| A Twisted Truth Untangled|
The Sorrow of God |
Why do you want to die?
(Quoting from HELL FIRE, A Twisted Truth Untangled, by Joe Crews)
"There are two extreme views in current circulation concerning the punishment of the wicked.
One is Universalism, which contends that God is too good to allow anyone to be lost.
The other is the awful doctrine of endless torment which would perpetuate for all eternity a dark abyss of anguish and suffering.
Both are wrong. The truth lies in between. God will punish the wicked according to their works, but He will not immortalized evil in the process" by keeping evil men and women alive forever.
How many truly honest souls have been turned away from God because of their revulsion at this misinterpretation of His character. They cannot love someone who would ... keep evil people in endless torment with no purpose in view. ... Only a vindictive spirit of revenge could be served by such an unspeakable arrangement
We know from Scripture that God is not like that. He is a God of Love (but also a God of righteousness and judgment). The Bible tells us that pain and death will be done away with, along with the old earth and heavens.
There are several popular views about the destination of the dead.
Many of these views depend on your beliefs about the dead and what they can do.
|Popular View of the Universe|
|3||Heaven||House of God|
|1||The sky above|
|1||Earth ||Land ||sea |
|2||Sheol (the grave)|
|Many people believe that hell is somewhere underground or on another planet, with Satan in charge. |
- Alive or Conscious. If you believe that the dead are conscious then these are the possible places that they can exist.
- Heaven. You will have eternal joy from the moment you die.
- Hell. You are eternally tortured in fire from the moment you die.
- Purgatory. In Roman Catholicism, God is punishing you for your sins but you can escape to Heaven when your punishment is over, or you have bought your way out.
There are several variations in belief about this intermediate place.
- Limbo. A Catholic Purgatory for unbaptized babies.
- Abraham's Bosom. This is probably a Protestant version of purgatory for the righteous.
This is a place where souls wait in a holding pattern until they get their resurrection bodies.
- Astral Plane. The occult place where souls are trapped and reap the results of past actions (karma).
- Barzakh. The spirit world of Islam where the soul rests in peace or torment until judgment day. Here, the angel Azrael separates the soul from the body and interrogates it to determine how it should rest.
After the judgment death is destroyed. Then souls cross Al-Sirat, the bridge over hell. The righteous cross over to Heaven but the wicked cannot cross until they are purified in hell fire. This is also the Zoroastrian belief.
- Earth Bound Spirits. They hang around and haunt places, possess bodies and give psychics a career.
» Ghosts and Genies. The Islamic cultures believe in genies and the rest of the world believes in ghosts.
- Humans. The "spirits" have been recycled and have been reincarnated as another human or a pet turtle.
- Buddhism. They believe in endless cycles of reincarnations until the soul achieves enlightenment.
- Hindu Avatars. The reincarnations of divine consciousness of Brahma on earth.
Druze, Isma'ilis, Alawite and the new age movement also believe in reincarnation.
- Voodoo. They believe in sixteen reincarnations, eight as a man and eight as a woman until we pass on into the spirit world.
- Scientology. They reject the concept of heaven or hell but believe in reincarnation where the "reactive mind" or unconscious record only the trauma of past and present lives as psychic scars called "engrams".
The entire goal of the religion is to become "clear" of these engrams or even rising about this level to being "Operating Thetans" who can leave their mind and bodies.
Humans evolve from being "Pre-Clear (PC)" to Clear to Operating Thetans (God).
- Mormons. They believe that spirit beings are waiting to be born into a human body, so we should have as many children as possible.
- Dead or Asleep. Since the dead are asleep, they could not be populating heaven or hell at this time.
- Permanent. When the wicked are punished, some still believe that hell fire is eternal.
- Temporary. Some believe that the fires of hell will be extinguished when the wicked are burned up.
- Myth. Atheists and others believe that hell does not exist. We make our own heaven or hell on earth.
- Returned to Dust. And there are those who believe that we simply become plant food in the circle of life.
|Words Translated as "Hell" in the Bible|
In the Bible, only four words are translated "Hell".
Sheol (Grave) (שאל).
It refers to the grave or pit where the dead are placed.
This is only word translated "hell" in the Old Testament. It is used 65 times in the Old Testament. 31 times it is translated "the grave", 31 times as "hell", and three times as "pit".
Later usage was typically used to mean the grave, death, hell.
(New Testament). Used eleven times, ten times as "hell" and one time as "grave". Original word was from Greek Mythology. The regions of the "netherworld".
Gehenna (Garbage Dump).
It is where the refuse and garbage from the city was burned. And, the fires of Gehenna were always kept burning by the addition of materials into it.
