Heaven, Yes - Hell, No


The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
We may be in trouble here in 1:8-9 – “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power…”. However, I have three points to make:

  1. Hell is not mentioned here - a consistent lack in all of Paul’s epistles.

  2. We have established, at least I hope I have in the minds of my readers, that the fire of God is for cleansing, for purification, and ultimately for salvation. Remember my comments on Colossians.

  3. Then there is “everlasting.” I looked it up, as I do many texts, in an interlinear version on the www. Yup, the Greek is our now-familiar “aionion.” The verse should read, then, “age-long destruction.” This means, as I keep stressing, that the unbelievers will have their dross burned away, will suffer loss, and fail to inherit - yet they will be saved in the End.

In Chapter 2, Paul speaks of the appearance of the “son of perdition,” with a connection to Satan, and a “falling away.” In verse 7, he mentions the “mystery of iniquity” which is in his day, already at work. He then states God’s response: “…for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (verse 11). In the centuries after these times, the purity and simplicity of the Good News was diluted and polluted by layer after layer of theology, tradition and accommodation to pagan ways. Pagans were brought in, in name only, but not really made fit for the Kingdom. The Doctrine of Hell was only a part of the problem, but it may be the part repelling more unbelievers in the present age than any other. That is why I write.

That is everything of interest to our Question in this epistle in which neither Hades nor Hell can be found.


The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
Early on, Paul advises Timothy, “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling” (1:4-6). This text makes me wonder if I am ministering questions – I’d rather be doing charity/love out of a pure heart, but if I can resolve this Hell question in a way that glorifies God, I can edify even so, and not be just a vain jangler.

In 1:15, Paul reminds us: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Yes, sinners, as He said Himself. Remember the parables of the Shepherd who left the 99 sheep to find 1 straying sheep. Recall the parable of the feast, where the Master of the house ordered His servants to compel random people on the road to come into His feast. Jesus made His disciples Fishers of Men, and these men fished not with spears or hook and line, but with nets. Nets take fish in bulk, and are not at all choosy. Are these facts compatible with the Hell theory which leaves a large part of mankind permanently in the lurch?

Winding up the first chapter, Paul mentions two men, “whom I have delivered unto Satan.” (verse 20). Once again, we see Satan in operation on the Earth, in this literal world we live in. Paul’s purpose: “…that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Whatever happened to these two men, they must not have died and had their souls dragged off to Hell, as many would assume here.

Now in 2:4-6, we have a text which should be able, on its own, to bring the Hell Theory crashing down: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all…”. So God will have all men saved? “Will have” is CCR footnoted “desires to,” so we have willing, but how about able? Willing and able were covered just a few pages ago, at the end of the coverage of Paul’s Epistle to the Phillipians. Further, are God’s sovereignty and His omnipotence not doctrines in most churches? Yes, they are, and we also know that God has used His Powers over and over to overthrow the puny wills and actions of men. How about Noah’s flood? How about the destruction of Sodom and several other cities? How about the killing of all those Canaanites? I really wish I could stop the mouths of some of those theologians who babble on about how God would not violate the wills of men, but regretfully lets them enter Hell. Rubbish!

OK, we’ve got willing and able, but notice as well, that God is willing (and able!) to save all men, and that Jesus is a ransom for all men, in perfect accord with His Father, and with what we have read thus far. As I said, this should resolve the whole question, but let’s move on, keeping in mind that what we read must agree with what we have already read.

Chapter 4, verse 1, says, “…that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to…doctrines of devils.” Well, the doctrine of Hell is just chock full of devils, isn’t it? Then verse 10 expands on 2:4-6: “…we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.” Of course, He is the savior of believers, but note carefully – of all men as well. How is the Hell Theory to stand when this epistle has already stated three times that all men are saved? Paul concludes the thought: “These things command and teach.” (verse 11). I’m trying to do just that.

The last thing I want to comment on is 6:13 – “…God, who quickeneth [CCR footnoted “gives life to”] all things…”. This is God’s Way – to create, to make life, to maintain life, to restore life. In the Cosmos of such a God, death is only a temporary aberration, not a permanent destination.

As ever, there is no Hell here.


The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
“For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him…if we deny him, he also will deny us.” (2:11-12). What does this mean? It goes well for the believer, but for the unbeliever, denying Jesus places him in the not-presentable-as-perfect group, to be raised from the dead only later, missing out on the first resurrection, suffering loss and probably the Lake of Fire.

Paul advises us, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2:15). It is not sufficient to sit under the preaching of any man, especially in these days where ministers are typically trained in seminaries, and trained by professors who pursue ideas which the average member of their denomination might think quite odd. I found this out myself when my father and I took a night course on the Old Testament at the local Baptist seminary. My father disagreed with the professor so much that he dropped out. I tell you, Christian, there is just no substitute for your own reverent study of the Word, using some helps such as a good concordance, as accurate a Bible translation as you can possibly find, and internet helps with the Hebrew and Greek. A good knowledge of both sacred and secular history is a benefit too. There are things in the Word which leave us wondering, but the basic message is the same, from one end to the other. Study then, but do not be one who is “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth…Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (3:7 & 5). The basics are easy to understand and spiritually discerned, so that children and fools understand, but the learned do not – such is the mystery of God’s doings in this age.

When he wrote this letter, Paul was in chains, in prison, and awaiting his death. He seems cheerful, but warns Timothy that, “…the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (4:3-4). The sound doctrine he mentions would be what we have read in the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles. None of them establish Hell. What lust would turn Christians to the fiction and fable of Hell? I think it is the all-too-human lust to have vengeance on our personal enemies, and to separate ourselves (in our own minds) from those sinners over there. Remember that one’s enemy is also a child of the same God Who told us to forgive them, and even to minister to them.

That is my take on II Timothy, an epistle where, once again, Hades and Hell cannot be found.


The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Titus
Hades and Hell are not mentioned in this epistle. I only care to quote this: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (1:2). It is just as Jesus told His disciples, that if things were not so, He would have told them. It is just as Paul writes, never bringing up the subject of Hell. Blessed hope! Eternal security!


The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Philemon
This closes out the epistles of Paul, and as ever, he fails to mention Hades or Hell.


The Epistle to the Hebrews
This epistle is largely about the priesthood of Jesus, and there is nothing relevant to our Question until 10:26-27 – “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Wait – should that not have read, “devour the sinner”? Nope, the judgment and fiery indignation will devour the adversaries, and might that be our carnal nature, our tendency to sin? Yes, I think so, and it is fully consistent with the cleansing fire burning away our dross, chaff, etc. Otherwise, who can be saved, for have we all not sinned since knowing the Truth? Nevertheless, we should toe the line carefully: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (verse 29). In this passage, with judgment, fiery indignation, devouring and sore punishment, there is no mention of Hades or Hell. On the other hand, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (verse 31).

The epistle speaks of shaking: “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (12:26-27). This sounds a lot like the burning of wood, hay and stubble so that the gold, silver and precious stones only may remain. Hebrew parallelism again, and then verse 29: “For our God is a consuming fire.” This is not a bad thing, as we see in verse 10: “For they [earthly fathers] verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he [God] for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”

The epistle advises, “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines…” (13:9). Perhaps the reader thinks my no-Hell slant is strange, but be aware that I do not offer it as a doctrine – it is more like an anti-doctrine. Further, at the time this epistle was written, the concept of Hell was restricted to the pagan systems of belief, and did not displace the doctrine of universal salvation until about 400 AD. Given what we have seen and read so far, I think it is fair to say that Hell can be classed as one of those “divers and strange doctrines.”

Whoever wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews did not write of Hades or Hell.


The Epistle of James
We run into hell here, in 3:6 – but it’s a mistranslation of Gehenna, that literal city dump where literal things are literally burned.

The concept of Hell is dependent on the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and that is dependent on the notion that you have a soul, some ineffable and immortal thing within you. Both ideas have come into Christianity from Greek philosophy. However, in the Hebrew understanding, you are a soul, and are dead when you die. The Hell theory dictates that when you die, you are immediately in Hell, or in Heaven if you are very lucky. This is what James has to say: “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (4:14).

There is no support for Hell in this epistle.


The First Epistle of Peter
We run into a baffling passage in Chapter 3, which says that Jesus was “…quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing…” (verses 19-20). We are not told what this prison is or was, or what the fate will be of the spirits held there. We do know that Peter does not identify it as Hell, so I think those who say that Jesus descended to Hell and preached there are in error, even if Hell exists, which it does not. No, it must be quite the opposite – these antediluvians died in the flood, their bodies were buried in mud, their souls were no more, and their spirits returned to God. God may have sequestered those spirits, but we are just not given enough information to state anything worthwhile here. I don’t care to try to erect any theology on such an obscure text, or on the one following in 4:5-6 – “…him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead…”. I understand the judging of the living and the dead, but not the preaching of the gospel to the dead. In Chapter 1, Peter refers to things angels desire to look into, and I think I am like that in relation to these texts.

A serious caution if given in 4:17-18 – “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And IF THE RIGHTEOUS SCARCELY BE SAVED, WHERE SHALL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR?” Peter speaks rhetorically, and provides an answer only by implication, but note that he does not say the ungodly and the sinners go to Hell. They go to judgment to be sure, we all do, but we must decide from other texts what the end of them is. I see no reason yet to change the idea that they will suffer loss, but yet be saved.

Another caution is in Chapter 5: “…your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (verse 8). This looks scary on the surface, but have you ever considered that the verse implies that there are some whom he may not devour? It would not be so much from any virtue in us, but by way of God’s protection.

This epistle does not support Hell.


The Second Epistle of Peter
In case the reader has this book as his first exposure to the idea of the salvation of all, and he/she reads in the epistle, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (1:20), be aware that I have explored the entire Bible using my common sense, comparing books, chapters and verses, trying to tease out the truth concerning Hell and everything associated with it. I have been as fair in my assessment as I could be, but I have found that the Hell Theory is a massive 404 (not found). Further, if the reader still thinks my interpretation is private, he or she must ignore the many writers of the Bible, the One who inspired them, and numerous church fathers. None of them spoke of Hell in the beginning.

