*DOCTRINE OF HELL*
part 2 of 3
*3D. SHEOL/HADES AND TORMENT*
The Bible unquestionably presents Hades as a place of CONSCIOUS TORMENT. Persons who reject Christ are already condemned even as they live (Jn3:18). They are literally one heartbeat away from conscious, eternal torment. Although Hades is a temporary abode for the unsaved dead as they await judgment, a small time of release for judgment at the Great White Throne will be no comfort. The verdict and sentence are certain. Those in Hades will be resurrected unto certain condemnation and transferred to the eternal Lake of Fire (Gehenna).
“Hell” is a broad enough term to cover both Hades (Sheol) and the Lake of Fire. Thus, it is true to assert that unbelievers enter Hell at death (see Luke16:22-23). Hades is a place of misery and torment. Deut32:22a, Ps49:14, Prov15:24, Sheol is a place of torment to be avoided, not an unconscious sleep or annihilation. Matt11:23-24, Luke10:12,15 speak of degrees of punishment in hell.
*3E. The Relationship of Hades to the Lake of Fire*
–Hades (Sheol) is a temporary place where departed unsaved human spirits await the resurrection unto condemnation (Jn5:29) to stand trial at the Great White Throne. Hades will give up its dead to face judgment and transferal to the eternal Lake of Fire. Hades, which is in the center of the earth, will then be destroyed with this old earth, Rev20:13-15.
–There are ten references to Hades in the New Testament (Matt11:23; 16:18; Luke10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; Rev1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14). Anyone who does not approve of the concept of Hades will have to take issue with the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. He taught about such a place as much as anyone. Upon death unbelievers go to Hades and are in confinement until the final judgment awaiting sentence and transferal to the Lake of Fire. Both places are hell with conscious torment.
*4. GEHENNA OR THE LAKE OF FIRE*
–Unlike Hades (Sheol), the place Gehenna, also called the Lake of Fire, is the place of eternal punishment for the unsaved (Mark9:43-48) and not a place of temporary confinement while awaiting judgment. Also, unlike Hades, the Lake of Fire is a place for the punishment of both unsaved humans and angels (Matt25:41; Rev20:10,15). Those in the Lake of Fire will apparently have resurrection bodies that are perfectly suited to eternal torment without being consumed (Matt10:28; Rev20:11-15, also Matt5:29-30;18:9, which speak of bodies in Gehenna). While the unsaved enter Hades immediately upon death (Luke16:22-27), they do not enter the Lake of Fire until after judgment (Matt25:41; Rev20:14-15). It appears that the Lake of Fire is empty at the present. Its first occupants will be the Beast and False Prophet, and soon thereafter the unsaved who have physically survived the tribulation period (Matt25:41-46; Rev19:20). Throughout the Millennium both Hades and the Lake of Fire will contain some of the unsaved. Hades will contain those who have died in previous dispensations and who have not faced God for judgment. The Lake of Fire will contain those who did not die in the Tribulation and, therefore, will face judgment shortly after the Second Coming. After the Judgment of Israel (Ez20) and the Judgment of the Nations (Matt25), the unsaved survivors of the Tribulation will be directly cast into the Lake of Fire without ever having experienced Hades. As has been discussed above, eventually Hades will be emptied and all the unsaved (together with the fallen angels) will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev20:14).
*4A. ORIGIN of the Term “Gehenna”*
Gehenna is a Greek word that comes from the original Hebrew meaning “Valley of Hinnom.” Jeremiah condemned the human sacrifices that occurred in this valley during the reign of wicked kings Ahaz and Manasseh, Jer7:31; 19:5-6; 2Kings23:10. For centuries Gai-Hinnom (the Valley of Hinnom) was the dumping grounds for Jerusalem. It was a place where the fires constantly burned dried sewage, trash, the corpses of dead animals and executed criminals. Not only was it a trash heap whose fire never ended, it was a revolting place of maggots consuming rotting flesh.
By 200 B.C. some Rabbis taught that the Valley of Hinnom (Gai-Hinnom) would be a place of eternal punishment.
