be made worthy of being with God. This is a false teaching and is to be avoided. We are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1), not by faith and works (Rom. 3:28).
Purgatory is not a dangerous doctrine at all. Thinking you will get into heaven without purging the damage you have done with your sins (if you know that you are forgiven them) is what is dangerous thinking.
No one, I repeat NO ONE, gets into heaven without being perfectly pure.
Agree completely! However, we are not cleansed by our good deeds, sufferings, merits, prayers, indulgences or a place between this world and Heaven. It is the blood of Christ which cleanses us from ALL sin.
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are comingnot the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
Then I said, 'Here I amit is written about me in the scroll I have come to do your will, O God.' " First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
>>we are not cleansed by our good deeds, sufferings, merits, prayers, indulgences or a place between this world and Heaven. It is the blood of Christ which cleanses us from ALL sin.<<
Amen and Amen!
>> Thinking you will get into heaven without purging the damage you have done with your sins<<
Thinking that the Sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross was not complete but that we must somehow do part of it ourselves is a very dangerous thing. The last words of Jesus on the cross were it is finished
Thinking you will be saved because of any works you have done is a different Gospel and should be fled from.
One passage that seems to cause a lot of controversy is Matt. 16:18. One part of this verse "and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" makes no sense if it's believed that Hades is attacking a physical church on earth. First, gates are fixed objects that open and close. Second, gates are used to keep things in, or out. Finally, gates don't attack anything because they are just objects.
Also, Hades is not a being, but a place. A place is a location and locations don't attack people, or another location ie, a church.
However, Matt 16:18 does make sense and is easy to understand if we see that Jesus Christ is saying the gates of Hades can't keep Him out, or contain those that He intends to take out of there. When you also recognize what Jesus Christ said to the thief on the Cross "today you will be in paradise" it starts to become very clear.
Yes. Note that these works are attached to the man and fire purges them from him. You just paraphrased what Purgatory is.
Christian man is a building. Its foundation is solid, it is his faith. He added his works through his life, some sterling, others inferior. The inferiorities are purged by fire and he enters heaven.
What is your interpretation?
You just paraphrased what Purgatory is.
Could you please tell me what heinous crime merited being crucified on a tree, yet minutes before His own death our LORD told the man "Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise"? Because it doesn't sound like the dude hung out in this alleged Purgatory for very long.
There is no purgatory...sins are either or not forgiven this side of life...after death there remains no choice as the decission for or against Christ is made this side of heaven. Christ’s blood operates this side...”Once”...there is no partial cleansing after death.
I completely agree...good post.
>>What is your interpretation?<<
The passage we were talking about is 1 Cor. 3. that passage is talking about the ministers.
[1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.]
Verse 1 sets up the passage. Paul is saying he is talking to them as new Christians who dont understand the deeper meanings but are still thinking carnally. He goes on to say that they have carnal strife within the Church. He laid the foundation of belief.
[4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?]
Here in verse 4 he begins to explain what he means. The people are still claiming they are followers of the ministers who have been working among them. He goes on to say that he (Paul) was the one who first introduced them to Christianity and Apollos came later and (watered) or continued what he had started.
[7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.]
In verse 7 he explains that its not he nor Apollos that is important or who they should follow but it is God.
[8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.]
Verse eight is perhaps the key to understanding the passage. Here again he is talking about himself and Apollos as ministers and their labour among the Church and Corinth.
[9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.]
In verse 9 he begins to explain that he and Apollos are labourers together and the building that is being built belongs to God.
[10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.]
Here again, in verse 10 you can see he (Paul) is the masterbuilder that laid the foundation and others (ministers) are coming after and need to take heed on how they build upon the foundation that he has laid. They need to build with sound Godly truth.
[13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.]
In verse 13 you can see that he is still talking about the ministers (builders) who have been teaching the people in Corinth. He gave them a good foundation to build on but if the ministers who follow him do not teach the same truthful precepts of God the will not last but will be revealed by fire. In other words when things come against the people such as nay sayers etc. if the things taught by the ministers that follow him are not build on those same truthful Godly prinicipals they will not last. Also if the people arent firm in there belief the weakness of their faith will not last.
The rest of the chapter goes on to explain that if they dont teach and learn about the Spiritual things they will remain in a carnal state. The things we do in a carnal state will not last. (things like money, the things of this world etc.) But as we grow in the Spirit, more of what we think about and do is because of the leading of the Spirit of God and will last.
The passage is not saying anything about purification after death but about what will be lost at death. The carnal things that have been left will not last but the spiritual things we did (witnessing to others, helping the poor etc.) will last long after we are gone.
[14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.]
Verse 14 tells us that we will be rewarded in heaven for works on earth that were built on Godly principles. Paul called the gold, silver, etc. that had already been tried by fire. They are pure, not something that can easily be destroyed.
>>Could you please tell me what heinous crime merited being crucified on a tree, yet minutes before His own death our LORD told the man “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise”? Because it doesn’t sound like the dude hung out in this alleged Purgatory for very long.<<
He was the thief on the cross. Sheol, prior to Jesus death and resurrection, had two levels. The lower level for people who were not saved, the second level for those who were. Jesus had not paid the price yet so those saved could not yet go to heaven. After Jesus died on the Cross He went to the second level of Sheol and released those souls and took them with him to heaven. The unsaved souls in the lower level are still there and will be sent to Hades with Satan.
IOW, "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it"
Nobody is there anymore.
He may not have hung there at all. He did all the Catholic conversion required: did penance for his sin, suffered with Christ, defended Christ, and asked to be saved. He died what the Catholics call a good death. May we all be so lucky.
In general, we don't know who individually goes to purgatory and who doesn't. We know that heaven and hell are the two ultimate destinations and we have the rule of faith that the Church proposes for us so that we get to heaven. We know that some will enter heaven after the supernatural purgation following their death. We don't know who individually goes where, except that for the canonized saints of authentic churches we know that they are in heaven.
Further we don't know the exact nature of the Purgatory. It is outside of time and space, so concepts like fire and the duration of it are only metaphors. It may all happen in a flash as the soul goes to heaven. Note that St. Paul framed that passage as an allegory, where man is likened to a building which burns.