Following The Evidence #133

Many look upon ‘hell’ as a vast fiery pit where sinners suffer and burn forever, while demons with pitch forks enjoy torturing the eternally damned. The Bible does not endorse such an idea. As we examine the teaching of the Bible on this subject, it is important to note first the meaning of the word ‘hell’. There are four different words used in Biblical language, but they are all translated to the one English word ‘hell’.
1. SHEOL is a Hebrew word meaning death, and the state of death, or the grave and its dominion. This word carries no idea of fire or conscious torment. It simply means death, and the abode of death for both good and evil. Most recent translations like the NASB or NLT translate this word as “the grave,” or just leave the word ‘sheol’ in the text.

2. TARTAROS is a Greek word referring to the place of banishment of evil angels, meaning the regions of space about this earth, where they were cast after their rebellion in heaven. It has nothing to do with the fate of sinners. It occurs only once in the New Testament, 2 Peter 2:4.
3. HADIS is a Greek word which refers to that which is in darkness, or is hidden. It applies to the abode of the dead and is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word SHEOL which means simply – ‘the grave’.

4. GEHENNA is a Greek word which applies literally to the Valley of Gehenna, which was close to Jerusalem, and was used to burn rubbish, including the carcasses of animals and unburied bodies of criminals. The fires burned continuously to consume all waste. The fires of Gehenna were not for the torment of the living, but the destruction of the dead. Jesus used Gehenna as a symbol of the second death – the total destruction of the wicked by fire at the close of the Millennium. Matthew 7:13,14 says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Here Jesus made it abundantly clear that the majority of people would be lost and only a minority saved. Jesus made it plain in this text that the fate of the wicked is ‘DESTRUCTION’ – not eternal life in a burning hell. If such a teaching were true, God would be classed as a monster or a sadist. The truth about God’s character is this… “God is Love” 1 John 4:8.

There are many Old and New testament texts that talk about the annihilation of the ‘wicked’. For example Jesus said, “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46. Paul said, “They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” 2 Thessalonians 1:9. God’s ultimate goal, as declared in the Holy Writings, is to uproot sin from the universe, not to preserve it in some miraculous unending torment. When? Both Testaments declare this to be in the future fire at the end of this world’s history and prior to the birth of the New Earth. (Matthew 13:41-43, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, 1 Peter 3:7-13, Revelation 20:14) That fire will do its job and turn everything to ashes (Malachi 4:1-4) even the devil and his followers (Hebrews 10:27). 590

1 Comment
  • Patricia Falanga
    Posted at 07:25h, 10 February Reply

    He’ll is the absence of God.

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