A study about Hell
Craig A. Olson, 2011
When it comes to the truth, majority rarely rules. Beliefs of a majority or a minority are immaterial. The only thing that matters is the
truth as written in the Word. Not only must it be revealed, but the reader must be adamant about the correct definitions of terms. The
proper definitions of terms means everything regarding the true understanding of scripture.
Sheol (Hebrew) and Hades (Greek) are the abode of the dead, or grave. They do not refer to a "hell."
Gehenna is a garbage pit that existed when this word was common. The fire there was continuous. Anything thrown into it was
consumed. Gehenna came into common usage after around 250 BC.
Eternal and Forever many times come from Aionios and Aion, which simply mean "of this age." Aionios and Aion sometimes mean
Eternal or Forever.
A Soul is a person. A person doesn't have a soul, he IS a soul.
A person's spirit is his life, or breath.
The Lake of Fire is where death and the grave will be consumed after the millennial age. It is an end (a death), not an eternity. It is
also where the lost will perish.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.
Most "Christians" believe the lost will also have everlasting life, but that concept is not Biblical. They do not believe the lost will
simply perish at the second death, but this is precisely what the Bible teaches.
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Many "Christians" seem to want the lost to suffer eternally in a fire, to scare them into receiving Christ now. That may be the Gospel
according to philosophy, but not of God the Father. His Word tells a different story. Every account I've read about the punishing fires
of "hell" is not Biblical. Feel free to attempt to prove me wrong.
If you've been duped into believing in a 'hell', you're certainly not alone. It is no surprise that most "Christians" have no clue about the
true meaning of the defined words above, and also of the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (please see my writing on this
parable). The blatant misunderstanding of the satire Christ used in this parable is a major factor in how traditional teachings have
ignored the truth over the years. When Jesus was here physically, only those chosen to understand His parables understood them.
It has been this way since, and is still this way today. Most people claiming to be Christians are not saved. This parable is an
important testament of this. Those who translated the scriptures from Greek to Latin had their own religion, much of which is widely
believed today. This parable somehow has had a profound effect on the understanding of what happens at death and beyond. Those
who do not understand this parable now have a twisted view of things, and have spread the twisted word over the years by
converting the simple grave and description of a garbage dump used for discussion into a man-made concoction they call Hell. This
is certainly an addition to scripture, and it has not been effective in saving the masses. In fact, it has been destructive. It's never a
good idea to add to the Word. This dangerous man-made manipulation becomes clear when we see the Greek word for age (aion)
incorrectly translated as "eternity," when a word for eternal (such as aidios) was not used and therefore not intended (there are
other words for each, depending on context, but this discussion reflects the general idea of the point). The Pharisees and teachers
of the law believed that they would go to be with their Father Abraham upon death. To that point in time, there had been no Biblical
teaching of this belief. So where did they get it? Secular Greek Philosophy and Mythology. The misunderstanding of this parable has
spilled over to the blatant misunderstanding of other Biblical concepts as well. In Jesus' time here, the Pharisees could not
understand what He was talking about. Sadly, nor can most people today.
If you, the reader, truly desire the truth, God the Father will grant your request to create a desire to begin to assemble the Bible
puzzle. But this only works if one petitions the Father through the Son for the forgiveness of sins, immediately followed by a request
for the truth. If you really care about the truth, you will most likely begin to see it. If instead you wish to seek the popular result, you
will not receive the truth. I know it's hard to break a habit that one has been bombarded with for years. But this type of human
repetition and complacency has no bearing on the truth, and certainly no place in Christianity.
I am very grateful to the Father for sending His Son to save me from death. Not the first death (sleep, or temporary death), but the
second death (permanent death). If we know the truth, we will certainly not perish, nor will we be consumed. If we don't care to
know the truth, we will certainly perish, being consumed at the Great White Throne judgment. However, if we have been chosen, we
will understand Him and we will have eternal life!
Question: Don't we need to fear God, because He has the power to throw us into hell (Matt 18:8, Mark 9:44-48 [where the fire never
goes out, and the fire is not quenched])?
Answer: God is a consuming fire. The fire of Gehenna burned day and night. His wrath will consume the lost. They will not suffer
Question: Why should the reprobate fear God, if He isn't going to do worse to the reprobate?
Answer: The reprobate will be consumed against their final wishes, but the chosen will have eternal life! That's a huge difference in
and of itself. We don't need to add more differences based on man's design. The Father's design is perfect; let's keep it intact.
Question: Because you're cutting part of the scripture out, won't God "take away [your] share in the tree of life" (Rev 22:19)?
