The Doctrine of Endless Punishment

Topic: Hell Type: Book Author: W. G. T. Shedd 

Chapter 2 - PART ONE


The strongest support of the doctrine of Endless Punishment is the teaching of Christ, the Redeemer of man. Though the doctrine is plainly taught in the Pauline Epistles, and other parts of Scripture, yet without the explicit and reiterated statements of God incarnate, it is doubtful whether so awful a truth would have had such a conspicuous place as it always has had in the creed of Christendom. If, in spite of that large mass of positive and solemn threatening of everlasting punishment from the lips of Jesus Christ, which is recorded in the four Gospels, the attempt has nevertheless been made to prove that the tenet is not an integral part of the Christian system, we may be certain that had this portion of Revelation been wanting, this attempt would have been much more frequent, and much more successful. The Apostles enter far less into detailed description, and are far less emphatic upon this solemn theme, than their divine Lord and Master. And well they might be. For as none but God has the right, and would dare, to sentence a soul to eternal misery, for sin; and as none but God has the right, and would dare, to execute the sentence; so none but God has the right, and should presume, to delineate the nature and consequences of this sentence. This is the reason why most of the awful imagery in which the sufferings of the lost are described is found in the discourses of our Lord and Savior. He took it upon Himself to sound the note of warning. He, the Judge of living and dead, assumed the responsibility of teaching the doctrine of Endless Retribution. I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear Him who after He has killed has power to cast into Hell; yes, I say to you, Fear Him [LUK 12:5]. "Nothing," says Dr. Arnold, "is more striking to me, than our Lord’s own description of the judgment. It is so inexpressibly forcible, coming from His very own lips, as descriptive of what He Himself would do" [Stanley’s Life of Arnold, I. 176].

Christ could not have warned men so frequently and earnestly as he did against the fire that never shall be quenched, and the worm that dies not [MAR 9:43, 44], had He known that there is no future peril fully corresponding to them. That omniscient Being who made the statements respecting the day of judgment, and the final sentence, that are recorded in MAT 25:31-46, could neither have believed nor expected that all men without exception will eventually be holy and happy. To threaten with everlasting punishment a class of persons described as goats upon the left hand [MAT 25:41] of the eternal Judge, while knowing at the same time that this class would ultimately have the same holiness and happiness with those described as sheep on the right hand [MAT 25:34] of the judge, would have been both falsehood and folly. The threatening would have been false. For even a long punishment in the future world would not have justified Christ in teaching that this class of mankind are to experience the same retribution with the Devil and his angels [MAT 25:41]; for these were understood by the Jews, to whom He spoke, to be hopelessly and eternally lost spirits: *[Edersheim [Life of Jesus, II. 789] asserts that the schools of Shammai and Hillel both taught the doctrine of eternal punishment. "These schools represented the theological teaching in the time of Christ and His Apostles, showing that the doctrine of Eternal Punishment was held in the days of our Lord, however it may have been afterwards modified." Edersheim adds, that "the doctrine of the eternity of punishment seems to have been held by the Synagogue throughout the whole first century. In the second century, there is a decided difference in Rabbinic opinion; some denying the doctrine of endless retribution. In the third century, there is a reaction and a return to former views"]. And the threatening would have been foolish, because it would have been a brutum fulmen, an exaggerated danger, certainly in the mind of its Author. And for the persons threatened, it would have been a terror only because they took a different view of it from what its Author did--they believing it to be true, and He knowing it to be false!

The mere perusal of Christ’s words when He was on Earth, without note or comment on them, will convince the unprejudiced that the Redeemer of sinners knew and believed, that for impenitent men and demons there is an endless punishment. We solicit a careful reading and pondering of the following well known passages: When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall he say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment [MAT 25:31-33, 41, 46]. If your right hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed than having two hands to go into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched. And if your foot offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter crippled into life, than having two feet to be cast into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched. And if your eye offend you, pluck it out: it is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into Hell fire: where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched [MAR 9:43-48]. What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? What is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and be cast away? [MAR 8:36; LUK 9:25]. The rich man died and was buried, and in Hell he lifted up his eyes being in torments [LUK 16:22, 23]. Fear not those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell [MAT 10:28]. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and those who do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth [MAT 13:41, 42]. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? Then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you who work iniquity [MAT 7:22, 23]. He who denies Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. Unto him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it shall never be forgiven [LUK 12:9, 10]. Woe to you, you blind guides. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of Hell? [MAT 23:16, 33]. Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born [MAT 26:24]. The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for Him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and appoint him his portion with unbelievers [LUK 12:46]. He who believes not shall be damned [MAR 16:16]. You Capernaum, which are exalted to Heaven, shall be brought down to Hell [MAT 11:23]. At the end of the world, the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire [MAT 13:49, 50]. Then said Jesus again to them, I go My way, and you shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins: where I go you cannot come [JOH 8:21]. The hour is coming in which all who are in their graves shall hear My voice, and shall come forth; they who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they who have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation [JOH 5:28, 29].

To all this, add the description of the manner in which Christ will discharge the office of the Eternal Judge. John the Baptist represents Him as one Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner, but will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire [MAT 3:12]. And Christ describes himself as a householder who will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them [MAT 13:30]; as a fisherman casting a net into the sea, and gathering of every kind; which when it was full he drew to the shore, and sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away [MAT 13:47, 48]; as the bridegroom who took the wise virgins with him to the marriage, and shut the door upon the foolish [MAT 25:10]; and as the man traveling into a far country who delivered talents to his servants, and afterwards reckons with them, rewarding the good and faithful, and casting the unprofitable servant into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth [MAT. 25:19-30].

Let the reader now ask himself the question: Do these representations, and this phraseology, make the impression that the future punishment of sin is to be remedial and temporary? Are they adapted to make this impression? Were they intended to make this impression? Is it possible to believe that that Holy and Divine Person who uttered these fearful and unqualified warnings, nineteen hundred years ago, respecting the destiny of wicked men and demons, knew that a time is coming when there will be no wicked men and demons in the universe of God, and no place of retributive torment? Did Jesus of Nazareth hold an esoteric doctrine of Hell--a different view of the final state of the wicked, from that which the common and natural understanding of His language would convey to His hearers, and has conveyed to the great majority of His readers in all time? Did He know that in the far-off future, a day will come when those tremendous scenes which He described--the gathering of all mankind, the separation of the evil from the good, the curse pronounced upon the former and the blessing upon the latter--will be looked back upon by all mankind as "an insubstantial pageant faded," as a dream that is passed, and a watch in the night?

Having thus noticed the positive and explicit nature of Christ’s teaching, we now proceed to examine the terms employed in Scripture to denote the abode of the lost, and the nature of their punishment.

The Old Testament term for the future abode of the wicked, and the place of future punishment, is Sheol (lwav). This word, which is translated by Hades (adhV) in the Septuagint, has two meanings: 1. The place of future retribution. 2. The grave.

Before presenting the proof of this position, we call attention to the fact, that it agrees with the explanation of Sheol and Hades common in the Early Patristic and Reformation churches, and disagrees with that of the Later Patristic, the Mediaeval, and a part of the Modern Protestant church. It agrees also with the interpretation generally given to these words in the versions of the Scriptures made since the Reformation, in the various languages of the world.

The view of the Reformers is stated in the following extract from the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia [Article Hades]: "The Protestant churches rejected, with purgatory and its abuses, the whole idea of a middle state, and taught simply two states and places--Heaven for believers, and Hell for unbelievers. Hades was identified with Gehenna, and hence both terms were translated alike in the Protestant versions. The English (as also Luther’s German) version of the New Testament translates Hades and Gehenna by the same word ‘Hell,’ and thus obliterates the important distinction between the realm of the dead (or nether-world, spirit-world), and the place of torment or eternal punishment; but in the Revision of 1881 the distinction is restored, and the term Hades introduced." The same change is made in the Revised Old Testament, published in 1885. The Authorized version renders Sheol sometimes by "Hell," in the sense of the place of punishment, and sometimes by "grave"--the context determining which is the meaning. The Revisers substitute "Sheol" for "Hell," and whenever they leave the word "grave" in the text, add the note: "The Hebrew is Sheol," in order, as they say, "to indicate that it is not the place of burial." Had they been content with the mere transliteration of Sheol, the reader might interpret for himself. But in the preface to their version they become commentators, and interpret for him. They deny that Sheol means "Hell" in the sense of "the place of torment," and assert that it "signifies the abode of departed spirits, and corresponds to the Greek Hades, or the Underworld" [Preface to the Revised Old Testament].

The meaning of an important technical term, such as Sheol, must be determined, certainly in part, by the connection of thought, and the general tenor of Scripture. An interpretation must not be put upon it that will destroy the symmetry of doctrine. Whether Sheol is from lav or luv, or any other merely linguistic particular, will not of itself decide the question whether it denotes the Heathen Orcus, or the Christian Hell. That Sheol is a fearful punitive evil mentioned by the sacred writers to deter men from sin, lies upon the face of the Old Testament, and any interpretation that essentially modifies this must therefore be erroneous. But such an essential modification is made by denying that it is the place of torment, and converting it into a promiscuous and indiscriminate abode for all disembodied spirits. The indiscriminateness nullifies the evil, and the fear of it. A successful version of the Bible requires the union of philology and theology. A translation of Scripture made wholly upon assumed philological grounds, and independent of the analogy of faith, would be certain to contain errors. The general system of Christian truth, and the connection of ideas, confessedly controls the explanation of such terms as pistiV, zwh, pneuma, and logoV. Merely to apply classical and lexical philology in these cases, would lead to misconception. Even, therefore, if it were conceded that the Greek and Hebrew learning of the English Revisers is superior to that of the age of Usher and Selden, it would not necessarily follow that the truth in this instance is with them, and not with their predecessors. That they may have been under a dogmatic prepossession, and have interpreted Scripture by mythology, and the spurious clause of a creed, instead of by Scripture itself, is a possibility

4[The mythological explanation of Sheol, or Hades, prevails considerably at present. Many evangelical exegetes assert that the Biblical Hades is an under-world for all souls, and not a place of retribution. They support their opinion principally by the Rabbinical writings, the Greek and Roman classics, and the records of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. This assumes that there is no essential difference between the Hades of Scripture and that of the nations; that the inspired mind took the same general view with the uninspired, of the state of souls after death; that Moses, Samuel, David, and Isaiah, together with Christ and his Apostles, agreed in their eschatology with Homer, Plato, Virgil, the Egyptian "Ritual of the Dead," and the Babylonian tablets. A close adherence to the text and context of Scripture shows, we think, that this assumption is unfounded.

