1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Translators of the King James and other English versions used the single word “hell” to translate various Hebrew and Greek words that are not synonymous. Partly because of this error, universal confusion exists over the state of the dead. Now you can understand the truth about hell and know what really happens when we die. Several hundred years ago the belief in hell as a place of ever-burning torture and torment was almost universal throughout all Christendom. Today, there is much less teaching about “hellfire and brimstone” than in the past. Yet Christianity still either implicitly or explicitly maintains that upon death the good go to heaven while the souls of the unsaved go immediately to “hell.”
There amid scorching heat and sulfurous smoke the damned writhe in anguish for an eternity. With deafening screeches and haunting wails, these pathetic wretches agonize over their past sins, having no hope for relief from their pain, let alone redemption. Among Roman Catholics, the teaching is that many will go to purgatory, to be purified of their sins first, before passing on to heaven.
Hellfire and brimstone sermons of many years past have dangled unsaved sinners over the eternal fires of hell, even as they were implored to “come up front and be saved.” If sinners did not take immediate steps to get “saved,” they may never have another opportunity to get to heaven. The procrastinator was warned that he might miss out.
1.2 THE MEANINGS OF HELL
It means to Cover, Conceal
The Bible clearly teaches the existence of hell both in the Old and New Testaments. We cannot deny that hell exists, but we intend to give the proper, Scriptural understanding of what Yahweh’s Word has to say about hell. Because of traditional teaching, as well as myths and legends, many have the gross misconception that hell is a place of eternal torture of humans, a place where Satan reigns supreme. Yet nowhere does the Bible teach such a thing, or even that Satan lives in hell.
At the root of the confusion about the nature of hell is how some English versions render the concept. Translators chose the single word “hell” to translate no fewer than four Hebrew and Greek words with different meanings: the Hebrew sheol and the Greek hades, gehenna, and tartaroo. Because of this deficiency by the translators, confusion and false ideas about hell prevail to this day.
In Old English usage, hell meant primarily to hide, conceal, to cover. Thus, hell is a hidden, concealed or covered place. Old English literature describes the “helling” of potatoes, which meant putting potatoes into pits in the ground; or the “helling” of a house, meaning to cover or thatch it. The English word hell was properly translated from the Hebrew sheol and Greek hades as a grave or pit, signifying the secret or hidden condition of a dead person.
The Hebrew sheol occurs 65 times in the Old Testament. The King James translates it hell 31 times; grave 31 times; and pit three times. Yet it is the same Hebrew word and means “the grave” Hades is the exact Greek counterpart to the Hebrew sheol. Hades also signifies the grave.
1.2 WORLDLY NOTIONS OF HELL
Erroneous notions about the Biblical hell have made their way into dictionaries and other references. Yet we can see the proper meaning come through in the root words themselves.
The American Heritage Dictionary renders the following under hell:
- The abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan.
- A state of separation from G-d.
- The abode of the dead, identified with the Hebrew sheol and the Greek hades; the underworld. [Christian Science] Mortal belief, sin or error.
Interestingly, this dictionary also gives the root word of hell as Kel, meaning to cover, conceal, save: From Kel comes Hel; from Old Norse Hel, the underworld, goddess of death. From Germanic *haljo, the underworld, concealed place.”
Smith’s Bible Dictionary agrees with many others in stating of hell: “This is the word generally and unfortunately used by our translators to render the Hebrew Sheol. It would perhaps have been better to retain the Hebrew word Sheol, or else render it always by ‘the grave’ or ‘the pit.’”
Sheol and Hades
The only Old Testament Hebrew word translated hell is sheol (Strong’s No. 7585), which corresponds to the New Testament Greek hades. Both simply mean “the unseen state.” The King James Bible translates sheol as hell 31 times; grave 31 times and pit 3 times. The marginal reading of hell in many Bibles often reads, “or, the grave.” This can be seen in the following: Psalm 49:15; 55:15; 86:13; Isaiah 14:9; John 2:2; 1Cor. 15:55; Rev. 20:13. It is clear that sheol means the place of the unseen dead, the pit and grave. The Revised Standard Version left the word “sheol” untranslated throughout the Old Testament. The Catholic Douay Version renders sheol as hell 63 times, pit once and grave once.
Strong’s Concordance No. 7585 says of sheol: “from No. 7592; hades or the world of the dead (as a subterranean retreat), include its accessories and inmates:-grave, hell, pit.” Two other Hebrew words, qeber (or keber, Strong’s No. 6913) and qebuwrah, qeburah (Strong’s No. 6900) designate ones’ earthly burying place. These are translated as “grave” 39 times, as “sepulchre” 31 times; 7 times as “burying place,” and 4 times as “burial”
The New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew sheol is hades, No 7592, the abode of the dead before Judgement Day. Hades is translated 10 times as hell, and grave once.
Hebrew is rich in figurative words and metaphors. Both sheol and hades are examples. Sheol and hades are to the unseen world what qeber (the grave) is to the corpse, seen by the living.
1.3 BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION OF HELL AS A PLACE OF SILENCE
The Bible nowhere describes hell as a place of living beings in torturous fire. Neither is Satan said to be there with his red body suit and pitchfork! Such concepts came from Greek paganism and particularly 13th century poet Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy. In this work is a section called The Inferno, in which Dante gives his own ideas of hell, graphically portraying the sufferings of the damned.
Hell as a place of endless suffering was adopted by Christianity in the Dark Ages. It was used to strike fear in the hearts of people, and helped give the Roman Church more power and influence over the masses. The Bible’s teachings about hell and the state of the dead are considerably different from the common ideas. Notice what Ecclesiastes 9:10 says about the state of the dead: “…there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave [sheol],
Death obviously is not a place of continued existence in another form. We are not aware of any
thing in the grave. That is why death is compared to sleep, where all conscious of the world a
round us ceases and we are in effect dead to anything happening around us.
