The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Why is Hell cast into the Lake of Fire

Good question, although I think Hell must be more than Hades, otherwise it would imply there’s no place for punishment after Judgment Day :confused:

Yes, the Greek word is Hades, which in Greek Mythology was the word used for the realm of the dead. So, not only will death and dying be ultimately overwhelmed by the consuming healing delivering purifying presence of God, but ultimately the realm of the dead too will be overcome by Life, the very presence of God! Hallelujah! What a glorious picture of the Kingdom of Light and Life ultimately conquering completely the kindom of darkness and death!

I love hearing/reading people get authentically excited and joyous about the wonderful Kingdom to come :slight_smile:

Another word used from Greek mythology is Tarturus. The use for hades and tarturus are two seperate things, but have been merged by churches to represent hell. Hades in ancient Greek mythology was a place where all the dead go, and tarturus was a prison made for rebelious pagan gods such as cronos and the titans. I see how their pagan use works well in greek scripture.

This is one of those things that is not easy to give a short answer because everything is connected to everything else. To see why hell is thrown into the lake of fire is to first understand what hell “is” and also what the lake of fire “is”. It’s traditionally been taught that because so many end up in hell, in the end, hell is thrown into the lake of fire because it’s so much bigger . . .but that’s man’s mind trying to rationalize spiritual truth with natural reasoning.

For me, hell is God’s tool to help us comprehend spiritual principles and what happens when we choose flesh over spirit. It’s a temporal place and our time in it is only as long as the lesson requires. The lake of fire is God himself . . .the reference to “lake” for me is tied in with the laver in the tabernacle in that it was used to cleanse the priests, to wash the blood off of their hands as they prepared to enter into the temple. God is a consuming fire. Hell doesn’t consume as much as it burns. It’s like Ghenna, which is why in many places where it literally states “Ghenna”, it’s been translated as hell. But it’s a place were our carnal refuse is burned away . . .it’s a place of refinement. God consumes us, hell burns the chaff from us in “this” realm.

But the reason hell is cast into the lake is because when this realm of life comes into it’s completion, there’s no longer any use for hell because all will be perfected in “Him”. Unlike what we’ve been taught, hell isn’t what lies on the other side. The lake of fire “is”, but that’s merely God himself. Hell is what we go through here and now due to our rebellion, our ignorance, our bondages … .the picture of the fiery furnace in Daniel is a great example of what hell does. The godly were cast into it bound by the laws of the land, but instead of the fire killing them, it killed those who threw them in and freed them from their bondages at the same time. The fact that they then saw a “fourth” standing amongst the three who were thrown in, is telling us that the fire of hell is not for us to fear, but to embrace as it’s God’s tool to bring freedom to the captives who are bound by the religions of men.

Tartarus was actually part of Hades. Hades, the grave, realm of the dead, had 3 areas, the Elysium Fields which were kind of heavenly, the Asphodel Meadows which were neutral and kind of ghostly, and Tartarus which was hellish where the Titans and humans who ticked off Zeus were consigned to suffer forever, well, as long as Zeus was in charge and saw fit to punish them. So with Hades being cast into the Lake of Fire, I take it that Tartarus was too, being it was part of Hades.

The Lord triumphs over all, even death and the realm of the dead are ultimately consumed by Life! Hallelujah!

I disagree totaly about your view of tarturus and hades. Tarturus was a pagan god that was not ruled by the god hades. Tarurus was a lower pit of a prison underneath the underworld of hades where the dead go. Knowedge of ancient greek mythology is required here and I dont mean greek mythology created to support the churches view on hell. I believe this mythology of the wicked dead going to tarturus was created by christians to support their doctrine of eternal torment.

For a Jew, speaking in the Lingua Franca of the day, he would have had to use the word “hades” as a label for “sheol”, right?

What is Sheol in the OT?
Does it contain Abraham’s Bosom?
Who departed from Sheol / Hades after the crucifixion?
Who remained there?

As others have pointed out, “Hell” in this passage is actually “Hades” (the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “Sheol”). In its primary sense, “Hades” refers to the state or realm of the dead (The Intermediate State of the Dead). When John spoke of death and Hades as being cast into the lake of fire, I believe he was using figurative language that would have been very familiar to his first-century Jewish readers. The “sea,” “death” and “Hades” are images derived straight from Isaiah 28:15-18, and Amos 9:2-3 (cf. Obadiah 1:4). In describing the spiritually dead people in view as being delivered up by the sea, death and Hades, John is saying that nothing could screen the guilty people of the Jewish nation from the retributive judgment which God, in his sovereign counsel, had determined to bring upon them.