Answer: Most denominations are certainly adding to scripture. I am attempting to cut man's fat out and reveal the Word. To change
grave to eternal inferno is certainly an addition. Throughout the old testament, the KJV has hell for grave, while the NIV has correctly
changed it back to grave! This is man playing God. This will certainly be reflected in the list of those who will not share in the tree of
life. To keep grave as grave may not be popular among the gullible majority, but for salvation it is mandatory to keep the Word intact.
Question: He suffered terribly. The reprobate shouldn't?
Answer: He suffered terribly, but not eternally. There is a major difference.
Question: What about Matt 18:8: ...better for you to enter life maimed than to be thrown into the eternal fire?
Answer: The word "eternal" in Matthew 18:8 is not original. It was added by men. Nor does it imply a concept of eternal suffering.
Gehenna is the word here. ...better for you to enter life maimed than to be thrown into Gehenna. Gehenna was a garbage dump (now
a beautiful garden) in the valley of Hinnom where the trash burned continually and the smell of rotting and burning garbage was
present at all times. Maggots and fire consumed anything thrown into it that previously had a spirit (life or breath). Animals and even
humans were thrown into this fire as a point of disposal and consumption. In it, souls perished. Christ used this place as a reference
to items that once thrown in would be fully and finally consumed. But there was absolutely no reference to eternal suffering. That
incorrect description came later from man. Again, the continual (not eternal) fire of Gehenna indicates complete (not necessarily
immediate, but certainly complete) consumption of anything thrown into it, but not eternal suffering. It is descriptive. Christ used the
concept of Gehenna to describe consumption. We do NOT want to be consumed!
Question: Matthew 25:41 & 46 uses the phrase "everlasting [Greek, aionion]" fire and punishment. Some have denied that this
means eternal in the sense of absolutely unending. In verse 46, however, Jesus used the same word of life “eternal” (aionion) in a
manner that is directly and exactly parallel. In other words, the punishment will be as eternal as the eternal life. This leaves no room
for any later restoration of the wicked. In Matthew 25:41 the punishment is defined as “everlasting [Greek, aionion] fire.”
Answer: This assumption is false because it's not the actual punishment that is eternal, but the fate. It should be interpreted as
"eternal condemnation" or "eternal judgment," but it's incorrectly interpreted and misunderstood as "punishment that lasts
forever". I am certainly not claiming the wicked might be restored. I am claiming they will be consumed, just as Jesus described
with His Gehenna example. So our two "choices" are not "everlasting punishment" vs. "everlasting life." They are "everlasting
judgment" vs. "everlasting life." This simply means your fate is irrevocable, regardless of which of the two you receive. In addition, it
can and should be argued that "aionion" is the adjective form of the noun "aion", which means "age." The proper interpretation of
aionion in Matt 25:46 is that they will be "cut off through the age." In question is the amount of Kronos (time). Again, you are reading
the Latin interpretation. The Greek Septuagint includes nothing about eternal punishment here. No Greek word or words for eternity
can be found in that verse. Nonetheless, whether He is referring to a certain time frame or to eternity, one thing is clear. There is no
"Hell" in His statements; everyone is destined at the resurrection for either permanent death or permanent life.
Question: What about Heb 6:2: eternal judgment?
Answer: God's judgment is final.
Question: What about Jude 1:7: ...those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire?
Answer: The literal interpretation is the "fire of the age." The question is how long the age is. There is no reference to eternity in this
verse. Once thrown in, it will not take long for those to perish.
Question: What about Rev 14:10-11: tormented with burning sulfur... and the smoke of their torment rises for ever and
Answer; Again, no conclusive original words that have reference to an eternity. "For ever and ever" is not original (BTW, why the
extra 'and ever' anyway? What does 'beyond eternity' mean?), but I see the error in the Latin interpretation and many modern
versions as well. The original word is aion which means nothing beyond "this world" or "this age." This "age" could be the
tribulation or possibly the millennium, but not beyond, because the new earth is not established until thereafter. We do know that
God's wrath will be directly poured out upon these particular people during the second half of the tribulation period. In addition, even
if the smoke did rise forever as a result of their torment when they perished, there is nothing that indicates that they are alive forever
or suffer forever.
Question: What about Eph 2:3: Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. What does that mean for the unsaved? They just
die? Where's the wrath in that?
Answer: By nature, all would receive wrath of the judge (Christ), and then they would perish. But God though His infinite grace saved
some from that inevitable natural fate. Believe me, at the Great White Throne, when the lost finally realize what is going on, they will
NOT want to perish. But He graciously plucked some of us out from this wrath. Very simple.
