Blue Letter Bible
Hebrew Names Version
THIS IS FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN SERIOUS BIBLE
not for those who want to just go along with the crowd.
It will challenge your basic beliefs!
GEHENNA? HELL? HADES?
This is a very controversial subject about which one faction is very outgoing and opinionated, and so strongly vociferous that they refuse to even consider opposing viewpoints.
That said, I'm going to ask you do to something that your pastor, priest, chaplain, or rabbi probably does not ask you to do, because they think they know better than you (and maybe they do), or because they may be afraid that you will actually think for yourself, and that is -- read what I have to say with an open mind. Then reread the Bible with an open mind, forgetting what you have been taught for years. (See Jer. 16:19.)
STUDY for YOURSELF. Find reference materials from scholars who really know what they are talking about -- scholars who know Hebrew and Greek better than you know English. Better yet, learn Hebrew and Greek yourself and study the background in which the Bible was written! I don't know a lot, but what I have learned has opened my eyes to try to get away from the denominationalism of the past 400 years and the false doctrines of the Catholic church of the past 1600 years.
STUDY to show YOURSELF approved unto God, a workman that doesn't need to be ashamed, because YOU know how to rightly interpret the WORD OF TRUTH!
And with that said, I'm going to ask you to do something else. If you believe the Bible is the Word of God, then believe what the Bible says, not what you think it says or what you have been taught that it says. Also use some common sense (and a dictionary if necessary). Translations of the Bible (which is all we have today) are done by people who have their own agenda (something to be done), and a translation is, by definition, an interpretation.
The Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle: "Precept upon precept, line upon line; here a little, there a little." (Is. 28:10) Turn the pieces right-side-up (look up the meaning of the words in the original language), and examine them to see where they fit with each other (comparing other scriptures).
Now, try to get into a mindset of the omnipotence of the Creator of heaven and earth. He created the universe with billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars. He created the sun, the moon, the earth, animals from the amoeba to the blue whale. He created the human brain with more electrical connections than there are stars in a galaxy. HE is the Potter. WE are the clay, to do with as HE wishes. BUT He has given us a free will, to choose between Him and our own wishes. And yet, He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Pet. 3:9)
So Elohim created man in his own image, IN THE IMAGE OF ELOHIM created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen. 1:27)
You sons of men, how long will ye turn my GLORY (the image of Elohim) into shame? How long will you love vanity, and seek after falsehood? (Ps. 4:2)
For all have sinned, and come short of the GLORY (i.e., perfection) of Elohim. (Rom 3:23)
Who deserves to perish? Everyone made in the IMAGE OF ELOHIM, who turns His GLORY into shame and falls short of His perfection. Everyone deserves to be beaten, mocked, ridiculed and spat upon, to have his beard plucked out and his scalp lacerated with thorns! Everyone deserves to die a HORRIBLE death because he has DEFILED the IMAGE OF ELOHIM!
But thank YHWH that He provided a Sacrifice for us to redeem us from death! To buy us back from the penalty which we so justly deserve for defiling the likeness of Elohim!
Do you believe what Paul said: "The wages of sin is DEATH."? (Rom. 6:23) And what Ezekiel said: "The soul that sins will die."? (Ezek. 18:4)
If so, then you MUST disagree with the doctrine that most denominations espouse today that says "the wages of sin is ETERNAL LIFE in hell for those who are lost!"
DEATH does not equate to ETERNAL LIFE!
TWO LIVES. ONE OR TWO DEATHS -- YOUR CHOICE!
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again." John 3:6-7.
"It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." 1 Cor. 15:44
There are four verses in Revelation that refer to a second death. Some would have us believe that the Word of Elohim in these four verses does not literally mean what it says. But it should be obvious from the two passages quoted above and others that we have two lives. At least those who accept the gift of eternal life offered to them do. Everyone is born with a physical body without any control over that event. Those of us who have accepted this gift also receive a spiritual body by choice.
When the Messiah comes back, there will be a resurrection of ALL, both the good and the evil (John 5:29), to life and to damnation respectively. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:22) Because of Adam's sin, all mankind was condemned to suffer physical death. Because of the Messiah's sacrifice, ALL will be made alive to stand judgment!