Two verses later, in 2:1, Peter warns, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them…”. I maintain that Hell is one of those “damnable heresies,” and “damnable” in the CCR footnote is “destructive,” which has a different spin. “Damn,” “damnation,” “damnable,” they all have to do with being sent to Hell, and so are loaded terms and misleading. They are part of what Peter is talking about.

Three verses after that, we run into hell again: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment….”. We have a new word here, as “hell” is CCR footnoted as “tartarus,” and this is the only place where it appears in the Bible. Just like the term “Hades,” this new term comes from Greek mythology, and it brings in a lot of baggage with it just as “Hades” did. It might shed some light on the abyss mentioned in Luke 8, to which the demons begged Jesus not to send them. I am seeing a pattern here, of various words translated as “hell” to throw a prop under a theory. Consider this short list of terms so often translated as “hell”:


An honest translation of these terms would make Hell seem a lot less real.

Peter says of some sinners, “…these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed…shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” (2:12). This may sound like the annihilation of the wicked, but there is no reason to think “perish” refers to anything other than natural death. Peter fails to say their sad fate is eternal, as he also does in 3:7, where he mentions “…the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

In 3:9, Peter is more upbeat: “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Lastly, Peter comments on the epistles of Paul, “…in which are some things hard to be understood.” (3:16). Oddly, I find more in Peter’s epistles that I have a hard time understanding. At least, there is no doubt about the lack of Hell in either man’s epistles.


The First Epistle of John
John tells us, “…now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him…” (3:2). I have mentioned this before, but note that we are the sons of God NOW in this age, and will be so much more in the next age, so much so that we will be like Jesus! This must be one of the rewards of the righteous.

In 3:8, John tells us “…the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” We all know that the devil worked and works lies, sin and death, and that sin’s wages are death. Now if Jesus is here to destroy such works, and I don’t think for a moment that “might destroy” places any doubt on the outcome, then He will, He shall. Again, if He destroys lies, sin and death, how can anyone then be dead and/or in Hell? It is excluded. We can now understand Romans 6:23 in more depth: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” If the sinners and the wicked are in Hell, then Jesus has failed in destroying the works of the devil – but He does not and will not fail.

In Chapter 5 we read, “…whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world…” (verse 4). Apparently, the world needs to be overcome, but Hell is not mentioned, so maybe the avoidance of Hell is not an issue with John.

Ending his epistle, John fails to caution the readers to avoid Hell, but tells them to avoid idols – perhaps the latter is a much bigger issue in an epistle where Hades and Hell are not to be found.

The Second Epistle of John
John writes of truth and falsehood, but doesn’t mention Hades or Hell.

The Third Epistle of John
Again, John writes of truth, falsehood, good and evil, but fails to mention Hades or Hell.


The Epistle of Jude
Jude speaks of certain angels, “…reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (verse 6). It is easy to see that when the great day arrives, though a long way off, the chains may or may not come off. Was Jude writing for effect? The word he used, “aidiois,” does support the KJV word choice, but here it must mean a long time.

Writing of Sodom & Gomorrah, Jude says they, “…are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (verse 7). The Greek word here means age-long, eternal, or a very long time. We all know that those cities are not now burning, but the results of their burning are still with us.

In verse 9, we read a mention of Michael being involved in some dispute with the devil over the body of Moses. As ever, we see the devil operating on the Earth, not in Hell.

Jude goes on at length about ungodly people in the church, who he calls, “…wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (verse 13). In this case, “for ever” means age-long, but still a long time. Jude paints a vague, bleak future for these folks, but does not insert Hades or Hell into his epistle.


The Revelation of Jesus Christ
This book will be Hell’s last stand, and it does appear four times, each time translated from “Hades.”

The first instance of “hell” is in 1:18 – “I am alive…and have the keys of hell and of death.” The Greek, as I said, is “hades,” the equivalent of “sheol.” Jesus is telling John that He can open or close death, sheol, the grave, the pit.

Hell is next seen with the pale horse and its rider: “…a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (6:8). With a theological Hell not established, and “hell” CCR footnoted as “hades,” we must see this as just a lot of dying, and bodies going into the grave, pit, sheol, hades.

The last two instances are close together: “…the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them…and death and hell were cast into the lake of fire…” (20:13-14). Hell is not mentioned again in the Bible, and as ever, it’s hades, and as usual it’s associated closely with death. So, the sea gives up its dead, OK. Death also gives up its dead, OK, but with no one dead, how can anyone be in Hell? Now if you really subscribe to the Hell of Dante, Milton and Baxter, how do you get around the plain wording of your KJV that Hell will give up the dead that are in it? What about “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” – Did you know that it was written by Dante, and is not a part of the Bible? Again, as so often, it’s theology based on fiction, in this case, epic poetry, the Divine Comedy. Do you see how if you put the Doctrine of Hell under the magnifying lens, you kill it just like an ant on a summer day? You don’t even have to be a theologian to do it!

Backtracking now, let’s take a look at what else we can find in the Revelation. In 2:13, we read: “I know…where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat [throne] is…where Satan dwelleth.” Where is that? In the city of Pergamos, a literal place. So here’s Satan in the Earth again, not in Hell.

