Hades is not another word for hell. It’s a word describing the place where all dead people go-not just the bad ones. Hades is the Greek word for a Hebrew term, Sheol. Jesus illustrated the Jewish understanding of Sheol in a parable about two men who died-a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Flames tormented the rich man, but he could see Lazarus in a comfortable place with Abraham. The rich man asked for a taste of water, but Abraham explained it was impossible: “There is a great chasm separating us” (Luke 16:26).

Jewish writers often portrayed Hades as a kind of waiting room, where the dead awaited God’s coming judgment, with rewards for good people and punishment for bad ones.

Hades was a fitting Greek word to translate Sheol. In Greek mythology, Hades was a the god of the dead, When he and his brothers divided the universe, Hades got the underworld, Poseidon got the sea, and Zeus got the heavens.

The underworld itself was often called Hades, and it had various regions where the good lived in comfort and the evil lived in torment.

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