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Old 04-22-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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This thread is for those who wish to honestly study what the scriptural meaning of the word "hell" is. Discussions about unquenchable fire, undying worms, furnace of fire, and the lake of fire may also be on topic but I would like to focus on the specific meaning of the word "hell" first.

What may surprise many people at first is that the word "hell" is not actually in the original scriptures. It is actually a translation from 4 words: sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartarus. And only 2 of these words have the same meaning.

This is reflected by looking at various English bibles, and we can see how different translations have translated the above words differently. For example:

KJV has the word "hell" 54 times.
NLT has the word "hell" 20 times.
NIV has the word "hell" 14 times.
YLT has the word "hell" 0 times.

Another thing which may surprise people, is that "hell" is no where described as eternal, even in the KJV! Do a search on biblegateway.com for "eternal hell" to verify this yourself.

Why the vast difference in how this word "hell" is translated? Largely it is due to the fact that it is based on the above 4 words: sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartarus. Each of these has their own meanings, so it actually makes little sense to translate it as one single word "hell".

"Hell" in English brings to mind this idea of the wicked being in eternal torment in fire, or eternal separation from God. However when we look at how the above words are used, we will see there are some discrepancies with common belief and what scripture actually says.

 
Old 04-22-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I posted this on another thread, but I fear it will get lost in the post landslide.

Unraveling the teaching of "Hell"

Its easy to do a study on how the specific word "hell" is used and see that it is not exactly referring to a place of fire and torment, nor is it referring to a place that lasts forever. However one must actually do this study themselves and be open to learning in order to see it.

The English word Hell in the KJV is translated from 4 words: sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartarus. Many people do not realize this at all, but some people do. In this post I will focus on the words sheol/hades. From scripture we know that the hebrew word "sheol" has the exact same meaning as the greek word "hades":

Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [SHEOL]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [HADES], neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

So there we have proof from scripture that sheol and hades are the exact same word. Whatever sheol is, hades is, and vice versa.

A common teaching is that sheol/hades is a place where the wicked are punished in flames until they are thrown into the lake of fire. This teaching arises due to misunderstanding of the parable of the rich man and lazarus (this is a whole separate issue to study in itself). Anyway, given that hades=sheol, we can look at passages in the old testament to see what sheol is and see if it lines up with the common idea of a fiery afterlife.

There are actually 65 places in the OT where the word sheol is used. In the KJV sheol is translated as "grave" 31 times and "hell" 31 times, and "pit" 3 other times. Right here this raises a flag on how the word was translated. Why the vastly different meanings of this very important concept of hell? Surely going to the grave is quite different than going to a place to be tormented forever. Lets look at some of the verses, in the KJV version:


Job 17:3 If I wait, the grave [SHEOL] is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.

Job 24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave [SHEOL] those which have sinned.

Psalm 31:17 Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave [SHEOL].

Psalm 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave [SHEOL]? Selah.

Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave [SHEOL], whither thou goest.

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave [SHEOL]; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave [SHEOL], I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

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

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



Now remember, the original scriptures didn't use two different words "grave" and "hell". They simply used the word sheol. So to summarize, according to scripture what is sheol?
- it is a place of silence
- it is likened to a "house" where you make your "bed" and "sleep" in "darkness"
- all sinners go into sheol (wouldn't that include everyone?)
- indeed all do go into sheol
- there is no knowledge or wisdom or device in sheol
- those in sheol are DEAD
- people can be redeemed/ransomed from sheol
- sheol will be ultimately destroyed
- God is in SHEOL

These are the facts of scripture.

Now does that sound like the traditional view of a place of conscious fiery eternal torment to you? Does it sound like eternal separation to you? God is even in sheol, as God is everywhere, so no one is separated from God there.