Speaking of a false prophetess in Thyatira, Jesus says that He, “…will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation…And I will kill her children with death.” (2:22-23). All that suffering…but no one is relegated to Hell.

Chapters 8 and 9 have to do with the opening of the seventh seal and the blowing of the seven trumpets. By the time all is done, 1/3 of mankind is killed, but the rest fail to repent of their evil. Is that all God asks and desires of us? I think so, for with repentance, He can then begin His work in us. Astonishing – all this death and destruction because men won’t repent. In all of it, Hell is not mentioned.

In Chapter 10, a mighty angel swears by Him, “…who created heaven…and the earth…and the sea.” (verse 6). As ever, Hell is left out of the list.

Chapter 12 tells the tale of the birth of the man child, apparently Jesus, and the dragon who tries to devour Him at His birth. After that, there was a war in Heaven, and we can’t put a date to it, not knowing if it happened just after Jesus was taken up, or just after the woman fled into the wilderness, or 1,260 days or years after that. At any rate, “…the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan…he was cast out into the earth.” (verse 9). As ever, we see that Satan is here on Earth. If we remember the opening scene of the Book of Job, this will make sense: “…neither was their place found any more in heaven.” (verse 8) and “…the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (verse 10).

Chapter 13 tells us the fate of some who do wrong: “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.” (verse 10). He that sendeth to Hell shall be sent to Hell? No, there is no such judgment here.

Chapter 14, verses 10 and 11, seem to support Hell: “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

Is this Hell? No, it is not, for several reasons. First of all, look at the setting – this entire section of the Revelation is set in Heaven. The torment of these particular wicked people is taking place in front of the holy angels and the Lamb, so it is taking place in Heavenly places, not in Hell, right? Further, they are being tormented with fire and brimstone. Now I am well aware that these are associated with Hell, but we know by now that the fire has to do with the way God deals with wickedness and spiritual dross – the fire is at least, metaphorical. Brimstone, aka sulfur, was in ancient times, used as a fumigant and ritual cleanser, and that would have been well understood by the first-century readers. It was often found at hot springs and volcanoes, so it should be apparent that the elements of Hell were cobbled together from Earthly things – hot, steamy, fiery, and sulfurous. However, we see sulfur here in the Heavenly places. Further, we are told that the smoke of this burning goes up “for ever and ever” – but does it? An interlinear version gives the Greek transliterated as “aionas aionon” or in English as “ages of ages.” So you see, this is not the forever-and-ever-amen Hell, it is more like Purgatory, with an exit to Paradise at the end of a temporal suffering. Do you see that the sufferers have no rest day or night, but it is not said that they suffer forever. Lastly, be very aware that this is not called Hell in the text. This word, hell, was added in later, as witnessed by all those many CCR footnotes: “or sheol,” “or hades,” “or Gehenna,” “or Tartarus.” The translators showed their hand in these two verses, where they dared not insert “hell” because the venue was obviously not in their boogeyman-land, of Hell. This is just another example among others, where I have pointed out that words were translated according to context and setting, as well as simple wording.

Chapter 14 ends with a symbolic depiction of the two resurrections. First, we see the resurrection of the just in verse 16: “…he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” Now that sounds simple and easy.

But then, “…Another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel…cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” (verses 17-20). It is easy to see that the wicked receive a much rougher treatment! We are told in verse 18 that an angel having to do with this reaping/resurrection “had power over fire.” If the fire symbolism is consistent, then God’s cleansing power is to be applied to this group, but first His wrath.

I got to wondering how much blood came out of the winepress, and how many people it represented. I had to convert the Greek stadion (as furlong was CCR footnoted) into feet, for which I took a high and a low figure, estimated the height of a horse’s bridle above the ground, and made all the unit conversions I needed to arrive at total gallons. Calculations and approximations gave me 31 to 55 million gallons of blood, assuming a cylindrical pool five feet deep. Assuming 1.24 gallons of blood for an adult, I arrived at an estimation of 25 to 44 million people in the grape harvest or resurrection of the wicked. You might think me an optimist if you expected the figure to run into the billions, and these figures could be far off the mark, as the shape of the pool of blood is not given, and the data given in the Revelation may be only symbolic.

Chapter 18 is all about the Whore of Mystery Babylon and her destruction. In 19:3 we see that the smoke of the burning of the Whore and her City goes up, “for ever and ever.” Again, the Greek means “ages of the ages.”

The rest of Chapter 19 concerns a very short war between Jesus and His heavenly armies versus the gathered forces of the Beast and the False Prophet, and “…both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (verse 20). Is this Hell? We won’t say here, for the final answer is (finally!) close at hand, but here the translators have held back with the hell word, as the venue is again, too obvious. The rest were killed (again, no Hell) and given as food to the birds.

In Chapter 20, we see Satan get bound for 1,000 years in the bottomless pit, aka the abyss (see the Greek). After this sentence is completed, Satan gathers those He can deceive for a final battle - a short one - for they are devoured by the same fire from Heaven that we have seen so many times. I suppose they go directly into the Lake of Fire, just as “…the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” “Day and night” are correct, but “for ever and ever” is our usual “ages of the ages.”