Question: Regarding the Great White Throne judgment, it doesn't make sense that God would raise unbelievers up from death to
what, put them to death again? Why bother? What's the purpose? What's the judgment for? Isn't it to send the reprobate to the lake
of fire (the second death)?
Answer: The next thing unbelievers will realize after their individual deaths is their judgment, even though 1,000 plus years has
passed. Everyone will receive judgment. Some to life, and, 1,000 years later, most to death. When the reprobate are judged at the
end of the Messianic Kingdom, they will kick and scream and beg for life and mercy, but they will not receive it. They will then be
consumed FOR GOOD.
The Greek word for eternity (aidios) or any similar word is not found in any of these verses.
Revelation 20:14, properly translated, says, "Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second
death." Do you know what the second death is? If I broke a CD of yours, it is broken forever. I am not breaking it forever. That's the
difference in a nutshell. The second death is final or eternal, but there is no eternal suffering - just complete consumption (except for
Satan, after being thrown into the lake of burning sulfur. This does not apply to man. It certainly may have contributed to the
misunderstanding, however. We might wish it applied to man, but we dare not write our own prophesy). At that point, those involved
in the second death, including the reprobate, will perish, and will be consumed. Death will also be consumed. No more death after
the seventh day of ages.
As you can see, if you want to see it, the word aion (and other words) have been grossly misused. Many Christian doctrines are not
too far removed from stories of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Although I can produce many, one good example
that exposes this misuse is in contrasting any "hell proof" verses with Matthew 28:20: “…I am with you always, even to the end of the
age." Here, and elsewhere, the hell-pushers did not dare translate it to, “…I am with you always, even to the end of eternity." What,
pray tell, is the end of eternity? So in these verses, they had no choice but to leave it intact. Satan is a trickster, and most, perhaps
you, have taken the bait.
There are many Biblical references to God being a "consuming fire." Anything that is consumed is GONE. Unfortunately, some have
decided they would go ahead and change this meaning to an eternal suffering. Nice try. Is there a dry weed that keeps on burning
when thrown into a fire? I've never seen one. I've burned dry weeds plenty of times, and they have been consumed, every time. They
are not still being consumed.
The lost will perish. They do not live eternally.
Had the "grave" never been changed by men to this new concept of "Hell," I believe it is doubtful that this man made concept would
have taken hold. This change in meaning began with the Latin Vulgate, and the human products of these errors were not permitted to
study for themselves; they were instructed to gather their knowledge only from their priests. Over hundreds of years, Catholics
believed in this hell, and even now most still do. But earlier writings show that the early Church had it right. Most Protestant
denominations are still much more Catholic than they realize. I believe if men like Luther had more time they would have kept going
and continued to expose even more Latin translation errors.
According to traditional beliefs, Jacob, Job, Solomon, and David went to Hell. In fact, according to most, Job longed for Hell!
One writer wrote:
"If the concept of Hell is real and describes a real place, why does the English word "Hell" come from a pagan source instead of the
ancient Hebrew writings of the Bible? Why is the word "Hell" not found in the Jew's Bible which is the Christian's Old Testament?
Furthermore, the word "Hell" has completely disappeared from the Old Testament Scriptures in many leading Bibles. Why? Because
the best scholarship demands it. (The word "Hell" comes from the Teutonic "Hele" goddess of the underworld "Hell" of northern
Europe. The description of this ancient mythological place has very little resemblance anymore to the modern Christian image of Hell.
See any Encyclopedia or dictionary for the origin of the word.) Seeing that the Bible is supposed to be "Holy," why have pagan
religious words and concepts been added to our modern English Bibles? Please understand, the English word "Hell" and its concepts
are NOT in the Hebrew nor Greek. They come into the English through Northern European mythologies, NOT from the roots of
Christianity. The concept of "Hell" is simply not Biblical."
Many have tried to change the original meanings of Greek words, so they can spread the twisted concepts their itching ears have
come to enjoy. Fortunately, there have been numerous watchdogs over time that have recognized this; and having access to their
reports, there is now no excuse for every Christian to know and rest on the truth. This is the first time in history that our thirst for
knowledge can be reasonably satisfied. Please join us with your quest for the truth.
Everyone goes to Hades/Sheol (the grave or the abode of the dead) upon physical death. The Bible refers to this event as the First
Death. Subsequently, the saved will awaken into the earthly kingdom at the resurrection/rapture event prior to their Judgment Seat of
Christ (rewards ceremony); and the unsaved will awaken about 1,000 years later to the Great White Throne judgment, after which
they will perish by being hauled away and consumed in the lake of fire. The Bible refers to this event as the Second Death.
Back to Gospel page
Please feel free to email me with any discussion you might have on this or any other topic.