Is Hell eternal?

This topic contains 416 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  t8 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #817621
     942767 
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    Hi Brian:

    When I pray to my Father and God every moring, I sas Him that if I a teaching anything that is not His Word or doing anything that is not His Will that He correct me. I don’t want to teach anything that is not His Word.

    Give me the scriptures on which you are basing understanding, and what the correct translation of those scriptures should be, and if God shows me that you are correct in what you are teaching, I will be corrected, with thanksgiving.

    But again, no one has to go to hell unless that is what they choose to do.

    Love in Christ,
    Marty

    #817622
     Brian 
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    Marty,

    Sounds good. Did you get a chance to read through my original post? It explains that anywhere you see the word “eternal” in the Old Testament, it means “future,” and when you see “eternal” in the New Testament, that means “age.” “Everlasting” is the same…it means “future” or “distant future” in the Old Testament and “age” or “age of ages” in the New Testament. It’s basically saying “a time,” “a time in the future”, or “a long time.” So, pick any verse you like that talks about hell. It’s always described as “eternal judgment” or “eternal punishment” or “eternal destruction.” Just do a search for verses that have those terms in it and you’ll find plenty of verses to look at. Every one of them uses the same Greek words, so pick any or all of them if you like. Biblegateway.com is an easy one to use.

    Once you do that, make sure you look up each of those verses in a Strong’s Concordance to confirm the Greek or Hebrew word they’re sourcing off of. In the Hebrew, it will be “Owlam” (may be spelled differently depending on which resource you use, because it’s transliterated). In Greek it’ll be Aion or Aioniosa or Aionian (spelling varies). Then look up those words in a lexican for each language so you can get the true meaning in the original language.

    One last thing to keep in mind is that when the word “age” is paired with something we know is eternal, that’s the only time “age” means “eternal” or “ageless.” So if it says “aionios life” or “aionios God,” then it means eternal/ageless. But when it’s paired with something that isn’t ageless/eternal, then it just means “age” or “age-bound”…a period of time. And the fact that it’s paired with the Greek word for corrective punishment means it’s temporary rather than eternal. One cannot be corrected for eternity because that’s not corrective. It’s vengeful with no corrective end in sight. And the fact that “judgment” in the Hebrew means to locate a problem and remove it from a person so the person can grow and mature tells us the nature of hell’s judgment. Judgment means pruning, basically, and so does the word punishment in the Hebrew. And when Jesus or others in the New Testament are using those words, they’re sourcing them from the Old Testament, so they have the same meaning. Which makes sense when you realize the punishment mentioned in the New Testament is defined as corrective punishment.

    Have at it, man. Don’t tak emy word for it. Research it and see what conclusion you come to. Maybe you’ll come to a better conclusion than me.

    If you wanna find truth, you gotta dig deep. I’m not saying I’ve found truth, but I do dig deep

    –Brian

    #817623
     942767 
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    Hi Brian:

    There are only two scriptures in the OT where I see the word “eternal”.

    They are:

    Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say,…

    Isaiah 60:15 Whereas thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

    The Hebrew word in the first scripture is “Qedem” and according to strong’s concordance the meaning is:

    קֶדֶם qedem, keh’-dem; or קֵדְמָה qêdᵉmâh; from H6923; the front, of place (absolutely, the fore part, relatively the East) or time (antiquity); often used adverbially (before, anciently, eastward):—aforetime, ancient (time), before, east (end, part, side, -ward), eternal, × ever(-lasting), forward, old, past.

    In the other scripture the Hebrew word is Owlam, and the meaning according to Strong’s is:

    ם ʻôwlâm, o-lawm’; or עֹלָם ʻôlâm; from H5956; properly, concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity; frequentatively, adverbial (especially with prepositional prefix) always:—alway(-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, (n-)) ever(-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end).

    And the context of its use in Isaiah gives us what is meant when it continues saying:

    I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

    He will make them “a joy of many generations”.

    Love in Christ,
    Marty

    #817624
     942767 
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    But Brian, I believe that we must also research the meaning of the words “Hell”. die, death and judgment in order to arrive at the truth both in the OT and in the New Testament.

