The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Hades, Gehenna, Tartarus, & the Abyss: Distinct but Related Compartments

They spoke of a punishment but Gehenna wasn’t connected to the afterlife until after the destruction of 70 AD. Scholars like Josephus talked of the afterlife but Gehenna wasn’t a term that was used.

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To be fair it’s a bit disingenuous to request a scripture stating exactly that. That’d be like me asking you to “quote a scripture that says the Lake of Fire is purifying.” There are a lot scriptures where the concepts aren’t stated explicitly stated but rather implied, especially in the original languages and I think you know this. I was talking to Hermano about the creation of the Abyss and / or Tartarus which don’t state directly that God created them but since He cast demons and fallen angels there, it ought to be presumed He made it just for them.

Quote the Targum. Jews disagreed with each other. The word for sulfur means divine incense because it was used in purification.

This verse speaks of the Christians who are chosen by grace in this lifetime called the first fruits. They are saved by the Spirit and through faith in the truth. What Paul is saying here is that Christians (first fruits) are saved by belief in this lifetime. I say this lifetime because if Christians are the first fruits then this implies that there are second fruits. The fact that Paul refers to Christians as first fruits and not the “only” fruits shows this. Although Paul tells us that the first fruits are saved by the Spirit and faith he doesn’t tell us how the second fruits will be saved. We do get a clue however in Luke 3:15-17:

According to this passage it’s the unquenchable fire that Jesus baptizes in. This is the Lake Of Fire And Sulfur. In the Bible God can and does use fire not only to punish and correct but to purify. The word usage and meanings in “The Lake Of Fire” make that likely. The Bible elsewhere states that God is the savior of all people. Especially of them that believe. So, some are saved by grace through faith in this lifetime others by fire in the next. We see this in passages that speak of the restoration of creation through fire as the fire purges and creates a new heavens and earth. This is how all will be reconciled to God. Again, some are saved by grace through faith others through the fire. Faith is for this age not the next. The goats undergo the corrective purification of Christ in the lake of fire in the next. When we all embrace Christ in the next life the faith of the elect will pass away.

The objects of faith and hope will be fulfilled and perfectly realized in heaven, but love will last forever. In heaven there will be nothing but perfect expression of love towards God and each other. As the Catholic Study Bible states in it’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 13:13-

Some are disturbed that God has a chosen elect that He saves in this lifetime. Even though I believe God will one day reconcile all to Himself it is the Biblical teaching and reality that forces me to believe that God’s special love extends only to a select few in this life. Consider the passages:

The word used for hate here means loved less. One reason we know this because in Genesis 29:30-31 the phrase ‘loved Rachel more than Leah’ is used as the equivalent of ‘Leah was hated’:

The other reason is in Matthew Jesus tells us that in order to be His disciple we must hate our family. He’s not referring to an attitude of hostility but telling us to have a love for Him that is greater than our love for our family. God has a chosen people in this lifetime saved by grace through faith but this doesn’t mean all will not make it. For the first will be last and the last will be first. But we will all make it. Indeed, God is the Savior of all people. Especially of them that believe.

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Found this on the Targums:


The ancient Aramaic paraphrase-translations of the Hebrew Bible known as Targums supply the term “Gehinnom” frequently to verses touching upon resurrection, judgment, and the fate of the wicked. This may also include addition of the phrase “second death”, as in the final chapter of the Book of Isaiah, where the Hebrew version does not mention either Gehinnom or the Second Death, whereas the Targums add both. In this the Targums are parallel to the Gospel of Mark addition of “Gehenna” to the quotation of the Isaiah verses describing the corpses “where their worm does not die

But this isn’t the afterlife. They spoke of a punishment but Gehenna wasn’t connected to the afterlife until after the destruction of 70 AD. Scholars like Josephus talked of the afterlife but Gehenna wasn’t a term that was used.

Okay, I see the reference to the second death in the Targums. This is the Lake of fire. It punishes and purifies then. I guess I have no problem calling it Gehenna

Some are often criticised for linking Christ’s metaphorical use of Gehenna fire with Gods future refinement Process. Now I may stand corrected, but I am yet to be shown were Christ directly links Gehenna fire with the destruction of AD 70, Without a certain amount of assumption being involved.

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On Second thought I just found this:

Many Bible scholars assume that when Jesus mentioned “Gehenna," he referred to the common idea of “hell," a place of unending infernal misery for the wicked. To support the traditional belief, these Bible scholars have investigated the meaning of“Gehenna," hoping to show how the word was interpreted by Jews in the time of Jesus. They claim that the use of the word by the Jews, reveals the use that Jesus made of it. The truth is, in the time of Jesus, the Jews were divided in their opinions about a resurrection, and an afterlife.

Since the Jews disagreed we can’t turn to the Targums to decide. We must turn to the word of God.

Jewish Targums & Why They Differ - Why Not To Use As Scripture

I guess the Lake of Fire includes punishment or penalty. So, God’s “Days of Vengeance” in 70 AD were a type and shadow of future “Day of Vengeance.” The lake of fire is a purification baptism but also a punishment. We see this in the word’s definition in the “eternal” punishment scripture. The word is Kolasis and means corrective punishment. It’s disciplinary but also penal.

kol’-as-is Noun Feminine


  1. correction, punishment, penalty

I’ll post this again. Seems no one has seen it. You all might be encouraged to look at it.

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I’ve been researching the topic of faith, hope, and love being eternal. Randys favorite site "Got Questions has some interesting things. It appears faith hope and love are united. The text says they remain in contrast to gifts that pass away. I guess faith hope and love are eternal. If this is true the fact that all has been fulfilled doesn’t do away with faith. I need to look more into this.

