This subject is one of the most controversial. Many religions speak of a place of doom or punishment, and in the common usage of language worldwide, this in the popular imagination is now more or less fixed as Hell, especially as it is described so in the Bible! However; as good scholars have discovered and explained; the KJV of the Bible has miss-translated the word, as explained below, and can be checked by the individual Bible student, to confirm!
Many pagan systems of worship had/have the concept of Hell, and these have passed on into modern consciousness. At the inception of the Roman Church, many pagan practices and beliefs had already been incorporated into the Roman Empire, as nations were conquered, and by the time of Constantine and Helena, the existing arrangements had to be somehow incorporated into the new “Christian Church”.
The original concept of Hell, as a place of unimaginable pain, suffering and torture, which was to last for ever, and which is still propagated by the Roman Church and others, was from Babylon, and had been used by the pagan rulers of Babylon to keep control and to keep the obedience of the population.
This concept, which has been reinforced by many writings and teachings for millennia, and popularised by such plays and films as "Dante’s Inferno", from “The Divine Comedy”, is not easily challenged, or discussed, as it carries the force and “mystique” of the “establishment”; and that, like the ancient pagan times, carries fear for many people. In fact, the concept of Dante’s Inferno, is based on the miss teaching of the Roman Church, and propagates the concept of “Purgatory” and “Paradise”, as opposed to what the Bible shows.
A further error in that “play”, is that Dante is guided through Purgatory by Beatrice, his much loved deceased wife, and the prayers of other of Dante’s friends and relations, to ease the Purgatory passage! All of this is well received by the Church of Rome, as it reinforces their teaching (which is not Biblical), and control of their congregations! In the above example, there is “Purgatory”, “Paradise” and a personage called Beatrice, who has survived death, by means of the “immortal soul”; which is another major error of religious teaching, and teachers! See: Soul and Spirit, The Error:
What can be gleaned from the Bible, to attempt to confirm, or otherwise these concepts?
Definition of terms:
Purgatory: in Roman Church teaching, this is a place for the post-mortem placement of “the soul”.
Hell: a place of fiery torment.
Soul: in Roman and other Church teaching, a continuing entity after death, from each person, known as “the immortal soul”.
Paradise: in some religions, the ultimate abode of the just or justified. A place of complete happiness. In all cases a very special place. There is very little in Scripture to illustrate the domain of “Heaven”. We know it is the dwelling place of Almighty God, and that Jesus said in John 14:2, it has “many mansions”, correctly translated; many abiding places. It is clearly a destination that most people desire, and through Christ is attainable!
Purgatory: This concept has been taught for so long, and linked to the "immortal soul" in the Roman teaching, that many people cannot even consider that it may be a false teaching! The possibility that their own entity may end at death, is too difficult and painful to contemplate. Its concept is from Babylon, and in the Roman version, the “soul” in question can be prayed for, have “masses” said, and the “sins” of the person “mitigated” by various “acts”, and in the past and present “payments” to the Church which in the past even whole Estates of noblemen were gifted to them to obtain the R.C. favour, which was and is lucrative for the Church. This system of course gives enormous power to the Roman Church, as for the “believer”, they are the only entity able to give/ instigate these eternal benefits! This teaching of course eliminates the True message of Salvation in Christ, and also negates the fact that a person may have a DIRECT relationship with Christ!
In summary therefore, the intermediate and intermediary state called Purgatory, is not Biblical, and goes against the message of Salvation in the Bible. It is therefore by definition anti-Christ! See; Why the Teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is not of God Almighty:
Hell: The common concept of Hell as a place of continual, fiery torment, is reinforced by the “parable” (so called by Christendom) of “The rich man and Lazarus”. Our Lord was (Luke 16), quoting the teaching of the Pharisees, which was/is from the Talmud and Mishnah, and are the false writings of the Jews after Ezra. They are from the minds of men and “the Prince of this world”, not from God! Jesus’ purpose in so doing, was to illustrate the falseness of their “Wisdom” writings, as embodied in the Talmud, the Mishnah, and in the present day are lumped together with the modified original 5 books of Moses, and called the Torah! In this 16th Chapter of Luke, Jesus, quoting the Lazarus story from the Talmud, was actually refuting the teaching of the Pharisees on divorce in v18, and showing in verse 30 and 31, that “even if one rose from the dead”, they would not hear or repent. That was confirmed when He raised the other Lazarus, and in His own Resurrection. See; The Rich Man and Lazarus.
To summarise, our Lord’s own evidential Miracles and His Resurrection, did not change the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees, and in fact they hardened more against Him! The Teaching of The Rich man and Lazarus, was/is a false teaching, as regards Hell, but Christendom (Roman Church and others) has taught it as per the false writings of the Jewish people, reinforcing the false Hell concept.
Soul: Almost all people around the world believe that “the soul” is an enduring part of themselves, that continues after their decease. They generally believe that it goes to either “Heaven or Hell”. In the following verse from Rev. chp. 6, the comments attempt to throw light on this subject. (Taken from www.revelationsmessage.co.uk).
Rev. Chp. 6:9 And when He opened the 5th seal, I saw under the alter the (a) souls= Grk. psucha of them that had been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
(a) See comments Rev. 20:4 (b). Appendix (Companion Bible) 110 (2), 170 (3) and 13. There is much confusion on this subject. The Greek & Babylonian myth of an enduring entity called the "soul", is now established teaching in the Churches, and works against Christ's sacrificial death on the Cross. The Roman teaching in particular gives power to Priests and people for "Purgatory" relief of "unrepentant souls", by their prayers, and "special Masses". A careful study of Scripture shows that the spirit of life is given and taken by Almighty God, and by Him alone. The spirit of life and the dust of the ground = the living soul, Gen. 2:7. The word soul is used very loosely in everyday speech, which only adds to the confusion. In the important instances, care is needed to ascertain the actual intended meaning. In this case, the Greek "psucha", in context means the individual. However these "individuals", in context "have been slain for the Word of God", and they are in the Tribulation Age. There is the implication that these individuals so affected go straight to Heaven. In this Age, when we die, we await the resurrection of either glory with Christ, if we have trusted Him for Salvation and we are washed in His redeeming blood, or resurrection to precise judgement at the "Great White Throne", at the end of the Millennial Age, Rev. 20:11-12. In the case of the saved and the unsaved, the spirit of life returns to the Father, Ecc. 12:7. In the case of the Christian (the true Christ one), there is the implication in Scripture, that the Christ Spirit returns to Christ, Acts 7:59 & Philippians 1:23.
It cannot be emphasised enough, that in the opinion of the writers, the Spirit of Life is continually confused with "the Soul", as in common language usage worldwide! Scripture has definitive references to the Spirit and its relationship to God the Father. These are: Numbers 16:22, 27:16, Luke 23:46, Acts 7:59 and Hebrews 12:9. It is notable that Christ gave up "His Spirit to the Father: Steven to the risen Lord. Neither mentioned an Immortal Soul"!
As can be seen from the above comments, the period of time one is living in, seems to change the case; this in Scripture is called by the Apostle Paul “the Administration”, or “Age time” by others. Each “Age time” has different criterion and rules, hence the comments above regarding those that die in different situations, and times. The fact that there is so much confusion regarding “the soul” and “the spirit of life”, and that to many people the two are interchangeable in general speech, adds to the misconceptions. There is no doubt that the “spirit” returns to God at death. The soul in the Bible’s own definition (and therefore God’s) is as shown above in Gen. 2:7. However, many people will object to this comment, and insist that “consciousness” continues in the “soul” after death! The Bible is clear; after the death of an individual, there is no consciousness or memory! These references confirm the point; Psms. 6:5, 30:9, 31:17, 88:11,115:17,118:17, 146:4, Ecc. 9:6-10, 12:7 & Isa. 38:17-19.
The great emphasis of the Necromancers of all shades, is that “there is no death”. In the “Spiritualist” Churches, many of their hymns emphasise this in each verse. This is the great thrust of Satan in the world, to try to stop people from believing that Christ has defeated death on the Calvary Cross, and that HE ALONE (Matt. 28:18) HAS THE POWER AND AUTHORITY TO RAISE PEOPLE FROM THE DEAD! All authority is His until He hands back the finished Work to the Father, at the end of the Millennial Reign! (1Cor. 15:24).
So what does the Bible say about a place of incarceration and/or torment? There are two major references to such in Revelation, one is for those that worship the Beast, and receive his mark, and the second is the “Lake of Fire”, which is during the “Great White Throne Judgement”.
Worship of the Beast. (The following extracted from Rev. 14, www.revelationsmessage.co.uk).
V.9 And (a)the third angel followed them saying with a (b)loud voice, (c)"If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark upon his forehead, or in his hand,
V.10 The same shall (d)drink of the wine of the wrath of God, (e)which is poured out without mixture (f)into the cup of His indignation; (g)and they shall be tormented with fire and brimstone (h)in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
V.11 (k)And the smoke of their torment (m)ascended up forever and ever: (n)and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name".
It is not an exaggeration to say this is probably the most profound warning in the whole of Scripture, which is delivered by the third angel. (We must remember that these messengers are being heard by all mankind)! The following warning given is so profoundly strong and uncompromising, that most readers shrink from accepting its clear message. However, we know that all Scripture is from the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16). The severity of the warning does not at first glance seem to accord with The Almighty God of Love. However; when properly and prayerfully perceived, it becomes clear that even at this extreme stage of evil (adherence to Satan), that has by then been reached, merciful Jehovah Zebaoth has given a last warning to the people of earth. After that warning, there is no way of escape! At this present moment in time (2015) it is very easy for people to escape future judgment and damnation, by accepting in Truth in their hearts (innermost being), that Jesus Christ died for their sin, on The Cross, at Calvary, outside the walls of Jerusalem, approx. 2000 years ago.
That sacrifice, which is acceptable to Jehovah God, IS THE ULTIMATE, BECAUSE CHRIST ON THE CROSS WAS GOD INCARNATE! See; God's Only Begotten Son.
Once this offered gift of Salvation (being made whole) is removed, the way to Salvation and God becomes much harder, as is being shown in Rev. 14. Once the warning of Vs. 9-10 are given there are only TWO OPTIONS open to mankind.
1) Be for Jehovah Zebaoth and Christ;
2) Serve Satan, receive his mark and worship him.
Once the second option is taken men and women will be seen as they truly are for the first time (tares), with no subterfuge, disguise or other ways of covering their true identity. They are children of Satan, and TOTALLY unredeemable, and will receive the same punishment reserved for Satan and his angels eventually.
As one third of Heaven’s angels fall under the guile, lies and deceit of Satan, so will countless human beings. The torment that they will have to endure for “An Age”, has turned many good men and women from studying these verses, but they must be understood in the context of Satan's totally perverse rebellion against THE ONE TRUE LOVING GOD, whose purpose in the defeat of Satan, is only to prove HIS GREAT LOVE of HIS created beings, (see notes in Chp. 12:V.12 a) b) & c), and to deal with the "mystery of iniquity"! (2Thess. 2:7). See; Satan's Motivation:
(h) "The presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb":
Here is the stated fact that God the Father will torment Satan's disciples, in the presence of the non-fallen angels (remembering that one third of all angelic beings will have gone over to Satan), and The Lamb. It has to be noted that The LAMB is mentioned and not Christ or Jesus! This will be a constant reminder during this period (Millennial), to all creation that Christ became The Sacrificial Lamb of God that took away the sin of the world. Also the humans being tormented, that they are the result of The Lie, which only Satan propagated.
(k) "And the smoke of their torment"; the word smoke probably is used to indicate their huge agony and regret, as well as their actual suffering. Many true Christ-ones, have been tortured, burned alive etc., when they stood against “The Lie”, in its many forms, one of the biggest being the Roman Church during its Inquisition torturing of true Christians!
(m) "Ascended up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name". "Forever and ever"; (Str. 165) Greek "AION"; An Age. This Age however has a particular meaning in the Jewish context of, "a Messianic period"!!
(n) "And they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name".
The fact that no rest is available "day or night", to these Satanic adherents tends to back up the "Messianic period" mentioned above. At Chp. 21 of Revelation God Almighty "makes all things new", which is at the end of the Millennium Reign and the Messianic period. It is also implicit that at the "Great White Throne Judgement", these people will go the way of their master Satan, (Chp. 20:10), "and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name". See above comments, and those of Chp. 13:17.
So in summary, these people are those alive during the “reign of the Beast”, and they worship him and receive his mark, to enable them to live “normally”, in that period which is during the "Jacob's Trouble" time of Israel, in the Great Tribulation. It is notable when studying the whole of Revelation, that they have had many warnings from God’s angels and people, that to pay homage to the great Anti-Christ will result in the above described!
The Great White throne Judgement, and Lake of Fire. (Rev. 20, extract from www.revelationsmessage.co.uk).
Rev. 20 V.10 (a)And the devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and they shall be tormented day and night to the (b)Age of the Ages.
(a) Satan finally dealt with, never to return!
(b) This usually translated "for ever and ever"; but probably means “for a defined period”.
Rev. 20 V.11 (a)And I saw a great white throne, and Him That sat on it, from Whose face (b)the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev. 20 V.12 (c)And I saw the dead, the great and small standing before the throne; and (d)the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
(a) This is the so called “the Great White Throne Judgement”, which commences after the end of the Millennial reign and after the final demise of Satan.
(b) See Chp. 21:1.
(c) All people that ever lived who were not in the first Resurrection, or the Rapture, and those of V.9.
(d) "The books;" "these books", i.e. records are kept on all humans, in heaven. The results of these records are the judgements about to be given in these verses. The Second Death is the penalty for those failing! (See Matt. 10:28). Reference has been made to these books from the earliest record in Holy Writ. Some of these are; Ex. 32:32-33. Dan. 7:10, 12:1, Rev. 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15 & 21:27.
Rev. 20 V.13 (a)And the sea gave up the dead which are in it; and death and the (b)grave delivered up the dead which are in them: and they were judged each one according to their works.
(a) See Vs. 11 and 12 and notes.
(b) This in A.D. 1611 translated incorrectly “Hell". The concept of Hell is Greek/Babylonian in origin (Pythagoras), adopted by the Roman Church, and later by Church of England and other Protestant groups. The Greek word “HADES”, renders (Str. No. 86,) a place or state of departed souls, (i.e. bodies) i.e. grave, (Hell), in the German "a state of death" (App. 131; Comp. Bible). This led the Roman Church to develop/adopt the concept of “Purgatory”, a place between life, and Heaven or “Hell”. This was due to the Roman adoption of the Greek/Babylonian concept of soul, i.e. as a separate continuing entity to the body, which ignores the clear definition given in Genesis, 2:7, where God “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul,” or "a living being". The soul therefore is the result of the dust + the breath of life = the soul (or being)!
The Roman Church error has led to the awful practice of praying by Roman Catholics for “the souls of departed loved ones”, which leads them to believe that their prayers can overcome the departed ones sins, and gain them access to heaven! This terrible teaching negates the work of Our Lord on The Cross, and millions of people worldwide are thus misled. This is part of the “Harlot”, of Rev. Chps.17 and 18 etc.
It is certain that the subject of “Hell”, has become mixed together with the “grave” mistranslation in the Bible; and the punishment of those that worship and receive the mark of the beast (Rev. 14:10); and who engage in Necromancy in their liftime; or who reject God and Christ absolutely.
In the Old Testament (Hebrew Tanach); the word "Sheol" is variously translated as "grave, pit or Hell". In the places where it is correctly translated "Hell", (which refers to the Lake of Fire in Revelation) the Pharisees (Orthodox Jews) will not accept that translation, as they deny the existence of a place of punishment, retribution and the "Second Death". It is the prerogative of Almighty God (Jehovah Zebaoth), and stated as such in Scripture, that His enemies will be destroyed, together with the chief Enemy, Satan. This is clearly recorded in Rev. 20:7-15. In the sense of the way it has been presented and taught by the Roman Church, and latterly by some Protestant Sects, they are incorrect, and have followed the Babylonian and Greek teaching.
As the Orthodox Jews do not accept the New Testament as being from God, they do not accept the teaching in Revelation regarding the Great White Throne Judgement; and the "Lake of Fire"! This latter, is what most people think of as "Hell"; but it is not a place of torment by Satan and his demons, but of punishment or destruction by God, of Satan, his demons, and for all those who joined Satan in opposition to God throughout the Ages. The Father's Love is shown through Christ through the Ages since Eden, and almost certainly before Eden!
The Pharisaic Jews also deny Satan, and the power he currently wields, and all Christian teaching, including the coming Wrath of God in Judgement on the earth, leading to the Great White Throne Judgement of Revelation 20, etc. As in the time of Jesus, they are vociferous as to their interpretation being the only correct understanding of Scripture, which of course means they are anti-Christ, as opposed to the Anti-Christ! Their anti-Punishment teaching, is an extension of the errors that have been propagated since after Ezra; who tried to re-establish them on the correct Jehovah teachings and Will, after their exile in Babylon! See: Rabbinic Judaism (Pharisaic Judaism): & The Scribes and Pharisees.
In summary of all of the above, the popular myth of “Hell” is not accurate to Scripture, and should be translated "grave" in many instances throughout the Bible (see Appendix 131 & 35 in Companion Bible). The fact that in the AD 1611 Authorised version, Translators mistakenly implied that "Hell" is destroyed in V14 of Rev. 20 above, (this is correctly translated grave and death) gives the impression that a place for punishment of God's enemies by God Almighty, is removed, is wrong! The place of destruction and punishment is clearly described in Revelation Chapters 14 and 20, see: Hell's Punishment?
All people that have died from Adam to before the Rapture of the "Church"; (correctly described by Paul "the Body of Christ"), are subject to being "raised" by Almighty God; for one or other of the "judgements", as described in Scripture.
The Jewish people have their own specific "raising" and Judgement; as theirs is a special case as the "chosen people", see: "Israel; My Firstborn son" (Dan. 12:2 and 3).
No person (Jew or Gentile) is cast into the "Lake of Fire" until they have been raised and "evaluated" by Almighty God, from the "Book of Life", which is the "Great White Throne Judgement" which takes place at the end of "The Millennial Reign" (Rev. 20). See: The Book of Life:
Those that have resisted God's Love and Will since Eden will be so destroyed etc., (Rev. 20:15), as described in Rev. Chapters 14 and 20. That resistance and its many forms, paganism, necromancy, including deliberate miss-teaching and deliberate distortion of God's Word are included!
Christians (Christ -Ones), are not subject to the to the "Great White Throne Judgement", but to a one to One meeting with Christ Jesus Himself, and all that is not worthy in the individual will be burned away (1Cor. 3:15). This takes place after the Rapture Event.
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