"HELL" IN THE BIBLE
What Does the Bible
(1) The Bible hell (sheol/hades) is the realm of death; it is described as a place where there is no work, no device, no knowledge, nor wisdom. -- Ecclesiastes 9:10 - many translations render "sheol" as "the grave" here.
(2) The only Old Testament word translated hell is sheol, to which the New Testament word hades corresponds.
(3) In the King James translation of the Bible, sheol and hades are translated hell 41 times, grave 32 times and pit 3 times and frequently when translated hell, the margin reads, "or, the grave," or vice vera. -- Psalm 49:15; 55:15; 86:13; Isaiah 14:9; Jonah 2:2; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 20:13.
(4) Many translations transliterate the words sheol and hades.
(5) Satan is a liar and the father of the lie. (John 8:44) It is Satan who has the world believing that a person does not really die, therefore he lies to the world that those who are bad are roasting somewhere for all eternity, thus making God appear to be some kind of fiend. With such a view being loudly presented by the traditionalists, no wonder thousands are turning away from the Bible and going to paganism, agnosticism and atheism. The doctrine of eternal roasting is a blasphemy to the Creator. Indeed, those who claim to be friends of the Bible are often its worst enemies.
(6) Satan uses all kinds of deceptive means to continue his lies, including spiritism, hypnotism, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, etc. "And when they say to you, 'Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,' should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." -- Isaiah 8:19,20, New King James Version.
(7) Contrary to the idea that any part of hell is a place of fire, torture, shrieks, etc., the Bible says, "There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave [sheol], whither thou goest"; "in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave [sheol] who shall give thee thanks"; "the grave [sheol] cannot praise thee: death cannot celebrate thee." -- Ecclesiastes 9:10; Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18.
(8) Good people, as well as bad, go to sheol (hell) at death: e.g., Jacob went down to sheol (Genesis 37:35); Job prayed to go to sheol, to be hidden there, until the resurrection (Job 14:13). Nor do the good go to a section of sheol called "paradise" at death. (Paradise is never depicted as a section of sheol or hades.) Instead of going to paradise at death, David expected to be in condition in sheol where he could not give thanks to Yahweh and we further read that "the grave [sheol] cannot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee." -- Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18.
(9) Jesus "poured out his soul unto death" (Isaiah 53:10, 12; Matthew 26:38), and descended into hell, but "his soul was not left in hell [sheol/hades - a state of unknowing]." -- Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27, 31.
(10) In old English the word hell simply meant to hide or to cover - helling potatoes meant putting them into pits, helling a house meant covering or thatching it, etc.; the word hell was therefore properly used as signifying the secret or hidden condition of death. It had no reference whatever to a place of torture until that meaning was attached to it by the theologians of the Dark Ages.
(11) Accordingly, hell (sheol or hades) means the unconscious, oblivious condition or realm of death, where all souls, good and bad, go at death, and from which only the awakening from death can deliver any.
(12) When God told Adam of sin's penalty, He did not say, "In the day that you eat from it you will live forever in torture," but He told him the truth: "thou shalt surely die [i.e., cease to live- or "dying, thou shalt die" - margin of KJV]." -- Genesis 2:17.
(13) Adam began to die in that very (dying, thou shalt die -- see KJV margin) day he ate the forbidden fruit.
(14) Contradicting God, Satan told the lie (John 8:44), "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4), by which he has since deceived many into believing that the dead are not really dead, but that at death they live on, and, without waiting for the resurrection day, go directly into heaven or into eternal torment; whereas the Bible states plainly that "the dead know not any thing". Thus "the dead praise not [Yahweh], neither any that go down into silence"; that "his sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them". Additionally, Abraham and Israel (Jacob) in sheol are "ignorant of us." -- Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalm 115:17; Job 14:21; Isaiah 63:16.
(15) The Bible states plainly that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20); that "the wages of sin is death [cessation of life-not life in roasting]; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ." -- Romans 6:23; Acts 4:12.
(16) "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish [i.e., forever cease to live], but have everlasting life". "The man Christ Jesus" "gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all [Adam and his race], to be testified in due time." -- John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4-6.
(17) If the penalty against Adam and his race had been eternal torment, Jesus would have had to suffer an eternity of torture to pay this debt; but, because the "wages of sin is death," "Christ died for our sins," He tasted death for every man; and He "was raised from the dead." -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Hebrews 2:9; Romans 5:6-10; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:18.
(18) Jesus, when on earth, said, "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven." -- John 3:13; Acts 2:34.
