Hades And Gehenna -- By: William De Loss Love
BSac 44:176 (October 1887) p. 630
Hades And Gehenna
The Scriptures and contemporaneous and subsequent Jewish and Christian writings, represent hades—the world of the dead, both righteous and wicked—as a “prison,” or place of confinement or detention, such as the apostle Peter speaks of in his first Epistle. And those inspired and other writings do not represent gehenna—the place of the wicked dead—as a “prison,” but as worse, a fire. The bearing of these facts on the subject of Christ preaching to “spirits in prison “is very-important. They indicate that he did not preach to the wicked dead, else gehenna would have been named; and that he did preach to some of the righteous dead. For, he preached to some in “prison,” and hades was termed a prison, the part where the righteous were, being a prison of detention to them, where they remained until their resurrection, or ascension after Christ ascended to his Father.
If the foregoing statements can be established, or even made to seem probable, it will forbid the use of the two texts concerning preaching to the dead (1 Peter 3:19, 20; 4:6), to support the doctrine of future probation for those who die impenitent.
The Use Of The Word “Gehenna” In The New Testament
It always means more than a place of partial confinement for a limited period. The twelve instances of its New Testament use are the following: “Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire [gehenna of fire]” (Matt. 5:22). “It is profitable for thee that one of thy mem-
BSac 44:176 (October 1887) p. 631
bers should perish, and not thy whole body be cast into hell [gehenna]” (ver. 29). “And not thy whole body go into hell” (ver. 30). “But rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (10:28). Gehenna is a place of destruction (“destroy”), and not merely of confinement for a season. “It is good for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire” (18:9). In the preceding verse the place of punishment is called “eternal fire;” more than a temporary prison. “Ye make him twofold more a son of hell than yourselves” (23:15). “Ye serpents, ye offspring of vipers, how shall ye escape the judgment of hell?’ (Ver.
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