Notes: Reality of Hell
To Be a Mature Believer
We must meditate on HEAVEN. Hebrews 3:1 / Acts 4:12 / Philippians 3:20 / Ps. 8 / Malachi 3:10/ Matthew 3:2; 5:12; 6:9
We must meditate on HELL. Isaiah 33:10-18
There is much confusion about Hell. Why ?
1. Words from different languages: Hebrew (SHEOL, GEHENNA), Greek (HADES, TARTARUS) and English (The PIT, the GRAVE, HELL, LAKE OF FIRE)
2. Translators do not always agree on the translation to English of these words.
3. Contemporary secular and slang connotations are often not those intended in the Bible.
4. On occasion, Bible usage can refer to an actual place, a personage or state of being.
5. The straightforward, Biblical meaning is automatically rejected by the carnal nature of mankind.
“When you don’t know something, you don’t KNOW how MUCH, you DON’T KNOW.
“Behold scoffer…and perish;…I am accomplishing a work in your days…you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.” Habakkuk 1:5 / Acts 13:41
Definition of Terms:
I. An O.T. Hebrew term
A. Signifying the place of the dead, the netherworld, and the abode of departed spirits of human beings. The Hebrew root means, “To make hollow or inquire of”.
B. Hence, Sheol is receptacles for the dead or a place the living inquire of in occult practices. (1Sam. 28:8-25)
II. A SEVERE place to which no one looked forward
A. “The terrors of Sheol came upon me” (Psa. 116:3)b. “Jealousy is as severe as Sheol” (S.of Sol. 8:6)
B. A place that humbles and abases all men. (Isa. 5:8-16 & Isa. 14)
C. Sheol holds people in state of death/separation from life on earth and heaven by “cords of Sheol” and “snares of death” (2 Sam. 22:6)
D. “A cloud vanishes…and it is gone. So he goes down to Sheol and does not come up” (Job 7:8)
E. “…swallow them alive like Sheol, even as those who go down to the pit.” (Prov. 1:12; Isa. 5:14; Prov. 27:20)
F. “If I look for Sheol as my home, I make my bed in darkness” (Job 17:13)
G. “No activity, planning, or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going…”(Eccl. 9:10)
H. “Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where is your thorns, O Sheol, where is your sting.” (Hosea 13:14)
III. Sheol exists below earth’s surface
A. Job and Isaiah speak of Sheol synonymously with “the pit” whose obvious direction is down.
- “He keeps back his soul from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol. Deliver him from going down to the pit. (Job 33:18, 24)
- “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.” (Isaiah 14)
B. Korah and his company rebelled against Moses and were given the most severe judgment.
- “the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up…and they went down alive into Sheol”. (Numbers 16:31-33)
C. After Samuel’s death, he returns briefly via a medium to speak with King Saul
- Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” (1 Samuel 28)
D. Isaiah declares:
- “Sheol, from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come…have you been brought down to Sheol;” (Isaiah 14:9, 11)
E. Jesus Christ following his crucifixion.
- “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)
- “descended into the lower parts of the earth.” (Ephesians 4:9)
IV. Sheol has MULTIPLE chambers (Prov. 7:27)
A. Tartarus “Angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal chains under darkness for the judgment…” “..but cast them down to ‘Tartarus’ “ (Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4)
B. Place of Torment / Luke 16:23 / Rich man “in torment in these flames”
C. Abraham’s bosom / Luke 16:19:31 / Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom “being comforted”
V. God is in Sheol
A. “If I should make my bed in Sheol Thou art there…” (Psalm 139:8)
B. “Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord…” (Prov. 15:11, Rev. 9:11)
C. “My fire…burns to the lowest part of Sheol” (Deut. 32:22)
I. N.T. GREEK synonym for Hebrew word “Sheol”
A. Used 4X in the Gospels – always by Jesus. (Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23)
1. Used 2X in Acts concerning Christ’s soul not left there. (Acts 2: 27, 31)
2. Used 4X in Revelation.
- a. “I have the keys of death and of Hades” (Rev. 1:18) (Heb. 2:14 …fear of death/ Eph. 4:8 …led captivity captive / Matt. 28:18 …all authority)
- b. Hades is personified as following an “ashen” horse. (Rev. 6:8)
- c. “…Death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged…” (Rev. 20:13)
- d. “…Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Rev. 20:14)
Sheol / Hades is a temporary place of torment before the Lake of Fire.
I. Hebrew word translated directly into English with the word “Hell” or “Hell fire”.
A. Following generations desecrated it by making it the city dump for Jerusalem
B. Came to be used metaphorically during the intertestamental period as a designation for hell or eternal damnation, not so much a geographic place as Sheol / Hades.
1. Gehenna was composed of things spoiled, ruined & worthless, trash, sewage, fires, worms, unburied corpses, darkness, stench and decay.
2. It is the state of final punishment of the wicked as stated by Jesus Christ:
- “Whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell” (Matt. 5:22)
- “Fear Him who is able to cast soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28)
- Better to lose body parts than go into “unquenchable fire” (Matt 18:9; 5:29-30; Mark 9;43)
- “How shall you escape the sentence of Hell?” (Matt 23:33; Luke 12:5)
- “Throw them into the furnace of fire,…weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 13:42,50)
3. Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire…prepared for the devil…” (Matt. 25:41)
False Doctrine of Universalism:
Luke 13:24 Are there but a few who are being saved? ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.’
Romans 9:27 Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sands of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved
1 Peter 3:20 in the days of Noah, …a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
Rev. 17:14 Those who are with Him are the called, the chosen and faithful.
False Doctrine of Annihilation:
This false doctrine states that the unsaved do not suffer “everlasting destruction” but are annihilated and as a result cease to exist. This doctrine denies the eternal nature of the human soul/spirit which is made in the image and likeness of God. It, like Universalism, is wishful thinking of those who refuse the direct teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.
A. The same word ‘everlasting’ (Greek: “aionios”) modifies/ both ‘life’ and ‘punishment’ (Matt. 25:46) Therefore to ascribe a different meaning to the same word is inconsistent with reason.
B. The concept of annihilation of the human soul (ceasing to exist any longer) is not supported scripturally.
1. The texts, used by “Annihilationists, are based on the use of the Greek word “apollumi”. This word does not mean cessation of existence but: “ruin, lost, waste, ongoing destruction, penalty.”
(Matt. 9:17; “wine skins are ruined”, Matt. 26:7,8; 2 Thes. 1:7-9 “the penalty of eternal destruction”)
- Thayer (author of Thayer’s ‘Greek/English Lexicon) was himself a Unitarian, not believing in Jesus Christ, Heaven or Hell. So, with no religious bias, he clearly states as a matter of accurate Greek scholarship that the word ‘apollumi’ never means cessation of existence.
- The clear texts of Revelation declare on-going, everlasting destruction .
- The Beast/Anti-Christ and the False Prophet (Rev. 17:8)
- The Devil (Rev. 20:10)
- The unbelievers and those who receive the mark of the Beast (Rev. 14:9-12)
“I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord” Ezek. 18:32
“God…desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim. 2:4
“Go into all the world and preach the Good News…he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15