Having established that the Old Testament scriptures do not speak of “Hell” and endless suffering in any way, shape or form, the existence of the doctrine of eternal punishment lies entirely upon the writings of the New Testament cannon. But do the New Testament scriptures then teach (contrary to the Old Testament writings) the idea commonly held among Christians concerning “Hell?” Does the “Hell” of the Greek scriptures denote a place of torment or a condition of suffering without end, to begin at death? It seems incredible that a wise and benevolent God should have created or permitted any kind of an endless “Hell” in his universe. Has he done so?
What do the Greek words “Hades” and “Tartarus” translated “Hell” in the New Testament actually mean and how do they apply to the new covenant believer? After all, the greatest Christian minds assure us that the concept of torture in “Hell” is a real and present danger...
"The world will probably be converted into a great lake or liquid globe of fire, in which the wicked shall be overwhelmed, which will always be in tempest, in which they shall be tossed to and fro, having no rest day and night, vast waves and billows of fire continually rolling over their heads, of which they shall forever be full of a quick sense within and without; their heads, their eyes, their tongues, their hands, their feet, their loins and their vitals, shall forever be full of a flowing, melting fire, fierce enough to melt the very rocks and elements.
And also, they shall eternally be full of the most quick and lively sense to feel the torments; not for one minute, not for one day, not for one age, not for two ages, not for a hundred ages, nor for ten thousand millions of ages, one after another, but forever and ever, without any end at all, and never to be delivered." Jonathan Edwards (A Calvinist of the "Great Awakening" fame. Newspapers reported people leaving his sermons and committing suicide from the fear he instilled in them.)
One could easily be mistaken for thinking that Edwards’ detailed version of hell is horridly real….but is it in any way scriptural? Manifestly the only way to arrive at the correct answer is to trace the words translated “Hell” from the beginning to the end of the Bible, and by their connections ascertain exactly what the divine Word teaches on this important subject. Believe it or not, the Bible “Hell,” heathen and orthodox is one that is doomed to pass away in the light of true scriptural understanding.
Few Christians will ever be taught the wonderful truth concerning the end of the ages - the true purpose of Gods “lake of fire,” a truth that shall be revealed to all in the end, where it will have accomplished its purpose, the final reformation of those for whose welfare a good God ordained it.
From the Old to the New
The Hebrew Old Testament, some three hundred years before the Christian era, was translated into Greek, but of the sixty-four instances where “Sheol” occurs in the Hebrew, it is rendered “Hades” in the Greek sixty times, so that either word is the equivalent of the other. But neither of these words is ever used in the Bible to signify punishment after death, nor should the word “Hell” ever be used as the rendering of “Sheol” or “Hades” for neither word denotes post-mortem torment.
According to the Old Testament the words “Sheol/Hades” primarily signify only the place, or state of the dead. The character of those who departed thither did not affect their situation in “Sheol,” for all went into the same state. The word cannot be translated by the term “Hell,” for that would make Jacob expect to go to a place of torment, and prove that the Savior of the world, David, Jonah, etc., were once sufferers in the prison-house of the damned.
In every instance in the Old Testament, the word “grave” might be substituted for the term “Hell,” either in a literal or figurative sense. The word being a proper name should always have been left untranslated. Had it been carried into the Greek Septuagint, and thence into the English, untranslated, “Sheol,” a world of misconception would have been avoided, for when it is rendered “Hades,” all the materialism of the heathen mythology is suggested to the mind, and when rendered “Hell”, the medieval monstrosities of a Christianity corrupted by heathen adulterations is suggested.
Had the word been permitted to travel untranslated, no one would give to it the meaning now so often applied to it. “Sheol,” primarily, literally, “the grave,” or death, secondarily and figuratively the political, social, moral or spiritual consequences of wickedness in the present world, is the precise force of the term, wherever found. “Sheol” occurs exactly sixty-four times and is translated “Hell” thirty-two times, “pit” three times, and “grave” twenty-nine times.
Dr. George Campbell, a celebrated critic, says that "Sheol signifies the state of the dead in general, without regard to the goodness or badness of the persons, their happiness or misery."
"Invisible, not manifest, concealed, dark, uncertain."-Lex. p. 19. Donnegan
"Neither Hadees nor Sheol ever signifies in the Sacred Scripture the abode of evil spirits, but only the sepulchre, or the state of the dead." Le Clere
It is of immense importance to this study, that we understand that the New Testament word “Hades” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew (Old Testament) word “Sheol” Whatever "Sheol" meant in the Old Testament, "Hades" means the same in the New Testament! The Hebrew word “Sheol” and the Greek word “Hades” are synonymous in meaning. And here is the proof again from the Scriptures.
"Because You will not leave My soul in hell [Gk: hades], neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption" (Acts 2:27) is quoted from:
"For You will not leave My soul in hell [Heb: sheol]; neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption." (Psalm )
This alone and many scriptural truths as we shall discover, have long since been forgotten by Christendom, for it unknowingly entertains a miasma of untruths regarding the New Testament scriptures. For example, many Christians, pastors, and theologians parrot continually the blatantly false notion that Jesus spoke twice as often of hell as He did of heaven. Since the word "heaven" is attributed to Jesus over a hundred times we should, expect then that He must have spoken of "Hell" multiple hundreds of times. Five minutes in a concordance will easily render this bit of Christian heresy totally false however.
In the New Testament writings, “Hell” is found twenty three times only.
The mysterious (and hugely misunderstood) Greek word “Gehenna” (12 times) - We shall look at this word in detail in our next instalment as “Gehenna” is a word that requires extensive study and requires particular attention.
The Greek word “Hades” (10 times) It is also translated as “grave” once in I Cor. 15:55.
The Greek word “Tartarus” (1 time)
So the word “Hades” occurs but eleven times in the New Testament, and is translated “Hell” ten times, and “grave” once. The word is from a, not, and eulo, to see, and means “concealed, invisible.” It has exactly the same meaning as “Sheol,” literally the grave, or death, and figuratively destruction, downfall, calamity, or punishment in this world, with no intimation whatever of torment or punishment beyond the grave.
"To translate Hadees by the word Hell as it is done ten times out of eleven in the New Testament, is very improper, unless it has the Saxon meaning of helan, to cover, attached to it. The primitive signification of Hell, only denoting what was secret or concealed, perfectly corresponds with the Greek term Hadees and its equivalent Sheol, but the theological definition given to it at the present day by no means expresses it." "Emphatic Diaglott:"
In this study we shall focus
on the New Testament “Hades” and “Tartarus.” In
reality Jesus spoke of "Hades/Hell"
(the Hell of the Old Testament) on only four separate occasions (check any red
letter edition of the King James). "Hell"
To understand the “Hades” of the Greek scriptures, we have to understand the cultural implications and influences of popular thought and reason. It must not be forgotten that contact with the heathen had corrupted the opinions and theological mindsets of the Jews at the time of Jesus. From the simplicity of Moses, by receiving the traditions and fables of paganism, they had made void the word of God. They had accepted “Hades” as the best Greek word to convey their idea of “Sheol,” but without investing it at first with the heathen notions of the classic “Hades,” as they afterwards did. What these ideas were, the classic authors inform us.
"The Jews had acquired at Babylon a great number of Oriental notions, and their theological opinions had undergone great changes by this intercourse. We find in Ecclesiastes and the Wisdom of Solomon, and the later prophets, notions unknown to the Jews before the Babylonian captivity, which are manifestly derived from the Orientals.
Thus, God represented under the image of light, and the principle of evil under that of darkness; the history of good and bad angels; paradise and Hell, etc., are doctrines of which the origin, or at least the positive determination, can only be referred to the Oriental philosophy." (Milman's Gibbon ch. 21. of it, or the heathen and "evangelical" descriptions of Hell are wholly false.)
Dr. Thayer in his "Origin and History," says:
"The process is easily
understood. About three hundred and thirty years before Christ, Alexander the
Great had subjected to his rule the whole of
A few years later, Ptolemy Soter took Jerusalem, and carried off one hundred thousand of them into Egypt. Here, of course, they were in daily contact with Egyptians and Greeks, and gradually began to adopt their philosophical and religious opinions, or to modify their own in harmony with them."
"To what side so ever they turned," says the Universalist Expositor,
"the Jews came in contact with Greeks and with Greek philosophy, under one modification or another. It was round them and among them; for small bodies of that people were scattered through their own territories, as well as through the surrounding provinces. It insinuated itself very slowly at first; but stealing upon them from every quarter, and operating from age to age, it mingled at length in all their views, and by the year 150 before Christ, had wrought a visible change in their notions and habits of thought."
The consequences of pagan influence are indeed profound. We must either reject these imported ideas, as heathen inventions, or we must admit that the heathen, centuries before Christ, discovered that of which Moses had no idea! In other words either uninspired men announced the future fate of sinners centuries before inspired men knew anything. So by the time of Christ's advent, Jew and Pagan held “Hades” to be a place of torment after death, to endure forever.
"The prevalent and distinguishing opinion was, that the soul survived the body, that vicious souls would suffer an everlasting imprisonment in Hadees, and that the souls of the virtuous would both be happy there and in process of time obtain the privilege of transmigrating into other bodies." (Campbell's Four Gospels, Diss. 6, Pt. 2, & 19.)