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10)
If the resurrection is not of everyone, this verse cannot be true!
Okay, let's try to put this in perspective.
--1-- Everyone is born with a natural body.
--2-- There comes a point, whether being witnessed to by another person or by conviction of the Holy Spirit through witnessing nature's Creator at work (Rom. 1:17-21), when we choose eternal life and a future spiritual body through the gift of God, OR we choose death.
--3-- We die a physical death (if the Messiah does not come first).
--4-- At Elohim's appointed time, ALL will be resurrected, and at Elohim's appointed time, ALL will appear before the Judgment Seat.
----4A----The first to be resurrected ("the dead in Messiah shall rise first." 1 Thes. 4:16) and receive their new spiritual bodies will be those who have died with the knowledge and acceptance of eternal life through Elohim's atoning gift at Calvary. Some will not see physical death, but will rise to meet the Messiah in the air ("Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air." 1 Thes. 4:17) when he comes at the appointed time for the wedding with his Bride.
----4B----The remaining resurrection will be after a thousand years of the Messiah's reign on the earth. "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." (Rev. 20:5)
--5-- Those who take part in the first resurrection and those who do not see physical death will reign on the earth with Messiah for this thousand year period. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:6)
--6-- At the end of the thousand years is the second resurrection, those who ignore the gift of Elohim to live with Him. They will be judged by their works. "Death and hades delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." (Rev. 20:13)
--7-- Finally, the second death. "And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (Rev. 20:14)
By the way, how can there be - or why does there need to be - a resurrection if everyone goes straight to heaven or "hell" at the time of their death?
So here we have it.
Those who trust Elohim and his Messiah
-- Born Twice, Live Twice, Die once (maybe).
Those who ignore Elohim's provision for eternal life
-- Born Once, Live Twice, Die Twice.
If you believe Elohim and Paul and John, then you MUST accept that death is DEATH! Try to read the Word with this in mind, especially where it says things like:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keeps my saying, he shall never see death. (John 8:51)
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Rom 5:12)
Even though the concept that vile, evil persons would get no worse punishment than those who commit some infraction of Elohim's Torah ("Law") that we feel is relatively minor, wouldn't death, the cessation of life, be easier to accept for those billions than to think that they would get punishment as horrible as those we consider vicious?
DEATH does NOT EQUATE to ETERNAL LIFE IN HELL! Death is the cessation of life, the absence of life, the opposite of life!
WHAT IS "HELL?"
The Bible uses several words which are translated "hell." (All references here are from the KJV.)
The first is the Hebrew word "she'ol," first used in Deut. 32:22, in the "song of Moses" where Moses describes what will befall the nation if they turn away from Elohim. She'ol simply means "pit," or "grave." (Interesting side note: The English word "quick" used to mean "alive," as in "the quick and the dead." It's used this way in Ps. 55:15 where it is translated from the Hebrew chai, which means "life" or "alive.")
In EVERY INSTANCE (31 times) of the use of the word "hell" in the Old Testament (and remember, all references here are from the KJV), the word she'ol is used. BUT she'ol is also translated "grave" 30 times and three times as "pit." Does it seem logical that the ancient writers of the Bible, 2500 years ago, would differentiate between a "place of lasting torment" and "the grave" by using the SAME WORD? Please, let's be reasonable!
Now, to the "New Testament." The first instance of the word hell here is the Greek "gehenna" (13 times), which is a transliteration of the Hebrew gei Hinnom, the valley of (the son of) Hinnom. The valley of Hinnom was outside the city walls of Jerusalem to the west. The "fires of Gehenna" was a reference to the method of disposing of the waste products from the city, literally a garbage dump. These fires were kept burning continuously (the Hebrew word olam is translated variously as forever, old, time, long; i.e., an indefinite time*), and this was also the method of disposing of the dead bodies of the sick and criminals.
The next word for hell (10 times) is hades (used once for "grave"). This is an interesting word. It comes from two Greek words which, when taken together, mean "not known" or "not seen." This would fit particularly well with Eccl. 9:10 which states that there is "no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave where you are going." AND in this verse, the word translated "grave" is she'ol. Now, isn't that interesting?!!? When the physical body dies, it is put into she'ol, the grave, where it is in a state of hades, knowing nothing. That certainly contradicts the common perception of "hell" that those in it know what's going on, doesn't it?
