HADES (ha.'dez), a Greek word iiOns, hah'itice, not to be seen), by which the Septuagint translates the Hebrew 5181%, sheol.
(1) Definition. It denotes the abode or world of the dead, in which sense it occurs frequently in thc New Testament, where it is usually ren dered 'hell' in thc English version. Thc word hades means literally that whiels is its darkness. In the classical writers it is used to denote Orrus, or the infernal regions.
According to the notions of the Jews, shoal or hadcs was a vast receptacle where the souls of the dead existed in a separate state until the resurrection of their bodies. The rcgion of the blessed during this interval, or the inferior para dise, they supposed to be in the upper part of this receptacle ; while beneath was the abyss or gehenna (Tartarus), in which the souls of the wicked wcre subjected to punishment.
(2) Interpretation. The question whether this is or is not the doctrine of the Scripturcs is one of great importance, and has, first and last, ex cited no small amount of discussion. It is a doc trine received by a large portion of the nominal Christian church, and it forms the foundation of thc Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, for which there would be no ground but for this in terpretation of the word hadcs.
The question therefore rests entirely upon the interpretation of this word, and as the Septuagint gives this as the meaning of the Hebrew word sheol, the real question is, what is the meaning which sheaf bears in the Old Testament, and hadcs in the New ? (3) The Grave. A careful examination of the passages in which these words occur will prob ably lead to the conclusion that they afford no real sanction to the notion of an intermediate place of the kind indicated, but are used by the inspired writers to denote the grave—the resting place of the bodies both of the righteous and the wicked ; and that they are also used to signify hell, thc abode of miserable spirits. But it would be diffi cult to producc any instance in which thcy can be shown to signify the abode of the spirits of just men made perfect,either before or after the resur rection.
In the great majority of instances sheol is in the Old Testament used to signify the grave, and in tnost of these cases is so translated in the Authorized Version. It can have no other meaning in such texts as Gen. xxxvii :35; xlii 38; I Sam. ii :6; x Kings ii :6; Job xiv :x3 ; xvii: x3, 16, and in numerous other passages in the writings of David, Solomon and the prophets. But as the grave is regarded by most persons, and was more especially so by the ancients, with awe and dread, as being the region of gloom and darkness, so the word denoting it soon came to be applied to that more dark and gloomy world which was to be the abiding place of the miserable. Where our translators supposed the word to have this sense, they rendered it by 'hell.' Some of the passages in which this has been done may be doubtful ; but there are others of which a ques tion can scarcely be entertained. Such are those (as Job xi:8; Ps. cxxxix :8; Amos ix:2) in which the word denotes the opposite of heaven, which cannot be the grave, nor the general state or region of the dead, but hell. Still more de cisive are such passages as Ps. ix :t7; Prov. xxiii : 14; in which sheol cannot mean any place, in this world or the next, to which the righteous as well as the wicked are sent, but the penal abode of the wicked, as distinguished from and opposed to the righteous. The only case in which such passages could by any possibility be sup posed to mean the grave, would be if the grave —that is, extinction—were the final doom of the unrighteous.
(4) Future Conditions. In the New Testa ment the word hades is used in much the sante sense as sheol in the Old, except that in a less proportion of ckses can it be construed to signify the grave. There are still, however, instances in which it is used in this sense, as in Acts ii :31; x Cor. xv :55, but in general the hades of the New Testament appears to be no other than the world of future punishments (e. g. Matt. xi :23 ; xvi :18 ; Luke xvi :23).