Of the Pharisees, Josephus says:
"They also believe that souls have an immortal vigor in them, and that, under the earth, there will be rewards and punishments, according as they lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again." (Antiquites, B. 18, Ch. 1, 3. Whiston's Tr.")
During all the time that generations following generations of Jews were entertaining the ideas taught in these sixty-four passages, the surrounding heathen believed in future, endless torment. The literature is full of it.
Says Good in his "Book of Nature":
"It was believed in most countries 'that this Hell, Hadees, or invisible world, is divided into two very distinct and opposite regions, by a broad and impassable gulf; that the one is a seat of happiness, a paradise or elysium, and the other a seat of misery, a Gehenna or Tartarus; and that there is a supreme magistrate and an impartial tribunal belonging to the infernal shades, before which the ghosts must appear, and by which they are sentenced to the one or the other, according to the deeds done in the body.
Egypt is said to have been the inventress of this important and valuable part of the tradition; and undoubtedly it is to be found in the earliest records of Egyptian history.' [It should be observed that Gehenna was not used before Christ, or until 150 A. D. to denote a place of future punishment."]
We can conclude only one thing then - that these doctrines are NOT found in the Old Testament. They are of heathen origin. Did Jesus endorse them? Well, not according to the history books. Revelation indeed!
The English “Hell”
Regardless of what “Hell” (O.T. or N.T) appears in our English translations, the truth is that the English word “Hell” grew into its present meaning. Hell, heel, hill, hole, whole, hall, hull, halt and hold are all in fact from the same root.
"Hell, any place, or some place covered over.
Heel, that part of the foot which is covered by the leg.
Hill, any heap of earth, or stone, etc., by which the plain or level surface of the earth is covered.
Hale, i.e., healed or whole. Whole, the same as hale, i.e., covered. It was formerly written whole, without the w, as a wound or sore is healed, or whole, that is, covered over by the skin, which manner of expression will not seem extraordinary if we consider our use of the word recover.
Hall, a covered building, where persons assemble, or where goods are protected from the weather.
Hull, of a nut, etc. That by which a nut is covered. Hole, some place covered over. 'You shall seek for holes to hide your heads in.' Holt, holed, hol'd holt. A rising ground or knoll covered with trees.
Hold, as the hold of a ship, in which things are covered, or the covered part of a ship."
The word was first applied to “the grave” by our German and English ancestors, and as superstition came to regard the grave as an entrance to a world of torment, “Hell” at length became the word used to denote an imaginary realm of fiery woe. :
"The word Hell, used in the common translation, conveys now an improper meaning of the original word; because Hell is only used to signify the place of the damned. But as the word Hell comes from the Anglo-Saxon helan, to cover, or hide, henee the tiling or slating of a house is called, in some parts of England (particularly Cornwall), heling, to this day, and the corers of books (in Lancashire), by the same name, so the literal import of the original word hades was formerly well expressed by it." Dr. Adam Clarke
"As regards the analogy between the term Hadees and our English word Hell, it may be remarked that the latter, in its primitive signification, perfectly corresponded to the former. For, at first, it denoted only what was secret or concealed; and it is found, moreover, with little variation of form and precisely with the same meaning in all the Teutonic dialects. The dead without distinction of good or evil, age or rank, wander there conversing about their former state on earth; they are unhappy and they feel their wretched state acutely. They have no strength or power of body or mind. . . Nothing can be more gloomy and comfortless than the whole aspect of the realm of Hades, as pictured by Homer." Dr. Anthon
The English word “Hell” can also be traced to the Teutonic "Hele" (goddess of the underworld "Hell" of northern Europe ). The description of this ancient mythological place has very little resemblance anymore to the modern Christian image of “Hell.” This of course is of extreme importance to our study of the New Testament “Hades” in regards to its Old Testament meaning - the state of the dead.
The Scriptural facts regarding “Hades”
The truth of the scriptures regarding “Hades/Hell” would seem foreign to the average Christian theologian, let alone the humble lay person. During the course of this study, proper analysis of the scriptures will reveal the long forgotten truths of an ancient Greek word. The following observations are factual and truthful as far as the scriptures are concerned. Here are the facts.
Sinners and saints alike (including Jesus Himself) at death, enter the realm of the unseen and imperceptible (the state of death in a physical grave) “Hades”
“Hades” is never once associated with “Gehenna” (also rendered hell) fire.
“Gehenna fire” is never once associated with “Hades.”
“Hades,” which is the only word in either the Hebrew of Greek Scriptures that can even conceivably be translated into the English word "Hell," is never once said to be “eternal.” - or any of the other unscriptural translations such as "everlasting, forever, forever and ever, or evermore.”
Jesus has the Keys to “Hades.”
“Hades” will have no victories.
“Hades” is thrown INTO the lake of fire, so it cannot BE the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14)! How then can “Hades” be a place of eternal torture in fire? Unbelievable!!!
"Hades" is the only word conceivable in the Scriptures that could possibly be translated into the English word "Hell," because "Hades" is a Greek word which stood for consciousness in an underworld not unlike the Amenti underworld of the Egyptians. This DOES NOT then, however, mean that "Sheol" which is defined by Dr. Strong as "Hades," can also be translated “Hell.” The death state (Sheol) of the Hebrews did not teach a conscious state or a condition of torture in some underworld, as the Greek word "Hades" suggests.
“Hades” was also the name of a Greek god. “Sheol” is not the name of an Hebrew god! So be clear on this - that “Sheol” cannot be considered an English "Hell," but for extra definitions given to the word “Hades” it is conceivable that it could be translated "Hell," although all good translations, such as Rotherham's and the Diaglott, and Concordant, do not translate “Hades” into the English "Hell."
Although the King James family of Bibles will undoubtedly continue using the word "Hell" to translate “Hades”, it is now universally recognized by virtually all Scholars, that "Hell" is not a proper translation for "Hades." The ASA, Rotherham's, Diaglott, and Young's Literal, all leave the word as "Hades" in their Versions. Concordant renders “Hades” as "unseen." Now for the proof.
Strong’s concordance states that the Greek word "Hades," means "imperceptible” or “unseen”
From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1492; properly unseen, that is, “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls: - grave, hell
As we now know, this is in keeping with the traditional Old Testament understanding of “Sheol” - the state of the dead in the grave, no thoughts, no suffering, no action - simply the sleep of death where there is no perception. Of course by Jesus’ day, to the Pharisees and teachers of Jewish Law “Hades” had taken on the pagan religious connotations of Greek and Roman mythology. Indeed Judaism had become well versed with such mythological concepts of the afterlife, ones of course never dreamed of by their Spiritual Forefather and law giver - Moses.
the Greeks and Romans, this word also represented both the god “Hades” and the domain of “Hades”, which was the state of the
dead, and underworld. Originally this word did not mean a place of pain and
torture. That bit of paganism was borrowed from the Egyptian underworld of Amenti with its lowest realm being Tartaroo
where it was taught that there was pain and suffering. Leaders in
“Tartarus” - Peters’ Quote
If “Hades” carries all the obvious connotations of paganism and myth, then Peter’s use of the word “Tartarus” in II Peter 2:4 is even more confounding. This passage of scripture is the source of much confusion when it comes to understanding and dissecting what is being taught here. Again “Tartarus” itself has more to do with the myths and fables of the Greek underworld than Biblical truth, so why on earth is a pagan concept being introduced by a spiritual giant such as Peter?
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." (II Peter 2: 4)
On this one and only occasion in the whole of the scriptures, the King James erroneously renders the word “Tartarus,” as “Hell”. “Tartarus” means "abyss--a place of restraint," (also called "the deepest abyss of the Greek hades"). The word “Tartarus” however can be further traced to the underworld of the pagan Egyptians. It is in fact an Egyptian word, not Greek, the Greeks were fond of borrowing.
G5020 ταρταρόω tartaroo tar-tar-o'-o
From Τάρταρος Tartaros (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment: - cast down to hell.
The word in the Greek is “Tartarus,” or rather it is a very from that noun. "Cast down to hell" should be “tartarused,” (tartarosas). The Greeks held “Tartarus,” to be "the fabled place of punishment in the lower world." According to the ideas of the Homeric and Hesiodic ages, it would seem that the world or universe was a hollow globe, divided into two equal portions by the flat disk of the earth.
The external shell of this globe is called by the poets brazen and iron, probably only to express its solidity. The superior hemisphere was called Heaven, and the inferior one “Tartarus.” The length of the diameter of the hollow sphere is given thus by Hesiod. It would take, he says, nine days for an anvil to fall from Heaven to Earth; and an equal space of time would be occupied by its fall from Earth to the bottom of “Tartarus.” The luminaries which give light to gods and men, shed their radiance through all the interior of the upper hemisphere, while that of the inferior one was filled with eternal darkness, and its still air was unmoved by any wind.
“Tartarus” was regarded at this period as the prison of the gods and not as the place of torment for wicked men; being to the gods, what Erebus was to men, the abode of those who were driven from the supernal world. The Titans, when conquered were shut up in it and Jupiter menaces the gods with banishment to its murky regions. The Oceanus of Homer encompassed the whole earth, and beyond it was a region unvisited by the sun, and therefore shrouded in perpetual darkness, the abode of a people whom he names Cimmerians.