(New Testament). Used twelve times, nine as "hell", and three with the word "fire" as "hell fire". Gehenna was the garbage dump for Jerusalem, located south of the city in the Valley of Hinnon.
Topheth. The "place of burning" or the "fire stove" was in gehenna (2 Kings 23: 10).
Tartaros (Place of Darkness).
(New Testament). Used once, in 2 Peter 2:4, it is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew "Gehenna".
|Strong's Concordance Reference Numbers.
» Sheol. 7585. שאל
» Hades. 86. άδης
» Gehenna. 1067. γέεννα
» Tartaros. 5020. ταρταρόω
Hell Fire - Fact or Fiction?
In our study on death, we learned that "death" is like sleep. That, like in a deep sleep, we will be unaware of the passage of time between our death and our resurrection when Christ returns at His Second Coming to call out his faithful followers - the dead first, and then the living.
Death ("Cool Hell")
There are four words that are translated as "hell" in the Bible.
Two words mean the grave.
Sheol: "For I know that you will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living." (Job 30: 23)
"If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness." (Job 17: 13)
The word used is sheol.
So we go to a "house" when we die. But this house is the grave where our decaying bodies are eaten by worms.
So when we go to hell we are simply going to our graves.
Hades: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?"
(1 Corinthians 15: 54-55)
This either means that all who die go to hell or all who die go to the grave.
We will have victory over the grave because we will not be kept there forever.
In addition, hell will not have a victory because the righteous will escape.
Tartaros or Gehenna is a garbage dump in the Valley of Hinnom south west of Jerusalem. It was always burning and represents the place that is similar to what we consider to be hell.
Israel burned their children alive there as sacrifices to the idols Chemosh, Moloch and Baal.
After returning from Babylon, the Jews used it as an open pit for a garbage dump for executed criminals, decaying food and human excrement.
When it became full it was set on fire. See map of Gehenna.
Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul.
But rather fear Him who us able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10: 28)
for if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [tartaros] and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment.
(2 Peter 2: 4)
Burning Hell - Where is it?
Although we go to the grave to wait for a resurrection, there is still a place called Hell.
But how or when do people get there?
The Bible says that after the Second resurrection, or the resurrection of the wicked there is a judgment.
At the end of the judgment, the fires of Hell are started because the wicked attack God.
Hell is technically the earth. It was where Satan was sent after the rebellion. (Revelation 12: 9)
Armageddon. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
Tormented Forever. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Judgment. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
Lake of Fire. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20: 7-15)
The words "then I saw" introduces a new vision that is a repeat of the time described in the previous verses. But it has more details about the judgment.
It is the result of the judgment that causes them to attack in the battle of Armageddon.
- Second Coming. The wicked living die and the righteous are resurrected and go to heaven.
- Millennium Gehenna. The wicked remain dead and unconscious during the thousand years. Satan is alive on the earth. He walks among the decaying dead that are full of maggots in the garbage dump phase of hell.
- Third Coming. God comes with the city of the New Jerusalem to earth. The wicked are resurrected.
- Judgment. The wicked are judged.
- Confession. They agree that God had been fair. (Philippians 2: 9-11)
- Rebellion. Satan convinces them to surround the city and attack God. This is the Battle of Armageddon.
- Hell Fire. Hell begins. Fire from God destroys them. The righteous are in the middle of this fire but they are not burned up.
- Heaven. God recreates the new Heavens and earth on the ashes of the old earth. Hell ceases to exist.
|Second Coming ||Millennium ||Third Coming ||Armageddon ||Peace |
|Wicked Die||First |
|Saints Judge||Satan Confined to Earth ||Second |
|Final Judgment ||Rebel||War ||Hell Fire ||Heaven |
| Sheol (Grave) || Gehenna || No Dead People
|| Hell Fire
Hell, as a physical reality, is a place in time. It will be kindled on the surface of the earth in the future. Until then there only exists the grave or unconscious death.
Then earth will be a great garbage dump of unburied wicked dead with fires smoldering from the chaos, fire and brimstone at the Second Coming.
Hell, as the place of the dead is the home of maggots living on decaying bodies and fire.
God did not allow Jesus to be consumed by the maggots of sheol or gehenna so that even His dead body would not be corrupted.
For You will not abandon My soul to Sheol; nor will you allow your Holy One to undergo decay.
(Psalm 16: 10)
Jesus went to sheol, but God did not leave Him there. He rescued Him before the maggots could consume His body.
But the wicked go to the grave when they die and their carcasses lie unburied and full of maggots in a great garbage dump during the millennium before they are judged at the end of time and burned up in the fires of hell as garbage.
