Bible Questions and Answers

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‘Hell’ in the Bible is simply the grave.

It is not a place of eternal fiery torment as falsely taught by many Churches.

In the Old Testament ‘hell’ in the King James Authorised Version of the Bible is a translation of the Hebrew word ‘sheol’ which means grave.

Sometimes the word is translated ‘grave’.

Job 14:13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave (sheol), that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!

Psalms 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave (sheol)?

In other places the word is translated ‘pit’.

Job 17:16 They shall go down to the bars of the pit (sheol), when our rest together is in the dust.

In other places as ‘hell’.

Psalms 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell (sheol), behold, thou art there.

Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

In the New Testament the Greek word translated ‘hell’ is ‘hades’. This is the Greek equivalent of the word ‘sheol’ as can be seen from Peter’s quotation of Psalm 16:10.

Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

The word is translated ‘grave’ when Paul quotes Hosea 13:14.

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

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave (sheol); I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave (sheol), I will be thy destruction.

The ‘hell’ associated with fire that Christ speaks of is a translation of the Greek word ‘gehenna’.

Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell (gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched:

‘Gehenna’ is a transliteration into Greek of the Hebrew meaning ‘the valley of Hinnom’ (‘ge’- valley; ‘henna’ – hinnom). This was a place south of Jerusalem where the refuse and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned. Fires burned there continually. Christ uses it as a parable to denote complete destruction. The fire didn’t go out until all was consumed.

At the end of the millennial reign of Christ, ‘hell’ is destroyed by figuratively being cast into a lake of fire – again a symbol for complete destruction. Death will be no more and there will be no further need for graves so both have an end.

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

From the above you will see that we all go to hell – the grave – when we die.

The Bible says that when we are dead we have no conscious existence.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing...
Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

The dead are said to ‘sleep’ in the dust.

Job 7:21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.

The only way that we can escape from ‘hell’ (the grave) is by resurrection from the dead.

Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (not to be confused with everlasting torment at death).

The gospel preached by Jesus and the apostles teaches us what we must do if we want to be saved from the dead by resurrection.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (condemned).

The damned are not condemned to eternal fiery torment but to remain dead forever.

Proverbs 21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

It is not a matter of ‘going to church to get saved’.

God requires us do the following:

  1. Read the word of God – the Bible - and understand the gospel preached by Jesus Christ and his apostles.
  2. Recognise that the way that we live naturally is sinful and separates us from God and Repent - Decide that we want to change the way that we live.
  3. Recognise that we can only be saved from eternal death by believing and obeying Jesus Christ.
  4. Be baptised by total immersion in water into Christ for the remission of all our past sins.
  5. Live a new life by the commandments of Christ, receiving forgiveness for sins that we commit after baptism by repentance and confession through him in prayer.

Those who believe the gospel, are baptised into Christ and live by his commandments will be raised from the ‘sleep’ of death when Christ returns. Paul explains exactly what is going to happen.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

At the end of the millennial reign of Christ over the mortal population of the earth there will be a final judgment and all who live on will be given eternal life.

There is no question of suffering eternal torment in ‘hell’ because at that time ‘hell’ (the grave) becomes redundant as there will be no further deaths. ‘Hell’ is cast along with ‘death’ into the symbolic ‘lake of fire’ called ‘the second death’ and both will cease to exist. The earth will then be filled with the Glory of God in the form of men and women raised to the divine nature in whom God will dwell.

This will be the fulfilment of God’s purpose.

Numbers 14:21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

When we believe the gospel and are baptised we become a member of a body of people. This is the ‘church’ - a translation of the Greek ‘ecclesia’ - meaning ‘congregation’. ‘Church’ is not a building but a ‘congregation’ in which each member has a part to play for the edification of the whole.

The division of the church into ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ is a departure from scripture.

The problem that immediately becomes apparent is that there are many churches calling themselves ‘Christian’ which have different doctrines and different gospels.

It is self evident that the true doctrine and gospel is to be found in the Bible.

There is no other source.

To avoid being led away from the truth by others we have to understand the Bible for ourselves.

When we understand the Bible for ourselves we can test the various doctrines and gospels against its teaching.

This is the course of action that we recommend.

NKJV Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

I hope you have found this helpful.

May God bless you,