Here the poet of the Odyssey also places Erebus, the realm of Pluto and Proserpina, the final dwelling place of all the race of men, a place which the pet of the Iliad describes as lying within the bosom of the earth. At a later period the change of religions gradually affected Erebus, the place of the reward of the good; and “Tartarus” was raised up to form the prison in which the wicked suffered the punishment due to their crimes.
So, did Peter endorse and teach this monstrous nonsense of paganism as spiritual truth?. If he did, then we must accept all the absurdities that went with it, in the pagan mythology. And if this is an item of Christian faith, why is it never referred to, in the Old or New Testament? Why have we no descriptions of it such as abound in classic literature? What was Peter really alluding to here?
THE BOOK OF ENOCH
Peter speaks freely of his
chosen subject just as though it were well-known and understood by his
the angels that sinned."-what
cast down to Tartarus," where is the story
related? Well, not in the Bible, but in
a book well-known at the time, called the Book of Enoch. It was written some
time before the Christian Era, and is often quoted by
the Christian fathers. It embodies a tradition, to which Josephus alludes, (
Dr. Sawyer says: "Not only the moderns are forced to this opinion, but it seems to have been universally adopted by the ancients.
Says Professor Stuart: 'Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Hilary,' 'all of whom refer to the book before us, and quote from it, say nothing which goes to establish the idea that any Christians of their day denied or doubted that a quotation was made by the apostle Jude from the Book of Enoch. Several and in fact most of these writers do indeed call in question the canonical rank or authority of the Book of Enoch; but the apologies which they make for the quotation of it in Jude, show that the quotation itself was, as a matter of fact, generally conceded among them.'
There are it is true some individuals who still doubt whether Jude quoted the Book of Enoch; but while as Professor Stuart suggests, “this doubt is incapable of being confirmed by any satisfactory proof, it avails nothing to deny the quotation; for it is evident if Jude did not quote the Book of Enoch, he did quote a tradition of no better authority." This Book of Enoch is full of absurd legends, which no sensible man can accept.
So why did Peter quote from it? Just as men now quote from the classics not sanctioning the truth of the quotation but to illustrate and enforce a proposition, so Peter used traditions or quotes of his day to convey or highlight his point in case. Nothing is more common than for writers to quote fables: "As the tortoise said to the hare," in Aesop. "As the sun said to the wind," etc.
We have the same practice illustrated in the Bible. Joshua, after a poetical quotation adorning his narrative, says: "Is not this written in the Book of Jasher? (Josh. 10: 13) and Jeremiah 48: 45 says: "A fire shall come forth out of Heshbon," quoting from an ancient poet, says Dr. Adam Clarke.
Peter alludes to this ancient legend to illustrate the certainty of retribution without any intention of teaching the silly notions of angels falling from heaven and certainly not meaning to sanction the then prevalent notions concerning the heathen “Tartarus.” There is this alternative only: either the pagan doctrine is true and the heathen got ahead of inspiration by ascertaining the facts before the authors of the Bible learned it-(for it was currently accepted centuries before Christ and is certainly not taught in the Old Testament) - or Peter quotes it as Jesus refers to Mammon rhetorically to illustrate the great fact of retribution he was inculcating.
If true, how can anyone account for the fact that it is never referred to in the Bible, before or after this once? Besides, these “angels” are not to be detained always in “Tartarus,” they are to be released. The language is, "delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." When their judgment comes, they emerge from duress. They only remain in Tartarus "unto judgment." Their imprisonment is not endless so that the language gives no proof of endless punishment even if it be a literal description. And this one-time use in the King James clearly has reference to angels being held in restraint until their (not our) judgment. Humans are never connected with “Tartarus”, only angels. And this place of restraint ("chains of darkness") is only until we (I Cor. 6:3) judge the angels ("judgment"), not for eternity.
WHAT DID PETER MEAN?
So what on earth did Peter mean then? Peter simply employs the legend from the Book of Enoch to illustrate and enforce his teaching of Gods retribution on the ancients and how just as his justice was served then, it shall be the same for those false teachers and blasphemers of the day. It is akin to Peter saying:
"If, (as is believed by some), God spared not the angels that sinned, do not let us who sin, mortal men, expect to escape."But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (Pe 2:1)
After all, if this view is denied, there is no escape from the gross doctrine of “Tartarus” as taught by the pagans and that, too, on the testimony of a solitary sentence of Scripture! But whatever may be the intent of the words, they do not teach endless torment, for the chains referred to only last unto the judgment. If we are to actually believe the Myths behind the words “Tartarus” and “Hades” it surely presents us with a serious theological dichotomy. If we are to believe that “Hades” and “Tartarus” are literal places at a geographical location as taught by Christendom, then we must also believe that the god “Hades” is also a real god which has dominion over this underworld of the dead. Was there also a pagan god of the Hebrew “Sheol?” ….Well no…. The only God Who has dominion over “Sheol” after all is Jehovah.
"For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD [Heb. Jehovah], You know it altogether. You hast beset me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Where shall I go from Your spirit? or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there: if I make my bed in hell [Heb. sheol], behold, YOU are there" (Psa. 139:4-8).
Defining the Greek word
The Greek Septuagint, which Jesus used when he read or quoted from the Old Testament, gives “Hades” as the exact equivalent of the Hebrew “Sheol,” and when the Saviour, or his apostles, use the word, they must mean the same as it meant in the Old Testament. When “Hades” is used in the New Testament, we must understand it just as we do (Sheol or Hadees) in the Old Testament. Dr. Campbell well says:
"In my judgment, it ought never in Scripture to be rendered Hell, at least, in the sense wherein that word is now universally understood by Christians.
In the Old Testament, the corresponding word is Sheol, which signifies the state of the dead in general without regard to the goodness or badness of the persons, their happiness or misery. In translating that word, the seventy have almost invariably used Hadees.
It is very plain, that neither in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, nor in the New, does the word Hadees convey the meaning which the present English word Hell, in the Christian usage, always conveys to our minds."-Diss. Vi., pp. 180-1.
Le Clere affirms that "neither Hadees nor Sheol ever signifies in the Sacred Scripture the abode of evil spirits, but only the sepulchre, or the state of the dead."
“Hades” IS “Sheol” after all. Strong's Hebrew Dictionary: #7585, "Sheol, Hades or the world of the dead."
Technically, we could end our study on the meaning of “Hades” right here. “Sheol” is the state of the dead i.e. dead and buried--NOT “Hell,” not even the grave technically, but the state of the dead. And as “Sheol” IS “Hades,” “Hades” cannot take on any greater or opposing meaning that is not contained in an older parent language word "Sheol."
No matter how fanciful one's ideas may be regarding the use of the word “Hades” in the New Testament, it does not take on the meaning of consciousness, judging, torture, chastisement, annihilation, or eternity. It is the UNSEEN, IMPERCEPTIBLE, UNCONSCIOUS STATE OF THE DEAD called “Sheol” throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. After all, the scriptures teach us that:
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing..." (Ecc. 9:5).
As this is true in "Sheol," it is likewise true in "Hades."
"While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalm 146:2-4).
Just where did David understand a person would be when he "returned to his earth" when his thoughts perished and he no longer lived to praise the Lord? Answer:
"For IN DEATH there is no remembrance of Thee: in the GRAVE [Heb: 'sheol'] who shall give thee thanks?" (Psalm 6:5).
Well of course, the orthodox Christians theologians teaching makes a lie out of this Scripture, as they teach that for in death there IS remembrance of God, and that the dead patriarchs of old were alive praising God in a certain compartment of “Sheol” for many centuries before Jesus visited them (while He was supposed to be dead, for the sins of the world) and took them back to heaven with Him.
Never mind the Scriptural fact, that King David was one of those patriarchs of old, who also was in the death state of “Sheol,” but must have been overlooked by Jesus during His brief visit there, seeing that:
"For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he says himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand..." (Acts 2:34).
Does no one ever question the endless, blatant contradictions between Church doctrine and the Word of God? Now then, here is what the Scriptures plainly state:
David said he would "praise the Lord" while he was alive, because when "...his breath goes forth, he returns to this earth; in that very day his THOUGHTS PERISH." And that "in the grave [Heb: sheol] there is NO remembrance of Thee...who shall give Thee [The Lord] thanks [there]?" there in sheol? And "sheol IS HADES," so there is no remembrance, no thanks, his thoughts perish "not ANYTHING," not only in “Sheol,” but in “Hades” (the Christian hell) EITHER!
So why won't Christians and orthodox theologians and teachers and pastors accept these clear and definitive statements of God's Word? After all, scripture contradicts and make a mockery of Christendom’s anti-scriptural and pagan doctrines of immortal soulism, torturing by demons and suffering for ever in the pits of some heathen hell. Take away the fear of a Christian hell of eternal torture, and you take away the power and the vanity and the money which is the motivation of many ‘cutting edge’ churches today!
"For in death there is NO REMEMBRANCE of Thee..." And just where and what is this "death?" Rest of the verse: "in SHEOL who shall give Thee thanks?" (Psalm 6:5).