Where Are the Dead?
The dead are being kept in unconscious storage until the end of the world.
The bible does not teach that the dead go immediately to hell to be tortured forever.
- Reserved for Judgment (Soul Sleep).
The bible teaches that the wicked are held in storage somewhere until the judgment.
They are unconscious in their graves waiting for a resurrection.
The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to reserve the unjust until the day of judgment to be punished.
(2 Peter 2: 9)
For the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity. They will be led forth at the day of fury.
(Job 21: 30)
How could the justice system punish them without a trial, then have a sham trial just to send them back into punishment?
All people, good and evil, are being held in reserve until the last day.
Only the first fruits are being used as witnesses and evidence in the judgment of the righteous.
- Judgment At the End of the World. The judgment occurs at the end of the world.
He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
(John 12: 48)
- Death Sentence. Death is the punishment for sin, not eternal life in a state of eternal torture.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6: 23)
Fire And Brimstone And The Burning Man
The fires that cause Hell to burn are only a place of terror for the wicked.
The righteous will live securely in that fire because the flames are caused by the presence of God.
God is the Fire. "For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12: 29)
Fire Comes From His Throne. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (Daniel 7: 10)
|The Burning Man||The Fire|
The fire comes out from God and consumes the wicked, who cannot exist in His presence. Only the righteous, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, can live in God's presence.
|Fire burns the whole earth except the place where the New Jerusalem sits on the Mount of Olives.|
The Burning Man.
Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
(Ezekiel 1: 26-28)
In all visions God is described as a glowing man on fire.
The Righteous Survive in the Friendly Fire. "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walks righteously, and speaks uprightly; he that despises the gain of oppressions, that shakes his hands from holding of bribes, that stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Your eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall see the land that is very far off."
(Isaiah 33: 14 -17)
The righteous will be able to live in God's presence, while the wicked will be consumed by the fire of His presence.
Just as the three friends of Daniel survived the fire, so will we.
The Wicked Die in the Garbage Dump Outside the City. "For Tophet is ordained of old; yes, for the king it is prepared; he has made it deep and large: the pile there is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, does kindle it."
(Isaiah 30: 33)
"Tophet" means "place of fire" - the place at the southeast end of the valley of Hinnon, where the garbage dump fire was.
When Christ was crucified in the north, outside the city, He never suffered this humiliating death in a garbage dump.
| Christ The Burnt Offering|
In the burnt offering we see that Christ not only suffered death for us, He suffered the punishment of the eternal fires of hell.
He was able to stand in the eternal flames of God and live.
He was the only lamb who was immortal, who could stand in the eternal burning fire of the presence of God without being burned up.
Let us look at the sanctuary symbols to discover the meaning of the concepts of "forever" and "continual".
- The Continual Burnt Offering. The continual was a lamb offered as a burnt offering two times each day so that there would always be a lamb burning.
When each was burnt the ashes were taken outside the city.
So Christ became the burnt offering in our place and He died outside the city.
The wicked will be burned up outside the city by the eternal fire which comes out of God and their ashes will also be outside the city.
The offering of Christ duplicated these requirements for us.
Since the lamb was mortal, the symbol of immortality was achieved by a continuous stream of burning lambs.
- Eternal Fire. The fire on the altar was eternal. It was never extinguished.
While the lamb was mortal and would eventually burn up, the fire was really continual because it was never put out.
So here we have a concept of eternal flames, mortal flesh which resulted in eternal ashes.
The fire and the results lasted forever, the life of the lamb did not.
Everlasting Punishment Or Everlasting Punishing?
How long will this fire last?
So far we have learned that the fires of Hell will burn sometime in the future after the final judgment.
We also learned that the fire is a result of the presence of God.
It was not designed specifically to punish the wicked.
God is ready to physically reveal Himself and the wicked cannot survive in His presence.
But how long will the wicked be burning?
Our God is eternal. So the fire of His Glory will last forever. And the consuming fire for the destruction of the wicked issues from God - out of His eternal fire. But, it will continue "consuming the wicked" only as long as they last.
Remember the continual burnt offering and the eternal fire in the sanctuary.
The eternal fire will never go out because it is the nature of God.
But the animal was burned up until it turned to ashes.
It Lasts One Day?. "Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briars in one day; And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standard bearer faints. And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them."
(Isaiah 10:16 -19)
| Everlasting |
God's "everlasting Judgment Fire" was prepared for the devil and his angels. It is everlasting.
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25: 41 )
The fire lasts one day. If it is prophetic time then it lasts one year?