With Satan, the one who accuses the brethren day & night before God (Revelation 12:10), out of the way, comes the Great White Throne Judgment. It looks like God is going to keep His own council, and is not willing to hear anything from the “prosecutor’s bench.” Given that judgment is based on what is already written, this Judgment would be like a legal formality. We don’t know exactly when this occurs, but everyone who ever lived seems to be there to be judged: “…the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them…death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (verses 13-15). First, remember that we have covered this before – it should read “Hades,” not “hell” in these verses. Second, note that the sea, death and hades have given up their dead – that would be all the dead, and plus the living, would be all of humanity, Adam and Eve forward. Third, death and hades are cast into the Lake of Fire, and that must mean that there is no further death, except for those who were being cast in as well. Finally, note that the fate of those whose names were not written in the book of life, is to be cast into the lake of fire – BUT the “tormented day and night for ever and ever” does not apply to them, only simple death, as I have stated over and over from Genesis on.

Now is the answer to a big question: Is the Lake of Fire Hell? No, it is not Hell, the place of eternal conscious, torment in fire. They have fire in common, but the resemblance ends there, as the Lake of Fire is temporal, lasting only ages of the ages, holding dead (unconscious) people, who are therefore not tormented.

In Chapter 21, we read “…there shall be no more death.” (verse 4). However, some are still dead in the Lake of Fire: “…the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (verse 8). I don’t know if these two things are concurrent, or if “no more death” is a looking ahead to a far future.

In Chapter 22, along with the closing comments, is this: “…without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” I assume these are outside the New Jerusalem in the Lake of Fire.

This wicked group is not left there, but refer back to First Corinthians 15:24-26 - “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God…when he shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” With death destroyed, the Lake of Fire MUST give up its dead, just as the sea and the grave did so long before. With dross, tares, wood, hay, stubble burned away, leaving what gold, silver and precious stones remain, these will suffer loss, but will be saved through fire, presentable at last to God and the Kingdom!

And death shall have no dominion!



In this chapter, I am going to adjust my focus from the general text of the Bible to a single term, “sheol,” generally defined as the realm, state or abode of the dead, apart from the literal grave. The decision to do so grew from a seed of suspicion, when verses with “hell” kept turning up, though it (hell) was translated from “sheol,” which was also often rendered by the much less theologically-loaded “grave” or “pit.” Was this honest translation or was there a slant to which verses were translated one way or the other? I started in Strong’s Concordance, but it said, “SHEOL, See HELL.” Consulting the entry for “Hell,” I had before me all the verses containing the word “Hell” in the KJV, from Deuteronomy to the Revelation (see my comments on pages 10 and 11). Now as I said much earlier, “sheol” is translated in the KJV three ways: grave, pit or hell, so we have our categories, and we can ignore instances where any of these three are derived from other words, such as those meaning the literal grave.

First, here is a list of the verses with “sheol” translated as “grave” or “pit” in the KJV:

And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. Genesis 37:35

And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Genesis 42:38

And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Genesis 44:29

It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. Genesis 44:31

But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. Numbers 16:30

They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. Numbers 16:33

The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. I Samuel 2:6

Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. I Kings 2:6

Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. I Kings 2:9

As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. Job 7:9

O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! Job 14:13

If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. Job 17:13

They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Job 21:13

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

For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? Psalm 6:5

O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Psalm 30:3

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

Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. Psalm 49:14-15

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. Psalm 88:3

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

Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth. Psalm 141:7

Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: Proverbs 1:12

The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough. Proverbs 30:16

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

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Song of Solomon 8:6

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. Isaiah 14:11

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

For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. Isaiah 38:18

Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him. Ezekiel 31:15

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

Now for a list of verses, with “sheol” translated as “hell” – about an equal number:

For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. Deuteronomy 32:22

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

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

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

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Psalm 9:17

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

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

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

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

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Psalm 116:3

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

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

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

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

Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men? Proverbs 15:11

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

Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:14

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

Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. Isaiah 5:14
Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. Isaiah 14:9
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isaiah 14:15
Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Isaiah 28:15
And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. Isaiah 28:18
And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell. Isaiah 57:9
I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen. Ezekiel 31:16-17
The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword. Ezekiel 32:21
And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living. Ezekiel 32:27
Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: Amos 9:2
And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. Jonah 2:2
Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people: Habakkuk 2:5
Observations – Overall, I can think of no good reason to separate “sheol” into three words, as the translators have. They could have very well let “sheol” stand transliterated, to let it be understood by context and usage. However, they let about half the instances fall to the literal “grave” or “pit,” and about half to “hell.” I suppose they needed some support for their Hell in the Old Testament, for besides sheol-to-hell, there is so very little to go their way.
In comparing the “grave/pit” list and the “hell” list, I find a strong tendency (not consistent) for “sheol” to be rendered as “grave” or “pit” when the context places the instance in the real world. The verses in the “hell” list mostly lack context to connect them to the real world, but this is, again, not consistent. In the “hell” list of this chapter are Isaiah 57:9, Ezekiel 31:16-17, and Ezekiel 32:27, which have real world contexts. It might be useful for better understanding, to read each verse and mentally insert “hell” for “grave/pit,” and vice versa. I think the reader will see what I am saying about context.
Besides context, there are solid reasons why some verses were translated in one way or another, mostly theological reasons. Consider I Samuel 2:6 – I’m sure the translators would have been happy to have rendered it as, “…he bringeth down to hell…”, but what would they have done with the following, “…and bringeth up.”? It would have violated the doctrine and belief that damnation is final and irreversible. We can see the same thing going on with Psalms 30:3, 49:14-15, 89:48 and Hosea 13:14, all quoted in the “grave/pit” list.
We have the same problem in reverse, in the “hell” list. Psalm 16:10’s “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell…,” should have been given over to the “grave/pit” camp, thus avoiding the ban on exit from Hell. As it reads, the translators made a mistake, from their point of view. We see it again in Psalm 86:13, Psalm 139:8 and Amos 9:2.
The translators did make a few other mistakes. In our “hell” list is Deuteronomy 32:22, which depicts hellfire burning in the real world, out of its proper bounds. Lastly, we have Jonah’s prayer from “out of the belly of Hell” (2:2). Well, no, verse one correctly gives it as the “fish’s belly” - let’s not forget where the prophet really was, but the translators forgot the context, or at least, they forgot to be consistent.


The Hades Chapter

Short chapter here, - this will be straightforward. I noticed in my chart from Tentmaker that “hades” was translated as “hell” consistently, except for one time. I wondered if it were a matter of context allowing for it, as it was for “sheol.” So, I examined each instance, all eleven of them, and found that context did allow in ten, if a whole town (Capernaum) going to Hell is not too much to swallow. The one time when “hades” was rendered as “grave,” was in I Corinthians 15:55. Now context might have allowed, but Paul’s taunt of, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” follows after Hosea 13:14 – “O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction…”. If either were rendered as “hell,” it would have violated the no-exit/eternal-Hell doctrine, and the whole idea would have been exposed if Hell were robbed of its victory and subject to destruction. The KJV translators must have been cunning to have made sure the OT and the NT agreed like this, so I’m glad the center-column references were innocently added later, for they were quite a tip-off to me.

The last two instances of “hades” to “hell” are in the Revelation, 20:13 & 14. “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them…And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” As these verses stand, they are confusing, and just muddy the waters – “hades,” in the sense of the realm/place of the dead, would be clearer, and that is precisely what the center-column reference suggests. Those cunning translators may have over-reached themselves here, however – Hell delivering up its dead, and Hell cast into the Lake of Fire (destruction?) violate the no-exit/eternal-Hell doctrine. Using “grave” would have cleared up the problems, but judging from my “Hell Words” chart, the KJV translators seem to have been on a roll by this time.


The Hell Chapter

In the time of John the Apostle when he wrote down the Revelation, this word “hell” would have been some archaic form, spoken by tribes with which the early Christians as yet had no contact. I got curious, so I looked in the OED again, and here are some old forms of “hell”:

Old English – hel
Old Frisian – helle, hille
Old Saxon – hellja, hella
Middle Dutch – helle
Old High German – helle
Old Norse – hel, heljar
Gothic – halja
Original Teutonic - halja

Among the linguistic notes were some very old meanings, such as “literally, the coverer or hider,” (as a noun) and “to hide, conceal” (as a verb). By the way, the OED has dated examples of the use of most words, and for “hell,” the earliest was in an Old English document, dated about 825 AD. This was well after Christian Britain had been overrun by the then-pagan Saxons, Angles and Jutes. By this time the Roman Church had long possessed the Latin Vulgate Bible, using forms of “infernum” to replace “sheol” and “hades.” It was a fine word as used then, and originally meant “beneath” or “buried,” in the same sense as “sheol,” etc. The word only acquired the fiery meaning it has today after the rise of Hell theology. Of course, the idea and doctrine of Hell were already in existence by that date, but if you look into mythology, you will find that the Greek, Roman and Pagan myths all support some form of Hell. It should not surprise you to learn that Christianity went from the Jews, to the Greeks, to the Romans, and on to the so-called Barbarians, to eventually reach what would become the English-speaking world. I think Christianity picked up a lot more than just converts along the way.

Besides all that, I found that “Hel” was the name of the Norse goddess/ogress of their underworld, as well as the name of the supposed underworld itself. Hel’s supposed realm was also known as “Helheim,” meaning “House of Hel.” Interestingly, the roots of the word “Hel” hark back to the original meanings of “sheol” and “hades” – that is to say, “covered” and “hidden.” [source: Orel, Vladimir. 2003. A Handbook of Germanic Etymology, pp. 156, 168.]

