Hades will be emptied into the Lake of Fire at the 2nd resurrection
This week we are going to continue with the question about what Sheol is and why it is not the grave.
Sheol is described as a shadowy, dark place (Job 10.21-22, Psa 143.3) and located under the earth (Job 11.8, Isa 44.23,57.9, Ezek 26.20, Amos 9.2).
These are figures of speech that indicate it is not a part of "this world" and it has an existence of its own in another dimension. It is a place to reunite with people (Gen 15.15, 25.8, 18.104.22.168, 49.33, Num 20.24-28, 31.2, Deut 32.50, 34.5,2 Sam 12.23).
This cannot be referring to a mass grave. It had a high and a low section (Deut 32.22).
The condition of man in sheol is a "rephaim" or a disembodied spirit (Job 26.5, Psa 88.10,Prov 2.18,9.18,21.16, Isa 14.9,26.14-19). People can converse and make moral judgments and are conscious (Isa 14.9-20,44.23,Ezek 32.21. What you can experience in physical life like marriage, business and a knowledge of the living is not possible (Psa 6.5, Ecc 9.10).
They experience God’s anger (Deut 32.22) and are in distress (Psa 11.6.3).
They also experience pain (Job 26.5). In the Tanach, or Old Testament, the righteous and the wicked went to sheol and God began to reveal to his people that they would be taken to God’s presence (Gen 5.24, Heb 11.5, 2 K 2.11, Psa 49.15,73.24). Sheol is open to God’s sight (Job 26.6, Psa 139.8).
The Greek word for Sheol is Hades and in the Septuagint (LXX) Sheol is referred to 71 times. 64 times it is Hades and the other 7 it uses a translation of other Hebrew words meant to shed light on what Hades is.
Not once is Hades equal to the grave or unconsciousness but it is always understood as the abode, or realm, of the dead. It does not mean death in Greek (thanatos) or grave (mneema) and not hell (gehenna) or heaven (ouranos).
Now, the New Testament picks right up with these concepts in the Tanach (OT). We come to the story in Lk 16.19-31 of Lazarus and the rich man. We see there are two compartments called torment, where the unrighteous went and Abraham’s Bosom where the righteous went (before the resurrection).
This was a story built around historical characters which was a common rabbinical technique, using the dialogue method to get across the concept that there is no escape from torment, no second chance.
We must believe the Scriptures in this life. As I stated before, before the resurrection, believers and unbelievers were sent there (Jn 3.13).
After that the righteous went to heaven (2Cor 5. 6-8, Phil 1.23-24, Rev 6.9-11). Yeshua went there (Acts 2.31, Eph 4.8-10) and he met the thief there (Lk 23.43).
He did not go to heaven until after he received his body in the resurrection (Jn 20.15-18). Then paradise was taken out of Hades and made a part of the third heaven (2 Cor 12.2-4).
The wicked descend to Hades, in torment to await eternal punishment (2 Pet 2.9). When the Yom ha Din (day of judgment) comes, Hades will be emptied and its inhabitants stand before God (Rev 20.13-15).
Now, there is a Catholic doctrine called Purgatory which says that when a believer dies his soul must be "purged" and punished for unresolved venial (not as serious as a mortal) sin before one can enter heaven.
This erroneous concept is based on a misunderstanding of 1 Cor 3.15 but this concept is not biblical because the penalty for our sin has already been paid (Rom 5.8).
The teaching of Purgatory is a man-made dogma and there is no such place and it has no connection with the concept of Sheol we have been discussing. So, currently, Hades is a temporary, intermediate state between death and the second resurrection where the wicked go.
Hades is without paradise now. Hades will be "emptied" into the Lake of Fire at the second resurrection of unbelievers. Next week we will conclude Sheol and hades and discuss paradise and gehenna (hell).