July 18, 2009

The Biblical Truth About Hell: Part 1

I'm feeling ready to dive right into this, so I'm going to begin. If you haven't yet, please read my introduction to this study, it lays the groundwork for everything I want to accomplish with this.

The first step I took in my study of hell was to download a program called "e-Sword." You can download it for free here. It is simply a Bible study tool where you can search for words and verses, and download add-ons like the original Greek and Hebrew meanings, like I have. I don't use the program for anything other than that. It has commentaries available to download, but I don't like having other people think for me.

So with e-Sword, I did a search for the word "hell." 54 verses come up. I will show you these verses and expound on their meanings. Ready? Good. :)

Before I do that, I feel that it's a good idea to list all the possible definitions of hell from the Strong's Greek and Hebrew dictionaries that I have in e-Sword. Once we have all the definitions it will be much easier to reference them to the verses I list. (Note: I do think that some of the expanded definitions take errant liberties, as we will see in this study.) The definitions will become clearer as Scripture irons things out as we go along. You'll see. Just stick with me, and read everything I have to show you.

Hell refers to a handful of different words: sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartaroo.

שׁאל שׁאול
she'ôl she'ôl
sheh-ole', sheh-ole'
From H7592; hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranian retreat), including its accessories and inmates: - grave, hell, pit.

From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1492; properly unseen, that is, “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls: - grave, hell.

Of Hebrew origin ([H1516] and [H2011]); valley of (the son of) Hinnom; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: - hell.

From Τάρταρος Tartaros̄ (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment: - cast down to hell.

With those definitions established we will dive into every single instance the word "hell" is mentioned throughout the Bible.

First it is important to note that every reference to hell in the Old Testament refers to sheol. Let's explore them.

Deuteronomy 32:
[22] For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
[23] I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
[24] They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
[25] The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
[26] I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:

What do we have here? A fire burns and devours with bitter destruction. The rememberance of those judged here will cease. Once again, hell here means sheol, the grave or pit.

2 Samuel 22:
[6] The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;

Note the context here: hell (grave, pit) is mentioned along with the snares of death. In the grave we are dead.

Job 11:
[8] It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

Again, sheol. Think about it. What makes more sense? A deep grave, or a deep burning inferno? I will show more instances of a deep pit as we explore more of Scripture in the coming posts!

Job 26:
[6] Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.

The context here also clears things up for us. The grave is naked before God, destruction can't hide. Why would destruction be combined with a word that means the grave and the pit if there is a burning inferno? Before anyone can say that destruction is an everlasting/continual event, I'll let the original Hebrew do the talking.

Intensively from H6; abstractly a perishing; concretely Hades: - destruction.

Destruction means just that. Perishing, concretely Hades, which also means the grave. Is anything destroyed that is kept alive forever? I have so many verses to back this up, please be patient.

Psalm 9
[17] The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
[18] For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

The wicked are turned into the grave. Verse 18 further explains that the poor shall not perish forever! Perish! Not burn eternally! We see another contextual instance of the grave being paired up with perishing and destruction. Let's see the Hebrew on the word perish.

A primitive root; properly to wander away, that is lose oneself; by implication to perish (causatively, destroy): - break, destroy (-uction), + not escape, fail, lose, (cause to, make) perish, spend, X and surely, take, be undone, X utterly, be void of, have no way to flee.

Does any of that sound like someone staying alive forever to burn? No. We'll see many more instances of perish as we go along as well. John 3:16 anyone? :)

Psalm 16:
[10] For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

This makes perfect sense. David is saying that the Lord will not leave him dead in the grave. He will raise him up at the last day. Want proof?

Acts 2:
[29] Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
[30] Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
[31] He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Paul even directly quotes David's Psalm! People may have a problem with this because they have fallen into another errant doctrine: the idea that souls immediately go to heaven or "hell" at death. This is a fallacy, and I would have to write another blog on it. Proving it is quite complete and lengthy, as most of my studies are turning out to be! I will show some of this proof as we study hell, because the idea of being asleep in the grave is relevant to this topic.

