Why is Hades used in Matthew 16:18?


#1

I have just recently joined the forum but I have been looking at all the questions for a year now. It’s very interesting stuff, I must say! I’ve been trying to explain to an Evangelical Protestant recently how the Catholic Church was started by Jesus himself. That’s a whole different topic. The question I really have is: We as Catholics use the basis that Hell and Hades are two different words in the Bible and they affirm our understanding of purgatory. So why then if Hades is Purgatory, does Matthew 16:18 use Hades instead of Hell when it says “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (the Church.)”
Thank you in advance!


#2

Welcome to CAF! :wave:

I’m not sure where you get the idea that Hades automatically means ‘Purgatory’. Can you please elaborate on that further?

(In a nutshell, pylai Hadou “gates of Hades” is basically the Greek translation of the Hebrew expression ‘gates of Sheol’ (see for example Isaiah 38:10) - in other words, death. The traditional translation ‘gates of hell’ uses the word ‘hell’ in the older, general sense of ‘afterlife’/‘realm of the dead’ instead of the more specific Hell of the damned. In other words, kinda like the usage in the traditional translation of the Apostles’ Creed, where it says Jesus “descended into hell.”)


#3

I always thought that’s what people were saying when they separated Hades and Hell. That’s my bad for the misunderstanding. Thanks for clearing that up. Basically what Jesus was then saying was the Church won’t die?


#4

=Richard_Feynman;11859708]I have just recently joined the forum but I have been looking at all the questions for a year now. It’s very interesting stuff, I must say! I’ve been trying to explain to an Evangelical Protestant recently how the Catholic Church was started by Jesus himself. That’s a whole different topic. The question I really have is: We as Catholics use the basis that Hell and Hades are two different words in the Bible and they affirm our understanding of purgatory. So why then if Hades is Purgatory, does Matthew 16:18 use Hades instead of Hell when it says “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (the Church.)”
Thank you in advance!

Richard, my dear friend in Christ,

I think you have an incorrect understanding of the term “Hades”
Here from Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary is the correct understanding:blush:

HADES. In Greek religion the god of the underworld; consequently the kingdom ruled over by Hades, or the abode of the dead. In the Bible the Greek translation of the Hebrew sheol, also meaning the abode of the dead, or death, or the power of destruction, or the place of the wicked after death. (Etym. Greek Haid_s, the nether world.)

The term Hades is synomous with Hell; not Purgatory. Although Purgatory is also provabe in the Bible.

Lev.22: 21 “And when any one offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it.

Rev. 21: 27 “But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Mt. 5: 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

Matt.5: 48 “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Heb. 2: 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.

1John.3: 2 to 3 “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

1 Cor. 3: 13-14 “each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done if the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, [Purgatory] though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

2nd. Cor. 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God

Wecome to CAF!:thumbsup:

Patrick


#5

Alright thanks for the information! But I still have a question in regards to that verse in Matthew. Is Jesus promising that the Church won’t teach falsehoods or is he saying that the Church will be eternal. The latter makes more sense to me. To me the verse that follows saying “whatever you bind on earth is bound in Heaven…” Points to not teaching falsehoods. I can be wrong though. Oh and Patrick, I like that Fulton Sheen Quote!


#6

Why would a Greek mythological term be used in the Bible?

This seems like it gives credit to those who say the Christian story was simply borrowed from other cultures and stories/mythologies.

Im confused. Help please.


#7

The word was borrowed. Do you know where the Anglo-Saxon word ‘hell’ comes from? It is merely a matter of language and translation. There is nothing to be confused about.

For example the name ‘Jesus Christ’ is also Greek because (surprise) Greek was the lingua Franca of entire Eastern Mediterranean. Latins, Greeks, Jews and many Semitic groups all spoke Greek.


#8

Well, the “gates of Hades” (i.e. death) will never prevail upon “the Church” of “the living God.” :wink:


#9

But the Jews had a name for “Hades” already called Sheol. Why was that not used instead?

Not only that, I was reading a verse somewhere in Peter yesterday where he makes reference of Tartarus. Was this not a mythological place?

Couple that with similar traditions such as trees of life, baptisms, the seasonal solstices of other mythologies, it seems to make sense that people claim what they claim.


#10

This is how language is: it spreads. Tartarus is a word containing a concept - a place of the utmost suffering. I just don’t see a problem. Then again, I’ve studied some linguistics and I have a different point of view on how language is used through history. I think the problem is that you are understanding words only through association or connotation. Look up how the word ‘Tartarus’ is used in the Greek NT:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartarus#New_Testament


#11

=Richard_Feynman;11859907]Alright thanks for the information! But I still have a question in regards to that verse in Matthew. Is Jesus promising that the Church won’t teach falsehoods or is he saying that the Church will be eternal. The latter makes more sense to me. To me the verse that follows saying “whatever you bind on earth is bound in Heaven…” Points to not teaching falsehoods. I can be wrong though. Oh and Patrick, I like that Fulton Sheen Quote!

Douay Bible **Matthew 16:18 **“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.