Notice what the prophet Isaiah reveals about death (the grave): “For the grave [sheol] cannot
praise you, death cannot celebrate you…” (Isa. 38:18). Once we die, all conscious awareness stops. The Bible says “the dead know not anything” (Eccl. 9:5), and “the dead praise not Yahweh, neither any that go down into silence” (Ps. 115:17).
Neither are patriarchs and peoples of old living in and watching from heaven: “though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: you, O Yahweh, are our father, our redeemer, you Name is from everlasting” (Isa. 63:16).
Notice what Peter tells us about King David: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepluchre is with us unto this day…For David is not ascended into the heavens…” (Acts 2:29, 34). If David himself has not yet risen from the grave, why do people today think they are destined for heaven (or hell) when they die? Notice the following Scriptures describing what happens to human beings when they die: “Will you show wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise you?” (Psalm 88:10) “His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his THOUGHTS PERISH.”(Psalm 146:4): “And many of them that SLEEP in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Dan. 12:2)
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
God is so merciful that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) to suffer and die for the world so as to reconcile man to himself. Yet Hell is mentioned in the Bible as abode for sinners. Some schools of thought say there is no hell that God is not so wicked to the extent of sending people who He created to hell fire whole others say there is hell fire some where.
Can we then say that hell exist? If there is no hell, does heaven exist? If there is hell fire and heaven or paradise who are the occupants of them both? How can one escape condemnation into hell fire? How can one enjot the joy, peace and other goodies associated with heaven or paradise. The ways and manners by which people view the concept of hell fire and heaven need to be researched and documented so that everyone available can have better understanding of the concepts and take decision on where to belong.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Many schools of thought exist on the concept of Hell Fire. The purpose of the present study is to attempt the harmonization of the thoughts and to examine the concept of hell, its nature, heaven and what qualifies people to go to either. Also the nature of occupants in heaven and hell is within the context of the purpose.
1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of the study is to to make a comprehensive examination of the Biblical and extra Biblical concept of Hell and its attendant fire as well as its nature, origin, the occupants.
The objectives to achieve the above aim are to:
- carry out a review of the scriptures and other literature in order to gather pices of information in relation hell fire.
- attempt to harmonize different school of thoughts about definition and existence of hell
- examine the Biblical instances of and references to hell and heaven
- Identify the eternal, present and future occupants of hell
- Recommend to readers and believers what one can do to miss the scourging hell fire
1.5 CONTRIBUTION TO KNOWLEDGE
This study is important for several reasons: Firstly, the finding will help individual to have better understanding about hell fire. Secondly, it will provide comprehensive information for people within and outside the Christiandom in how to be free from damnation in hell fire and stay glued to heaven and its way.
Furthermore, it will serve as contribution to people knowledge about what God is interested in and or not interested in. Finally, it will guide people in taking decision about where to end their journey after leaving the earth to embark on an eternal journey.
2.0 LITERATURE AND SCRIPTURAL REVIEW ON HELL
2.1 ORIGIN OF THE WORD HELL
“Etymologically, hell is a “hidden place.” It goes back ultimately to Indo-European kel- “cover, hide,” which has contributed an extraordinary number of words to English, including apocalypse, cell, cellar, conceal, helmet, hull, pod, occult, and possibly colour and holster. Its Germanic descendant was *khel-. *khal-, who derivatives included *khallo and *khaljo. The first became modern English hall, the second modern English hell – so both hall and hell were originally ‘concealed or covered places,’ although in very different ways: the hall with a roof, hell with at least six feet of earth.” (from Dictionary of Word Origins, John Ayto)
Quick Facts – A Review Of Hell And Hellfire
Hell (sheol, hades) is the state of the dead, for both the good and the bad (Ps. 49: 12-15).
Hell (sheol, hades) is the state of total corruption where life is suspended until the resurrection. We are resurrected from the GRAVE, not from heaven or hellfire (Hosea 13:14; 1Thess. 4:16; John 5:28-29; 1Cor. 15:51-52). Yahshua died and was placed in hell (hades, the grave) for our sakes (Isa. 53:9; Acts 2:27; 1Cor. 15:20). He arose from the DEAD, not from hellfire (1Cor. 15:12).
The dead of all the ages, both good and bad, are still in the grave (Deut. 31:16; John 5:28-29; Ps. 9:17; 139:8; Acts 2:34; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:13).
“Bodies” will be changed to spirit only at the resurrection. Hell – the grave — will be emptied at judgement day, never to exist again (Rev. 20:14).
Neither demons nor Satan exists in hell (hades, sheol); the fallen angels are destined for tartaroo (2Pet. 2:4), and Satan and the wicked will be put in the lake of fire to be DESTROYED (Rev. 20:10, 15; Mal. 4:1; Heb. 2:14).
The lake of fire is the cleansing fire at the end of the age (Rev. 20:14).
The fact that Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of “eternal fire” shows that the RESULTS are eternal, not the fire, because the fire is not still burning today.
2.2 WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT HADES AND HELL FIRE?
Here is one very hot topic that would be one of the most misunderstood in scripture. So many people in the past have turned their back on God because they concluded that He must be some evil tyrant that would burn the wicked in hell for all eternity. And yet most people in the world today would not do what so many think God is going to do. That would make our God less loving than us and yet He gave His only son to save the world. Some of the greatest theological confusion centres around the biblical topic of Hades and hell fire. As always, the truth can only be found in the Bible.
2.3 THE VIEWS OF SOME AUTHORS ON BIBLICAL REFERENCES TO HELL
The word Hell in the Bible
The word “hell” is found 54 times in the King James Bible. It is translated from several different words with various meanings as indicated below:
In the Old Testament:
31 times from the Hebrew “Sheol,” which means “the grave”
In the New Testament:
10 times from the Greek “Hades,” which means “the grave.” 12 times from the Greek “Gehenna,” which means “a place of burning.” 1 time from the Greek “Tartarus,” which means “a place of darkness”
“Tartarus” is used once, in 2 Peter 2:4, and means “a place of darkness or restraint.” “Tartarus” is where Satan and his demons reside now. It isn’t a place of punishment or flames.