The words used in the N.T. for a grave (a place for burial) (10 times) come from words which refer to remembrance. Hence, we can infer that those in the grave are to be remembered; those in gei Hinnom are to be forgotten.
The last word translated "hell" is the Greek tartaroo, pronounced tar-ta-RAH-o (only one time), "which is neither She'ol of the O.T. nor Hades of the N.T., nor Gehenna or hell, but the place where certain angels are confined, reserved unto judgment. This punishment for these angels is because of their special sin." (Spiros Zodhiates, TH.D., Lexicon to the New Testament) This fits with Yeshua’s ("Jesus'" given name) words in Matt. 25:41 of the "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
So, here we have, in its simplest form, a description of what "hell" is, in a biblical sense. It is THE GRAVE! PERIOD! As explained, any "everlasting fire" is only for the devil and his angels. The idea of "eternal punishment" has worked its way into Judaism and Christianity from Greek, Latin, and other religious thought. Every instance of what is considered to be referring to "eternal damnation" in the N.T. can be explained as refering to the MEMORY or the DISHONOR of the dead, NOT the "immortal soul," which is definitely NOT a biblical principle.
Why must we die?
The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans: "Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"
Put yourself in the position of the Creator. You have made billions of galaxies each with billions of stars. On a planet circling at least one of these stars, you have put living, thinking creatures who call themselves human beings. You have made them in your own spiritual image. You gave them the choice between doing good and doing evil.
"What doth YHWH require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?" (Mic. 6:8)
When they made the choice to do evil, they corrupted that spiritual image, defied your wishes for them and defiled your name. Because of that, you have condemned them to die eventually. They have brought this death upon themselves because they spat in your eye! But they will not die right away. They can still redeem themselves by accepting a sacrifice made in their behalf.
Since life is in the blood, there must be a blood sacrifice.(Heb. 9:22) And the only one worthy of being a sacrifice for them is YOU! If one of them sacrifices himself, that's not much of a loss to you, is it? But if you can put part of yourself into a human form (1 Tim. 1:15), feel the pain that they feel physically (Is. 53:4), and shed your own blood for them, then those who will accept that sacrifice and tell others that they do so are worthy of GETTING BACK the eternal life that you had planned for them in the beginning. (1 John 1:7)
Those who are condemned to die (not "go to hell") are just rejecting a chance to live forever with you in joy incomprehensible. "For eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things that Elohim has prepared for them that love Him." (1 Cor. 2:9)
So you see, Elohim isn't condemning anyone to hell. We've all done that to ourselves by rejecting His love and denying His control over us. Rather, he gives everyone a chance to AVOID it.
I hope that you realize how much Elohim does love you, that He is "longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
If I haven't convinced you, I hope you'll at least take these thoughts into consideration the next time you're reading the scriptures, and see if they make sense. Do they fit the context of what you're reading? I think that, if you're honest with yourself, you'll see that they do! Does what you've been told about "hell" match what the Bible says? Probably not.
THE TWO STATEMENTS BELOW DO NOT COMPUTE!!!
They MUST be MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE!!
Which one do YOU believe?
GOD IS LOVE!
1 John 4:8
GOD IS GOING TO CONDEMN BILLIONS OF PEOPLE TO ETERNITY IN FIRE!
No scriptural reference!
MORE ON DEATH, HELL, THE SOUL
If you know what the early translators of English versions of the Bible thought when they used the word "hell," you'll understand why What the Hell is Hell? is mocking the idea of "eternal torment." If you don't, this might spur you to futher research.
Further detailed explanations of "hell". A good read.
* "indefinite time": An example is in Ex. 21:6 where the last word (Heb. "olam") is translated variously as "for ever" (KJV, ESV, NET, DBY, WEB), "for life" (NLT, NIV, CSB, RSV), "permanently" (NASB), and "to the age" (YLT), basically meaning the lifetime of the slave. Return
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Since the Bible was written by, to, and for the People of God (Hebrews, the physical and spiritual descendants of Abraham), you may be interested in being able to read it the way it was intended by the Author and the writers to be read - with an understanding of Hebrew thought patterns.
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Last update 24 May 2020