This unscriptural assertion of suffering in “Hell” is more important than most might realize. Quoting from the Lazarus parable in Luke 16 where the Rich man opens his eyes in “Hades” takes on a whole new meaning does it not? We shall look at this later. Though Dr. Strong and the Scriptures tell us that “Sheol” of the Hebrew is “Hades” of the Greek, the “Hell/Hades” myth has been accepted as a place of eternal suffering by the Jews, Christians, Moslems, and even the secular world. In Old English, the word “Hell” meant only to "cover or conceal." It is no wonder then that such phrases as "outer darkness" and "gnashing of teeth" are also falsely assumed to represent the conditions of this fabled hell.
There are in fact only eight occasions which reference “Hades/Hell” in all Scripture and keep in mind, that “Hades” is never said to be a place of fire. “Hades” is in fact thrown into the lake of fire, so how can it indeed - BE the lake of fire? How many Christian teachers have even considered this conundrum?
In the scriptures “Hades” was spoken of by….
2. "hell [hades/unseen] shall not prevail against...church" (Matt. )
3. "And in hell [hades/unseen] he lifted up his eyes" (Luke --parable)
4. "I [Jesus]... have the
keys to hell [hades/unseen]"
will not leave My [Jesus'] soul in hell [hades/unseen]"
"Christ...His soul was not left in hell [hades/unseen]" (Verse 31)
6. "Death and hell [hades/unseen] followed with him" (Rev. 6:8)
and hell [hades/unseen] delivered up the dead" (Rev. 20:13)
"Death and hell [hades/unseen] were cast into lake of fire" (Verse 14)
8. "O grave [hades/unseen] where is thy victory" (I Cor. )
These are the only eight occasions (not hundreds and hundreds as deceiving theologians falsely contend) where the translation "Hell" is even conceivably justified in all Scripture, and is the only eight occasions were the Greek word “Hades” is found in Greek New Testament manuscripts. Not once is it a place of eternal torment, or eternal judgment, or eternal annihilation! What then do the New Testament scriptures teach regarding Hell?
The first occasion Jesus mentions “Hades” - Capernaum and the lessons of judgement
The unscriptural problems associated with trying to force this declaration of Jesus Christ regarding the city of Capernaum being "brought down to Hades" into the idea that Capernaum would be cast down into the pagan hell of the ancient Greeks to be tortured for all eternity, are staggering to say the least. But there is nothing in the following statement of Jesus that suggests any such eternal destiny for all the inhabitants of Capernaum.
began He [Jesus] to upbraid the cities wherein most of the mighty works
were done, because they repented not: Woe unto you, Chorazin!
Woe unto you,
And here's the same occasion in Luke's account:
thee, Chorazin! woe unto
It is unfortunate
to say the least, that In the English translation of these scriptures, Christians
read these words as "And you, Capernaum, which art exalted into heaven,
shall be brought down to hell." Is that all Jesus said? Does no
one pay any attention to the context of Jesus' teaching regarding
began He [Jesus] to upbraid the cities wherein most of the mighty works
were done, because they repented not: Woe unto you, Chorazin!
Woe unto you,
a "woe" on Chorazin and
Are we to foolishly assume that 100% of all the men, women, and children of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom would be fully capable and willing to repent in the presence of these mighty works, but that 100% of the men, women, and children of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum are totally incapable and unwilling to repent in the presence of these mighty works?
The truth is that there is one Scriptural way and one Scriptural way only that any city or any family or any individual is able to come to Jesus Christ in repentance. Here is the only way to repentance:
"the goodness of God leads you to repentance" (Rom. 2:4).
Are we so totally ignorant of the Word of God so as to believe Tyre and Sidon could have repented on their own? Repentance is the result of "the goodness of GOD," not the goodness of the repenting sinner. And this is why, "no man can come to Me except the Father draw [Gk:drag] him" (John ).
So if these
mighty works had been done in
Neither is it just generally that, "the goodness of God leads you to repentance," or that generally, "no man can come to Me except the Father draw him," but that on occasion these can also be accomplished by man's phantom "free will," independent of God and thus negating the truth of the above Scriptures believing that, "the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35) is a false statement and that the Scriptures can be broken by man's supposed almighty "free will."
say unto you, That it shall be MORE tolerable for
God is going to
show "more tolerance" to
Here is the absurdity of the whole “Hell/Hades” doctrine. Just how, pray tell, can one sentenced to eternal torture receive "more tolerance" than others? If the sentence for all unrepentant sinners is eternity in hell, then this will include Sodom, Gomorrah, and all the cities of the plains, the entire population of the world at the time of Noah, Chorazin, Bethsadia, Tyre, Sidon, Capernaum, and the rest of the billions and billions of humanity which have never heard the name of Jesus down through the centuries.
How is one sentence to eternal torture more tolerable than another sentence? Does one group suffer in 3000% fire instead of 30,000% fire? But if Jesus was not pronouncing an eternity of suffering in a pagan place called hell on the peoples of Capernaum, what did He really mean when he said they would be "brought down to hell [hades]?"
So what does Christ's statement mean: "Capernaum...shall be brought down to hell [hades]"?
Scripturally, “Hades” is a condition, state, mode, or realm, not a place or geographical location. That Capernaum was to be brought "down" to “Hades” is used to describe a condition rather than a direction. Up implies inspiration and life, whereas down implies woe and death. Here are two Scriptures using figurative language with respect to going "down" to death.
"Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell [sheol]" (Prov. 5:5).
"...going down to the chambers of death" (Prov. ).
We are told in Acts 2:27 that Jesus' soul was not left in “Hell” (Greek--Hades), which is a quotation from Ps 16:10, which is the same word in Hebrew which states that Jesus' soul was not left in Hell (Hebrew--sheol).
Again, since the Holy Spirit inspired the Hebrew word "Sheol" to be translated as the Greek Hades, we have proof positive that “Hades” is “Sheol” and “Sheol” is “Hades.” This is, in fact, what Dr. Strong declares in his dictionary:
Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, #7585, "Sheol, Hades or the world of the dead..."
And we are also given in this definition further proof that “Hades” and “Sheol” are indeed the same "world of THE DEAD." Surely the "world of the dead," cannot also be the Christian place of: eternal life, eternal judgment, torture in fire, hopelessness, memories of life, knowledge of past sins, and insane screaming. How does such mainstream Christian teachings fit into the Scriptural description of the Hebrew “Sheol,” which is also the same as the Greek “Hades?” Are any such things found in “Sheol/Hades?”
LIFE? "... the dead are there... in the depths of sheol" (Prov. ).
SCREAMING? "... let them be silent in sheol" (Psa. 31:17).
KNOWLEDGE? -"... there is no knowledge in sheol..." (Psa. 9:18).
HOPELESSNESS? "... I will ransom them from sheol..." (Hos. 13:14).
DAMNED? "...God will redeem my soul from sheol..." (Psa. 49:15).
EVERLASTING? -"... O sheol, I will be thy destruction..." (Hos. 13:14).
What has just happened to the Christian teaching on “Hell” and suffering in regards to the usage of the New Testament “Hades?” Is that the sound of a toilet flushing?
Regarding Capernaum and other cities which refused to obey His call for repentance, Jesus was simply declaring, that they would be brought down to death individually, and collectively as great and exalted cities. This happened--everyone in these cities has died and the cities themselves died. Now all that remains for them is their resurrection to judgment, in "the DAY OF JUDGMENT."
"Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).
The concept of judgement is just as it is in Isa. 14, where Babylon is said to be brought down to “Sheol/Hades,” to denote debasement, overthrow, a prediction fulfilled to the letter. Dr. Clarke's interpretation is correct:
"The word here means a state of the utmost woe, and ruin, and desolation, to which these impenitent cities should be reduced. This prediction of our Lord was literally fulfilled; for, in the wars between the Romans and Jews, these cities were totally destroyed; so that no traces are now found of Bethsaida, Chorazin or Capernaum."
The second occasion Jesus mentions “Hades” - The gates of Hell
"The gates of Hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way." Just in the gate, and in the jaws of Hell, Revengeful Cares and sullen Sorrows dwell, And pale Diseases, and repining Age, Want, Fear, and Famine's unresisted rage; Here Toils, and Death, and Death's half-brother Sleep Forms terrible to view, their sentry keep; With anxious pleasures of a guilty mind, Deep Frauds before, and open Force behind; The Furies' iron beds; and Strife, that shakes Her hissing tresses, and unfolds her snakes. Full in the midst of this infernal road, An elm displays her dusky arms abroad;-- The god of sleep there bides his heavy head; And empty dreams on ev'ry leaf are spread. Of various forms unnumbered spectres more, Centaurs, and double shapes, besiege the door. Before the passage horrid Hydra stands, And Briarius with his hundred hands; Gorgons, Geryon with his tripe frame; And vain Chimera vomits empty flame." Virgil
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell [Gk. hades] shall not prevail against it" (Matt. ).
False doctrinal concepts such as endless torture in a “here and now Hell” conceal utterly the real meanings and contexts of the scriptures. The church is full of such pagan ideas especially when it comes to understanding the afterlife. Few Christians understand just how much church doctrine in this area, relates to the fables and myths of the Greek classics!
Now, Capernaum did die out as a city, and all of her citizens are in “Hades”--the state or realm of the dead until the resurrection to judgment. In that sense, the gates of “Hades” has been prevailing against Capernaum. Contrary-wise, Jesus stated that the gates of “Hades” would not prevail against His Church. And that "Hades and death" are like locked gates to which only he possesses the keys. What does that mean?
