The Lake of Fire

Installment XVI—Part A

"HELL"

[Hebrew: sheol translated—"pit" and "grave"]

The word “hell” is found in most modern language Bibles. This was not always so. There are numerous translations, which do not contain the word “hell” even once. Why is this? Furthermore, new translations are dropping the word hell from their versions. Do you know why this is happening?

The teaching, that when wicked people die they go to a place of eternal torture in fire is a pagan/heathen belief and doctrine. This teaching far antedates the Christian era, and the Old Testament knows nothing of a place of eternal torture in fire upon death. And so it is impossible to believe that the ancient pagans borrowed the concept of an “eternal hell of punishment by fire” from the Christian Bible? Is that where the pagans and heathens learned of this supposed fate of the wicked? Or rather, did some Christian translators borrow this damnable doctrine from the pagans, and attempt to make it sound Biblical?

It is astonishing how much of Christian theology is pagan in origin. Job was inspired by God’s Spirit to write, “Shall MORTAL man be more just than God?” Job 4:17). It is dead people who are raised in the resurrection, not cadavers which once belonged to living people (I Cor. 15:51-54). Did the Old Testament patriarchs believe in the “immortality of the soul?” No. Did Paul believe in the “immortality of the soul?” No.

Did the pagan Egyptians believe in the “immortality of the soul?” Dah! Have you ever heard of the pyramids? The pyramids were the supposed launching pads for the Pharaohs’ IMMORTAL souls to be transported into the heavens! First Century Christians never believed their souls went into the starry firmament of heaven at death—it was the PAGANS AND HEATHENS that believed in such mythological nonsense. God brought Israel out of Egypt, but it doesn’t look like the paganism of Egypt ever came out of Israel.

ARE THE DEAD, DEAD?

How is it possible to teach Christian indoctrinated people the Truths of God? Well, of course, without the spirit of God it is completely impossible for them to understand. When people cannot even wrap their minds around the truth that “dead people are really DEAD,” there is little one can do to help them. Dead people do not “GO” anywhere. Good dead people do not go to heaven to float on clouds and walk streets of gold, and bad dead people do not go to a place called hell to be tortured in fire for all eternity. Dead people are dead and will remain dead until the “Resurrection from the DEAD,” and that resurrection is yet FUTURE.

Just one Scripture from God Himself, and we will move on. When people die, are they dead?

“Now after the DEATH of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass, that the Lord spoke unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, MOSES MY SERVANT IS DEAD…” (Joshua 1:1-2).

When Moses died, God Himself said that Moses was dead. God didn’t say that Moses’ “body” died, but that Moses was still alive with the Lord, at His side. NO. The Lord said, “Moses My servant is DEAD.” When the dog “Rover” died; he died ALL OVER. And when Moses died; he too, died ALL OVER. Physically alive people can be spiritually dead, but physically dead people can not be spiritually alive!

When I tell people that when we die, we’re DEAD, they call me a heretic. When I talk to theologians about the “resurrection of the DEAD,” they don’t know what I’m talking about. The “Resurrection of the DEAD” has absolutely no place in Christian theology. Amazing… absolutely amazing. The entire 15th chapter of I Corinthians deals with the resurrection of the dead!

Paul tells us that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then our faith is vain and we don’t have a Saviour. Yet the Church teaches by her heathen doctrines that the resurrection of the dead is less than USELESS when it comes to living forever in a place they call heaven. They tell us that all believers go to heaven (ALIVE) at DEATH, and this “resurrection of the DEAD” stuff that Paul talked about is totally unnecessary for eternal life in heaven. Well, what can I say—they lie.

And there are hundreds and hundreds of Scriptures which speak of “judgment,” yet the Church teaches that people by the BILLIONS are sent to an eternal hell of fire and are not even judged before they go there. Another Scriptural doctrine (judgment) bites the dust of Christian heresy.

Who ever heard of sentencing something to life in prison without even being judged guilty of anything? But, according to Christendom, it happens thousands of times a day all over the world, and the sentence isn’t for a short number of years, but for all eternity.

Whenever we refuse to BELIEVE THE SCRIPTURES we become hopelessly lost in a maze of theological confusion that has no end.

Is there a Scripture that states that man is “immortal” or has an “immortal soul” as the Egyptians taught and believed. No. Does Christendom believe that man has an “immortal soul?” Yes, absolutely.

Is there a Scripture that states when a man dies, he is DEAD? Yes. Does Christendom believe that when a man dies, he is DEAD? No, of course not.

Is there a Scripture that states when a man dies, he is still alive? No. Do Christians believe when we die we are still alive, albeit it a different geographical location (heaven or hell)? Yes, of course.

Are the fundamental doctrines of Christendom based on the Scriptures? I’ll not ask any more foolish questions—read the rest of this Series!

HELL IS A WORD AND A DOCTRINE

Hell is not only a word found in many Versions; it is also a doctrine based on that word. The doctrine of hell is an invention of men and is nowhere found in the Hebrew or Greek manuscripts. As the King James is the most well known of all versions, and because Christendom as a whole embraces the pagan doctrine of “eternal torture in a place called hell,” it behooves us to deal with this subject in some detail.

Protestant theologians cringe at the accusation that their beloved “inerrant” King James Bible owes much to Jerome’s Catholic Vulgate, and to the Latin language as well.

Much of the King James is “Latin” and not “English.” It is from the Latin that our Bibles contain such words as substance, redemption, justification, sanctification, perdition, perish, punish, torment, damnation, dispensation, predestination, revelation, priest, minister, congregation, propitiation, disciple, parable, eternal etc. Although not found in Scripture, the word trinity is also Latin.

