satan and hell

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satan and hell


Post by Lufia » Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:56 am

God has told us that hell was created for satan and demons, not for men. So one day satan and his demons wil end up in hell. But isn't kind of a reward for a demon and satan to be in hell? It is to send them home. Plus they wil 'enjoy' themselves, torturing poor souls for eternity. Doesn't look like a punishment to me ... What is your opinion on this?

Is there one hell for demons and one for humans? If so, who will torture humans?

I know i feel weird asking this y:-/

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Re: satan and hell


Post by Byblos » Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:51 am

Lufia wrote:God has told us that hell was created for satan and demons, not for men. So one day satan and his demons wil end up in hell. But isn't kind of a reward for a demon and satan to be in hell? It is to send them home. Plus they wil 'enjoy' themselves, torturing poor souls for eternity. Doesn't look like a punishment to me ... What is your opinion on this?

Is there one hell for demons and one for humans? If so, who will torture humans?

I know i feel weird asking this y:-/
Where did God say hell is restricted to satan and the demons?
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Re: satan and hell


Post by obsolete » Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:21 am

Last time I checked even Satan and his followers would be tormented in Hell along with those who have rejected Christ. Revelation 20:10
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Re: satan and hell


Post by Lufia » Fri Aug 08, 2008 5:12 pm

I never said that hell was restricted for satan and his demons. Only that He created hell for satan and demons and it was not intended for humans.

Anyway, thanks for the answer obsolete

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Re: satan and hell


Post by Byblos » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:51 am

Lufia wrote:I never said that hell was restricted for satan and his demons. Only that He created hell for satan and demons and it was not intended for humans.
Ok, where then does God say hell was created for satan and the demons, not for men?
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Re: satan and hell


Post by ADifferentKindOf » Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:45 pm

I don't know that the bible says that satan and demons get to torture humans. We just go to the same place. I think the torturing came in to place with the 14th century publication of a Divine Comedy by Dante. Later various art works depicting the "levels" of hell spread his ideas to the illiterate masses who may not have been able to read, but could certainly understand the implications in the art, as was the idea with stained glass windows in churches. The bible suggests Satan's main joy comes not from torturing humans but from attempting to overthrow God. He would give us anything we wanted, that is if he had the power to give it, if we agreed to forsake God and follow him. He is a righteous mans enemy, see? Because his war is not with us, humans are just pawns for winning over in the great game of trying to defeat the creator. If God let him do whatever he wanted with humans, he would just attempt to make them part of the war. I can't believe he would get to make decisions for ANY OF GODS CREATIONS.

I myself, do not always take verses from the bible literally, so this is not all my belief, but I understand that if you read the whole bible literally this is what you should take from it. It is also hard to remember every bit of text from the bible and then interpret it (I try not to, anyways), so if there is a verse in the bible that does speak of demons or satan controlling us in hell, I would like to know. Thanks. :wave:

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Re: satan and hell


Post by Seraph » Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:52 pm

God has told us that hell was created for satan and demons, not for men. So one day satan and his demons wil end up in hell. But isn't kind of a reward for a demon and satan to be in hell? It is to send them home. Plus they wil 'enjoy' themselves, torturing poor souls for eternity. Doesn't look like a punishment to me ... What is your opinion on this?

Is there one hell for demons and one for humans? If so, who will torture humans?
Haha, this seems like the Hell portrayed just about everywhere. The actual biblical Hell is very different. To my knowledge, the Bible doesn't state that demons reign in Hell or that it's their home, they are miserable there just like humans. The Bible also never states that demons are the ones bringing punishment on humans in Hell, more that all in Hell are naturally punished because they are completly cut off from God, the soure of everything good.

Just my perspective on this.
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Re: satan and hell


Post by B. W. » Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:58 am

Lufia wrote:God has told us that hell was created for satan and demons, not for men. So one day satan and his demons wil end up in hell. But isn't kind of a reward for a demon and satan to be in hell? It is to send them home. Plus they wil 'enjoy' themselves, torturing poor souls for eternity. Doesn't look like a punishment to me ... What is your opinion on this? Is there one hell for demons and one for humans? If so, who will torture humans?

I know i feel weird asking this y:-/
Never feel weird for asking an honest question!

These passages of scripture are quite telling:

Matthew 8:28-31, “And when he (Jesus) came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" 30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs." ESV

If hell was for the demons a picnic or a nice comfortable home, then why did these fear going there and chose a herd of swine instead?

These other passage are also most telling concerning torture:

Speaking prophetically Revelations 14:11 states: “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name."

Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Revelation 22:12, "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.

Notice, it is an individuals own torment (smoke of their torment) based upon 'whatever one sows that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.'

From this as well as elsewhere in the bible — the torment is a person's own. God is not torturing in Hell as some people would like to have a one to believe. The corruption is a state of eternal ruin.

To make it simple to understand, note that God's nature is one of love and joy, righteousness, etc and etc. Therefore a state of ruin is the opposite of this. Hell would be a place void of holy love, joy, righteousness, peace, mercy, kindness, etc and etc.

How often do we all have made our lives as well as those around us void of love, joy, righteousness, peace, mercy, kindness, etc and etc? Instead we chose to have a selfish form of dominion over others (and even God) to meet our needs. Hell is a place where people receive just measure of recompense as their desire is for sin to have dominion. Sin brings death and ruin; therefore, this ruination is what torments people as well as a host of demonic beings who hate God and humanity.

Lastly, concerning the wrath of God:

Ephesians 5:6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

God's wrath is anger and issuance of just punishment after generations and lifetimes of abuse and disdain for God has been proven. You could say; it is the final straw after one rejects all attempts by a loving and Holy God to have them to return to Him. People chose sin and rebellion over God. In other words, they desire to have dominion over God by desiring God to conform to their whims, ideologies, ways of thinking, manners of life, self justifications to produce legitimacy for ones actions, etc and etc.

God's punishment is just recompense giving to them what they desire — life without him for eternity in a place prepared for the rebellious. God's wrath and punishment does not imply that God tortures or torments in hell. The bible is clear — it is a person's own torment that tortures.

There is evidence of this, even in this mortal life, that people do indeed torture themselves psychologically with unforgiveness, hate, malice, scheming, get even-ness, brown nosing, back stabbing, drugs, alcohol, perversions of all types, etc and etc. In hell, this is measured back to them in just measure as that is what they love more than returning to God counting God's love displayed to them as a common thing.

1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.”

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."

To any reader I ask, do you love your darkness more than God's light?

John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Or, do you desire a change? The change that only Christ Jesus can bring? It is time to surrender to the Lord and be a rebel no more. If that is you, pray a simple prayer:

Father God, have mercy upon me a sinner. Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me a self centered rebel, Holy Spirit make me born again and teach in the way I should go. Amen.
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Re: satan and hell


Post by Lufia » Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:06 am

Thanks, i have learn a lot. I always taught that hell was a place where demons would tortured humans. Or that humans would burn for ever in lake of fire.

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Re: satan and hell


Post by Swamper » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:19 am

Lufia wrote:Thanks, i have learn a lot. I always taught that hell was a place where demons would tortured humans. Or that humans would burn for ever in lake of fire.
I blame medieval artwork and Dante's Inferno.
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Re: satan and hell


Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:53 pm

Swamper wrote:
Lufia wrote:Thanks, i have learn a lot. I always taught that hell was a place where demons would tortured humans. Or that humans would burn for ever in lake of fire.
I blame medieval artwork and Dante's Inferno.
Interesting point...and it made me think of a parallel in modern society: The Da Vinci Code is only art but those "ignorant" in faith or religion see it as The Truth.

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Re: satan and hell


Post by PastorGuy » Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:10 pm

The punishment of the wicked in hell is as never-ending as the bliss of the righteous in Heaven. The punishment of the wicked dead in hell is described throughout Scripture as "everlasting fire" (Matthew 25:41), "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12), "shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2), a place where "their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44-49), a place of "torments" and "flame" (Luke 16:23,24), "everlasting destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place of torment with "fire and brimstone" where "the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever" (Revelation 14:10,11), and a "lake of fire and brimstone" where the wicked are "tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). Jesus Himself indicates that the punishment in hell itself is everlasting - not merely the smoke and flames (Matthew 25:46).
The wicked are forever subject to the fury and the wrath of God in hell. They consciously suffer shame and contempt and the assaults of an accusing conscience -- along with the fiery wrath of an offended deity -- for all of eternity. Even those in hell will acknowledge the perfect justice of God (Psalms 76:10). Those who are in the very real hell will know that their punishment is just and that they alone are to blame (Deuteronomy 32:3-5). Yes, hell is real. Yes, hell is a place of torment and punishment that lasts forever and ever, with no end! Praise God that through Jesus, we can escape this eternal fate (John 3:16,18,36).

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Re: satan and hell


Post by obsolete » Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:54 am

Praise God that through Jesus, we can escape this eternal fate (John 3:16,18,36).
:amen: :amen: :amen: :amen:

But let us also try to save those who do not know Jesus as their savior. Jude vs.22-23.
Jesus died for ALL. End of story.

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Re: satan and hell


Post by disciple Jack » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:28 pm

Assumption: 3. The act of taking for granted: assumption of a false theory. 4. Something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof; a supposition: a valid assumption.” 1


“Assumption,” American Heritage Dictionary

This rather technical subject is one that we need to be aware of. I have titled this lecture by one word: “Assumption.” 2 It is a lecture based on assumption. It is going to be about assumption. I believe that assumption by people is the curse of biblical interpretation. People assume things that the Bible says and in actual fact the Bible does not say it at all. I have been amazed in my own life over the past years how many things I have assumed that the Bible says, and the Bible did not say anything of the kind.

Major doctrines have been built upon assumption. You can write article after article based upon these assumptions and people just swallow them hook, line, and sinker, because they themselves assume this is what the Bible says. You do not even need proof, you already know it is right. The trouble is, it is not correct in many cases. We tend to assume too much, and we should not do it. The more lazy we are (as I am sometimes), the more we tend to assume. The more we assume, the more we get ourselves into difficulty. Many people today think they believe and accept the plainly written revelation of God as found in the Bible, but in actual fact the so-called revelations are “revelations of men” and not of the Bible. Major beliefs have been based upon utter assumption by many people, and no less by religious leaders, including us all in the past.

We should look at some of the assumptions which we have garnered into our repertoire of belief. I want to go into one, and it concerns the subject of Satan the Devil. So many people assume things about Satan the Devil that do not really exist in Scripture. Let us look at certain assumptions concerning this subject, which I am sure you have accepted into your beliefs, and that we often think come from Scripture.
The Origin of Satan

The origin of Satan, most people feel, can be found in the Bible in Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28. People have taken all types of beliefs from those two chapters, which they have blended into a montage of belief for a description of Satan the Devil. In actual fact the Scripture itself says they were not talking about Satan the Devil at all. It is quite clear. What we have done in many cases is to read into the Bible things that are not there.