“Gehenna” means a place of fire, brimstone, and punishment (see Matthew 5:29-30, described in Matthew 13:40-42 and 2 Peter 3:7.) Note these flames are still in the future at the end of the world.
“Hades” means “the grave” (Acts 2:31; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 20:14). The body of Jesus rested there and His saints are resting there now awaiting the resurrection.
The Greek word “Hades” is translated as “Hell” in many English Bibles such as the King James Version. In Revelation 6:8, the King James Version refers to “Death and Hell.” It does the same in Revelation 20:14. Yet some English Bibles use the word “Hades” itself, such as the New International Version, which translates both Revelation 6:8 and 20:14 as “Death, and Hades.” Now here is the point; In Revelation 20:14 “Hades” is eventually “cast into the lake of fire.” So as you can therefore see, “Hades” itself is not a fiery place, but is cast into “the lake of fire.” So Biblically speaking, Hades means the grave. This is easy to prove from 1 Corinthians 15:55, which in the King James Version states, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave [Hades], where is thy victory?” If you look in the Strong’s dictionary, you will find that the Greek word here translated “grave” is “Hades.” By looking at the context, it is obvious that it means “the grave” because it is God’s saints who rise out of “Hades” when Jesus Christ returns. See 1 Corinthians 15:50-55. Therefore, “Hades” cannot mean a place of burning, for who can imagine God’s people writhing in flames as they await the resurrection? That would be absolutely ludicrous! Additional proof this word means “the grave” is the fact that “Hades” was the place Christ’s body rested right after His death. Acts 2:31 reads, “His [Christ’s] soul was not left in hell [Hades] neither [did] his flesh see corruption.” (Italics added.)
Does Hell burn forever?
To discover the real truth about hell fire, we must accept what the Bible says above the opinions of men. That said, this subject requires close examination for some texts appear contradictory. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ warned that unsaved sinners will enter “the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Many read this and say, “The lost will sizzle forever. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise.” But in John 3:16 Jesus also declared, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” So which is it? Will the damned roast eternally in “everlasting fire” or finally “perish,” and thus cease to exist?
Revelation 20:9 says, “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” This verse describes the “actual event” of hell fire and is NOT symbolic, and like John 3:16, it declares that the wicked will be devoured and perish, yet the very next verse appears to totally contradict which says, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Note that this verse has symbolism and says that “the devil” and “the beast” (beast is symbolic) will “be tormented … forever” in the lake of fire. But Ezekiel chapter 28 reveals a totally different picture. While initially discussing the ancient “king of Tyre” (Ezekiel 28:12), God’s prophet then looks behind the scenes and identifies Lucifer himself, “the anointed cherub” (verse 14), who inhabited “Eden the garden of God” (verse 13), and who was originally “perfect in [his] ways from the day [he] was created,” until “iniquity was found in [him]” (verse 15) Moving on to Satan’s final fate, God declares, “I bring forth a fire from the midst of you, it shall devour you, and I will bring you to ASHES upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you… You have become a horror, and shall be no more forever” (verses 18 and 19.) So which is it? Will Satan be “tormented day and night” throughout endless ages, or will he become “ashes” and “be no more forever”?
The Bible DOES NOT contradict itself. These are only APPARENT contradictions. The solution is to examine what the whole Bible says about the fate of the lost, discover its overall teaching, and then to closely analyse the difficult verses until you understand them correctly. Once you do, you will find that everything fits and makes perfect sense and that God is NOT an unmerciful tyrant that tortures the lost forever.
First we will look at a breakdown of all the relevant verses and passages and conclude with a summary.
2.4 HELL FIRE IS REAL
Matthew 13:42 Jesus Christ said the lost will finally be cast “into a furnace of fire.” Matthew 3:12 John the Baptist said the lost will end up in “unquenchable fire.”
Punishment for Sin and “Hell” Is Future – Not Now
Matthew 13:40 “As the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of this world.” Matthew 25:41 Jesus Christ sends the lost into the fire after His Second Coming.2 Peter 2:9 God will “reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” Revelation 20:11-13 The day of judgment occurs at the end of the 1000 years. Revelation 20:5a, 13-15 The “lake of fire” occurs at the end of the 1000 years.
The Final Hell Fire Will Be On Planet Earth
2 Peter 3:7 “The heavens and the earth which are now … are reserved unto fire.”
2 Peter 3:10 “The earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
Revelation 20:8-9 At the end of the 1000 years, “They [the lost] went up on the breadth of the earth … and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.”
Hell Will Totally Destroy All the Wicked, Even Satan!
Psalms 37:20 “The wicked shall perish … they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” Psalms 37:38 “Transgressors will be destroyed together.”
Ezekiel 28:15, 18-19 Even Satan will become “ashes” on the “earth” as a result of the fire. Malachi 4:1, 3 The “day cometh” when the lost “burn up” and become “ashes.”
John 3:16 Those who are lost will “perish.”
Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is “death,” not eternal life burning in hell.
Matthew 3:12 “Unquenchable fire” will totally “burn up” the wicked.
Matthew 10:28 “Fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Revelation 21:8; 20:14 “The lake of fire … is the second death.”
Even The Lake of Fire Will “Pass Away”
Revelation 20:7-9 At the end of the 1000 years, the lost are “the earth.” Revelation 20:9 God’s fire falls on them, and they are “devoured.”
Revelation 20:14-15 The earth becomes one big “lake of fire” as God purifies it from sin. The lost suffer the “second death” in that lake.Revelation 21:1 Then there is a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth (where the lake of fire was) has passed away.Revelation 21:4 In the New Earth, there will be no more pain, suffering, sorrow, or death. Note: If the lake of fire burned forever, there would always be pain and sorrow somewhere in the universe and Revelation 21:4 could never come true. But it is true. Sin will be gone forever and pain will cease to exist throughout God’s entire universe!