That is not to say that these are not perfectly fine words, they are, but we must be aware that the meaning of words change, and when words change to the very opposite of what they meant hundreds or thousands of years ago, it behooves us to take note of those changes as I am doing in this paper. The Latin aeternum and eternalis (from which we get “eternal”) never meant “endlessness” or “without beginning and end” in the first century AD. Neither did the common use of the word hell back in Old England, mean a place where living people are tortured in literal everlasting fire.

But make no mistake about it; the King James Bible is “Catholic” in many ways. Anyone with a copy of the 1611 King James Bible knows that it contains the fourteen books of the Apocrypha still retained by Catholic Bibles to this day. Protestants who teach the “inerrancy” and “flawlessness” of the King James have a difficult time explaining why fourteen whole books have been cut out of this “inerrant” Translation. Those of us who try to teach the proper use of just two King James errors (hell & eternal) are met with frightening opposition. Yet they drop FOURTEEN WHOLE BOOKS from their own Bible without a blush.

TWO DEFINITIONS OF HELL

First the “hell” of four centuries ago:

Webster’s Twentieth Century Dictionary:

hell, n. [ME, helle; AS, hell, hell, from helan, to cover, conceal.]”

Second the “hell” of the 21st Century:

The American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary:

“The abode of condemned souls and devils... the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan… a state of separation from God… a place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction… torment, anguish.”

If the English word “helan/helle/hell”  had retained its Middle English/Anglo Saxon meaning, of to “hide,” “cover,” and “conceal,” it might still be an acceptable (albeit it not the best) translation of “sheol/hades.”  But as this word has long since taken on the meaning of the pagan teachings concerning the realm of the dead and the supposed evils contained therein, it is absolutely out of place as a translation of any Hebrew or Greek word found in the manuscripts.

My how times have changed. Tell a person to “go to hell” today, and it is an insult of the highest level. Tell a person back in the dark ages of England to “go to hell” and he would probably go to a cool cellar and bring back some potatoes for dinner. For that is where they stored potatoes—in hell.

One more definition—the word “grave:

American Heritage Collage Dictionary:

grave 1. An excavaion for the internment of a corpse. b. A place of burial."

Remember that the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word hades are both translated into the two English words “hell” and “grave.” Are you following this? The Hebrew word sheol is translated “hell” 31 times and is also translated “grave” 31 times—the SAME Hebrew word.

But are “hell” and “grave” the SAME word? NO. Do they both have the same meaning? NO. Then WHY are they both the translation of the ONE Hebrew word sheol?

There is something sinfully wrong here.

Sheol is translated: “grave—an excavation for the internment of a corpse, a place of burial”

AND:

Sheol is translated: “hell--the abode of condemned souls and devils... the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan… a state of separation from God… a place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction… torment, anguish.”

So how can the word “sheol” (and “hades” in the New Testament) have for a definition and for a translation two words that have TOTALLY OPPOSITE AND TOTALLY DIFFERENT MEANINGS? Well, in honest scholarship and honest translating, THEY CAN’T AND THEY DON’T!

IS HELL FIRE A LITERAL FIRE IN A LITERAL PLACE?

It is this latter definition of hell that most of Christendom believes to be a doctrinal teaching of Jesus Christ. The idea that Jesus spoke of a place where people will be tortured with literal fire, can be totally negated by examining just two verses of Scripture used by our Lord. We will see whether the Words of Jesus regarding "hell" can possibly be taken literally or not.

First though, I found the following statements on the web site: GotQuestions.org:

QUESTION: "Can/Should we interpret the Bible as literal?"

ANSWER: Not only CAN we take the Bible literally, but we MUST take the Bible literally. This is the only way to determine what God really is trying to communicate to us." (CAPS taken from their site)

"Literal, literal, literal," shout Christian theologians—"the Bible is literal!" One of my "literal only" detractors (with whom I had a few email exchanges) provided the two Scriptures I will use to destroy this damnable doctrine of an eternal hell of torture in fire. In the following email my detractor presents to me the Scripture, which he claims proves my teaching on Judgment is wrong, and that judgment does not produce anything of value, but rather is nothing more than the inflicting of insane pain on sinners for all eternity in a place called "hell fire."

Ray, "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet TO BE CAST INTO EVERLASTING FIRE. And if your eye offend thee [cause you to sin], pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes TO BE CAST INTO HELL FIRE, (Matt. 18:8-9)…"

From: Douglas(CAPS are mine).

Dear Douglas: "Surely you don’t take all the words in this Scriptural quotation from Jesus regarding "hell," LITERALLY, do you?

Sincerely, Ray

Ray, "I surely do take these Scriptures literally. They were given to be taken literally. These were not examples, stories, analogies or parables. These were warnings. You surely don’t believe the Bible. You have decided that your god wouldn’t do that. You’ve made a god you’re comfortable with, and that makes sense to you. You are an idolater. No idolater will enter the kingdom. Repent…"

From: Douglas

Here is God’s answer to Douglas, and to all pastors, teachers, professors, theologians, and Christians worldwide who also believe that Jesus’ words regarding "hell" are LITERAL:

For all those who insist that these verses are to be taken literally, I merely ask them to:

"Show me your missing EYES; show me your missing HANDS; show me your missing FEET."