[Increasing knowledge of the national religions has surrounded the Scriptures with a great mass of illustrative material which demands good judgment in its use. The tendency, of late, has been to forget that Divine Revelation is complete in itself and self-interpreting, and therefore must, first of all, be examined in its own light. Christianity may be illustrated by ethnical religion when the latter coincides with the former, not when it conflicts with it. When mythology is an echo, even broken and imperfect, of Revelation, it may be employed to explain it, but not when it contradicts. Scripture must rectify mythology, not mythology scripture. The meaning of Sheol, or Hades should be obtained by comparing scripture with scripture, not by conforming scripture to the workings of man's imagination as he peers into the darkness beyond the grave, and endeavors to image to himself the abode of departed spirits. The mythological eschatology is a fanciful and picturesque conjecture respecting the unseen world. The Biblical eschatology is the sober unimaginative account of it by an eye-witness--namely, God speaking through prophets, apostles, and his Son Jesus Christ, Who came forth from the Father into the world, and, again, left the world, and went to the Father [JOH 16:28]].

I. In the first place, Sheol signifies the place of future retribution.

1. This is proved, first, by the fact that it is denounced against sin and sinners, and not against the righteous. It is a place to which the wicked are sent, in distinction from the good. The wicked in a moment go down to Sheol [JOB 21:13]. The wicked shall be turned into Sheol, and all the nations that forget God [PSA 9:17]. Her steps take hold on Sheol [PRO 5:5]. Her guests are in the depths of Sheol [PRO 9:18]. You shall beat your child with a rod, and shall deliver his soul from Sheol [PRO 23:14]. A fire is kindled in my anger, and it shall burn to the lowest Sheol [DEU 32:22]. If I ascend up into Heaven, You are there; if I make My bed in Sheol [the contrary of Heaven], behold You are there [PSA 139:8]. The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from Sheol beneath [PRO 15:24]. Sheol is naked before Him, and destruction [Abaddon, Rev. ver.] has no covering [JOB 26:6]. Sheol and destruction [Abaddon, Rev. ver.] are before the Lord [PRO 15:11]. Sheol and destruction [Abaddon, Rev. ver.] are never full [PRO 27:20]. If in these last three passages the Revised rendering be adopted, it is still more evident that Sheol denotes Hell; for Abaddon is the Hebrew for Apollyon, who is said to be the angel and king of the bottomless pit [REV 9:l l]. 5[Additional texts which prove that Sheol is a retributive evil denounced against sin and sinners are: [PRO 7:27], Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death. [PSA 86:13], Great is Your mercy toward me: and you have delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol. To explain this latter passage as meaning only that God had raised the writer from a bed of sickness, or delivered him from some earthly calamity, disagrees with the entire Psalm--which is a prayer for spiritual and eternal blessings, and a thanksgiving for them. You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all who call upon You [ver. 5]].

There can be no rational doubt, that in this class of Old Testament texts the wicked are warned of a future evil and danger. The danger is, that they shall be sent to Sheol. The connection of thought requires, therefore, that Sheol in such passages have the same meaning as the modern Hell, and like this have an exclusive reference to the wicked. Otherwise, it is not a warning. To give it a meaning that makes it the common residence of the good and evil, is to destroy its force as a Divine menace. If Sheol be merely a promiscuous underworld for all souls, then to be turned into Sheol is no more a menace for the sinner than for the saint, and consequently a menace for neither. In order to be of the nature of an alarm for the wicked, Sheol must be something that pertains to them alone. If it is shared with the good, its power to terrify is gone. If the good man goes to Sheol, the wicked man will not be afraid to go with him. It is no answer to this, to say that Sheol contains two divisions, Hades and Paradise, and that the wicked go to the former. This is not in the Biblical text, or in its connection. The wicked who are threatened with Sheol, as the punishment of their wickedness, are not threatened with a part of Sheol, but with the whole of it. Sheol is one, undivided, and homogeneous in the inspired representation. The subdivision of it into heterogeneous compartments, is a conception imported into the Bible from the Greek and Roman classics. The Old Testament knows nothing of a Sheol that is partly an evil, and partly a good. The Biblical Sheol is always an evil, and nothing but an evil. When the human body goes down to Sheol in the sense of the "grave," this is an evil. And when the human soul goes down to Sheol in the sense of "hell and retribution," this is an evil. Both are threatened, as the penalty of sin, to the wicked, but never to the righteous.

Consequently, in the class of passages of which we are speaking, going down to Sheol denotes something more dreadful than "going down to the grave," or than entering the so-called underworld of departed spirits. To say that the wicked shall be turned into Sheol, implies that the righteous shall not be; just as to say that those who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be punished with everlasting destruction [2TH 1:8, 9], implies that those who do obey it shall not be. To say that the steps of the prostitute take hold on Sheol, is the same as to say that whoremongers shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone [REV 21:8]. To deliver the soul of a child from Sheol by parental discipline, is not to deliver him either from the grave, or from a spirit-world, but from the future torment that awaits the morally undisciplined. In mentioning Sheol in such a connection, the inspired writer is not mentioning a region that is common alike to the righteous and the wicked. This would defeat his purpose to warn the latter *[The meaning of the Hebrew word Sheol is doubtful, but I have not hesitated to translate it hell. I do not find fault with those who translate it grave, but it is certain that the prophet means something more than common death; otherwise he would say nothing else concerning the wicked, than what would also happen to all the faithful in common with them [Calvin on PSA 9:17]]. Sheol, when denounced to the wicked, must be as peculiar to them, and as much confined to them, as when the lake of fire and brimstone is denounced to them. All such Old Testament passages teach that those who go to Sheol suffer from the wrath of God, as the Eternal Judge who punishes iniquity. The words: The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into Sheol, and all the nations that forget God [PSA 9:16, 17], are as much of the nature of a Divine menace against sin, as the words, In the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die [GEN 2:17]. And the interpretation which eliminates the idea of penal suffering from the former, to be consistent, should eliminate it from the latter.

Accordingly, these texts must be read in connection with, and interpreted by, that large class of texts in the Old Testament which represent God as a judge and assert a future judgment, and a future resurrection for this purpose. Shall not the judge of all the earth do right [GEN. 18:25]? To Me belongs vengeance and recompense; their feet shall slide in due time [DEU 32:35]. Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed [JUD 14, 15]. The wicked is reserved to the day of destruction. They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath [JOB 21:30]. The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment; the way of the ungodly shall perish [PSA 1:5, 6]. Verily, he is a God Who judges in the Earth [PSA. 58:11]. Who knows the power of Your anger? even according to Your fear, so is Your wrath [PSA. 90:11]. O Lord God, to Whom vengeance belongs, show Yourself. Lift up Yourself, You Judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud [PSA 94:1, 2]. There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death [PRO 16:25]. God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time for every purpose, and every work [ECC 3:17]. Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment [ECC 11:9]. God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil [ECC 12:14]. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with devouring burnings [ISA 33:14]? Of the men that have transgressed against God, it is said that their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched [ISA 66:24]. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit. His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels like burning fire; thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened [DAN 7:9, 10]. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt [DAN 12:2]. The Lord has sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I never will forget any of their works [AMO 8:7]. They shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up My jewels [MAL 3:17]. 6[Additional Old Testament texts teaching a future judgment are: DEU 7:10, The Lord your God repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. JOB 21:19, 20, 30: God lays up his iniquity: He rewards him, and He shall know it. His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty. The wicked is reserved to the day of destruction: they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. EZE 22:21, 22: I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall you be melted in the midst thereof: and you shall know that I the Lord have poured out My fury upon you. PRO 16:14: The Lord has made all things for Himself: yes, even the wicked for the day of evil. For a full citation of the Old Testament passages that teach the final judgment, [see Edwards, "On God's Moral Government." Works, I., 574-582]].

A final judgment, unquestionably, supposes a place where the sentence is executed. Consequently, these Old Testament passages respecting the final judgment throw a strong light upon the meaning of Sheol, and make it certain, in the highest degree, that it denotes the world where the penalty resulting from the verdict of the Supreme Judge is to be experienced by the transgressor. The wicked, when sentenced at the last judgment, are turned into Sheol, as idolaters and all liars, when sentenced, have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone [REV 21:8].

2. A second proof that Sheol is the proper name for Hell, in the Old Testament, is the fact that there is no other proper name for it in the whole volume--for Tophet is metaphorical, and rarely employed. If Sheol is not the place where the wrath of God falls upon the transgressor, there is no place mentioned in the Old Testament where it does. But it is utterly improbable that the final judgment would be announced so clearly as it is under the Old Dispensation, and yet the place of retributive suffering be undesignated. In modern theology, the Judgment and Hell are correlates; each implying the other, each standing or falling with the other. In the Old Testament theology, the Judgment and Sheol sustain the same relations. The proof that Sheol does not signify Hell would, virtually, be the proof that the doctrine of Hell is not contained in the Old Testament; and this would imperil the doctrine of the final judgment. Universalism receives strong support from all versions and commentaries which take the idea of retribution out of the term Sheol. No texts that contain the word can be cited to prove either a future sentence, or a future suffering. They only prove that there is a world of disembodied spirits, whose moral character and condition cannot be inferred from anything in the signification of Sheol; because the good are in Sheol, and the wicked are in Sheol. When it is merely said of a deceased person that he is in the world of spirits, it is impossible to decide whether he is holy or sinful, happy or miserable.