Where Did The Doctrine Of Eternal Burning Originate?
Genesis 3:4 The doctrine of souls burning forever is rooted in the idea that “the soul can’t die.” That idea originated with the serpent who told Eve that if she sinned, she would “not surely die.” But God said she would die (Genesis 2:16-17). God of course told the truth.
- Corinthians 15:51-55 Only true Christians receive “immortality” at the Second Coming.
- Timothy 6:16 God “alone has immortality.”
Revelation 20:11-15 The lost finally suffer the “second death” at the end of the 1000 years.
The Character and Justice of God Will Be Vindicated
1 John 4:8 “God is love.” He is not a tyrant who will burn people forever. Revelation 20:13 Each person will be judged fairly, “according to his works.” Revelation 20:14-15 After God’s just judgment, the lost will suffer the “second death.”
Revelation 15:3 Then the universe will say of God, “Just and true are Your ways, 0 King of the saints!” And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, And there shall be no more death, neither sorry, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things [including the lake of fire] have passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.” And he said to me, “Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:4-5
So far we have discovered Bible passages which teach that the lost, instead of consciously suffering in fiery flames throughout eternity, will “burn up” (Malachi 4:1), become “ashes” (Malachi 4:3), “perish” (John 3:16), “consume away” (Psalms 37:20), and finally suffer “the second death” (Revelation 20:14) at the end of the world. But what about other passages describing “eternal fire” (Jude 1:7) and “torment day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10)? It’s time to closely examine these latter verses, comparing Scripture with Scripture.
Luke 16:19-31 – The Rich Man And Lazarus?
Special Note: This is the only place in the entire New Testament that seems to teach the doctrine of lost souls descending into fire at the moment of death. Shockingly, this concept is not taught anywhere in the writings of Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter, or Paul. A careful analysis of the Luke 16:19-31 reveals it is actually a parable which, while teaching many powerful truths, is not meant to be taken literally in every detail.
Luke 16:19 “There was a certain rich man.” This is exactly the way Jesus often started His parables (see Luke 12:16; 13:6; 14:16; 15:11; 16:1; 19:11-12; 20:9 (KJV). Is it possible for anyone who is literally burning in fire to carry on a normal and rational conversation? Luke 16:22 The beggar went “to Abraham’s bosom.” Did he enter his chest? This is obviously symbolic and not possible as Christ described. Luke 16:23 Can the “lost” and the “saved” literally see and talk to each other? Would heaven be enjoyed if it involved watching people we loved suffer like this. What if it was a son or daughter or a mother or father, could that person even for a moment enjoy there stay in heaven seeing this every day?
Luke 16:24 The rich man is described not as a “disembodied soul,” but rather as “in the body” with eyes, mouth and a tongue, etc. Hence this is symbolic. If you dug up a real rich man’s grave, wouldn’t his body be there? Of course!
Luke 16:24 Can a tiny drop of water on a tormented man’s tongue bring real comfort? A real burning man would not request just a drop of water, which would also not survive the flames to get to his tongue.
The context of this parable reveals Jesus Christ was talking to the Pharisees who were “lovers of money” and who “derided him” with their tongues (verse 14). The reason why Jesus spoke of the rich man asking for water on his tongue was to teach the Pharisees that their “tongues” were going to lead them into hell-fire. These Pharisees also believed riches were a sign of God’s favour while poverty represented His curse. Jesus exposed this false theory. The story also counteracts the idea of a second chance after death. At death there is “a great gulf fixed” (verse 26) which cannot be bridged. Our destiny will be decided by our decisions in this life. Many want to see a miracle before they will believe. Jesus said, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” (verse 31). Why did Jesus use the name Lazarus? This story was a prophecy. Jesus did raise a real man named Lazarus (John 11), yet the Pharisees were not convinced and chose to “put Him to death.” John 11:53.
Revelation 20:10 – “Tormented … Forever”?
Revelation 20:9 says the lost are “devoured” by the fire that “came down from God out of heaven” at the end of the 1000 years. Yet then verse 10 speaks of “torment” forever. Which is it? If you look closely, verse 9 uses no symbolism, yet verse 10 does. Verse 9 is a literal account of what happens to the lost, while verse 10 speaks symbolically of the “beast.” In fact, every time the book of Revelation speaks of the lost burning “forever,” those verses are ALWAYS connected with symbolism (see Revelation 14:11 and 19:3). And the word “forever” in this verse does not have to translate forever. Considering the many misunderstandings we have already seen, did the translators get it right? The Greek word used “forever” in this verse is aion – Meaning literally “unto the ages of the ages.” “An unbroken age,” “perpetuity of time,” “eternity,” “period of time,” “age.” 57 times the word is used for a period of time that comes to an end. Jonah was in the fish “forever” before he came out (see Jonah 2:6). Samuel’s mother wanted him to serve God in the temple “forever” which really meant “as long as he lives.” 1 Samuel 1:22, 28.
Revelation 14:11 – “The smoke of their torment”?
Revelation 14:11 says, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:” At least half of the verses in Revelation are taken from the Old Testament and so many verses need to be looked at in the light of all other scripture. The verse says it is the “smoke of their torment” that ascends forever and this is actually drawn from Isaiah 34:10 where the desolation of Edom is described. Isaiah 34:10 “It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.” It can be plainly seen that Isaiah did not envisage unending fires from the fact that following the conflagration in which he says, “The smoke thereof shall go up for ever,” the country becomes a desolate waste inhabited by wild beasts. (v 10–15)
Jude 1:7 – “Eternal Fire”?
In Jude 1:7, the city of Sodom is described as being destroyed by “eternal fire.” Is Sodom burning today? No. Therefore the “eternal fire” has gone out. The phrase, “eternal fire,” means it was a fire from God with eternal consequences. It was “unquenchable” by man (see Matthew 3:12; Jeremiah 17:27; Isaiah 66:24). The destruction of Sodom was also an “example” of what will happen to the wicked at the end. According to the Bible, God’s eternal fire turned Sodom into “ashes” (2 Peter 2:6) “in a moment.” Lamentations 4:6. This is similar to what will happen to all the lost at the end of the 1000 years when they are cast into the lake of fire, “which is the second death.” Revelation 20:14.