For if “Hades” is the realm or world or state of the dead, is Jesus suggesting that death will not come to those in His Church? No, He isn't saying that at all. Jesus Himself prophesied numerous times that some of His disciples would be killed or martyred, and certainly all of Jesus' followers eventually die and enter the realm of “Hades,” the realm of death. We need to look carefully at what He actually said:
"...I will build My Church; and the gates of hell [Gk. hades] shall not prevail against it"
Jesus did not say that members of His Church would not die, or that they would not go to the realm of “Hades,” the silent, imperceptible state of the dead. He said that “Hades” would not "prevail" against it. That is, “Hades/death” would not have a victory over His Church. To get even more specific Jesus inserts the word "gates" into his statement. There is a difference between “Hades” and its "gates." As we already discussed, the members of Christ Church are to see death, but the good news is that the gates of “Hades” will not ultimately "prevail" against them in this death state. A gate can be closed and a gate can be opened. Once it is opened, it no longer prevails. Another aspect of this statement is that never through the ages would Christ's Church completely die out for any period of time.
Jesus likened “Hades” to a prison with gates. As long as the gates are closed and locked, no one can escape “Hades,” but Jesus assures us that the gates holding the members of His Church in Hades shall not "prevail." Jesus will prevail, not the locked gates. As we shall see, Jesus has the keys of Hades and of death." Jesus can therefore unlock the gates when He gathers His Elect at His coming, and receive them into His Kingdom. The rest of the dead are resurrected with physical bodies, back to physical life, to enter their SECOND death, which will no longer hurt God's Elect.
Now a "gate" is:
"A structure which can be swung, drawn or lowered to block an entrance or passageway" (American Heritage College Dictionary).
Most would agree that this figurative/symbolic "gate" of “Hades” is not there to keep people OUT, but rather to keep people IN, in the same way that prison doors are there to keep people in, rather than to keep people out.
To "prevail" means:
"To be greater in strength or influence; triumph" (American Heritage College Dictionary).
So when we put the two ideas together we find that although “Hades” will be the temporary abode of all Christ's saints, the figurative gates of this realm of death will not prevail or triumph over them. Here’s a profound truth concerning “Hell.” “Hades” then, is rather a temporary, NOT eternal state of the dead!
The third occasion Jesus mentions “Hades” - It’s a PARABLE!!
"And in hell [hades/unseen] he lifted up his eyes" (Luke --parable)
This statement is found in what is probably the most misunderstood portion of scripture of the New Testament scriptures. It is the easy favourite of all “Hell and brimstone” preachers - the final proof of the realities of the insufferable tortures of every sinners afterlife! If only such a concept didn’t contradict the rest of Gods word!
"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell [Gk: 'hades'] he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:22-24).
“That this is only a parable and not a real history of what was actually done, is evident from the circumstances of it, namely, the rich man lifting up his eyes in Hell and seeing Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, his discourse with Abraham, his complaint of being tormented in flames, and his desire that Lazarus might be sent to cool his tongue, and if all this be confessedly parable, why should the rest be accounted history?" Dr. Whitby
"To them who regard the narrative a reality it must stand as an unanswerable argument for the purgatory of the papists." Wakefield
 Here’s the reality. Either God's Word is absolutely true when it states that there is "no remembrance of Thee in hell [Heb: Sheol; Gk: Hades]” and therefore, Lazarus and the Rich man is a parable which is symbolic, figurative language like all parables, and cannot be literal which would destroy an symbolic meaning.
 Lazarus and the Rich man is not a parable, but literal (which most of Christendom contends) where Abraham asks the Rich man to "remember" and therefore, Psalm 6:5 is a blatant lie and contradiction when it states that "there IS NO remembrance... in hell [Sheol/Hades]." Since Psalm 6:5 is assuredly not a parable, Lazarus and the Rich man must be a parable, or we have a blatant contradiction of the Scriptures!
Now if anyone thinks he knows of a third alternative to what becomes a serious Scriptural dilemma and contradiction by turning the parable of Lazarus into a literal, historical account, rather than the parable that it is, speak now! There is also one other interesting fact that seems to be entirely overlooked (conveniently?) by Christian theologians when discussing where the dead go.
In Gen. 15:15 we have The Lord God speaking to Abraham and God tells Abraham this:"And you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. Which then happens in Gen. 25:8: "Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people." Now then, that Abraham was a righteous and obedient man of faith, there is no question, but what about his "father" and "his people?" What kind of people where they? They were GOD-REJECTING IDOLATERS, that's what they were!, and here's the proof:
"And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and THEY SERVED OTHER GODS" (Joshua 24:2).
Abraham's fathers and his people were worshipers and servers of "OTHER GODS." You cannot worship other gods and die in that condition in the good graces of God. Those sins must be judged. Yet, we are told that God promised Abraham that he would go to the same place "be gather to his people" were his idolatrous fathers and family went when they died. Can't we see that they all went to the same place of “sheol/hades” which is the state of the DEAD, where there is no consciousness where "the dead know not ANYTHING" (Ecc. 9:5)?
Abraham was a godly man of faith, but his fathers and his people weren't. Still God tells us that Abraham would die “in a good old age, an old man, full of years and go to his fathers IN PEACE and be gathered to his people. In PEACE"--From the Hebrew #7965, "shalom, safe, well, happy, friendly, welfare, health, prosperity, peace" (Strong's Hebrew Dictionary).
If this "peace" was something that Abraham was to experience AFTER death, in the state of being dead, rather than at the final time of going to his Father in the process of dying as God promised, how pray tell would Abraham viewing all of "his people" and his "fathers" being tortured by the flames of the Christian hell of eternal fire, be "in peace?"
Would anyone be "in peace" viewing their father and grandparents and great grandparents, and everyone else being tortured un-mercilessly. Would you? Well would you? Are we callous to such a scene of unimaginable cruelty and torture? Would we not consider someone to be mentally and spiritually sick and deranged if he could be "in peace" viewing such a horrific scene of eternal human carnage, especially being his own family?
Only in the Luke 16 figurative and symbolic language of Jesus' parable of Lazarus and the Rich man is consciousness attributed to “Hades.” But here is the clincher! No parable is literal. Theologians, clergymen, and Christians by the hundreds of millions pretend to not see that Lazarus and the Rich man is clearly the fifth of a five-part parable. One does indeed need to be spiritually blind, deaf, and dumb to not see that Lazarus and the Rich man is the final continuation of a five-part parable:
"And He [Jesus] spoke this parable [consisting of five different examples] unto them." The "them" being the 'publicans and sinners' of verse 1 and the 'Pharisees,' 16:14. Jesus always and only spoke to the multitudes in public, in PARABLES, Matt. 13:34. "And He spoke this parable unto them...
 "what man of you..." (Luke 15:4-7)--this is the first part of "this parable."
 "Either what woman..." (Luke 15:8-10)--this is the second part.
 "And He said, a certain man..." (Luke 15:11-32)--this is the third part.
 "There was a certain rich man..." (Lk. 16:1-13)--and this is the fourth part.
 "There was a certain rich man..." (Luke 16:19-31)--and this the final part.
FOLLOWING THE TREND
So we have: "what man, what woman, a certain man, a certain rich man, a certain rich man." It is so unmistakably clear that this five-part parable is all related to one another by the very first words of each presentation that it defies human comprehension to believe that even one theologian could or would argue that the first four examples are parables, but the fifth example is not. That is carnal spiritual stubbornness on a par to be envied by Satan himself.
The story is not fact but fiction: in other words, a parable. This is denied by some Christians who ask, Does not our Saviour say: "There was a certain rich man?" etc. True, but all his parables begin in the same way, "A certain rich man had two sons,: and the like. In Judges 9 for example, we read, "The trees went forth, on a time, to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, reign thou over us."
This language is positive, and yet it describes something that never could have occurred. All fables, parables, and other fictitious accounts which are related to illustrate important truths, have this positive form, to give force, point, life-likeness to the lessons that they inculcate. It occurs at the end of a chain of parables.
Jesus had been illustrating several principles by familiar allegories, or parables. He had exhibited the unjustifiable murmurings of the Pharisees, in the stories of the Lost Sheep and of the Lost Piece of Silver, and the parable commencing the sixteenth chapter was directed to the Scribes and Pharisees, that class of Jews being represented by the Unjust Steward. They had been unfaithful and their Lord would shortly dismiss them.
The account says: "And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things, and they derided him," showing, unequivocally, that the force and power of his references were felt.
He continued to illustrate his doctrines and gave to them a marked cogency by his striking and beautiful stories. He then struck into this parable designing not to relate an actual incident but to exhibit certain truths by means of a story. It is clearly absurd to say that he launched immediately from the figurative mode of instruction in which he had all along been indulging, into a literal exhibition of the eternal world, and without any notice of his changed mode of expression, actually raised the veil that separates this life from the future!
And this brings us to another proof that this is a parable. The Jews have a book, written during the Babylonian Captivity, entitled Gemara Babylonicum, containing doctrines entertained by Pagans concerning the future state not recognized by the followers of Moses. This story is founded on heathen views. They were not obtained from the Bible, for the Old Testament contains nothing resembling them. They were among those traditions which Jesus condemned when he told the Scribes and Pharisees, "Ye make the word of God of none effect through your traditions," and when he said to his disciples, "Beware of the leaven, or doctrine of the Pharisees."