But will people be suffering for one year? Will God keep us artificially alive to suffer for this long?
No. We have the testimony of the mercy of God, and the evidence also suggests that we are not thrown alive into the fire.
The Wicked Are Dead. Now this is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem, their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.
(Zechariah 14: 12)
Remember that the wicked surround the New Jerusalem and attack the city in the battle of Armageddon.
This verse suggests that they will melt on the spot. Then they are thrown in the lake of fire.
And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20: 15)
| Eternal Death Or Eternally Dying? |
The earth and the Heavens (the ouranos or the earth's atmosphere) will pass away. The wicked are consumed, burned up in the second, final, eternal death from which there will be no further resurrection.
In this manner, it is eternal death, but not eternally dying.
The Bible tells us that sorrow, and pain, and suffering will be done away with one day when all evil and sin is destroyed, and there will be a new heaven and new earth, free from sin and the effects of sin.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens (ouranos) shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are in it shall be burned up." (2 Peter 3: 10)
Satan Is Alive?. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
(Revelation 20: 10)
This seems to say that at least Satan will suffer forever?
So let us look at other places where God used this term forever and everlasting.
How Long Is Forever?
We will show that the words everlasting and forever mean the following.
- Completed. The Greek word "eon" means an unspecified period of time, until the process is completed.
- Until Death. All processes end with death (Exodus 21: 6).
- Irreversible. The judgment will stand forever and it will not be reversed. Therefore, the punishment is eternal. The punishing process is not eternal.
Heaven will last forever because the gift of God is irreversible.
- Day and Night Ends. Until day and night no longer exist.
The Eternal Fires of Sodom and Gomorrah
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 1: 7)
How can Sodom and Gomorrah be suffering eternal fire when the place is not burning now?
"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those that after should live ungodly.
(2 Peter 2: 6)
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed when "fire and brimstone" rained down upon them by God. They were "an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire". Are Sodom and Gomorrah still burning literal Israel today? No. Just as the Bible says, they were turned "into ashes" making them an example of God's judgment on wickedness.
So, the "eternal fire" can end, and forever means until the object stops burning when it becomes ashes.
Tormented Day and Night Forever?
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
(Revelation 20: 10)
It is clear, Satan will be tormented day and night forever.
So, is there a time when day and night will end?
And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of lamp nor the light of the sun,
because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.
(Revelation 22: 5)
Satan ceases to exist when day and night kind of time ceases to exist.
Day and night time ends when the new earth is created!
So the torment ends when the new earth is created.
Therefore, the wicked will burn while day and night exists.
Day and night and the old earth will pass away and the torment of the wicked ends.
|Day and Night Time ||Day |
|Second Coming ||Millennium ||Third Coming ||War ||Heaven |
|Wicked Die||First |
|Saints Judge||Satan bound on Earth ||Second |
|Final Judgment ||Armageddon ||Hell Fire|
No More Suffering
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Look, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
The old things are gone, forever.
There will be no more suffering. The wicked will not suffer. The righteous will not be suffering as they think about loved ones
who are being tortured forever.
| Burned Up Forever |
If wicked men will "burn forever" (as in eternally burn, but not burn up) - then how could they be "ashes under the soles of your feet" - under the feet of God's people.
Reduced to Ashes
The Bible says that Satan and the wicked people will be reduced to ashes.
- The Wicked.
Wicked people will be completely burnt up.
Burnt Up. "For, see, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
Wicked Becomes Ashes. You shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing.
(Malachi 4: 1-3)
Fires Go Out.
Behold, they have become like stubble, fire burns them. They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. There will be no coal to warm by nor fire to sit before.
(Isaiah 47: 14)
In Ezekiel God says that He will reduce Satan to ashes upon the earth in front of all who see him.
Satan Becomes Ashes. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you And I have turned you to ashes on the earth, in the eyes of all who see you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have become terrified and you will cease to be forever. (Ezekiel 28: 18)
Logically, if they become ashes and we can walk on them then the fires of hell will go out.
And, the earth is the place that becomes hell for a short time before it is recreated.
How long does this burning last? I do not know. Hopefully it will be over with in one second.
God has no pleasure with the death of the wicked. Why would he keep them tortured for a long time as a reminder?
Even we do not do this to our own species, and God says that He is more just and compassionate than humans.
There are some ambiguous (confusing) verses on the subject of this study. But, if we look at them in harmony with other scriptures, letting the Bible provide its own commentary, many of these questions resolve themselves.
Unquenchable Fire and Immortal Worms
Speaking of Gehenna hell, Mark calls it a place ...