Have not your "hands" ever offended you? Your "feet" ever offended you? Your "eyes" ever offended you? Seeing that: "For all have sinned," (Rom. 3:23)!Well?

How is it then, as you believe all the teachings of Jesus regarding "hell" are literal, that all of you STILL HAVE your HANDS, and your FEET, and your EYES? I submit that your literal eternal hell theory once more bit the dust. You have not a leg to stand on even though you have not cut off either one of them. If you claim these verses are literal, but you still retain your eyes, hands and feet, I submit that you are defenseless in your claim that the "fire" of hell is literal, anymore than the method Jesus presents in how to avoid this Judgment is literal.

Well, here, of course, is where a billion professing Christians and their leaders begin to shuffle their feet, and play with their hands, and turn up their eyes (all of which were supposed to be cast from them), and they try to back pedal their way out of their self-inflicted enigma. They will all have to modify their unscriptural, and blasphemous, and hypocritical stance on this subject by stating something like this:

"Well, maybe, not ALL, that Jesus said is literal concerning hell. Only this part, or that part, or the other part, but not these parts or those parts… well… ah… really… just whatever parts I say are literal are literal."

Now before any of my readers head for the kitchen drawer and a huge butcher knife, let me boldly state that: THE WORDS OF JESUS ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY. You are not to literally, cut off your feet or your hands or pluck out your eyes. The words of our Lord are figurative, symbolic language, which have to do with a higher spiritual truth, but have nothing to do with literal dismemberment of your physical body.

  • It is what you sinfully touch with your hands and your mind that must be repented of in your HEART.

  • It is where you sinfully walk with your feet and your mind that must be repented of in your HEART.

  • It is what you sinfully lust after with your eyes and your mind that must be repented of in your HEART.

  • It is the HEART that is, "Deceitful above all things and exceedingly wicked," not our eyes, hands and feet, (Jer. 17:9).

  • It is out of our HEART that, "…proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies," not from our eyes, hands and feet, (Matt. 15:19).

And NO, we will NOT enter the Kingdom literally "lame and maimed" with missing hands, or missing feet, or missing eyes, but rather we will have spiritually amputated the lust and sin in our HEARTS. Those who do not meet this qualification in this life, will be brought into the Great White Throne/Lake of Fire Judgment were these sins will be eradicated, but not with physical, literal, eternal torturing fire, but through the "CONSUMING FIRE" of God’s Spirit and His "FLAMING MINISTERS" (Heb. 12:29 & Psalm 104:4).

WHAT ‘LITERAL’ MEANS

American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary: "literal, adj. 1. Conforming or limited to the simplest, nonfigurative, or most obvious meaning of a word or words."

Webster’s collegiate Dictionary: "literal, adj. 1a: According to the letter of the scriptures b: adhering to fact or to ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression: actual c: free from exaggeration or embellishment…"

I am well aware that many just hate it when I get specific, factual, and exact. (I receive many emails stating such). They prefer nebulous explanations and beliefs. They prefer things that cannot be nailed-down or stated as actual fact. And I also understand why: It is very difficult to continue exalting heresy when one sticks to Biblical facts.

So what does all this mean? It means that one cannot take the words of Jesus regarding how to avoid "hell" (regardless of what hell actually means, for the moment), as being literal. Jesus plainly states (albeit in figurative language) that if one wants to avoid hell fire, he must "CUT OFF his hands and feet and PLUCK OUT his eyes."

But our Lord’s words are not to be taken literally, as we have just demonstrated. Yet, that is what the Scripture literally says (Matt. 18:8-9). And as no one on earth does this, it is clear that no one on earth actually and factually believes that these words of Jesus are to be taken literally. I could right here and now, rest my case. But I won’t.

CAN HANDS AND FEET AND EYES LITERALLY OFFEND?

Let’s examine these two verses a little closer: Matt. 18:7:

"Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence comes!"

Verse 8—Wherefore if your hand or your foot OFFEND you…"

My King James center reference says for "offend"—"causes you to sin."

Even this phrase of Jesus is "figurative," and not literal. How, pray tell, can a member of your body such as an eye, hand, or foot, "cause" one to sin? Seriously, can your "foot" cause your heart and mind to sin? This is nonsense if we take it literally. An appendage of our body absolutely cannot cause us to offend. Jesus Christ tells us plainly were offences come from:

"For out of THE HEART [not the eye or the hand or the foot] proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…" (Matt. 15:19).

This is figurative language so simple that a ten-year-old can understand it, but theologians with six doctorates cannot (or will not).

  • We cannot blame our foot for KICKING SOMEONE.

  • We cannot blame our hands for STRANGLING SOMEONE.

  • We cannot blame or eyes for LUSTING AFTER ANOTHER MAN’S WIFE.

  • We cannot blame our tongues for DESIRING JUNK FOODS.

  • We cannot blame our knees for BOWING DOWN TO IDOLS.

  • We cannot blame our mouth for SPEAKING BLASPHEMY AND CURSES.

  • We cannot blame our ears for listening to RAP—sorry, I hate rap.

  • We cannot blame our nose for STICKING IT INTO ANOTHER’S BUSINESS.

  • We cannot blame our fingers for BEING STICKY AND STEALING.

Are you getting the picture? It is the HEART that is the seat of emotion and desire that is to be blamed.

And so literally, an eye or a hand or a foot, does not and cannot "offend God" unless it is first motivated to do something evil by the heart. Therefore it is the heart that offends, but the physical appendages of our body do not have the ability to offend. Hands and feet do not have a consciousness of their own.