Notice here also that in verse 31 of Acts 2 it talks of how Christ wasn't left in hell. It is obvious here that Acts 2 parallels Psalm 16 with this. David will not be left in the grave, just as Christ has not been left there. "Hell" in Acts 2 means Hades, the grave. With these two passages looked at together, how can anyone think Hades means anything differently? Would David not be left in the grave, and Christ not be left in a burning inferno? See what I'm saying? Let's continue.

Psalm 18:
[5] The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

Same as in 2 Samuel.

Psalm 55:
[15] Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

Seeing a pattern here? Once again the context of the verse explains the meaning of hell. Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell, the grave. Death takes them! They're dead! What happens when death seizes someone? That's right, they go down quickly into the pit. Also, even if you believe in a burning inferno, nobody is judged until they are cast into the lake of fire (which is the second death, Rev. 20:14, I'll get to it). So if nobody is judged, how can anyone go down quickly into a burning inferno? This also disproves the idea of the common belief of hell.

Psalm 86:
[13] For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

God delivers us from the grave at His coming. Believers aren't in a burning hell, right? Of course not.

Psalm 116:
[3] The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
[4] Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

We see the same thing here. Death surrounds, the grave takes hold. Pay attention to the word sorrow here, we will see how it pertains to Luke 16's Lazarus passage later. Psalm 116 is even titled "Deliverance from Death" in my KJV Bible. That's an accurate title, because again in verse 4 we see the author calling upon the Lord to be delivered from it.

Psalm 139:
[8] If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

This verse is so clear that I don't even have to explain it. I hope at this point you are seeing that hell so far means the grave, and only the grave. I also hope that you are thinking about what the New Testament says regarding hell. Don't worry, we'll get there. I'm not hiding any verse in this study. Let's first finish the rest of the OT verses so we cover all the bases.

Proverbs 5:
[5] Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

Another verse linking death to hell, the grave.

Proverbs 7:
[27] Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

Same thing.

Proverbs 9:
[18] But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

And again! :) All verses connecting sheol (the grave) with death.

Proverbs 15:
[10] Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
[11] Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

Hell and destruction. Remember the definition up there?

Proverbs 15:
[24] The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

Here we see life compared to death. Keep this in mind, we will see the Master do this in the Gospels!

Proverbs 23:
[13] Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
[14] Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Death in the same context as hell again.

Proverbs 27:
[20] Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

I know this is getting repititious, but the Bible drums this into our heads! :) We have to understand this. 13 more Old Testament verses to go.

Isaiah 5:
[14] Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

The pit "opened her mouth" so to speak, to embrace the dead. They descend into it.

Isaiah 14:
[9] Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
[10] All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?
[11] Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

This is a fascinating chapter. It talks about Satan's ultimate demise, which I will cover eventually in this study! For now we see that Satan's pomp (pride) is brought down to the grave. The Bible is very clear in this. Continuing to verse 15:

[15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

The sides of the pit! There it is very clearly. Doesn't a grave have sides? Of course. It makes perfect sense.

Isaiah 28:
[15] Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

Death in context with hell.

[18] And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

Continuing on in that chapter, we see that the ones judged here are trodden down. There are other references in the Bible to the wicked being trampled, and the righteous walking on their ashes. We'll take a look at those later on.

Isaiah 57:
[9] And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.

This chapter is dealing with leaders of Israel that go against God. They are setting themselves up for the grave.

Ezekiel 31:
[16] I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.

Cast down to hell, descending into the pit. Self explanatory. The very next verse:

[17] They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.
[18] To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

Down into hell, slain with the sword. Dead in the grave.

Ezekiel 32:
[21] The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

The slain by the sword have gone down and are lying in the grave.

[27] And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

What's this saying? These mighty men are fallen, they were terrifying while they were alive, but now them and their weapons have gone to the grave. Iniquities shall be upon their bones. They are dead, and their sins ascend to God. They will be accountable at the judgment.

Amos 9:
[2] Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:

Dig into hell - would anyone dig into a burning inferno?

Jonah 2:
[2] And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

The fish swallowed Jonah up, and its belly became his grave until the Lord caused it to spit him out.