3. A third proof that Sheol, in these passages, denotes the dark abode of the wicked, and the state of future suffering, is found in those Old Testament texts which speak of the contrary bright abode of the righteous, and of their state of blessedness. According to the view we are combating, Paradise is in Sheol, and constitutes a part of it. But there is too great a contrast between the two abodes of the good and evil, to allow of their being brought under one and the same gloomy and terrifying term Sheol. When the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, Balaam said, Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his [NUM 23:5, 10]. The Psalmist describes this last end of the righteous in the following terms: My flesh shall rest in hope. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore [PSA 16:11]. As for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness [PSA. 17:15]. God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; for He shall receive me [PSA. 49:15]. You shall guide me with Your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven but You [PSA. 73:24]? In like manner, Isaiah [25:8] says, respecting the righteous, that the Lord God will swallow up death in victory, and will wipe away tears from all faces; and Solomon asserts that the righteous has hope in his death [PRO 14:32]. These descriptions of the blessedness of the righteous when they die have nothing in common with the Old Testament conception of Sheol, and cannot possibly be made to agree with it. The anger of God burns to the lowest Sheol; which implies that it burns through the whole of Sheol, from top to bottom. The wicked are turned into Sheol, and in a moment go down to Sheol; but the good are not "turned" into "glory," nor do they "in a moment go down" to the right hand of God. The presence of God, the right hand of God, the glory to which the Psalmist is to be received, and the Heaven which he longs for, are certainly not in the dreadful Sheol. They do not constitute one of its compartments. If between death and the resurrection, the disembodied spirit of the Psalmist is in Heaven, at the right hand of God, in His presence, and beholding His glory, it is not in a dismal underworld. There is not a passage in the Old Testament that asserts, or in any way suggests, that the light of the Divine countenance, and the blessedness of communion with God, are enjoyed in Sheol. Sheol, in the Old Testament, is gloom, and only gloom, and gloomy continually. Will any one seriously contend that in the passage: Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him, it would harmonize with the idea of walking with God, and with the Old Testament conception of Sheol, to supply the ellipsis by saying that "God took him to Sheol?" Was Sheol that better country, that is, an Heavenly, which the Old Testament saints desired, and to attain which they were tortured, not accepting deliverance [HEB 11:16, 35]?

4. A fourth proof that Sheol is the place of future retribution, is its inseparable connection with spiritual and eternal death. The Old Testament, like the New, designates the punishment of the wicked by the term death. And spiritual death is implied, as well as physical. Such is the meaning in GEN 2:17. The death there threatened is the very same qanatoV to which Paul refers in ROM 5:12, and which passed upon all men by reason of the transgression in Eden. Spiritual death is clearly taught in DEU 30:15, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil; in JER 21:8, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death; in EZE 18:32; 33:11, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; in PRO 8:36, All they that hate Me love death. Spiritual death is also taught, by implication, in those Old Testament passages which speak of spiritual life as its contrary. As righteousness tends to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death [PRO 11:19]. Whoever finds Me finds life [PRO 8:35]. He is in the way of life who keeps instruction [PRO 10:17]. You will show me the path of life [PSA 16:11]. With You is the fountain of life [PSA. 36:9]. There the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore [PSA. 133:3].

Sheol is as inseparably associated with spiritual death and perdition, in the Old Testament, as Hades is in the New Testament, and as Hell is in the common phraseology of the Christian Church. Sheol is naked before Him, and destruction has no covering [JOB 26:6]. Sheol and destruction are before the Lord [PRO 15:11]. Sheol and destruction are never full [PRO 27:20]. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death [PRO 7:27]. Her house inclines to death, and her paths to the dead [PRO 2:18]. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on Sheol [PRO 5:5]. The sense of these passages is not exhausted, by saying that licentiousness leads to physical disease and death. The death here threatened is the same that Paul speaks of, when he says that those who commit such things are worthy of death [ROM. 1:32], and that the end of those things is death [ROM 6:21]. Eternal death and Sheol are as inseparably joined in PRO 5:5, as eternal death and Hades are in REV 20:14.

But if Sheol be taken in the mythological sense of an underworld, or spirit-world, there is no inseparable connection between it and death, either physical or spiritual. Physical death has no power in the spirit-world over a disembodied spirit. And spiritual death is separable from Sheol, in the case of the good. If the good go down to Sheol, they do not go down to eternal death.

II. In the second place, Sheol signifies the grave, to which all men, the good and evil alike, go down. That Sheol should have the two signification’s of Hell and the grave, is explained by the connection between physical death and eternal retribution. The death of the body is one of the consequences of sin, and an integral part of the penalty. To go down to the grave, is to pay the first installment of the transgressor’s debt to justice. It is, therefore, the metonymy of a part for the whole, when the grave is denominated Sheol. As in English, "death" may mean either physical or spiritual death, so in Hebrew, Sheol may mean either the grave or Hell.

When Sheol signifies the "grave," it is only the body [See ACT 2:27] that goes down to Sheol. But as the body is naturally put for the whole person, the man is said to go down to the grave when his body alone is laid in it. Christ called Lazarus out of his grave [JOH 12:17]. This does not mean that the soul of Lazarus was in that grave. When a sick person says, "I am going down to the grave," no one understands him to mean that his spirit is descending into a place under the Earth. And when the aged Jacob says, I will go down into Sheol, unto my [dead] son mourning [GEN 37:35], no one should understand him to teach the descent of his disembodied spirit into a subterranean world. The spirit of man goes upward, and the spirit of the beast goes downward [ECC 3:21]. The soul of the animal dies with the body; that of the man does not. The statement that the Son of man shall be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth [MAT 12:40], refers to the burial of his body, not to the residence of his soul 7[That the heart of the Earth means the grave, Witsius [Apostles' Creed, Dissertation XVII] argues in the following manner: "Jonah says, that while he was in the bowels of the fish, he was 'in the belly of hell,' or of the grave, and 'in the midst (HEB., heart) of the sea;' and in this respect he was a figure of Christ placed in the heart of the Earth. This does not mean the hell of the damned which, as Jerome says, is commonly said to be 'in the midst of the Earth;' but an earthen receptacle, which has Earth above, below, and on every side--or more briefly, which is within the Earth. As the Scripture places Tyre 'in the heart of the sea,' that is, surrounded by the sea; as 'the way of a ship is in the heart of the sea,' when it is surrounded on all sides by the sea; as Absalom was 'alive in the heart of the oak,' that is, in the oak, within its branches--so the grave is 'the heart of the earth.' Chrysostom remarks that 'the sacred writer does not say in the Earth, but in the heart of the Earth, that the expression might clearly denote the grave, and that no one might suspect a mere appearance [of death]].' " When Christ said to the penitent thief, Today shall you be with Me in paradise, He did not mean that His human soul and that of the penitent should be in the heart of the Earth, but in the Heavenly paradise. Christ is represented as dwelling in Heaven between His ascension and His second advent. Him must the Heavens receive, till the time of the restitution of all things [ACT 3:21]. The Lord shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God [1TH 4:16]. Our conversation is in Heaven, from which we look for our Savior the Lord Jesus [PHI 3:20]. But the souls of the redeemed, during this same intermediate period, are represented as being with Christ. Father, I will that those whom You have given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me [JOH 17:24]. We desire rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord [2CO 5:8]. When, therefore, the human body goes down to Sheol, or Hades, it goes down to the grave, and is unaccompanied with the soul.

The following are a few out of many examples of this signification of Sheol. The Lord kills, and makes alive: He brings down to Sheol, and brings up [1SA 2:6]. Your servants shall bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol [GEN 44:31] 8[This text and GEN 42:38, are parallel to GEN 37:35, and explain Jacob's words, I will go down into Sheol, unto my son. "Gray hairs" cannot descend to an under-world]. O that You would hide me in Sheol [JOB 14:13]. Sheol is my house [JOB 17:13] 9[That Sheol in JOB 17:13 means the grave, is proved by the rest of the passage: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, You are my father; to the worm, You are my mother, and my sister. Another conclusive text is PSA 141:7, Our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol]. Korah and his company went down alive into Sheol, and they perished from the congregation [NUM 16:33]. In Sheol, who shall give You thanks [PSA 6:5]? There is no wisdom in Sheol where you go [ECC 9:10]. I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; O Sheol, I will be your destruction [HOS 13:14]. My life draws near unto Sheol [PSA 88:3]. What man is he who lives, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of Sheol [PSA 89:48]? "The English version," says Stuart, "renders Sheol by ‘grave’ in 30 instances out of 64, and might have so rendered it in more."

Sheol in the sense of the "grave" is invested with gloomy associations for the good, as well as the wicked; and this under the Christian dispensation, as well as under the Jewish. The Old economy and the New are much alike in this respect. The modern Christian believer shrinks from the grave, like the ancient Jewish believer. He needs as much grace in order to die tranquilly, as did Moses and David. It is true that Christ has brought immortality to light in the gospel; has poured upon the grave the bright light of His own resurrection, a far brighter light than the Patriarchal and Jewish church enjoyed; yet man’s faith is as weak and wavering as ever, and requires the support of God.

Accordingly, Sheol in the sense of the "grave" is represented as something out of which the righteous are to be delivered by a resurrection of the body to glory, but the bodies of the wicked are to be left under its power. Like sheep, the wicked are laid in Sheol; death shall feed on them. But God will redeem my soul [my body] from the power of Sheol [PSA 49:14, 15]. You will not leave my soul [my body] in Sheol; neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption [PSA 16:10]: *[Peter [ACT 2:31] asserts that David spoke of the resurrection of Christ, when he said that His soul was not left in Sheol, neither did His flesh see corruption. But there is no resurrection of the soul. Consequently, it is the body that David spoke of. To "leave Christ’s soul in Sheol," is the same thing as to let His flesh see corruption--evincing, that "soul," here, is put for "body," and "Sheol" means the "grave." Paul [ACT 13:35] omits the clause, You will not leave My soul in Sheol, evidently regarding the clause, You will not suffer Your Holy One to see corruption, as stating the whole fact in the case.

