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DOCTRINE QUESTION 99
Does the word "hell," translated in Acts 2:31 refer to the grave? If not, what does it mean when it says, "His soul was not left in "hell" neither did His flesh see corruption"
The word translated "hell" in this verse and ten times again in the New Testament never refers to the grave.
Some have mistakenly built a doctrine of soul sleep and annihilation on this and other verses. The word in the Greek is "hades" and is the same as the Hebrew word "sheol" in the Old Testament Unfortunately, this latter word has been translated "grave" but it is not the Hebrew word for grave. The transliteration of the Hebrew word for grave is "queber" and not "sheol." It is interesting to note that "queber" is used in the plural as "graves," (Isaiah 65:4 and Ezekiel 32:22-23), but the word "sheol" has no plural, neither does the word "hades." This means that there are many "graves" but only "one sheol and one hades." This alone is proof that neither means the grave.
Vine's Words, a most reliable dictionary, give the means of "hades" as "the region of departed spirits of the dead or the unseen state of the dead." The Greek word for grave is not hades but "mnemeion," and means a monument of remembrance, usually a stone. (Acts 2:31-32), means our Lord's soul (life) went down into hades, but was not left there, while His body, that lay in the tomb, saw no corruption. God raised Him up again the third day. David foresaw this in Psalms 16 and spoke of the resurrection of Christ. This verse, like many others, needs no interpretation, but only believing. It spells out the "gospel" how He died for our sins and was buried and rose again the third day. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Have you accepted Him yet? He is able to save to the uttermost because He is a living Saviour, (Hebrews 7:25). Trust Him today.
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen