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Hell Is Not Endless Punishment – Part 3

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July 17th, 2013 | Filed Under: Author, Hell, Mitch Kuhn, Topical Studies0 Comments | Author:

This study shows that Hell is not endless punishment. The doctrine of endless punishment was not Jewish, but rather a pagan Egyptian doctrine that Jews and Christians adopted.
This is part 3


by Mitch Kuhn

Click here for all articles in this series and more on the subject of hell

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Does the New Testament Teach Endless Torment?
When we read most English translations of the bible the word hell does appear in the New Testament. We immediately apply a pagan understanding to these verses because to anyone that speaks English, hell is almost always implies eternal torment in the afterlife.

Here is how many times the word hell appears in various translations:
King James: 23
English Standard Version: 14
New King James: 13
Young’s Literal: 0
Concordant Literal: 0

Notice how the literal translations NEVER use the word hell. This is because there are other English words that better represent what was being said in Greek and do not bring with them the preconceived notion of eternal torture. We will cover the Greek words translated as hell in just a moment.
We must keep in mind that everything in the New Testament is based on the Old Testament. In the time of Jesus and the Apostles, the only scriptures they had were those of the Old Testament, until some of the Apostle’s letters began to be circulated. Therefore they are constantly quoting the Old Testament scriptures and explaining the mystery that had been hidden behind the symbols of the Old Testament.

Col 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

What was written? The Old Testament! The phrase “it is written” is used often in the New Testament and always referers to a quote from the Old Testament.
The first recorded words of Jesus’ public ministry were him reading a quote from Isaiah 61:1-2.

Luk 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as

his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Luk 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias(Isaiah). And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luk 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

I’m pointing this out because Jesus and the other Apostles were speaking from a Jewish point of view. They believed what was written in the Old Covenant and their understanding of God’s word was not tainted by pagan doctrines. This is very important to understand as we examine the various Greek words translated as hell.

Greek Words Translated as Hell
Hades:
Let’s first look at the word “hades”.

GG86
ᾅδης hadēs hah’-dace
From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1492; properly unseen, that is, “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls: – grave, hell.

Here is a quote from Mr. Thayer’s paper regarding this word.

1. HADES. This word occurs eleven times, and is rendered “grave” once, and “hell” ten times. It may be profitable first to consider what one of the most accomplished orthodox scholars says in regard to it. “In my judgment,” says Dr. Campbell, “it ought never in Scripture to be rendered hell, at least in the sense wherein that word is universally understood by Christians. In the Old Testament the corresponding word is Sheol, which signifies the state of the dead in general, without regard to the goodness or badness of the persons, their happiness or misery. It is very plain that neither in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, nor in the New, does the word hades convey the meaning which the present English word hell, in the Christian usage, always conveys to our minds. The attempt to illustrate this would be unnecessary, as it is hardly now pretended by any critic that this is the acceptation of the term in the Old Testament.”
There are four verses where Jesus himself uses the word hades. He clearly had a Jewish understanding of hades and knew quite well that the Old Testament did not teach eternal torment. He uses this word just like David does in Psalms, to express great calamity.

Mat 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Psa 86:13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

Remember that David was not resurrected, but rather was delivered from great calamity.
Here is a better translation of these three verses:

Mat 11:23 YLT And thou, Capernaum, which unto the heaven wast exalted, unto hades shalt be brought down, because if in Sodom had been done the mighty works that were done in thee, it had remained unto this day;

Psa 9:17 YLT The wicked do turn back to Sheol, All nations forgetting God.

Psa 86:13 YLT For Thy kindness is great toward me, And Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol.

Hades is the Greek equivalent of Sheol, so when Christ is using this word, we must realize that he is referencing the Jewish idea of the grave and not the pagan Greek doctrine of Hades that brings with it the doctrine of eternal torment. It is merely a word used to express great calamity.
One of the most famous verses where Jesus uses the word Hades is in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. The most important thing to point out is that this is a PARABLE. A parable is a made up story to communicate a point and even if they reference real people these things have not literally happened.
This parable found in Luke 16 is actually one of a series of parables that start in Luke 15.

