A Study of the ‘other place’.
This excerpt is from the “The Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament” by Kenneth S. Wuest. This is mainly for the understanding of the words themselves and how they are used.
Hell. There are three Greek words, each referring to a different place, all of which are translated by the on word hell, a fact that causes considerable confusion in the interpreting the passages where they occur. These words are geenna, haides, and tartaroo. The first comes into english in the word Gehenna, the second, in the word Hades, and the third, in the word Tartarus.
Geenna refers to the final abode of the wicked dead, called The Lake of Fire in the Revelation (20: 14,15). Where this word occurs, the translation should be hell. It is found in Mt. 5.22,29,30, 10.28.18.9,23.15,33. Mk 9.43,45,47. Lk 12.5,jas 3.6.
Haides refers to the temporary abode of the dead before the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, the part reserved for the wicked dead, called haides (Lk. 16.23), the other for the righteous dead, call Abraham’s bosom (Lk 16.22), paradise (Lk. 23.43), haides (Acts 2.27,31) and the temporary abode of the wicked dead from those events until the Great White Throne judgment, the righteous dead going at once to be with the Lord (Phil. 1. 23. II Cor. 5.8) The word haides is from the Greek stem id which means “to see” and the Greek letter Alpha prefixed which make the composite word mean “not to see,” the noun meaning ” the unseen”. The word itself in its noun form refers to the unseen world made up of all moral intelligence’s not possessing a physical body. These would include the holy angels, the fall angels,m the demons, the wicked dead, and the righteous dead. As to the inhabitants in the unseen world, the holy angels are in heaven,the fallen angels in Tartarus, the wicked dead in Hades, the righteous dead in heaven, and the demons in the atmosphere of the earth and in the bottomless pit. All these are included in the unseen world. The context should decide as to whether the Greek word haides should be transliterated or translated. Where the context deals with departed human beings and their place of abode in the unseen world,it would seem that the word should transliterated, and specific name “Hades” be given that place. These places are Mt. 11.23,Lk. 1015,16.23, Acts 2.27,31. Rev. 6.8, 20.13,14. Where the context refers to the unseen world as a whole, the word should be translated, as for instance: Mt. 16.18, “the gates (councils) of the Unseen,” namely , the councils of Satan in the unseen world, shall not prevail against the church; or Rev. 1.18, “I have the keys of the Unseen and of death.” Our Lord controls the entire unseen world. *added verse here for a context to be reference-
And the great dragon was throwndown, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was throwndown to the earth, and his angels were throwndown with him. (This would mean he controls only the ‘seen’ world of ours.)
Tartarosas is the word in II Pet. 2.4 “cast down to hell”. The fallen angels were sent to their temporary prison house, Tartares, until the Great White Throne judgement. Make a study of these place where the word “hell” occurs, in the light of the distinctive Greek word found in each place, and see how much better you understand these passages.
What needs to be said first, stay in context. Think like a Greek,talk like a Greek,be like a Greek. 1st Century human intellect was different than ours. If you were not a ‘believer’ in the “God of creation”, then you were a believer in the other gods. They each had their domain in the ‘Universe’ as the people perceived it to be. Remember there was at least 12 of these if not more. They were actually not sure of how they ‘all worked’ their magic in the world, just presumed it. It was all about things that ‘happen, they attributed that ‘the god’ did it either for good or evil on them personally, or as on their nation.
But when they died, there was not much description of it, or the circumstances of it. Did you just dissolve into the ground?,did a spirit or soul go with it, or did you go somewhere else? This is unknown to them, the dying sequence. This is also the part that they do not even know what to call it. So hence, it is called the ‘UNKNOWN WORLD’. This would be language that the greeks would use in the describing of death, they are ‘in the unknown world’ to them when they died. It is also not just in the language, but in the culture that institute’s it.
Now, if we take ourselves to scene of Jerusalem, where most of the verbiage is used to describe ‘hell’ we are now in a different world again, but not Greek. Every culture is different, language is different. So the usage of all this is key to understanding everything. It is also in this case of the Hebrew scene, the word for ‘hell’ was ‘sheol’, a dark and mysterious, murky place people go when they die, as in Psalm 18:”The cords of Sheol entangled me” There’s also mention of the “depths,” as in Psalm 30. “I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths”;the “pit” as in Psalm 103: “The Lord….who redeems your life from the pit” and the grave, as Psalm 6: “Who praises you from the grave?”.
In the hebrew world there was not much significance of ‘death’ or burial and the ceremony behind it. Just a note on hebrew burial, it was the custom of burying the dead in caves for until their were only bones were left, then the bones were taken and put in a box for burial.
I will stop here with all this in just the context of the greek and hebrew words. I will next cover the direction of the texts that are used in all the examples of their scripture use.
It’s all about “LIFE”.