The Penalty Exacted For Failing To Make The Grade: Hell Fire Or Nothingness?

Discovering the truth about hell requires thinking outside the box. If, after looking at the evidence, you are still not convinced, you have the option of retreating back into the box.

“For what know you, O wife, whether you shall save your husband? Or how know you, O man, whether you shall save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16).

For some, it may come as great comfort to realize that their mate, if they die unconverted, will not be going to an ever-burning torturing hell fire to be tormented for eternity. Why would God, unless he is a sadist, be wanting your mate to be writhing in an ever-burning hell fire for eternity?

There are two primary points of view on the subject of hell. On one hand there is the belief that bad people go to an underground torture chamber filled with fire to endure torment for eternity. On the other hand there is the belief that God is a God of mercy who will reward the good with eternal life (John 3:16) and punish the evil by destroying them in the lake of fire so that they cease to exist except as ashes under the feet of the righteous (Malachi 4:3).

What phrase is repeated in scripture/the Bible over and over?

“…his mercy endures forever.” It occurs over 40 times between 1 Chronicles 16:34 and Jeremiah 33:11. David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) repeated it 33 times. We either believe that God’s mercy endures forever or we don’t.

If we don’t believe God’s mercy endures forever, then we believe in the traditional hell.

There is no doubt that professing Christianity, for the most part, is built on the fear of hell. It is fear religion at its worse.

“There is no fear in love but perfect love pushes out fear because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

Traditional evangelists have made a good living scaring people into conversions by describing the traditional ever-burning hell. This type of preacher is supposedly a counter balance to an opposite extreme that preaches that there is no punishment for the wicked (which is also a lie).

What is the punishment for being wicked? The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), not eternal life in hell fire. The deceptions about hell dovetail against each other to the extent that most people are pre-programmed to reject the truth of the matter before they even start digging to get to the truth of the issue. It requires a breaking of set patterns of thinking and realizing that all scriptures combine together to expose a perfect picture of what to expect after our lives are over.

Of course, in order to get to the truth of the word issue requires us to go to the original Hebrew of the Old Testament and the original Greek of the New Testament.

What is scripture?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Is scripture the King James Version Bible?


Is the scripture the NIV?


Scripture is the original Hebrew and Chaldee Old Testament plus the Greek New Testament.

English translations are simply translations. In most cases this is not a huge issue. However, on the subject of hell it is a big issue because the King James Bible is peppered with the word “hell”.

In the King James Version of the Old Testament the word translated into the English word “hell” is the Hebrew word “sheol”, which means “the unseen”, in essence, “the grave”. The equivalent of this in the King James Version of the New Testament is the Greek word “hades”, which also means “the unseen”, in essence, “the grave”. There are two other Greek words that the King James translators translated into the English word “hell”.

One of the other Greek words is “ge-enna”, which is a trash pit just outside Jerusalem. There is no trash there at this time. It is a tourist attraction. Tour guides advertise that they can take you to hell and back. Hell is a popular tourist site.

Ge-enna was the place where mothers used to sacrifice their babies to the god Molock. This was centuries ago. After the altar of Molock was destroyed it became a place to put trash. Also criminals who did not deserve to be buried were put into ge-enna, the trash pit. Christ referred to it in a metaphor for the lake of fire, “…where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched.” The worm is a maggot. The maggot does not die. It becomes a fly. The fly eventually dies, of course. The fire is not quenched. In both cases, the ge-enna trash pit, and the lake of fire, there is no quenching of the fires. They die out when there is no more material to feed the flame.

Last, but not least, the Greek word “tartaroo” is translated into the English word “hell”. It occurs only once in 2 Peter 2:4. It is a condition of restraint. It is not for people. It is for fallen angels only.

It is no wonder that there is such confusion on the subject of hell. After being told as children that “bad people go to hell when they die”, the conditioning is completed by looking into the King James Bible and then seeing the word hell occurring many times, not knowing that 4 words of 3 diverse meanings are translated into the English word “hell”. This certainly takes a lot getting used to. And just knowing the meanings of the original words is usually not enough to alleviate the confusion.

For extra information go to Hell.

Conditioning received from the commercial hell-fire preachers cannot easily be transcended. For example, there is an analogy of the “soul” being the real you and the body being like an old overcoat that you can shed when you die. The idea of an immortal soul comes from Greek philosophy, not scripture.

Type the words “immortal soul” in an electronic Bible. You will find no occurrences of such an idea. The soul is not immortal. The soul that sins will die (Ezekiel 18:4 and Ezekiel 18:20). How many souls have sinned? All have sinned (Romans 3:23). Therefore all souls die.

The soul dies. It does not receive eternal life in an ever-burning hell-fire.

What does the word “soul” mean? If you want the Bible meaning of the word you will need to go to the original languages of the Bible and retrieve the meaning.

Soul is from the Hebrew word “nephesh”, meaning self or creature. Most of the time it simply refers to a living creature, man or animal. But it can also refer to a dead creature. In Numbers 19:13 the Hebrew “nephesh” is translated as “body” and it is mentioning a body (a “nephesh”, a soul) that is dead. In the New Testament the word “soul” comes from the Greek word “psuche”, meaning a vital force with the affections and desires. It generally refers to living souls. However, it too can refer to dead souls. In Revelation there is reference to a time in the future when “…every living soul died in the sea” (Revelation 16:3). Every soul (“psuche”) died. You do not have a soul. You are a soul.

There is something that is worse than dying. What is worse than dying? It is the experience of the second death, of course, when unrepentant sinners are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8), burning to a crisp to become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Malachi 4:3), the Merciful God allowing them to cease to exist.

As mentioned before, the Hebrew “sheol” is translated into the Old Testament as the English word “hell”. “Hell” occurs 31 times in the Old Testament, translated from the word “sheol”. However, “sheol” occurs more than 50 times in the Old Testament. What other word is it translated into? It is also translated into the word “grave” and into the word “pit”. It was totally at the discretion of the individual translator as to whether it was translated as “hell”, “grave”, or “pit”. Many of the Bible translators believed in the traditional hell. This is the reason they used the word “hell” liberally.

What is the punishment for the wicked? Their end is destruction (Philippians 3:18-19) not eternal life in hell. Their fate is to become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Malachi 4:3).

Wily Elder

Answers from the Bible

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