*DOCTRINE OF HELL*
part 1 of 3
”HELL” in Hebrew is *”SHEOL”*, often used for ‘grave’ or ‘world of the dead’; it is used 65 times in the Old Testament: Gen37:35, 42:38, 44:29,31; Num16:30,33; Deut32:22; 1Sam2:6, 2Sam22:6; 1Kings2:6,9; Job7:9,11:8,14:13,17:13,16,21:13,24:19, 26:6; Ps6:5, 9:17, 16:10, 18:5, 30:3, 31:17, 49:14, 49:14,15, 55:15, 86:13, 88:3, 89:48, 88:3, 89:48, 116:3, 139:8, 141:7, Pr1:12, 5:5, 7:27, 9:18, 15:11,24, 23:14, 27:20, 30:16, Ecc9:10, S.Sol8:6; Is5:14, 14:9,11,15, 28:15,18, 38:10,18, 57:9, Ez31:15,16,17, 32:21,27, Hos13:14, Amos9:2, Jonah2:2, Hab2:5.
”Hell” in Greek is *”HADES”*, it is used 11 times in the New Testament: Mat11:23, 16:18, Luke10:15, 16:23; Acts2:27, 2:31, 1Cor15:55; Rev1:18, 6:8, 20:13,14.
Another word for hell in Greek is *”GEENNA”* or gehenna, (of Jewish origin) used 11 times by Jesus and 1 time by James: Mat5:22,29,30, 10:28,18:9, 23:15,33, Mark9:43,45,47; Luke12:5; James3:6.
*”ABUSSOS”* in Greek means ‘bottomless’ (bottomless pit): Luke8:31, Rom10:7, Rev9:1,2,11, 11:7,8, 17:8, 20:1,3.
*”TARTAROS”* used by Peter in 2Pet.2:4 means ‘the deepest part of hades’.
*TERMS FOR PLACES OF PUNISHMENT:*
Hell is a general term that refers to any place of torment, not a specific term in itself but becomes specific in the biblical context. “Hell” is a broad enough term to cover both words, Hades (Sheol) and the Lake of Fire.
–The Greek term ”abyss” is often translated “pit” or “bottomless pit” in English. The abyss is the temporary place of imprisonment for some fallen angels (Luke8:31; Rev9:1,2,11, 11:7, 17:8, 20:1-3). In Christ’s day demons, free to roam actively, begged to enter swine rather than having to go to the abyss (see Luke8:31). Some fallen angels are now in the abyss. The particular fallen angels in 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 6 are confined in the abyss (Peter calls the abyss “tartarus”) until their final judgment and transfer to the Lake of Fire. They are conscious in there, not in temporary sleep or temporary annihilation: when the angel from Rev9:1 will release these demons temporarely, we are not told that he raises them from the dead, neither that he awakes them from soul-sleep, but just ‘opens chains’. They will be released from the abyss to bring torment to the earth during the Tribulation
–While the BEAST AND FALSE PROPHET go directly to the Lake of Fire at the end of the Tribulation, Satan spends 1,000 years of confinement in the abyss (see Rev20:1-3). After a short release from the abyss (leading a short rebellion of many humans), Satan will also be cast into the Lake of Fire. While the abyss is the TEMPORARY place of punishment for fallen angels, the Lake of Fire (made for the Devil and his angels, Matt25:41 but shared by unsaved humans) is their ETERNAL residence. Thus, after the angelic judgment, the abyss is emptied, and all its inhabitants undergo a permanent transfer to the Lake of Fire.
*3. SHEOL/ HADES*
–We believe that Old Testament saints (before the cross) went to a righteous compartment of Hades at death (see Luke16). Jesus visited both section of Hades between His death and resurrection proclaiming his victory to demons and the lost souls and brought the saved souls from there to heaven, perhaps at the ascension or shortly after ressurection. Verses: 1Sam28:13,15; Ps24; Matt12:40; 27:51-53; Luke16:19-31; John20:17; Acts2:27; Eph4:8-9; 1Pet3:18-20.
–SHEOL is a Hebrew word, its Greek equivalent is HADES. Both terms refer to the place of departed human spirits. The souls of the unsaved go to Hades immediately upon death and remain there until the resurrection of their bodies unto condemnation at the Great White Throne Judgment. Therefore, Hades is a temporary place of punishment, or a prison, for unsaved humans until their final resurrection, judgment, and transfer to the eternal Lake of Fire.
*3A. SHEOL/HADES is FOR HUMANS ONLY*
The Bible does not teach that fallen angels ever enter Hades to await judgment. The temporary place of confinement for fallen angels who await final judgment is called the “abyss” or “tartarus.” Hades is the temporary place of punishment for unsaved humans who await final judgment.
Obviously, the bodies of the unsaved return to the dust at death. Only their souls enter Hades. Thus, Hades is a place for departed and non-resurrected human spirits. After they are raised to stand judgment, they will have a resurrection body perfectly suited to eternal flames (see Dan12:2; Jn5:29; Rev20:12). Humans in the Lake of Fire will possess body and soul (see Matt10:28. Hell here is Gehenna), but those in Hades awaiting judgment do not have a resurrection body. It seems that disembodied spirits have some kind of spiritual body as Luke16:19-31 tells of “eyes, fingers, and tongue”.
Someone who is dead spiritually is still conscious (not annihilated or in soul-sleep), even if that person is dead or alive physically: Jn5:24, Col2:13, Eph2:1-6, 4:18, 1Tim5:6, Rev20:12. To be dead spiritually means to not have a relationship with God through faith in the sacrifice of Christ.
*3B. The LOCATION of SHEOL/HADES*
The location for the eternal Lake of Fire is unknown. The “heavens and earth” have fled before the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev20:11). This indicates the destruction of the present heavens and earth (see Mat24:35, Heb1:10-12, 2Pet3:10-13, 1Jn2:17). It follows that the Lake of Fire is not on this present earth. However, there are plenty of Scriptural phrases that indicate that Sheol/Hades is IN THE CENTER OF THE PRESENT EARTH. This is another indication of the difference between Sheol/Hades as the temporary place of human punishment before the final judgment, and the Lake of Fire (or Gehenna) which is the eternal place of torment for both fallen angels and unsaved humans;
Job11:8, Ps139:8 , Prov15:24, Prov9:18b, Ezek31:15-17;32:18,21,24, Amos9:2, Matt11:23, Luke10:15, – These verses contrasts heaven as being UP with Sheol which is DOWN. In Num16:33 sons of Corah went alive into SHEOL as the earth was opened under them.
*3C. CONSCIOUSNESS IN SHEOL/HADES*
–Regardless as to whether Lucifer in Isaiah is interpreted as a reference to Satan or to the King of Tyre (whom Satan supported) or both, Isaiah 14 teaches that the lost are conscious in Sheol. They are aware and even communicate. Special attention should be paid to v9-17 where those in Sheol respond to Lucifer’s entrance.
–Ezekiel Chapters 31-32 indicate that the lost in Sheol are very much conscious. Ez32:21 speaks of the inhabitants of Sheol reacting to Egypt’s destruction. V31 says that Pharaoh will meet the leaders of the other destroyed kingdoms in Sheol.
–Christ’s teaching about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke16:19-31 gives the most convincing argument that the lost are conscious in Hades. The rich man could see in Hades. He could feel, he could taste, and he could think and respond.
End of part 1 of 3