Now, this is almost funny – “Hel” is pagan, but “Hell” is part of most Church Doctrine. Do you see the problem, reader? Pagans will tell you that Christianity has “pagan DNA,” and here it is all too clear to see. We need to look a little further – most Christians seem to subscribe to the view that people die, and their souls go immediately to Heaven, Hell or maybe Purgatory. The Bible never says anything of the sort, but gives us the promise of the Resurrection. Now if we are already in Heaven, then doesn’t the Resurrection seem just a bit creepy? I’ve never heard anyone tell me how being in Heaven right now and later getting Resurrected are even compatible. As for Hell, it gets really absurd when you consider dying and going there. So you’re dead. But…conscious torment in Hell requires you to be alive, right? But you’re dead. But you must be alive to suffer Hell. But you’re dead… There is no logical solution, unless you opt for the pagan Greek concept of the Immortality of the Soul, and mainstream Christianity did just that. This concept, this doctrine arose from the teachings of Socrates and Plato, and many early church fathers were Platonic in their outlook. See the next chapter for more on the nature of man, and what being alive really means.

“Hell” is a verb, as well as a noun, and is derived from an old Germanic word, meaning, as I said, “to cover.” My father told me about this years ago – if a farmer lacked a root cellar or a cellar/basement under the house, and needed a place to keep veggies or fruits over the winter, he would do the following. First, he would dig a pit or trench to below the local frost line. Then, he would line the bottom with straw. On top of that, he’d place a layer of, say, potatoes. More straw went on top of the potatoes, and he would finish the job by shoveling in the dirt previously dug out. Note – it is called “helling the potatoes.” Now in the case of Korah and the others who fell alive into the pit which opened under them, they were helled by God, and died in the pit, in the grave, in sheol. An eternal, conscious abode in the Hell of Dante, Milton, and Baxter is not mentioned or implied, so there is no need or reason to interpret it so. Many passages in the Bible having to do with death are subject to the same interpretation.

Picking up our historical thread again, the true Britons, now pushed into such corners as Wales and Cornwall, had a purer version of Christianity than the invading tribes were later converted to, as it had arrived in Britain in the first century – but that is another story. Since the Saxons had Hel, goddess and realm, and the Greeks had Hades, god and realm, I suspect the Saxons had long contact with the Greeks before they moved north and west – but again, that is another story. That, reader, is my take on how “hell” got into the English language, and some of my historical information may not be absolutely accurate, but the very similarity of “hel” and “hell” should send the serious Bible student on a word-study quest. It should also give pause to anyone who subscribes to the doctrine of Hell, as the very name of this Saxon underworld exposes the pagan roots of Hell for all to see. Further, I am confident that this exploration of the linguistic basis of Hell knocks a major prop out from under ECT.



What are we, anyway? What happens to us when we die? Versions of “you’ll have pie in the sky when you die” are common, and mourners are consoled with the idea that their lost loved one is in “a better place.” Just like the harp-on-a-cloud version of Heaven, the Bible says nothing like this, but holds out the Promise of the Resurrection. I propose that before we consider the afterlife, we need a proper understanding of body, soul, and spirit – how we were made.

It’s easy to miss what’s going on in Genesis when God made Adam, so let’s look at those few, meaningful words: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And man became a living soul.”
(Genesis 2:7 KJV II)

First, God took some dirt (in fact, the Miao people refer to Adam as the “Patriarch Dirt”): “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground…” (Genesis 2:7, KJV II.)

dirt/dust --> [God made it into] --> a lifeless body.

OK, we’ve got a body, and we can’t even call it dead, as it has not yet lived, but: “…God…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7, KJV II.)

lifeless body --> [God breathes into it the Breath/Spirit of Life] --> Adam, a living soul, a living person with breath.

Simplified, we have:

body + breath/spirit = soul

Now we’ve got a soul, which by the implied Biblical definition, is the living, breathing person, not some ineffable, ethereal thing. Also implied, is that you do not HAVE a soul, but you ARE a soul. This is widely misunderstood.

Still with me? I tell you, it’s hard to make people understand this! It’s a mindset, a stronghold, but we need to understand it in the way God sets it out, not the way the world does. I believe the rest of the Bible uses this understanding of “soul” consistently, and this understanding makes some passages of the Bible plain, which otherwise are confusing.

To deepen your understanding, let’s reverse the process. When you die, a lot of things happen, such as the heart and pulse stopping, lack of brain activity, but ultimately decomposition, the returning to dust, is the final marker. The Biblical view equates life with having breath, so I’m going to stick with that as being the death indicator.

Made simple: soul - breath = body.

Expanded a bit, we get:

living person (soul) - life (breath) = dead/lifeless body.

It’s just the making of Adam in reverse, and what do we end up with? One thing implied by the proper Biblical understanding of body, spirit, and soul may surprise you.

The Breath/Spirit returns to God, who gave it. It belongs to Him, and since it is most certainly one of the seven Spirits of God, it is part of Him. That being so, it doesn’t go to Hell if it’s part of God, does it? To say so is close to blasphemy, in my opinion.

The body begins to decay, and one way or the other, returns to the ground, which gave it. As God Himself said, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground. For out of it you were taken – for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19, KJV II). That being so, it doesn’t go to “Hell,” except in the sense of being in the grave - there’s no point in sending lifeless bodies to an eternity in Hell, is there? The idea seems absurd to me.