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
(Mark 9: 48)
The next texts are supposed to show that Hell is a place of eternal fire and punishment
Matthew 3:12 (Unquenchable Fire), Matthew 5:22, Matthew 18:8-9 (fiery hell), Matthew 25:41, Jude 7 (Eternal Fire), Revelation 20:15 (Lake of Fire )
Matthew 25:46 (Eternal Punishment)
My answer is, "Yes they are punished forever in a fiery place". That is exactly what these verses says.
But the fire goes out.
In God's view, the ideal is to live forever with Him.
Therefore, death is an eternal punishment because He has the power to give you life and He will not do it.
So when He refuses to raise you from the dead, you are in effect still being punished by Him.
Gehenna is a garbage dump that was continually burning because new material was added to it.
The old material is burned up.
The Immortal Worm.
Human bodies are not composed of worms or maggots. Maggots come from an external source to feed on dead bodies.
The worms that feed on the dead in gehenna do not die because they are not a part of the body.
They are actually kept alive by your dead body.
They survive your death and move on to the next dead carcass, but they will also die. They bible does not say that the worms will never die.
So we have a picture of maggots feeding on your body until it is gone, but they continue to exist.
Earth: A Garbage Dump. Prophetically, the garbage dump of Gehenna is both the grave where all the dead are eaten by maggots and it is the earth during the millennium where the wicked dead are unburied and eaten by maggots.
Earth becomes a great garbage dump. Unquenchable hell fire comes after they are resurrected and condemned.
The Fire. ... He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
(Matthew 3: 12)
The fires are unquenchable because they will never be put out until they run out of fuel.
God will not put it out, the wicked cannot put it out and there is no celestial fire department that will come to their rescue.
The burning chaff is burned up.
Consciousness After Death?
|Conscious After Death?|
The following texts are used to prove that the dead are conscious after death
Matthew 13:41-42, Matthew 8:12 (weeping and gnashing their teeth), Numbers 16:30 (the wicked are sent to the grave alive), Revelation 14:9-10 (thrown into a tormenting fire)
But these texts only show they are conscious when they are sent to their death. Nothing in the text says that they are dead first and then we hear the screams of suffering.
Even before their punishment begins, they will go screaming, crying weeping, protesting, angry because they have just realized all that they have lost.
They have just been faced with the big picture.
Their anger even causes them to go to war with God.
Most of Christianity believes that hell is eternal, conscious punishment where the wicked dead live forever in constant torment and torture.
Here are a few of the scriptures used, with a response.
The response is based on the following reasoning:
- It is the punishment that is eternal or everlasting not the punishing. The decision will stand forever. They will be dead forever.
They will not be dying in agony forever.
- The fire cannot be put out (unquenchable), but it will go out by itself when everything is burned up.
What is the scriptural basis for this:
- The wicked and even Satan will be burned up, because we will walk on their ashes in the new earth.
- The nature of God. There is no reason for him to do this. The picture of God that Christ showed was far more compassionate.
He will destroy the wicked. But He will not torture them.
There are some who say that God will save everyone no matter what their choice is.
But God rejects this idea.
I will punish the men who are arrogant in spirit, who say in their hearts, "the Lord will not do good or evil".
(Zephaniah 1 : 12)
- Sin and sinners will no longer exist.
- Only God is immortal.
The Parable of Lazarus and The Rich Man.
The parable about a rich man who was never kind to the poor beggar at the gate supports the belief that our fates are sealed after we die and that the law and prophets are God's methods of warning the wicked about their future.
It also does not contradict the erroneous belief that we go to heaven or hell immediately after death and that the wicked are punished forever in hell and that the dead could talk to the living. So it appears to support a contradiction.
Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.
In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried out and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame."
(Luke 16: 22-24)
This is a warning about the reversal of fortunes after the judgment.
- Life (Luke 16: 19-21). In life the rich man ignored the condition of the poor man begging at his gates.
- The Final Reward (Luke 16: 22). Both men died and Lazarus went to heaven and the rich man to hell.
Rather than teaching that both immediately go to heaven or hell, the parable is saying that they died and their destinies are sealed. It perfectly demonstrates what happens to the dead.
- The Death of the Righteous. The important information about the poor man will be saved by God and at the resurrection the angels will escort him to God and Abraham waiting in the skies (Matthew 13: 30-40).
- The Death of the Wicked. The rich man is buried and he will remain buried until the final judgment.
- The Punishment of the Wicked.
The wicked surround the holy city to attack it after the judgment and fire comes down and destroys them.
When he is being punished in hell fire, he will be able to see Abraham and Lazarus in the city. However, although he asks for mercy it will be impossible.