Matthew 25:46 – “Everlasting Punishment”?
Jesus warned that He will someday declare to lost sinners, “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” Matthew 25:41. Is this fire the same type of fire mentioned in Jude 1:7, which is one that destroys completely? We know it is because five verses later Jesus clarified that “everlasting punishment” would come upon the lost, not “everlasting punishing.” This is the same as “everlasting destruction” 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Matthew 25:46 contrasts everlasting punishment with “eternal life” which is given only to those who believe in Jesus. John 3:16; 1 John 5:12. The wicked will not live forever, but will finally die the “second death.” Revelation 20:14. See also Ezekiel 18:4. Hence we can see that the lost experience “everlasting punishment,” not punishing, just like the Sodomites.
“Behold, the day is coming, that will burn as an oven.
And all the proud, yes, and all who do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that is coming shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, That it shall leave them neither root nor branch. Malachi 4:1
Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
The above verse refers to the time when a new Heaven and Earth are created, which takes place after the millennium at which time judgement and the lake of fire occurs. So just prior to this the wicked have just been burnt up or by some people’s misunderstanding of this topic, the eternal burning of the wicked has just commenced. How will this eternal burning be? God would have to make the wicked immortal, so that they could burn and burn, but never burn up. If a person was burning in the excruciating pain of fire how long would it take before they would pass out from shock, or would God make it so they couldn’t pass out from shock so that they could be suffering excruciating pain for every second of every minute of every hour for billions of years, and even then their suffering would be barely beginning. Since some believe this is for all eternity then a trillion years would not even be a microscopic spec on the time scale. Would you consider it just and merciful punishment to have your loved one burn for all eternity like this in horrendous never ending excruciating pain just because they chose not to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour? Take into account that they never deliberately wronged anyone and if they ever accidentally did, they repented and apologised and asked for forgiveness? In other words they did the best they could to live a sin free life and love others with all their heart, might and soul as the Bible teaches we should.
If it was at all possible for this person to live a sin free life they would have, but since the fall of Adam and Eve we have taken on their sinful nature and so now there is only One that is perfect. I don’t believe that anyone would consider even for a moment that for ever burning in excruciating pain is just and merciful punishment. The question is: Is anyone on the face of this planet more just and merciful than God, who is Himself love? The following scriptures are just a few of hundreds that could be quoted to answer this.
1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knows not God; for God is love.”
Nehemiah 9:31 “Nevertheless for your great mercies’ sake you did not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for you are a gracious and merciful God.”
Ephesians 2:4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”
Psalms 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
Psalms 136:26 “O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
Now let’s consider this dearly loved family member again. This is where human feelings unavoidably come into the equation. Is it humanly possible for us to now go through eternity with “neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:” (Revelation 21:4) I personally would find this utterly impossible to do knowing that every second of my eternal existence that my loved one is burning in agonizing pain. How can there be “no more pain” if all these people are burning in the unbearable pain of hell fire? Also, the latter part of Revelation 21:4 says, “for the former things are passed away.” How can they be all passed away if they are still burning and burning and forever burning, but never burning up?
There have been many people through history who have chosen to reject God and Christianity as they claimed they did not want anything to do with a God who could be so cold, cruel and heartless in His punishment. They cannot accept the thought of eternal punishing even for the smallest of crimes just.
Which of the following pair of scriptures is correct? Note very significantly also, that the true meaning of the Greek word for “perish” (apollumi) in John 3:16. The Strong’s Dictionary says the word means to “destroy fully” (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: – destroy, die, lose, perish.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not have everlasting life in hell, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is eternal life in hell; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The following verse is extremely significant as firstly it says Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of “eternal fire” and secondly, we are told this is “an example” of what is going to happen in the end. Did you hear the media reports about Sodom and Gomorrah being a tourist attraction because they are still burning? No, neither did I. That is because Sodom and Gomorrah are not burning today. So why does it say they are burning with eternal fire? Clearly this eternal fire is NOT forever and neither is hell.
Jude 1:7 “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
In the following two verses Jesus gives an example of hell and what is meant by eternal fire. Three times in this chapter we are told that the fire will not be quenched, i.e., it will not be extinguished and will burn until everything is burned up. There are fifty seven things in the Old Testament that were said to last forever but have all ended. Forever in these cases was for as long as those things should last. Forever for fire is as long as fire lasts, which is when it has burned itself out. This is consistent with other scripture.
Mark 9:43-44 “And if your hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell [gehenna], into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
So what is the example of hell fire we are given with Sodom and Gomorrah and what was the final result?
2 Peter 2:6 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ASHES condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.”
Fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them with eternal fire, that is, they burnt until they were totally devoured and nothing was left but ASHES. When something is devoured it is gone. Have you ever devoured a piece of chocolate cake? What was left? Keeping this in mind, the next verse describes the final and ACTUAL event that happens after the judgement when the unsaved are burnt in the lake of fire. This next verse is NOT symbolic and alone describes the real truth about the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:9 “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”
We are told that Sodom and Gomorrah are an example of hell and as we can see from the above verse, it is indeed a perfect example and the lake of fire is exactly the same situation, except everything on earth is totally burnt up except for the saints who are safe in the “beloved city” of the New Jerusalem.
With Sodom and Gomorrah, fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them, and with the lake of fire, fire also comes down out of heaven and devours them. Exactly the same thing! We are told that after the eternal fire burns Sodom and Gomorrah, only ashes are left. So what is left if the wicked are devoured in the lake of fire and this is the perfect example? The same as what was left after Sodom and Gomorrah. Ashes! This is undoubtedly confirmed by Malachi 4:1-3 which informs us that the wicked are totally devoured in hell fire that is not quenched and burns until there is nothing left but ashes.
