THE unfortunate mistranslation in the A.V. of the Old and New Testament, of the Hebrew word "Sheol" and the Greek word "Hades" by the English word "Hell" is responsible for much confusion in the minds of Christians. This mistake is always corrected in the R.V.: but not everyone possesses or uses a copy; and so, many verses are misunderstood, sometimes with grave results. The verses in which this mistranslation occurs in the N.T. are Matt. 11,23; 16,18. Luke 10,15; 16,23. Acts 2,27 & 31. Rev. 1,18; 6,8; 20,13 & 14.
Hades is the Greek name of the place to which the souls of the dead go: the Jews call it Sheol. Until the time of our Lord's resurrection it had two sides, the one for those who believed in Jehovah, the other for those who did not. These two sides are depicted in our Lord's own parable of Dives and Lazarus.1 Neither side was desirable in itself, though the wrong side was a place of torment, and the right side one of rest and comfort. Even the believers were unsatisfied, being only in Abraham's bosom, and not in God's presence, and all their life-time they were in bondage to the fear of what lay ahead. Death was never pleasant.2 For unbelievers it was a place of positive torment, especially for those who had heard and refused the truth.3
After our Lord's resurrection however, a change took place. Those who believed in Him could no longer be held in death by the gates of Hades, but ascended in spirit into Paradise to be with Him till the first Resurrection.4 All however who are not born again by faith in the Lord Jesus continue to go as they did before, not to Hell but to Hades; whence they will emerge at the second Resurrection to face