HELL IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
In the New Testament, written in Greek, hades corresponds exactly to the Hebrew word sheol. As proof see the quotations by the Apostles from the Hebrew, in which they render it hades. For instance Acts 2:27--"Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades," is a quotation of Psa. 16:10 "Thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol." And 1 Cor. 13:55--"Death is swallowed up in victory. "O death, where is thy sting? O hades [grave], where is thy victory?" is an allusion to Isa. 25:8--"He will swallow up death in victory," and Hos. 13:14--"O death, I will be thy plagues: O sheol, I will be thy destruction."
HELL IN THE FOLLOWING CASES IS FROM
THE GREEK WORD, HADES.
Matt. 11:23.--"And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell."--Luke 10:15-- "Shalt be thrust down to hell." [In privileges, etc., the city was highly favored, or figuratively, exalted to heaven, but because of misuse of God's favors would be debased, or figuratively, cast down to hades, overthrown, destroyed. It is so thoroughly buried in oblivion that even the site where it stood is a matter of dispute. Capernaum is certainly destroyed, thrust down to hades.]
Luke 16:23.--"In hell he lifted up his eyes being in torments."--A parabolic figure: See article--"The Rich Man and Lazarus" in January TOWER.
Rev. 6:8.--"And behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. [Symbol for destruction or the grave.]
Matt. 16:18.--"Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." [Here the tomb is represented as a great prison with strong doors. The Lord's assurance is that though his church may seem to be forever locked up in the tomb, yet its strong gates will not hold the church when the due time shall come and her Lord shall break the bars and set at liberty the captives by his resurrection power, the result of the ransom which he gave once for all. Compare Luke 4:18, Isa. 61:1.]
CHRIST IN HELL [HADES] AND RESURRECTED
FROM HELL. ACTS 2:1,14,22.
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come...Peter...lifted up his voice and said...Ye men of Israel, hear these words:--Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you,...being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God ["He was delivered for our offenses"] ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains [or bands] of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it [for the Word of Jehovah had previously declared his resurrection, as saith the prophet David]; for David speaketh concerning him [personating, or speaking for him], 'I [Christ] foresaw the Lord [Jehovah] always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore did my heart rejoice and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope, because thou wilt not LEAVE my soul in hell [hades] neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption. Thou [Jehovah] hast made known to me [Christ] the ways of life" [thy plan]. Here our Lord, as personified by the prophet David, expresses his faith in Jehovah's promise of a resurrection, and in the full and glorious accomplishment of Jehovah's plan through him, and rejoices in the prospect.
Peter then proceeds saying--"Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried and his sepulcher is with us unto this day [so that this prophecy could not have referred to himself personally; for his soul was left in hell, [hades,] and his flesh did see corruption]: Therefore, being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he, seeing this before [prophetically] spake of the resurrection [of Christ out of hell--hades--to which he must go for our offences] that his soul was NOT LEFT in hell, [hades--the death state] neither his flesh did see corruption." Thus Peter presents a strong logical argument based on the words of the prophet David showing first, that Christ who was delivered by God for our offences, went to hell, the grave, the condition of death, destruction (Psa. 16:10); and secondly, that according to promise he had been delivered from hell, the grave, death, destruction, BY A RESURRECTION--a raising up to life, created again, the same identical being, yet more glorious and exalted, even to the express image of the Father's person. (Heb. 1:3) And now "this same Jesus" (Acts 2:36) in his subsequent revelation to the church, declares--
Rev. 1:18--"I am he that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore. Amen: and have the keys of hell [hades, the grave] and of death." Amen! Amen! our hearts respond; for in his resurrection we see the glorious outcome of the whole plan of Jehovah to be accomplished through the power of the resurrected one who now holds the keys of hell and of death, and in due time will release all the prisoners--"prisoners of hope" therefore. --Zech. 9:12. No craft or cunning can by any possible device wrest these scriptures entire and pervert them to the support of that monstrous and blasphemous papal tradition of eternal torment. Had that been our penalty, Christ, to be our vicarious sacrifice, must still and to all eternity endure it, which is not the case as these scriptures affirm. But death was our penalty and "he died for our sins" and "also for the sins of the whole world." Rev. 20:13,14 --"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: And they were judged, every man, according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire: this is the second death." The lake of fire is the symbol of final and everlasting destruction. See TOWER Oct. '86. The utter destruction of everything cast into it, is implied. "Death and the grave cast into it" signifies in the language of symbols,--the utter destruction of Adamic death, hence it signifies the resurrection of all from the death penalty as we now know it, which passed upon all through Adam, but from which all men were redeemed by Christ. (Rom. 5:12,17,19.)
The texts containing the Greek word gehenna, will be examined in our next issue.