    Love in Christ,
    Marty

    #817625
     Brian 
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    Marty,

    Yeah, I’ve researched all of those words and more. 🙂 This is a good start, but you can’t go off of the Strong’s alone because Strong’s gives you all the different ways our translations have translated those words. It does not give the actual meaning of the word, often times, though. That’s why I mentioned going to a Hebrew lexicon online and a Koine Greek lexicon online, as well. A lexicon gives you the actual meaning with background of the word within the culture.I’ll give you the meaning of “hell” real quick. In the OT,

    I’ll give you the meaning of “hell” real quick. In the OT, hell always refers to “the grave,” and more accurately translated, means “the unseen” or “below.” It’s talking about the figurative place below the ground. It really does just mean “the grave” in Hebrew, for the most part. There’s really nothing special about that word in the OT. They believed in soul sleep. A person dies and their spirit sleeps until a future time of resurrection. In the NT, hell comes from the word Hades, usually, which is used because it’s the word the Greeks use to describe their version of hell. They got that belief from the other Pagan religions prior to them a few hundred years before. There is one or two other words used for it in the NT, but I forget what they are at the moment. None of them help define hell, though. In the NT, anything described by “fire” is a metaphor for refinement. It’s all referncing the Refiner’s Fire. When they refined gold back then, they would melt it down, scoop the impurities off the top, then let it cool. That would purify it. So that’s what all passages about “fire” mean in the NT. That’s why Jesus says “all will be salted with fire.” In other words, everyone will be purified in one way or another according to Jesus.

    I apologize that I didn’t give you better direction when looking up the words eternal, judgment, and punishment. I forgot to mention that when you do a search, you have to search different translations in order to get all of the different verses about hell. What you’re looking for when searching the OT is “eternal punishment” and “everlasting contempt.” If you’ll search for “eternal judgment verses” and “everlasting contempt verse” in google, you’ll find the two OT verses that refer to hell. Then you can look up everlasting judgment, everlasting fire, eternal judgment, and eternal punishment in the NT to find the verses about hell. The King James is usually a good one to use to search for all of the verses.

    Anytime hell is talked about in the OT, the word used to describe it is either owlam or…I’m blanking on the other word, but it has owlam in it and I can give you its meaning. Owlam, in Ancient Hebrew, literally means, “Over the horizon.” They were nomads, so whatever was over the horizon was “the future,” because they couldn’t see it yet and didn’t know what awaited them there. So “owlam” means “future.” Notice how Strong’s gave you several translations. Only one or two of those are accurate. The rest are ways that our translations have translated that word which are incorrect. So a Hebrew lexicon would give you the definition I just gave you, which is the accurate definition. So, when you see everlasting, or everlasting to everlasting, or eternal in the OT, it’s always owlam or that other word I’m blanking on. That other word litearlly means, “Over the horizon and back again,” which means WAY into the future. This is important, because it describes which age in which punishment is happening. In the OT, it appears there’s future punishment, and then punishment that’s even farther in the future. That could mean that there’s hell and then there’s the lake of fire later. Both are described as correctional, though…so that’s important to note. The book Hope Beyond Hell explains all of this in more detail.

    The NT is sourcing off of those words when it’s describing hell. And it’s having to do so using words from the Greek language that aren’t truly sufficient to describe things in an Ancient Hebrew way. So they do the best they can with the language they’re existing in. lol That’s how it always is with translation. We can never get a perfect translation because we can never truly understand a culture 100% and our words are never exactly like their words.

    You’ver got a good start there, Marty. Keep digging deeper.

    –Brian

    #817626
     Brian 
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    Marty,

    Don’t forget how “owlam” and “aion/aionios” are used. “Aion,” in Greek, means “age.” But when you put “aion” next to a word we know is eternal (like God), then “aion” means “eternity.” So even though “aion,” which means “age,” means a period of time, it means eternity when paired with something like “God,” because we know God is eternal. We know life is eternal, as well, so when “aion” is paired with life, it means “eternal life.” But judgment/punishment are correctional according to their Greek words, which means they have to be temporary. Therefore, when “age” is used next to judgment or punishment, it really means “age” or “future” or “age-bound” judgment/punishment.

    I’m not sure if you’ll find that in the Greek lexicon or not, but definitely look for it.

    By the way, I’m impressed. Most people just immediately discount this stuff and won’t study it. You’re going further than most do.

    –Brian

    #817629
     942767 
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    Hi Brian:

    What I was indicating to you, is that we should look at the OT first, and determine what is meant by those words for that dispensation.  Judgment for those in the OT has already occurred.  Therefore, as you state, the term “hell” in the OT is the grave.  They will not be resurrected to endure any further punishment.  They will be resurrected in the body of Christ if they died in the faith.

    In the NT, judgement for those who die in their sins is delayed until the very end.

    Matthew 24:

    14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

    John 12:

    47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.