So what does all this prove? It proves the words of Jesus regarding "hell fire" are not to be taken literally.

CAN CUTTING OFF YOUR HANDS FORGIVE OFFENSES?

"Wherefore if your hand or your foot offend you, CUT THEM OFF…"(Matt. 18:8).

Someone tried to contradict what I teach on this verse by suggesting that if we would repent of our offenses, then we don’t need to cut off our hands and feet. My point exactly. But if taken literally, repentance is not an option. Repentance is only an option if these words are NOT taken literally.

Jesus didn’t "literally" say a word about "repentance." The literal words of Jesus say, "cut them off and cast them from you." The word "repent" is nowhere found in these verses. But you say, "Well, no, but that is what it means." Well, if these words are never meant to be understood literally, then why does the Church demand that the "hell FIRE" part of the very same verse, is literal fire? All I am trying to establish at the moment is that the first half of this verse is not figurative while the other half is literal.

Absolutely nothing regarding this first statement of Jesus is literally even possible:

Your literal eyes, hands and feet cannot "cause offence." Christians who claim that these words are literal do not literally obey them.

If one literally "plucked out his eyes," how could he see to find a knife to cut off his feet? If he literally "cut off his hands," how could he then pluck out his eyes or cut off his feet without any hands?

And if one were to "cut off his hand," how pray tell could he literally "cast them" away. Once you were to cut off your hands, you wouldn’t have hands to cast away anything.

But, do those who teach this heresy that Jesus was speaking literally, really care if these things are not literally possible? No. Will they now see the light and stop teaching this "literal, literal, literal" heresy? No. Do they care anything at all about the Truth? No.

THE GOSPEL THAT NO ONE UNDERSTOOD

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'" (Matt. 4:17).

Did anyone know what Jesus was talking about? No. Did anyone know what "repent" really meant? No. Did anyone have even a clue as to what Jesus meant by "The Kingdom of Heaven?" No. The "Kingdom of Heaven" was the gospel that Jesus preached. But did anyone really know what it was? How many even today know what "the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven" really is? Do you know? Could you teach a class on exactly what the Kingdom of Heaven really is?

One will never know what Jesus preached until they understand how Jesus preached.

When will we begin believing what Jesus taught us concerning the words He used to teach? If you will pay heed to what Jesus taught, you will learn more in five minutes than you would otherwise is 50 years. Listen:

After reading parable after parable, beginning in Matt. 13, we read this:

"And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him… and He spoke many things unto them IN PARABLES…" (Verses 2-3).

"Another parable put He forth unto them…" (Ver. 24).

"Another parable put He forth unto them…" (Ver. 31).

"Another parable spoke He unto them…" (Ver. 33).

"ALL these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in PARABLES; and without a parable spoke He not unto them" (Ver. 34).

"And with many such parables spoke He the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spoke He not unto them: and when they were alone, He expounded [‘explained’ John 10:6] all things to His disciples" (Mark 4:33-34).

"These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs [Gk: ‘figurative language’]: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father" (John 16:25).

Remember that John 16 is recording the last words of our Lord before the crucifixion the following day. So up until that very last night with His disciples He had spoken His own public ministry in proverbs and parables—figurative language, symbols and signs. And we have a further verification of these statements when Jesus said: "…the WORDS that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT…" (John 6:63)! Has anyone ever heard of a seminary which teaches these truths of Scripture?

BETTER TO ENTER LIFE HALT OR MAIMED

Jesus said that it would be:

"…better for you to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting [eonian] fire"(Matt. 18:8).

We have seen that our Lord’s instructions to cut off an offending hand or foot, or to pluck out an offending eye is not literal, but figurative, spiritual, symbolic language. It is really the offenses of the heart, which are to be cast off, not our physical limbs. Well then, can it be true that any actually will enter into life "halt or maimed" if the halting and maiming itself is not literal. Of course not. Imagine living an eternity with God maimed and crippled like some wartime amputee? What kind of a heaven would that be? It is hard to believe that Christians (and even professional theologians), pay little or no attention to the many many words that contradict their heretical doctrines. But in their crazed addiction for their "literal, literal, literal," interpretation, they become scholastic fools.

Okay then, as the "cutting off of hands and feet" is not literal, and the "entering into life halt and maimed" is not literal, by what law of logic or language should the "everlasting fire" be considered literal?

There is nothing in the context of these two verses that would suggest in any way that part of the verses are figurative, symbolic language, and part are literal. However, that does not mean that what Jesus said is not true. Of course what He said is true, but it is not literally true; it is figuratively, symbolic, and spiritually true.

If this "fire" of which Jesus speaks is literal, then the only literal way to stay out of this literal fire according to these two Scriptures is to literally cut off your literal hands and feet and pluck out your literal eyes whenever they offend you. And, since not one single Christian in two thousand years has done this, I submit to you that this teaching is not literal, but figurative and symbolic and spiritual. It cannot be both ways.

By what laws of grammar or language are we to figuratively cut off our hands and feet and pluck out our eyes, to stay out of a literal fire of hell?

Notice how Jesus taught in parables:

"And why behold you the [figurative—not literal] mote [tiny, tiny speck] in your brother’s [figurative—not literal] eye, but consider not the beam [huge plank] that is in your own [figurative—not literal] eyes?" (Matt. 7:3).

Or are you so naive as to believe that a plank of lumber could literally fit into any human eye? Clearly a spiritual novice can instantly discern that Jesus is not speaking of a literal plank or beam, mote, or even a literal eye. He is speaking of large and small defects of character in the heart.