In support of this interpretation of these words, we avail ourselves of the unquestioned learning and accuracy of Bishop Pearson. After remarking that the explanation which makes the clause, "He descended into Hell," to mean "that Christ in his body was laid in the grave," is "ordinarily rejected by denying that ‘soul’ is ever taken for ‘body,’ or ‘Hell’ for the ‘grave,’" he proceeds to say that "this denial is in vain: for it must be acknowledged, that sometimes the Scriptures are rightly so, and cannot otherwise be, understood. First, the same word in the Hebrew, which the Psalmist used, and in the Greek, which the Apostle used, and we translate ‘the soul,’ is elsewhere used for the body of a dead man, and rendered so in the English version. Both vpn and yuch are used for the body of a dead man in the Hebrew, and Septuagint of NUM. 6:6: He shall come at no dead body (tm vpn). The same usage is found in [LEV 5:2; 19:28; 21:l, 11; 22:4; NUM 18:11, 13; HAG 2:13]. Thus, several times, vpn and yuch are taken for the body of a dead man; that body which polluted a man under the Law, by the touch thereof. And Maimondes has observed, that there is no pollution from the body till the soul be departed. Therefore vpn and yuch did signify the body after the separation of the soul. And this was anciently observed by Augustine, that the soul may be taken for the body only: ‘Animae nomine corpus solum posse significari, modo quodam locutionis ostenditur, quo significatur per id quod continetur illud quod continet’ [Epist. 157, al. 190 ad Optatum; De animarum origine, c. 5, § 19]. Secondly, the Hebrew word lwav which the Psalmist used, and the Greek word adhV which the Apostle employed, and is translated ‘Hell’ in the English version, does certainly in some other places signify no more than the ‘grave,’ and is translated so. As when Mr. Ainsworth follows the word, For I will go down unto my son, mourning, to Hell; our translation, arriving at the sense, renders it, For I will go down into the grave, unto my son, mourning [GEN 37:35]. So again he renders, You shall bring down my gray hair with sorrow unto Hell, that is to the grave [GEN 42:38]. And in this sense we say, The Lord kills and makes alive: He brings down to the grave, and brings up [1SA 2:6]. It is observed by Jewish commentators that those Christians are mistaken who interpret those words spoken by Jacob, I will go down into Sheol, of Hell [in the sense of underworld]; declaring that Sheol there is nothing but the grave" [Pearson, On the Creed, Article V]. The position that vpn is sometimes put for a dead body, and that Sheol in such a connection denotes the grave, was also taken by Usher (as it had been by Beza, on ACT 2:27, before him), and is supported with his remarkable philological and patristic learning. See his discussion of the Limbus Patrum and Christ’s Descent into Hell, in his Answer to a Challenge of a Jesuit in Ireland [Works, Vol. III].

This metonymy of "soul" for "body" is as natural an idiom in English, as it is in Hebrew and Greek. It is more easy for one to say that "the ship sank with a hundred souls," than to say that it "sank with a hundred bodies." And yet the latter is the real fact in the case.

It is objected that Sheol does not mean the "grave," because there is a word (rbq) for grave. A grave is bought and sold, and the plural is used; but Sheol is never bought and sold, or used in the plural. The reply is, that "grave" has an abstract and general sense, denoted by lwav, and a concrete and particular, denoted by rbq. All men go to the grave; but not all men have a grave. When our Lord says that all that are in their graves (mnhmeioiV) shall come forth [JOH 5:28], he does not mean that only those shall be raised who have been laid in a particular grave with funeral ceremonies. A man is "in the grave," in the general sense, when his soul is separated from his body and his body has returned to the dust [GEN 3:19]. To be "in the grave," in the abstract sense, is to have the elements of the body mingled with those of the Earth from which it was taken [ECC 12:7]. The particular spot where the mingling occurs is unessential. Moses is in the grave; but no man knows of his grave to this day. We say of one drowned in the ocean, that he found a watery grave. These remarks apply also to the use of adhV and mnhmeion. 10[To the objection that Jacob knew, or supposed, that his son had been devoured by wild beasts, and consequently had no grave, and, therefore, meant to say that he should go down to the world of spirits to meet him, Rivetus [Exercitatio CLI. in GEN] replies as follows: "Per sepulchrum non intelligimus stricte, id de quo apud jurisconsultos disputatur, cum agunt de sepulchro violato, sed id referimus ad rationem humationis in genere, quandocumque modo terra reddatur terrae, juxta sententiam divinam, 'Pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.' Sepeliri enim dicuntur quicunque terrae redduntur, etiam qui sepeliuntur 'sepulturaasini' quod de Joachimo pronuntiavit Jeremias, Cap. 22, vers. 19. Igitur verba Jacobi 'Descendam ad filium meum lugens in infernum,' id e st, in sepulchrum, non possumus melius explicare quam verbis Albini, qui sic ingemiscentis patris exponit querelam: 'In luctu permanebo, donec me terra suscipiat, ut filium meum sepulchrum jam suscepit.' Id ipse Jacob etiam intellexit, qui per vocem Sheol locum denotat 'quo senum cani cum dolore deducuntur'"]. According to Pearson (see above) the Jerusalem Targum, with that of Jonathan, and the Persian Targum, explains lwav, in GEN. 37:35; 42:38, by rbq]. This passage, while Messianic, has also its reference to David and all believers. I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. O death, I will be your plagues; O Sheol, I will be your destruction [HOS 13:14]. Paul quotes this [1CO 15:55], in proof of the blessed resurrection of the bodies of believers--showing that "Sheol" here is the "grave," where the body is laid, and from which it is raised.

The bodies of the wicked, on the contrary, are not delivered from the power of Sheol, or the grave, by a blessed and glorious resurrection, but are still kept under its dominion by a resurrection to shame and everlasting contempt [DAN 12:2]. Though the wicked are raised from the dead, yet this is no triumph for them over death and the grave. Their resurrection bodies are not "celestial" and "glorified," like those of the redeemed, but are suited to the nature of their evil and malignant souls. Like sheep they are laid in Sheol; death shall feed upon them [PSA 49:14]. Respecting sinful Judah and the enemies of Jehovah, the prophet says, Sheol has enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure, and their glory shall descend unto it [ISA 5:14]. Of the fallen Babylonian monarch, it is said, Sheol from beneath is moved for you to meet you at your coming. Your pomp is brought down to Sheol: the worm is spread under you, and the worms cover you [ISA 14:9, 11]. To convert this bold personification of the "grave," and the "worm," which devour the bodies of God’s adversaries, into an actual underworld, where the spirits of all the dead, the friends as well as the enemies of God, are gathered, is not only to convert rhetoric into logic, but to substitute the mythological for the Biblical view of the future life. "Some interpreters," says Alexander on Isaiah 14:9, "proceed upon the supposition, that in this passage we have before us not a mere prosopopoeia or poetical creation of the highest order, but a chapter from the popular belief of the Jews, as to the locality, contents, and transactions of the unseen world. Thus Gesenius, in his Lexicon and Commentary, gives a minute topographical description of Sheol as the Hebrews believed it to exist. With equal truth a diligent compiler might construct a map of Hell, as conceived by the English Puritans, from the descriptive portions of the Paradise Lost." The clear perception and sound sense of Calvin penetrate more unerringly into the purpose of the sacred writer. "The prophet," he says [Commentary on Isaiah, 14:9], "makes a fictitious representation, that when this tyrant shall die and go down to the grave, the dead will go forth to meet him and honor him." Theodoret [on ISA 14:9] explains in the same way. 11[Theodoret remarks on the words, "Hell from beneath is moved for you, to meet you," etc., that "it is the custom of Scripture sometimes to employ a figure, in order to state a thing more clearly. In this place the prophet introduces death as endowed with mind and reason, and expostulating with the king of Babylon" (Migne's, Ed. II., 334)].

The New Testament terms for the place of future punishment are Hades (adhV) and Gehenna (geenna). Besides these, the verb tartarow is once used, in 2PE 2:4. God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus. Tartarus was one of the compartments of the pagan Hades, the contrary of Elysium, from which there was no deliverance. Tantalus, Sisyphus, Tityus, and Ixion were doomed to endless punishment in Tartarus [Odyssey, XI. 575]. Plato [Gorgias, 235] describes this class of transgressors as "forever (ton aei cronon) enduring the most terrible, and painful sufferings." It is noteworthy, that the place in which they suffer is denominated Hades, by both Homer and Plato--showing that in the classical use, Hades is sometimes the equivalent of Tartarus and the modern Hell, and the contrary of Elysium.

There is no dispute respecting the meaning of Gehenna. It denotes the place of retributive suffering. It is employed twelve times in the New Testament: seven times in Matthew’s Gospel; three times in Mark’s, and once in Luke’s. In every one of these instances, it is Christ who uses the term. The only other person who has used it is James [3:6]. It is derived from mnj yg, valley of Hinnom; Chaldee mnjg = Geenna, Sept. Ennom. It was a valley southeast of Jerusalem, in which the Moloch worship was practiced [2KI 23:10; EZE 23:37, 39]. It was called Tophet, abomination [JER 31:32]. King Josiah caused the filth of Jerusalem to be carried thither and burned [2KI 23:10]. Robinson asserts that there is no evidence that the place was used in Christ’s day for the deposit and burning of offal. "Gehenna," at the time of the Advent [coming of Christ], had become a technical term for endless torment; as "Paradise" and "Abraham’s bosom" had for endless blessedness; and as "paganus" (villager) subsequently became, for a "heathen."