Jesus in fact, seized the imagery of this story, not to endorse its truth, but just as we now relate any other fable. He related it as found in the Gemara, not for the story's sake, but to convey a moral to his hearers; and the Scribes and Pharisees to whom he addressed this and the five preceding stories, felt- as we shall see-the force of its application to them.
Says Dr. Geo. Campbell: "The Jews did not, indeed, adopt the pagan fables, on this subject, nor did they express themselves entirely, in the same manner; but the general train of thinking in both came pretty much to coincide. The Greek Hadees they found well adapted to express the Hebrew Sheol. This they came to conceive as including different sorts of habitations, for ghosts of different characters." Now as nothing resembling this parable is found in the Old Testament where did the Jews obtain it, if not from the heathen?
The commentator - Macknight, says truly: "It must be acknowledged that our Lord's descriptions are not drawn from the writings of the Old Testament, but have a remarkable affinity to the descriptions which the Grecian poets have given. They represent the abodes of the blest as lying contiguous to the region of the damned, and separated only by a great impassable gulf in such sort that the ghosts could talk to one another from its opposite banks. If from these resemblances it is thought the parable is formed on the Grecian mythology, it will not at all follow that our Lord approved of what the common people thought or spoke concerning these matters, agreeably to the notions of Greeks. In parables, provided the doctrines inculcated are strictly true, the terms in which they are inculcated may be such as are most familiar to the people, and the images made use of are such as they are best acquainted with."
But what does the parable teach? That the Jewish nation, and especially the Scribes and Pharisees were about to die as a power, as a church, as a controlling influence in the world; while the common people among them and the Gentiles outside of them were to be exalted in the new order of things. The details of the parable show this: "There was a certain rich man clothed in purple and fine linen." In these first words, by describing their very costume, Jesus fixed the attention of his hearers on the Jewish priesthood. They were emphatically the rich men of that nation.
His description of the beggar was equally graphic. He lay at the gate of the rich, only asking to be fed by the crumbs that fell from the table. Thus dependent were the common people and the Gentiles on the Scribes and Pharisees.
We remember how Christ once rebuked them for shutting up the kingdom of heaven against these. They lay at the gate of the Jewish hierarchy. For the Gentiles were literally restricted to the outer court of the temple. Hence we read:
"But the court, which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not, for it is given unto the Gentiles."(Rev. 11: 12)
They could only walk the outer court, or lie at the gate. We remember the anger of the Jews at Paul, for allowing Greeks to enter the temple. This is the significance of the language of the Canaanite woman, Matt. 15: 27, who desired the Saviour to heal her daughter. The Saviour, to try her faith, said:
It is not meet to cast the children's bread to the dogs." She replied, "Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their Mater's table."
The prophet (Isa. 1: 6) represents the common
The rich man died and was buried.
This class died officially, nationally and its power departed. The
They accepted the true faith and so became one with faithful Abraham. Abraham is called the father of the faithful, and the beggar is represented to have gone to Abraham's bosom, to denote the fact which is now history, that the common people and Gentiles would accept Christianity and become Christian nations, enjoying the blessing of the Christian faith.
What is meant by the torment of the rich man? The misery of those proud men, when soon after their land was captured and their city and temple possessed by barbarians, and they scattered like chaff before the wind-a condition in which they have continued from that day to this. All efforts to bless them with Christianity have proved unavailing. At this very moment there is a great gulf fixed so that there is no passing to and fro. And observe, the Jews do not desire the gospel. Nor did the rich man ask to enter Abraham's bosom with Lazarus. He only wished Lazarus to alleviate his sufferings by dipping his finger in water and cooling his tongue.
It is so with the Jews today.
They do not desire the gospel; they only ask those among whom they sojourn to
tolerate them and soften the hardships that accompany their wanderings. The
Jewish church and nation is now dead. Once they were exalted to heaven, but now
they are thrust down to Hades, the kingdom of death, and the gulf that yawns
between them and the Gentiles shall not be abolished till the fullness of the
Gentiles shall come in, and "then
"The main scope and design of it seems this: to hint the destruction of the unbelieving Jews, who, though they had Moses and the prophets, did not believe them, nay would not believe though one (even Jesus) arose from the dead." Lightfoot
The rich man or the Jews were and are in the same Hell in which David was when he said: "The pains of Hell (Hadees) got hold on me, I found trouble and sorrow," and "thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Hell." Not in endless woe in the future world, but in misery and suffering in this.
The rich man, being in “Hades,” was a symbol of temporary detention regardless. His confinement is not to be an endless one -after all, Death and Hadees will deliver up their occupants. Rev. 20: 13 and “Hades” is to be destroyed. (I Cor. 15: 55; Rev. 20: 14)
Of course, for the most part this prophetic parable concerning the Gentiles and Jews, and symbolic reference to God’s elect - called and chosen, has gone entirely unnoticed by the mainstream Christian church because of its tenacious grip of on a literal pagan hell view point. What a shame that so many will never understand the glorious meaning of this little understood portion of scripture.
The Forth Occasion Jesus Mentions “Hades”
"I... have the keys to hell [hades/unseen] and death" (Rev. 1:18)
Again we come to the recurrent symbol of Gates in the scriptures. Now we learn that these "gates of hades" are locked and Jesus has the "keys." In other words, it is possible through Jesus to GET OUT OF HADES. But in this fourth usage Jesus connects something else to “Hades.” He states that He has to keys to “Hades...AND death."
It should be noted that Jesus does not state that He has the "keys to hades and the DEAD" for the proper understanding of the scriptures makes that concept redundant. Hades IS the state of the dead after all. Rather, Jesus has the keys to "Hades AND [the conjunction 'and' signifies something else; something additional] DEATH." Death is a process, a means, and a completed act.
We will next go to our 7th use of the word “Hades,” where we have two marvellous Scriptures showing a difference between “death” and “Hades” - so it is pertinent that we tie this 4th and 7th together. Of course, to understand this passage literally, with the popular view of “Hell” added, would be to represent Jesus as the Devil's gate keeper. If “Hell” is a realm of torment, and the devil is its king, and Jesus keeps the keys, what is he but the devil's janitor, or turnkey? Can we not see the absurdity of mainstream Christian theology here?
The seventh mention of “hades” in scripture - The Apostle John
"Death and hell [hades/unseen] delivered up
the dead" (Rev. 20:13)
"Death and hell [hades/unseen] were cast into lake of fire" (Verse 14)
And again we see "death and hell/hades" used together, just as Jesus did in Rev. 1:18. Why is this? If “hades” is the state or realm of the dead, why is this word linked with "death." Notice this instructive verse:
"Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell [sheol/hades]: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them" (Psalm 55:15).
Are not "death" that seizes them, and "Sheol/Hades" where they go down to, one and the same? No, they obviously are not. One, death, seizes upon them, and because of this death they have something else happen to them: they "go down quickly to Sheol/Hades." In other words, death, as the "act of or process of dying" brings them to the "state of the dead," which is “Sheol/Hades,” where there is no longer any consciousness, pain, joy, or "any thing" (Ecc. 9:5).
Seeing that "death seizes" upon them, we have proof that this "death" has not as yet made them to be dead, but it is seizing them, that is, it is the cause of their dying until they are dead. Death is what causes them to ultimately become dead, hence they then "go down quick into hell/hades," which is the now state of their caused death--they are in fact now dead. This is precisely what God told Adam would happen if he ate the forbidden fruit:
"Yet from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you are not to be eating from it, for in the day you eat from it, to die shall you be dying" (Gen. 2L17, Concordant Literal Old Testamenti).
Here is what our dictionaries tell us: "death.”
n. 1. the act of dying; the termination of life. 2. The state of being dead. 3.The cause of dying" (American Heritage College Dictionary).
The word death denotes an ACT, STATE, & CAUSE. It will be nothing but confusion if we do not keep all three of these in mind when dealing with the abolition of death.
All three of these definitions are true in actual fact. One is no more true than the other. So when God tells us that "the last enemy to be destroyed is DEATH" (I Cor. ), it must include every and all aspects of what death really is. Death will no longer be the cause of anyone going through death in the act of dying, neither will there be any more dead people in the final state of death.
But will Christians accept the abolition (or destruction) of the ACT of death, the CAUSE of death, and the STATE of death, as representing what Jesus Christ will, literally and spiritually "destroy?" Death itself will be destroyed, or as the Concordant Version renders it: "the last enemy being abolished: death." (It is more likely to abolish something that is inanimate rather than to destroy it as the King James translates it).
So we have the act, the state, and the cause, all being the definition of "death." Hence all three must be abolished or there will yet remain some form of death which would then continue to be an eternal "enemy" in God's creation.
Damned for eternity in a Greek Hell!
"When thou diest, thy soul will be tormented alone; that will be a hell for it, but at the day of judgment they body will join they soul, and then thou wilt have twin hells, thy soul sweating drops of blood, and thy body suffused with agony. In fire exactly like that which we have on earth thy body will lie, asbestos-like, forever unconsumed, all they veins roads for the feet of pain to travel on, every nerve a string on which the devil shall forever play his diabolical tune of 'Hell's Unutterable Lament.''' (Quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin)
It is not just the extra-curricular connotations of a Greek/Egyptian afterlife that have concealed the true meaning of “Hades” as used scripturally. Even the modern concept of “damnation” has erroneously entered into the collective Christian psyche as if it was a doctrinal truth.