Excuse me, but is this not the SAME Jesus Who is: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever" (Heb. 13:8)? Then how is it that Jesus consistently speaks of a "plank, mote, and eye" being figurative, and the "hand, foot, and eye," being figurative, but then changes in mid verse to the "everlasting fire" being literal? The Truth is that Jesus does not change the way He teaches in the middle of a verse. This is all unscriptural, human speculation and conjecture.

As the "cutting off of hands and feet" is figurative language, so likewise, staying out of this "fire" is also figurative language.

WHAT IS "HELL" TRANSLATED FROM?

I think most of my readers realize that Jesus did not speak Archaic King James English. And most also realize that the King James Bible is not the one that the Apostles used. There were no "bibles" during Christ’s ministry; there were only the Hebrew Scriptures, and a popular Greek translation of those Hebrew Scriptures called the Septuagint. What we call the New Testament was not even written until near the end of the first century, and was not put into book form untill much later, and was not printed until many centuries later.

The word "hell" is an Old English word that was used to translate several words found in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. What words? And why did they choose to use the Old English word "hell" as a translation? We shall see that it had absolutely nothing to do with scholarship, but everything to do with forcing pagan religion into the teachings of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to take my word for it; you will be able to judge for yourself as we go through it.

Here are the words for which "hell" was inserted as a "translation" into English:

The Hebrew word sheol (31 times)

The Greek word gehenna (12 times)

The Greek word hades (10 times)

The Greek word tartarus (1 time)

That’s it.

Every time the word "hell" is found in the King James Bible it is translated from one of these four words. We find the word "hell" 31 times in the KJV Old Testament and 23 times in the KJV New Testament for a total of 54 times. Later we will look at all 54 verses containing the word "hell," plus the 31 times that sheol is translated as "grave."

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT POINTS OF THIS WHOLE SERIES

Listen to what I am about to say very very carefully: If the word "hell" is the most accurate and correct English word available to translate, the Hebrew word sheol, and the Greek words gehenna, hades, and tartartus, then these four words must all have the same meaning. But in reality only two of these four words have the same meaning.

The Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word hades are synonymous in meaning.

And here is the proof from the Scriptures and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the Hebrew sheol and the Greek hades are identical in meaning:

Acts 2:27: "Because You will not leave My soul in hell [Gk: hades], neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption" is quoted from:

Psalm 16:10: "For You will not leave My soul in hell [Heb: sheol]; neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption."

And so the inspiration of the Spirit of God proves that the Greek word hades is the right and proper translation of the Hebrew word sheol.

Whatever "hades" means, "sheol" means the same, and whatever "sheol" means, "hades" also means the same.

We know for a fact that the Hebrew word sheol is translated "hell" 31 times in the KJV of the Bible. But… BUT, we also know for a fact that the same Hebrew word sheol is translated "grave" 31 times in the KJV Bible.

Why is this? Why should this be? Why is there a 50/50 split on the translation of this word? Ask any theologian or your pastor if the words "grave" and "hell" mean the very same thing in the Bible, and see what they will say. They will tell you, NO, that they are NOT the same, that they are very much different. Then I have a childish question for them all: "Why, oh, why then are both "hell" and "grave" translations of the very same Hebrew word, "sheol"? Which should it be?

And let me frankly state that neither will their "context, context, context" theory solve this dilemma for them. It will take wholesale lying and deception to extricate them out of this theological box---or maybe I should say, "can of worms." Not only is there absolutely no justifiable reason to translate sheol 31 times as "hell," but there is no justifiable reason to translate this word as hell, not even once!

As we go through the 31 Scriptures in which the KJV uses the word "grave," it will become abundantly clear that "grave" is the proper translation. But when we come to the 31 times that KJV uses the word "hell" to translate this same Hebrew word, it will also become abundantly clear that word, "GRAVE" should have been used in all of those 31 verses as well. Yes, the "context" will show that "grave" or its literal meaning of "the UNSEEN" can be consistently used in all 62 verses without jeopardizing or violating the context.

While it is true that a number of verses use sheol—the unseen, the grave, in a poetic or figurative sense, absolutely nowhere is sheol used to represent a place of life, consciousness, fire, or torture—nowhere, absolutely nowhere.

About once a year I find something useful in a Bible Dictionary. Well here’s one of them. After discussing numerous problems with translating sheol as both "grave" and "hell," my Wycliffe Bible Dictionary says on page 1573:

"Sheol is much used in poetry and often parallels ‘death’ or the ‘grave.’ A uniform translation ‘grave’ would solve several problems of interpretation."

Those "several problems," however, are not to be thought of as minor. They are in reality, the most major problems in all theology.

Recently I pointed out to one of my detractors, numerous contradictions between what he said and what the Scriptures say. He retorted: "They don’t contradict; they COMPLEMENT." Translating sheol 31 times "grave" and 31 times "hell" is not a contradiction to theologians; it is a complement. How can one even talk with people like that? How? You DON’T! Admitting to this contradiction would destroy their damnable doctrine of eternal torture, and I don’t believe the powers that be in today’s Church will allow that to ever happen.

ALL OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES ON HELL

In the Old Testament of the King James Version of the Bible we find the word "hell" 31 times. All 31 times it is translated from the very same one, Hebrew word, sheol.

Therefore, it would seem logical to assume that "sheol" means "hell." That "hell" is in fact, the right and proper English translation for the Hebrew word sheol. Wrong. Not true. Not even close.