Hades (adhV) is the word by which the Seventy translate Sheol. It has the same two meanings in the New Testament that Sheol has in the Old: 1. The place of retribution. 2. The grave.

1. First of all, Christ’s solemn and impressive parable of Lazarus and Dives demonstrates that Hades is the place of future punishment. The rich man died and was buried; and in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments. And he cried, and said, Father Abraham have mercy upon 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 [LUK 16:22-24]. Our Lord describes Dives as a disembodied spirit, and as suffering a righteous retribution for his hardhearted, luxurious, and impenitent life. He had no pity for the suffering poor, and squandered all the "good things received" from his Maker, in a life of sensual enjoyment. The Savior also represents Hades to be inexorably retributive. Dives asks for a slight mitigation of penal suffering, "a drop of water." He is reminded that he is suffering what he justly deserves, and is told that there is a "fixed gulf" between Hades and Paradise. He then knows that his destiny is decided, and his case hopeless, and requests that his brothers may be warned by his example. After such a description of it as this, it is strange that Hades should ever have been called an abode of the good. 12[Müller regards it as so unquestionable, from the description in the parable of Dives and Lazarus, that Hades is not a place for repentance and salvation, that he places future redemption after the day of judgment. He asserts that "those theories of apokatastasiV which represent it as taking place in the interval between death and the general resurrection directly violate the New Testament eschatology. If, therefore, the idea of an apokatastasiV pantwn is to be maintained, it must be referred to a period lying beyond the general resurrection" [Sin, II., 426]].

2. Second, Hades is represented as the contrary of Heaven, and the contrary of Heaven is Hell. You, Capernaum, who is exalted to Heaven shall be brought down to Hades [MAT 11:23; LUK 10:15]. This is explained by the assertion, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.

3. Third, Hades is represented as Satan’s kingdom, antagonistic to that of Christ. The gates of Hades shall not prevail against My church [MAT 16:18]. An underworld, containing both the good and the evil, would not be the kingdom of Satan. Satan’s kingdom is not so comprehensive as this. Nor would an underworld be the contrary of the church, because it includes Paradise and its inhabitants.

4. Fourth, Hades is represented as the prison of Satan and the wicked. Christ said to John, I have the keys of Hades and of death [REV 1:18], and describes Himself as He Who opens, and no man shuts, and shuts, and no man opens [REV 3:7]. As the Supreme Judge, Jesus Christ opens and shuts the place of future punishment upon those whom He sentences. I saw an angel come down from Heaven having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand, and he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, who is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up [REV 20:l-3]. All modifications of the imprisonment and suffering in Hades are determined by Christ. I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in those books; and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them, and they were judged every man according to their works; and death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire [REV 20:12-14]. On the day of judgment, at the command of the Son of God, Hades, the intermediate state for the wicked, surrenders its inhabitants that they may be re-embodied and receive the final sentence, and then becomes Gehenna, the final state for them. Hell without the body becomes Hell with the body.

5. Fifth, Hades, like Sheol, is inseparably connected with spiritual and eternal death. I have the keys of Hades and of death [REV 1:18]. Death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them [REV 20:13]. I saw a pale horse; and his name that sat upon him was Death, and Hades followed him [REV 6:8]. Hades here stands for its inhabitants, who are under the power of ("follow") the second death spoken of in REV 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8. This is spiritual and eternal death, and must not be confounded with the first death, which is that of the body only. This latter, Paul [1CO 15:26] says was destroyed by the blessed resurrection of the body, in the case of the saints, not of the wicked. The second death is defined as the being cast into the lake of fire [REV 20:14]. 13[If Hades, in REV 20:14, means the under world, it includes Paradise, and Paradise is cast into the lake of fire. That Hades, in REV 6:8, is put for its inhabitants, is asserted by Eichhorn and Ebrard. Hengstenberg understands it to denote the place of torment (Speaker's Commentary on Rev. 6:8)]. This death is never destroyed; because those who are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the Devil who deceived them, shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever [REV 20:10].

Besides these instances, there are only three others in which Hades is found in the Received text of the New Testament: namely, ACT 2:27, 31; 1CO 15:55. In 1CO 15:55, the uncials a B C D, followed by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Hort, read qanate twice. In all these instances Hades signifies the "grave."

From this examination of texts, it appears that Hades, in the New Testament, has the same two significations that Sheol has in the Old. The only difference is, that, in the Old Testament, Sheol less often, in proportion to the whole number of instances, denotes "Hell," and more often the "grave," than Hades does in the New Testament. And this, for the reason that the doctrine of future retribution was more fully revealed and developed by Christ and his apostles, than it was by Moses and the prophets.

If after this study of the Biblical data, there still be doubt whether Sheol and Hades denote, sometimes the place of retribution for the wicked, and sometimes the grave, and not an under-world, or spirit-world, common to both the good and evil, let the reader substitute either the latter or the former term in the following passages, and say if the connection of thought, or even common sense, is preserved. "The wicked in a moment go down to the spirit-world." "The wicked shall be turned into the spirit-world, and all the nations that forget God." "Her steps take hold on the spirit-world." Her guests are in the depths of the spirit-world." "You shall beat your child with a rod, and shall deliver his soul from the spirit-world." "The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from the spirit-world beneath." "In the spirit-world, who shall give you thanks?" "There is no wisdom in the spirit-world, where you go." I will ransom them from the power of the spirit-world; O spirit-world I will be your destruction." Like sheep the wicked are laid in the spirit-world; death shall feed upon them. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the spirit-world." "You will not leave My soul in the spirit-world; neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption." "The gates of the spirit-world shall not prevail against the church." "You Capernaum who are exalted unto Heaven shall be brought down to the spirit-world." "And in the spirit-world he lifted up his eyes being in torments." "Death and the spirit-world were cast into the lake of fire." "I saw a pale horse, and his name that sat upon him was Death, and the spirit-world followed him."

Hades is the disembodied state for the souls of the wicked between death and the resurrection, as Paradise is for the souls of the righteous. All human souls between death and the resurrection are separated from their bodies. Then shall the dust return to the Earth as it was; and the spirit shall return to God who gave it [ECC 12:7]. 14[Additional Old Testament texts which teach the separation of the soul from the body at death, and the continued existence of the soul after the separation, are GEN 49:33, When Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed and yielded up the spirit, and was gathered unto his fathers. JOB 10:18, Oh, that I had given up the spirit, and no eye had seen me! JOB 11:20, Their hope shall be as the giving up of the spirit. JOB 14:10, Man gives up the spirit, and where is he? JER 15:9, She has given up the spirit. 2SA 12:23, Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 1KI 17:21, 22, And Elijah cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord, my God, I pray You let this child's soul come into him again. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. ECC 8:8, There is no man who has power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither has he power in the day of death]. Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the spirit [MAT 27:50]. When Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit; and having said this, He gave up the spirit [LUK 23:46]. Stephen called upon God, saying, Lord Jesus receive my spirit [ACT 7:59]. We are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord [2CO 5:8]. I knew a man in Christ about four years ago, whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell [2CO 12:2]. I think it proper, as long as I am in this tabernacle [body], to stir you up by putting you in remembrance: knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me [2PE 1:13, 14]. I saw the souls of those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus [REV 20:4]. I saw under the altar the souls of those who were slain for the word of God [REV 6:9]. All texts which teach the resurrection of the body at the day of judgment, imply that between death and the final judgment the human soul is disembodied.

Belief in the immortality of the soul, and its separate existence from the body after death, was characteristic of the Old economy, as well as the New. It was also a pagan belief. Plato elaborately argues for the difference, as to substance, between the body and the soul, and asserts the independent existence of the latter. He knows nothing of the resurrection of the body, and says that when men are judged, in the next life, "they shall be entirely stripped before they are judged, for they shall be judged when they are dead; and the judge too shall be naked, that is to say, dead; he with his naked soul shall pierce into the other naked soul, as soon as each man dies" [Gorgias 523].

That the independent and separate existence of the soul after death was a belief of the Hebrews, is proved by the prohibition of necromancy in DEU 18:l0-l2. The gathering of the patriarchs to their fathers implies the belief. Jehovah calls Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and this supposes the immortality and continued existence of their spirits; for, as Christ [LUK 20:28] argues in reference to this very point, God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; not of the unconscious, but the conscious. Our Lord affirms that the future existence of the soul is so clearly taught by Moses and the prophets, that if a man is not convinced by them, neither would he be though one should rise from the dead [LUK 16:29].

Some, like Warburton, have denied that the immortality of the soul is taught in the Old Testament, because there is no direct proposition to this effect, and no proof of the doctrine offered. But this doctrine, like that of the Divine existence, is nowhere formally demonstrated, because it is everywhere assumed. Much of the matter of the Old Testament is nonsense, upon the supposition that the soul dies with the body, and that the sacred writers knew nothing of a future life. For illustration, David says, My soul pants after You. He could not possibly have uttered these words, if he had expected death to be the extinction of his consciousness. The human soul cannot pant for a spiritual communion with God that is to last only seventy years, and then cease forever. Every spiritual desire and aspiration has in it the element of infinity and endlessness. No human being can say to God: "You are my God, the strength of my heart, and my portion, for three-score years and ten, and then my God and portion no more forever." When God promised Abraham that in him should all the families of the earth be blessed [GEN 12:3], and Abraham believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness [GEN 15:16], this promise of a Redeemer, and this faith in it, both alike involve a future existence beyond this transitory one. God never would have made such a promise to a creature who was to die with the body; and such a creature could not have trusted in it. In like manner, Adam could not have believed the protevangelism, knowing that death was to be the extinction of his being. All the Messianic matter of the Old Testament is absurd, on the supposition that the soul is mortal. To redeem from sin a being whose consciousness expires at death, is superfluous. David prays to God, Take not the word of truth out of my mouth; so shall I keep Your law continually forever and ever [PSA 119:43, 44]. Every prayer to God in the Old Testament implies the immortality of the person praying. My flesh fails, but God is the strength of my heart forever [PSA 63:2]. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength [ISA 26:4]. The nothingness of this life only leads the Psalmist to confide all the more in God, and to expect the next life. Behold, You have made my days as a handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before You: verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in You [PSA 39:5, 7]. As Sir John Davies says of the soul, in his poem on Immortality:

Water in conduit pipes, can rise no higher
Than the well-head from whence it first does spring:
Then since to eternal God she does aspire,
She cannot be but an eternal thing.