    So, I believe what we need to do is determine what is meant by “eternal death” and hell in the NT. We know that in the book of Revelation there is what is called the
    “second death”, and so, there must be a first death, and we know by the scriptures that all of humanity will suffer the “first death”.

    Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    Based on my study of the scriptures, the first death is spiritual separation from God followed by a physical death. It is from the state of the first death, in the state of being spiritually separated from God, that God is calling us into a relationship with Him through the gospel. It is in this world that those who have come into relationship with God learn to apply the Word of God in their daily life. The world is the “refining fire”.

    Ephesians 2King James Version (KJV)

    2 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

    2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

    3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

    5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

    6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

    7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    And so, I guess what we need to determine to answer your question “about hell” is to find out what is meant by “the second death”.

    Love in Christ,
    Marty

     

    #817630
     Brian 
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    Marty,

    I appreciate your desire to dig and find the truth. Revelation basically is saying that the Lake of Fire is the second death. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give us any indication of whether hell is eternal nor not. All of this studying comes down to a few simple things:

    1. Is the punishment spoken of in the NT correctional or not?
    2. What do the words aion, aionian, and aionios mean?

    That’s really all we need to know. Either hell is correctional or it is not. No need to take your study further than that. The Lake of Fire has the same definition as eternal punishment or eternal judgment. They’re all “eternal.” The question is whether eternal is actually eternal or if it’s temporary. The only other issues are whether the Lake of Fire is eternal or not and if it’s corrective or not since it is a state that happens to people after hell.

    To determine this, I look at a couple of statements in the Bible. Paul speaks of a final state of all things where Jesus takes everything under heaven and earth and gives it to the Father. This happens, according to Paul’s prophecy, after judgment has happened. This is like a final step of it all. And so Jesus was given everything and He’s said to be in all and through all. It’s all his. That includes hell and the Lake of Fire. All of it is his.

    The next statement the Bible makes that helps out is how it says that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. So I look at it like this–unconditional love doesn’t force anyone to do anything, and yet everyone is bowing the knee to Jesus and confessing him as Lord of all. Therefore, whatever happens in the Lake of Fire must end up purifying everyone, because they’re all worshiping Jesus willingly at that point.

    But if you want to go further than that, there’s really no way. Hope Beyond Hell is a good book to read for all of the mechanics of this stuff. At the End of the Ages is a good one, too. Both can be obtained very cheap from Hope Beyond Hell’s website.

    I’ll also point out that if hell is eternal, it would not be thrown into the Lake of Fire…because that would mean it ends and becomes the Lake of Fire. So hell, itself, cannot be eternal. The Lake of Fire could possibly be eternal, but we have no indication of that in the Bible since the terminology for it is unclear. All we have are the beliefs of the Ancient Hebrews to go off of, and we only get those from the Bedouins and from the Jews today. The Bedouins have a much more pure form of those beliefs. The Jews beliefs have been tainted over the years due to being captive in different countries at times. Either way, both groups believe hell is temporary because God forgives. They believe hell is a kindness to break people’s resistance which is calling all of their pain.

    Let me know when you find the NT word in the Koine Greek lexicon for “punishment” used in the NT. That one is very important. When you see that it’s correctional, you’ll realize that hell cannot be eternal. And this makes a ton of sense, because God love unconditionally, and our human wills are not more powerful than God’s will. If God can do all things and is all powerful and all wise and His will is that all repent, then He can build a system to make that possible. If He didn’t build our existence that way, then He’s openly going against His own will, which makes no sense.

    –Brian

    #817631
     942767 
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    Brian, what I am finding in the NT is that most of the time when the word “eternal” is used it is referring to eternal life with the exception of Jude 7 and Hebrews 6:2.

    According to the scripture in Jude verse 7, the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah is an example to us of what the vengeance will be. We know that the word “eternal” cannot mean that the fire is an ongoing fire. It is not still burning.

    The word translated as hell in the NT is either Gehenna, hades, or tartaroo. When it is referring to Hades, it is the grave. The Lord Jesus stated the following:

    Matthew 10:28 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.

    And here, it means Gehenna:

    Outline of Biblical Usage [?]
    Hell is the place of the future punishment called “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.

    The KJV uses “everlasting” punishment:

    Matt 25:46
    And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)
    αἰώνιος aiṓnios, ahee-o’-nee-os; from G165; perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well):—eternal, for ever, everlasting, world (began).

