Concerning The Doctrine of Hell
A response to an online forum question
By Darren Owen
As concerning the doctrine of hell and matters of judgement the following
should be considered,
"I take you to
record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not
shunned to declare unto you ALL the counsel of God." Acts 20:26,27
Ezekiel 33 declares
that it was the responsibility of the watchmen to declare unto the people
judgement to come. If Paul failed to declare eternal punishment, he is
guilty before God.
No where does Paul
teach an eternal conscious punishment in all his epistles. Epistles which I
might add are the establishing of FUNDAMENTALS to the new believer.
We are even told of
Paul to "Preach the Word" and in so doing, rightly divide that we may hold
fast the form of sound words, which we have heard of Paul.
time and again, that the consequences of Sin is DEATH. No more, no
"The wages of sin
Now lets get real
here for a moment folks. I mean if the idea of a punishment as severe as
that being preached today were real, then NO MAN in pure conscience would
omit this from his teaching. In fact, if you knew for certain that a man or
woman when dead and without Christ were to be thrown into a fire that would
torment and cause agony beyond imagination, I suspect that you would tell
every man woman and child you knew of this consequence WITHOUT CEASING. Yet
Paul does not. Which begs the question, why not?
It has been said
earlier that Paul states that non believers will be punished with
everlasting destruction, and that this means hell. Note, this verse does not
say, everlasting torment. I believe it had been said earlier to not change
the Word of God.
critical lexicon he states that the word destruction means:
Ruin, death; that
which causes death, a ruin to others, destructive, deadly.
There appears to be
a theme, namely, DEATH, as in the wages or consequence of sin is
DEATH. Nowhere does Paul when teaching the fundamentals of the
consequence of sin, mention hell. Curious ...
The problem with
man, WAS his sin, which in turn caused death. A death which Christ
took in our place and shed the BLOOD necessary for forgiveness.
It is HIS
BLOOD that justifies us (Rom 5:9)
It is HIS DEATH
that reconciled us (Rom 5:10, 2 Cor 5:18-20
And it it his
RESURRECTION (LIFE) that SAVES us. (Rom 5:10)
Nowhere in the
dynamics of the cross is there mentioned a penalty of suffering or burning
in hell to take away our sins.
Have we not learned
anything from the Old Testament as to the sacrifice?
It was the death of an innocent animal and the
BLOOD that was poured over the mercy seat to cover the law that
the God required. There was no torture or torment for the animal to remit
those sins. The burnt offering showed the distinction of the animal for it
was DEAD and PERISHED in the fire. It was not burned alive. It was the DEATH
and the BLOOD!
shedding of blood is no remission of sins.
It is UNBELIEF
today that is the problem and not sin. And if a man chooses to not believe,
that is his CHOICE, and he will not see life. He will not have a
"He that hath the
Son, hath life, he that hath not the Son of God, hath NOT LIFE." 1
And God has giving
him free will to make such a choice. But to say that if that man chooses to
reject Christ, then he will suffer an everlasting punishment of torment in
fire is not a choice, it is in fact, a sick and unjust God who would punish
a man whose sins had been forgiven.
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling
the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath
committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 2
Christ died for the
ungodly and is no longer imputing trespasses against them, and that means
YOU, ME and the sinner next door who does not believe.
Believe or be
tortured is not the will of a loving God who gives all men free choice.
History revealed an inquisition with much the same mentality. Yet God is
clear, thses horrible thoughts have never entered into his mind..
And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is
in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters
in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my
heart. Jer 7:31
No, God says that
those who by their own free will decide not to choose Chriat as the Savior
will die and return to dust and be remembered no more. As in not in the book
of Life or in the Generation of Christ. (note, sing. compare the only two
books of generations, Gen 5:1 -- plural as in all die and Mt 1:1 singular as
in all shall be made alive. )
"The preaching of
the cross is to them that PERISH foolishness; but unto us which are
saved it is the power of God. " 1 Cor 1:18
It may be asked,
what does perish mean?
Yes it is the Greek word for destroy, but let us look at what Paul says it
means in the English.
12: Now if Christ
be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is
no resurrection of the dead?
13: But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith
is also vain.
15: Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified
of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the
dead rise not.
16: For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your
18: Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
Paul makes it clear
that all BELIEVERS who have died have perished if Christ be not raised.
( Note, unbelievers are NEVER said to sleep) Why, because they would not
have a resurrection, (LIFE). Paul continues, and what follows is the
greatest chapter in all the bible on resurrection.
19: If in this life
only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20: But now is Christ risen from the DEAD, and become the firstfruits
of them that slept.
21: For since by man came DEATH, by man came also the resurrection of
the dead. (LIFE)
22: For as in Adam all DIE, even so in Christ shall all be made
alive. (Note IN CHRIST)
26: The last enemy
that shall be destroyed is DEATH.
Let it mean what it
says where it says it.
last thought about hell where scriptures were used which plainly use the word
Gehenna and not hades. For instance,
28: And fear not them
which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him
which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Gk. gehenna).