Habakkuk 2:
[5] Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:

Hell in context with death.

So that does it for every single instance of the word "hell" in the Old Testament. I hope you have read all of these verses and have asked God for understanding on them. Do you see that they all mean the grave or the pit? Does the context help explain that to you? Have my comments helped? I truly hope so!

Now let's move on to the New Testament! First I'll list all the verses in which the word "gehenna" is used, and then I will explain what that word really means.

Matthew 5:
[22] But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

[29] And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
[30] And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 10:
[28] 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.

Matthew 18:
[9] And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Matthew 23:
[15] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

[33] Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Mark 9:
[43] And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
[44] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
[45] And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
[46] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
[47] And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
[48] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Luke 12:
[5] But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

James 3:
[6] And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

Ok, that is every instance in the Bible of the word hell, translated from gehenna. Let's delve further into this, seeking an explanation of what these verses are saying from the Bible.

First, let's see the definition of gehenna again:

Of Hebrew origin ([H1516] and [H2011]); valley of (the son of) Hinnom; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: - hell.

So we see gehenna defined as a valley of Hinnom, or a valley of Jerusalem. Then we see how it is figuratively defined as a state of everlasting punishment. Is it right to assume that definition? I will show you that it isn't. I will also show you verses that coincide with gehenna being a valley.

Jeremiah 7:
[31] And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.
[32] Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.
[33] And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
[34] Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.

The valley of the son of Hinnom IS gehenna. Gehenna is flat out defined as such. Here we see that the people rebelled against God, burned sons and daughters in this valley, and in turn God will slaughter everyone in that very same valley. Their carcasses will be left to rot there. Keep that in mind, we will see more verses about that shortly.

Jeremiah 19:
[2] And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee,
[3] And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.
[4] Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;
[5] They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:
[6] Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.
[7] And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
[8] And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.

This reinforces chapter 7.

Jeremiah 32:
[35] And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
[36] And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;

Same thing here.

Joel 3:
[2] I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

[11] Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.
[12] Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
[13] Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
[14] Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
[15] The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
[16] The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

This passage is huge. Understanding this will give us very important insight into gehenna and hell in general. Joel 3 talks about the Lord's gathering of all nations for judgment. It is extremely important to notice the reference to the sun and moon being darkened, and the stars withdrawing their shining. This directly links us to what Jesus says in the Gospels about His second coming. (Matthew 24: 29 for example) There is no possible reason to think that Joel 3 is referring to a different time period! Also note the mention of the harvest, the end of the world from the Gospels.

I looked up the word Jehoshaphat here, and I'm very excited as to what I've found. I'm actually doing this part of this Bible study on the fly. I wasn't even expecting to find this!

From H3068 and H8199; Jehovah-judged; Jehoshaphat, the name of six Israelites; also of a valley near Jerusalem : - Jehoshaphat. Compare H3146.

It means Jehovah-judged! Also a valley near Jerusalem! Can this be gehenna? Yes! God's judgment is poured out in the valley of Hinnom as we see in Jeremiah. Hinnom is a valley of Jerusalem, Jehoshapat is a valley near Jerusalem. God's judgment is poured out in the valley, referred to as hell, aka gehenna!

The Lord allows the wicked to assemble in this valley of decision. The harvest is ripe - a clear reference to the wheat and the tares parable, the coming of the Lord. So we know the time frame that this is occuring. There's no other explanation otherwise. It's not some earlier judgment, this is the harvest. The press is full - this is referring to the winepress in Isaiah 5 and possibly other areas of the Bible. I'll show those verses shortly.

The day of the Lord is near the valley of decision! The day of the Lord is the day He comes back, it's all over Scripture. The Lord comes to crush the wicked in the valley of decision, gehenna. Here are more things to support this:

Isaiah 5:
[1] Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
[2] And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
[3] And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
[4] What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
[5] And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
[6] And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
[7] For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

Here is a parable the Lord gives us, connecting people to a vineyard. Jesus also speaks often about being a vine, having branches, and producing good fruit. In Isaiah we see that the Lord's vineyard produced some wild grapes, ones He didn't plan for or want. What does He do? He lays it to waste.