Malachi 4:1-3 “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. … And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.”
The truth about Hades and hell is indeed a very hot topic and one that is grossly misunderstood. I am not surprised that so many struggle here, especially if one puts all their emphasis on one of the symbolic verses that say forever burning, or eternal fire as it says in Jude 1:7 speaking of Sodom and Gomorrah.
When one truly searches for the truth with an open mind, one will find that in fact eternal fire is fire that burns forever in the sense that it is not quenched and so the results of the fire are eternal. We are told that the unsaved are in fact devoured, and that they are ashes under the soles of our feet.
The Bible does not contradict itself. We do indeed serve a merciful God that burns the wicked only according to his or her works and both body and soul are destroyed in hell. Matthew 10:28. In regards to the example of the loved one that lived a righteous life but did not get around to accepting Christ, they would be burned in an instant. If all the wicked burned forever then there would be no point in judging them on their works as to what the consequences would be, as burning forever would be the same for all.
Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
So the truth about hell is that the unsaved are judged and fire comes down from heaven and devours them in times according to their works and they shall then be ashes under the soles of our feet. I feel so blessed to know that God is far more merciful and loving than us and His justice is in fact just and fair.
THE CONCEPT OF MAN’S IMMORTALITY
3.1 BUT ARE HUMAN BEINGS IMMORTAL?
Any examination of the traditional heaven-hell concept must first establish whether we humans have souls that continue on living after out physical bodies die. If not, then the point about going to either heaven or hell right after death is moot.
The teaching that the “saved” go to heaven while those who are not saved go to hell (or purgatory) at death is based on the concept of an immortal soul. It is rooted in what Satan told Eve, that contrary to what Yahweh had warned, she would not surely die if she partook of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:3-4). Thus the first-ever lie, told by Satan himself, has been embellished by pagan beliefs and customs and preserved to our day through traditional teachings.
Nowhere is this more evident than in our doctrine of eternal hell fire as the immediate and everlasting fate of the wicked at death. Satan’s tale is embraced, while what Yahweh had said – that all life stops at death – is ignored. Satan is therefore called a liar and murderer from the beginning, John 8:44.
Rather than accept death as the cessation of life, people choose to believe that a part of our being, known as the soul (conceived as the real “us”), leaves the body, goes to heaven or hell, and becomes more alive than ever. They believe that this conscious, immortal soul is like a spirit and can move around freely outside the body, completely unhindered by physical limitations.
How this soul-spirit can suffer agony in a physical hell fire is not explained. Obviously it would first have to be reunited with a physical body in order to experience pain in fiery flames. And if physical, it would almost instantly be destroyed in those flames, not continue to exist forever.
The word “immortal” occurs only once in the Bible, 1 Timothy 1:17, in reference only to the King of the universe. The word “immortality” is found five times, referring either to Yahweh.
Himself or to a condition man must seek and “put on.” We do not already have immortality residing within us. (These five places are: Rom. 2:7, 1Cor. 15:53, 54; 1Tim. 6:16; 2Tim. 1:10.) Nowhere in the Bible are the words “immortal” and “soul” found together – that is, neither the expression nor the idea of an “immortal soul” exists anywhere in Scripture.
3.2 THE SPIRIT (BREATH) IN MAN
The Bible does teach, however that we are a fleshly, living body. We have a spirit within us. In the Hebrew this spirit is called the ruach or neshamah, meaning breath of life. It is the life-force that brings us life and makes us who we are. The spirit relates to our mind, our attitude, our thinking, our ambitions, our inclinations, and our hopes. Our attitude determines whether we are “low in spirit” or “high spirited.”
In death this spirit or life-force goes back to Yahweh. “Then shall the dust [the physical body] return to earth as it was; and the spirit [ruach] shall return unto Elohim who gave it,” Ecclesiastes 12:7. The corresponding Greek word for spirit in the New Testament is pneuma, from which we get words like “pneumatic” and “pneumonia,” relating to air or breath.
Notice what The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says about pneuma or spirit in the New Testament (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance No. 4151): “A movement of air, (gentle) blast; the vital principle by which the body is animated. To breathe out the spirit, to expire” (p. 520).
New Testament usages of pneuma (spirit) include references to Elohim (John 4:24); Messiah (2 Cor. 3:17); the character expressed by actions (Rom. 8:15), and expression of the whole person (Luke 1:47).
3.3 SOUL MEANS BASIC LIFE ITSELF
Aside from the body and spirit, Scripture also talks about soul. “And the very Elohim of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray Elohim your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Sovereign Yahshua the Messiah” (1 Thess. 5:23. See also Heb. 4:12). The soul is our living, breathing self. We often speak of a ship sinking and a number of “souls” lost.
The word “soul” is nephesh in the Hebrew [Strong’s Concordance No. 5315], properly meaning an air-breathing creature. It includes the animals. Nephesh is better understood as life and should be so translated. Nowhere does the Bible say a soul is immortal; nowhere do we find that the soul is a separate entity that continues to live forever either separated from or as another being inside a person, an animal or an insect. Neither do we find that the soul cannot die. In fact just the opposite is true, a soul (life) can indeed die or cease to exist. Notice:
“Behold, all souls [nephesh] are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4)
Nowhere does the Bible say a soul is immortal; nowhere do we find that the soul is a separate entity that continues to live forever. Notice also verse 20: “The soul [nephesh] that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezek. 18:20).
The Savior Yahshua expounded further, showing that the same life that animates the body can be restored again: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [gehenna] (Matt. 10:28). (More later on what “gehenna” is.)
Even in our English the noun “soul” is used for life, not a separately existing life entity. Soul is defined by The New Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenuis in these ways: “That which breathes, the breathing substance or being; the nephesh becomes a living being; a living being whose life resides in the blood; the nephesh as the essential of man stands for the man himself,” pp. 659-660.