The Lord Jesus Christ never taught that the location for eternal punishment was a dump outside Jerusalem, but by using the term “Gehenna” the Lord taught that the place of eternal punishment had similarities to the place “Gehenna” just outside of Jerusalem. Both are places of unending flames. Both are places of unending decay where the constant fire never consumes all the putrid flesh. The literal place of Gehenna outside of Jerusalem was a good way to describe the future destiny of the lost. They will be in a place of unending fire, but the unending fire will still never consume the flesh or end the putrefaction. Mark9:43-48. Therefore, it must be the equivalent of the “Lake of Fire” which burns forever and ever (Rev14:11, 20:10,14).
The similar description demands that the terms “Gehenna” and “Lake of Fire” be regarded as synonyms.
*4B. GENERAL DESCRIPTIONS of the Lake of Fire*
The following concepts describe the condition of the unsaved in the Lake of Fire.
—*“Cursed”:* Matt25:41; 1Cor16:22; Gal1:8-9;
—*”Judged and condemned”:* Mark16:16; Jn3:18, 5:24; 1Cor11:32
—*”Objects of God’s vengeance”:* 2Thess1:8, Heb10:30
—*”Objects of God’s wrath”:* ”Luke3:7; Jn3:36; Rom5:9; 1Thess1:10: ‘wrath to come’ means wrath is still future in all its extent, meaning the lake of fire which is a greater punishment than the present hell: if dead souls are now in soul-sleep and after the resurrection and the great judgment they go back into soul sleep, then what is the ‘wrath to come’?
—*”Destruction, perishing”:* Matt7:13;18:14; Jn10:28; Rom9:22; 2Cor2:15; Phil1:28; 3:19; 2Pet3:9; also Jn3:16, 1Cor1:18, 2Thess1:9
“And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to *destroy BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN HELL”* Matt10:28
—*”Separation from God”* (see also Matt25:30, “cast out”); Matt7:23, 2Thess1:9
—*”Denial, shame”:* 2Tim2:12b , Dan12:2, Matt7:23, Luke13:25, Matt10:33, Mark8:38
—*”Exclusion from entering heaven”:* Luke13:25, Rev21:27, 22:15
—*”Unending “worms”:* As the worms continually fed on the rotting flesh in Gehenna, the garbage dump outside Jerusalem, so there will be an unending condition of rottenness and pain in the Lake of Fire. The fire will never consume the flesh but it will produce rottenness (corruption) and pain in the bodies of the lost. Imagine maggots causing both rottenness and pain by gnawing on a living body. It may be doubtful whether there are real worms in the Lake of Fire, but the ugliness, deep horrors, pain, and putrefaction produced by parasitical worms on living flesh is as close as language can come to describing hell. Verses: Is66:24, Mark9:48
—*”Darkness”:* scientists have come to the conclusion that fire at huge degrees becomes black; the sun measures 5000 degrees Celsius on the surface and 15 million degrees at the core; maybe black holes in the universe are intense fires; fire of hell is presented in the Bible as being black, darkness; Matt8:12; Matt22:13, 25:30, 2 Pet2:17, Jude13
—*”Weeping, gnashing of teeth”:* There will be a definite consciousness in the Lake of Fire, but it will be anything but pleasant. The lost will be resurrected but with a body suited to eternal damnation. This kind of body will suffer but never be consumed: Matt8:12, Matt13:42,50, Matt22:13, 25:30, Luke13:28;
—*”Torment”:* Just as the rich man found Hades to be a place of torment (Luke16:22-28), so the Lake of Fire is a place of deep torment: Rev14:11, Rev20:10: Satan and his demons are also suffering inside, they are not torturing humans in there as some believe.
—*”Brimstone”*: When it is burned, sulfur produces a terrible odor and noxious fumes. Perhaps those in hell will experience gagging, choking, and terrible smells that bring suffocation: Rev14:10, 19:20, 20:10, 21:8;
—*”Death, specifically the second death”*: The Lake of Fire is death in the sense of ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD. The phrase “second death” refers to the fact that for unbelievers “hell” is a second death that takes place after physical death with no chance of salvation. There is nothing more fearful than death. The Lake of Fire is unending death: Rev20:6,14, 21:8
—*”Fire”:* All the verses which use the word “Gehenna” speak of fire. Likewise, the following verses contain the phrase “Lake of Fire”: Rev19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8. Other descriptive phrases include “furnace of fire”, “unquenchable fire” (Matt.3:12; Mark 9:43,48), “everlasting fire” (Matt18:8; 25:41; Jude v7), “fury of fire” (Heb10:27), and “fire” used without any further description Matt13:40; Luke3:9, Matt13:42,50.
End of part 2 of 3