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Angels Cast Down to Hell

Angels Cast Down to Hell
The Bible repeatedly speaks of hell and hell-fire, and of the wicked going down into hell when they die. This proves the conscious state of the dead.

The simple way to answer this objection is to examine the use of the word "hell" throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament, "hell" is always translated from the Hebrew word sheol, which means simply "the unseen state.” (See Young's Analytical Concordance.) The idea of fire or punishment is not found in the word. We read, "Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly. . . . out of the belly of hell [sheol] cried I" Jonah 2:1,2. It would be difficult to imagine anything akin to fire in connection with a cold sea monster. The marginal reading of this text gives "the grave" as the translation of hell, or sheol.

Sheol is very frequently translated "grave." Both good and bad go there. "What man is he that lives, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave [sheol]?" Ps. 89:48. The godly man job said, "If 1 wait, the grave [sheol] is mine house." job 17:13. The psalmist wrote,” The wicked shall be turned into hell [sheol]." Ps. 9:17. In the New Testament the word "hell" * is translated from the three following Greek words:

1. Once from the root tartaros, which means "a dark abyss." (See Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon.) This word is used in connection with the casting out of the evil angels from heaven down into "darkness." There is no idea of fire or torment in the word. The passage specifically declares that these angels are "reserved unto judgment." It is a future event. (See 2 Peter 2:4; Rev. 12:7-10.) Following are the New Testament references where the word "hell" is used:
  1. From tartaros, 2 Peter 2:4.
  2. From hades, Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; Rev. 1:18; 6:13; 20:13 14.
  3. From Gehenna, Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5. James 3:6.
2. Ten times from hades, which means "the nether world, the grave, death.” (See Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon.) Hades describes the same place as sheol. This is evident from these two facts:
  1. The Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, almost without exception, uses hades as the translation of sheol.
  2. In quoting the Old Testament prophecy regarding Christ: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [sheol]," the New Testament writer gives, "hell [hades]." (See Ps. 16: 10; Acts 2:27.)
When the word "hell," translated from hades, appears in the New Testament, the reader should not understand it to mean the exclusive abode of the wicked or a place of fire and brimstone, because:
  1. The primary definition of hades, as already noted, does not demand such an understanding of the word.
  2. We have shown that the Old Testament speaks of the righteous as well as the wicked going down to sheol. We have also shown that hades describes the same place or state. Did the ancient patriarchs go down into a place of flames?
  3. The New Testament speaks of Christ's being in hades. (See Acts 2:27.) In order to be consistent, most of those who believe in the doctrine of disembodied souls and present-burning hell-fire, feel forced to interpret this text in Acts to mean that Christ's disembodied soul went down into hellfire when He died on the cross, though at other times they endeavor to prove from Luke 23:43, 46 that Christ went up to God when He died. Both positions certainly cannot be right. The fact is that neither is correct.
Under objection 85, we showed that Luke 23:43 is wrongly interpreted. The interpretation of Acts 2:27 is equally false. As Christ died He cried out, "It is finished." His dying completed His suffering to save mankind. The erroneous ideas held by most theologians as to hell and hades have caused them their perplexity when reading this text in Acts. They cannot understand why Christ should descend into hell fire.

Though a believer in soul immortality, Albert Barnes, the eminent Presbyterian commentator, boldly disposes of the difficulty by discarding in this text the lurid value which theology has given to the word hades. He remarks: "The Greek word hades means literally a place devoid of light, a dark, obscure abode." In view of this he explains Acts 2:27 thus: "The meaning is simply, Thou wilt not leave Me AMONG THE DEAD.” (Emphasis his.) Incidentally he reminds his readers that the original word for soul may be understood to mean "the individual himself." That is why Barnes renders "My soul" by "Me."

Thus we may view Acts 2:27 as proving that hades means simply the abode of the dead, even though righteous, and thus in no way connected with fire or torment. We conclude thus also from 1 Corinthians 15:55, where the word "grave- is a translation of hades, and describes that over which the righteous are finally victorious at the resurrection. Incidentally, 1 Corinthians 15:55 is a quotation from the Old Testament (Hosea 13:14), where we find the equivalent word sheol employed. In one other text the translators of the King James Version indicated that "hell" may properly be translated by "grave." In Revelation 20:13, where "hell" is given in the text, the marginal reading is "the grave."
  1. The Greek scholars who made the American Revised Version, sensing doubtless that our word "hell" has come to mean a place of fire and torment, did not use it to translate the Greek term hades. Instead, they simply transferred the Greek word hades right into the English. They use the word "hell" to translate a different Greek word, one which we will examine in a moment.
  2. Moulton and Milligan, eminent Greek scholars, give this bit of information: "The word [hades] is common on tombstones in Asia Minor."-The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, under "Hades."
We need hardly remark that the bereaved in Greek-speaking Asia Minor would surely not use the word hades on tombstones if it meant what English-speaking people mean by the word "hell." *

3. Twelve times from Gehenna (or, as it is sometimes transliterated, Geenna). This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Hinnom, the name of a valley near Jerusalem "used as a place to cast carcasses of animals and malefactors, which were consumed by fire constantly kept up.” (See Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon.) Thus Gehenna is the only one of those words translated "hell" in the Bible, that has any idea of fire or torment resident in it.

Now in connection with the twelve times Gehenna is used two facts stand out:
  1. The "body" as well as the soul is said to be "cast into hell." Twice is the phrase used, "the whole body." (See Matt. 5:29, 30; 10:28.)
  2. In not one of the twelve instances does the text tell when the wicked will be "cast into bell." The fiery judgment is simply described as a future event. This takes the whole point out of the objection before us.
However, these two facts contain evidence that this future event does not follow immediately after death. The "whole body is not cast into the flames at death, and there is no suggestion in the texts that the "soul" is cast in at one time and the "body" at another. The immortal-soul doctrine, by defining "soul" as the real man and the body as but a fleshly prison house, really asks us to believe that the real man goes immediately at death to hellfire, and then at some distant future date God raises the body, which has turned to dust, and consigns it to the fires. We avoid such an irrational and un-Scriptural conclusion by understanding the phrase "soul and body" to mean the whole person, viewed physically and mentally in his entirety, “the whole body." But when are persons cast bodily into the judgment fires? At the last great judgment day, when the wicked dead who have been raised, and who have been judged guilty, are "cast into the lake of fire." (See Rev. 20:11-15.)

* The only place in the Bible where fire or torment is coupled with hades is in Luke 16:23. This is in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, which we have already examined. It is an accepted rule in theology that doctrines should not be based upon parables. It is even ore questionable to attempt to discover the real meaning of a word by the setting in which it is placed in a parable or allegory. Note that the wicked are here said to be "cast into" the fire, as though to describe the act of hurling an object into the flames. Note, further, the interesting fact, which is surely more than a mere coincidence in words, that the very same word "cast" (even in the original Greek) is repeatedly used in the various Gehenna texts. In no less than six of these texts we read, "Cast into hell [Gehenna]." (See also Matt. 25:31, 41, as to the time when the wicked are consigned to the judgment flames.)

From all the foregoing we reach the conclusion that the Bible does not support the idea that the wicked go at death into the flames of hell, but that the day when the impenitent objects of God's wrath are "cast into Gehenna" is still in the future.

Answers to Objections, Francis D. Nichol, pp. 182 - 184
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Hell in the Bible

The word “hell” is used 54 times in the Bible. It is translated from several different words with various meanings, as indicated below:
In the Old Testament:
  • 31 times from the Hebrew “Sheol,” which means “the grave”
In the New Testament:
  • 10 times from the Greek “Hades,” which means “the grave”
  • 12 times from the Greek “Gehenna,” which means “a place of burning”
  • 1 time from the Greek “Tartarus,” which means “a place of darkness”


What is Purgatory?

A tradition held by the Catholic Church that teaches people who are not good enough to be worthy of heaven, but not bad enough to deserve hell, suffer in an intermediary state until their sins are purged.

But is it in the Bible? Click here to learn more.

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