Yahweh can put life into a dead body, as He did with Adam, forcing air (spirit) into his lungs (neshamah, No. 5397, breath of life; vital breath), and raise dead bodies from the grave. Thus, He will restore life at Yahshua’s return. If He does not raise the dead, and they continue to remain in the grave, they are considered destroyed and deceased. Therefore the sentient being, the life (the nephesh – air-breathing creature) is destroyed.
The distinction between soul and spirit is brought out in Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: “Generally speaking the spirit is the higher, the soul is the lower element. The spirit may be recognized as the life principle bestowed on man by [Yahweh], the soul as the resulting life constituted in the individual, the body being the material organism animated by the soul and spirit…” (p. 54, “Psuche”).
THE DEAD, RESSURRECTION AND HELL
4.1 BOTH GOOD AND BAD GO TO HELL (SHEOL, HADES)
The Bible says “the dead know not anything” and “the dead praise not Yahweh.” Upon death everyone goes to sheol [hell], according to the Bible, both the good and the bad. Jacob knew that he would go to “sheol” mourning for his son: “And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will do down into the grave [sheol] unto my son mourning…” (Gen, 37:35b). “It shall come to pass, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and your servants shall bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave” [sheol] (Gen. 44:31).
The Psalmist says the wicked go to THE GRAVE at death, not to hell fire: “Let me not be ashamed, O Yahweh; for I have called upon you: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave” [sheol] (Ps. 31:17).
4.2 EXAMPLES OF RESURRECTION FROM THE GRAVE
David knew where he was at death, and it was not heaven. Notice: “Nevertheless man being in honour abides not: he is like the beasts that perish…like sheep they are laid in the grave [sheol]…and their beauty shall consume in the grave [sheol]…But Elohim will redeem my soul [David] from the power of the grave [sheol]…” (Ps. 49:12-15).
Yahweh promises that Ephraim (Israel) will be resurrected from sheol: “I will ransom them [Israel] from the power of the grave [sheol]; I will redeem them from death…O grave [sheol], I will be your destruction…” (Hos. 13:14).
The Savior Himself tells of the coming resurrection, both those who have done good and those who have done evil. Notice, He speaks of those who are buried and in their graves here on earth. There is no hint of any who are in heaven returning to get into their resurrected, glorified bodies:
“Marvel not at this: for the hour in coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).
Yahshua plainly says it is those IN THE GRAVES who “hear His voice,” who shall come forth, He does not call them from heaven or even hell. The bodies are in the grave, remaining there until the resurrection at the return of Yahshua when they are given the breath of life or ruach and come up out of the graves.
In the Book of Revelation we learn that one group (the saints) will be resurrected when Yahshua returns, and still another resurrection will take place a thousand years later:
“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such a second death has no power, but they shall be priests of Yahweh and of Messiah, and shall reign with him
- thousand years” Revelation 20:5-6.
Yahshua resurrected Lazarus from the grave. Lazarus came forth from the grave, not down from heaven: “And when He thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Yahshua said unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:43-44).
The Old Testament says David is in the grave asleep in death with his fathers: “And when your days be fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers…” (2Sam. 7:12).
David prayed for Yahshua’s return when his soul (life) would be delivered at the resurrection: “Return, O Yahweh, deliver my soul: O, save me for your mercies sake. For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?” (Ps. 6:4-5).
Job knew that he would remain in the grave until the time of Yahshua’s presence, when Yahweh will destroy those who destroy the earth. Then comes the resurrection when Job (along with the saints) will be changed and only then made immortal:
“O that you would hide me in the grave (sheol), that you would keep me secret, until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live [again]? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. You shall call, and I will answer you: you will have a desire to the work of your hands.” (Job 14:13-15)
Both the wicked and the saints go to the grave at death. Both are buried and unconscious until the resurrection. The Bible calls it a sleep of death. Man does not have an immortal soul: “The wicked shall be turned into hell (sheol), and all the nations that forget Elohim” (Ps. 9:17).
4.2 THE DEAD – GOOD AND BAD – ARE ASLEEP
The Bible does not differentiate between the righteous and wicked at death, for both are asleep and buried as we see from both the Old and New Testaments: “Saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:4).
“Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of chronicles of the kings of Judah? And Manasseh slept with his father, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead” (2Kings 21:17-18).
Yahshua referred to the death of Lazarus as a sleep: “These things said he: and after that he said unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Master, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Yahshua spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Yahshua unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead” (John 11:11-14).
The Apostle Paul spoke of the dead as those who are asleep: “But I would not have you be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others have no hope. For if we believe that Yahshua died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Yahshua will Elohim bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of Yahweh, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of Yahshua shall not prevent them which are asleep. For Yahshua himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first” 1Thessalonians 4:13-16.
Paul says that as certain as Yahshua arose from the dead, so will those believers asleep in Him be resurrected: “for if the dead rise not, then is not Messiah raised: And if Messiah be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Messiah are perished” (1Cor. 15:16-18). Yahshua was raised ek nekron in the Greek, meaning “out from among the dead,” Romans 6:4,9 (also see Isa. 53:9).
Because of King Josiah’s goodness, Yahweh’s wrath is withheld until after Josiah dies. From THE GRAVE he will not be aware of what Yahweh’s wrath brings upon the people: “Behold therefore, I will gather you unto your fathers, and you shall be gathered into your grave [sheol] in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again” (2Kings 22:20).
Yahweh redeems the dead from the power of the grave (by raising them from the dead). He does not deliver them from eternal torture or everlasting punishing. In the grave there is no activity. The life (soul) is in the sleep of death to be awakened by Yahshua’s return.
4.3 BODIES DECAY IN HELL
Isaiah says Yahshua “poured out His soul unto death,” 53:10-12. But His soul (His life, His being) was not left in hell: “For you will not leave my soul in hell; neither will you suffer you Holy One to see corruption” (Ps. 16:10). See Acts 2:31.