- Rich Man's Reward (Luke 16: 23). While the wicked are being tormented, they can see the righteous in heaven.
This does not teach that he will be tormented forever throughout all eternity.
There is one point in the future where part of this scene could be true.
This dialogue can occur during the short period of time when the wicked are being punished in hell fire and they can see the righteous in the New Jerusalem.
After the final judgment at the third coming, the New Jerusalem will be standing in the middle of the flames of hell fire that will eventually stop burning.
During that period of time, Lazarus will be safe in the New Jerusalem and the rich man will be burning.
The wicked are close by because they had surrounded the city to attack it when fire fell on them near the city.
|Righteous||Raised || Abraham's Bosom (Paradise in Heaven)|
| Dead||Buried in Sheol || ||Chasm||Paradise |
|Wicked||Buried ||Raised ||Judged || Hades|
|First Resurrection ||1000 Years||Second Resurrection||Parable (Verse 23-26)|
- The Great Chasm (Luke 16: 24-26). After the decision is made about where a person goes after death, the decision and their fate cannot be changed. There is a permanent separation between both camps.
The Great Chasm.
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to there will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.
(Luke 16: 26)
Reaching Across the Chasm.
During the short time of hell fire, they will not be able to cross the great chasm between the righteous and the living.
The righteous cannot leave the city or jump off the walls to help them. The wicked cannot come into the city.
However, the story does not teach that this scenario will exist for all eternity.
If we assume that this is our reality forever, then we have to imagine living in heaven where there is peace, love and joy and within range of our eye sight we can see the wicked suffering throughout eternity. When we feel compassion, we cannot help.
What kind of people would we be to maintain perpetual joy during this tragedy? What kind of God of love would squelch our compassion?
- Warning the Living (Luke 16: 27-31). God has established the law and the prophets to warn people about the judgment. This parable teaches that the wicked will not respond to any other warnings even if God allowed the dead to come back to life and warn the living.
Testimony Beyond the Grave.
Even though the story suggests that such a conversation would be pointless, this might seem to suggest that the dead can talk to the living.
This is why the story is a parable, not a point of law.
Given the terrible finality of the destinies, could the living learn from the dead?
Would the testimony of one condemned to hell be a transformational tool for the living wicked who are in peril?
The answer is no. It is not because the living are not allowed to talk to the dead by law or cannot talk to the dead because it is impossible.
It is no because it would not be any more effective than the testimony that the living already have.
If they will not listen to the written testimony, or the prophets or God Himself what makes the dead more effective?
» Hell Fire Testimony.
In fact, if hell fire has been continuously burning, God could use it as a deterrant by allowing us to see what will happen to us.
It is illogical for God to not use it as a deterrant now when we could possibly benefit from it, but when we are perfect in righteousness we have to live with the constant image of the wicked suffering.
What makes sense is that hell fire is not burning now, so God cannot use it as a deterrant.
Hell fire will not burn forever like a ghastly perpetual rubbish fire where we are tormented by its very presence.
Since God controls life, He could have made it possible for the dead to return and warn the wicked, but He chose to place the dead in an eternal, unconscious sleep until the resurrection because it is hard enough to convince them with information that is real to them,
it will be more deceptive to allow unseen realities to influence their world view.
» A Final Accusation.
In the end the wicked might accuse God of not doing enough to warn them and this will be God's response.
I gave you time and freedom to choose.
I sent you Israel, prophets, written testimony, oral testimony from your ancestors, internal testimony, miracles, the Holy Spirit and My Son who experienced life as one of you. Why did you ignore them?
What would make Adolph Hitler's testimony more convincing and believable?
When I came as God in my natural form, you ignored me even in your perfect form. What makes you believe that you would be more successful at believing Me in person and ignoring Satan's lies and deception than Adam or Eve?
If you wanted to be scared into submission I could show you hell fire if it existed now, but you would eternally hate Me and fear Me as a cruel despot.
I do not want worship or obedience that is based on fear. I want genuine love.
What else could I have done?
The Parables of Jesus: The Gentiles Receive The Covenant
The story of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable about the Jews and their spreading of the Gospel to the Gentiles.
- ★ The Rich Man Feasts. The Jews had the Gospel and feasted on it but did not share it with the Gentiles.
- ★ The Poor Man Begs For Crumbs. The Gentiles who were called "dogs" and "unclean" longed for a morsel of the Good News. They were even satisfied with the crumbs from the table.
- In The Bosom of Abraham (Reversal of Fortune). On the death of the Messiah, the Gentiles were now in possession of the covenant, because they were of the seed of Abraham by faith.