I will not give all the answers on the origin of Satan but I will give a few Scriptures. I will not say that I can give you every answer to Isaiah chapter 14 or Ezekiel chapter 28, not every detail, but we ought to understand enough to see what they actually do say and not to make assumptions. This is the point. We must not make assumptions on these things. What we need to do is to be very careful and pay close attention to what God is saying and not make our own erroneous assumptions.

What about the origin of Satan? We are all interested in knowing about the great Adversary, which is what the word Satan means, it simply means “adversary.” Notice that even with Peter in Matthew chapter 16, Jesus looked at him right in the eye and said:

“But he [Jesus] turned, and said unto Peter, 'Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offence unto me: for you savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.'”


Matthew 16:23

Jesus said this shortly after He said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church [ekklesia, in Greek]” (Matthew 16:18). Just after that He looks him in the eye and calls him “Satan.” Peter was an adversary to Jesus at that particular time.

Satan is a personality. I do not believe like the Christadelphians that there is no such thing as Satan. There is a being named Satan, sometimes called the Devil. We know there is a personality and we find that Christ speaks about him and to him. 3 Let us see some of the things concerning Satan that we can absolutely depend upon from the Scriptural revelation without assumption. Take a look at First John. If people would only pay attention to this one verse right here I think that much of the confusion over the origin of Satan would be alleviated tremendously.

Note what John said under divine inspiration: “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). We are not told what the beginning is, that is quite true. He means the beginning of something, but what would that be? The beginning of the world? The beginning of the universe? The beginning of something. Whenever that beginning took place, Satan was sinning from that beginning.

Do you know what the Jews call the Book of Genesis? They call the Book of Genesis by the first words that introduce it. Those first words are “In a beginning” or “In the beginning,” let us say. If you would to ask a Jew today (and they say it in Hebrew and not in English), to turn to Genesis chapter 12 and verse 1, he would understand what you mean, but technically, he would say, turn to “In the beginning” 12:1. Or if you talk about Abraham when he became 99 years of age, they would say, turn to “In the beginning” chapter 17. That is their technical name for the book, the first words that introduce it.

Maybe that is what John is talking about here, from the very beginning, from the first revelation that we have any record of, “In the beginning” Satan sinned. He was a sinner “from the beginning” (1 John 3:8).

How many of us have been taught that Satan was not a sinner from the beginning. It is most remarkable. Whatever and whenever that beginning was, John says Satan was a sinner, a lawbreaker, from that beginning. That is one point to take into consideration.
Satan in Heaven

Satan has been in heaven in the past, of that we can be assured. We find that in the Book of Job, the first two chapters, when the Sons of God appeared before God in heaven. The topic concerned Job, a very righteous and holy man on earth. You know the outcome. Satan says to God, you bless Job with this and that: you put a hedge around him. He is protected in every way. No wonder he is so good. Take away all those things and he will curse you to your face. I am paraphrasing the narrative, but that was virtually what was said. God gave Satan permission to go down from heaven to earth and to tempt Job by taking away all his possessions, including his most precious, his children. Yet Job maintained his integrity and his righteousness through all this.

In chapter 2 of Job there was another time when the Sons of God met before God in heaven “and Satan came also among them” (Job 2:1). God said to Satan, look at my righteous servant Job. He still maintains righteousness no matter what you have done to him. Again I am paraphrasing.

Satan says, yes, but if you take away his health, if you touch him personally, then is when he will curse you to your face. God then gave Satan permission to go down and take away Job's health; but he gave one command. Satan was not allowed to take Job's life. To me that has always been a great comfort because it shows quite clearly from divine revelation that Satan is under the control of Almighty God. He cannot, underany circumstances, go beyond the limits that God places upon him. God said to Satan plainly: do not take Job's life. This means he could have taken Job's life if God had permitted it because Satan does takes people's lives. He has done it in the past.

In this particular case God says you, Satan, are not going to take Job's life. And Job's life was not taken, but he was put in great torment. We know that Job finally got back his health and he got back more children, etc. But here was Satan in heaven talking with God.

In the time of our Lord we find that Christ spoke about Satan and He said that some time in the past (He did not say when it was), He saw Satan fall from heaven (Luke 10:17—18). Christ sent out seventy disciples into Israel preaching the Kingdom of God.

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through your name.'

And he said unto them, 'I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.'”


Luke 10:17—20

These verses show that Satan is a spirit just like the demons are spirits, quite true. But Jesus then singles out Satan as the chief adversary and He says “I saw him fall from heaven.” That means that God has power over Satan in every detail. He saw him fall from heaven some time in the past. This Scripture has given a little trouble to some when they go to Isaiah chapter 14 or to Ezekiel chapter 28 because they want to show that those verses apply to Satan because he did fall from heaven, did he not? Yes, that is what it says here. We ought to pay attention to the contexts in Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28 before we assume that Satan is being talked of there.

There is coming a time in the future when Satan will be cast out of heaven, Revelation chapter 12. Satan will be cast out of heaven with his angels. They are going to come down here on this earth and persecute the woman that is given the wings of an eagle to go to a place of safety. Then Satan puts out a flood, but the earth opens up a chasm and swallows the flood. Then it says that Satan goes to persecute the remnant of those who “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). There is coming a time in the future when Satan will be expelled from heaven and he will not have any opportunity at that time to go back and forth to heaven.

All of these things are divine Scripture, and you can pay a good deal of attention to them because maybe a little assumption has to come in here and there, but not too much.

Let us look at some of the information that people give on the origin of Satan which they extract from parts of the Old Testament, notably Isaiah chapters 13 and 14, and Ezekiel chapter 28. We have to be careful and remember that we are all prone to assume things, every one of us. I do not think we ought to assume on these matters.

Chapter 13 of Isaiah starts out with a burden, a prophecy, concerning Babylon. Isaiah saw the vision of this prophecy of Babylon in the day of Hezekiah. He goes on to describe the destruction of Babylon in Isaiah chapter 13. 4 The prophecy continues on into chapter 14, but let us go on down now to verse 4 of chapter 14 because this is where people begin to make a satanic identification. Notice that the theme of Isaiah chapters 13 and 14 is all concerning Babylon. The king of Babylon will be discussed, and the subject is Babylon. If we want to say that the subject is Satan, that is fine, but we must say that upon our own authority because I am afraid the Bible does not really say it is Satan.

“That you shall take up this proverb against the king of Babylon …” (Isaiah 14:4). This is in the time of Isaiah. The King of Babylon in those days was not very important, the Assyrians were important in those days. The King of Babylon became very important in the time of Jeremiah some 130 years later when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, came on the scene. 5 This prophecy concerns the King of Babylon: “…and say, How has the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!” (Isaiah 14:4). What is “the golden city”? The city of Babylon. Who is “the oppressor”? The King of Babylon. That much we know. Going on:

“YHWH has broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he [Babylon's king] that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hinders. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they [the nations ruled by Babylon] break forth into singing.”


Isaiah 14:5—7

Why are they going to “break forth into singing”? The whole context here is the destruction of the city of Babylon and the King of Babylon and his power.

“Yea, the fir trees rejoice at you [the end of Babylon's king], and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, 'Since you are laid down, no feller [tree cutter] is come up against us [and cut us down]. Hell [sheol, the grave] from beneath is moved for you to meet you at your coming [this king will go to the place of the dead]: it stirs up the dead for you, even all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto you, Are you also become weak as we? are you become like unto us?”


Isaiah 14:7—10

Remember, this is a proverb being given here. That is what it says in verse 14:4. It is not something that is actually taking place, though it does describe something in a literal sense in one way, but the description is proverbial. It is talking about the King of Babylon going down into sheol where the dead are. We know that the Bible says that “the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). There is no consciousness in the grave of any kind, but here he is going down in there, and what does he meet when he gets there? He meets all the kings of the nations, the ones he ruled over before, and been on top of in the past, “the chief ones of the earth.” He comes amidst all of these people. It is a parable, like Lazarus and the rich man is a parable.

“Are you also become weak as we? are you become like unto us? Your pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of your viols [the instruments for playing, the time of happiness cease]: the worm is spread under you, and the worms cover you.”


Isaiah 14:10—11

What do worms do to ordinary human beings when they are dead and put into graves? They consume them. They are gone. The worms eat up the dead bodies.

“How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!?”


Isaiah 14:12

Lucifer here is a term for the evening or the morning star, depending. In this case he would be the morning star, “the son of the morning.” Venus. “Lucifer” is a Latin term; it is not a Hebrew term. Unfortunately every time you look at the word Lucifer you think of Satan the Devil, do you not? That is correct.

Satan the Devil did not even get the name Lucifer until wrong interpretation was made based upon this very verse, mainly coming through the Latin Vulgate translation where Lucifer was used. A mistake has been made to identify this King of Babylon with Satan the Devil through the name Lucifer. “Lucifer” means “light bringer” or probably “brilliant.” I believe that the Massoretes vowel-pointed this as “to howl” or something like that. That would be the verb form although I think we have a noun being talked of here. This Lucifer simply means “light bringer.”

I will tell you who the Lucifer is: From the context Lucifer is the King of Babylon. We have, by reading Satan the Devil into that name, assumed that Satan is being talked about, and it is not the case at all when you look at the context. “Lucifer, son of the morning!” If he is the son of the morning, it is an astronomical reference that is being indicated, which it seems like, this King of Babylon is compared to the Day Star, the bright and morning star. Christ is referred to as “the Bright and Morning Star” in Revelation 22:16. It is a sign of Venus, the bright and morning star.

What Venus does as a morning star is to come up, depending on how far it is away from the sun, it can get on its farthest 46º away from the sun. If it is 46º away from the sun it gets above the eastern horizon about three hours before sunrise, and do you know what that planet does? It introduces the new day.
A New Day, A New Civilization

This King of Babylon was claiming to introduce new civilization into the world. You know, the King of Babylon did introduce a new civilization. In the Book of Daniel, you know where the head of the beast starts? It does not start with Tiglathpileser of the Assyrians. It does not start with the ancient Pharaohs of Egypt. It starts with Nebuchadnezzar the head of Babylon. What happened at that time was a new civilization came in, a new dawning of a new day. Unfortunately it was the Babylonian civilization that was being introduced. We are still in that to this very day.

There is, however, coming a new “bright and morning star.” His name is Jesus Christ. If you have an astronomical type of association you would say there is coming a new day star, the bright and morning star, Jesus Christ, who will bring in a brand new civilization. And it will not be like the Babylonian one, that Nebuchadnezzar introduced, or this King of Babylon here, that he wanted to last for all time to come. No, it will be a civilization based upon God's government, His way, that will come on earth. 6

Christ Himself is “the bright and morning star.” This King of Babylon in Isaiah chapter 14 calling himself, if an astronomical basis is used here, “the bright and morning star.” It is a term really designated for the Messiah, for the Christ, and not for Satan the Devil.

The Babylonian civilization did come in. It was quite glorious. No question about it. The remnants of it, according to the prophecy of Daniel, exist with us today. We will not see the end of it until the 10 toes of the image are destroyed by the Second Coming of Christ. We are still in that Babylonian civilization. So this king of Babylon is saying he is the “son of the morning.” However, he will be

“… cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart,

I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the most High.

Yet you shall be brought down to hell [sheol], to the sides of the pit. They that see you shall narrowly look upon you, and consider you, saying, 'Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms.'”


Isaiah 14:12—16

It says he is a man, and the King of Babylon was a man. But when you look at this highly symbolic language in verses 13, 14, and 15 about ascending into heaven, exalting his throne above the stars of God, sitting in the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north, well, certainly these are symbols of the heavenly throne. You get the feeling that some power beyond just man is being met here. That is one of the reasons why Satan is used, they say this is Satan. It could not be an ordinary King of Babylon.

But Brethren, what are we told that this is? It is a proverb. It is a parable. That is what it says in Isaiah 14:4. It is not something actual. It is a parable being discussed here in symbolic language to show the pomp and arrogance of this man, this King of Babylon, who was to bring in a new civilization like God is prophesied to bring in.

What about this? If it is a parable, I suppose we would have to say that when it says “I will ascend into heaven” maybe it just does not mean directly into heaven itself, but he would like to do something of that nature. Look at this.

We have to take the Hebrew into consideration here. Hebrew is a language which uses a great deal of exaggeration in its description of things. That is not necessarily wrong. We do not use exaggerations so much in English, but we do on occasion. We often say, that was a whale of a meal I had last night. You do not mean really that your meal was as big as a whale. But you get the point? We exaggerate quite often. You might say I was scared to death when I stepped off into the road and a car almost hit me. Well, if you were scared to death, you died, literally, but you did not die. That is a figure of speech. Hebrew is filled with such figures of speech. You have to be very careful about them.

That is why Dr. Bullinger many years ago wrote a thick volume on the Figures of Speech. 7 It is a very excellent work in which he shows clearly that if you took all the figures of speech in the Bible and looked at them literally, you would not only have a hodge podge, but you would have utter confusion. That does not mean that the Bible cannot be understood. We must understand it by the way that the writers of the Bible understood it, and not our way.

About “ascending up to heaven,” for example. I know it means in a parabolic form that the man had such arrogance and pomp that he felt he could be like God. No question about that. That is what the context shows. But that he actually, literally, ascends into heaven is not the case. Not at all. We can go back to such verses as Genesis 11:4, and we have term “heaven” being used when obviously it does not mean to really go into the heavens. No sane person would believe the Bible is saying that. At the tower at Babel:

“And they said, 'Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'”


Genesis 11:4

Those italicized words “may reach” in the King James Version are not in Hebrew, but notice “may reach unto heaven.” It means a very, very high building. Of course it did not go into the heaven of heavens. That was not to be understood in that fashion. 8

“I will ascend into heaven” (Isaiah 14:13). It means to ascend very high, to be the highest of all. Though you will have to admit that the parable here is showing him trying to take the place of God, granted, but yet he is a man and he is the King of Babylon. He is the Son of the Morning, but he is going to be cut down to the ground. “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14:13). That takes it pretty high. “I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13).

That expression “sides of the north,” is a rather interesting one. It is a little difficult to understand precisely, but the identification of it, is not a difficulty. It means heaven. It means where God's throne is. There is no question about that. Why the term “sides of the north” is used, I am not quite sure. I have studied this subject quite a bit. I have not come to any completely satisfactory reason for it, but I will give you an explanation in just a moment. We know though that the “sides of the north” represent certainly the throne of God. It is not the sides of the south, or the west, or the east, it is the “sides of the north.” It says, “I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13).

It is a mountain of the congregation of Israel, as it would be on earth, or the congregation within heaven, if it be in heaven. Recall that the Temple built on Mount Moriah by Solomon was representative of what was in heaven where God lives. Everything connected with the Temple in Solomon's time, and later on, was a physical description on this earth of something spiritual in the heavens. 9 Sometimes it gets confused because the sanctuary is sometimes known as Zion, though Zion was a little farther to the south of Mount Moriah, but sometimes the whole hill of Moriah gets known as Zion, particularly after the time the Temple was built.

You have to go a little farther south where there was formerly, apparently, a mountain down there, a little hill which was really the Zion where David constructed his citadel. Then I want to ask you this question, all of you who went down with me: what was the name of the valley just to the south of Zion, just to the south of the Pool of Siloam, the one where you had all the olive trees? It was known as the valley of Gehennom. It is most interesting that if you said “the sides of the south” using Jerusalem as the guide, “sides of the south” would be Gehennom, or as we have it in English, “hell,” “sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13) from Zion would be Moriah, this is one interpretation. Whether it is right or not, I do not know, but it is a possibility. The “sides of the north” could mean from a physical point of view the north part of Jerusalem where the Temple was built, where God resided. Perhaps that is so.

We do know this, that this representation here on earth, at Jerusalem with Zion and extending Zion north to Mount Moriah where the Temple is, 10 was very typical of the heavenly throne of God in heaven. Instead of the Mount of the Congregation being up in heaven, down here would be the Mount of the Congregation of Israel. The “sides of the north,” up there in heaven in the north quarters with the “sides of the north” down here on the earth would be north of the hill of Zion where David built his citadel. It would make good sense if it be that way.

We know, however, that God does dwell in the north quarters of the universe. The “sides of the north” is a description of His throne, of that there is no doubt. In Psalm 75:

“For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he puts down one, and sets up another.”


Psalm 75:6—7

Notice these two verses. Promotion comes from the north (unstated) because that is where God, “the judge,” is located. I do not know exactly why it is used in reference to heaven, I am not absolutely certain, but you can also go to Psalm 48:

“Great is YHWH, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. …

Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark you well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever [for the age, olam, and beyond]: he will be our guide even unto death.”


Psalm 48:1—4, 12—14

The whole description here in Psalm 48 gives you the feeling he is talking about the Zion here on earth. If that is the case then the “sides of the north” in Isaiah 14:13 would probably be where the Temple was located. That might be. But here it certainly has a heavenly situation. Let us go back to Isaiah 14 very quickly. This being says I will be so important and so powerful, he said:

“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet you shall be brought down to hell [sheol, the grave], to the sides of the pit.”


Isaiah 14:13—15

I want to point out something. If this illustration that I am giving you here is correct, that the “sides of the north” would be Mount Moriah, the northern extension of Zion, and if Zion here is where David built his city and citadel, what would be “the sides of the pit”? The “sides of the north” are in the north side of Zion, what is on the south side of Zion? Gehenna, when you look at it. It could very well mean that he is not going to go up here to the Temple Mount, to the north, but he is going to go south down into Gehenna. It is most interesting that when you go down to Israel and you see the geographical areas; some of these verses may become clearer. I am not saying this is the answer exactly, because it is in parable form.

Is it not interesting that he wanted to go to the “sides of the north” are on the side of Zion where Mount Moriah was, where God dwelt. He is not going there; he is going to “the sides of the pit.” We are even told this is sheol. Sheol and Gehenna are in some ways synonymous.

“They that see you shall narrowly look upon you, and consider you, saying, 'Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?'

All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory [in sepulchers, like pyramids or other sepulchers], every one in his own house [his own grave house, mausoleum]. But you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword [can Satan be killed with a sword?], that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass trodden under feet. You shall not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, and slain your people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned [your posterity will be ignoble].

Prepare slaughter for his children [the king of Babylon's children] for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, says YHWH of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, says YHWH [the posterity of the king of Babylon]. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom [broom] of destruction, says YHWH of hosts.”


Isaiah 14:16—23

This is talking about a literal king of Babylon — a man. Do you know what people have done? They have made it to be Satan the Devil. It is not Satan the Devil. I looked up in every single commentary that I have on Isaiah chapter 14, which is a good number of them, whether Catholic, Protestant, conservative, fundamentalist some of them, and others are very liberal. Every one of them, including the fundamentalist, now deny that those verses refer to Satan the Devil. There is nothing in the context that would support it except our reading back into it what we have learned from channels that were polluted.
Ezekiel Chapter 28

You might say there are a few more problems in this passage. In actual fact there are not any at all when you analyze the passage carefully. Ezekiel himself on many occasions used parables as well. He talked about the kings of Judah being like trees (Ezekiel chapter 17, also a riddle and a parable, 17:2). He can talk about the Prince and King of Tyre being exalted and high and mighty if he wishes. He can use very exalted terms which might make you feel, if you take it in a literal sense, that He is talking about a spiritual being of some kind. We have to be very careful on these things and not try to read into them things that are not there.

The first section of Ezekiel chapter 28 speaks about the Prince of Tyre. You all know where Tyre was. It was an island city, later on to be a peninsula, 11 just north of Israel. It was a very famous port city where they used to have merchandise going out from the Middle East to other areas of the Mediterranean. It was very famous in ancient times. Most of the craftsmen of the ancient world, in the Middle East, came from Tyre.

Before I even go into this subject, I want to mention one thing. When Solomon wanted to build the beautiful Temple and his own palace in Jerusalem, he went to Tyre to get craftsmen to construct those buildings. He went to King Hiram the king of Tyre to get building materials, not only [timber] from the mountains of Lebanon, but also hewn stones. He went to this man who had the artisans available to come down here and to build that Holy Temple. Israelites built it, that is true, but also Tyrians. 12

That might be helpful for us to understand when we read Ezekiel 28:11 on down because the King of Tyre and many of his people helped build God's physical throne here on earth, His Temple. No other nation did so, not Egypt, not Babylon, not the Arameans or Assyrians, but these people of Tyre did help. In fact that Temple on occasion was called Lebanon. Even the Book of Isaiah called the Temple itself “Lebanon” because the cedar trees came from Lebanon. Many of the artisans that helped build the Temple were Tyrians. They were Gentiles, though many of them were circumcised. We know that there were Israelites mixing with the Tyrians up there, but it is most remarkable that the Bible says that the Temple would not have been built in its glory and sumptuousness if there had not been those artisans, those merchants, those craftsmen, that came from the city of Tyre to help build up the “sides of the north” here on this earth.

The first section is about this “Prince of Tyre.” Everyone accepts him as being a man. It is the King of Tyre that people do not want to be a man. They want him to be Satan the Devil. But this first individual, beginning with verse 2, the Prince of Tyre, everyone accepts as a man.

“Son of man [adam], say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus says the Lord YHWH; Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said,

'I am an El, I sit in the seat of Elohim, in the midst of the seas';

yet you are a man [adam], and not El, though you set your heart as the heart of Elohim.”


Ezekiel 28:2

He is talking about the literal prince of Tyre back there at the time of Ezekiel. It was becoming a fad, a fashion, for leaders at that time, particularly in the Middle East, to call themselves gods while they yet lived. Pharaoh Nephthys of Egypt called himself a god. This man here called himself a god. The Babylonians were also calling themselves god in the flesh. It was later taken up by the Greeks and the Romans, and they began to call themselves gods in the flesh, etc. This Prince of Tyre called himself god (El) sitting “in the midst of the seas.” He was in his island empire:

“With your wisdom and with your understanding you have gotten you riches, and have gotten gold and silver into your treasures: By your great wisdom and by your traffick have you increased your riches.”


Ezekiel 28:4—5

“Traffick” refers to trade throughout the Mediterranean. That is how they got the riches. Tyre was the jewel of the Mediterranean and Near East. It was the emporium of the east, the market center for the Babylonians, for the Assyrians, for the Egyptians, for the Israelites. Tyre was the center of trade in the ancient world. This Tyrian prince was calling himself like god. He will be brought down. That is what Ezekiel was saying, to:

“… die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, says the Lord YHWH.”


Ezekiel 28:10

Up to this point everyone accepts that this is a man. Let us go on.

“Moreover the word of YHWH came unto me, saying, 'Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus.'”


Ezekiel 28:11—12

A distinction is made here by some. They say that the first one in verse 2 is a “prince.” This one here is a “king.” There must be a difference. There is a difference between the word “king” and “prince” when you really look at it. But I want to ask you this question, in the time of Solomon when he went up to a man named Hiram and got his craftsmen to come down and help build the Temple, the Bible calls that Hiram by what term? Does he call him a “prince” or does he call him a “king”? He is called King Hiram. This king here is a man. He has called himself as being like God. He wants to ascend also up to the heights like God. But it is a man being talked of here. 13

“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, 'Thus says the Lord YHWH; you seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.'”


Ezekiel 28:12

What does it say back in verse 28:4: “With your wisdom and with your understanding you have gotten you riches.” Even the prince of Tyre had wisdom. Now he calls him the King of Tyre. “You have been in Eden the garden [paradise] of God” (Ezekiel 28:13). The garden means in paradise, something that would be just beautiful and wonderful, a paradise here on earth. Of course we think of Eden back in the time of Adam and Eve. That is true. Or, we think of the heavenly Eden. I suppose you would say that was true also.

But what was this Prince of Tyre (who later became king) calling himself? He was calling himself God (El) in the flesh. So Ezekiel is using the language, you have been in beauty, you have been in Eden, yes, you have really been living it up.

“every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets [a musical instrument, a tamborine] and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. You are the anointed cherub that covers.”


Ezekiel 28:13—14

Satan Is Not the Anointed Cherub in Ezekiel

That is very interesting. He is the anointed cherub, and he identifies him as the one that covers. Go back to Exodus chapter 25. Moses was told in the construction of the Old Tabernacle that when he made the Holy of Holies, he was to make a mercy seat. On one side of the mercy seat he was to construct cherubs, one cherub on one side with wings stretching out over the mercy seat, a cherub on the other side with wings stretching out over the mercy seat, and both of the wings would come and virtually touch each other.

“You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”


Ezekiel 28:14—15

Many say this is a description of Satan the Devil. But is it not interesting, the King of Tyre is compared to the anointed cherub that covers the very throne of God. When you analyze this carefully, could you possibly say that the adversary was one of the cherubs overshadowing the throne of God on all occasions?

Satan, the adversary, came and went to heaven (Job chapters 1 and 2, for example). But every time you read about the cherubim in the Bible you will find them always in association with either God's throne in heaven, or guarding that throne like in the Garden of Eden with the sword, but you find them in close association with God. They have wings. 14 The cherub that is being talked about in Ezekiel chapter 28 is one of the cherubs that covered the very mercy seat.

If this passage is talking about Satan the Devil, then Satan is a cherub next to the very throne of God, always at His side. That is most remarkable when you think about it. This King of Tyre is certainly compared to such a cherub. But is Satan the Devil a cherub? The description of cherubs by Ezekiel himself is found in the first chapter. He sees these four living creatures:

“Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.

As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.”


Ezekiel 1:5—11

They have a face of a man, the face of an eagle, the face of a lion, and the face of an ox. In chapter 10 of Ezekiel he tells us clearly that the face of all cherubim is really that of an ox:

“And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”


Ezekiel 10:14

The only animal that is left out of verse 14 of the animals mentioned in chapter 1 of Ezekiel dealing with the cherubim is the ox. Obviously it means that most cherubs have the face of oxen themselves. We know that these beings are cherubs being described here in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 because in Ezekiel 10:22 it says:

“And the likeness of their faces was the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward.”


Ezekiel 10:22

So the beings that were seen in Ezekiel chapter 1 were identified with the same ones described in chapter 10. This is complicated but it comes down to this: what is being described are cherubim. The central face of a cherub is that of an ox. Every time we read of Satan the Devil, however, he is a serpent or a dragon. 15 Have you ever heard of Satan the Devil constantly covering the throne of God as one of the cherubs? In Isaiah chapter 37 I want to show you about these cherubs that cover the throne of God. Let us see if they could possibly represent Satan the Devil.

“And Hezekiah prayed unto YHWH, saying, 'O YHWH of hosts, God of Israel, that dwell between the cherubims, you are the God [in Hebrew, the Elohim], even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: you have made heaven and earth.”


Isaiah 37:15—16

This is in the 8th century B.C.E., some 130 years before Ezekiel wrote. We find Hezekiah seeing God as dwelling between the cherubims. If Satan is one of the cherubs that covered (Exodus 25:20, 37:9; 1 Kings 8:7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 5:8; Ezekiel 28:14, 16), then there at the throne of God in the time of Isaiah when Hezekiah was praying, there was Satan the Devil covering and overshadowing God Himself. This does not make sense when you look at it that way. Look at Psalm 80:

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you that lead Joseph like a flock; you that dwell between the cherubims, shine forth.”


Psalm 80:1

Here are the cherubs that cover. They are still covering God's throne. Those two cherubs were covering God's throne back in the time that Moses made the Tabernacle in the wilderness. We find Hezekiah saying that God dwells between the cherubim, the ones that cover, in his time. Whenever the Psalmist wrote this (we are not absolutely certain), but here is the Psalmist showing about the glory of God and where is He? God is dwelling between the cherubim. If one of those cherubs is Satan the Devil, believe me he is right there as close as he can possibly get. Look at another psalm:

“YHWH reigns; let the people tremble: he sits between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.”


Psalm 99:1

Here is a glorious description of God sitting on His mercy seat. The actual cherubs that cover are still right there covering the mercy seat of God. Clearly they are there. If one of them is Satan the Devil, I thought he fell from heaven years ago. It is a little difficult when understood in this way.

What do we have over in Revelation chapter 4? We find these four living creatures again that Ezekiel mentioned in chapter 1 and chapter 10. Here they are, and you know that they are certainly descriptions of cherubim, and the cherubs that cover over God's throne, they are still there, and they were there when the Book of Revelation was written.

“And before the throne [the throne of God] there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”


Revelation 4:6—7

That is an exact description of what Ezekiel saw around God's throne in the first chapter of Ezekiel in the 6th century before Christ. Here in the Book of Revelation we see John being taken forward into the Day of the Eternal, he sees God resting on His throne in His heaven, and what does he see? He sees the cherubimic figures very much there without any difficulty whatsoever. If Satan the Devil was one of them, something difficult is coming into the whole thing.

Let us go back to Ezekiel chapter 28 and take a look at some of the description here. Surely this King of Tyre is being compared to a god-being, a being in the heavenlies. That is quite true. But it is a parabolic type of language that is being talked of here.

“You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”


Ezekiel 28:14—15

Speaking of this King of Tyre, he was like one of the cherubs, 16 perfect in his ways until iniquity was found in him. Do you know something? That could not be Satan the Devil, clearly, not if we take it from divine revelation.

What does John tell us in 1 John chapter 3? I mentioned this at first, at the beginning [of this article]. Now I repeat it: “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). Satan the Devil, the adversary, was created by God to do the very things that he does. He was created to be an adversary from the beginning. He was not perfectly sinless like Adam was at first, who then sinned, or like somebody else, and then fell. Not at all. Satan the Devil was created as a sinner from the very beginning, and that is what it says here, for a particular purpose.

But this being in Ezekiel chapter 28 (which is really the king of Tyre) is compared to a cherub:

“You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the midst of you with violence, and you have sinned.”


Ezekiel 28:15—16

What did the king of Tyre do? Were they in “traffick”? Did they merchandise? Were they the emporium of the east? The answer is yes.

“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you. You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your traffick [going in and going out of merchandise].”


Ezekiel 28:17—18

That is exactly what it says about the prince of Tyre: “By your great wisdom and by your traffick have you increased your riches” (Ezekiel 28:5). The same thing is said in verse 18:

“You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of you, it shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.”


Ezekiel 28:18

If this is Satan the Devil, how in the world could he become ashes under people's feet if he is a spirit being and not subject to the elements that you and I are? The whole description here is a very parabolic and symbolic description. I grant that. Ezekiel takes him in his pomp and in his arrogance up to the very throne of God, or so he thought.

This is one of my feelings on the matter, why is all this description of the king of Tyre, being amongst Temple symbolism and all of that, who was it that helped Solomon build the Temple of God in the first place, with all his craftsmen. It was Hiram, King of Tyre. From the very beginning the Tyrians had something to do with the physical Temple of God, there in Jerusalem.

If we want to say they represent Satan the Devil, we are stretching the meaning far beyond the limits of revelation in Scripture. That is my judgment on the matter. So many people have built up a complete cosmogony on the origin of the history of man and the spirit beings and all of that. They build up a teaching about Satan the Devil based upon these two chapters of Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28. What they have done is taken parabolic language to begin with, appropriated it to Satan the Devil, when the Bible says it is talking about the king of Babylon on one hand, and the king of Tyre on the other. If people would just understand a little bit more of how this Bible was written by the prophets, and that their symbolic language was used time and again for descriptions of human beings on this earth, let us keep them as being human beings. If we do so we will be in far less trouble than bringing all these assumptions that we have brought in from other areas into our minds.

Believe me, we have assumed, we have assumed, we have assumed. When the Bible is talking about the king of Babylon, let us leave it as the king of Babylon. When it is talking about the prince or the king of Tyre, let us leave it as the prince and the king of Tyre. When He says that Satan the Devil was created as a sinner from the beginning, let us accept Satan the Devil, the adversary, was a sinner from the beginning. Let us not mix things up. It is far better that we believe in biblical revelation rather than our own assumptions.

This presentation presents three major points. First, Satan is not the person called the King of Babylon as discussed in Isaiah chapter 14. Satan is not “Lucifer” as imagined by many Christians in the world today. 17 Second, the Prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:1—10 is not Satan either. He is clearly a man, just as the biblical text says. He is an historical figure, although he is not otherwise identified in Scripture or in history. Third, the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11—19 is also not Satan.

The passages of Ezekiel 28:1—10 and 28:11—19 begin with identical Hebrew words, translated as “the word of YHWH came unto me, saying …” These words distinguish between separate messages with separate subjects, neither of which are Satan the Devil. Ezekiel 28:1—10 refers to a man, 28:11—19 refers to a cherub.
Passage Dr. Martin's view, 1970s Dr. Martin's view, 2000 View
Isaiah chapter 14 A man (not Satan) A man (not Satan) unchanged
Ezekiel 28:1—10 A man (not Satan) A man (not Satan) unchanged
Ezekiel 28:11—19 Same man (not Satan) A cherub, named Moloch changed

Initially I believed that the subject of Ezekiel 28:11—19 also was a human being. He came to understand through later research that this being was in fact the cherub named Moloch. The article “Lingering Idolatry in the Temple of God” (note 14 above) will clarify your understanding on this matter.

David Sielaff, April 2007

1 Third edition. The first and second definitions were not relevant.

2 The original title of this lecture was “Assumption” but I altered the title to better reflect the subject matter.

3 Read Matthew 4:1—11; Mark 1:12—13; Luke 4:1—13. This was not some fantasy story. This event actually happened.

4 See “The Prophetic Future of Iraq”

5 Nebuchadnezzar is not the subject of Isaiah chapter 14. In all of the biblical writings about Nebuchadnezzar, he never claimed any type of divinity — ever. The person of Isaiah chapter 14 fits well with the future king of Babylon, the Man of Sin, the Antichrist.

6 See the “Prophetic Birth of Our Civilization”

7 See portions of the 1898 book outline at ... peech.html.

8 In Deuteronomy we find hyperboles, exaggerations, quite a number of times in the Scripture. They use them all the time in their parlance, but you and I do not use them so much today. Upon the entrance to the land, the spies were saying:

“Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.”


Deuteronomy 1:28

Here are cities “walled up to heaven.” I suppose if they were 80 or 90 feet high, that means they were like “up to heaven.” They were not in heaven, they were like up to heaven. I could go on and on. In Deuteronomy 9:1 and Psalm 107:26 there are other descriptions like this.

9 See the expanded presentation on this topic in this article “Temple Symbolism in Genesis”

10 This statement by Dr. Martin would still apply to his later discovery (after 1995) of the true location of the Temple above and west of the Gihon Springs, although when he gave this lecture in the 1970s he understood the location of the Temple to be on the Haram esh-Sharif (as most scholars erroneously believe today).

11 To capture Tyre, Alexander the Great had his army construct a mole, a causeway of rocks and earth from the mainland to the island city of Tyre. It was one of the great construction projects of ancient times and it took years to accomplish. His troops crossed the mole, captured the city in 332 B.C.E. Over the centuries the island has become a peninsula.

12 See 1 Kings chapter 5 and 2 Chronicles chapter 2 for the story.

13 Remember that this article is from the 1970s. Further study convinced Dr. Martin to change his understanding. His later analysis from September 2000 is found at in his article “Lingering Idolatry in the Temple of God.” While Satan still was not the subject of Ezekiel 28:11—19, nor was Satan the King of Tyre, other biblical passages informed and convinced Dr. Martin that verses 11—19 did indeed refer to a spirit being, a cherub, as the text says. Dr. Martin identifies that being of Ezekiel 28:11—19 from Scripture as having the name Moloch.

14 A number of verses indicate that cherubim have wings. See Exodus 25:20, 37:9; 1 Kings 6:24, 27, 8:6—7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 3:11—13, 5:7—8; Ezekiel 10:5, 8, 16, 19, 11:22; and Revelation 4:8. This is where the idea arose that angels have wings. While cherubim are angelic beings (and they do have wings), not all angelic beings have wings.

15 Satan is described consistently as having reptilian features. Satan is never described as having any features of a cherub.

16 Ezekiel 28:14 says, “You are the anointed cherub,” which is what Dr. Martin came to accept. This is a spirit being, not a man in this section of Ezekiel. Dr. Martin corrected himself in the article “Lingering Idolatry in the Temple” (note 14 above). We should all change our views willingly when proven wrong. We all should have corrected Dr. Martin in this matter in the past. Correct me with biblical evidence if you think I am wrong. I have the right, in turn, to disagree if your evidence is not convincing.

17 However, analysis of the King of Babylon as described in Isaiah reveals a man known by various names in the Bible, a person who will come on the scene in a time yet future to us. This is the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, with all his arrogance, pride, human and supernatural power, and a false claim of divinity which he shall apply to himself. He will be supported (and even possessed for a time, as Judas was) by Satan the Devil, even though Satan is not the King of Babylon in Isaiah 14. Further discussion of this goes beyond the scope of this article. Read Isaiah chapter 14 with this concept in mind.

Where is Hell?

Anyone who studies the Bible thoroughly will eventually go to the study of hell, so let us all go there at this time. While today the word "hell" is often used as a swear word by the masses, the original word conveyed little such meaning. What does the original word "hell" actually signify?

The word "hell" in early English simply designated a low place in the earth like in our common word "hole" which comes from the same stem. We have such words as hollow which give the same significance. There is also the name of the country "Holland" (which simply means "Low Land," or Netherland which means the same thing). One could place his turnips or potatoes in the ground and that would be placing them in "hell." Furthermore, when one dug a grave to put in a dead person, it was known as putting a person in "hell" (in a hole in the ground). This means that all individuals (whether righteous or wicked) are put into "hell" if they are buried in a cemetery.

Actually every single person who is buried at death "goes to hell." The Greek word to show this was hades (which meant the pace of the unseen) which was synonymous with the Hebrew sheol. Indeed, even Christ himself when he was placed in the tomb (where he remained for three days) was reckoned as being in "hell" (That is, hades) and it was even prophesied that this event would occur (Acts 2:31). There is nothing in the original meaning of the word to suggest that this was a place of suffering. Actually, the Bible refers to death as a time of "sleeping" (I Corinthians 15:51; I Thessalonians 4:14) and the word cemetery is from the Greek which means "sleeping place." However, the word "sleep" associated with death is only a figure of speech and does not convey the full force of what "death" actually means. This is because in sleep a person can still dream, and he or she is still alive. But the death of the Bible has a far more certainty of unconsciousness. "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more reward [good or bad, while in the state of death]" (Ecclesiastes 9:5). "His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that day his thoughts perish" (Psalms 146:4). Being alive while still dead is used in the Bible only in figurative illustrations such as parables and such usage is not to be taken literally.

The majority of Christians normally believe that the consequence of sins (if people are not covered by the blood of Christ) is to be burnt in hell for all eternity, while others think sinners will be annihilated in flames of judgment. It may come as a surprise to learn that the Bible nowhere teaches that every unrepentant sinner will burn in hell. It does say there is a lake of fire which will exist at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:10), but that does not teach that all present day sinners will be consigned to it. Nor does the Bible say that sinners will live within an inferno for all eternity.

The very opposite is true. The Bible says the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), not to live for eternity. Everlasting life is a gift from God; it is not something inherent within man (Romans 6:23). What the Bible does show, and shows very clearly, is that the penalty for unforgiven sins is death. God will determine the necessary means by which the deaths of unrepentant sinners will occur. And He will not use fire in every case to bring about such deaths.
Is There Eternal Fire?

It can be shown from biblical examples that hell fire is not eternal and that the penalty for un repentant sin is not to burn in hell forever. Let us look at some modern examples which have a legal basis for punishment associated with them that reflect the judicial sentences for sins or crimes mentioned in the Bible.

Suppose you ran a stop light with your automobile and were apprehended by the police. When brought before the judge, he fined you $50 or five days in jail. The wages of your particular "sin" (in this case) was $50. But let us suppose you had no money in your pocket to pay the fine. If so, you would then be liable to spend the five days in jail.

"And the judge [shall] deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto you [said Christ], thou shall by no means come out thence, till thou has paid the uttermost farthing."


Matthew 5:25—26

Every part of the sentence rendered by the judge must be met in full!

However, let us say you had a friend who accompanied you to court and that he had that amount of cash on him. He took the $50 out of his wallet and paid your fine in full. Since he did this for you, you would be able to walk out of the court with your penalty fully met. But only if the complete amount were given to the clerk of the court would you be free. The Bible, as shown in the quote by Christ given above, supports the legitimacy of this example even in the sense of divine judgment. The point is: someone else paid your debt for you, but the person had to pay for your debt to society in full.

Let us now give an example of a more serious crime — say a felony was committed. The judge might say the wages of such a "sin" is twenty years in prison. In this case it would not be possible in our Western courts for some friend to take your place and go to prison for you (nor would a simple monetary fine be allowable), but the theological teaching of the Bible would permit a person to take your place. This may seem absurd on the surface, but it is nevertheless true. The Bible, in the matter of paying the penalty for sins against the Deity [not, however, against man], allows for vicarious payment. That is what the law of offering animals for sins was all about. The animal paid the penalty (in a symbolic way) instead of the person (Leviticus 16:30, 34). This, of course, would not be sanctioned in our modern courts, but suppose the judge said "twenty years" and a person were legally able to represent the felon. If so, the substitute would have to meet the full penalty of the law, "until the uttermost farthing be paid."

Let us now go a step beyond the example of a felony and say a person had committed the crime of murder. The judge might then say the wages of such a "sin" was death in the electric chair. Again, our modern courts would not allow a person to take another's place in the punishment, but the Bible authorizes such things from a theological point of view. As a matter of fact, this is exactly what Christ did for each of us. He died for us — in our place. The wages of sin (our sins) is death, and that is precisely what Christ did for us. "In due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). Christ paid the exact and full penalty which all people have accrued to themselves because of their sins. The punishment is death.

Suppose, however, the penalty for sins was not death (as the Bible explicitly says), but that the punishment was to live in the agony of a fire for all eternity with no hope of relief and such a sentence of judgment is the consequence of sin. If this were so, then for Christ to have paid your penalty and mine for our sins, He would have to go to that fire and be in that condition of torment for all eternity. Though the Bible makes it clear that Christ underwent the full and complete punishment of sins for everyone who has ever lived — it is evident He did not go to a hell fire to begin a fiery torment which lasts forever.

"We thus judge, that if one [Christ] died for all, then were all dead."


2 Corinthians 5:14

Christ died for us; He didn't enter an eternal fire.

"But God commends this love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."


Romans 5:8

"We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of DEATH, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste DEATH for every man."


Hebrews 2:9

"Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh."


2 Peter 3:18

What beautiful and instructive scriptures these are. All our sins, and those of every person in the world, have been fully dealt with. Christ suffered for those sins once — at one time and once for all. He is not paying for them now.

"We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ... This man, after He has offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God."


Hebrews 10:10, 12

Throughout the Bible it is made abundantly clear that the penalty for sins is death, and Christ fully met that penalty. The punishment for sins is not to be in a hell fire burning forever. If that were the sentence then Christ would have to be in such a hell fire and remain there for eternity. After all, Christ came to pay the complete retribution for the sins of mankind. But notice this truth. He was resurrected from the dead three days after His crucifixion. Instead of being in everlasting torment in a hell fire, Christ is now with the Father in glory. "Who ... when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).

This example of Christ's meeting the consequences of sin for us is proof positive that the wages of sin is not to burn in hell fire forever — else Christ would have to be in such a state now and for all time to come.
Eternal Death Not the Wages of Sin

There are some denominations which teach that the consequence of sin is not eternal life in hell fire, but it is eternal death. Such belief is equally erroneous. If eternal death were the penalty, then Christ would have had to die eternally in order to meet the exact judgment — "to pay the uttermost farthing." Yet, Christ became alive from the dead three days after His death.

Let us note again what the wages of sin really are. The sentence for all sinners is death. And that is what Christ provided for us. He underwent a substitutionary death on the cross. Once this principle of punishment is clear in our minds, then we can be prepared to enter a discussion about the "hells" of the Bible. 1
The Three Biblical "Hells"

In the King James Version of the Bible, written in the early 1600s, the English word "hell" is used for three different Greek terms. Our English word originally came from the Anglo-Saxon word hel which meant a hidden place. We find this primitive meaning in our English word hole, a hole in the ground. If one dug a pit or a hole and put in it a coin and covered it up, the coin could be said to be in a hidden place — it would be in the Anglo-Saxon hel (or by extension hell). Obviously, there were never any fires associated with such holes or hells. The original "hells" were simply pits in the ground or their equivalents and nothing more.

Now let us look at how this early English word relates to the biblical "hells." The Anglo-Saxon hel represents an exact equivalent of the Hebrew sheol. The word sheol means "the unseen." It is rendered "the grave" 31 times in the Old Testament. The King James translation also represented it by the English "hell" 31 times (with the margin showing 4 times, "the grave"), and they made it "the pit" 3 times. In every case, the translation "grave (a hole in the ground) or a word describing "the state of death" would have been the best renderings and they would satisfy all contexts.

The Greek hades (the unseen) used in the New Testament has precisely the same meaning, in its original form, as the Hebrew sheol and the Anglo-Saxon hel. Though the Greeks finally adorned the primitive meaning of hades with many elaborations (and this is exhibited by their many mythological beliefs along with their own non-biblical ideas about the various stages of death), the New Testament writers associated the word hades with the Hebrew sheol.

In Acts 2:27, 31 Luke quotes Psalm 16:10 and renders the Hebrew sheol as hades. This equates hades with the simple Hebrew meaning of "the grave" or sometimes "the state of death." This fact is manifested in the death of Christ. When He died, the Old Testament prophesied that He would be placed in sheol (Psalm 16:10) or, as Luke said, in hades (Acts 2:27, 31). This hades was inside His physical tomb where His body lay for three days. Christ was dead for those three days because it is consistently shown in the New Testament that Christ was resurrected from the dead, not from among the living (1 Corinthians 15:20). 2 There were certainly no fires inside Christ's tomb while He lay there dead for three days. His grave clothes were not scorched (John 20:6—7) nor did His body show any evidence of burns. The hades where Christ was, was simply "the grave" (or tomb), and that is what hades or sheol means.

In Luke 16:19—31, however, we do have a section of scripture which has the word hades associated with fire after the death of a person. The whole of the story is the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. The parable is entirely symbolic. 3
Gehenna Fire

The second word in the New Testament translated "hell" in the King James Version is Gehenna. This is a Greek transliteration of a geographical term signifying in the Old Testament the "Valley of Hinnom" (Joshua 15:8; 2 Chronicles 33:6). This valley surrounded the western and southern walls of Jerusalem. In the southeasterly part of this valley, the refuse of the city was burnt. This was the place in which some early Israelites burnt their children to the pagan god Moloch (2 Chronicles 28:3). An altar raised up for this purpose gave the name Tophet also to the area (Isaiah 30:33).

In the time of Christ the heathen idolatry had ceased in the Valley of Hinnom but there were still fires in the southeastern region for the burning of the city refuse. The prevailing winds in Jerusalem are normally from the west or northwest and burning the garbage in this area of Gehenna normally kept the nauseous smoke away from the main part of the city. This city dump for the destruction of the refuse from Jerusalem typically served as a sign of the divine destruction which could come through God's fiery judgments (Jeremiah 7:31—32; 19:11—14).

The prophetic determinations of God often involve fire. This is because the sins of Jerusalem in the time of Jeremiah were so great, God said through the prophet that He would bring "unquenchable fires" upon the city,

"But if you will not hearken to Me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched."


Jeremiah 17:27

This was accomplished precisely according to 2 Chronicles 36:19 and Jeremiah 52:13. The fires of judgment burnt down Jerusalem completely. But as soon as the destruction of the city was over, the fires went out. They extinguished themselves back in the 6th century B.C.E. They were "unquenchable" back at that time in the sense that no one was able to put them out until they had performed their prophesied duty. Likewise, Isaiah said that in a future time (Isaiah 66:24), the carcasses [dead bodies] of people who rebel against God will be given over to maggots for consumption. These worms will not die until they have consumed the bodies assigned to them. Other dead bodies will be set alight and "neither shall their fire be quenched" (Isaiah 66:24). These fires are prophesied to destroy the bodies of certain wicked people and God will not allow anyone to put out the fires — they are unquenchable. Obviously though, the worms are not immortal and the fires will finally go out of themselves when they have accomplished their tasks.

Needless to say, the fires in the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) were not eternal — they have long ago ceased. I have taken over 600 people on tours to Jerusalem and all of us have walked through Gehenna or driven cars through it. There are no longer any fires there. Indeed, there is a prophecy in Jeremiah that "the whole valley of the dead bodies [Gehenna]" will be made "holy unto the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:40). The prophecy shows that the burning of dead things in the region will permanently stop. Gehenna will even become "holy." This demonstrates that even the symbol of Gehenna as a place where dead bodies and refuse are burnt will cease as a fit type of God's destructive power.
The Spirits in Prison

The third and final New Testament word translated "hell" is Tartaroo. It is found only in 2 Peter 2:4. The Greeks understood it to be a subterranean area designed as a prison for the Titans (giants, see Genesis 6:4) who rebelled against Zeus. These spirits possessed men before the Flood and caused the sons of God ("righteous men") to marry the daughters of men ("wicked women") and giants were born to the women. These giants would answer to the Titans of Greek mythology. All the humans died in the Flood (except Noah's family), but the spirits who caused the mischief were consigned to the subterranean areas of the earth. Not being humans they could live in such a place. This may be the region referred to by Peter when he said that in the days of Noah Christ "went and preached unto the spirits in prison" (1 Peter 3:19). That such a prison for spirit beings does exist under the surface of the earth is attested in the Book of Revelation.

"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit [Greek: abyss — the underworld or lower regions of the earth or oceans] and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him [as in a prison] a thousand years."


Rev. 20:1—2

That there are beings under the earth is mentioned in Philippians 1:10, "That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things UNDER the earth." In Exodus 20:4 (in the Ten Commandments) this subterranean area is associated with the oceans. It speaks about fish and other aquatic animals being there. But the area is also called an abyss or pit. Could live beings live there? It may seem strange to us but Revelation 5:3 has a reference to conscious beings in a place "under the earth". In Revelation 9:2 we read that spirit beings in this region will be able to come to the surface of the earth. But at the present time the area of Tartaroo is considered a prison (1 Peter 3:19) where spirit beings are, or can be, kept in "chains" (Revelation 20:1—3). There is no information in Scripture that would indicate that these beings "under the earth" are suffering the pangs of fire. Such torment is reserved for the lake of fire which occurs later (Revelation 20:10).

Christ was able to preach to those in the "underworld prison" (Tartaroo) and His message is destined to take root even with these estranged beings, because Paul went on to say, "Every tongue [including those in "the underworld"] should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God" (Philippians 2:11). God will, through Christ, reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20). Even those in Tartaroo (the underground prison) will share in the reconciliation when they confess that Christ is truly Lord and rejoice in the fact that He is the Savior.

It is true that God has used fire as a judgment in the past. He will also do so in the future. There is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10), the fires of the symbolic Gehenna (Matthew 23:33), and the fires which will finally melt the elements of the earth (2 Peter 3:10—12), but when these fiery judgments are over, there will be a new heavens and new earth. "We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness" (verse 13). All the judgments of fire are intermediate. They play a part in preparing the earth and the universe for the perfect creation in which no more punishments will be necessary.

The major point that one should remember is the biblical teaching that the penalty for sins is not to be placed in hell fire to be tormented forever. If so, then Christ would have to be there for all eternity paying for our sins. But Christ "once suffered for sins ... being put to death in the flesh" (1 Peter 3:18). Likewise, the consequence of sins is not eternal death, or Christ would now have to be eternally dead in paying for our sins. The punishment of all sins is death (Romans 6:23) and that is exactly what Christ did for us. He died to save you, to save the whole world (1 Timothy 2:4—6), and finally He will save the entirety of the universe (Ephesians. 1:10; Colossians 1:15—20).

And while it is possible for God to destroy both body and soul (Matthew 10:26) — and all of man's bad works will be destroyed — God wills that no one will perish forever (2 Peter 3:9). "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15).

The intermediate fires of judgment will one day come to an end when they have accomplished their tasks. This will occur when,

"at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


Philippians 2:10—11

1 For a full discussion on the Second Death, the Lake of Fire, the length of punishment for the incorrigibly wicked, and other such matters of judgment, stay tuned for future postsThis section of Scripture has been more misunderstood by students of the Bible than many other parts of the divine revelation. There is a definite reason for it! It is the assumption that Christ is relating a story of literal occurrences, rather than an account rehearsed in parable form. The truth is, however, the narrative is a parable from beginning to end. Once this important point is understood, the meaning becomes clear and significant.

A sure and quick way to inflame the wrath of some preachers and Christian laity is to say the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man is a parable. They will not have it! The mere suggestion that the account is symbolic is enough to bring on the charge of "theological liberalism." To many people today the normal bedrock of teaching concerning Christ's judgment upon sinners rests with the literality of this story. And one must admit, it shows a judgment of severest consequences! It seems to state, in vivid and graphic detail, the condition of wicked sinners after death. They appear to be conscious, in extreme torment, engulfed in flames that will never be extinguished and that they will remain in such excruciating pain for all eternity. And true enough, if the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man is not a parable of thoroughly symbolic meaning, this would be their fate!

Such a scene is so horrendous to imagine that it is no wonder vast numbers of fearful people walk down the aisle to accept Christ after hearing a sermon on the literality of the story. It never seems to occur to such preachers that this consignment by Christ to a never-ending judgment for sins committed in this short life, makes Him to be the most unjust and unreasonable person in the universe. Simply because someone in China or the Soviet Union (to pick two atheistic countries) never had a chance to hear of Jesus Christ and His redemptive message, and confine him to a never-ending HELL is beyond belief for a merciful and loving God who sent His only begotten son to save and redeem this world (John 3:16). However, this interpretation is part of the exact scenario being preached in many churches and revivals today. And let's face it, that is precisely what ought to be taught if lazarus and the rich man is a literal narrative.

Thankfully, there cannot be the slightest doubt that the whole account is a parable from start to finish. What many people conveniently fail to realize is the proclivity of teachers, speaking in early Semitic languages like Hebrew (or even in Greek when speaking in a Semitic environment), to constantly use the symbolic or parable form of teaching to the people they taught. Christ was no exception!

"All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitudes IN PARABLES and without a parable spoke he not unto them. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 'I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.'"


Matthew 13:34—35

Parables are a form of storytelling in which the physical features of some well-known subjects are exemplified to relate an essential spiritual teaching. On many occasions the incidents are greatly exaggerated to heighten the teaching. One famous example is that of Christ when he said the mustard seed was the smallest of seeds (when everyone knew it was not) and it becomes the greatest of trees (which again was not literally true). See Matthew 13:32. No one in the first century would have thought that Christ was stretching the facts. Of course he was! But it was a simple form of teaching that all people were using in that time. 1

Since we are told dogmatically that Christ was always in the habit of speaking to the people in parables (as a common mode of instruction in the Semitic world of the first century), why do people today insist on the literality of symbolic language, while people in Christ's day normally did not? Note one thing that the apostle Paul said which has to do with the fire of judgment, yet no one in ancient times (or even today) takes literally. Paul said: "If your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap COALS OF FIRE on his head" (Rom.12:20, from Proverbs 25:22). This mention of the fires of judgment on a person was only intended in a figurative sense. It shows that a person's conscience would be "singed." No literal fire was meant!

And so it is with the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man! No one with common sense could possibly believe that Christ was giving literal teaching. The whole thing is figurative from start to finish, and anyone who says differently should examine the matter closer.

Let us now look at the subject carefully. In no way should a person believe that literal acts were being discussed by Christ. Practically every detail of the story has a symbolic meaning to it, and this can be shown so clearly. When a person adopts an erroneous literality to the account, the message that Christ was trying to convey is destroyed and its true symbolic meaning is tarnished!
A Parable Throughout

The first thing to notice is the fact that Lazarus ate of the crumbs that fell from the Rich Man's table. Now, are the crumbs literal or symbolic? If literal, then tell me how Lazarus would have had enough to eat? A few measly crumbs could hardly feed any grown man. Obviously, Christ meant that the man ate the scraps (intended for dogs or other animals). However, the literalists would demand real crumbs so they can get the Rich Man into a real burning hell!

Then it says that Lazarus died and was carried by the angels into the bosom of Abraham. Where was Abraham's bosom? Some people say it signifies the heavenly abode, heaven. In fact, the bosom of Abraham actually means the breast part of his body. Can they get Lazarus and ten million other redeemed Christians in that one bosom of Abraham? There would not be any room to breathe, let alone stretch ones arms. All people, however, rightly recognize that Christ is here giving a symbol. True! That is just the point that we wish to make! If one part is figurative, all can be!

We then find that Abraham is able to carry on a conversation with the Rich Man and that Lazarus could be seen with Abraham, though the text says that Abraham was "afar off." How were they able to talk with one another? If Abraham and Lazarus were in heaven (as many preachers claim today), it shows that the redeemed would still be in constant contact with the rebellious sinners in hell and that the redeemed would be seeing their tortured and agonized faces as they writhed in unrelenting pain. Indeed, they are close enough to be in conversation with them! Can you imagine the joy and happiness the saints would have while viewing the agony of all the wicked in hell for all eternity? But if this story of Christ were to be taken literally, that would be the outcome. What glory would it be to see your unredeemed father, your unconverted mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, wife or husband having to experience the rigors of an eternally burning hell without any relief ever in sight, while you bask in the sunshine and happiness of Abraham's bosom? And remember Abraham was close enough to carry on a conversation with the Rich Man. And the Rich Man was close enough to Lazarus to recognize him.

Another thing that is highly irregular of our experience is the fact that the Rich Man was able to speak at all. Would he not more likely be screaming his head off at the terrible excruciating pain that he was being subjected to? Again, if the account is literal, we find a most impossible situation in the story. Even more than that, what does the Rich Man seek from Lazarus? It is not to drag him out of the fire, but simply to take a drop of cold water and put on his tongue. Why, the Rich Man ought to know that such a thing would not relieve his pain in the slightest! How can a drop of physical water give benefit to a spirit being (as the Rich Man would be)? The water, if literal, would turn into steam before it could do any good. And why did not the man ask Abraham to bring the drop of water to his tongue to cool it? Abraham was far closer to the Rich Man, or at least it looks this way because there was no conversation with Lazarus. What was so special about Lazarus that his drop of water would cool his tongue, but Abraham was not asked for any help?

The point is, the whole scene (though instructive and significant in what our Lord was trying to teach) is impossible to explain sensibly if Christ was teaching fact. However, make it a parable (as it truly is, remembering that Christ would not teach without a parable), then the message becomes beautiful and understandable. Again, everyone knows Paul did not mean literal "coals of fire on one's head" in Romans 12:20.
The True Story in Detail

The story of Lazarus and the Rich Man is a parable (Matthew 13:34). Once this is recognized the interpretation behind the narrative can become quite meaningful. It is also very important to note the context in which the parable is found. There was a reason why Christ spoke this parable at that time. Christ had just given His teaching about the unjust steward who had mishandled his master's money (Luke 16:1—13). This parable was told to further illustrate what proper stewardship is.

Let us first consider the identification of Lazarus. This is the only time in Christ's parables that a person's name is used. Some have imagined that this use of a personal name precludes the story being a parable. But this is hardly true. The name "Lazarus" is a transliteration of the Hebrew "Eleazar" (which means "God has helped"). The name was a common Hebrew word used for eleven different persons in the Old Testament.

When one analyzes the parable, this Eleazar can be identified. He was one who must have had some kind of affinity with Abraham (or the Abrahamic covenant), for the parable places him in Abraham's bosom after death. But he was probably a Gentile. The phrase "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table" was typical of Gentile identification (see Matthew 15:22—28). Even the phrase "laid at his gate" is reminiscent of the normal one used by Jews to denote the Gentile proselyte "Proselyte of the Gate." This Eleazar must also have been associated with stewardship because Christ gave the parable precisely for the reason of explaining what represents the true steward.

There was only one Eleazar in the historical part of the Bible that fits the description. He was a person associated with Abraham, he was a Gentile (not an ethnic part of the Abrahamic family), and a steward. He was Eleazar of Damascus, the chief steward of Abraham.

"And Abram said, 'Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eleazar [Lazarus] of Damascus and lo, one born in my house is mine heir.'"


Genesis 15:2—3

Long ago it was suggested that the Lazarus of the parable represented the Eleazar associated with Abraham (Geiger, JuJ Zejtschr., 1868, p. 196 sq.), but for some reason very few modern commentators have taken up the identification. But once this simple connection is made, a flood of light emerges on the scene which can interpret the parable with real meaning.

The Lazarus of the parable represented Abraham's faithful steward Eleazar. And faithful he was! Though he had been the legal heir to receive all of Abraham's possessions (Genesis 15:3), Abraham gave him an assignment which was to result in his own disinheritance. But the Bible shows he carried out the orders of Abraham in a precise (and faithful) way.

"And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house [Eleazar], that ruled over all that he had, 'Put, I pray thee, your hand under my thigh: and I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife unto my son [Isaac] of the daughters of the Canaanites.'"


Genesis 24:2—3

Eleazar agreed to do what Abraham desired, although the fulfillment of his task meant the complete abandonment of Eleazar's claim to any of Abraham's inheritance—both present and future! Each step that Eleazar took northward to procure a wife for Isaac was a step towards his own disqualification. Eleazar recognized this, for he admitted to Laban, Rebecca's brother, that "unto him [Isaac] hath he [Abraham] given all that he hath" (Genesis 24:36). There was nothing left for him! Thus, Eleazar's faithfulness to Abraham resulted in his own disinheritance from all the promises of blessing which God had given to Abraham. They were now given to Isaac and his future family. That inheritance included wealth, prestige, power, kingship, priesthood, and the land of Canaan as an "everlasting" possession. But now Eleazar was "cast out." He and his seed would inherit nothing. Thus, the parable calls Lazarus a "beggar" who possessed nothing of earthly worth.
Who Was the Rich Man?

The Rich Man was an actual son of Abraham. Christ had him calling Abraham his "father" (Luke 16:24) and Abraham acknowledged him as "son" (verse 25). Such sonship made the Rich Man a legal possessor of Abraham's inheritance. Indeed, the Rich Man had all the physical blessings promised to Abraham's seed. He wore purple, the symbol of kingship, a sign that the Davidic or Messianic Kingdom was his. He wore linen, the symbol of priesthood, showing that God's ordained priests and the Temple were his. Who was this Rich Man who possessed these blessings while living on the earth?

The Israelite tribe that finally assumed possession of both the kingdom and priesthood, and the tribe which became the representative one of all the promises given to Abraham, was Judah. There can not be the slightest doubt of this when the whole parable is analyzed. Remember that Judah had "five brothers." The Rich Man also had the same (verse 28).

"The sons of Leah; [1] Reuben; Jacob's firstborn, and [2] Simeon, and [3] Levi, and Judah, and [4] Issachar, and [5] Zebulun."


Genesis 35:23

"And Leah said ... 'now will my husband be pleased to dwell with me; for I have born him six sons.'"


Genesis 30:20

Judah and the Rich Man each had "five brethren." Not only that, the five brothers of the parable had in their midst "Moses and the prophets" (verse 29). The people of Judah possessed the "oracles of God" (Romans 3:1—2). Though the Rich Man (Judah) had been given the actual inheritance of Abraham's blessings (both spiritual and physical), Christ was showing that he had been unfaithful with his responsibilities. When the true inheritance was to be given, Judah was in "hades" and "in torment" while Lazarus (Eleazar, the faithful steward) was now in Abraham's bosom. He was finally received into the "everlasting habitations" (verse 9).
"A Great Gulf Fixed"

The parable says that a "great gulf" [Greek: chasm] was fixed between the position of Abraham and Eleazar and that of the Rich Man [Judah]. What was this chasm? The Greek word means a deep ravine or valley — a great canyon with cliffs on each side. Its two sides were also "afar off" from each other (verse 23). It was "a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence" (verse 26). Note the italicized word "pass." In all other occasions of its grammatical use in the New Testament, the word was used to denote a passage over water. And in Greek imagery of the abodes of the dead, there was usually some kind of water barrier between the righteous dead and the wicked — either a river or ocean. This is also represented in Jewish conceptions of the compartments for the dead — "by a chasm, by water, and by light above it" (Enoch, ch. 22).

It was also common for many chasms (those described in Greek literature) to have water in their regions of deepest declivity. Let us now look at such a chasm from a Palestinian point of view. In that environment there is only one possible identification for the "great gulf" of the parable if it is to fit the meaning of the Greek chasm precisely. This would be the great rift valley between the highlands of Trans-Jordan and the hill country of Ephraim in which the River Jordan flows. This fault line is the greatest and longest visible chasm on earth. And what a spectacular sight it is! As one looks over the chasm he sees impressive cliffs on each side, a desert in its wastelands, and the River Jordan meandering in the center.