Another reason why the Old Testament contains no formal argument in proof of immortality, and a spiritual world beyond this life, is, because the intercourse with that world on the part of the Old Testament saints and inspired prophets was so immediate and constant. God was not only present to their believing minds and hearts, in his paternal and gracious character, but, in addition to this, he was frequently manifesting himself in theophanies and visions. We should not expect that a person who was continually communing with God would construct arguments to prove His existence; or that one who was brought into contact with the unseen and spiritual world, by supernatural phenomena and messages from it, would take pains to demonstrate that there is such a world. The Old Testament saints endured as seeing the invisible. 15[Additional texts which have no consistency, on the supposition that the Old Testament writers had little or no knowledge of a future blessed life for the Godly, are the following: GEN 17:7, I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and your seed after you, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto you, and to your seed after you. GEN 49:18, I have waited for Your salvation O Lord. EXO 6:7, I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God. DEU 33:3, 29, Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in Your hand. Happy are you, O Israel: who is like unto you, O people saved by the Lord. JOB 13:15, Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. ISA 33:22, For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us. HAB 1:12, Are You not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? we shall not die. PSA 31:5, Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

[It is impossible to confine this "covenant" of God, this "love" of God, this "salvation" of God, this "trust" in God, and this "redemption" of God, to this short life of threescore years and ten. Such a limitation empties them of their meaning, and makes them worthless. The words of Paul apply in this case: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable [1CO 15:19]. Calvin [Inst., II., x., 8] remarks that "these expressions, according to the common explanation of the prophets, comprehend life, and salvation, and consummate felicity. For it is not without reason that David frequently pronounces how blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance; and that, not on account of any Earthly felicity, but because he delivers from death, perpetually preserves, and attends with everlasting mercy, those whom He has taken for his people." In the same reference, Augustine [Confessions, VI., xi., 19] says: "Never would such and so great things be wrought for us by God, if with the death of the body the life of the soul came to an end." When God said to Abraham, You shall go to your fathers in peace [GEN 16:16], He meant spiritual and everlasting peace. It was infinitely more than a promise of an easy and quiet physical death. When Jacob, on his death-bed, says: I have waited for Your salvation, 0 Lord [GEN 49:18], he was not thinking of deliverance from physical and temporal evil. What does a man care for this in his dying hour?]

The Old Testament teaches the conscious happiness of believers after death. Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him [GEN 5:24]. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his [NUM 23:10]. My flesh shall rest in hope. You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy [PSA 16:9, 11]. As for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness [PSA 17:15]. God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for He shall receive me [PSA 49:15]. You shall guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever [PSA 73:24, 26]. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces [ISA 25:8]. This is quoted by Paul [1CO 15:54], in proof that this mortal shall put on immortality. Paul also teaches that the Old Testament saints, like those of the New, trusted in the Divine promise of the Redeemer, and of the resurrection. I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise, our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? [ACT 26:6-8; comp. 23:6]. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the Earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And, truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, a Heavenly [HEB 11:13-16]. These bright and hopeful anticipations of the Old Testament saints have nothing in common with the pagan world of shades, the gloomy Orcus, where all departed souls are congregated.

The New Testament abundantly teaches the conscious happiness of believers in the disembodied state. Today shall you be with Me in paradise, said Christ to the penitent thief [LUK 23:43]. They stoned Stephen, while he was calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit [ACT 7:59]. Immediately on dying, Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom; receives good things; and is comforted [LUK 16:23, 25]. To die is gain. I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and be with Christ, which is far better [PHI 1:21, 23]. I knew a man in Christ, above fourteen years ago, who was caught up to the third Heaven, into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter [2CO 12:2-4]. We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God; a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. We desire rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord [2CO 5:1, 6, 8]. Christ died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him [2TH 5:10]. I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in Heaven [not Hades] and Earth is named [EPH 3:14, 15]. Which hope enters into that within the veil; where the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus [HEB 6:20]. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who were slain for the word of God, and white robes were given unto every one of them [REV 6:9, 11]. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord [REV 14:13].

The doctrine that the condition of all men between death and the resurrection is a disembodied condition has been greatly misconceived, and the misconception has introduced errors into eschatology. Inasmuch as the body, though not necessary to personal consciousness, is yet necessary in order to the entire completeness of the person, it came to be supposed in the Patristic church, that the intermediate state is a dubious and unfixed state; that the resurrection adds very considerably both to the holiness and happiness of the redeemed, and to the sinfulness and misery of the lost. This made the intermediate, or disembodied state, to be imperfectly holy and happy for the saved, and imperfectly sinful and miserable for the lost. According to Hagenbach [§142], the majority of the fathers between 250 and 730 "believed that men do not receive their full reward till after the resurrection." Jeremy Taylor [Liberty of Prophesying, § 8] asserts that the Latin fathers held that "the saints, though happy, do not enjoy the beatific vision before the resurrection." Even so respectable an authority as Ambrose, the spiritual father of Augustine, taught that the soul "while separated from the body is held in an ambiguous condition" [ambiguo suspenditur]: *[It is often difficult to say positively, and without qualification, what the opinion of a church father really was upon the subject of Hades, owing to the unsettled state of opinion. One and the same writer; like Tertullian, or Augustine, for example, makes different statements at different times. This accounts for the conflicting representations of dogmatic historians. One thing, however, is certain, that the nearer we approach the days of the Apostles, the less do we hear about an underworld, and of Christ’s descent into it. Little is said concerning Hades, by the Apostolic fathers. In the longer recension of Ignatius ad Smyrnaeos [Ch. ix], they are exhorted to "repent while yet there is opportunity, for in Hades no one can confess his sins." Justin Martyr [Trypho, Ch. v] simply says that "the souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment." The extracts from the fathers in Huidekoper’s volume on Christ’s Mission to the Underworld, show the uncertainty that prevailed. The same is true of those in König’s Christi Höllenfahrt, notwithstanding the bias of the author 16[In proof of the unsettled state of opinion among the Fathers, on many points of doctrine, see Jeremy Taylor's (Liberty of Prophesying, Section VIII)].

The incompleteness arising from the absence of the body was more and more exaggerated in the Patristic church, until it finally resulted in the doctrine of a purgatory for the redeemed, adopted formally by the Papal church, according to which, the believer, between death and the resurrection, goes through a painful process in Hades which cleanses him from remaining corruption, and fits him for Paradise. The corresponding exaggeration in the other direction, in respect to the condition of the lost in the disembodied state, is found mostly in the Modern church. The Modern Restorationist has converted the intermediate state into one of probation, and redemption, for that part of the human family who are not saved in this life. 17[Neander (II., 729, 730) shows that the later patristic view respecting the state of unbaptized children was an important factor in the development of the mythological theory of the intermediate state. "The doctrine of the damnation of unbaptized infants, which, ever since the time of Cyprian, by the habit of confounding the inward grace with its outward sign, had become predominant, appeared to the Pelagians as something revolting. Yet even they made no distinction of the baptism of the spirit from the baptism with water. Accordingly they must of necessity affirm, with regard to unbaptized infants, that, although exempt from punishment, they were still excluded from that higher state of being, and attained only to a certain intermediate state. And to the same result on this subject must everyone have been led, who was inclined to adopt the Oriental mode of considering the effects of baptism, and would consistently follow out the matter to a definite conclusion--unless he supposed a universal redemption or restoration as the final end, to which that intermediate state was destined to prove a point of transition for unbaptized infants. Such an intermediate state Gregory Nazianzen assigned for those who were unbaptized through no fault of their own. Augustine himself [De. Lib. Arbit., III., 23] had once entertained a like opinion." Neander adds that subsequently Augustine contended that "the notion of an intermediate place between the state of woe and the Kingdom of Heaven was a thing altogether unscriptural and incredible in itself; for man, being in the image of God, was destined to find his bliss in communion with God, and out of that communion could be no otherwise than wretched [Do peccat. et rem., I., 58; Sermo, 294, 3]. The Council of Carthage, AD 418, finally condemned, in its 2nd canon, the doctrine concerning such an intermediate state for unbaptized children, on the ground that nothing could be conceived as existing between the Kingdom of God and perdition, and affirmed the eternal perdition of all unbaptized infants"].*************

The Protestant Reformers, following closely the Scripture data already cited, which represent the redeemed at death as entirely holy and happy in Paradise, and the lost at death as totally sinful and miserable in Hades, rejected altogether the Patristic and Mediaeval exaggeration of the corporeal incompleteness of the intermediate state. They affirmed perfect happiness at death for the saved, and utter misery for the lost. The first publication of Calvin was a refutation of the doctrine of the sleep of the soul between death and the resurrection. The Limbus and Purgatory were energetically combated by all classes of Protestants. "I know not," says Calvin [Institutes II. xvi 9], "how it came to pass that any should imagine a subterraneous cavern, to which they have given the name of limbus. But this fable, although it is maintained by great authors, and even in the present age is by many seriously defended as a truth, is after all nothing but a fable" 18[The Heidelberg Catechism (Qu. 44), as did Calvin (Inst., II., xvii., 8-12), explains Christ's "descent to Hell" figuratively, as denoting his piacular agony in the garden and on the cross. Witsius does the same in an exceedingly lucid and logical manner (Apostles' Creed, Dissertation XVIII)].