Before decay could set in, Yahshua was resurrected on the third day and came forth with a changed spirit body whereby He could become flesh and bone at will, or become spirit and be invisible. This glorified body is also promised to us, 1Corinthians 15:51-52.
Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabridged under “Hell” says: “from helan, to cover, conceal.” Our word hell simply meant to hide or to cover – helling potatoes did not mean to roast them, but to put them in a pit! The word hell was therefore properly used as the secret or hidden condition of death, and has no reference whatever to a place of torture until that meaning was applied to it by misguided theologians of the Dark Ages. The translators were influenced by the pagan concept that a soul was immortal and hell was a place of ongoing, continuous, burning agony and torture.
According to the Bible, hell (sheol and hades) means the unconscious, oblivious condition of death, where all souls, both good and bad, go upon dying. Only the awakening or resurrection by Yahweh from death can result in everlasting life.
Adam was told by Yahweh that the penalty of his sin was “you shall surely die [cease to live].” Adam was told that because he had eaten the forbidden fruit that he would live forever in the torture of hell fire. (The Hebrew reads, “dying, you shall die,” meaning the process of death would begin.
If the penalty for the sin of Adam and his race had been eternal torment in an ever-burning hell, Yahshua would have had to suffer an eternity of torture to pay the penalty for our sin. But the Bible says, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Yahshua died for our sins (Rom. 5:8) and His death paid the redemption price for us. He was raised again that we might have everlasting life. We are given resurrection life through the Savior, the Way, the Truth and the Life, John 14:6.
4.4 DANTE’S DELUSIONS
In his epic poem, The Divine Comedy, medieval Italian poet Dante Aligheri gave his view of hell. Influenced by Greek and pagan mysticism, Dante’s unscriptural notions of Satan, eternal hellfire, and everlasting suffering are the basis for popular beliefs today.
Heathen, Fanciful Notions of Hell
As we have seen, the Hebrew sheol simply means “the unseen state” applied to the dead. The word “hell” in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew sheol. All who die in the Old Testament go to sheol, whether or not their remains are interred in a keber or keburah (also qeber or qeburah), meaning grave.
The New Testament Greek has three words translated “hell”: hades, gehenna, and tartaroo. The latter tartaroo, deals with the spirit realm, and appears only in Peter’s writings, which we will examine later.
When it comes to popular notions, the Encyclopedia Americana gives us some intriguing insight: “While there are many and significant variations of detail, the main features of hell as conceived by Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, Grecian, Hebrew and Christian theologians are essentially the same.” The Grolier Universal Encyclopedia (1965 ed., Vol 5, p. 205) notes, “Hindus and Buddhists regard hell as a place of spiritual cleansing and final restoration. Islamic tradition considers it a place of everlasting punishment.
Their concepts conditioned by pagan teachings, both Dante in his epic poem, The Divine Comedy, and Milton in Paradise Lost influenced the translators’ perception of sheol, hades, and gehenna. Those translating the Bible into English mistook Yahshua’s words as describing horrors found in pagan lore and myth. The Bible nowhere projects an image of sheol, or hades as a place of burning fire. Nor are Satan and his demons pictured as having their abode in either sheol or hades. Such is mere human superstition.
The translators of the New Testament did not differentiate between the Greek words hades and gehenna, which brings confusion. Hades is the Greek counterpart of the Hebrew sheol and is used in the New Testament quotations of the Hebrew sheol. In the Koine (common) Greek we are told it means “the underworld” or the “unseen world.”
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
It would normally be considered bad practice to take into account feelings when it comes to studying the Word of God, however there is one area involved in this topic where feelings cannot be avoided. It is however revealed in this present study that Hell Fire Is Real according to Matthew 13:42 and Matthew 3:12 John the Baptist said the lost will end up in “unquenchable fire.” Also there is Punishment for Sin and “Hell” Is Future – Not Now according to Matthew 13:40, Matthew 25:41, 2 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 20:11-13. Although a school of thought opined that the final Hell fire will be on planet earth (2 Peter 3:7, 2 Peter 3:10). It is also revealed that hell will totally destroy all the wicked, even Satan! (Psalms 37:20, Psalms 37:38) and even Satan will become “ashes” on the “earth” as a result of the fire. It is also reported that the the lake of fire will pass away Ezekiel 28:15, 18-19.
The doctrine of eternal burning originated and rooted in the idea that “the soul can’t die.” That idea originated with the serpent who told Eve that if she sinned, she would “not surely die.” But God said she would die (Genesis 2:16-17). God of course told the truth. Also Corinthians 15:51-55 establishes that only true Christians receive “immortality” at the Second Coming.
Some authors opined that “God is love.” And He is not a tyrant who will burn people forever that each person will be judged fairly, “according to his works.”
Using the book of Revelation 15:3 and 21:4-5, Some authors believed they have discovered Bible passages which teach that the lost, instead of consciously suffering in fiery flames throughout eternity, will “burn up” (Malachi 4:1), become “ashes” (Malachi 4:3), “perish” (John 3:16), “consume away” (Psalms 37:20), and finally suffer “the second death” (Revelation 20:14) at the end of the world. But what about other passages describing “eternal fire” (Jude 1:7) and “torment day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10)? After closely examining scriptural verses, comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is convenient to present the fact that
Hell exist with its fire
Heaven exist with its bliss
Hell fire is eternal and heaven is eternal
The just and the righteous shall be led to heaven why the wicked shall have their path in lake of fire that burns with brimstone and sulphur.
The researcher of the present study hereby recommends as follows:
- Since God is not wicked, he has shown to man life and death, it is advisable that every right thinking person should choose life
- Every on should choose life through Jesus Christ
- All should live a holy life till death
- The Church and individual believer should spread the truth abou heaven and hell
© 2007 Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua 2963 County Road 233, Kingdom City, Missouri 65262
www.YAIY.org Call Toll Free: (877) 642-4101
Center of Christian Ethics at Baylor University
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