I am sure most of us are already aware but for those who may not be, the word "Hades" is used in scripture to represent the "place of waiting" where souls went upon death prior to the opening up of the Kingdom of God. (See the resurrection and the righteous dead shining forth forever in Daniel 12)
"Hades" is a Greek term used to represent the underworld and the abode of the dead. The New Testament use of "Hades" builds on its Hebrew parallel, "Sheol", which was the preferred translation in the Septuagint.
In the Hebrew Old Testament, Sheol was the word used to describe the place that both the ungodly and the Godly would go upon death. It was a place of waiting. For instance in the Old Testament we catch glimpses of Sheol in passages like...
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."
"But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you."
"“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion"
In the Greek New Testament we see the same concept but we see this place being called "Hades" which is the Greek translation. For example...
"he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption." Acts 2:31
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" Matthew 16:18
On and on we see these examples throughout both the Old and New Testaments of this place of waiting where the dead would go until the resurrection was to take place. But now if you stop and think about what the mainstream belief within Christianity is today, you'd notice something very important. I say "mainstream" because there are some (some) who believe slightly different but again the majority view is presented below. Here are two things that most Christians believe today....
1) Jesus has NOT yet returned
2) Our dead loved ones who have died as believers are now present with the Lord in heaven.
So Jesus is still coming in our future and also our loved ones who have died believing in Him, are presently NOW in heaven. Do these two points blend? Or do they contradict one another completely?
When we examine Daniel chapter 12 we see the following events very clearly. Take a look....
"At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble, <-------(Great tribulation)
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, <----(Resurrection)
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt." <------(Judgement)
Clearly we see from that short passage that Daniel is looking ahead to the end of the age and the resurrection and judgement. No question. Now let's read on to see if we are told when it would occur....
A couple verses later Daniel sees two angels and one of the angels asks the other how long it would be until these "wonders" were finished. The wonders being the great tribulation, resurrection, and judgement. Here is what is said...
“How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?....
Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished." Daniel 12: 6-7
The answer is clear. The "time, times, and half time" is 42 months. All scholars everywhere agree on that point. (year+2 years+ half year= 42 months)
The destruction and siege of Jerusalem lasted 42 months from ad66- ad 70.
He also says that when the power of the holy people was completely shattered, ALL WOULD BE FINISHED. Who were the holy people when Daniel wrote? The Jews. This happened. The end came in ad70. For the most part all Jews were either killed or taken captive. Jerusalem and everything that it was, was laid to rubble. The only ones to escape were the Christians who heeded the warning of Christ when He instructed them to flee to the hills of Judea when they saw the armies coming.
So clearly again, we ABSOLUTELY CANNOT place the resurrection of the dead out of Hades, ANY FURTHER past ad70 when the "power of the holy people was completely shattered over 42 months". If you want to try and prove how that can fit in our future, by all means good luck. There is no "holy people" who's power is going to be shattered in our future. The Christian age is a victorious and never ending eternal age. Christians will not be losing their power over a 42 month period in our future. Hate to break it to ya but it's just not in the bible.
Now, with all of that said and keeping in mind that Hades would be emptied once that 42 months of tribulation was finished, how does this connect to the Coming of the Lord?
Well look what Paul wrote to the members of the church of Thessalonica....
"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first." 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
Did you see that? First Paul states clearly that some of those whom he was writing the letter to, would still be alive at the Coming of the Lord. Seems to match what Christ said perfectly about His Coming. But what about the timing of the events....
Paul links these two events undoubtedly together....
1) The Coming of the Lord
2) The raising of the dead out of Hades
Both events were going to happen at the same time in history! What does this emphatically mean then?....
It means that since we can positively place the resurrection of the dead out of Hades at the conclusion of the 42 month destruction at the end of the Old Covenant age in ad70, then WITHOUT QUESTION, ....this is also the time that the Lord returned.
Which by the way matches perfectly to all of His imminent first century predictions of His return. (Matt 16:27-28, Matt 10:23, Matt 24:34 etc)
Furthermore, those who hold to a future second coming, (which would actually be a third coming) would have to biblically prove why He would need to return. Since the whole point of His Coming was to raise the dead and gather them into One Eternal Kingdom on earth and in heaven where He would rule as King in the hearts of men on earth. Why would He need to come again if everything was accomplished at His true second coming? (Hebrews 9:28)
But enough about that. Are you ready for the grand finale? Here it is....
In the VERY END of the book of Revelation we read about Hades. Remember now, this scene is AFTER ALLLLLLL OF THOSE CRAZY WILD "END TIME" EVENTS HAVE BEEN FINISHED.
What does John see in his vision and what does he write? He writes...
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:11-14
Now couple things to take note of there.....
1) Do you see the exact same thing we saw in Daniel 12? The Book of Life being opened, the dead being raised from Hades to either eternal life or eternal condemnation. Again, Daniel 12 is your time barrier. You cannot place it any further than ad70 because of Daniel 12. No way, no chance, no how.
2) What happened to Hades at the end of the passage? John says "HADES WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE." Symbolic for destroyed forever and never to be needed again.
Therefore, what do we know for a fact?....
1) We know for a fact that Hades was going to be emptied at the end of the 42 month tribulation on the Jews.
2) We know for a fact that when Jesus returned was also going to be the same time that Hades was emptied.
3) We know for a fact that Hades was destroyed after it was emptied.
What logical conclusion can be drawn from these 3 facts?
The book of Revelation and all of it's events have been fulfilled. Hades being destroyed is the very end.
Why was Hades destroyed? There is no need for it anymore. The Kingdom was opened up at the Coming of the Lord and it would finally be available for the righteous dead to exit Hades and enter in.
The unrighteous who die today, perish immediately. While the righteous who die today enter into God's eternal presence immediately. Hades is no longer a place of waiting because it has been done away with.
If you believe that believers go to Heaven immediately today when they die, then by default based on what the bible clearly and emphatically teaches, Hades is gone and the Lord has already returned.
Today, "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord".
2 Corinthians 5:8
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