Here the text plainly
states the soul and body would be DESTROYED and not tormented in gehenna.
I would normally find
it unecessary to draw attention to the following verses considering the company
of believers on this board, but...
21: Ye have heard that
it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill
shall be in danger of the judgment:
22: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause
shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca,
shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be
in danger of hell fire.(Gk. gehenna)
The Judgement here
refers to an inferior court that could condemn to death by the sword.
The council was known
as the Sanhedrin and had the additional power of condemning to death by stoning,
which was a great ignominy to a Jew. Moreover, the Sanhedrin could condemn a man
to be denied burial, and be cast after death into the valley of Hinnom, the city
dump as it were, to be an abhorring to all flesh.
This is the same idea
that is given in Isaiah when in 66:24 he says:
24: And they shall go
forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me:
for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they
shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
Note the verse says
carcasses or DEAD BODIES.
But thou art cast out
of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are
slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a
carcass trodden under feet. Isa 14:19
Then the angel of the
LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore
and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were
all DEAD CORPSES. Isa 37:36
The idea here is that a
Jew to be denied burial was the worst that could happen, for he would be thrown
in the city dump where the fire was used to burn the contamination of the waste,
and whatever the fire did not get, the worms would eat. Nothing in either of
these verses speaks to a place of conscious punishment and torture.
Gehenna, the valley of
Hinnom or Tophet (can mean a place to spit upon or abhor or drums) is where the
children of Israel made the babies to pass thru the fire in worshiping the god
Molech. And where they would play drums loudly as to drown out the cries of the
babies being cast into the iron chest of their god. Noteworthy here to state
that God said:
And they have built the
high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn
their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not,
NEITHER CAME IT INTO MY HEART. Jer 7:31
Hell here, or Gehenna
is a defiled place:
And he defiled Topheth,
which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son
or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. 2 Kings 23:10
Josiah stopped this
abomination and filled the valley of Hinnom with the bones of men, 2 Kings 23:14
It has since become the
cesspool or garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem and here can be found the
Hill of evil council, the dragons well, Neh 2:13, Judas's field of blood or
Aceldama. Here the Dung gate from the city opens to it. Neh 3:14. In other
words, God has set his stamp upon this place and declares
"For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made
it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the
LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it. Isa 30:33 (Comp. 2 Thess
Therefore, behold, the
days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the
valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in
Tophet, till there be no place. Jer. 7:32
And go forth unto the
valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and
proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee,
3: And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of
Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring
evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.
4: Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned
incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known,
nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;
5: They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire
for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came
it into my mind:
6: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no
more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of
slaughter. Jer 19:2-6
The Lord at thy right
hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the DEAD
BODIES; he shall wound the heads over many countries. Psl 110:5-6
Gehenna as translated
hell in all it's references must be seen in the light of the "Word" and not as
man sees it. To teach gehenna as hell in the traditional sense is a miscarriage
of justice and will not lead to the truth. Our conceptions as to what hell is or
is not is not up to us to choose, but rather to find out but what God has said.
XXXXXXX, it's only in grace that I write these things. As I told you in the car,
this is a topic which is a tough one for brethren to discuss. If I were to be
wrong, though I strongly believe that I am not, you know that I will change and
follow the truth. But as it stands, I cannot see where or with what purpose God
should choose to torture people, when death is his said consequence of Sin. His
word is clear, and these are but a few of the truths concerning this subject.
1. God never told
Adam or Eve of such a place of torment.
2. Moses never wrote about
it in any part of the Law. How can this possibly be if God must be just and have
never told anyone at anytime in the law that there was a consequence of eternal
torment? There can only be one answer.
One of my favorite
scriptures for those who believe they can never die, is rarely quoted, so here
it is, Duet. 32:39-40
See now that I, even I,
am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I
heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
As I see scripture,
ONLY God hath immortality 1 Tim 6:16 and lives forever. Death is the enemy
which must be destroyed and the only escape is IN CHRIST and that through
resurrection. I look forward to your response to which I am sure will be
As to Luke 16
Here is just one of MANY different proofs that Luke 16 is a parable.
Lets pull a few
verses together so that YOU can see by the WORD OF GOD whether or not Luke
16 is a parable.
In Matthew 13 it is
common knowledge that Christ chose to speak in parables in an effort to HIDE
the mysteries of the kingdom so that they that were without, would not
understand what he was saying.
And the disciples
came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11: He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12: For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more
abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he
13: Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and
hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14: And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing
ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall
15: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of
hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see
with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their
heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16: But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
And when he was
alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
11: And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the
kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in
12: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear,
and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their
sins should be forgiven them Mk. 4:10-12
All these things
spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake
he not unto them:
35: 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. Mt 13:34-35
And with many such
parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
34: But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone,
he expounded all things to his disciples. Mk 4:33-34
Jesus made it clear
that going forward he would not speak to anyone but in parables,
which he would explain only to the 12.
To add to this,
there are certain believers who are certain that if the Lord used the word
in Luke 16, then this proves that it was not a parable.