The doctrine of the intermediate or disembodied state, as it was generally received in the Reformed (Calvinistic) churches, is contained in the following statements in the Westminster standards: "The souls of believers are, at their death, made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory [The Larger Catechism (86) and Confession (xxxii. 1) say, "into the highest Heavens"]; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection. At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in full enjoying of God to all eternity" (Shorter Catechism, 37, 38). According to this statement, there is no essential difference between Paradise and Heaven. The Larger Catechism (86) asserts that "the souls of the wicked are, at death, cast into Hell, and their bodies kept in their graves till the resurrection and judgment of the great day." The Larger Catechism (89) and Confession (xxxii 1) say that "at the day of judgment, the wicked shall be cast into Hell, to be punished forever." According to this, there is no essential difference between Hades and Hell.

The substance of the Reformed view, then, is, that the intermediate state for the saved is Heaven without the body, and the final state for the saved is Heaven [NOTE: the Bible actually teaches that the final abiding place for the saved is the new Earth–REV 21:1-3, 9-2:5 – aal] with the body; that the intermediate state for the lost is Hell without the body, and the final state for the lost is Hell with the body. In the Reformed, or Calvinistic eschatology, there is no intermediate Hades between Heaven and Hell, which the good and evil inhabit in common. When this Earthly existence is ended, the only specific places and states are Heaven and Hell [see NOTE above -aal]. Paradise is a part of Heaven; Sheol, or Hades, is a part of Hell. A pagan underworld containing both Paradise and Hades, both the happy and the miserable, like the pagan idol, is "nothing in the world." There is no such place. 19[Dr. Charles Hodge (Theology, III., 716-756) presents and defends the reformed view of Hades in distinction from the patristic and papal, yet with some vacillation. On p. 734 he remarks that "there is no great difference between the [Rabbinical] Jewish doctrine of Sheol, in its essential features, and the true doctrine as presented by our Lord in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Both are represented as going into Sheol, or Hades." But on p. 736 he strongly combats that explanation, by "many modern interpreters," of Peter's discourse on the day of Pentecost, which makes him "to teach that the souls of the pious dead do not ascend to Heaven, but descend to the gloomy abode of Sheol, Hades, or Hell--all these terms being equivalent"].

This view of Hades did not continue to prevail universally in the Protestant churches. After the creeds of Protestantism had been constructed, in which the Biblical doctrine of Sheol is generally adopted, the mythological view began again to be introduced. Influential writers like Lowth and Herder gave it currency in Great Britain and Germany. "A popular notion," says Lowth (Hebrew Poetry, Lect. VIII), "prevailed among the Hebrews, as well as among other nations, that the life which succeeded the present was to be passed beneath the Earth; and to this notion the sacred prophets were obliged to allude, occasionally, if they wished to be understood by the people, on this subject." Says Herder (Hebrew Poetry, Marsh’s Translation, II. 21), "No metaphorical separation of the body and soul was yet known among the Hebrews, as well as among other nations, and the dead were conceived as still living in the grave, but in a shadowy, obscure, and powerless condition." The theory passed to the lexicographers, and many of the lexicons formally defined Sheol and Hades as the underworld. It then went rapidly into commentaries, and popular expositions of Scripture.

The Pagan conception of Hades is wide and comprehensive; the Biblical is narrow and exclusive. The former includes all men; the latter, only wicked men. The Greeks and Romans meant by Hades, neither the grave in which the dead body is laid, nor the exclusive place of retribution, but a nether world in which all departed souls reside. There was one adhV for all, consisting of two subterranean divisions: Elysium and Tartarus. 20[The Pagan nomenclature is self-consistent but the Pagan-Christian is not. In the Pagan scheme, Hades is a general term, having two special terms under it: namely, Elysium and Tartarus. But in the paganized Christian scheme, Hades does double duty, being both a general and a special term. When the Pagan is asked: "Of what does Hades consist?" he answers, "Of Elysium and Tartarus." But when the mythological Christian is asked: "Of what does Hades consist?" he answers, "Of Paradise and Hades." He cannot answer , "Of Paradise and Tartarus," because the latter is Gehenna, which he denies to be in Hades. Hence he converts the whole into a part of itself. To say that Hades is made up of Paradise and Hades, is like saying that New York City is made up of the Central Park and New York City]. In proportion as the Later-Jews came to be influenced by the Greek and Roman mythology, the Old Testament Sheol was widened, and made to be a region for the good as well as the evil. Usher (Limbus Patrum), and Pearson (Creed, Art. V), cite Josephus as an example. This mythological influence increased, until the doctrine of purgatory itself came into the Jewish apocryphal literature. Purgatory is taught in 2 Maccabees, 12:45. Manasses, in his Prayer, asks God not "to condemn him into the lower parts of the Earth." The Synagogue, according to Charnocke (Discourse II), believed in a purgatory. *[On the influence of Hellenism upon the Later-Judaism, see Edersheim’s Messianic Prophecy and History. Lecture IX]. 21[The strong tendency of the later Jews to adopt both the customs and opinions of the heathen nations is noticed by Chemnitz in his learned and thorough examination of the Tridentine doctrine of Purgatory (Examen: De Purgatorio, Cap . II) "Ex philosophorum ratiocinationibus, et ex superstitiosis gentium sacrificiis, quae ubique usitata erant, cum quidem sicut de caris absentibus ita etiam de mortuis naturalis quaedam cura et sollicitudo animis nostris insita est, ad Judaeos etiam hujus opinionis contagium quoddam, inclinato jam Judaismo, serpere coepit. Quanquam enim incisio carnis, et evulsio capillorum, in luctu mortuorum, expresse prohibita erant [LEV 19, DEU 14], ex conversatione tamen inter gentes, Israelitis etiam prophetarum tempore illa usurpari coepta fuisse, ex Jeremiae, cap. xvi., non obscure colligitur. Sicut a gentibus etiam tibicines in funerum curatione mutuati sunt [MAT ix], juxta versum poetae: 'cantatat moestis tibia funeribus.'

["Eadem ratione tandem post propheta rum tempora, etiam orationes et sacrificia pro mortuis, Judaei imitari coeperunt circa annum 170 ante natum Christum, cujus exemplum extat 2 Maccabaeorum xii. Id quod tum fieri coepit, cum collapsa doctrina, et rebus omnibus, cum in imperio tum in templo, perturbatissimis, Judaei una cum foederibus, etiam lingua, appellationibus, moribus, et ritibus, conformitatem cum gentibus quaererent et affectarent: sicut tota historia Maccabaeorum ostendit"].

The Pagan conception, as has been observed, passed also into the Christian church. It is found in the writings of many of the fathers, but not in any of the primitive creeds. "The idea of a Hades (lwav), known to both Hebrews and Greeks, was transferred to Christianity, and the assumption that the real happiness, or the final misery of the departed, does not commence till after the general judgment and the resurrection of the body, appeared to necessitate the belief in an intermediate state, in which the soul was supposed to remain, from the moment of its separation from the body to the last catastrophe. Tertullian, however, held that the martyrs went at once to paradise, the abode of the blessed, and thought that in this they enjoyed an advantage over other Christians, while Cyprian does not seem to know about any intermediate state whatever" (Hagenbach: History of Doctrine, § 77). 22[As an example of the degree to which the mythological view of the condition of the dead had worked itself into the Christian church in the first part of the third century, take the following fanciful description of Hades by Hippolytus, in a fragment of his Discourse against the Greeks: "Hades is a place in the created system, unformed, beneath the Earth, in which the light does not shine, and where there is perpetual darkness. This locality has been appointed to be, as it were, a guard-house for souls, in which the angels are stationed as guards, distributing to each one's deeds the temporary punishments for different characters. In this locality there is a certain place set apart by itself, a lake of unquenchable fire, into which we suppose no one has ever yet been cast: for it is prepared against the day determined by God, in which one sentence of righteous judgment shall be justly applied to all. The unrighteous shall be sentenced to this endless punishment; but the righteous shall obtain the incorruptible kingdom, who, indeed, are at present detained in Hades, but not in the same place with the unrighteous. For this locality there is one descent, at the gate whereof we believe an archangel is stationed with a host. And when those who are conducted by the angels appointed for the care of souls have passed through this gate, they do not proceed on one and the same way; but the righteous, being conducted in the light toward the right hand, are brought into a locality full of light. There, there is neither fierce heat nor cold, but the face of the [OT] fathers and the righteous is seen to be always similar, as they wait for the rest and eternal revival in Heaven, which succeed this location. And we call it by the name of Abraham's bosom. But the unrighteous are dragged toward the left hand by the angels who are ministers of punishment, and they go of their own accord no longer, but are dragged by force as prisoners. And the angels appointed over them send them along, threatening them with an eye of terror, forcing them down into the lower parts. And when they are brought there, those appointed to that service drag them to the confines of Hell (geenna). And the unrighteous hear the agitation and feel the hot smoke. And when that vision is so near that they see the excessively red spectacle of the fire, they shudder in horror at the expectation of the future judgment. And, again, when they see the place of the [OT] fathers and the righteous, they are also tormented. For a deep and vast abyss is set there in the midst, so that neither can any of the righteous from sympathy think to pass it, nor any of the unrighteous dare to cross it. Thus far, on the subject of Hades, in which the souls of all are detained until the time which God has determined; and then he will accomplish a resurrection of all."

[The Koran has also borrowed from the patristic Christianity this view of the intermediate state. Paradise and Hades are represented as coterminous in an under world. "The inhabitants of Paradise shall call out to the inhabitants of hell-fire, saying, Now we have found that which our Lord promised us to be true; have you also found out that which your Lord promised you to be true? They shall answer, Yea" (Koran, Ch. VII)].