Why is that? Because although "hell" is always the translation of the word sheol, sheol is not always translated "hell." No sir. In fact, sheol is also translated 31 times as "grave." And just for good measure, the Hebrew sheol is translated 3 times into English as "pit." Is there any rhyme or reason for this nonsense? No, none.

Try to keep the following straight in your mind as we go through all of these Scriptures. Remember that every time we come across the word sheol (no matter how it is translated in the particular verse we are examining), it is the same word and never changes from that same word, whether the translators render it "pit," "grave," or "hell."

If the word sheol can be properly and accurately translated by the English word "hell," then there must be present in each and every verse some form or semblance of the definition of the word "hell." Am I going too fast for anyone? Am I overstepping the bounds of sane scholarship? Is this too logical and rational to be good theology? Have I violated any Scriptural principle? Then let’s proceed.

Here is every verse of Scripture in which we find the Hebrew word sheol, translated in the KJV as either "pit," "grave," or "hell." Judge for yourself what this word means.

SHEOL TRANSLATED "PIT"

The word "pit" is found 77 times in the Old Testament, but only 3 times is it translated from the Hebrew word sheol:

1. "If these men DIED the common DEATH of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord has not sent me. 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 [Heb: sheol]; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord."(Numbers 16:29-30).

2. "And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the GROUND clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the PIT [Heb: sheol] , and the EARTH closed upon them: and they PERISHED from among the congregation"(Numbers 16:31-33).

Now then, what can we learn from this word "sheol" in these verses? We learn that sheol is in "the GROUND… under them."Korah and his men all "died" an uncommon "death" in this sheol--pit. And it says that "they PERISHED."

While the ground was "opened up," it was a PIT. After the ground closes up the pit, it was a GRAVE. This whole episode was a supernatural "mass burial in a mass grave," and nothing more. All these men are "dead and perished."

What does the word "perished" signify? Are they lost for all eternity, because God caused them to "perish?" No, not at all. Even righteous people "perish."

"The righteous perish and no man lays it to heart…" (Isa. 57:1).

Also consider, if sheol is a hell of torture in fire, did you notice that God consigned the "houses" of Korah and his men to this same fate. Do we reckon that the "houses" of Korah and his men will also be "tortured in the fire of hell for ever?" Good, so we are making progress—two down and 61 to go.

3. "If I wait, the GRAVE [Heb: sheol] is mine HOUSE: I have made my BED in the DARKNESS. I have said to CORRUPTION, You are my father; to the worm, You are my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope? As for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the PIT [Heb: sheol] , when our REST together is in the DUST" (Job 17:13-16).

Wow. See anything wrong with this picture of "sheol" being an "eternal hell of torture in fire?" What I see here is: "grave, house, bed, darkness, corruption, worm, pit, rest, and dust." There are all kinds of problems with these verses if we desire to pervert them into an "eternal hell of fire."

A "grave" is in the ground. A "house" is an abode, not a place designed for torture in fire. A "bed" is where one sleeps, and God likens death in the grave [sheol] to "sleep" "…lest I sleep the sleep of death" (Psalm 13:3).

"Darkness" is something that is found in a grave beneath the earth, not something you would find where there is a huge fire present."Corruption" is what happens when a corpse decays in a relatively short period of time, not something that is never accomplished in even an eternity of burning in the fabled Christian hell.

"Worms" live in the ground in dead bodies, and in garbage where they continue to live and multiply as long as there is food present, but they don’t do very well in literal fire.A "pit" is "a hole in the ground" according to Webster’s Dictionary. We would hardly be at "rest" if we were being eternally tortured by literal fire. And "dust" is what bodies return to when they are dead. God formed man from the "dust of the ground," not from "eternal hell fire."

Besides all this proof, does anyone think that God would eternally torture Job (apparently the most righteous man on the face of the earth in his day) in literal fire when he died?

This completes the 3 times that sheol are translated "pit."

SHEOL—TRANSLATED "GRAVE"

1. "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 [Heb: sheol] unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him" (Gen. 37:35).

Here "grave" (sheol) is used figuratively. Jacob did not literally go into the grave of his son Joseph, seeing that Joseph was not even "literally" dead at this time.

2. "And he [Jacob] said, My son [Benjamin] shall not go down with you; for his brother [Joseph] is dead [Jacob thought Joseph was dead], and he is left alone: If mischief befall him by the way in the which you go, then shall you bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave [Heb: sheol]" (Gen. 42:38).

Gray hairs can only figuratively "sorrow." And "hair" does not do well in fire.

3. "And if you take this also from me, and mischief befall him, you shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave" (Gen. 44:29).

Once again, Jacob uses the word "grave" (sheol) figuratively, and there is no mention of fire.

4. "…and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave [Heb: sheol]" (Gen. 44:31).

5. "The Lord kills, and makes alive: He brings down to the grave [Heb: sheol], and brings up" (I Sam. 2:6).

And so, just as surely as God "brings down to the grave," He likewise, "brings up [from the grave]." Therefore, the "grave" [sheol] is not an eternal place. Plus, no mention of "fire" in this place called sheol.

6. "Do therefore according to your wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave [Heb: sheol] in PEACE" (I Kings 2:6).

Obviously, this verse tells us that the "grave (sheol)" is a place of "peace," and that is why David didn’t want his enemy’s death to be a peaceful one.

7. "Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for you are a wise man, and know what you ought to do to him; but his hoar head bring you down to the grave [Heb: sheol] with BLOOD" (I Kings 2:9).