I've only presented a few of the verses on sheol here. These two articles below go through all 65 verses that use the word sheol in detail. When taken together, the conclusion is obvious: those who go to sheol are DEAD, as in unconscious, like they are sleeping - NOT alive. Yet these scriptures also reassure us that sheol will not have victory - people can be redeemed from sheol, and sheol will ultimately be destroyed.

Read this as a study aid if you are open to learning:
L. Ray Smith - Lake of Fire - Part 16A
L. Ray Smith - Lake of Fire - Part 16B
 
Old 04-22-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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So as seen above, sheol, which is called hades in the greek, is not a place of eternal torment in fire. Probably the simplest description is to call it the resting place of the dead. If you honestly study out all 65 verses on sheol you will see it.

However, the word "hell" in the KJV is also translated from the word "gehenna". What is gehenna? It is referring to the literal place of the Valley of Hinnom where garbage and dead bodies of criminals were burned up. Some would say this symolizes the eternal hell of the after life. But this one verse blows that idea to smithereens.

Matt 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 [GEHENNA].

This passage is talking about different forms of judgment that believers may expect. There is a problem here:

1. If one says "Raca" (which is a very bad insult) to his brother, he is in danger of judgment in front of the council (the council of the sanhedrin). I'm sure this was a severe judgment, but certainly not an eternal consequence.

2. But notice, if one calls someone a fool "Thou fool" (which is also an insult, possibly as bad as "Raca"), they are in danger of HELLFIRE (translated from the word GEHENNA).

So one insult deserves perhaps a slap on the wrist from the local courts, while another insult deserves eternal torment in fire? Do you really think that's what "gehenna" means? The answer is: no, of course that is not what gehenna means. Gehenna is just describing another form of judgment that was common in those days for criminals. Criminals were not given a proper burial, instead there body was just burned up in the garbage dump. That was their judgement.

You can look at the other places Jesus used the word Gehenna (which is mistranslated as "hell"), and you will see it is used as a metaphor for judgment. Judgment can indeed be a great trial, but it is not eternal, and certainly eternal torment in fire is not deserved for calling someone a fool. If that were so, just about everyone on this forum is going to hell for calling another person a fool.

Read this for more on God's Gehenna judgment:
GEHENNA FIRE JUDGMENT

Actually its probably beneficial if you read the rest of part 16 on bible-truths.com first (in the middle of the page - The Lake of Fire series).

I'll stop here to let people comment before continuing on with the other places where Gehenna is mentioned. But always remember Matt 5:22, the first time Jesus spoke of Gehenna - it is talking about judgment, not eternal hellfire. Judgment is not a bad thing...
 
Old 04-22-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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The scriptures I use don't contain the word Hell. What scriptures are you referring to exactly?
 
Old 04-22-2010, 03:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phazelwood View Post
The scriptures I use don't contain the word Hell. What scriptures are you referring to exactly?
Hehe you catch on quick

You are quite right as I noted in the OP there are no scriptures that contain the word "hell". We only have some English translations that use the word hell. Other English translations don't use the word hell at all.

I suppose its important to note that any bible we have is not the scriptures itself, but simply a translation of the scriptures. YMMV depending on what translations you use.
 
Old 04-22-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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Well articulated, legoman. This is a vital truth that many Christians don't fully understand, and it sometimes results in a very warped idea about God's character.
 
Old 04-28-2010, 08:19 AM
 
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Now Jesus has the keys to death and hades (which is the same thing as sheol). Jesus will redeem people from sheol and ultimately sheol/hades is destroyed.

Hades/sheol will not have victory because death is destroyed. The implication of death being destroyed is that life will be given -> the resurrection.

1 Cor 15
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
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 [HADES], 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.

Note that verse 55 says Hades will not have any victory - because it is destroyed and death is abolished.

The corruptible will become incorruptible (no more sin) and the mortal will become immortal (no more death), and death and hades are swallowed up in victory.

Its good news.
 
Old 04-28-2010, 08:42 AM
 
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Is this a picture of hell? . . .