In Isaiah 28:15, we read of the wicked people of Israel saying,

Although they comforted themselves with their “refuge of lies” and “hiding places of falsehood,” it was ultimately a false sense of security they enjoyed; their “covenant partners,” Death and Hades, still delivered them up to national destruction. For in verse 18 we read: “Your covenant with Death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Sheol (Hades) shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then shall you be trodden down by it.” In other words, there was nothing the ungodly people of Israel could do to protect or screen themselves from the impending national judgment God had purposed to bring upon them. “Death and Hades” (which are simply figures/metaphors representing their “refuge of lies” and “hiding places of falsehood”) would not aide or protect them, but would instead give them up to destruction (the casting of Death and Hades into the “lake of fire” referred to in Rev 21:14 represents the disannulling of Israel’s “covenant” with them). Israel was thus forced to learn that God cannot be mocked; as a nation, their doom was inevitable.

In Amos 9:3, we find similar language to that which is in Isaiah: “If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight in the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.” Of course, this language is not literal, but figurative. No one was literally hiding at the top of Mount Carmel, or hiding at the bottom of the sea. The language is used in reference to the living, who (as in Isaiah) are represented as hiding themselves under falsehood and lies - as taking refuge at “the bottom of the sea,” and as making “a covenant with death and Hades,” to protect them from the national ruin God promised to bring upon them because of their unfaithfulness to him. But it was all in vain, for, as John says, they were given up to judgment and “cast into the lake of fire” (i.e., they suffered the wrath of God, which was poured out upon the Jewish nation in 70 AD).

For more on my understanding of Rev 20:11-15, you can check out the following:

From what I’ve read on Greek mythology, some speak of Tartarus as being part of Hades and others as being underneath Hades. It seems that Tartarus was first thought of as being underneath Hades, but later part of Hades. When this transition took place I do not know. It would be interesting to find that out though, and apparently people being cast into Tartarus goes all the way back to Plato, 400? BCE. To me it is interesting that no where in scripture does it speak of people being consigned to Tartarus. IF the concept of ECT were true, there was no better word to pictorially reference such in either Greek or Latin. And I find it very interesting that even St. Jerome, a proponent of ECT, did NOT translate Sheol, Hades, or Gehenna as Tartarus. But translated Sheol and Hades as Infernum (lower regions) and did not translate Gehenna but simply transliterated it as Gehenna.

As far as Christians coming up with the concept of the wicked going to Tartarus, it seems that Tartarus was spoken of such long before Christians came on the scene. They might have appealed to such, especially the Roman Church, but such is not in scripture, of course.

PS. I haven’t studied primary sources on Greek or Roman mythology, only secondary sources.

I would say that in most contexts, “hades” is simply “the grave” (where the dead are buried).
If “the grave” (the place of the dead) is cast into the lake of fire, then it is destroyed.
If “the grave” is destroyed, then there will be no more death.

nicely put.

also, even if this is a case of a means of punishment (“hell”) being thrown into the lake of fire, it’d indicate to my little brain that there is an end to punishment itself. as i think Robin Parry says (paraphrased), this is a concept being thrown into the LoF. this is not a person, so it is utterly destroyed, but the beings thrown into the LoF are set free.

i’d say they’d be freed due to the very concept of punishment and death being burnt up…an argument for Universalism right there in the text plain as day, but i think it goes unnoticed…similar to Jesus saying (rather off the cuff) that everyone will be “salted with fire”.

Sounds good to me. :sunglasses:

the lake of fire is simply the second death. which is the death after the first death.

Rev 20:14

“Hell”, as others have pointed out, is hades, which means “unseen”. (See … =G86&t=KJV where it shows that the “ha” part means “not” and the “des” part is from the verb “to see”.) It’s the place where the dead are: the unseen. When people die, they are dead and are no longer seen.

Because once God has finished using death and hades for his purposes, he will get rid of them. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. Death and hades must go together, and are associated together, because hades is the place where the dead are. Once death is abolished, there’s no more need for hades in God’s plans.

Right, I think the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years was a type of “hell”; basically a lesson that is ongoing until its purpose has been served.