It is useful then to trace the Etymology of the Word "Damn" in regards to its usage in the modern scriptures. The words "damn" and "Hell" after all, are among favourite words spoken by theologians and pastors alike.. The "Authorized" King James Bible uses it quite frequently.
“The Dictionary of Word Origins” written by John Ayto states the following about the word "damn":
Damn: Damn comes via Old French "damner" from Latin "damnare," a derivative of the noun "damnum." This originally meant 'loss, harm' (it is the source of the English 'damage'), but the verb damnare soon spread its application to 'pronounce judgment upon,' in both the legal and the theological sense. These meanings (reflected also in the derived 'condemn') followed the verb through Old French into English, which dropped the strict legal sense around the 16th century but has persisted with the theological one and its more profane offshoots. Condemn, damage, indemnity.
As we can see, originally the word was neither a "cuss" word nor did it have theological significance. It was a perfectly good word with which to translate the Biblical Greek words "apollumi," "krino," and "apolleia." But when theologians twisted this word out of its original meaning, it became a word which would conceal the truth regarding “Hell” and judgement for generations to come. The world followed the church and used it as a "cuss" word, but it should be noted, that it was the church that turned it into its present meaning, not unbelievers.
The present meaning of the word does great injustice in rendering the Greek words in the Bible that have been translated "damn," "damnable," "damnation," etc. Many scholars have raised their voices protesting the use of this word in the Bible and it seems the trend presently is to remove it from scriptures.
In his book “Mercy and Judgment” F.W.Farrar he writes:
The words "damn" and its derivative do not once occur in the Old Testament. In the New Testament they are the exceptional and arbitrary translation of two Greek verbs or their derivatives; which occur 308 times. These words are "apollumi" and "krino." "Apolleia" (destruction or waste) is once rendered "damnation" and once "damnable." (2 Peter 2:3, and 2 Peter 2:1); "krino," (judge) occurs 114 times, and is only once rendered "damned." (1 Thess. 2:12) "Krima, (judgment or sentence) occurs 24 times, and is 7 times rendered "damnation." "KataKrino," (I condemn) occurs 24 times, and is twice only rendered "be damned."
Now turn to a modern dictionary, and you will see "damnation" defined as "exclusion from divine mercy; condemnation to eternal punishment."
In common usage the word has no other sense. But to say that such is the necessary meaning of the words which are rendered by "damn" and "damnation," is to say what is absurdly and even wickedly false. It is to say that a widow who marries again must be damned to endless torments (1 Tim. 5:12, "having damnation," krima), although Paul expressly recommends young widows to do so two verses later on.
It is to say that everyone who ever eats the Lord's Supper unworthily, eats and drinks "eternal punishment" to himself, though Paul adds, almost in the next verse, that the judgment (krima) is disciplinary and educational, to save us from condemnation. (1 Cor. 11:29-34) It is to say that "the Day of Judgment" ought to be called "Day of Damnation." (John 5:29) Can we not see the stupidity of Christian theology in all this?
It is in fact probable that "damn" was once a milder word than condemn, and had a far milder meaning than that which modern eschatology has furnished to modern blasphemy.
An historical example can be found from an Act passed by John Russell (Chancellor in the reign of Richard III or Henry VII), that the sanction of an Act against extorted benevolences is called "a damnation"--that is, "the infliction of a loss." This is the true etymological meaning of the word, as derived from damnum, "a loss"; and this original meaning is still found in such words as "damnify," "indemnify," and "indemnity." In the margin of 1 Cor. , we find "judgment" for "damnation"; whereas in verse 32 the "judgment" of the Lord is milder than His "condemnation."
Dr. Hey, in his lecture on the Ninth Article, says that the phrase, "It deserveth God's wrath and damnation," is used in the milder sense of the word which was originally prevalent. However this may be, the word has, as the Bishop of Chester says, undergone a modification of meaning from the lapse of time, and it is an unmixed gain that both it and its congeners will wholly disappear from the revised version of the English Bible.
"Judgment" and "condemnation" are the true representatives of krisis and katakrisis, and they are not steeped, like the word "damnation," in a mass of associated conceptions which do not naturally or properly belong to them. Equally unfortunate is the word "Hell."
The Fifth Mention of “Hades” in Scripture - Luke: Christ D-I-E-D!
"You will not leave
My [Jesus'] soul
in hell [hades/unseen]"
"Christ... His soul was not left in hell [hades/unseen]" (Verse 31)
Luke repeats in Acts a prophecy found in Psalms concerning our Lord's death:
"For thou wilt not leave My [Christ's] soul in hell [From the Greek hades which is from the Hebrew sheol]; neither wilt thou suffer your Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm ).
With damnation in mind, herein lies one of defunct theologies worst dichotomies. After all, if hell is a hellhole of eternal torture in fire, do Christians believe that Jesus went to such a place? Yes, they absolutely do: Some even think he went to the suffering department and suffered the pain of being burned in fire for three days, while others teach that he only went to a compartment that contained the souls of bygone, deceased saints and patriarchs. Regardless, it is all unscriptural nonsense. Did the poor thief on the cross travel with him, did Jesus forget to tell him that despite “this day you will be with me in paradise”…we will be sojourning on a quick tour of hell first! Can we not see the stupidity of carnal theology at work?
The "Hell" that Jesus' soul went to is the Greek “Hades,” which is translated in this verse from the Hebrew “Sheol,” which we saw proved over and over and over again to be simply the realm or state of the dead. And so Jesus' soul (like the patriarchs of old), did not go to any physical or geographical location, but rather went to the state or realm of the dead.
They put dead bodies into graves, but they don't put souls ANYWHERE. Until the spirit of man is returned to a new body, his soul does not exist anywhere, but rather is in a condition of non-existence until his spirit which returns to God is reunited to a new body.
As C. S. Lewis said: "You don't have a soul, you ARE a soul, you HAVE a body." In other words, there is no soul without a body. That is total unscriptural and pagan nonsense. That is straight out of "The Book of the Dead" from the Egyptians, not the Holy Scriptures of God.
Contrary to orthodox Christianity: "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3). And when someone dies, they are DEAD -They cease to exist! Why do Christian theologians teach that when one dies, they are still alive--somewhere? Well, they despise the Word of God. Can we know from the Scriptures for sure whether someone who is put to death, as Jesus was, is dead or not? Yes we can. God Himself has told us so:
"Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spoke unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my servant is DEAD" (Josh. 1:1-2).
Maybe some would like a second witness on this scientific and scriptural fact:
"Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount. And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was DEAD" (Num. -29).
And when Jesus died for the sins of the world, He was also "dead." If Jesus was not dead as theologians and many Christians believe, then we don't have a Saviour. God the Father did not send Jesus' "body" to be the "Saviour of the world." Let's read it again:
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3).
It was "CHRIST" Who died for our sins and it was "CHRIST" Who was DEAD. When people "die," they are "dead." Christ "died," and Christ was "dead." And therefore, it is Christ Who is the Saviour of the World, not a "cadaver."
"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent [Gk: 'send out on a mission'--hence a commission] the Son [Who? 'the Son.' The Son's body? NO, 'THE SON] to be the Saviour of the world" (I John ).
Are we to believe that the "Saviour of the world" was a "cadaver"--the dead body of Jesus? Is that what the Father commissione d? NO, the Father commissioned "THE SON [Jesus Christ] to be the Saviour of the world." Who or What "died for our sins?" Someone's "body?"
Let's read it again: "CHRIST died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3). So why do orthodox Christian theologians teach that Jesus NEVER DIED, and since only His "body" died, then His "body" must be "the Saviour of the world." Why do theologians teach such unscriptural nonsense? Again….they despise the Word of God! Now then, do the dead know that they are dead, or do they know anything at all?
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not ANYTHING" (Ecc. 9:5).
Even most uneducated people and most children know that when someone like their Uncle Harry dies, he is dead. But go to a theological seminary for five to ten years, and they will convince you that when Uncle Harry died, he is still alive at one of two possible locations.
"Alleging themselves to be wise, they are made stupid" (Rom. 1:22, Concordant Literal New Testament). How apt!
Jesus was not off in heaven, or down in hell with the wicked sinners in fire, or in a compartment of “Sheol” with the patriarchs, or in some place called paradise with the thief that died with Him. No, Jesus was not gallivanting somewhere up in the clouds or down in some pagan “Hell.” Jesus was exactly where he said He would be for three days--"in the heart of the earth." Why is it so hard to believe the Scriptures rather than men?
Yes, Jesus, 1Pe "...bare our sins in His own body on the tree..." (I Pet. 2:24). And, Yes, "He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb" (Matt. 27:58-60).
Of course Jesus had a body and His body was dead. But was it just the "body of" Jesus and not Jesus Himself that was in the tomb three days?
"And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He [Jesus] is not here: for He [Jesus] is risen" (Matt. 28:5-6)
Was Jesus in the tomb? Absolutely. But was "HE" still there after the sun came up Sunday morning? NO, "HE [Jesus] is risen." And now for the rest of the Angel's statement: "Come, see the place where the LORD LAY" (Verse 7). Did the angel limit Christ's sacrifice by suggesting that only "the cadaver lay" in the tomb. NO. Where the dead body lay?" NO. WHO "lay" in that tomb? What do the Scriptures, not men, say "lay" in that tomb? "Come see the place where the LORD LAY."