King David is called a "bloody man" in the Scriptures. David liked blood and violence. His dying words are for His son Solomon to be a "hit man" for him, and to violently destroy David’s long-time enemies (for which David will have to bitterly repent in the Great White Throne Judgment). David wanted Solomon to make their deaths painful and "bloody," as even David himself knew that his enemies would merely "sleep the sleep of death" once they were killed. But again, no "fire" in this "grave"—only "peace," even for David’s worst enemies.

8. "As a cloud is consumed and vanishes away; so he that goes down to the grave [Heb:sheol] shall come up no more" (Job 7:9).

Job was inspired to write that a person "vanishes away" in sheol. No fire there.

9. "O that You would hide me in the grave [Heb: sheol] …If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come" (Job 14:13-14).

Job knew that he would not stay in sheol forever. No fire there.

10. "If I wait, the grave [Heb: sheol] is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness"(Job 17:13).

Same words Job used previously.

11. "They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave [Heb: sheol]" (Job 21:13).

Job goes on to say in verses 23-26 that those blessed and those cursed, "They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them."

12. "Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so does the grave [Heb: sheol] those which have sinned"(Job 24:19).

"ALL have sinned," and so all "consume" away in the grave until they return to the dust from where they came.

13. "For in death there is NO REMEMBRANCE of Thee: in the grave [Heb: sheol] who shall give You thanks?" (Psalm 6:5).

King David knew and was inspired to write that if he were to die, he knew that there would be no remembrance of God in the grave. No fire here either.

14. "O Lord, You have brought up my soul from the grave [Heb: sheol]: You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit [this time pit is not translated from sheol]" (Psalm 30:3).

Here King David is likewise speaking figuratively, as he was not literally killed or put into a grave.

15. "Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon you: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave [Heb: sheol]"(Psalm 31:17).

Well, so much for all the supposed cries of anguish in sheol. David knew that sheol was a place of complete "silence."

16 & 17. "Like sheep they are laid in the grave [Heb: sheol]; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave [Heb: sheol] from their dwelling" (Psalm 49:14).

There is "death" in the grave (sheol). There is not living torture in fire.

18. "But God will REDEEM MY SOUL from the power of the grave [Heb: sheol]: for he shall receive me. Selah" (Psalm 49:15).

Well there you have it! Souls can be "redeemed from the power of sheol"! No eternal torture in fire where souls can and will be "REDEEMED"! It should be self-explanatory as to why the translators didn’t translate this particular "sheol" into the English word "hell." They sure didn’t want anyone to know that souls will be "redeemed from hell."

19. "For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draws nigh unto the grave [Heb: sheol]" (Psalm 88:3).

King David knew that when he died he was going to be placed in sheol.

20. "What man is he that lives, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave [Heb: sheol]. Selah" (Psalm 89:48).

And so according to this verse of Scripture, there is not a man who ever lives (that’s all humanity) that shall not go to sheol when he dies. Everyone goes to the grave; everyone goes to sheol. But it is silent there. No remembrance. No pain, suffering, or fire.

21. "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit" (Prov. 1:12).

This too is speaking of the grave in figurative language.

22. "…There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say, not, it is enough. The grave [Heb: sheol]; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that says not, it is enough" (Prov. 30:15-16).

The earth is our "grave," and it can hold billions of bodies.

23. "Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave [Heb: sheol], where you go"(Ecclesiastes 9:10).

The word "device" means "contrivance, intelligence and reason." And there are none of these in sheol. Neither is there any work, knowledge, or wisdom there. Since there are not any of these faculties of consciousness there, how can "sheol" be translated "hell" which is supposed to be a place of eternal torture in fire?

24. "Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave [Heb: sheol]: the coats thereof are coats of fire, which have a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench LOVE, neither can the floods drown it…" (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).

I included verse 7 here so that no one would be confused and think that the "flames of fire" are in "sheol," but are rather the "coats of fire and flame" of jealousy.

25. "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave [Heb: sheol], and the noise of your viols [harps]: the worm is spread under you, and the worms cover you" (Isa. 14:11).

This is figurative language once more. Seeing that "pomp," a character flaw, and "harps," musical instruments do not literally go anywhere, but they do cease to exist from the perspective of the person possessing them.

26. "I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave [Heb: sheol]: I am deprived of the residue of my years" (Isa. 38:10).

If one were to continue living in a place called hell, he could hardly declare that his days and years would end. If hell is eternal, then he would continue to live forever.

27. "For the grave [Heb: sheol] cannot praise Thee, death can not celebrate Thee: they that go down in to the pit cannot hope for Thy truth"(Isa. 38:18).

Of course "sheol cannot praise Thee," seeing that there is no intelligence or reason in sheol, as we just learned a few Scriptures above.

28. "Thus said the Lord God, In the day when he [Pharaoh] went down to the grave [Heb: sheol] 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" (Ezek. 31:15).

Ezek. 31:16-17 again contain the word "sheol" again, but there it is translated "hell" which we will cover when we cover all the verses with "hell" in them. But there is no eternal torture by fire in this verse.

29 & 30. "I will RANSOM them from the power of the grave [Heb: sheol]; I will REDEEM them from death: O DEATH, I will be your plagues; O grave [Heb: sheol], I will be your destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes" (Hosea 13:14).

