Part # 2
Yes, we must look at this topic of hell thoroughly. I believe you and I should dig in and rip through verse after verse because after all we or a loved one may be going there to dwell in torment. If indeed our sister, brother, son, or daughter are headed to a place of torment, shouldn’t we do more to prevent this? I want to start out with a study of our first word “hell.” Below is a graph that list the year, version, and the totality of times hell is mentioned in each version.
|Year AD||BIBLE VERSION||OT||NT||Total|
|400||The Latin Vulgate||87||24||111|
|1611||King James Version||31||23||54|
|1884||Hanson’s New Covenant||n/a||0||0|
|1891||Young’s Literal Translation||0||0||0|
|1900||Twentieth Century New Testament||n/a||0||0|
|1901||American Standard Version||0||13||13|
|1902||Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible||0||0||0|
|1903||Weymouth’s New Testament||n/a||0||0|
|1917||Jewish Publication Society Bible OT||0||n/a||0|
|1942||Emphatic Diaglott Greek/English Int.||n/a||0||0|
|1952||Revised Standard Version||0||17||17|
|1976||Restoration of Original Sacred Name||0||0||0|
|1978||New International Version||0||14||14|
|1982||New King James Version||19||13||32|
|1983||Concordant Literal NT||n/a||0||0|
|1998||Tanakh/The Complete Jewish Bible||0||n/a||0|
|2004||Holman Christian Standard Bible||0||12||12|
Now, we know that there must be a reason why some bibles have more passages that say hell and others that don’t. If you think this is a ploy from Satan himself, bear with me as we muddle through this with are brain caps on. If you look at the graph above you will notice something rather interesting. The King James Version and the Latin vulgate are the only versions that have the word hell listed in the Older Testament. The original Hebrew Bible does not list the word hell one time. Do the research–hell is not found in the entirety of the Older Testament, but neither is everlasting. I did not say hell does not exist. I merely stated it’s not in the original Older Testament text. Remember, I am not talking about the lake of fire but a word study.
In order to take you through the Older Testament and The King James references, first, we need to go over the word “hell.”
The word sheol was translated as hell by the King James translators. According to the dictionary, sheol means “the place of the dead” or “the place of departed souls/ spirits. The word sheol is really a word that stands for the STATE of the dead. The New Testament Greek word for hell is the word hades which also is referring to the PLACE of the DEAD. In the New Testament the Greek word Gehenna is used for “hell” and comes from the Hebrew word Hinnom.
I don’t want you to take my word for anything, so I am going to go over a portion of these verses with you and you will see that to replace the word with “a Lake of fire” will not make sense but when we replace it with “the grave or Sheol” it does.
There is 31 text where Sheol is translated as hell. Anytime you see the word hell in the Old Testament it is talking about sheol or hades. Both these words are interchangeable and mean the same thing, a place of the dead.
“The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;” 2nd Samuel 22:6. This scripture is one where David is telling of all the battles The Lord brought him through. Verse one says, “David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul” NIV. In order to understand that David is just talking about the grave, and how Saul wanted to kill him, we have to look at the whole passage. Let’s start with chapter 22:4-7.
“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave (translated Hell in KJV) coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears”.
We know logically that Saul could not place David in the lake of fire, for Saul is not G-d and further the passage doesn’t make sense when rendered as hell (lake of fire). I am not saying hell doesn’t exist, I’m just trying to bring understanding to this type of doctrine and what the word hell means in the text. Again, I am not talking about a lake of fire or a baptism of fire, but a sheol.
The next verse I want you to look at is Psalm 16:10, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” KJV. This passage is referring to the one and only Yeshua/ Jesus and how His Father would not let his body decay but would raise Him from the dead. A better and closer interpretation is rendered in the NAS version which says, “For You will not abandon my soul to sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay”…
In the book of proverbs, several chapters deal with a man and a harlot or wayward women. These verses I will post from each chapter below with the King James Version depicting hell.
“Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell” Proverbs 5:5.
“Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” Proverbs 7:27.
“But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell” Proverbs 9:18.
When you read about this adulterous woman in Proverbs chapter two, she has forsaken the covenant she made in her youth to her husband, and her path leads down to the dead. If hell is death then the verse above from Proverbs 7:7 explains perfectly. Let’s reread that one, ““Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death”… Does hell go down to the chambers of death? Yes, it does, because sheol from where this word originated is talking about the abode of the dead. Most of these scriptures have been twisted to fit properly. It’s like quoting from proverbs, “Wine is a mocker” Proverbs 20:1… Does wine actually mock people in a literal sense or is the bible often using symbolisms? Exactly, put the thinking caps on tighter. The Bible uses white hair as a symbol of wisdom. It uses the wind, fire, and a dove as symbols for the Holy Ruach Spirit. Most of the time the Bible will give us the interpretation of the symbols like it does here in Revelations. “As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches” 1:20 ESV. So lampstands represent churches/assemblies but what do lakes of fire represent? We will get there in a bit.
Take out a concordance and carefully read each verse from The Older Testament that uses the word “hell” and you will see this is talking about something different than a lake of fire and a lot of times it is a symbol to express something else. I will give one more example taken from Jonah. “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; OUT OF THE BELLY OF HELL cried I, and thou heardest my voice” Jonah 2:1-2 KJV. Jonah was not in hell but in the belly of a fish. He thought his life was ending and cried out to God to save him. Let’s look at a few more verses from Jonah. “The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; SEAWEED was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; THE EARTH beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit” 2:5-6 NIV. Jubilee Bible says, “…Yet thou hast brought up my life out of the grave, O LORD my God” 2:6. Jonah was in the ocean with seaweed and the ocean enclosed him. He even described it as a pit but this is not hell.
The pit, hell, and the lake of fire are not one in the same. Many words are used over and over again in the Bible to describe things. Let me give you another example: Most Christians who have been studying their bibles for any length of time have heard the verse from Hebrews 4:12, which I am going to partially post here. It says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…” KJV. Something interesting you may have overlooked is the Bible also describes the end of a harlot with the same metaphors. Proverbs 5:3-4 says, “For the lips of a strange woman drop as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword” KJV. Symbols and metaphors are very common in this book.
There are about 31 texts where the word Sheol is translated as grave. Let’s look at something else interesting about this abode of the dead. This next passage will require a tad more reading but I think it will be worth it. Job begins to wish he were dead because his pain is so great and as he wishes for death he gives us a great description of who are found in sheol, hades and this mistranslated place called hell…
“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? For now, I would be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep and at rest with kings and rulers of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, with PRINCES who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest. Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout. The small and the great are there, and the slaves are freed from their owners” Job 3:11-17 NIV.
If you noticed in the text above, we see the Kings and Rulers, Slaves, the innocent stillborn child besides the wicked resting and obviously, they are at peace because it said, “the weary are at rest”. Yes, they all are laying in rest until THAT DAY, AT THE LAST TRUMP, which I went over in the chapter on heaven. These scriptures in Job about hell are actually talking about the grave and as you can see no one was burning in flames back then, not the slave driver or the wicked who have ceased from chaos. The wicked were said to be resting and not burning.
In the next portion, we will look at the origins of the word “hell” and also a place called Tartarus.