Oh, I want to show you more verses linking carcasses to God's judgment.

Isaiah 66:
[24] And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Also, extremely important to note in this verse: carcasses of men have worms that die not, with fires that aren't quenched. I will explain this now, and further prove it later. If these are "spiritual" worms that don't die, and if there's a fire that isn't quenched, how can we have a carcass of a man? A carcass is a dead body! The worm's don't die until they eat up the body. The fire isn't quenched until it is finished reducing the carcass to ashes. Yes, there is hell fire. It is the judgmental fire that God rains down on the wicked, consuming them in the valley of Hinnom, gehenna!

Isaiah 14:
[19] But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.

This is the fate of Satan, which I will expound on further along in this study. It's important to see here that a carcass is basically trampled upon with the feet of the righteous.

Matthew 24:
[28] For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

This is the chapter in Matthew in which Jesus talks of His second coming. The wicked are judged when he comes back, and their carcasses remain on the earth.

Jeremiah 31:
[37] Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
[38] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.
[39] And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.
[40] And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.

This passage deals with the restoration of Israel, and how a new city will be built. Verse 40 mentions the valley of the dead bodies that are reduced to ashes. The valley of decision, gehenna.

There are more verses that flesh out the idea of gehenna being the valley of God's judgment. It's hard to keep all of this organized, since a lot of verses coincide with other topics that I am going to get into. I hope at the end of the study this all fits in for you. My head is spinning a little from getting so involved in this! I hope I'm still being clear, and that the message I am putting out here is easy to see. What we see here so far though, is that every time hell fire or hell is mentioned, and is translated from gehenna, that it is a fire that rains down on the wicked in the day of the Lord, when they are assembled in the valley of Hinnom/Jehoshophat/decision/slaughter. I really hope you see this!

Ok, I feel that I have thoroughly covered gehenna at this point. If you have any questions or want to debate this (or anything I write here for that matter), please leave me a comment! Let's go on and finish up the rest of the "hell" verses in the New Testament. Next up, the translations from the word "hades."

Matthew 11:
[23] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Luke 10:
[15] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

Hell is translated from hades in these two verses. Note the same phrasing as Psalm 55:15, Isaiah 14:15, Ezekiel 31:16-17, and Ezekiel 32:27. All of them contain the words "down to hell." We have previously established that these verses are talking about going down into the grave. Jesus is talking of the same thing here.

Matthew 16:
[18] And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Again hell is hades here. The gates of the grave, pit, or death. Don't agree? I know it's natural now to picture a burning hell's gates opening or something. It's what I used to do before the Lord led me to the truth. Let's again turn to the Bible for backup.

Psalm 9:
[13] Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:

Psalm 107:
[18] Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.

Isaiah 38:
[10] I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years.

I think it is very safe to say that the gates of hell Jesus mentions in Matthew 16 are the same gates of the grave and death mentioned elsewhere. Let's continue.

Luke 16:
[23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Hell means hades here also. Since we have defined hades as the grave, we know Lazarus is not in a burning inferno. I will completely dissect the Lazarus parable in another section of this study!

Revelation 1:
[18] I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Jesus' words. He was dead, and lives again. He has the keys of hell (hades, the grave) and death. We see the same thing in this verse as many of the others: hell linked with death.

Revelation 6:
[8] And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Hell also linked with death here. Hades.

Revelation 20:
[13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
[14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
[15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Huge verses here! Death and hell delivered up the dead to be judged! Are the dead alive in a burning inferno? No! They're dead! The grave "gives them up" for judgment! What is the judgment? It's the lake of fire! What is the lake of fire? The second death! Does death have anything to do with life? No. Let's take this verse into account:

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.

Just after the judgment of the lake of fire, the second death, there is no more death, sorrow, or crying. No more pain either, they have passed away. They are no more, they're dead! How can there be no more pain or sorrow or crying if people are alive burning? How can death be finished if there are wicked people in a constant state of death, as I've heard "hell" described? The answer is that it can't be. I'll get more into all of this with my 70+ supporting verses in other parts of this study.