(19) The Bible says the dead, good and bad, are "asleep" (2 Peter 3:4; 2 Kings 21:17, 18; John 11:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), i.e., oblivious, unconscious, in sheol or hades, waiting for the awakening; "if there be no resurrection of the dead, then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." -- 1 Corinthians 15:13-18.
(20) God through Christ ransoms all, not from eternal torture, but "from the power of the grave [sheol]" (Hosea 13:14). None, however, come forth until Jesus calls them in the resurrection awakening at His Second Advent (John 14:3; 1 Corinthians 15:21-23, 52), when (and not previously) St. Paul and others receive their crowns of life and rewards. -- 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 1:5; 5:4; Luke 14:14.
(21) Eventually "all that are in the graves shall hear his [Jesus'] voice, and shall come forth" (John 5:28,29). When sheol or hades thus delivers up all who sleep in Adamic death, sheol or hades will forever cease to exist-"O grave [sheol] I will be thy destruction; "death and hell [hades; also the devil, the beast, the false prophet and the incorrigibly wicked] were cast into the lake of fire [fire destroys all combustible materials put into it, and therefore is used in the Bible as a symbol of destruction], This is [represents] the second death [utter, complete and eternal annihilation, from which none will ever be recovered]." -- Hosea 13:14; Revelation 19:20; 20:14, 15; 21:8; Galatians 6:8; Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:26-31; 12:29; 1 John 5:16; Jude 12, 13.
(22) Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth by God "as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7) - not that the fire is still burning and is unable to destroy those cities, but that it brought upon them eternal destruction as cities, even as the "everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" will bring everlasting destruction upon them. -- Hebrews 2:14; Ezekiel 28:19; Psalm 145:20.
(23) In Rev. 20:10 (compare 14:10, 11) the word translated "tormented" should have been rendered "tested" or "examined". The evil deeds and teachings of the devil, the beast and the false prophet will be examined forever by the righteous, and will be recognized as highly deserving destruction. -- compare Isaiah 14:15-17.
(24) "Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life," but "broad is the way that leadeth [not to preservation in fire, but] to destruction." -- Matthew 7:13.
(25) The wicked "shall be punished with everlasting destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9); they "bring upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Peter 2:1, 12); their "end is destruction" (Philemon 3:19); they "shall go away into everlasting punishment [not everlasting torture, but death, for 'sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death' (James 1:15; 4:12); everlasting death is everlasting punishment], but the righteous [who only will have everlasting life after the judgment -- Psalm 37:9-11] into life eternal." -- Matthew 25:46.
(26) Also, the New Testament word gehenna is translated hell in the KJV and many other translations; its Old Testament equivalent is ge-Hinnom -- valley of Hinnom. Into this valley outside Jerusalem its refuse was cast, and it was destroyed there either by worms or by fire and brimstone. Gehenna., "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-48), represents the Second Death-not that literal worms and fire will exist there eternally, but God's destruction of the wicked is sure, pictured by everything cast into the valley of Hinnom being completely destroyed, either by the worms or by the fire.
(27) God "is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [gehenna]". "Every soul which will not hear that prophet [Christ] shall be destroyed". "[Yahweh] preserveth [only] all that love him: but the wicked will he destroy". "They are extinct." -- Matthew 10:28; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Acts 3:23; Psalm 145:20; Isaiah 43:17.
(28) God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4) and will punish every sinner according to his guilt (Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:47,48), but His justice forbids His exacting a greater extreme penalty than the one He declared, i.e., death - "Shall mortal man [who unless debased would not consider torturing even a cat in fire for one minute, let alone for eternity] be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker? Far be it from God, that he should do wickedness." -- Job 4:17; 34:10.
(29) God forbade Israel to torture children with fire in Molech worship, condemning it and calling it an abomination which never came into His mind. -- Leviticus 18:21; 20,2-5; Jeremiah 19:5; 32:34, 35.
(30) "God is love" and He desires us to "worship him in spirit and in truth," out of love for Him, and not because of fear of punishment now and roasting in the hereafter- "perfect love casteth out fear [dread]." -- 1 John 4:8-12, 16-21; John 4:24.
(31) There are those that claim that the doctrine of eternal roasting is needed to bring people into fear of God. Our fear (reverence) of him should be motivated by our love for him, not because of some fiendish plot to eternally roast us if we do not fear him. True reverence for God comes from an awe at the creation around us and within us, plus the fact that God sent his Son to die for us, to save us, not from eternal roasting, but from death.