False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

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False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

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Post by MBofMB » Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:07 pm

“HELL” in the Bible

Traditional Christianity argues that Jesus Christ Himself preached more about hell than any other person in the Bible. We shall examine in detail all the relevant verses where Jesus Christ speaks about 'hell', and see how, where and why Christians have misunderstood, mistranslated and misapplied the words of Jesus.

The King James Version (KJV) was the only standard version of the Bible for English speaking Protestant Christians for nearly 350 years, until the general acceptance of the Revised Standard Version in 1952. Therefore, the KJV has had a major influence on formulating the traditional Christian view of the doctrine of hell in Protestant Christianity.

There are four words in the Bible that have been translated as hell, by the translators of the KJV. These are one Hebrew word, sheol and three Greek words, hades, tartarus and gehenna. The word hell occurs 54 times in total in the KJV.

Sheol occurs 65 times in the Old Testament and hades occurs 11 times in the New Testament. The Greek word hades is the direct equivalent of the Hebrew word sheol. A study of all of the verses where these two words occur in the Bible proves that the correct meaning of sheol and hades is the grave (the place of the dead) or the pit, and not hell.

The KJV translators were wrong when they translated sheol 31 times and hades 10 times to mean hell. They had no justification to translate these words as hell, especially when they understood that the correct meaning of sheol was the grave or the pit, as they correctly translated sheol 34 times out of the 65 times it occurs, to mean the grave or the pit. As the Greek word hades is the direct equivalent of the Hebrew word sheol, hades also means the grave or the pit, and not hell. So, why did the KJV translators incorrectly translate these words as hell in the Bible? The obvious answer is that the KJV translators were strongly influenced by the deeply entrenched doctrine of hell, which was strictly taught by Roman Catholicism for hundreds of years. In fact, the translators of most subsequent versions of the Bible have corrected the errors made by the KJV translators, to varying degrees.

When we examine how often the word “hell” occurs in various versions of the Bible written since the KJV, we can see just how widely Bible translators have differed in their opinion and understanding of the word “hell”. Consider this revealing fact in the following few versions compared to the KJV.

King James Version (KJV) hell occurs 54 times

New King James Version (NKJV) hell occurs 32 times
Revised Standard Version (RSV) hell occurs 17 times
New International Version (NIV) hell occurs 14 times
Darby Translation Version (DT) hell occurs 12 times
Young Literal Version (YLT) hell occurs 0 times

In some Bible Versions, sheol and hades are translated to mean the underworld in a couple of places. This meaning is a mistranslation. It is clear that the translation of sheol and hades to mean the underworld has been influenced by pagan Greek mythology and it is not supported anywhere in Scripture.

The Greek word tartarus, which is also incorrectly translated as hell in the KJV and some other Bible versions, occurs only once in the Bible in 2 Peter 2:4, in connection with the judgement of fallen angels. Tartarus does not mean hell but it means a prison of spiritual darkness, which all fallen angels are confined to until their final judgement.

Let us now consider the meaning of the Greek word gehenna, which is also mistranslated as 'hell' and occurs 12 times in the New Testament. Jesus Christ used the Greek word gehenna, in the four gospels, to refer to the future Lake of Fire judgement of unbelievers during the Great White Throne Judgement Age. We need to understand the importance of the Greek word gehenna and why Jesus Christ used it to refer to the Lake of Fire judgement.

The Valley of Hinnom

"The Hinnom Valley is a deep, narrow ravine located in Jerusalem, running south from the Jaffa Gate on the west side of the Old City, then eastward along the south side of Mount Zion until it meets the Kidron Valley which separates the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives on the east side of the city. It is named from a certain "son of Hinnom" who apparently owned or had some significant association with the valley at a time prior to Joshua 15:8.

The Valley of Hinnom had a very horrendous history in ancient times. It was used as a place where the pagan worshipers did all sorts of vile and wicked things - including burning children alive as sacrifices to the idols Moloch and Bal. One section of the valley was called Tophet, or the "fire-stove," where the children were slaughtered (2 Kings 23:10). It was a place of tremendous evil for many years.

After their return from Babylon, the Jews turned the Hinnom Valley into the city dump where garbage and anything deemed unclean (including the bodies of executed criminals) was incinerated. For that purpose, a fire was kept constantly burning there. Even though it was no longer used for evil worship, with all the filth and thick smoke it remained a very dark and dreary place."
(Taken from an internet site called: 'Valley of Hinnom' by The Church of God, Daily Bible Study)

It is interesting to note that the present day Valley of Hinnom is nothing like what is described above. The Israeli government transformed the Valley of Hinnom into a garden. We believe that this transformation has a prophetic and spiritual significance.

Let us be absolutely clear that Jesus Christ did not speak about hell as understood by traditional Christianity. Jesus Christ spoke about gehenna and not hell. Bible translators have mistranslated and misinterpreted the Greek word gehenna to mean hell, a place of eternal punishment for all unbelievers.

It is clear that Jesus used the imagery of the Valley of Hinnom in Matthew, Mark and Luke to describe the future fiery judgement of unbelievers in the Lake of Fire. The future judgement of all unbelievers will take place at the Great White Throne Judgement. Therefore, the important question facing us is 'Why did Jesus use the imagery of the Valley of Hinnom to describe the age to come judgement of unbelievers in the Lake of Fire?'

The Valley of Hinnom is associated with death, fire, rubbish, dung, shame and darkness. All these words have spiritual meanings. Unbelievers are not fit to enter the Kingdom of God whilst clothed in the filthy rags of their own works of self-righteousness. They are spiritually dead and in darkness. Their self-righteous works, just like filthy rags, are rubbish fit only for throwing away and burning. Unbelievers are of no use to God until and unless they have first been humbled, cleansed by God's fire, repented and received the free gift of God's Salvation and Righteousness. They need to be clothed with the garments of salvation and covered with the robes of righteousness. God's standard to enter the Kingdom of God never changes. Our salvation is always through grace, and it is always by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ uses strong words and terminology to describe gehenna, which is the judgement of unbelievers in the Lake of Fire during the Great White Throne Judgement Age. Examples of these are: perish, unquenchable fire, undying worm, darkness, kill, weeping and gnashing of teeth, cut off the part of the body that offends, fear, destruction of body and soul, fiery furnace, wrath, condemnation and death.

These descriptive words spoken by Jesus about the judgement of unbelievers fall into four groups.

The First Group

The words which refer to the future judgement in terms of perish, lost, ruined, destroy, kill and fear.

Luke 13:3
I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish (apollumi).

The Greek word for perish is apollumi which also means lost or render useless. So here Christ is saying that unless you repent you are useless to God, and if something is useless it is only good to be thrown away like rubbish and burnt. But God is a Refiner and a Restorer.

In the beautiful story of the lost son (the prodigal son) given in Luke 15, Jesus Christ uses the same Greek word appollumi.

Luke 15:24
'for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost (appollumi), and is found.' And they began to be merry.

In the Bible, the Greek word appollumi is used to mean all of these: to be destroyed, to perish, to render useless, to be killed, to be ruined and to be lost.

So when Jesus Christ says, 'that unless you repent you will all likewise perish', Jesus does not and cannot mean that a person will perish eternally because the story of the lost son proves categorically that the lost son (or perished son) was found and that he was dead and was alive again.

Matthew 18:11
For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost (appollumi).

Here again the same Greek word appollumi is used. Christ is indeed committed to saving all those who are lost and not to throwing them into a hell of eternal torture or annihilating them.

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy (appollumi) both soul and body in hell (gehenna).

Christ says that we must not fear men who at worst can only kill us physically, but they cannot take away the resurrected life, which God will give to all people. However, we need to fear God because if we do not fear Him in this age before we die, then there is judgement awaiting us in gehenna, meaning in the Lake of Fire on the Great White Throne Judgement Day.

Notice how Christ once again uses the same word appollumi. The destruction of both, 'soul and body in hell' is, of course, nothing other than a reference to the Second Death, the death of 'the old man'. Our 'old Adamic man' must die first before the life of the 'new Jesus man' can be born in us.

Matthew 10:39
He who finds his life will lose (appollumi) it, and he who loses (appollumi) his life for My sake will find it.

In this verse, Christ is once again emphasising the same truth by using the Greek word appollumi. We must first lose our old self-righteous Adamic man before we can find the new Righteous Jesus Man. This is true for believers during this life and for unbelievers in the Lake of Fire judgement, which Jesus refers to as gehenna.

It should now be abundantly clear that when Jesus Christ uses the Greek Word appollumi in connection with the future judgement of unbelievers in gehenna (mistranslated as hell), He does not mean that unbelievers will perish, be lost, killed, destroyed, ruined or tortured for eternity. Jesus is clearly referring to a future temporary refining judgement of unbelievers. We have already established that all of God's judgements ultimately lead to God's Righteousness and His Salvation, and not to eternal torture in hell or annihilation.

The Second Group

The words, which refer to the future judgement in terms of weeping and gnashing of teeth, outer darkness and fire.

Luke 13:28
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

Matthew 8:12
But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus Christ had some very strong words against the Pharisees, because Jesus absolutely hated their self-righteousness. The Pharisees believed that they would be first to enter the Kingdom of God, but Jesus Christ said quite the opposite. He said, 'even tax collectors and harlots will enter the kingdom of God before them'. (Matthew 21:31)

Self-righteous Pharisees and self-righteous Christians, who think that they are the sons of the kingdom, will be absolutely shocked on the Day of Judgement to find themselves thrust out. They will weep because of great disappointment and gnash their teeth in despair and anger against God, because they will feel let down by God as all of their good works were to no avail for their salvation.

Of course, God loves self-righteous people, but not in their self-righteous state. God's judgement in gehenna (the Lake of Fire) will make sure that ALL people will learn and understand the true Righteousness of God through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 13:40-42 (see also Matthew 13:50)
40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus Christ uses the phrases 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' and 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' to condemn men's religions, which are based on self-righteous works. Religious people think that they will go to heaven because of what they can do for God, instead of accepting by faith what God has already done for them through Jesus Christ. On the Day of Judgement they will be shocked, utterly disappointed and in anguish (weeping/wailing and gnashing of teeth) to know that Jesus Christ does not recognise them, because they are not wearing the pure garments, the white linen robes of God's Righteousness. They are still clothed in their old filthy rags of self-righteousness.

The Third Group

The words which refer to the future judgement in terms of 'unquenching fire, cut off your hand or anything that offends these little ones and their worm does not die'.

Mark 9:42-44 (see also Mark 9:45-48, Matthew 18:6-9)
42 But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell (gehenna), into the fire that shall never be quenched - 44 where 'Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.'

Here, Jesus gives a warning not to offend 'these little ones who believe in Me'. So who are the little ones? The little ones are God's Elect, all those who are truly born again Christians, those who have fully accepted by repentance and faith the true Righteousness of God.

Jesus Christ says that those who offend 'the little ones' will face a severe judgement in God's consuming fire, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. It is better for any offender of God's Elect to take a drastic measure (compared to cutting off the offending part of the body) and repent of his offence before he dies, than face the fiery, refining judgement of God in the Lake of Fire.

Whose worm does not die? Is this the worm of 'the little ones' or the worm of the offenders? The context does not make it very clear. However, either way, it does not make a difference once we understand who the worm represents.

Now here is a surprising revelation.

Psalm 22: 6
But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.

Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm. It is a prophecy of the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus humbled himself on the cross so that we might have God's Righteousness, and the free gift of Salvation.

Jesus says that He is their worm, the little ones' worm and the offenders' worm. On the cross, Jesus Christ humbled Himself like a worm for all of mankind and we must learn from His example of great humility. All hardhearted unbelievers will be humbled in the Lake of Fire and come to understand the sacrifice of their Saviour in God's order and His time.

The Fourth Group

The words, which refer to the future judgement in terms of degrees of judgement, e.g. more tolerable than Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement, and more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you.

Matthew 10:14-15
14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

Matthew 11:21-22
21 Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

Jesus Christ says that everyone will not face the same level of judgement in the Great White Throne Judgement Age. Here, we are talking about the judgement of unbelievers only, because believers will not face God's judgement in the Lake of Fire.

When Jesus walked on this earth, the Jews had His light available to them in person, but they were blind to it. Jesus says that the people of Tyre and Sidon, and even the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, will require less judgement than the unbelieving Jews who plotted to kill Him.

Luke 12:48
But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

Yes, the Bible says that there will be different levels and degrees of judgement, punishment and humbling experiences for unbelievers in the age to come judgement. However, ALL of God's judgements flow out of His love and are designed to lead people to their Saviour, and not to eternal torture in hell.

What about the 'everlasting' punishment spoken of by Jesus?

Matthew 25:46
And these will go away into everlasting (aionios) punishment, but the righteous into eternal (aionios) life.

When you come right down to it, this verse Matthew 25:46 is the only verse spoken by Jesus Christ in all of the four gospels, which appears to support the notion of everlasting punishment. Augustine heavily depended upon this single verse to support his heretical theology of eternal torture in hell.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God tortures unbelievers or fallen angels, nor does it say that God punishes unbelievers or fallen angels forever. There are four words in the Bible, two Greek words aion and aionios, and two Hebrew words owlam and ad, which have often been misinterpreted or mistranslated in most bible versions to mean forever, everlasting or eternal. All of these four words are age-related, referring to an age of a definite time duration having a beginning and an end. Mistranslation or misinterpretation of these four age-related words is an important reason why Christians have failed to understand God's Plan of the Ages to reconcile all things to God through Jesus Christ, and why the heresy of the doctrine of hell has taken hold in the Christian world for centuries. An accurate translation of Matthew 25:46 as:

Matthew 25:46 (SLT)
And these will go away into an age-to-come corrective punishment, but the righteous into an age-to-come life.

What about the scripture that says, it would have been better for Judas if he had not been born?

Matthew 26:24
The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.

If the doctrine of hell were true, then it would be better for most people not to have been born because traditional Christianity believes that the overwhelming majority of people end up in hell. If this were the case, then all women should immediately stop having children, because chances are their children would end up in a hell of endless torment.

The meaning in the verse above is that it would have been better for Judas not to be born to betray Jesus, because Judas will have to go through God's Lake of Fire judgement before he can be reconciled to God.

Let us further understand why Jesus says that it would have been better for Judas not to be born to betray Him.

John 17:12
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

John 13:18
I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me'.

These verses refer to Judas. It was written in the Old Testament that Judas would betray Jesus. (Psalm 41:9) It may be hard for us to understand that Judas was chosen right from the foundation of the world to betray Jesus. Think about it, if Judas did not betray Jesus, then we would not have a Saviour.

Judas understood the way of Righteousness, but he then rejected it.

2 Peter 2:21
For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

2 Peter 3:7
But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The Bible says that it would have been better for Judas and many other people not to have known the way of Righteousness, than having known it, to then turn away from it. Judas and all sons of perdition (ungodly men) will face the Lake of Fire judgement, before they can be reconciled to God.

What about the 'unpardonable sin'?

Matthew 12:31-32
31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

There is no such thing as an unforgivable sin. If Jesus Christ was willing to forgive the sins of His murderers, then all sins are forgiveable provided they are repented of, on the basis of what Christ has achieved on the cross. The verses above must be understood within the context of God's Plan for All, which He is working out in biblical Ages.

Jesus says that sins against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven in this present age or in the age-to-come. We are currently in what Jesus refers to as this age, and the age-to-come is the Millennial Age. However, we have already established in previous chapters that the sins of ALL unbelievers will be forgiven in the Great White Throne Judgement Age, which is the age following the Millennial Age.

What about the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus?

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus as given in Luke 16:19-31 is about the mystery of the Kingdom of God. This parable is the most misunderstood parable of all parables, and it does not prove the doctrine of eternal torture in hell.

What about the resurrection of condemnation?

John 5:28-29
28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (krisis).

Please note that the Greek word krisis has been translated as condemnation and should have been more accurately translated as judgement.

The Bible speaks about two resurrections, the First Resurrection and the Second Resurrection, which are set apart by the thousand-year Millennial Age of Christ's rule on this earth. The First Resurrection is the resurrection of life when the Saints, the Bride of Christ will be raised at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Second Resurrection is both the resurrection of life and the resurrection of judgement. The Second Resurrection occurs when the rest of humanity are resurrected at the end of Christ's Millennial Age, when the Great White Throne Judgement Age begins. This is when all believers who lived during Christ's Millennial Age will be resurrected to life. However, all unbelievers from throughout the Ages will be resurrected for judgement and experience the Lake of Fire Judgement and the Second Death, before they can be reconciled to God. In Chapter 12, we give a detailed explanation of God's refining yet merciful judgement during the Great White Throne Judgement Age.

We have now fully covered all the scriptures, which have been used by traditional Christianity from the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to provide their 'proof texts' in support of the doctrine of eternal torture in hell. The scriptures show us categorically that Jesus Christ DOES NOT support this false, unbiblical doctrine.

What about Apostle Paul, does he preach hell?

Apostle Paul never speaks about a hell of eternal torture. He speaks about the righteous judgement of God in terms of the 'wrath of God', which unbelievers will face on the Day of Judgement. This agrees with the teaching of Jesus Christ.

There is only one scripture of Paul's writings, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 that is misguidedly used to support the doctrine of hell or annihilation.

2 Thessalonians 1:9
These shall be punished with everlasting (aionios) destruction (olethros) from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.

In this verse, the Greek word aionios is incorrectly translated as everlasting. Aionios is an age related word and an accurate translation in this verse is an age-to-come 'destruction'.

The Greek word olethros, which comes from the root word ollumi, is translated as destruction. Ollumi is linked to the Greek word apollumi, which is the very same word used by Jesus in the beautiful story of the prodigal son, who was lost and found. So, in the verse above, destruction does not mean annihilation of unbelievers. In this verse, Apostle Paul does not believe in or write about eternal torture in hell or annihilation.

Yes, there is a future Lake of Fire judgement awaiting all who die as unbelievers when they will be resurrected at the Second Resurrection. In the Lake of Fire, 'the old man' of unbelievers will perish and be destroyed, which is their Second Death. 'The old man' of every unbeliever has to perish first through repentance and God given faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, before he can become born again as 'the new man'.

Apostle Paul's letters and the rest of the New Testament do not support the doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell. On the contrary, Paul's letters have many clear and powerful biblical texts, which speak about universal reconciliation and salvation for all people. Please see (Romans 5:18-19, 1 Corinthians 3:15, 1 Corinthians 15:22-28, Ephesians 1:10, Philippians 2:8-10, Colossians 1:15-20, 1 Timothy 2:3-6 and 1 Timothy 4:9-11)



What about Peter and Jude, do they preach hell?

Peter and Jude strongly condemn wicked and ungodly men speaking in terms of, 'for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (aion)'. (2 Peter 2:17, Jude 1:13)

In these verses, as in many other places in the New Testament, the Greek word aion is mistranslated to mean forever by translators of most versions of the Bible. Yes, there is a future age-to-come (aion) judgement for all ungodly men but not an eternal judgement in 'hell'.

Once we understand that the two Greek words aion and aionios have been misinterpreted or mistranslated, there is absolutely nothing in the New Testament that supports the false doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell.

What about the Old Testament, does it preach hell?

As in the case of the New Testament, age-related words in the Old Testament have been misinterpreted or mistranslated. These are the two Hebrew words owlam and ad, once we understand this, then there is absolutely nothing in the Old Testament either that supports the false doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell.

Conclusion

It is clear to us that Bible translators have been hugely influenced by the deeply entrenched false doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell, first championed by Augustine and embraced by the Roman Catholic Church in 553 AD. Perhaps there is no other single theologian, who has exerted as much influence as Augustine on Roman Catholicism and Protestantism throughout the history of Christianity, since the fourth century.

Augustine was steeped in pagan philosophy and religion before he converted to Roman Catholicism, and the doctrine of hell is entirely pagan in its origin. Besides the false doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell, Augustine also promoted the doctrines of Purgatory, the Immortality of the Soul and Amillennium, which are all unbiblical teachings.

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#2

Post by ageofknowledge » Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:43 am

http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/_PDFA ... 1W1101.pdf

The Nature and Location of Hell

The Bible describes the reality of hell in forceful figures of speech. It is said to be a
place of darkness (Matt. 8:12; 22:13), which is “outside” [the gate of the heavenly city]
(Rev. 22:14-15). Hell is away from the “presence of the Lord” (Matt. 25:41; 2 Thess. 1:7-9).
Of course, these are relational, not necessarily spatial, terms. God is “up” and hell is
“down.” God is “inside” and hell is “outside.” Hell is the other direction from God.
The nature of hell is a horrifying reality. It is like being left outside in the dark forever
(Matt. 8:12). It is like a wandering star (Jude 13), a waterless cloud (Jude 12), a perpetually
burning dump (Mark 9:43-48), a bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1, 3), a prison (1 Peter 3:19), and a
place of anguish and regret (Luke 16:28).

To borrow the title of the book by Lewis, hell is the “great divorce”—an eternal separation
from God (2 Thess. 1:7-9). There is, in biblical language, a great gulf fixed” between
hell and heaven (Luke 16:26) so that no one can pass from one side to the other.
Nowhere does the Bible describe it as a “torture chamber” where people are forced
against their will to be tortured. This is a caricature created by unbelievers to justify their
reaction that the God who sends people to hell is cruel. This does not mean that hell is not
a place of torment. Jesus said it was (Luke 16:24). But unlike torture which is inflicted from
without against one's will, torment is self-inflicted.

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

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Post by catherine » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:30 am

Ageofknowledge, let's say you are right about 'hell' not being a place of fiery eternal torment with literal worms that don't die, which has been put forward as truth NOT by unbelievers, as you state, but by main stream churches (including the one I go to: AOG affiliated). Let's say it's a state the 'unbeliever' is in as a result of their choosing and doing. As much as this idea is far more believable and palatable, how could 'evil' and corruption in God's creation finally be done away with for ever, if the majority of God's creation remain in their sin, so to speak? Surely the whole 'suffering', 'flames' 'worms' etc is imagery used to denote punishment, and destruction. MBofMB who started this thread makes very good points which on the surface I tend to agree with, although I'm still checking UR out. The way I see it, there are only two possible outcomes, if we consider God's justice, love, mercy etc, then either ALL will indeed be eventually reconciled and saved through Christ, or those whose will was (supposedly) greater than God's and managed to eternally prevent them from ever being saved, will perish out of existence in the second death.

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

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Post by ageofknowledge » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:50 am

Honestly I don't know Catherine. I respect Norman Geisler and this was written by him so I shared it. But he's never seen Hell. I believe B.W.'s experience was valid. There are different points of view but I would have to side with those who have seen it. Whatever hell is, it is bad enough to warrant never wanting your worst enemy to end up there so in that way, at least, this discussion is elementary.

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

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Post by MBofMB » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:11 pm

Here are a few points to ponder:
• The Autographs, original Holy Spirit inspired Word of God which were free from error, were lost or destroyed. From this point on human beings influenced the translation and assembly of various copies to produce varied versions, which we have in our hands today, because some very significant human translation and interpretation errors were introduced.
• “Hell” was introduced into Christian teachings by pagan practicing individuals.
• King James of England, formally King of Scotland (left because of lost control of his people) incorporated the pagan teaching of “eternal punishment” into his authorized bible version (small cap for bible intentional) for control of the masses. No one else would authorize it.
• Men of power, in early times, felt it was the only way to hold the masses of ignorant people under their power. It is the same today. If the people of power today REALLY believed the myths they are perpetuating, they themselves would behave MUCH differently than they are. Seeing their own corrupt behavior should make it plain to anyone, these political, business, and especially religious leaders have not the slightest faith in these things themselves; they do not think them at all necessary to regulate their own lives, or keep them in order; but it is for the average people, the dumb sheep who must be restrained with fears of great terror in the afterlife. One cannot help noting the resemblance between those wise men of old and some of our own day, who seem so anxious to maintain the doctrine on the ground that it is necessary to restrain men from sin. I think it is time we "dumb sheep" wise up and get out from under the myths these men of corruption have used to hold the fetters of our minds in check and check ourselves in at the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd who knows how to restrain HIS sheep with love, not fear.
• If hell's eternal punishment is real, why wasn't Adam warned? Or Abraham or … (long list). Paul didn't warn the Gentiles; that were placed under his responsibility, because Jesus didn't teach it to him.

It is written and is true; Satan has deceived the whole World … and still is. What better way than to be involved with changing His Word. Satan's purpose has been and is; to make God small and incapable of bringing ALL his creation into His Kingdom of Love.

The Holy Spirit was assigned to be our instructor in life … we need to listen, test and do.

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#6

Post by catherine » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:19 pm

I don't know about B.W's experience of hell?? I have listened to various other people's experiences of 'going to hell' and the main thing they all have in common is that they were not 'saved'. By having a 'hell' experience it scared them enough to 'change' their ways and become 'believers'. It wasn't love that had motivated them, but fear. I doubt that any human being would glady continue on their merry way to a 'fiery' hell, or a 'dark' hell (the technicalities of the experiences differ somewhat) unless they were mad. We can have all manner of experiences e.g going down a tunnel, seeing a light, being in a dark ominous place, being in a wonderful place. These experiences are shared by 'christians' 'moslems', 'spiritualists' etc etc. They can't all be right surely? The bible does not teach a God who maintains in existence pain and suffering on the majority of His human creation. The bible promises that evil will be done away with. If the majority of humans are kept alive in 'hell' or the 'lake of fire' to suffer for all eternity, whilst the 'few' are in 'paradise', then it really would seem that satan had won: evil would exist for all eternity. Sin wouldn't have been conquered, not in the real sense. Here's a reply from a Jewish rabbi regarding 'hell' and 'eternal' punishment. I emailed him a while ago, as I wondered what orthodox Jews believed regarding this very important subject:

''Dear Catherine, I am not sure I entirely understood what the problem with translating the word Leolam as forever\always\eternally for even with regards to hills and mountains it a figure of speech that even today people use in simple English. But to answer the real question with regards to punishment of the wicked, indeed according to Judaism (as opposed to various other religions) in general in Judaism there is no “eternal damnation.” the Jewish hell is not a place of punishment; rather it's a place of cleansing and purifying. A divine soul is a pure clean soul. However, people with physical bodies aren't always perfect, and they don't always do what is right. They sometimes even transgress g-ds will. These transgressions dirty the pure soul like layers of mud covering a diamond. A person cleans the dirt covering his soul through prayer and repentance. However, sometimes a person passes away without doing a proper cleaning, and his soul still has some mud left on it. This is where Hell comes into play. The Jewish Hell is more like a dry cleaning place than a place of punishment. In truth, in Judaism, there are no punishments for the sake of punishment. A “punishment” is merely a cleansing process to clean up the soul from all that dirt that it picked up while it was down here. There may be different cleansing process for different types of dirt, with each one taking a different amount of time. However, in the end once the cleansing process is finished, the soul is sent out of hell, with its pure essence showing and shining brightly, back to heaven. Let me know if this helps. Wishing you all the best.Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin''

Wow, that is interesting wouldn't you say.................

One last thing: is it really 'good news' to be preaching to people that most of us will suffer for all eternity whilst only a few will be fortunate enought to 'make it' to paradise? If Hell really was a literal fiery place, then every Christian in every church should be shouting from the roof tops, knocking doors, warning their fellow humans, or the 'enemies' they're meant to love, about this terrible fate that awaits them. I look upon my sleeping atheist husband and feel terror at the thought that he would end up in such a place and I would know this and be blissfully happy for all eternity ........... :shakehead:

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#7

Post by ageofknowledge » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:59 pm

There is a hell allright. Assertions that it was never included in the original manuscripts passed down by the apostles is fanciful and incorrect. Read The Gospel and the Greeks: Did the New Testament Borrow from Pagan Thought? by Nash.

Image

A nice primer on the subject:

http://www.presenttruth.info/tracts/pdf ... t_Hell.pdf

Read this afterwards:

http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/171

Belief in universalism, annihilationism, purgatory, atheism, bad scholarship, false assertions, etc... will not save you from hell if you willfully reject God's provision for your salvation.

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#8

Post by catherine » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:30 am

Thanks for the links. The first one seems to support annihilation??
Let's say UR is wrong and that the wicked are punished 'forever'. Surely being destroyed out of existence is an eternal punishment? We didn't used to exist and after we're judged and weep and gnash our teeth at what we realise we've lost, we'll be thrown into the lake of fire and go out of existence , just as all the other evil is thrown in there and destroyed. This is still punishment. It maintains God's justice and doesn't make Him out to be a worse torturer than the devil.

I'm already reading a book at the moment called 'Hell under Fire' that was recommended to me by B.W.

The second article says: ''When Christ described hell as a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13)......'' What strikes me about this is that if the weeping and gnashing of teeth (will we still have physical teeth that can gnash?) is to go on 'forever', then how can Rev 21:4 come to pass? I know this is referring to those who are 'saved' and make it to paradise, but Jesus says : ''I am making EVERYTHING new' in verse 5. How can everything be restored if a literal place filled with most of His creation be in existence for eternity, filled with all the evil thoughts and intentions, let alone suffering, pain, and torment? This would mean Jesus hadn't conquered evil. It would still exist for ever? No, once you study the figurative language used by Jesus and you couple that with Jesus' command to 'love our enemies', you arrive at the startling conclusion, that Jesus will love His enemies by either destroying them out of existence so that their suffering and evil comes to an end, OR He will eventually reconcile All men, once they have been punished and realise what they have done.

Deuteronomy 32:39
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.'' Yes, we die, or are killed in this life. We suffer the consequences of what we or others do. But that is not the end.

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#9

Post by B. W. » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:40 am

MBofMB wrote:...Conclusion

It is clear to us that Bible translators have been hugely influenced by the deeply entrenched false doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell, first championed by Augustine and embraced by the Roman Catholic Church in 553 AD. Perhaps there is no other single theologian, who has exerted as much influence as Augustine on Roman Catholicism and Protestantism throughout the history of Christianity, since the fourth century.

Augustine was steeped in pagan philosophy and religion before he converted to Roman Catholicism, and the doctrine of hell is entirely pagan in its origin. Besides the false doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell, Augustine also promoted the doctrines of Purgatory, the Immortality of the Soul and Amillennium, which are all unbiblical teachings.
Hi MBofMB,

This topic has been discussed on this site and answers your assertions

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 18&start=0

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 18&start=0

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 69&start=0

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 0&start=30

The teachings in Hell are found in the OT as well as in the Apocrypha such as 7 Esd 7:78-99 and the book of Enoch. In the OT — Ez 32 and Job 26:5-6, Deut 32:22, Psalms 9:15-17, etc… to name a few

Also, Moses came before Plato and you must consider that Plato and the Greek Philosophers were influenced by other cultures first as that was there custom to seek something new from afar (Note Acts 17). It would be up to you to prove that they did not borrow and reshape other ideas into there own that were from other nations and cultures they would have made contact within their geographic location and that these were novel of there own making.

Have you considered this before writing?

Have a nice day :esmile:
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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#10

Post by natcat86 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:22 am

A video which I think perfectly illustrates why I have never been able to accept the false docterine of hell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8Qs219E ... re=related

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#11

Post by ageofknowledge » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:56 am

I once watched a Muslim freedom fighter die on television. He had been shot in the chest fighting the Russians and made it back to camp. His Mullah sat him down in a chair in front of him with the cameras rolling on both of them. The Mullahs typically do this to witness the man's death to see whether or not the Muslim cries out or not as his life leaves his body and then reports back to the family whether or not he did. We can discuss why they do that at another time. Anyways, this was a very brave man... fully committed Muslim... who died in Jihad. According to the Muslim belief system he was on his way to paradise to collect up his haraam of virgins. What actually happened is he sat there expectantly waiting to receive his reward but just as his spirit left his body a look of utter terror crossed his face and he lunged toward the Mullah his eyes revealing a desperation to come back from whatever he was getting a look at as a bloody scream of fright left his lips but then he was gone and his body went limp. The Mullah looked at the camera and lied and said he did not scream out. The man's in hell.

Now Darwin lost his daughter and claimed that one of the reasons he rejected Christianity was due to the "damnable doctrine" of hell stating, "I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished."

Indeed, for anyone living in sin and rebellion against God, it is very comforting to believe that neither He nor hell is real (cf. Ps. 141; Rom. 1:18). But let's look at the discussion more closely.

Although the word immortal is not used of the unbeliever's resurrection body; since immortal contains connotations of a positive quality of eternal life reserved for only the saved. Nevertheless, there are many reasons to believe that the unsaved also will possess physical bodies that will live on forever.

First. the second resurrection is listed several times in connection with the first resurrection, which is a resurrection into a neverending physical body. Since those on both sides of this issue agree that the second resurrection is physical, it follows that it too is into a neverdying body.

Second, in Revelation 20:5 the lost are designated as "the rest of the dead" who will "come to life," the same term used of those in the first resurrection, believers, who physically will come out from among the dead.

Third, Jesus said that both soul and body of unbelievers would be punished in hell (Matt. 10:28). Since the same word is used of both soul and body in regard to hell, since hell is "forever" (Matt. 25:41; cf. 2 Thess. l:7-9), and since we know that the soul will not be annihilated, the unbeliever's body will live eternally as well.

Fourth, since the body is part of God's image (Gen. 1:27), even in unbelievers (Gen. 96; James 3:9), were God not to resurrect it forever, He would in effect be conceding victory over it to the devil. However, His Word declares that Christ will reign until He has defeated death (1 Cor. 15:26), and unless physical death is reversed for all people, death will not be completely defeated. Accordingly, marred and lost as God's image may be in the unbeliever, even their bodies will be restored to life so that they can remain in their chosen destiny.

As with our conscious survival after death, the resurrection of all human beings is rooted in both God's nature and ours. This includes God's omnipotence, omnibenevolence, omnisapience, and our being created in His image. Resurrection is rooted in God's power.

God can raise the dead. If He can create life and He did; then He can restore it. God's omnipotence is a necessary condition for our physical resurrection. God's omnibenevolence does not allow the punishment of death to go unreversed. God's wisdomg is manifest in Christ's resurrection, for while sin brought death (Rom. 5:12), His sacrificial death reverses the curse to bring the saved life.

Without a physical resurrection, the devil would be the winner and God the loser, for the devil would have brought physical death, and God would not have reversed it by bringing physical life. Anything short of a material reconstruction of the body would spell failure for God's creative purpose.

As correctly noted by Robert Gundry (b. 1935): "Anything that undercuts Paul's ultimate intention that redeemed man possess a physical means of concrete activity for eternal service and worship of God in a restored creation". Thus, as Paul observed, "None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory". But they did crucify Him, and God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed it in order to defeat sin and restore His creation (Rev. 21-22).

Both saved and unsaved will experience a physical resurrection. But they don't abide in the same place.

The Old Testament Hebrew word for hell is sheol, which means "the unseen world." While sheol is often used of the grave, wherein the body is unseen, it also sometimes refers to the world of spirits. The New Testament Greek word for hell is hades, which usually signifies a place of departed wicked spirits.

In addition, gehenna is often translated using the word hell. The Valley of Gehenna was a putrid dump outside Jerusalem that burned perpetually. In reference to the eternal damnation of fallen angels, the New Testament also uses the word tartaroo ( 2 Peter 2:4); Tartarus was envisioned by the Greeks as a subterranean place even lower than hades.

Now the doctrine of hell, like the doctrine of the Trinity, was revealed progressively; more implied (implicit) in the Old Testament and more developed (explicit) in the New Testament. Read: Genesis 3:15; Psalms 9:16; Psalms 16:10-11; Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 66:22-24 to get started.

In the era between the Old and New Testarnents, Jewish religious sources referenced hell. The writer of 4 Maccabees said: "Thou for our cruel murder shalt suffer at the hands of divine justice sufficient torment by fire for ever. . . . Thou for thy impiety and thy cruelty shalt endure torments with end . . . [in] eternal doom. . . . The divine justice delivers thee unto a more rapid and eternal fire and torments which shall not leave hold on thee to all eternity.. . . A great struggle and peril of the soul awaits in eternal torment those who transgress the ordinance of God."

Flavius Josephus wrote hell was a place of perpetual darkness "with a certain place set apart, as a lake of unquenchable fire, wherein we suppose no one hath hitherto been cast; but it is prepared for a day aforedetermined by God, in which a righteous sentence shall deservedly be passed upon all men. ... a custody of souls where fallen angels were assigned to guard them."

Jesus repeatedly affirmed hell's existence as did the apostles and the writings of the earliest church Fathers. The Bible certainly affirms it. Read Matthew and Luke. Afterwards, read 2 Thessalonians 1: 7-9; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 2:4, 9; Jude 6; Jude 12-1 3; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 14:10-11; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10-15; Revelation 21:8.

God's Justice Demands a Hell; God's Love Demands a Hell; God's Sovereignty Demands a Hell; Human Depravity Demands a Hell; Human Dignity Demands a Hell; The Cross of Christ Implies Hell; It Is Illusory to Deny Hell; and so on and so forth.

There are sound biblical, theological, and historical bases for the Christian doctrine of hell, and there are no good reasons to deny it. Even Sigmund Freud showed that anything based on mere wish-fulfillment is an illusion. The root of the denial of hell is the wish to avoid suffering. No one wants to suffer forever. However, this is nothing more than a wish. While it might seem nice to imagine that there are no consequences for defying God, given the depravity of humankind (among other facts), this is an absurd theory. Reality therapy (e.g. immersion in truth) can help cure such illusions, but unfortunately for some, their therapy will be a self-chosen shock treatment from which there is no return: "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Heb. 9:27).

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#12

Post by natcat86 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:22 am

ageofknowledge,

Why does God's love demand a hell?

Nat

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

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Post by ageofknowledge » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:39 pm

The Bible shows that "God is love" (1 John 4:16), and love cannot be coercive but rather is persuasive. A God of love cannot force people to love Him. We respond to His love freely, not because we are required (1 John 4:19; 2 Cor. 9:7). God does not force Himself upon humans against the will He chose to give them (cf. Matt. 23:27), so those who do not wish to love God must be released. Those who decide not to be with Him must be allowed to be separated from Him. Hell is eternal separation from God. And since they rejected God's provision for their sin when they rejected God, they carry their sin with them into Hell.
Last edited by ageofknowledge on Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

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Post by natcat86 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:48 am

Jonah 4
Jonah's Anger at the Lord 's Compassion
1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."

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Re: False doctrine of Eternal Torture in Hell

#15

Post by ageofknowledge » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:17 am

Nothing you just said negates anything I said.

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