- The Rich Man Begs For Water. It is the Holy Spirit that they will need in the end, to satisfy their thirst for knowledge.
The Gentiles must bring them what they have learned over the past 2000 years.
- The Great Chasm. A great dividing wall existed between the Jews and the Gentiles before the crucifixion and the division existed afterwards even though Jesus has broken down the walls.
- Five Brothers. The five brothers must be the five chances before the wrath falls again.
- Moses and The Prophets. They did not believe Moses and the prophets who testified about the Messiah.
» The Jews Cross The Chasm.
However, the testimony in the parable is that they must study Moses and the prophets to understand the Gospel.
This coincides with other prophecies which say that the Jews at the end of time will find their Messiah through the Passover feast given by Moses and through the message of Elijah.
- One Raised From The Dead. Even after Jesus was resurreced from the dead and He resurrected others with Him, they refused to believe the testimony from those raised from the dead.
After raising Lazarus from the dead and demonstrating that He had the power to raise the dead, the priests activated their plot to kill Jesus!
They were not persuased even though they saw evidence that the dead could be raised and they could speak to one raised from the dead.
"And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (Matthew 25: 46)
Jesus' words in Matthew 25:46 bother some. They wonder about the term "everlasting punishment".
Whatever this punishment is, will it last eternally?
The Bible tells us what that punishment is:
"For the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6: 23)
So Jesus was simply saying that the second death would be "everlasting". It will never be broken by a resurrection.
You will remain dead forever.
"Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;" (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
Again, in harmony with other scripture, this does not mean destruction that is occurring forever, but rather, a destruction that once occurred, is everlasting.
Finally I ask these logical questions because the sequence of events is confusing in some beliefs.
- A Satanic Paradise.
How is Satan punished if he gets to live forever and rule over all the wicked and sadistically torture them forever in Hell?
This model of hell seems to reward Satan for bad behavior and causing all this sorrow and punish people who were born hopelessly weakened by sin and without understanding.
If we are sent immediately to heaven or hell when we die, then what is the purpose of the resurrection and the final judgment?
How can we fairly receive our reward or punishment before we face the courts of judgment and get a chance to defend ourselves?
- Costume Changes. Why would God take us to paradise after the rapture in our glorious bodies and then come back to resurrect our bodies just to change them into glorious bodies?
Is there something deficient about the first form of the raptured people?
- A Great Injustice.
How will we judge God as fair if He is going to punish us forever, for billions and billions of years of excruciating agony and torture by burning alive for sins that have been committed in a life time that was less than 100 years?
If we sleep for one third and take care of personal needs for another third, then we have only sinned for about 33 years.
Remember that God Himself said that even if we judge Him by our own standards of fairness we will agree with His decisions. (Isaiah 45: 20-25, Romans 3: 4, Philippians 2: 9-11).
I judge this as grossly unfair.
- Unpaid Penalty. If the wages of sin is death, then Jesus has paid the price of our sin. He was dead for one day.
If the penalty of sin is everlasting torment and burning, then Jesus has not paid the penalty of our sins.
The Degree of Punishment
Our reward and punishment will be based on our deeds and use of opportunity and responsibilities.
Whether or not this translates into more time in the fire or hotter flames we do not know.
However, the amount of punishment we receive will be proportional to the amount of evil that we have done.
- Psychological Punishment.
Since God is not a torturer, it is more likely that the mental aspects of their suffering will determine the degree to which they will suffer.
The most disobedient will fight longer and invest more and will be more humiliated like Haman.
The wiser ones will agree that the judgment was fair and submit to instantaneous death.
The wicked will turn on Satan in revenge.
According to the law He will get the same unjust treatment that he gave Jesus Christ.
Vengeance From God.
But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
(Exodus 21: 23-25)
He will probably be hog tied by the wicked and nailed on a cross in more than four places.
He will suffer all the hurts of all the people that he hurt. All the evil deeds that he invented will be turned back on his own head.
He will be tortured by sadists and raped by child molesters.
According to one prophecy terror will seize him and he will even go mad.
All of this will happen before he is burned up.
He will be burned alive because humans were burned alive and deliberately burned as slowly as possible for the faith.
- We Design Our Own Punishment. The wicked will be punished in the same way they punished others.
- Punished by Deeds. The judgment measures the level of hostility towards God and punishes on that basis.
And the slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,
Unintentional. but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.
(Luke 12: 47-48)
- Punished by Responsibility. Leaders will be punished more if they did not lead by example or are cowards or use their influence to corrupt.
