There are TWO Hells

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“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death”. Revelation 20:14

My daughter came back from her young adult’s group meeting asking me again my thoughts on the subject “Hell”. She knew I had a particular bent on the term, and wanted to be reminded seeing as it’s not taught in Church anymore (there was a time when the Church would preach “hell, fire and brimstone”, but now this is seen as a ‘scaremonger’ approach, which conflicts with today’s Hippie Jesus model of ‘love’). I reminded her of my early Christian years, where I would discuss “hell” to non-believers as a way of encouraging salvation. But I must admit that my ‘evangelical’ approach was not very successful, as many would retort back saying “Hell sounds like a fun place!” and… “Well, at least I’ll be partying with my friends!!!”... which to be honest, is actually a fair-enough argument. But over the years, I have learnt that just like there are three heavens and earths within biblical literature, there are in fact two hells… which means that the “hell” they taught me in Church is not the correct picture…

So let’s start with the basics:

A REMINDER OF DEATH:

Firstly, the Church has taught us that when we die, we leave our ‘shell-body’ and go to “Heaven” (if you’ve been good)… or to “Hell” (if you’ve been bad). This is a lie, because scripture states that we each are made up of body and spirit (dust and breath), and that these two ‘entities’ together make up the existing person you are today. You’ll remember that when Adam was created, he was made from the particles of the ground, and God breathed into him, where scripture says he became a “soul” (Genesis 2:7). Paul also confirms that Adam was a “living soul” (1 Corinthians 15:45). But as we are aware, that after the crime of touching the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, this allowed the Serpent to gain authority and “death” was legislated into our once immortal framework… This is why God explained to Adam “to the dust you will return!” (Genesis 3:19). In other words, this means that when we die, we are DEAD!! Period!!! Our existence ends!!! The dust returns to the ground, and the breath returns back to God.

(You can hear about this in more detail by watching my Paradise Video on the website).

But praise God (and Jesus), because at the determined time, both body and breath will one day reunite. This is known as the Resurrection. Jesus was the first fruits of this resurrection, and scripture suggests that there is a corporate resurrection prior to the second coming of Christ… followed by the last global resurrection after the one thousand years of the Utopia (as mentioned in Revelation 20:13):

“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell gave up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works”. Revelation 20:13

With this in mind, let’s now look at the words that the translators have called “hell”:

TARTAROO, HADES AND SHEOL:

The Old Testament uses only one word to describe “hell” (“sheol”)… contrasted to the New Testament, which uses three Greek words to define “hell” (“geenna”, “hades” and “tartaroo”).

And there are 66 examples of “sheol” in total: 32 defined as “grave”, and 3 are translated as “pit” (King James version). In both these contexts, “sheol” reflects a sad event that has occurred in someone’s life: implying that the person will be tormented and filled with sorrow for the remainder of their years unto death (e.g. Genesis 37:35). “Sheol”, it would seem, involves ones journey within life while enduring its trials & tribulations.

The other 31 examples of “sheol” are transcribed as “hell”. For example:

“For great is thy mercy toward me: and you have delivered my soul from the lowest hell”. Psalm 86:13

The above verse reveals an interesting phrase: the “lowest hell”… but this does not mean that there are ‘levels’ of hell, rather that the word “lowest” (“tachtiy”) means “first”: amending the verse to say “you have delivered my soul from the first hell”. Yes, an interesting phrase indeed!!! It is seen again in the Book of Deuteronomy where God vows to destroy the earth and its mountains, including the “first hell” (Deuteronomy 32:22). The context is similar to phrases like “the first earth” (e.g. Ezekiel 31:34)… where to be called the “first earth” is synonymous with “the first kingdom”.

Let’s now look at the term “hades”:

There are only 11 references for the New Testament Greek word “hades”, where the translators have also defined as “grave” (having the same meaning as that of “sheol” from the Old Testament).

  “O death, where is thy sting? O grave (hades), where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55

If we examine the Book of Revelation, we find that there are four references where “hades” is linked with the word “death” (i.e. “death and hades”).

“And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death”. Revelation 20:14

This verse does not make sense when interpreting “hades” as the lake of fire, because how can “hell” be cast into itself? It therefore reinforces that “hades” is synonymous with the “first/lowest hell” (i.e. sheol). And when considering that “death” is associated with “sheol”, we are also reminded that this “first” kingdom is ruled by the Devil, the Beast and the False Prophet (which as we know, could not have been offered to Jesus unless the Devil ‘owned’ it). Thus biblical literature seems to say that the “First Kingdom” has another synonym (i.e. “Hades”).

Let’s now look at “tartaroo”:

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (tartaroo), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” 2 Peter 2:4

Tartaroo is only mentioned once in the New Testament (that’s right, only once!), where scholars say this word is derived from “Tartarus”: a Greek mythological prison for the Titan gods. Thus, it seems logical that Peter uses this Greek mythological term, so as to bring clarity to his audience… perhaps challenging an incorrect doctrine of the day!? And so, if we unpack the phrase “chains of darkness”, this does not mean ‘physical chains’, but rather that these fallen angels are ‘bound in darkness’, having chosen to never enter the light. Consequently, judgment on these translated beings has been determined, where the Dragon and his angels are cast down to Earth, and have been at war since the birth of time devouring those who keep the commandments of God (Revelation 12). According to the chapter, the Dragon swings his tail and destroys “one third” of the sun, moon and stars that clothes the woman. In other words, the Dragon was thrown down to the “First Heaven” (aka the “First Kingdom of God”) who ‘overthrew’ Adam’s authority as the righteous representative/ ruler of this Kingdom… which as mentioned, legislated “death” into our world and allowed all creation to be ruled by the Devil. Overall reinforcing that this world, in its very essence, is a “hell” of sorts… a ‘prison’ for mankind under the authority of these ‘dark-gods’.

