Q. Thank you for your teaching. I have benefited most from your sharing. May I follow-up on the topic of ‘Hades and Hell’ ? If there are 2 places within Hades or Sheol where the dead before the Cross went , does it mean that judgment had occurred for them, that some had gone to the Paradise (like Lazarus in Luke 23:43); while others to ‘Torments’?
A. Before the cross everyone who died went to Sheol, or Hades in the Greek. Those who would eventually be given eternal life went to a place of comfort that was called Abraham’s Bosom and Paradise. All others went to a place of discomfort sometimes called Torments. Both places were temporary. Paradise was emptied after the cross when the Lord’s death opened the gates of Heaven to those who had died in faith. What we now call Hades or Hell is really the place called Torments. It will be emptied at the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium, when it’s thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:13-15).
So while our destiny is established at death, both groups will face a judgment afterward. For believers it’s the Bema Seat, where crowns are awarded for things we did on Earth (1 Cor. 3:12-15). For unbelievers it’s the great White Throne, prelude to the Lake of Fire. The lesson is that we have only this life to determine which judgment we’ll face, for man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. (Hebr. 9:24).