Help me understand hades


Ok so from reading this forum I think I understand that lazarus and the rich man were both in SHEOL, but different places in it. This parable does not mean hell or purgatory since Christ didn’t die yet to open up heaven yet…correct?

I still have questions though as to what happened to "the Bosom of Abraham after Christ died and opened up heaven? Does the church teaching on Purgatory mean that the bosom of Abraham and purgatory are the same thing yet different names?

Please tell me what the church and Early church fathers taught on what happens when you die.

From my protestant understanding what happens is that when you die the Good and Evil go to the same place and wait for God’s second coming, then He will Judge us and place us in Heaven or Hell.

I thought that one could not go to heaven until Christ’s second coming? And I thought one could not be cast into Hell “gehenna” the lake of fire until the judgement day as well.

Does the church believe "that the fate of those in the abode of the dead differs, even while awaiting resurrection: “The souls of the righteous are in light and rest, with a foretaste of eternal happiness; but the souls of the wicked are in a state the reverse of this”?


One more question…

In Revelation 20:13

Where it talks about “death and Hades” being thrown into the Lake of fire, what is the Difference between death and hades?


Hades is split into four parts people can or have ended up in:

Purgatory: NB this will be emptied at the final judgment and the Resurrection of the dead and all will go to Heaven, though how this works with regards to purification is unknown, the living I would have thought would have their purgatory in increased persecution in final times, though not sure
Limbo of the Patriarchs: No longer in existance but where those destined for Heaven who died before the coming of Christ went before they were rescued. This place is also the Bosom of Abraham
Limbo of Infants: Not universally accepted, but where those infants (and other that haven’t reached the age of reason) who die unbaptised go
Hell of the damned (Gehenna)

Another part of Hades is Tartarus but that is where the fallen angels that had sex with human women to form the Nephilim got cast chained up to await final judgment.

Some enter Heaven before the final judgment though unless they have been bodily assumed into Heaven (as Enoch, Elijah, Mary and probably Moses (Jude 9 implies this) and maybe a few others) they don’t have their body, so how that works I don’t know, but all Saints are in Heaven, though not all of them are canonised as such

closed #4

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit