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The Facts about Hell
It is a common teaching among the major western churches that after death, if you have not lived a good life (that is, been an evil person) then you will go to hell and suffer for eternity in unquenchable fire!
Actually, the truth of the matter is astounding, in that it is the complete opposite of the popular view in almost every significant detail. This article will examine the truth about death, hell and how it is the righteous who suffer for the purpose of building Godly character. What God says about death and hell is recorded for us in part in Eccl Chapter 9:
“…5 For the living know that they die, and the dead know not anything, and there is no more to them a reward, for their remembrance hath been forgotten. 6 Their love also, their hatred also, their envy also, hath already perished, and they have no more a portion to the age in all that hath been done under the sun…” [YLT].
Again in verse 10:
“…Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going…” [NKJV].
Also, God says of King David that he is still dead and buried (Acts 2:34) and this is the condition of a man whom God describes as being “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). Clearly, God says that after death no one goes anywhere, let alone to heaven or hell. Nor do the dead go wandering off as ghosts to haunt places or visit people. The dead know nothing and do nothing, so there should be no concern about going to hell.
Unfortunately, the mythology associated with this issue is being perpetuated by various organizations for purposes best left to them to explain. The mythology feeds off the truth with the ultimate goal of destroying that truth, while perpetuating its own form. Mythology aside for the moment, the Bible does make mention of hell using four different words, but none are anything to fear and three are totally harmless. To summarise, they are as follows:
Ø Sheol – a Hebrew word meaning the grave or a pit (Strong’s 07585);
Ø Hades – a Greek word being the equivalent of sheol, meaning the grave or a pit (Strong’s 86);
Ø Gehenna – this actually refers to a rubbish dump in the Valley of Hinnom where all rubbish (including the bodies of dead criminals) was burned up (Strong’s 1067); and
Ø Tartaroo – mentioned only once in the New Testament (2Pet 2:4) and refers to both a condition and place of restraint – the meaning of this word is clearly shown by its context within verse 4 (“…to be held in chains of darkness until the time of judgement…”).
So, technically speaking, everyone goes to hell (the grave) after they die, but it is hardly a place to be feared. In fact many people go to great lengths to prepare hell (their cemetery plots) for themselves and their loved ones.
The Real Hell – Mythology Meets Reality
Following Lucifer’s rebellion, as recorded in Ezek 28, he was thrown out of heaven and cast down to Earth. Until this time Lucifer had full access to heaven and the throne of God. God was placing restraints on Lucifer’s activities and confining him to a limited location. Now known as Satan, he was cast into “tartaroo,” being both a place and condition of restraint. In 2Pet 2:4 God tells us plainly what happened:
“…For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [tartaroo] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;…” [NKJV].
When Satan and his rebel angels failed in their attempt to overthrow God, God cast them down to HELL. In Ezek 28:16-17 God makes it plain that the hell (tartaroo) to which Satan was thrown was none other than planet Earth:
“…16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings…” [NIV].
Now that the location of the feared tartaroo is known, let us test some of the other elements of the mythic “hell” where all sinners are allegedly to spend the rest of eternity. Some of those mythic elements are as follows:
Ø It is a place over which Satan rules;
Ø It is a place of suffering;
Ø It is a place where evil reigns; and
Ø It is a place where the evil are tortured in hot flames, but not consume by them.
Satan rules Earth – God even called him the god of this world in 2Cor 4:4 and the prince, or ruler, of this world in John 14:30.
"...In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them..." [KJV].
"...Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me..." [KJV].
Further evidence that Satan is the present ruler and god of this world is recorded Matt 4:8-9, which details the final exchange between Christ and Satan when Christ went into the wilderness to be tested by the devil.
“…8. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’…” [NIV].
Satan offered Christ the position of ruler of Earth and second only to himself, if Christ would obey him. Naturally, Christ did not accept the offer, but more significant to the present aspect of this topic, it should be noted that Christ (the creator of the universe) did NOT dispute Satan’s right to make this offer. Christ was admitting that Satan did indeed have authority over all the kingdoms of Earth. It is Satan’s world and he is in charge of it (2Cor 4:4), but limited by God to the evil he can do. An example of this limiting by God is found in Job 1:10, where God puts a hedge of protection around Job. People ask, “Why has God allowed the world to get this way?” It is because this is what humanity wants – a world where God is not in charge. In the beginning, at Eden, humanity rejected God’s way of life and has been doing so ever since. Throughout history mankind has killed the prophets of God, because it did not want to hear what He had to say. Jesus himself tells us of this in Luke 13:34:
"…’O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!’…” [NIV].
However, regardless of mankind’s resistance to bring this age of Satan to an end, God has allotted it only 6,000 years, which are now almost completed. Also, God has set limits on what Satan can do and the amount of evil he can inflict on humanity. In this way God allows humanity to experience Satan’s way of life so it can later be in a position to make an intelligent choice when presented with God’s way of life.
Earth is full of evil, violence, war, corruption at all levels of government, oppression in the workplace and ineffectual in criminal justice. It is a place where the wicked receive the reward of the righteous and the righteous receive the reward of the wicked. Even the prophets of God lamented this condition:
“…You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?...” [NIV].
“…There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless…” [NIV].
A place where the evil are tortured in hot flames: This is undoubtedly the most distorted and untrue view of hell that exists. However, it does not exist without some basis in fact. The two Scriptures just cited show very plainly that Hell, tartaroo, (revealed to be planet Earth), is not a place where the evil are tortured – in fact it is a place where the evil are rewarded and the righteous suffer. The myth has reversed what happens in reality!
The whole meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread concerns God’s people endeavouring to live His way of life. This time is also known as the time that “judgement” or assessment is upon the people of God (1Pet 4:17). In order to assess His people God tests us in various ways and some of these tests are not very pleasant – even to the extent where God Himself refers to the situations as our faith being tried with “fire”.
“…6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed…” [NIV]
For the purpose of building Godly character, leading His people onto His path, this situation was also recorded in Isa 48:10:
“…See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction…” [NIV]
Only those who have had character forged in the furnace of this hell will be approved for the first harvest, symbolizing the first ascension or resurrection as spirit beings in the family of God. Through this fiery process, God’s people are made stronger – they are not destroyed. Hence, there was invented the mythic aspect of people suffering in burning flames while not being consumed by them. God gave us this analogy about refining by fire long before the myth of the wicked burning in hell fire began. Satan has twisted the truth of everyday life for the saints into a mythic torture chamber for the wicked. This myth is really an outright lie, but to be expected of the adversary.
We have just seen irrefutable proof that planet Earth is the hell (Tartaroo) which people fear so much. Earth, its condition and real ruler fit perfectly with the mythic “hell” that is so dreaded. Hell (Tartaroo) is actually the place where the household of God is being judged/tested right now and while there is no immediate way out of hell, by focussing our efforts on living God’s way of life, the way of kindness towards others, we can look forward to when we will escape this very real hell at our appointed time – the time of the first ascension. For us, the called-out ones, that appointed time is pictured by the Feast of Pentecost.
God’s annual Holy Days, showing the plan of salvation.