Identifying the chasm of the parable with the Jordan rift unfolds a beautiful symbolic story well recognized in contemporary Jewish allegorical narratives of the time. In the center of this "gulf" was the River Jordan. It divided the original land of promise given to Abraham from ordinary Gentile lands. The west side of Jordan represented the area that the Bible considered the original Holy Land. As the angel said to Joshua: "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon stand is holy. And Joshua did so" (Joshua 5:15). When the Israelites finally entered the chasm of the Jordan and crossed the river, they then considered themselves in the Holy Land the land promised to Abraham and his seed!

Entering the land of Canaan (west of Jordan) was also a symbol of final spiritual salvation. The author of Hebrews recognized that Israel's crossing of the River Jordan under Joshua (and the taking of the land of Canaan) was typical of Christians obtaining their true "rest" in the future Kingdom of God (Hebrews 3:1—4:11). Even American Negro spirituals with which so many of us are familiar ("crossing into Canaan's land") are reflective of this early symbolic theme.

Recall also that the Rich Man was depicted as being in flames of judgment (verse 24). In this same rift valley were formerly located the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which were "set forth for an example suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7).

"Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those who should after live ungodly."


2 Peter 2:6

When the allegorical applications are understood, the teaching of the parable becomes simple and instructive. The theme of Christ's narrative was true stewardship. Though Eleazar [Lazarus], Abraham's trusted steward, had disinherited himself from earthly rewards by his faithful obedience to Abraham's wishes, he was later to find himself (after death, when true inheritance comes) in Abraham's bosom. But the chief representative of Abraham's actual sons (Judah, the spiritual leader of all the Israelite tribes) remained East of Canaan as far as true inheritance was concerned. He had inherited all the physical blessings while in the flesh, but at death he was not allowed to pass the spiritual Jordan into the final Abrahamic inheritance.

Like Moses, because of rebellion, he was not allowed to pass the "great gulf" to enjoy the land of milk and honey. True enough, Judah had been blessed with the kingship, priesthood, the divine scriptures, the prophets, and other untold blessings, but he was not allowed to enjoy the true spiritual blessings of the future because he was unfaithful with his sonship and was refusing the true message of salvation offered by God's own Son. Christ said: "Neither will they he persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (Luke 16:31).
The Final Appraisal

The only Gospel to carry the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man was Luke who was the companion of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. It showed a specific message that Gentiles could now inherit the promises to Abraham provided they were faithful as Eleazar had been. Yet Paul did not want the Gentiles to be conceited in their new relationship with God.

"What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeks for ... God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, ears that they should not hear; unto this day."


Romans 11:8

But "Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid" (verse 11). "Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles [like Lazarus-Eleazar]; how much more their fullness" (verse 12). One of these days, according to Paul, "all Israel shall be saved" (verse 26). God will show mercy on the natural sons of Abraham as He has on faithful Gentile stewards. This shows that the hades, the purple, the linen, the torment, Abraham's bosom, the great gulf, and even the persons of Lazarus and the Rich Man were all symbolic and not literal. After all, the narrative was a parable.
Summary of the Symbols

1. The Lazarus of the parable was Eleazar, Abraham's steward (Genesis 15:2).

2. He was a Gentile "of Damascus" ("a proselyte of the gate") who "ate the crumbs."

3. He was disinherited (to become a beggar) but he remained faithful to Abraham and God.

4. When this earthly life was over, he received Abraham's inheritance after all (he was in Abraham's bosom) — in "everlasting habitations."

5. The Rich Man of the Parable was Judah. This son of Jacob had five literal brothers as did the Rich Man.

6. He was also a literal son of Abraham, while Eleazar (Lazarus) was not!

7. The Rich Man (Judah) also had the kingship (purple) and the priesthood (linen).

8. Yet Judah (representing God on this earth) was not the true steward of the Abrahamic blessings.

9. Though he and his literal brothers had been graced with the "oracles of God" (the Old Testament) they would not respond to the One resurrected from the dead (Christ).

10. The "great gulf" was the Jordan rift valley the dividing line between Gentile lands and the Holy Land of promise (Abraham's inheritance). Crossing the Jordan was a typical figure recognized by the Jews as a symbol of salvation.

Once these factors are recognized, all the points in the parable (with its context) fit perfectly to give us some simple but profound teachings of Christ. It shows that the physical promises of God (though excellent) are very inferior to the spiritual redemption that anyone (Jew or Gentile) can have in Christ.
Concluding Remarks about Hell

What are the consequences of sin? We are told by many people who view the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man literally, plus some scriptures in the book of Revelation, that it means to be in hell fire for all eternity. Let us also understand the book of Revelation is very symbolic! Though it speaks of the rebellious being tormented with fire and brimstone for ever and ever (for the ages of the ages), it is also the same book that speaks of Jesus Christ, equally in symbolic form, of looking like a Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes in his face (Revelation 6:6 with 14:10—11). This section is, of course, symbolic as anyone can see.

This does not mean that figurative teaching has an unpractical meaning. Far from it! What must be discovered is the real teaching. Take, for example, the punishments God gives for sins. There are hundreds of scriptures that show God's retribution upon individuals and the world for their rebellion to Him and their harm to mankind. But the punishments of judgment are not to burn literally in a hell fire forever! Indeed, judgment is now on the house of God.

"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"


1 Peter 4:17

No sinning saint is now in the fires of judgment. All people sin — alas, even Christians from time to time (1 John 1:8), but all are promised eternal life — yet they suffer the loss of certain wonderful rewards for the millennial period if they persist in sin,

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. … Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."


1 Corinthians 3:11—15

The Bible says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God when people rebel against Him (Hebrews 10:31), even though Christian people are sanctified and their salvation is secure in Christ (Hebrews 10:14).

When the whole of the Bible is studied on the matter, it is seen that the judgment of hell after death is symbolic. People who have had some "near death" experiences and thought they were going to a burning hell, were having hallucinations inspired by their imaginations. 2 After all, people who have been taught all their lives about a literal hell fire to be experienced for all eternity, have difficulty in eradicating such things from their minds at the point of death — and this is more so if they think they are dying as sinners. However, Christ came to save the world, and He will do it!

The geographical area that was a symbol of fiery judgment was the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) at the southeast corner of Jerusalem. It was the city dump. Normally, fires were set in the region to burn up the refuse. If dead bodies were placed there in time of war (or sometimes in pagan rituals), worms would emerge to destroy the carcasses. This is what Isaiah 66:24 and Mark 9:44—48 are talking about. Of course, the fires were in a separate area from the worms because worms cannot live in flames.

The whole thing was intended to be figurative in the first place. Gehenna (hell) was known as Tophet (Isaiah 30:33 with Jeremiah 7:31) and remarkably the entire area will one day become holy to the Lord (Jeremiah 31:38—40). There will certainly not be any eternal fires in Gehenna. (The "unquenchable fires" of Matthew 3:12 are fires that cannot be put out with water or soil until they have consumed all the combustible material.)

The truth is, it can be shown conclusively that the consequences of doing sin are NOT to be placed in a hell fire forever and ever. The Bible makes the issue plain for all to see if only people will believe its simple teaching. Many do not want to do this, and they insist on making literal what the Scripture allows only to be symbolic.

Look at this closely. It is simple and plain. All Christians know that the Bible emphatically states that Jesus paid for all our sins (even the sins of the world) when He died on the cross. If anyone disputes this fact, then the very essence of the theological teaching of the New Testament is thwarted.

"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."


1 John 2:2

This is abundantly true! But now note this! If the consequences of sin were to be placed in a hell fire to be burned forever, then for Christ to have paid the penalty of our sins (so we do not have to suffer it), then Christ would have to be in that hell fire forever — always suffering the consequences of our sins. After all, the Bible says that Christ took our punishment. But Christ was alive from the dead some three days later, and is presently in heaven with the Father. He is not in an eternal hell fire undergoing the consequences of our sins! All of the scriptures speaking about the punishment of fire are symbolic. If they are not, then they would violate this fundamental theological fact of the New Testament that Christ paid the punishment for our sins without being burnt in any flames.

Indeed, what did Christ do for us? The Bible says "He died" (Romans 3:34). And what are the wages of sin? — the consequences of sin?

"For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."


Romans 6:23

The result of sin is death — not life in hell fire or anywhere else! What Jesus did was to be crucified for us on the cross. He did not go into hell fire to burn forever — or else He would still be there!

One other point needs to be made. Some denominations say that the wages of sin are eternal death (nonexistence). But this cannot be true. If it were, then Christ (in order to pay the penalty for our sins) would have had to remain dead for all eternity! Yet He was dead for only three days! He is now with the Father in heaven and getting ready to return to this earth to redeem His saints at the resurrection of the just. Others have said that since all humans have to die the first (physical) death (Hebrews 9:27), it is the second death that Christ died for us. But how can that be? The second death is the Lake of Fire in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 20:14), and it is obvious that Christ did not go into any literal Lake of Fire while He died on the cross. His death was for us!

What Christ did do for you, me and all mankind was to make it possible for all death to be abolished (1 Corinthians 15:26) which He will accomplish in His own good time. Only "life" will then exist!

The fact is, the Bible makes perfectly good sense on the matter of the punishments for sin. It is when well-intentioned, but erroneous, interpreters begin to make symbolic scriptures to be literal, that all of the problems emerge. All becomes confusing and contradictory when this type of procedure is used. The story of Lazarus and the Rich Man is a pure parable from beginning to end. It makes perfectly good sense and tells a wonderful and significant story that any student of the Bible can relate to. Let us learn to leave the parables as parables! The Bible will become plain if we do.

"All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitudes in parables; and without a parable spoke he not unto them."


Matthew 13:34

1 In case someone wants to be silly enough to dispute the accuracy of Christ's symbolic language, would people today correct you if you said: "I am so hungry I could eat a horse"? Anyone with sense knows it is not literally possible for one to consume a horse in one meal! Everyone would know you were using figurative language and accept it.

2 It is also heightened by their bodily stress and oxygen to the brain. Usually, near death experiences reflect the beliefs, wishes and life experience of those experiencing the trauma. The apostle Paul died three times and did not indicate that any of the revelations from God occurred during those incidents.

2 Some have mistakenly thought that Christ preached to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:18—19) during His three days in the tomb, but a careful reading of verse 20 shows that Christ performed that particular preaching back "in the days of Noah."

3 For an interesting analysis of the parable and what its symbols are designed to show, read the article "The Real Meaning of Lazarus and the Rich Man."

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Re: satan and hell


Post by bekaaah » Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:24 am

That's a very thourough explination!
Oh, the Simpsonesque images of Hell.
I was once told that Hell was just like the tail side of Heaven. Well, I shouldn't say 'just'. There's no just about it. But until i was about 12 i believed in Heaven but did not want to accept that God would make a place like Hell to cast us away from him.
But then I was told that it's like, you can't have a coin that just has a heads side but no tails side, so there needs to be a yang for Heaven's yin.

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