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We should never argue over translations, that is all they are

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Q. I am very confused about what Hades is. Some say it is the grave and others say it isn’t. Is Hades the same as the grave?

A. No, Hades is not the same as the grave. Some denominations teach this and it stems from a basic confusion of terms and bad Bible translations. People need to look the words and meanings in concordances and lexicons and this would go a long way in clearing up some of these issues.

We should never argue over translations because that is what they are, translations. And translations are predicated on who translates, what their knowledge of the biblical languages are, social issues of the time and other criteria.

There are several translations out there that are terrible and they contribute to so much misunderstanding.

That’s why looking the words up for yourself and studying their meanings for yourself can go a long way. But, textual cr-iticism is another issue.

Let’s deal with what Hades is and isn’t. Hades is the Greek word for the Hebrew "sheol" and it is used 66 times in the Old Testament as the "netherworld" or "abode of the dead" and it cannot mean "grave" even though the King James translation translates it 31 times as "grave", 31 times as "hell" and "pit" 3 times.

The Hebrew word for grave is "kever" and the biblical authors did not view sheol and kever as synonymous.

In Isa 14.19 the king is thrown out of kever into sheol, for example. A group of Hebrew scholars were commissioned to translate the Hebrew Tanach (OT) into Greek and this took some time, but the work was completed before 132 BC.

Because there were 72 scholars who contributed,the work was called the Septuagint, abbreviated to LXX. In the LXX, sheol is never translated "mneema", or grave in Greek. Kever is never translated as "hades" either. Kever is the fate of the body, sheol is the fate of the spirit. (Ps 16.8-11, Phil 1.23). Sheol is under the earth (Isa 14.9;44.23;Ezek 26.20;31.14,16,18, 32.18,24; Psa 63.9;139.8; Gen 37.34-35). Those in sheol are conscious (Isa 44.4-7; 44.23;Ezek 31.16;32.21). There are at least 19 contrasts between kever and sheol:

1) Can’t bury in sheol (Gen 23.4,6,9,19,20, 49.30-31).

2) Kever (graves) can be plural, sheol is never plural.

3) Grave is localized, sheol is accessible anywhere.

4) You can purchase and sell a grave, sheol can’t (Gen 23.4-20).

5)You can own a grave, sheol can’t be owned.

6) You can choose a grave (Gen 23.6), sheol can’t

7) You can drop a body into a grave (Gen 50.13), but you can’t with sheol.

8) Erect a monument over a grave (Gen 35.20), but in sheol you can’t.

9) You can open and close a grave (2 K 23.16), sheol is never or closed by man.

10) You can touch a grave (Num 19.18), you can’t touch sheol.

11) A grave is ritually unclean, sheol no

12) You can enter and leave a grave (2 k 23.16), sheol no

13) You can uncover and remove bodies (2 K 23.16)), sheol no

14) You can beautify a grave (Gen 35.20), sheol no.

15) You can rob and defile a grave (Jer 8.1-2), but not with sheol.

16) A grave can be destroyed, but sheol can’t be by man.

17) A grave can be full, sheol never (Prov 27.20).

18) You can see a grave, sheol no.

19) You can visit a loved one, but not in sheol (Job 17.16;Isa 38.10).

Next week, we will pick up on this question and start with what sheol is, which is described as a shadowy, dark place (Job 10.21-22, Psa 143.3) and "down under the earth" (Job 11.8; Isa 44.23, 57.9) and not a part of this world. We will then continue on with what the Greek term ‘hades" means and it how the meanings in the New Testament basically pick up where the Old Testament leaves off. We will also talk about "Paradise" and "Gehenna" as well. Hopefully,once you study all this out there, will be no questions about these terms and what the Bible has to say on the issue.

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