Parents will be responsible for raising heathens and setting bad examples.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
(Luke 12: 48)
- Jesus Lights The Fire. Jesus longs for the day when this era will be over. This day comes with hell fire.
Light The Fire!
I have come to cast fire upon the earth and how I wish it were already kindled.
(Luke 12: 49)
- Jesus Is In Charge Of Hell! Satan is not ruling hell, keeping people in everlasting torment with his pitchfork and fire. According to the Bible Jesus has the keys of death and hell.
Jesus can bring people back from the dead and He will cast the wicked into hell fire.
The Holder Of The Keys
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
(Revelation 1: 18)
|Heaven||The new earth becomes the new house of God|
|Land ||sea |
|Sheol (the grave, death)|
|Earth becomes hell for a short time when it is destroyed|
The Eschatology of Death and Hell
The concepts of death and hell are two major beliefs that have been universally corrupted by Satan.
A comparison of all the beliefs reveal some common similarities.
- Punishment. He uses the fear of torture and punishment to ruin the reputation of God and to convince people that there is still a way out after the sadistic tyrant has had his revenge.
- Righteousness by Works. Your works can reduce or eliminate your punishment.
- Dead. You can eventually escape the torture of purgatory and hell. So eventually there is no death.
- Divine Evolution. All or some of us can evolve into divine beings with super powers.
Through the messages of the popular culture this final generation is being taught the same things by Hollywood.
These concepts must be taught to those who are not exposed to them through false religion, so Hollywood is Satan's indoctrination unit.
It is meant to make us reject God as a sadistic tyrant, to reject the concept of absolute right and wrong and to accept our personal efforts as our only hope.
There are no demons to fear or reject because good cannot exist without evil. We can cooperate with them to achieve the greater good.
But there is evil, there are absolutes and the perfect good will exist when evil is eradicated.
Hell fire is its end.
Everyone needs to learn this evil eschatology because we will all be forced to make a quick decision in the future. Satan hopes that you will believe that you can cooperate with demons and that you can evolve super powers to fight the narrow minded, sadistic God.
After the third coming the evil nations of Gog and Magog (evil angels and evil people) will cooperate with Satan to try and attack God.
Before the Second Coming they will also cooperate with Satan to try and attack the people of God.
When he reveals himself, Satan does not have the time to give them a lesson on his plans and what he wants them to believe is possible. Humans are too unpredictable.
He has been teaching them through the major religions.
And he is also teaching them now through Hollywood.
The television and entertainment industries are a major component of Satan's final warfare. They are his propaganda militia.
The American culture is its greatest global export. This infection is part of the final apostasy.
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
"For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."
(Revelation 18: 2, 3)
Unfortunately, Satan's plans will succeed. No, not the published plan to take over the city of God.
Satan knows that he will never defeat God. Satan's ultimate plan is to destroy as many human beings as possible.
If he can trick them into their own self destruction and to cooperate with him, then he will be pleased.
When Love Fails
It seems impossible that the Love of God could not reach some. How did the wicked get to this state given the incredible love and forbearance of God?
The lake of fire was originally made for the devil and his angels, not for humans.
Then He will say to those on His left, "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels."
(Matthew 25: 41)
God has promised that neither the accusations of angels, nor our sins will stop Him from forgiving us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
nor heights, nor depths, nor any created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8: 38-39)
So how did they separate from Him and end up there? How did God's love fail?
He did not separate from them. His love did not fail. They chose to alienate themselves from God when they hated Him without a cause and chose to attach themselves to Satan and join forces with the legions of darkness.
Some claim that if He exists, the loving God will save everyone. This ignores the testimony of God.
- The Wicked Are Destroyed. They are destroyed because of unrepentant, sinful behavior (Revelation 21: 8).
- Illogical. What is the purpose of the past 6000 years if God will just ignore sin? What was the purpose of defining sin and threatening us with judgment if He intends to say, "oops, never mind!"
How will the future be different if He does not care if sin and unrighteousness continue?
- Arrogant Spirit. Zephaniah 1: 12 says that it is an arrogant spirit that claims that God will not punish evil.
Death and Hell Destroyed
Death and hell will not be immortalized forever. They will cease to exist when they are destroyed in the lake of fire.
The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
(1 Corinthians 15: 26)
Then death and Hell were thrown into the Lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20: 14)
Finally, this is when hell freezes over.
Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2: 15
||Time: 60 minutes |
Print: 11 pages
Updated : February 8, 2005. 2009
Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (January 2008)
Hell fire, a twisted truth untangled. by Joe Crews, creator of "Amazing Facts".
★ Some of the explanation in the Parable of Jesus is from Doug Bachelor of "Amazing Facts".