Let us see what the
Word of God has to say.
He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in
his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7: Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years
I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why
cumbereth it the ground?
8: And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I
shall dig about it, and dung it:
9: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it
down. Luke 13:6-10
And as they heard
these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to
Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should
12: He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to
receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13: And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said
unto them, Occupy till I come. Luke 19:11-13
Twice the Lord
states that a CERTAIN MAN and leaves no doubt as to whether these are
Christ said he
would only speak to those that were without the little flock in parables. Is
he a liar?
Look how he pulls
out a parable to those who thought they were righteous,
And he spake this
parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous,
and despised others:
10: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the
other a publican.
11: The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that
I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this
12: I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13: And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his
eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a
14: I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the
other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted.
There can be no
doubt that Luke 16 is a parable.
It must be
remembered the context for which Luke 16 is prefaced by. First we see 16:1
start with another parable of a certain rich man. Later we read..
"And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they
derided him" verse 14.
Then 5 verses later
he begins the Parable of a certain rich man.
There is no doubt
as to whether this is a parable. Christ Himself said he would not speak but
The testimony of John
Bishop John Lightfoot
was a Rabbinic scholar and one of the most influential members of the
"Westminster Assembly." He was contemporary with the elder, Sir Lancelot
Andrewes, one of the Translators of the King James Bible. J. Lightfoot was also
contemporary with, Oliver Cromwell and it was during this time Lightfoot was at
the height of his fame as a scholar. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Classical
Hebrew, Mishnaic Hebrew, and the Aramaic of the Talmud. His greatest work is
his, "Horae Hebraicae PT Talmudicae" which was designed to show the bearing of
Jewish studies on the interpretation of the N.T.
"parable" of the -Rich Man and Lazarus , (Lk.16:19-31) Lightfoot says this
"Whoever believes this not to be a parable, but a true story, let him believe
also those little friars whose trade it is to shew the monuments at Jerusalem to
Pilgrims, and point exactly to the place where the house of the "rich glutton
stood." ("A commentary on the N.T. from the Talmud and Hebraics"-vo13, Pg.
Many allusions to the
Rich Man and Lazarus are given in the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud, though
they differ in some degree among themselves. (1) "Paradise", and "the carrying
away by Angels, "Abrahams bosom, etc" are the popular expressions constantly
used. (Kiddushin fol 72) (2) There is the story of a woman who had seen six of
her sons slain. She heard the command given to kill the youngest son (2 1/2 yrs
old) and running into the embraces of her little son, kissed him and said, "Go
thou my son to Abraham my father and tell him thou saith thy mother. Do not thou
boast saying, "I have built an alter, and offered my son Isaac". For thy mother
hath built seven alters, and offered seven sons in one day", etc. (Midrach Echal,
fol.68.1). (3) Then there is the story of the good man and wicked man who died
but the good man "had no funeral rites solemnized" but the wicked had. Afterward
there was one who saw in his dream the good man walking in gardens ...but the
wicked man with his tongue trickling drop by drop at the bank of the river,
endeavouring to touch the water, but he could not." (Chagigah, fo1.77 Treatise
on Ex.23:17) (4) "The Great Gulf", (Midrash on Coheleth 103 .2) etc , etc.
From all of this it is
clear that the Lord in Luke 16 is not delivering this Parable as one of His own
teachings on the state of the dead. He was taking the current traditional
teachings of the Pharisees, to condemn them out of their own mouth, as He did
earlier concerning divorce, which they abused 16:18 to show them that they were
the unjust stewards of 16:1-17. As concerning the State of the Dead, the Word of
God is very explicit: Ps. 6:5, 30: 9, 31: 17, 88:11, 115:17, 146:4, Eccl.
9:6,10, 12:7, Isa 38:17-19, etc.
It is translated 31
times "Hell", 31 times "The Grave" and 3 times "The Pit"
They are as follows:
Gen 37:35, 42:38,
44:29, 31 1 Sam 2:6, 1 Ki 2:6, 9, Job 7:9, 14:13, 17:13, 21:13, 24:19, Ps 6:5,
30:3, 31:17, 49:14, 15, 88:3, 89:48, 141:7, Pro 1:12, 30:16, Ecc 9:10, Sol 8:6
Isa 14:11, 38:10, 18, Eze 31:15, Hos 13:14, Duet 32:22 2 Sam 22:6, 11:8, Job,
26:6, Ps:9:17, 16:10, 18:5, 55:15, 86:13, 116:3, 139:8, Pro 5:5, 7:27, 9:18,
15:11, 15:24, 23:14, 27:20, Isa 5:14, 14:9, 28:15, 28:18, 57:9, Eze:31:16, 17,
32:21, 27, Amos 9:2, Jonah 2:3, Hab 2:5, Nu 16:30, 33, Job 17:16
I challenge any seeker of truth to do
just that. Lay your opinions of what you have been told, and seek God's wisdom
and truth and search and see for yourself how He uses the word HELL. There they
are above... are you really a Berean??????