According to this Hellenized eschatology, at death all souls go down to Hades: in inferna loca, or ad inferos homines. This is utterly unbiblical. It is connected with the heathen doctrine of the infernal divinities, and the infernal tribunal of Minos and Rhadamanthus. The God of revelation does not have either His abode, or his judgment-seat, in Hades. From Christ’s account of the last judgment, no one would infer that it takes place in an underworld. In both the Old and New Testament, the good dwell with God, and God’s dwelling-place is never represented as "below," but "on high." Elijah ascends in a chariot of fire. David expects to be "received to glory." Christ describes the soul of a believer, at death, as going up to Paradise. The beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. And in Hades he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom [LUK 16:22, 23]. According to this description, Abraham’s bosom and Hades are as opposite and disconnected as the zenith and the nadir. To say that Abraham’s bosom is a part of Hades, is to say that the Heavens are a compartment of the Earth. Matthew [8:11] teaches that Abraham’s bosom is in Heaven: Many shall recline (anakliqhsontai) with Abraham, in the Kingdom of Heaven. Paradise is separated from Hades by a great chasm [LUK 16:26]. The word casma denotes space either lateral or vertical, but more commonly the latter. Schleusner, in voce, says: "Maxime dicitur de spatio quod e loco superiore ad inferiorem extenditur." Hades is in infernis; Abraham’s bosom, or Paradise, is in superis; and Heaven, proper, is in excelsis, or summis.

If Paradise is a section of Hades, then Christ descended to Paradise, and saints at death go down to Paradise, and at the last day are brought up from Paradise. This difficulty is not met, by resorting to the Later-Jewish distinction between a supernal and an infernal paradise. The paradise spoken of by Christ, in LUK 24:33, is evidently the same that Paul speaks of, in 2CO 12:3, 4, which he calls the third Heaven.

It is sometimes said, that there is no "above" or "below" in the spiritual world, and therefore the special representation in the parable of Dives and Lazarus must not be insisted upon. This, certainly, should not be urged by those who contend for an under world. Paradise and Hades, like Heaven and Hell, are both in the universe of God. But wherever in this universe they may be, it is the Biblical representation (unlike the mythological), that they do not constitute one system, or one sphere of being, any more than Heaven and Hell do. They are so contrary and opposite, as to exclude each other, and to constitute two separate places or worlds; so that he who goes to the one does not go to the other. This contrariety and exclusiveness is metaphorically expressed by space vertical, not by space lateral. Things on the same plane are alike. Those on different planes are not. If Paradise is above and Hades is beneath, Hades will be regarded as Hell, and be dreaded. But if Paradise and Hades are both alike beneath, and Paradise is a part of Hades, then Hades will not be regarded as Hell (as some affirm it is not), and will not be dreaded. Hades will be merely a temporary residence of the human soul, where the punishment of sin is imperfect, and its removal possible and probable.

A portion of the fathers, notwithstanding the increasing prevalence of the rnythological view, deny that Paradise is a compartment of Hades. In some instances, it must be acknowledged, they are not wholly consistent with themselves, in so doing. According to archbishop Usher (Works, III. 281), "the first who assigned a resting-place in hell [Hades] to the fathers of the Old Testament was Marcion the Gnostic." This was combated, he says, by Origen, in his Second Dialogue Against Marcion. 23[Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. I. xxvii., 3) mentions as one of Marcion's heresies, his teaching that "Cain, and those like him, and the Sodomites, and the Egyptians, and others like them, and, in fine, all the nations who walked in all sorts of abomination, were saved by the Lord on his descending into Hades." Another opinion of Marcion, which Irenaeus mentions as heretical, was, that "Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and those other righteous men who sprang from the patriarch Abraham, with all the prophets, and those who were pleasing to God, did not partake in salvation. For since these men, he says, knew that their God was constantly tempting them, so now they suspected that He was tempting them, and did not run to Jesus, or believe His announcement; and for this reason he declared that their souls remained in Hades" Irenaeus agreed with Marcion in regard to the assumed fact of Christ's descent to Hades, but differed from him in regard to its purpose and effects]. In his comment on PSA 9:18, Origen remarks that "as Paradise is the residence of the just, so Hades is the place of punishment (kolasthrion) for sinners." The locating of Paradise in Hades is opposed by Tertullian (Adv. Marcionem, IV. 34), in the following terms: "Hades (inferi) is one thing, in my opinion, and Abraham’s bosom is another. Christ, in the parable of Dives, teaches that a great deep is interposed between the two regions. Neither could the rich man have lifted up his eyes, and that too afar off, unless it had been to places above him, and very far above him, by reason of the immense distance between that height and that depth." 24[The abode of the demons is denominated the abyss, in LUK 8:31. But, in EPH. 2:2, Satan is called the prince of the power of the air. Ellicotts (in loco) explanation is probable. "As ouranoV is used in a limited and partial [MAT 6:26], as well as an unlimited meaning, so ahr, which is commonly confined to the region of the air or atmosphere, may be extended to all that supra-terrestrial but subcelestial region (o upouranioV topoV, Chrysostom) which seems to be, if not the abode, yet the haunt of evil spirits." See the authorities in favor of this explanation mentioned by Ellicott.

[Hodge [On EPH 2:2] regards ahr as synonymous with skotoV."The word skotoV, darkness, is so often used just as ahr is here employed, as to create a strong presumption that the latter was meant to convey the same meaning as the former. Thus, the power of darkness, [LUK 22:53]; rulers of darkness, [EPH 6:12]; the kingdom of darkness, [COL 1:13], are all scriptural expressions, and are all used to designate the kingdom of Satan. This signification of ahr is not without the authority of usage. The word properly, especially in the earlier writers, means the lower, obscure, misty atmosphere, as opposed to aiqhr, the pure air. Hence it means obscurity, darkness, whatever hides from sight"]. Similarly, Chrysostom, in his Homilies on Dives and Lazarus, as quoted by Usher, asks and answers: "Why did not Lazarus see the rich man, as well as the rich man is said to see Lazarus? Because he that is in the light does not see him who stands in the dark; but he that is in the dark sees him that is in the light." Augustine, in his exposition of PSA 6 [Migne, IV. 93], calls attention to the fact that "Dives looked up, to see Lazarus." Again, he says, in his Epistle to Evodius [Migne, II. 711], "it is not to be believed that the bosom of Abraham is a part of Hades (aliqua pars inferorum). How Abraham, into whose bosom the beggar was received, could have been in the torments of Hades, I do not understand. Let them explain who can." Again, in De Genesi ad literam, XII. 33, 34 [Migne, III. 482], he remarks: "I confess, I have not yet found that the place where the souls of just men rest is Hades (inferos). If a good conscience may figuratively be called paradise, how much more may that bosom of Abraham, where there is no temptation, and great rest after the grief's of this life, be called paradise." To the same effect, says Gregory of Nyssa (In Pascha. Migne, III. 614): "This should be investigated by the studious, namely, how, at one and the same time, Christ could be in those three places: in the heart of the Earth, in paradise with the thief, and in the ‘hand’ of the Father. For no one will say that paradise is in the places under the Earth (en upocqonioiV), or the places under the Earth in paradise; or that those infernal places (ta upocqonia) are called the ‘hand’ of the Father." Cyril of Alexandria, in his De exitu animi [Migne, X. 1079-82], remarks: "Insontes supra, sontes infra. Insontes in coelo, sontes in profundo. Insontes in manu dei, sontes in manu diaboli." Usher asserts that the following fathers agree with Augustine, in the opinion that Paradise is not in Hades: namely, Chrysostom, Basil, Cyril Alexandrinus, Gregory Nazianzen, Bede, Titus of Bostra, and others 25[The Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-9), composed of (Greek and Latin bishops, which endeavored to unite the Latin and Greek churches, decided "that the souls of the saints are received immediately into Heaven and behold God Himself as He is three and one" [Taylor, Liberty of Prophesying, Section VIII]].

These patristic statements respecting the supernal locality of Paradise agree with Scripture. The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from Sheol beneath [PRO 15:24]. When Samuel is represented as coming up from the Earth [1SA 28:7-20], it is because the body reanimated rises from the grave. This does not prove that the soul had been in an underworld, any more than the statement of John [12:17], that Christ called Lazarus out of his grave, proves it. Paradise is unquestionably the abode of the saved; and the saved are with Christ. The common residence of both is described as on high. When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive [EPH 4:8]. Father, I will that they also whom You have given Me be with Me where I am, that they may see My glory [JOH 17:24]. Those who sleep in Jesus, God will bring with Him [down from Paradise, not up from Hades] [2TH 4:14]. At the second advent, we who are alive and remain shall be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air [1TH 4:17]. Stephen looked up into Heaven, and saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God [ACT 7:55]. Christ said to the Pharisees, You are from beneath, I am from above [JOH 8:23]. Satan and his angels are cast down to Tartarus [2PE 2:4]. The penitent thief says to Christ: Lord remember me when You come into Your Kingdom. Christ replies: This day shall you be with Me in paradise [LUK 23:42, 43]. This implies that paradise is the same as Christ’s Kingdom; and Christ’s Kingdom is not an infernal one. Christ cried with a loud voice, Father into Your hands I commend My spirit, and having said this, He gave up the spirit [LUK 23:46]. The hands of the Father, here meant, are in Heaven above, not in Sheol beneath.

These teachings of Scripture, and their interpretation by a portion of the fathers, show that Paradise is a section of Heaven, not of Hades, and are irreconcilable with the doctrine of an under world containing both the good and the evil.

Another stimulant, besides that of mythology, to the growth of the doctrine that the intermediate state for all souls is the under world of Hades, was the introduction into the Apostles’ creed of the spurious clause, "He descended into Hades." Biblical exegesis is inevitably influenced by the great ecumenical creeds. When the doctrine of the descent to Hades was inserted into the oldest of the Christian symbols, it became necessary to find support for it in Scripture. The texts that can, with any success, be used for this purpose, are few, compared with the large number that prove the undisputed events in the life of Christ. This compelled a strained interpretation of such passages as MAT 12:40; ACT 2:27; ROM. 10:7; 1PE 3:18-20; 4:6, and largely affected the whole subject of eschatology, as presented in the Scriptures.

Chapter 2 - PART TWO

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This Page Last Updated: 12/16/98 A. Allison Lewis