Actually it is telling is several things:

Christ was clealy Founding a New Church [SINGULAR] with a new set of Faith beliefs [also SINGULAR] that:

  1. COULD not [not only would not] Teach in Error on any matter of Faith and or Moral belief. Pleasee READ John 17: 14-20

  2. That Christ Himself; with the Holy Spirit would make it impossible for this not to be true

  3. That theis Church and tHIS Faith would last UNTIL the End of time

4 That following OT traditions [same God]; Christ insist one ONLY One God; Faith and Church

I do hope this clarifies it for you. If not PLEASE let us know:)

God Bless you,
patrick


#12

Thank you for all this information! Just to be clear John 17:14-20 is only talking of the Apostles? Because I noticed that this takes place right before the Betrayal of Jesus. So the Eleven were in his midst?

I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your day to help me understand Scripture! Thank you!

Richard


#13

=Richard_Feynman;11860465]Thank you for all this information! Just to be clear John 17:14-20 is only talking of the Apostles? Because I noticed that this takes place right before the Betrayal of Jesus. So the Eleven were in his midst?

I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your day to help me understand Scripture! Thank you!

Richard

Your entirely welcome Richard:)

Chapters 15 & 16 seem also to be early parts of the same or similar dialog. It’s not until chapter 18 that Jusdas “comes into the picture”; and that dialog is after Judas had left the eleven to go collect his 30 pieces of silver.

Thanks for asking,

God Bless you,
patrick [PJM]


#14

But are Hades andand Tartarus actual words (ive never heard anyone use them to describe anything else) or are they mythological terms?

To me, it seems they are mythological terms. To borrow or allude to mythological concepts and put it in the Bible is confusing, as it gives the connotation that there may be other mythology contained within it.


#15

True, but in chapter 13, we see Jesus telling Judas, “What you are going to do, do quickly,” and Judas leaves immediately at that point. So yes, the ‘Last Supper discourses’ seem to happen in the presence of the Eleven.


#16

But keep in mind that, even though ‘Hades’ is a term used in Greek mythology, it was their term for ‘the abode of the dead.’ Remember, too, that the Old Testament was translated into Greek (the Septuagint); that translation, then, would likewise have translated the Hebrew term ‘sheol’ into the Greek term ‘hades.’ It’s not a question of appropriating mythological doctrines, but rather, simply using the words of a target language when translating into it.

Moreover, the reference in 2 Peter isn’t to the place ‘Tartarus’, per se. The Greek word used is a participle, ταρταρώσας (‘tartarosas’); in other words, it’s formed from the verb ταρταρόω (‘tartaroo’). In Greek, the notion of the depths of hell – where the damned were sent – became a verb; rather than say “he was condemned to hell,” then, they essentially said, “he was helled”. (It’s analogous to saying, "I googled my blind date before I met him.) So, here too, we have an example that isn’t so much assenting to a mythological concept as it is utilizing a concept in the language that was well-known. It’s not so much that Peter is saying “Tartarus exists,” as it is that he’s talking about being condemned to hell.

Subtle difference there, wouldn’t you say? :wink:


#17

A reasonable explanation for the term being used when translating it into Greek, but the word still remained in the english translation rather than sheol, hell, or the abode of the dead. It comes off kind of weird, at least to me.

Like those girls who were held captive for years in that mans basement. They simply stated that they were held captive, they didnt refer to it as “freddy kreugers house on elm street” or Leatherface’s house of horrors -the police would think alluding to such fake places to describe a real situation was indication of a prank.


#18

Well, I think I might suggest that these translations do serve a particular purpose: when we read ‘sheol’ or ‘hades’, it brings to mind that what’s being expressed is the ancient notion of the ‘abode of the dead’, and not necessarily the Christian notions of ‘hell’ or ‘purgatory’.

Like those girls who were held captive for years in that mans basement. They simply stated that they were held captive, they didnt refer to it as “freddy kreugers house on elm street” or Leatherface’s house of horrors

Actually, one of them did say, “I spent 11 years in hell.”


#19

It should be noted that from a traditional perspective there is nothing absolutely invalid about the pagan pre-Christian cultures. What I mean is this: Evil is only negative therefore nothing new can be created of evil. Evil can only corrupt or distort. So, strictly speaking it is not proper to think of pagan religious concepts as being purely ‘made-up’ due to the common origins of mankind and the strictly negative nature of evil.

Likewise, the difference between that criminal’s basement and Tartarus or Hell is incredibly obvious as those are simply two different kinds of things. Once again, that would be a confusion of the way people use language with the conceptual content of language. However those girls decided to utilize language as an informative tool, using words and concepts that a broad audience would clearly understand (and be capable of participating in that language content, semantic meaning, etc.), was entirely their choice. As they weren’t referring to a spiritual place, but a mundane basement, there would seem to me to be no clear necessity of referring to that basement in any extraordinary manner.

Lastly, the ‘kata-tartaroo’ phrase is a specific verb form in classical Greek. So, the way that you would understand the phrase as a classical Greek listener would be quite different from a modern English speaker, as English is a grammatically and syntactically simple language. Etc. Etc. etc.


#20

Hell is a real place or state of being though, so that doesnt shock me.

Although I do realize that many people use that as figure of speech too, and other people understand that. In that way it is a lot less specific than being understood as an allusion to a myth or a location that only exists in a movie. Their expression of what it was like to be in that basement “hell” came after to describe it, but it was not their initial way of speaking when asking for help because they wanted to be direct and accurate. Had they said it another way, people might not have taken her seriously.

Are you saying that Peter was using Tartarus as a figure of speech? If Peter used “freddy kreguers house on elm st” instead would that be too specific to be considered such?


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