This verse all by itself destroys the whole eternal torture in fire theory. If sheol is "hell," then this verse plainly tells us that [1] God will "ransom" those who are in sheol. [2] God will be the plague of DEATH.[3] God tells us that sheol itself is to be "DESTROYED." And isn’t this exactly what we are told in Revelation 20:14 — "And DEATH and hell [Gk: hades/Heb: sheol] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second DEATH."

31. "Our BONES are scattered at the grave’s [Heb: sheol] mouth, as when one cuts and cleaves wood upon the earth. (Psalm 141:7).

Once more King David is speaking figuratively in a poetic style. The grave does not literally have a "mouth."

That concludes the 31 places sheol is translated "grave." Not one of these 34 verses cited uses sheol to mean a place or condition of conscious torture in literal fire for all eternity. Why then would we suppose that the next 31 verses that use this exact same word, sheol would change the meaning to a place of conscious torture of wicked people in literal fire for all eternity? How can such a travesty of scholarship, ever be accepted by those who still possess a functioning mind?

CAN CONTRADICTING OPPOSITES DEFINE ONE WORD?

The Hebrew word laban means "white"—like milk, like teeth—WHITE. First, imagine we would translate this word laban in 31 verses of Scripture into the English word "white." So far; so good. But next, imagine we translate this word laban in 31 different verses of Scripture into the English word "BLACK." Does anyone see a problem with such scholarship?

It’s crazy, and yet this IS what has happened in the KJV with regards to the Hebrew word sheol—31 times "grave," and 31 times "hell." And what does UNCONSCIOUS DEATH IN THE GRAVE have in common with A CONSCIOUS LIFE OF ETERNAL TORTURE IN FIRE? Nothing—absolutely NOTHING! It’s as different as "black" and "white."

I do not even contend that this is bad scholarship. This is NO scholarship at all. This is nothing less than FRAUD—a Christian HOAX! Show me where else in historic academia we find such reckless abandonment of the facts? I am not contending for my personal preference in translating the scriptures, but to merely translate accurately and consistently what we find in ALL THE HEBREW AND GREEK MANUSCRIPTS.

ONCE MORE: In the Hebrew manuscripts, we find the word sheol 65 times, therefore, in our English translations we should find ONE WORD for all 65 times sheol appears. But, no, we find ONE Hebrew word translated into THREE DIFFERENT ENGLISH WORDS—"pit, grave, and hell."

And in the New Testament we have the opposite of this Hebrew fraud: We have the ONE English word "hell" translated from THREE DIFFERENT GREEK WORDS—"gehenna, hades, and Tartarus."

Then we come to the greatest New Testament fraud of all regarding "hell." One time and one time only we find the Greek word hades, translated not "hell," but "grave." Why? Why just one time, "grave?"Why? Because the translators did not want us "dumb sheep" to ever know what hades really means.

If "grave" and "hell" had very similar meanings, then their use would not be so damning, but as they are opposites in every way there is no justifiable reason for their use. And if the Greek words "hades" and "gehenna" were very similar in meaning it might be justifiable to translate them into the same one English word, but they are not; they are totally different.

At least half of the translations in the Old Testament are correct, in that sheol can be translated correctly as "grave." But in the New Testament, not even once is the English word "hell" a justifiable translation for any Greek word found in the manuscripts.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SO FAR ABOUT SHEOL / HADES?

We have now seen 34 verses of Scripture in which we find the ancient Hebrew word sheol, and how it is used in context.

We have seen "sheol" used in poetic figurative language as a place, condition, or realm of "sorrow and mourning," as for a dead or presumed dead child. Only figuratively does someone still living go down to "sheol." It is decidedly the realm of the dead, and therefore is figuratively used sometimes to represent something very ghastly or frightening (as we will later see was the case with Jonah).

When God kills someone, it is said that God brings them down to "sheol."

When someone goes down to "sheol," he is not able to come back up.

In Job we learned that when we die we are hid in "sheol" until an appointed time when we will be changed from whatever our condition in "sheol" is.

Also, Job likens "sheol" to a bed in a dark place (not unlike sleeping in our bedroom with the lights off). And Job also informs us that the blessed and cursed both go to "sheol."

We consume away in this place called "sheol."

In "sheol" there is no remembrance or communication with the world of the living.

The hand of "sheol" is called death, and every one who lives will be drawn to it.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 is probably the most telling Scripture of all with regards to what we do NOT find in "sheol." No work, device [intelligence/reason], knowledge or wisdom.

Not even the righteous can celebrate or praise God in "sheol."

Hosea informed us that God will be death’s PLAGUE. In other words, God will be a plague to "sheol" itself, not the dead people who reside insheol. In fact God says He will RANSOM AND REDEEM those in "sheol." Oh yes, God will ransom and redeem them ALL who go down to sheol, but not all at the same time. Remember there are TWO resurrections—One to life with Christ in His Kingdom, and Another to the great white throne/lake of fire/second death, Judgment.

In Part B we will go through all the remaining verses in the Old Testament in which the word sheol is erroneously translated into the Old English word "hell."

A CLOSING THOUGHT

Although everyone has a perception OF death, and many actually experience the process OF dying, absolutely no one will ever experience anything IN the death state itself. There is no experience or perception in death.

And although no one desires to go to sheol [the grave]; that is no one desires to DIE, but nonetheless, it is a safe place to be while we await resurrection. Nothing can harm us there. There is no fear or darkness there, because there is NO PERCEPTION THERE. Sheol is truly like a deep, sound SLEEP, from which our Father will awaken us in the morning. Let us be comforted by that thought.

[Next part: The word "Hell" as found in the New Testament]

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