How ridiculous is Christian doctrines are and how foolish is its distortion of the Scriptures. If we cannot see such a simple truth, as when one dies he is dead, then we are far from ever learning the purpose for our very existence. Jesus died, and was DEAD. When they put Jesus' body in the tomb, they put JESUS in the tomb. When Jesus died for the sins of the world; Jesus was dead, not just His body. And when Jesus rose from the dead, it was not just His body. It is JESUS Who is the "Saviour of the world," and not just a corpse, a body, a cadaver?
Christians have taught the world that man can't die - that he has an immortal soul that cannot die. That when people die they are not dead, that at death people "go somewhere." It is all unscriptural pagan nonsense.
Jesus' soul, His sentient being, His intellect, feelings, emotions, and heart, which define the human soul, went into a state of "imperceptibility." His soul was in the realm or state of “Hades” which means "the unseen, the imperceptible," the state of death, the realm of the dead, the “Sheol” of the Hebrew.
How could Jesus "GO to heaven," or "GO to a place called Abraham's Bosom," or "GO to hell," or 'GO to a place called paradise," when the Scriptures tell us that Jesus was so dead that it took others to carry Him into the tomb? Does anyone ever bother to actually think and meditate on these inane, pagan, unscriptural and contradicting doctrines of the Church?
The sixth mention of “Hades” in scripture - The Apostle John
"Death and hell [hades/unseen] followed with him" (Rev. 6:8)
Notice that again we have "death and hell" put together. The reason is rational: the one leads to the other (as in the three different definitions for the word 'death'):
"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell [Gk: hades] 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." (Rev. 6:8).
Clearly, sword, hunger, death, and beasts, are four methods of ending life which then brings all these categories to “Hell/Hades,” the realm of the DEAD. And this is the same “Hell/Hades” which our Lord was in when He was dead in the tomb, where it was prophesied that His soul (His sentient, animated life of feelings and emotions) would not be left there in this unseen, imperceptible, condition and realm of the dead.
And it is these dead "people," not dead "cadavers" which God is going to raise. If we were to believe the unscriptural nonsense of Christian theologians, we would be forced to believe that what Paul meant to say to King Agrippa was:
"Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the LIVING from heaven and the raise LIVING from hell?"
Is that what Paul meant to say instead of: "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the DEAD" (Acts 26:8)?
The Eighth Mention of “Hades” in Scripture - Paul.
"O grave [hades/unseen] where is thy victory" (I Cor. )
Of course Paul’s observations on the state of the dead are no less profound. In I Cor. 15, Paul writes about the coming resurrection of the dead in Christ. According to Christian doctrine, when a person dies believing in Christ, he then goes immediately to heaven. And this they teach is the case for all believers ever since the resurrection of Jesus.
It is fallacious nonsense that Jesus freed all the captives in “Hades” and took them with Him to heaven. Now then, with that bit of unscriptural nonsense in mind, why would Paul, twenty plus years after Christ's resurrection, be telling Corinthians that the resurrection was yet future, and that:
"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men MOST MISERABLE" (I Cor. 15:19).
WHAT? WHY? Why “if in this life only we have hope in Christ,” would we be “most miserable?” Not according to Christian doctrine. Think about it. A person follows the Christian formula for salvation, he goes to the front of the church following an altar call, he then prays the 'sinner's prayer,' and so he is at that instance pronounced "SAVED." He now has hope in Christ, that if he should die on the way home (as ministers often like to warn at these altar calls), he will be instantly with the Lord, and not in the least "most miserable." Does he need to have trust and faith in a future resurrection as Paul so profoundly declared? No, not at all. Well then, what do Christians do with I Cor. 15:19? Why they THROW IT OUT, of course. Who has need of a future resurrection from the dead, when he is presently alive and happy in heaven? Can we say: "CONTRADICTION?"
But this is all Christian fantasy which has no basis in Scripture or reality. Here are the facts. Twenty plus years after the resurrection Jesus, others who died were also dead. Paul teaches that unless Jesus was resurrected and unless we are resurrected, then any hope we have in this life only, will make us “most miserable.” But we will be resurrected from the dead and we will have a victory over “Hades,” but “Hades” will not have a victory over us:
"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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave [Gk: hades], where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 15:54-57).
Yes, where is the victory of “Hades?” “Hades” will have no victories, seeing that all aspects of "death" will be "abolished/destroyed" (I Cor. ). To hide this fact of Scriptures, the translators chose to translate "Hades" as "grave" in verse 55…..thinking that no one would ever notice perhaps?
This verse teaches us that “Hades” is a defeated foe, and not just for the Elect, but for the WORLD (I John 2:2 & I Tim. ). The saints of God are not being resurrected out of some pagan Christian hellhole of fire and torture in I Cor. 15:55, and neither are the wicked resurrected from such an evil place, neither are they placed back into such an hellhole after resurrection. Why would God torture humanity for all eternity when they are all righteous as the Scriptures tell us they will be? Profound is not a strong enough word...
"Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9).
So where then does that leave the teaching of future retribution and eternal suffering in the New Testament scriptures if it cannot be found in the Septuagint’s usage of “Hades” and “Tartarus?” The aesthetics of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian afterlife and the woes of torture and fire within are now often deemed to archaic or medieval to be promulgated outright by most modern church pastors. After all, no one wants too much gloom and doom on a Sunday morning.
Most Christians have generally substituted Physical and literal torture for a kind of mental and spiritual torture. But the torment, the anguish, the woe and agony are just as real - an unbearable agony suffered for all eternity to come. It is still a shared woe bestowed upon the Devil himself, unfathomable, without alleviation and without end, inflicted by a God who personifies love, ordained by him from the foundation of the world for those he foresaw, before their birth, who would inevitably suffer that woe.
Good men groping in the eclipse of faith created by the false doctrine of an endless “Hell,” have tried in vain to see or explain the reason of it. Albert Barnes, (Presbyterian,) voices the real thought of millions, when he says:
"That any should suffer forever, lingering on in hopeless despair, and rolling amidst infinite torments without the possibility of alleviation and without end; that since God can save men and will save a part, he has not proposed to save all-these are real, not imaginary, difficulties. . . . My whole soul pants for light and relief on these questions.
But I get neither; and in the distress and anguish of my own spirit, I confess that I see no light whatever. I see not one ray to disclose to me why sin came into the world; why the earth is strewn with the dying and the dead; and why man must suffer to all eternity. I have never seen a particle of light thrown on these subjects, that has given a moment's ease to my tortured min. . . .
I confess, when I look on a world of sinners and sufferers-upon death-beds and grave-yards-upon the world of woe filled with hosts to suffer for ever: when I see my friends, my family, my people, my fellow citizens when I look upon a whole race, all involved in this sin and danger-and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned, and when I feel that God only can save them, and yet he does not do so, I am stuck dumb. It is all dark, dark, dark to my soul, and I cannot disguise it."
It would be rarely known or indeed taught, that even the term "saved" as it has evolved in Christianity, even means something different than it did to the original readers and hearers of Scripture. The Greek words, "sozo" and "soteria" embrace the broad meaning of being rescued, delivered, healed and saved from danger. These words were applied in a variety of ways throughout the New Testament.
There is much more to the salvation of Christ than most Christians know. Sadly, much of the church is robbed of fullness of their salvation by embracing a limited and futuristic view of what it actually means-- (i.e. "going to Heaven when they die"). “Hades” and “Tartarus” and their misuse make a mockery of current mainstream Christian teaching. It is just one of many doctrines that have made the scriptures of “no effect.”
In these times of prosperity preaching, it is no wonder that it is hardly even admitted that the life of a Believer is to be one of tribulations and trials, pain and suffering, sorrow and death. It is rather taught that Believers are to be healthy, wealthy, worldly, and wise. After all, who wants to live a life of "dying?" If the Christian life of overcoming is such a great life, why not live it FOREVER? No, our goal is to GET OUT OF THIS LIFE. It is this very concept (though unbeknownst by all of Christendom) that hints to the true meaning of the only word left in the Bible rendered “Hell” - Gehenna!
Yes, there is joy in knowing that our suffering and trials, and FIRE, is producing something of eternal value, but the process is not the goal.
For consider Him that endured such contradiction [strife, disobedience] of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If ye endure CHASTENING, God deals with you as with SONS ; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye BASTARDS, and not SONS" (Heb. 12:1-8).
The heat, pressure, and fire, that God afflicts upon His called and chosen Elect to produce the godly character befitting “sons of God,” the Church calls curses of the Devil. God's Consuming Fire (“Gehenna/hell” Fire) is the only agent able to burn out the resistance and animosity toward His correcting Word. You can either live to self and die to God, or you can die to self and live to God. If God is dealing with you, it is a painful experience, but it is also one that will ultimately liberate and set free your very soul, spirit, and mind.
When all is said and done, we must remember that it is by not some whimsical fancy or some offset personal interpretation, that the scriptures regarding “Hades/Sheol” and “Tartarus” prove the mainstream Christian teaching of “Hell” to be erroneous. A careful study of the scriptures and the confirmation of good Bible scholarship is all it takes to prove the truth and glory of God’s Word.