(Whew! So much talk about death and hell. But don’t worry. I’ll be posting positive and uplifting lessons soon. This stuff is very important to understand, but it IS depressing. 🙂 )
Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.
If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.
Let’s get started:
FAQ: I live in the USA, and it seems that our language is riddled with references to “hell.” I constantly hear that extremely versatile word used in conversations of all kinds. People say: “What the hell?” or “The hell with it,” or “Hell, yes / no,” etc. On occasion, some people, though not travel agents, have encouraged me to “go to hell.” I don’t think I want to, because I’ve heard that the Devil lives there, but if I did want to just drive by, where exactly is it located? Based on what people are saying, I assume that “hell” is a word used in the Bible, and if so, what is “hell”?
Actually, at this time, there is no such place, other than the small town of Hell, Michigan, which, by the way, has, on occasion, frozen over. But it hardly meets the description of the “Hell” that is propounded by so many Christians who erroneously believe that it is a place of everlasting fire where the “living dead” (???) are tormented forever in flames.
Also, the word “hell” is not found anywhere in the original text of Scripture. In the King James Version, you will find it as the translation of the Greek words hades and gehenna, but most modern translations recognize that “hell” is an incorrect translation for hades, and more correctly render it as “grave.” Even modern translations, however, do sometimes mistakenly translate the Greek word gehenna as “hell.”
So how did the word “hell” so permeate our culture? In this relatively brief answer, we refer you to some other resources that will clearly show you, in detail, just what the Word of God says about this most significant issue. Our book, Is There Death After Life?, sets forth what the Word says about death and its aftermath, while The Fire That Consumes, by Edward Fudge (211 pp), is a very thorough exposition of “conditional immortality,” including the origin of the idea of “hell” as a place of everlasting torment for the wicked. We also have a free online seminar called Death & Resurrection to Life.
One of Satan’s ploys to make Christianity look foolish is to introduce ridiculous ideas (that is, ideas that can legitimately be ridiculed because they make no sense) into its theology. In regard to this overall subject, here are two such errors that came into Christianity from Hellenistic (Greek) thought:
* There is no such thing as actual “death” (defined in just about any dictionary as “the end, or absence, of life”).
* When one “dies,” he then lives on in some conscious, incorporeal form called the “soul” or “spirit.”
The lie that man is deathless (introduced by the Devil in Genesis 3:4 and later believed by the Greeks) spawned the corresponding notion that there must be an eternal residence for good people and another address for bad people. Thus arose the following falsehoods:
* A dead person goes either to “heaven” or “hell” and stays there forever.
* “Hell” is a place of everlasting torment in flames.
* Fire is a preservative (who else believes this?).
It is ironic that most Christians believe that Adolph Hitler will have everlasting life. You might be thinking: “What?! No they don’t.” But think again—if Hitler is being tormented forever in fire, does he or does he not have everlasting life? It’s a crummy life, but it is everlasting life, right? On the contrary, Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is everlasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God never says that the wages of sin is eternal torment. No, He says that the penalty for sin is an end to one’s life.
It is important to realize that no verse in the Bible says that the “soul” or “spirit” lives on by itself. No verse says that “hell” is a place of everlasting torment in fire. These falsehoods originated with God’s archenemy, and infiltrated Christianity via mistranslation and the mixing of Greek culture and beliefs with the truths presented in the Word of God.
Thinking logically, does it seem fair to you that God, who the Bible says is love, would forever inflict upon wicked people the excruciating agony of constantly burning? Think about it—if “forever” were likened to a feast, 50 million years of torment is a small hors d’oeuvre (appetizer). Wouldn’t most rational thinkers conclude that, even for quintessential bad boys like Hitler or Bin Laden, that is simply not fair? Sure they would. Justice would not be served by such an egregious atrocity, and how sad it is that this erroneous belief has contributed to many people turning away from the God whom they were told would do such a thing.
The late Sidney Hatch well expressed how twisted is the idea of a just God forever tormenting by fire those who refused to believe in Him:
“A civilized society looks with horror upon the abuse and torture of children or adults. Even where capital punishment is practiced, the aim is to implement it as mercifully as possible. Are we to believe then that a holy God—our heavenly Father—is less just than the courts of men? Of course not.”
And the late Swedish Lutheran Bishop John Persone wrote:
“For me it is inexplainable how a person who holds the orthodox view [of eternal torment] can at any time have a glad moment in this life. He is constantly mingling with people whose final destiny will be to be tormented eternally without end…To me it is even more inexplainable that such an ‘orthodox’ person can expect even a happy moment in eternity, when he knows that contemporaneously with his blessed estate continues the endless torment and agony of innumerable millions of the accursed. Can he, if he loves his neighbors as himself, yes, even if he has just a little bit of human love and is not solely a selfish wretch, have even a single happy moment?”
Well said, wouldn’t you agree?
Think for a moment about fire. What does it do to things it touches? What do you do if you come home and discover that your house is on fire? Do you feel any sense of urgency? Or do you say, “Hey, let’s go to a movie, and when we get back, we’ll call the Fire Department. There’s no hurry, because we know that our home will burn forever.” Nothing burns forever, and a simple word study of “fire” in Scripture shows that its primary purpose is to destroy useless things, like chaff, and evil things, like wicked people, evil spirits, and Satan (Malachi 4:1 is a classic example).
This article about “hell” is not the place to exposit the biblical truth that death is the end of life, and that one who dies no longer exists anywhere in any form. That by itself renders fallacious the notion that “hell” is a place where “dead” people are alive and conscious. In His Word, God artfully chose the metaphor of “sleep” to figuratively describe death. Why? Because sleep is a temporary condition of unconsciousness that ends with an awakening. Ditto for death, for one who believes in Jesus Christ.
Where there is no consciousness, there is no awareness of time passing. Therefore, the Apostle Paul’s next conscious thought will be when he sees the face of the Lord Jesus at his appearing. Until that glorious moment, Paul, like all who have died and “returned to dust,” no longer exists. Nor will he ever exist again unless Jesus Christ actually died, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and comes again to raise Christians who have died. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 says that this truth is the only basis for genuine comfort for the bereaved. How important is this subject? It’s a matter of life and death.
If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.
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Thanks for reading.
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