The Biblical Description of Hell

Biblical Description of HellThe Biblical
Description of
HELL

By Tom Kendall

INTRODUCTION

One of the issues often avoided in teachings from the pulpit, bible studies and general conversation in the Christian community seems to be the issue of “hell”. For some reason, it seems to have a mystique about it that some may think invites evil spirits into their lives. However, if it was not to be studied, taught, discussed and understood, God would not have given us the information in the Bible. Because He did, and because it is there, I believe we should study and understand it just like any other aspect of scripture.

In this document, I will attempt to bring together many of the resources found is scripture that gives us a glimpse of the afterlife, and in particular, what we refer to as “hell”. In studying this topic, we must also consider other key issues that include what we refer to as “heaven”, as well as sin, punishment, reward, salvation and a host of issues that contribute to the complete understanding of this topic.

DEFINING HELL

As we begin, it is important that we look at the original Greek and Hebrew words used in scripture and what they meant to those to which the original books were written. The first key word is the Greek word “Hades”. ᾅδης [hades /hah·dace/]   In the Strong’s biblical word reference, this is word number 86. When translated into English, it translates into “hell” ten times and the word “grave” once. Here are applications and meanings as described in Strong’s:

  1. Name Hades or Pluto, the god of the lower regions.
  2. Orcus, the nether world, the realm of the dead.
  3. later use of this word: the grave, death, hell. Additional Information: In Biblical Greek it is associated with Orcus, the infernal regions, a dark and dismal place in the very depths of the earth, the common receptacle of disembodied spirits. Usually Hades is just the abode of the wicked, Lu. 16:23Lu. 16:23
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    23 In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom.

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    , Rev. 20:13,14Rev. 20:13,14
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    13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

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    ; a very uncomfortable place.

A very uncomfortable place, indeed. Certainly not a place most people long to be for eternity. It is also helpful to take a closer look at some of the descriptions of “Hades” and how they may be used today. Sometimes, these old, classical words find their way into secular use and minimize the meaning of them as we Plutothink of them in modern terminology. For example, the word “Pluto”.   It is the name of one of our planets. But the name is that of the “god of the lower regions” as understood by the ancients.   It is also the name of Mickey Mouse’s dog.  Who could possibly think the happy, carefree dog of Disney would be symbolically named after the ancient god of the underworld.   I am confident Walt Disney never intended to try and portray Pluto as something other than the cartoon character it is, in our modern society, we do not normally associate anything related to “hell” with that name.

It is a similar situation with the name “Orcus”, the nether world, the realm of the dead. It is from this word where the French word “ogre” likely originated. An “ogre” is defined as:

Shreck1: a hideous giant of fairy tales and folklore that feeds on human beings : monster
2: a dreaded person or object

Ogres for centuries were the scary, ugly monsters we grew up afraid of always fearing they hid under our beds at night or in the dark corners of our closets. Today, Ogre is the lovable green character in Shrek that kids love, and certainly don’t think of as being a scary monster that wants to devour them in their sleep.

How did we get from studying “hell” to Shrek? Simple. Many of the words and concepts we think of in modern day are complete changes of the original derivatives and the original meanings of the ancients. Therefore, it is no wonder we are easily confused when we hear some of the meanings and definitions of the original words used in the Bible. How often do we hear the word “hell” spoken in general conversation and on television? It has become a benign term that is no longer unacceptable in most conversational circles. Continue reading The Biblical Description of Hell

Bible Study Notes: For John 5:6-7

NOTES FOR THE
STUDY OF JOHN 5:6-7JOHN 5:6-7
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6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.”

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 Compiled By:
Tom Kendall

The Certainty of God’s Witness

6 This is He who came by water and blood Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.  (John 5:6-7John 5:6-7
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6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.”

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NKJV)

 The following notes are great discussion points regarding this passage of scripture.  It speaks to who God is, the Trinity, ONE God, not three!  For a detailed description of the Trinity, please check out my eBook poste called: “What is the Trinity, Who am I, and Why Do I Have to be Born Again?” (Select it from the eBooks section on this site)

So often, we, as Christians, have had a difficult time explaining who we are and who God is in relation to His creation.  Our inability to explain the Triune nature of our God has led many to believe we worship 3 Gods.  This is one criticism Islam has of Christianity, that they are “monotheistic” and Christians are “polytheistic” because we worship 3 Gods, not one, like them.  It is hard to blame them for this criticism when one needs only ask 10 people who call themselves “Christians” to explain how God can be “3 Persons” and still be “One God”.

Please use these notes when you are studying this key passage in John 5.

Continue reading Bible Study Notes: For John 5:6-7John 5:6-7
English: World English Bible - WEB

6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.”

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Defining Absolute Truth

Defining Absolute Truth

An Analysis of “Truth”
By Tom Kendall

An Introduction to “Truth”

The word “truth” is often mislabeled and misused. One man’s “truth” is often another man’s folly.   Therefore, we must put the term “truth” in perspective. Webster defines “truth” as:

truth (trōōth) n. pl. truths (trōōthz, trōōths)
1. Conformity to fact or actuality.
2. A statement proven to be or accepted as true.
3. Sincerity; integrity.
4. Fidelity to an original or standard.
5. Reality; actuality.
often Truth That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.

Because most people accept the term “truth” at this level, let’s examine these definitions to see if they hold up in all cases.

Conformity to fact or actuality.

This definition is acceptable in what I will refer to as “relative truth”. That is, it is “true” in relation to a set of facts or circumstances, but not the type of “truth”, “absolute truth” that we will seek in this article. It is “true”, and thus “truth”, that the sun is shining where I am today, but that is not necessarily the “truth” if you aren’t where I am today. Therefore, it is an example of how the truth is “conformed” to fit the circumstances, or what is “actually” perceived by the person espousing the “truth”, but the truth is only “relative” to the person who fits the circumstances, and can not be considered and “absolute” truth.

A statement proven to be or accepted as true

At one time, scientists “proved” that the world was flat and it was accepted as “truth”. Therefore, just because it was “proven” and “accepted” as truth, didn’t actually make it true. This is what I will refer to as “perceived truth”; that is, it is true because it is perceived, and generally accepted as “true”, but the element of time eventually uncovers the fallacy and replaces it with a new perception of “truth”. Continue reading Defining Absolute Truth