Matthew 13:41-42 CLV The Son of Mankind shall be dispatching His
messengers, and they shall be culling out of His kingdom all the snares and
those doing lawlessness, (42) and they shall be casting them into a
furnace of fire. There shall be lamentation and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:49-50 CLV Thus shall it be in the conclusion of the eon. The
messengers will be coming out and they will be severing the wicked from
the midst of the just. (50) And they shall be casting them into a furnace
of fire. There shall be lamentation and gnashing of teeth.

No.

Notice these miscreants are to be sent into a furnace. But what kind of furnace?

(1 Kings 8:51 CLV) (for Your people and Your inheritance [are] they, whom You did bring out of Egypt, out of the midst of the furnace of iron).

(Jeremiah 11:4 CLV) That I commanded your fathers, In the day of My bringing them out from the land of Egypt, Out of the iron furnace, saying, Hearken to My voice, and you have done them, According to all that I command you, And you have been to Me for a people, And I am to you for Elohim,

(Ezekiel 22:18 CLV) The house of Israel has been to Me for dross, All of them [are] brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, In the midst of a furnace--dross has silver been,

(Ezekiel 22:20 CLV) A gathering of silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, Unto the midst of a furnace--to blow on it fire, to melt it, So do I gather in Mine anger and in My fury, And I have let rest, and have melted you."

Notice God used the furnace in Israel's day to refine His people.
Was Egypt a literal furnace with literal fire? If Egypt was a literal furnace why weren't the Egyptians suffering the same as Israel while held captive 400 years?
Egypt was a figurative furnace TO THE ISRAELITES because they were under severe bondage. It was like a FIERY trial to them.

Now fast forward to when Christ returns and re-read Matthew 13:41-50 which I quoted above. Not only are those bad Israelites going to be thrust back into the harsh furnace of servitude but the bad nations which maltreated Christ's brethren are going to as well as revealed in Matthew 25:31-46. They will enter into the figurative fiery trials.

What say you?
 
Old 04-28-2010, 09:11 AM
 
Location: SC Foothills
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I was looking up every instance of hell in the Bible night before last and I'm seeing something different than what I had always believed. Amazing how things change when you look at them in a totally new way. I even look at the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in a different way now. How is it that the rich man was even able to speak? Is that chasm between heaven and hell a permanent one or not?

Nothing is said about these things and it's the only instance in the Bible that actually speaks of someone experiencing "hell". The rich man had all the same desires as a human.....he just wanted water and he wanted Lazarus to go back and tell his brothers. That tells me that the "old" man was being refined into a "new" creature entirely. I still have a lot of questions and a lot to work out but I see things with eyes wide open now, instead of mind closed shut.
 
Old 04-28-2010, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilene Wright View Post
I was looking up every instance of hell in the Bible night before last and I'm seeing something different than what I had always believed. Amazing how things change when you look at them in a totally new way. I even look at the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in a different way now. How is it that the rich man was even able to speak? Is that chasm between heaven and hell a permanent one or not?

Nothing is said about these things and it's the only instance in the Bible that actually speaks of someone experiencing "hell". The rich man had all the same desires as a human.....he just wanted water and he wanted Lazarus to go back and tell his brothers. That tells me that the "old" man was being refined into a "new" creature entirely. I still have a lot of questions and a lot to work out but I see things with eyes wide open now, instead of mind closed shut.
I'm outta reps for you right now but I just wanted to say how amazing it is to see you so on fire for God.... (pun intended). Not that you have to believe in UR, but that you are so fired up... I mean...

It's hard to explain to someone what you are going through unless we've experienced it ourselves... I admire you... hopefully all of us together can help to tone down all the hellfire teaching to how it rightfully was meant to be taught... it's not about abandoning biblical principals its about seeing what the writers of the OT and NT actually had in mind.

You go girl! I'm sure with all your study, YOU will be showing us all a thing or two. I can't wait!
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