Not sure what the hell (pun intended) this has to do with Hades, Gehenna, Tartarus and the abyss. Seems no one wants to have a conversation about the real verbiage and context.

Jesus spoke of Gehenna as being a fire. James speaks of the tongue being on fire from Gehenna. This is figurative. The context of a new Jerusalem isn’t a literal context like the earthly Jerusalem. The earthly Gehenna isn’t the context of the spiritual/figurative Gehenna. James uses it figuratively. This shows that the fire is the figurative fire of the Lake of fire. This is Gehenna spoken of by Jesus and James.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by Gehenna. ~~ James 3:6

This proves your theory of Gehenna wrong.

The prophetic was more than mere predictive foretelling… which is where this notion of “multiple fulfillments” mainly gains traction; a common evangelical practice. More often the case however such prophetic words were a prescriptive forth-tellingthe telling forth of a word from God; and none too often in times of crisis. For sure, certain ‘events’ were indeed foretold and yet on many an occasion the prophets’ utterance told-forth the instructive will of God to be followed; and often within that a prescribed response in-kind called for.

Now, in favour of multiple fulfillment of prophecy you cite… "Matt. 2:13-23 is a good example of this” — as a pantelist I would say the likes of Mt 2:15 are better understood in terms of prophetic recapitulation — a retelling and reapplying of that which has gone before given NEW meaning; thus what has historically gone becomes type with a now new anti-type in view.

Matthew’s reference to Hosea’s words… “Out of Egypt I called my son” being prophetic concerning Jesus where in fact historically Hosea’s words concerning OT Israel. However… Hosea’s words in Matthew’s mind carried more than one meaning or application. They meant historically that God had called Israel out of Egypt and yet now in terms of prophetic recapitulation meant contemporaneously that the young Jesus would likewise be delivered — as old Israel was delivered so too would new Israel (embodied in Christ) be delivered. If one has eyes to see … more than one dimension is present.

Again, such as this is not so much a case of “multiple fulfillment” as it was the reapplying of the the past with new meaning for the present. Another way of understanding recapitulation is Jesus’ words in relation to their story and tradition where he said… “you have heard it said… but I say to you…” — Jesus recapitulates and brings fresh and new meaning to that which has gone before — he transposes the past with renewed meaning for the present, thus bringing final fulfillment, i.e., its ultimate end.

Well, Jesus will reapply the past with a new meaning for the present when He returns in Judgment in the future.


I’m sticking with Robin Parry’s view in “Evangelical Universalist”. He doesn’t hold this view but offers it as a way to harmonize the text with the Universalism of Colossians.

One could maintain that the devil will be punished forever, but that Lucifer will ultimately be saved. Paul is able to speak of how God saves humans through the putting to death of “the flesh” or the “old person”. The human in rebellion against God is “killed” so that there is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). According to the tradition, the devil is a fallen angel. The devil, like the “flesh”, must be destroyed forever, because creation has no place for him. But he dies, and Lucifer is reborn as a redeemed angel. It would still be possible to speak of the devil being tormented forever and ever to symbolize this defeat even though no actual being is still in the lake of fire. This goes beyond anything taught in Revelation, but it is one way of trying to reconcile what revelation teaches with what Colossians teaches and I tentatively commend it to the reader. The Evangelical Universalist page 131

Since mortal sin belittles God’s infinite worth and value then committing a mortal sin has the consequences of paying an infinite price. This is why Christ could atone for the sins of His people because He is infinite in value. He payed the infinite price. The old identity (self) is tormented forever and ever in hell while the new self is reborn. The Greek word for soul in the New Testament is psyche. The Bible defines it as the mind, will, and emotions (self). The Bible also tells us that as a baby up to and through the time He was a man Jesus had to learn and grow. He didn’t know everything as a man. He had a finite and limited mind. This was His human soul. This is the soul that would die and be tormented forever as Jesus was nailed to the cross and descended into hell. The Bible is pretty clear that Jesus died for sinners. As God, Jesus didn’t have to learn and grow. He was infinite in wisdom and knowledge. This is His Divine soul. This is what entered His new body when He was resurrected. The finite human soul is tormented forever. The Divine soul lives forever in God’s glory. I guess it would be better to make the distinction between body soul and spirit. Soulish (natural) is the Biblical Greek psyche. A natural body is transformed into a spiritual one. Our true inner self is the spirit. We put to death the soulish or natural man (false self) and walk in the spirit (True Self)

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Matt 22:1-14.

And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 >[THEN]< he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot,take him away, and >cast him into outer darkness< there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The book of Revelation tally’s very nicely with Christ’s prophetic words, of a future judgment after that of AD 70, in which wicked persons will be found outside of the N/J and the kingdoms beginnings here on earth. Rev 19: 11-15, Rev 21:1-8 & Rev 22:15. So metaphorically Speaking, these persons are outside the N/J in a lake of fire, how can that not be metaphorically likened to Gehenna fire as follows :——

-[Gehenna] referred to a garbage dump in a deep narrow valley right outside the walls of Jerusalem were firers were kept burning to consume the refuse and keep down the stench. It is also the location where bodies of executed criminals, or individuals denied a proper burial, would be dumped.

Exactly… the LoF and Gehenna are BOTH metaphors describing the conflagration Israel-Jerusalem-Temple suffered circa AD66-70 — the prophetic 3½yrs aka 42mths.

Metaphorically speaking the NJ coming down out of heaven is the NC come to fruition in the Parousia, aka Peter’s… age in which righteousness dwells.

The lake of fire isn’t in a temporal context. It’s eternal just like life.