That's it for the hades verses. One more version of hell to look into: tartaroo. This one's easy.

2 Peter 2:
[4] For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

What is tartaroo again?

From Τάρταρος Tartaros̄ (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment: - cast down to hell.

I believe this definition is severely misleading. There has yet to be any mention of an eternal torment in the Bible, and this is no exception. Cast down to hell is more like it. Note the verse above. These sinful angels are reserved unto judgment. They're waiting for their punishment! They haven't received it yet! What is their punishment? We just saw it in Revelation: the lake of fire, the second death.

Well I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted! :) These studies always take a lot out of me. I have covered every single instance of the word hell in the Bible, and explained each verse clearly. Hell is the grave, the pit, the valley in Jerusalem, and a place for angels to be reserved for judgment. Not once is it defined as a burning inferno. There is more to uncover to elaborate and fully prove this, this is only the first part. Ultimately I will show the demise of Satan, the judgment/fate of the wicked, the mortal vs. immortal bodies, and more. I have so much information to show here that I hope I present it clearly and thoroughly.

If you've stuck with me this far, thank you very much. I want to get this message out to every single person I can! If you agree with me, excellent! Teach others, we're commanded to! If you don't agree with me, please pray about it and leave me comments as to why you don't. I will be very happy to discuss things! Granted, keep in mind I haven't fully proven this to you yet. I still have to cover smoke of their torment ascending forever, and other things that "prove" a burning inferno. Don't worry, I won't run from any other takes on this!

Thanks, more to come when I have the strength and time!


Miss Charlene said...

I am so glad you wrote down all of this! It's been amazing to study all of this with you! It's kind of mind blowing and we definitely need time to grasp all of this. After all this time of studying this with you, I'm convinced. There's too many scriptures backing that up!

Angela said...

Rev.20:10 - "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."

DAY AND NIGHT FOR EVER AND EVER doesn't sound like annihilation to me. God is merciful, yes, but certainly not to His enemies. The wicked are also judged according to their works, in which case, total destruction for all the wicked would not actually be just. As far as the soul's immortality, didn't Jesus say on the cross, Luke 23:46 "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. " And didn't He also say that the thief on the cross beside Him would be with Him in paradise TODAY -- not sleeping in Hades? Also, in Rev. 20:4, John SEES THE SOULS of those beheaded for the witness of Jesus. Ecl.12:7- "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
Isn't Christ our model, the God-Man, of exactly what we will experience? You have missed an essential part of the gospel!! The fact that Christ conquered death. The OT saints were under the law, redemption was not complete. David foreknew Christ would come and release his soul from Hades. You must examine scripture in light of the ENTIRE Word of God. If you nitpick at words, you end up so nearsighted that you haven't seen anything at all! Forgive me if this sounds harsh, but I must speak the truth in love.

Sisterlisa said...

Mike, what do you think Matthew 25:41-46 means?
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Tranquillity said...

Ok, I'll answer every point you make.

Rev 20:10 - I think that day and night forever and ever means that their torment (sorrow) lasts for eternity. That's probably the strongest verse there is to defend a burning inferno, but in light of all the other Scriptures against that idea, it doesn't hold up. Remember, the lake of fire is the second death. Not the second constant state of being alive and tortured. I still have to post blogs on the 70+ verses I have to back this up, it will clear everything up, I hope.

Why wouldn't total destruction of the wicked not be just? They miss out on an eternal life in paradise with God. Besides, there are so so many verses showing that destruction is exactly what God will do.

As for Jesus on the cross, I believe it is a mistranslation. It's a highly debatable passage. I know, please don't jump on me yet. :) Couple things I want to point out:

Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

The thief wants Jesus to REMEMBER him when He comes into His kingdom. If the thief would be with Jesus that very day in paradise, would Jesus need to remember him? Nope. Also, the Lord comes into His kingdom at His second coming.

