Jesus also died to give the dead an opportunity to be raised to life. Unlike we were always taught in Church, Jesus did not go to hell after He died. Lots of genuine ministers of the gospel have always find this place a bit confusing and therefore they conclude that Jesus went to hell so that we will not go there. They also teach that Jesus went to be tortured for our sake in hell but that is so untrue! The Bible is very clear concerning where Jesus went to after He died. Understanding the difference between Hades and Hell will also help us know more. We will be going back through the scriptures to see if the Bible has anything to say about hell and Hades… We will also check to see the differences.

In the Old testament, we can always find a certain word that means different thing. Let’s talk about Shoel. Shoel means a place where both the righteous and the unrighteous goes to after life on earth. Throughout the scriptures, we can see righteous people talk about going to Shoel the moment they die. Shoel in the old testament simply means the Land of the dead but it was highly depicted as a place of suffering that we always forget it is a place for both the wicked and the righteous. Because revelation was limited in the Old Testament, we cannot get a very clear picture of what Shoel looks like. But the coming of Jesus who was and is to come, who was there before creation helped us to understand the concept of Heaven, Hell, Paradise and Hades. In Genesis 37:25, we see Jacob talking about going to Shoel. No one ever talked about going to heaven in the Old Testament and not even Moses. In most cases, the people of the Old Testament don’t have a revelation of heaven and hell. Heaven was simply seen as a place where God dwells because there was very limited revelation. In Job 3:13-19, Job portrayed Shoel as a place of rest unlike what the Psalmist usually portray it as. Shoel in general terms was considered a place the dead goes to from the grave. So, we will quickly rush over to the New Testament to see for ourselves what it is.

Jesus was telling a Parable and he told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. This story will go a long way in revealing to us what Hades and Paradise is. It is true that some translations of the Bible carried the confusion of Hades and Hell, the two words were used interchangeably but you quickly see how different Hades is from Hell and how different Paradise is from Heaven.

In Luke 16:22 (LEB), Jesus narrated

 Now it happened that the poor man died, and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side.”


Some translations used, Abraham’s bossom. I want us to carefully see that the poor man died and was carried by ANGELS to Abraham’s bosom. Why? Abraham is the father of faith in God and the poor man also had faith in God and Abraham had been in the Land of the Dead since he died. Jesus said in John 3:13 that no man has ever ascended to Heaven except Him that came down from it. So, Abraham wasn’t in heaven at that time, He was definitely in the Land of the Dead otherwise known as Shoel. However, I came to discover that the Land of the Dead had two sections… A place for people who had faith in God and a place for people who were wicked. That was why the Angels specifically ensured that the poor went to Abraham’s bosom. Now, if Angels don’t carry anyone to Abraham’s bosom, such person is bound to go to the other section of Shoel which is Hades. Concerning the rich man, the bible says in Luke 16:22-23 (LEB)

“And the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes as he was in torment and saw Abraham from a distance, and Lazarus at his side.”


You notice the difference? The rich man was not carried to Paradise where Abraham happens to be the boss. In this story, there wasn’t any sign of God being in the Paradise. Abraham seem to be the leader and the highest authority in Paradise because the rich could only call out to Abraham for request and not to God. From the same story, we discover they were all in the same world but in a different environment. Abraham said something worth noting in verse 26

“a great chasm has been established between us and you, so that those who want to cross over from here to you are not able to do so, nor can they cross over from there to us.”


This clearly shows that it is same location of different environment. If it is heaven and hell, it can’t be that way. Heaven is simply a different place from Hell.

There is another place with which we can support the above picture. This place will give us a very clear picture of how these places are. Before going to the cross, Jesus have always pointed out that he will resurrect after three days. On the cross after a certain robber have proclaimed faith in Him, Jesus said to him in Luke 4:23 (NIV)

And Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”


Jesus didn’t say it was going to be tomorrow but today! If Paradise is heaven, Jesus wouldn’t be going to Paradise because He did not present Himself to God until all work was done after three days. So, because the robber expressed faith in Jesus, he too went Paradise on that day! Now, this means that immediately Jesus died, he went straight to the land of the dead, to do what? The Bible tells us what Jesus went to do in the Land of the dead, he didn’t go to fight the devil because the devil wasn’t there, he went for a mission. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:18-19 (Berean Study Bible)

“…He was put to death in the body, but made alive in the spirit, in which He also went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago…”

This is thought provoking! Jesus went straight to the Land of the Dead to preach. What is the essence of preaching to them if it wasn’t to save them? You see, this clearly showcases God’s love from the beginning. God allowed sinners in the Old Testament to always die because He also has plans for them. While they have remained in Hades, they were waiting for the coming of Jesus. I believe Jesus must have also met with those who had faith in God. Since none could make heaven without believing in Jesus. Peter wrote further in 1 Peter 4:6

“For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

The chance of reconciliation was given to every human both dead and living! This clearly shows that God’s love for human knew no bound. I believe this answers various questions why God allowed some people to die in the Old Testament. God said He isn’t happy when a sinner die, God declared in Ezekiel 18:23 (NIV)

“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?”


Now, after Jesus have preached the Good News to them that are dead, they also joined Him to ascend to Heaven during the Ascension. Jesus was seen ascending physically because He ascended in the flesh  but others were Spirits and they couldn’t be seen with the physical eyes. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:8 (NIV)

 “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

What a revelation! This revelation clearly helps you understand how God wants to unite all with Him! To also prove further that Hades is not the same with Hell, we will quickly look at a place in Revelations 20:14 (NIV)

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death


I want us to carefully note various other translations uses Hades and Hell differently. We all know that Hell is the Lake of Fire and is the same thing as Gehenna. In Jewish Rabbinic literature, Gehenna is a destination of the wicked. This is different from the more neutral Hades, the abode of the dead, although the King James Version of the Bible usually translates both with the Anglo-Saxon word Hell. Hades is a place of torment for the wicked and Paradise is a place of rest for the righteous… They are both different environment but in the same location.

So Jesus had to die so that those who were dead would also resurrect with Him after they have heard the Good News. By the death of Jesus, the power of Satan towards death was destroyed.

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