(For more detail. please refer to my previous blog One Third of the Heavens).

In summary, “hell” (based upon the “sheol”, “hades” and “tartaroo” definitions) refers to the First Kingdom of Heaven ruled by the Dragon. That is why today’s world suffers pain, trials, sufferings, sorrow and grief during one’s life here on earth… inevitably ending with death, where the dust returns to the ground where it came from… buried in the “First Heaven’s” earth.

GEENNA:

“Geenna” is another word used in the New Testament that translators have given the term “hell”,

However, the location of “Geenna” is very much in dispute: as some scholars argue that the name came from the place where the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire in the Hinnom valley (2 Chronicles 28:3)… while others say that "Geenna" was known as a ‘waste heap’ on the outer edges of Jerusalem. Despite the debate, both seem to promote an ‘area of discard’… where Jesus also uses the term to show a place where evil needs to be sent (Matthew 5:30). And as with any ‘rubbish pile’, materials would often be burned so as to allow more ‘garbage’ to be poured onto it. Hence the phrase “geenna-fire”.

Subsequently there are only 12 references using “geenna”, where half of these passages are associated with “fire”:

Jesus warns that the fool is in danger of “hell (geenna)-fire” Matthew 5:22; 18:9

“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell (geenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched” Mark 9:43-44

“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire (geenna) hell” James 3:6.

Overall, it seems logical that this ‘dumping place’ called “geenna” (hell) is synonymous with the “lake of fire” metaphor.

THE LAKE OF FIRE:

The lake of fire is an interesting metaphor, because unlike all other illustrations used in the Book of Revelation (which draws most of its analogies from the Old Testament), there is no “lake of fire” in the Old Testament to reference… which arguably reinforces being linked to “geenna-fire”.

The best way to describe the lake of fire metaphor is to imagine holding a piece of paper above a camp-fire… and letting it go. What do you think will happen to it? That’s right, it burns up!! Its existence (as paper) is over!!! This is the meaning of the lake of fire: that one’s existence will ultimately end!! The log(s) are burnt to a cinder. Your life story is no more. This is the ultimate and just outcome for those who have been judged: all who suffer this “second death” are burned to a cinder… a phrase synonymous with “perishing”… a biblical concept known to some as “annihilationism”: a term used throughout Church history… where although multiple theologians have seen this biblical truth, they unfortunately were excommunicated because this teaching went against the grain.

Consider this verse:

 “And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death”. Revelation 20:14

In other words, the “lake of fire” is the final event of just judgment: the final stage of mortal man living within the bounds of time: where time itself is ended (the omega) along with all those who have opposed God. This final event ends everything that is within the First Kingdom… everything that the Devil and his angels have implemented, including “death” itself (Matthew 25:41).

THE LAZARUS PARABLE FITS THIS MODEL:

It needs to be said that the Church has compounded confusion towards understanding the “Heaven” and “Hell” concepts by creating a doctrine based solely upon Jesus’ Lazarus parable.

In the Book of Luke, Jesus describes a wealthy self-absorbed man who rules over a poor sick servant man called Lazarus, where both have died… the rich man has gone to “Hell”, and Lazarus has gone to “Heaven” (Luke 16:19-31). There’s a lot to unpack, but the point being is that this story is only an allegory that Jesus uses in order to demonstrate a point (or several): but one of those points was that Pharisees would still not believe in Jesus, even if someone was raised from the dead… Jesus is so clever, because only a couple of chapters later, He raises a man called Lazarus from the dead. And did the Pharisees believe in Jesus? Obviously not.

Now there is a complete study about the Lazarus parable on my blog page, but what is really cool to see is that in Luke 16:23 the word “hades” is used. This is the place where the rich man ‘resides’… being in torment while seeing Abraham afar off. When Luke uses this word “hades”, it reinforces that this parable is a message for the here and now (i.e. those in the First Kingdom). Because, if this parable was meant to reflect the futuristic end time “lake of fire” event, where all mankind is burnt to a cinder, then Luke would have used the word “geenna-fire”.

Overall, reinforcing, that this parable is about Jesus using two characters within a contrived Pharisee doctrine: a fantasia story of two characters living life here on earth in the First Kingdom. In other words, the Lazarus parable completely aligns to the above concepts.

(For more in depth, please read the Lazarus Prophecy blog).

CONCLUSION:

So in summary, “hell” is a very broad word that the translators have used throughout the bible, but it can actually be divided into two parts:

1.       the “hell” of this first kingdom… the trials pains and sufferings that every man today undergoes…ruled of course by the Devil and his angels.

2.       the “hell” of the “lake of fire”: the end of time final judgment of total annihilation that completely destroys all that the Devil has done, and all those who have followed him.

Maybe Winston Churchill had it correct when he said “If you’re going through hell, keep going”, as it just depends upon which “hell” he was talking about…

Steve Shephard