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Jesus reigns with us in His kingdom that He sets up first in Jerusalem, then in the New Jerusalem after the 1000 year reign and after Satan is given time to deceive all nations, and then after they're all thrown into the lake of fire. None of the fathers of the Bible have received this promise they've been waiting for yet. The promise is to inherit the kingdom with Jesus! The thief couldn't possibly be with Jesus yet, because the Lord's kingdom isn't here yet.

Also, Jesus was dead in the grave for three days. He wasn't even in paradise yet, so how could a thief be with him in that same day? It's impossible.

Rev 20:4 deals with the ressurrection of those in Christ at His coming. The thrones are for the disciples from the 12 tribes of Israel that judge the nations, I believe, so far. This verse is talking about all of the saved people in Christ that partake in the thousand year reign. John was seeing the future, Jesus' reign on earth before New Jerusalem descends.

Eccl. 12:7 - here's the original Hebrew for the word "spirit" in this verse:

From H7306; wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): - air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).

It means breath/air/life, a man's breath returns back to God. Genesis tells us that God breathed into man and he became a living soul. That same breath is taken away at death, that's all that means. There's other verses on that too I think.

How have I missed that Christ conquered death? It's that exact point I use to show that he didn't conquer a burning inferno.

1 Cor. 15:
[54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
[55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
[56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
[57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Death and the grave lost their sting and victory, not a burning inferno! Jesus conquered death, of course!

Yes, David knew Christ would release him from the grave. Please read Acts 2:29-31 for proof of this. I included it in this blog entry.

Tranquillity said...

I don't think it's fair that you can jump to the conclusion of saying I'm not examining all of Scripture, and am being nearsighted. I waited at least two weeks to start this study on here, because I kept gathering verses to show, and I wanted to make sure I was really going in the right direction with this, to God.

Here's a good question for anyone that is having a hard time with this: Where in the Bible is the mention of God creating hell (a burning inferno)? If a burning inferno is prepared for the devil and his angels, and Satan had already rebelled against God before the garden, why no mention of the creating of a "hell" in Genesis?

Tranquillity said...

Lisa, I think everlasting fire means that it's everlasting in nature. That it's final, it's forever in the fact that it consumes the wicked forever.

Rev 20:10 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.

This verse compliments the verse in Matthew 25, showing that the everlasting fire prepared for the devil is the very same lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Rev. 20:14 defines the lake of fire as such.)

Verse 46 follows a common theme throughout the Bible:

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Everlasting punishment, which is death/destruction, is contrasted with everlasting life. The context of verses like this show us that. Take a look at this famous verse for example:

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.

The most famous verse in the Bible, and now that I'm seeing this clearly, it's been misunderstood. Jesus is again contrasting perishing, which in the Hebrew is death/destruction, with everlasting life!

Here is another:

Matthew 7:
[13] Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
[14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Jesus is again comparing death with life here. This pattern has been all throughout the verses we have been discovering. :)

I might as well post the original meaning of the word perish, just to clear it up:

From G575 and the base of G3639; to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: - destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

Perish means to destroy fully, to die. If Jesus and so much of the Bible says we will either perish or have eternal life, eternal punishment must be this idea of a fiery judgment that is final in its nature, not something that lasts forever.

What do you think Lisa?

Tranquillity said...

woops, I meant perish in the original Greek, not Hebrew! There's no edit button after you post! :(

Sisterlisa said...

Angela, the dead in Christ are asleep. There are many references to that in the Bible.

I believe that David is asleep and although Christ had not come to die in David's place yet, David's faith was still in the coming Messiah. Even Abraham's righteousness was counted from his faith. How could David be a man after God's own heart after committing adultery and murdering the husband? Because he repented and had a relationship with God, through faith, under Grace.

Paradise is an 'enclosed garden' which is mentioned in Lk 23:43, 2 Cor 12:4, and Rev 2:7. In Rev it says the tree of life is in the midst of the paradise of God.

The tree of life is the before shadow of Christ to come. So eating of the tree of life is being IN Christ. If I take that thought then the soul is safe in Christ, regardless of whether or not they go DIRECTLY to heaven or not has no bearing on my current relationship with Christ. And whether or not an unsaved person goes to a 'forever' burning also has no bearing on my relationship with Christ. Mike's study is an in depth one that should cause us to dig deeper into our faith, not sway us from it.

