According to the late bible teacher, Derek Prince, death and hades are persons. Below are excerpts from the book The Spirit-filled Believer’s Handbook.
Just what is the true nature of Death and Hades as revealed in the New Testament? John’s famous vision of the four horsemen sheds light on this question. Concerning the fourth horseman, John says:
And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him (Rev. 6:8).
It is obvious from this account that both Death and Hades were revealed to John as being persons. Only a person could sit on a horse, and only another person could follow along with this first one. This passage therefore casts light on the nature of Death and Hades as revealed in the Scriptures.
In one sense death is a state or condition. It is the cessation of life, the experience which results in the separation of the spirit from the body. However, Death is also a person. Death is the dark angel, the minister of Satan who claims the spirit of every unrighteous person that is separated from his body when he dies.
A similar truth applies also to Hades. In one sense Hades is a place of confinement for departed spirits. In another sense, however, Hades is a person. Hades, like Death, is a dark angel, a minister of Satan, following close upon the heels of Death. Hades takes charge of the spirits of the unrighteous which have been claimed by Death and conducts them to the realm of departed spirits from which he receives his name – that is, Hades.
Thus Death and Hades are both dark angels, ministers of Satan’s infernal kingdom. But the difference between them is this: Death first claims the departing spirits of all who die in unrighteousness; Hades receives them from Death and conducts them to their appointed place of imprisonment. For this reason John saw them moving among men in that order: first Death, claiming the departing spirits, then Hades, taking them to their prison in the lower world.
This scene from Revelation casts light on the words of Jesus.
Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death (John 8:51). ·
Jesus does not say here that the believer will not experience physical death. He says that the believer will not “see death.” He is not referring to the physical condition of death which results from the separation of the spirit from the body. When He speaks of “seeing death,” He is referring to the person of the dark angel whose name is Death, and to the other dark angel, his companion, whose name is Hades.
Jesus means that the spirit of the true believer, on departing from the body, will never come under the dominion of these two dark angels, Death and Hades. Rather, like the poor beggar Lazarus, the departing spirit of the true believer will be met by God’s angels – the angels of light – and by them be escorted to Paradise.
With this in mind, too, we can understand Paul’s statement that “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26); and also John’s statement that “then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14).
In each of these passages the primary reference is to Death and Hades as persons, as dark angels, ministers of Satan and enemies of God and the human race. The last of all God’s enemies to receive the judgment due him will be Death. Together with Hades he will be cast into the lake of fire, there to join their master, Satan, and all the rest of Satan’s servants and followers both angelic and human.
By this final act of judgment, the last of God’s enemies will forever have been banished from His presence.