Sheol And Hadees

The Hebrew Old Testament, some three hundred years before the Christian era, was translated into Greek, but of the sixty-four instances where Sheol occurs in the Hebrew, it is rendered Hadees in the Greek sixty times, so that either word is the equivalent of the other. But neither of these words is ever used in the Bible to signify punishment after death, nor should the word Hell ever be used as the rendering of Sheol or Hadees for neither word denotes post-mortem torment. According to the Old Testament the words Sheol, Hadees primarily signify only the place, or state of the dead. The character of those who departed thither did not affect their situation in Sheol, for all went into the same state. The word cannot be translated by the term Hell, for that would make Jacob expect to go to a place of torment, and prove that the Savior of the world, David, Jonah, etc., were once sufferers in the prison-house of the damned. In every instance in the Old Testament, the word grave might be substituted for the term hell, either in a literal or figurative sense. The word being a proper name should always have been left untranslated. Had it been carried into the Greek Septuagint, and thence into the English, untranslated, Sheol, a world of misconception would have been avoided, for when it is rendered Hadees, all the materialism of the heathen mythology is suggested to the mind, and when rendered Hell, the medieval monstrosities of a Christianity corrupted by heathen adulterations is suggested. Had the word been permitted to travel untranslated, no one would give to it the meaning now so often applied to it. Sheol, primarily, literally, the grave, or death, secondarily and figuratively the political, social, moral or spiritual consequences of wickedness in the present world, is the precise force of the term, wherever found.

Sheol occurs exactly sixty-four times and is translated hell thirty-two times, pit three times, and grave twenty-nine times. Dr. George Campbell, a celebrated critic, says that "Sheol signifies the state of the dead in general, without regard to the goodness or badness of the persons, their happiness or misery."

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