I like your point on God being just and yet I think He is, by not allowing unbelievers to have eternal life with Him. But I am not sure where I stand on our Heavenly Father tormenting people 'forever'. The Lake of Fire seems like a cut off place. Death and hell are cast into it.

Mike I may have read too quickly, but where is the verse about it being like Sodom and Gomorrah? Completely gone, no more, can't even find it.

Tranquillity said...

Lisa, do you mean Jude 7?

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, 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.

The cities, key word cities, suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. It doesn't say the people of, it says the cities. Now, are the cities still burning in an eternal fire? No. Have they ever been constructed again though? Nope.

Is that what you were asking?

Sisterlisa said...

Mike, you got me on John 3:16 , perish means to to destroy,to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin. Also that the themes of the Bible are consistent.

A thought my mom asked me, after she read this and said how good it is, is about the sinners thinking they're ok since there is no eternal life in death. The question posed is this, "What motivation do they have to get saved then?"
Aha! That was my question at one time too, BUT here are my thoughts;

If we choose Christ JUST to get out of an 'eternal torment' then are we REALLY choosing Christ for HIM or for self? And choosing Christ has nothing to do with self. We are told to die to self.

I choose Christ because I love Him, not because I was coerced into choosing him while dangling over hell. To coerce someone into making a choice while holding their punishment over them is not real love. Christ simply wants us to choose Him because we love Him. He is not a bully. Yes there are consequences to our actions, but the final consequence is not being with Him. That should be enough.

Then on the other hand you have those who say "Choose Christ so you can live forever and enjoy eternity" In my opinion that is also focused on self. Kinda like saying to a fiance, "If you marry me I'll buy you a mansion and a Porsche." Ok but is that a REAL relationship? How about "Will you marry me because you love me and I love you"? See the difference there?

A young couple in love won't worry about the money, they just want to be together. Such as we should be as his Bride, we don't worry about a mansion in glory or eternal punishment, we just want to love Christ.

Tranquillity said...

Amazing post Lisa, thanks! Such a great way to put it!

Sisterlisa said...

I think there is another one somewhere too isn't there? I'll ask Charlene. But yes, the cities are gone. Nothing left. And although we remember S & G those other verses say there will be NO memory of those who were cast into the Lake of Fire.

Sisterlisa said...

Thank you, but it's not me. God spoke that to me a couple weeks ago. I shared it with the women in our program. They have a lot to think about now, about their relationship with Christ. Glory to God for sure!

Sisterlisa said...

oh I just realized there's a part 2 coming? wow!

Tranquillity said...

I might break it up into even more parts. I still have to cover:

- Satan's demise (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28)

- Probably over 50 verses from the Old Testament, mainly from Psalms, some from Proverbs/Ecclesiastes and others

- What Jesus says about it (I'm only through Matthew, but I have around 12 verses from that book so far)

- What a select few other passages in the New Testament say about it

So there's a lot more I need to cover to fully explain this, I'm just not exactly sure how many parts I'll break it up into. I might just do Psalms as one part for itself, then another part for the rest, we'll see.

Sisterlisa said...

The length of a blog article can present itself as a deterrent. Most blog readers want shorter articles. If they are too long they tend to click away. I think you'll get more reading if they are shorter. I'm looking forward to them.

BlackWolf said...

thanks so much for this study--You have spelled out (with scripture reference) the answers that I have tried to explain to others.
I am Very eager to continue...
1 question I ask those that believe in eternal punishment is--Jhn 3:15--'the gift of GOD is eternal life'. If there are people Alive For-ever;in hell--where or from whom, did they get eternal life?

Tranquillity said...

You're very welcome, Blackwolf. Thanks for reading. The question you ask people is one that I've asked others too. Eternal life is a gift. A gift is something special that not everyone gets. Where does "hell" fit into that?

Of course, we don't use this logic solely to back up the claims about "hell." Scripture speaks for itself, but once it becomes clear to us, questions like this have no other answer.

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