Luk 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
Luk 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
Luk 15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, The Pharisees and scribes were in the group hearing these parables and were murmuring against Christ. Then after they overheard another parable that Christ spoke to his disciples, they derided him.

Luk 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. So the parable about Lazarus and rich man was spoken as a rebuke against the Pharisees.
Luk 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Christ commonly spoke parables containing things that were a part of people’s lives. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man was actually a known story among the Jews.

Here is a quote from Mr. Thayer’s paper.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus furnishes another example. “And in hell (hades) he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.” It will be remembered that the Jews had borrowed their ideas of torment in a future state from the heathen, and of course they were obliged to borrow their terms to express this. Accordingly, after the manner of the Greeks, Hades, or the place of departed spirits, is represented as receiving all, as Sheol did, good and bad; but we have also the additional idea of separate apartments or districts, divided by a great gulf or river; on one side of which the blessed are located, and on the other side the damned, near enough to see each other, and converse together, as in the case of Abraham and the rich man.
It must also be remembered that this is only a parable, and not a real history; for, as Dr. Whitby affirms, “we find this very parable in the Gemara Babylonicum.” The story was not new, then, not original with Christ, but known among the Jews before He repeated it. He borrowed the parable from them, and employed it to show the judgment which awaited them. He represented the spiritual favors and privileges of the Jews by the wealth and luxury of the rich man, and the spiritual poverty of the Gentiles by the beggary and infirmity of Lazarus; and while the former would be deprived of their privileges and punished for their wickedness, the latter would enjoy the blessings of truth and faith.

Here is a section of the parable in Luke.

Luk 16:22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
Luk 16:23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
Luk 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

Remember back to what the Pharisees were saying at the beginning of this series of parables.
Luk 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

They were the rich man in the parable looking down upon poor Lazarus. Jesus was pointing out they will indeed incur judgment for what they were doing, and he uses a known story to do so. It in no way teaches eternal torment.
Why did Christ speak in parables?

Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Just like the majority of those listening to the parables in Christ’s time did not understand the true meaning, in the same way most Christians today do not understand that this parable is speaking about them and not someone else. This is a parable about you and me.
We are hypocrites just like the Pharisees when we do not realize that we look down upon and despise others.

Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

When we have been doing evil and we realize we are suffering the judgments of God for this, we will cry out for mercy just like the rich man.

Luk 16:24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’

And we are then told that it is impossible to pass from this side of torment to the other side of peace.

Luk 16:26 NKJV And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

Notice what Christ says in another parable about a rich man entering heaven.

Mat 19:23 NKJV Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 19:24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Mat 19:25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
Mat 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

It is impossible to avoid the fiery torment that the rich man suffers but is this the eternal fire of hell as we have been taught? Fire in the scriptures is used to destroy what is wicked and to purify.

1Co 3:15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
1Pe 4:13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Jer 5:14 Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts: “Because you speak this word, Behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, And this people wood, And it shall devour them.

So the rich man will actually be saved by the flames, because it will destroy the evil that is within him. The Pharisees hearing these parables had no idea what Christ was saying, because they were thinking physically according to their pagan doctrines. They had not been given the spirit of God to understand the mystery of salvation through judgment.
Let’s now consider the prophecies of Christ not being left in Hades.

Act 2:27 NKJV FOR YOU WILL NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN HADES, NOR WILL YOU ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION.

Act 2:29 NKJV “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
Act 2:30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
Act 2:31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.

Christ was not delivered from eternal torment in hell and he did not stay in the GRAVE. Remember that Hades is the direct translation of the Hebrew word Sheol which means “the grave”.

Psa 16:10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

Did you know that death and hell (Hades) will be destroyed?

1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Many teach that the lake of fire is hell which to them is a place of eternal torment. Have you ever read these verses?

Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

So death and hell deliver up their dead to be judged, and then death and hell are cast into the lake of fire. We know that death is destroyed, so hell (Hades) must be destroyed as well. If there is no death, and no Hades, then where will people be tortured forever?
The truth is that the judgment we fear is actually what saves us.
Here is a link to a series of studies on the Milk Doctrines found in Hebrews 6. This series explains how judgment is the way God will save all.
Milk Doctrine Studies

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