    And as you said, aionios could be for a period of time, and we have already seen by the scripture in Jude verse 7 that Sodom and Gommorah that the fire that destroyed them is not still burning. However, there is no indication that they were there for a period of time to receive correction, as you seem to indicate. They have been destroyed, and that is what the second death appears to be.

    2 Thes 1:

    7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

    8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

    9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

    Love in Christ,
    Marty

    #817632
     Brian 
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    Marty,

    You’re missing vital steps to this process. That’s what causes false doctrines. Research needs to be extremely thorough and objective.

    You never looked at a Greek Lexicon to get the real definition of the words. As I explained before, the Strong’s is merely giving what the different translations have defined the word as, including our best guess at what the word means. But those are not necessarily the definitions of the word. The only way to understand what the word really means is to use a Lexicon. But there’s even more that needs to be done.

    You must also understand how the word works grammatically in the language.

    As I said before, the word “aion” means age. The only time it means eternal is when it’s paired with something that’s eternal. The problem is that we don’t know if judgment is eternal, but translators assume it is, and then translate the word to mean eternal.

    What we do know is that the word for vengeful punishment is used only once in the NT to describe Saul’s persecution of the Christians. All other uses of punishment are the word that means corrective punishment. But you aren’t aware of that because you didn’t use a Lexicon to look up the actual meanings of the two different “punishment” words in the NT.

    You are correct that there are 3 different names for hell in the NT, but again, none of those are important. All that’s important are the adjectives that describe hell, because we’re only interested in hell’s nature.

     

    #817633
     Brian 
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    Marty,

    I have a suggestion to speed up your study and make it more objective. Forget everything you know for right now and just study as if you think he’ll could very well be eternal. The reason for this is to keep your mind from constantly trying to disprove it. Until you learn this view and it’s foundational components and it’s arguments, you have no way to debate it properly. By learning it as if it were true, you gain the advantage of being open-minded and objective while you study. It makes study a lot quicker and easier. After you learn the view well, then you put on your Christianity lenses and view it again to see if it fits into Christianity and the Bible.

    The way you’re studying now isn’t objective. You’re not digging really deep by going into a Lexicon. You’re stopping at the Strong’s definition because it validates your belief. You must go deeper, because Strong’s isn’t showing the actual definition of the word. Lexicon give actual definitions and understandings of the words within the culture, including sayings.

    The only other thing you can do is research the history and origin of the fiery hell belief, and how it was made the prominent view. Don’t stop at what validates your beliefs like most people do. Most people just want to confirm that they’re right. Dig deeper than them. Take no one’s word for it. Decide on your own, but only after you’ve truly dug deep.

    –Brian

    #817634
     942767 
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    Hi Brian:

    Our commission from our Lord, is that we should preach the gospel to whomever will hear us. No one has to go to hell unless that is what they choose. It definitely is not a place where I want to go.

    Hebrews 10:

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

    30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

    31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    Love in Christ,
    Marty

    #817635
     942767 
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    Hi Brian:

    Thanks, for the advice. It is good advice. Before I go digging, I always ask my Father and God for understanding, and that is the best advice that I can give anyone.

    It was nice talking to you, and I want the very best that God has to offer for you and your family.

    Love in Christ,D
    Marty

    #817636
     Brian 
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    Marty,

    So you don’t want to dig deeper to learn the truth about the Greek words that will tell you what hell really is?

     

    #817637
     Brian 
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    It took me all of a few minutes to look up the two different words translated as punishment in the NT in an online lexicon. And like I said…the one used with hell is corrective punishment, and the one Paul uses to describe what he did to the Christians was the vengeful punishment. Very simple. Very quick to research.

    Jesus is the one who uses the word for correctional punishment to describe hell rather than the word Paul used to describe vengeful punishment. Do you believe Jesus didn’t know Greek very well and used the wrong word to describe hell? Would Jesus have made such a careless mistake?

    It sounds like you’re perfectly fine looking up just the bare minimum to confirm your beliefs, but you’re scared to look deeper and find out you’re wrong. It would’ve taken you all of about 10 minutes to research loosely and maybe 30 minutes to an hour to do a more thorough search. But you were unwilling to do so. So no, you do not dig deep like you claimed. It’s behavior like that which causes people to not like Christians. It means some Christians can’t be trusted to actually do good research if it means it could disprove there beliefs (Christians like you, I mean). Have some integrity. Do what you said you’d do. Research it deep. Either hell is corrective or its vengeful. All you have to do is look up the words in the lexicon. That’s it. Just do it. If you won’t, I’ll gladly post it in here to show what research you refused to do.

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