Oops! What happened to the soul? Gone, gone! It no longer exists, just as the living person no longer exists. It doesn’t return to anything - it’s just like a chemical molecule when it is broken up into its component atoms. Poof! Consider a water molecule undergoing electrolysis - the hydrogen bubbles off the cathode, and oxygen bubbles off the anode. Asking where the soul went is as pointless as asking where the water went. For the Soul to be alive in Hell, it must be remade by putting Breath/Spirit back into a body - but then you’ve got that part of God in Hell again, absurd and blasphemous. I suspect that those who preach and teach Hell have not thought the matter through to the end. However, I hope I have demonstrated that eternal, conscious torment in Hell is utterly impossible, just as I have shown in previous chapters that Hell itself is non-existent.

So there you are – of Spirit, Body, or Soul, none can be sent to Hell. For those who insist that God can resurrect people and send them to Hell, I can only reply on two levels. First, advocates of Eternal Torment have misunderstood the character of a loving God. The God of the Bible is a God of the living, not the dead. At some point, as written in the Revelation, both Death and Hell (the Grave, actually) are cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14). Further, we are told that Death is the last enemy to be destroyed (I Corinthians 15:26). Two verses later, we are told that God will become All in all.

This leads us to two of the three questions I asked earlier in this book:

How can anyone be dead and/or in Hell after Death has been destroyed?

If anyone is still dead and/or in Hell, how can God become All in all?

The only conclusion this writer can come to is the taunt of I Corinthians 15:54-55: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

It really is that simple. Note that I am not saying people will escape responsibility for their evil works, or be punished for them. I am saying that a loving God punishes for a purpose, and for a time, not for torment’s sake and not for eternity. Keep in mind the principle of the Law of the Jubilee, which states that at a set time, all debts are cancelled, and everyone in bondage goes home free to their lands and homes. God instituted the Jubilee for an ancient society, but it points to a future where everyone will have their sins forgiven, and they will go free of the bondage of sin to enjoy their inheritance, as co-heirs with Jesus the Christ. This will certainly involve the New Earth, and possibly the New Heavens as well. The Law of the Jubilee may be found in Leviticus 25:8-16.

Secondly, Hell, as most people think of it, is a concept but not a reality. Let me explain. For the first few centuries AD, the doctrine of universal salvation was orthodox, especially in the eastern churches. However, with many pagans coming into the body of believers, pagan mindsets and ideas came in as baggage with them. Former ideas and concepts were (and are!) hard to get rid of, and began to color Christian theology and Biblical understanding. Little by little, Sheol became thought of more and more as being like Hel, Hades and Hell. The Greek concept of the Immortality of the Soul, began to replace the Biblical concept of death and resurrection. Immortality of the soul also made eternal life in a place of fire possible in the minds of men. Oddly, lots of Christians today subscribe to both the idea of the Immortal Soul, and death and resurrection at the same time. Most never see the contradiction. In time, these concepts also affected Bible translations, so that we see words translated as “Hell” which mean no such thing. There are good translations not containing the word at all. I have found that, in the centuries since the concept of Hell entered Christianity, that all the literature on the subject has been theological (I prefer “theo-illogical”) speculation or fiction. Yes, fiction, from the epic poetry of Dante and Milton, to the prose of Mary K. Baxter and many, many movies and “Ewetoob” videos. None of it can be verified, as far as I know, but we should trust the Word of God, in a translation not steeped in medieval theology.

Here’s how our reconciliation with God goes, as the eons pass:

dirt --> [God makes it into] --> a body

body --> [God gives it a bit of His Spirit/Breath] --> a soul

soul --> [God gives it more Spirit (the Earnest)] --> a justified soul

justified soul --> [God gives it the fullness of the Seven Spirits after death & resurrection] --> a Glorified Soul

Job done, rest and eternity ensue.


You made some very good points, thanks.
When I was a philosophy undergrad, we invited D.Z. Phillips to lead a short seminar. We were discussing ‘souls’ among other things, when Dewey said “I’m not a very good artist, but I can draw a soul”

So he drew this:




It is true that the Greek word “ἁδης” (hadās) in the New Testament and its Old-Testament equivalent “sheol,” basically mean “the grave.” However, the Jews in Jesus’ day had the idea that it meant “the abode of the dead,” an idea that they doubtless imported from Greek philosophy.

“Sheol” and “ἁδης” can be properly translated as “hell” as long as we have a correct understanding of the English word “hell.” For the word “hell” means “a hidden place.”

The following quote is the first paragraph from this site:

Actually, “helling potatoes” meant pulling the earth around the potato plants to shield the actual potatoes from the sun after they develop. The sun turns potatoes green or partially green. The green part, if eaten, is bitter and poisonous. Later on, people hearing the term, wrongly thought they were saying “hilling potatoes.” I grew up in a farm family and they talked about “hilling potatoes.”

It was also said in bygone days that lovers would seek “a hell” or hidden place in order to have privacy.


Thanks for the meaty comments, Paidion!

My compact OED says about the same thing as the dictionary you mention. My dad told me about helling potatoes, but I didn’t know about helling them while growing - now I know why they’re sometimes green. I didn’t know at all about lovers seeking a private hell. Yes, “hell” is a perfectly good English word, sadly ruined by bad theology.