Research and Study By: Timothy M. Youngblood
Copyright © The Master's Table
Hell fire - Eternal torment

Have you ever lost someone you love? Did they die in sin such as being drunk, or on drugs? Are you concerned that they may be at this very moment suffering in a hell fire and will suffer forever? Do you truly believe that the Creator God would say He is "All Loving" and then allow millions to suffer forever just because they were weak in the flesh? We need never forget that we all still sin to keep us humble so we will not commit the destructive sin of being smugly moralistic and intolerant of the behavior of others. I'm not wanting to minimize any act of sin; nor maximize judging to condemnation but I do want the truth concerning the subjects that are taught in Churches using the Name of Jesus as their authority.

Never forget this Quote..."If not for the grace of God...there go I."

What is hell, and will people be tormented forever in a Hell Fire? What is the truth about these subjects of hell and eternal torment? Let's start with the definition for torment, "The infliction of torture or extreme pain or anguish of body or mind; extreme agony." Yes brethren there is in fact a hell as well as a place that will become an eternal hell, however more importantly what is the biblical teachings on this subject? Many people have been taught that the wicked will be punished forever in a hell fire but what is the truth? What does the bible state and where did this concept come from? Many times we have to understand the intent of the author at the time of the statement in order to understand so let's first learn what hell is. The Greek word for "hell" is geena (gheh'-en-nah); and is of Hebrew origin meaning valley of (the son of) Hinnom; as we find in Jer. 19:6. "Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that this place shall no more be called Tophet or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. (ge-henna or Ge-Hinnom). The truth is that hell is the grave as we find in many scriptures. (See the end of this study for access to the study concerning What happens after death? and other related subjects such as do we go to heaven after death?)

We find that the Hebrew word for grave is she'owl (sheh-ole'); or sheol (sheh-ole'); and in the Greek language it is "Hades" or the Abode of the dead and it translates to the grave, or pit. The word that was related to as "the grave" in the New Testament KJV 1611 is geena (gheh'-en-nah) which is of the same Hebrew origin and refers back to what we covered above as the valley of (the son of) Hinnom; ge-henna (or Ge-Hinnom). The word "Graves" (Plural) is used in the New Testament and in the Old Testament as "Grave" and it was understood as the burying place, or sepulchre as we find it recorded in Acts 2:29; "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb (sepulchre) is with us to this day."

Many have never been taught that in the time of Jesus life the Valley of Hinnom was used as the garbage dump of Jerusalem. They cast all the filth and garbage of the city into it; including the dead bodies of animals and executed criminals. The fires burned day and night as to completely burn all the garbage to ashes. Jesus used this scene as a symbol of hell. What Jesus truly stated when teaching about hell fire was "Do you want to know what hell is like? "Look at the valley of Gehenna." (Or the valley of hell fire.) Jesus knew that they would understand that hell (meaning the grave) and fire meant total destruction much like our cremation today. Let's look at more examples and scriptures to understand this as there are many scriptures that reveal not only the dead are dead, but that the wicked will be completely destroyed by fire and become ashes.

For the truth that comes from God and not some man let's look at what is recorded in Mal 4:3. "You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this," says the LORD of hosts." Notice the wicked will become ashes an this prophecy is about the end of all evil. Sodom and Gomorrah was burned with fire and the fire is referred to as eternal fire in Jude 1:7. Notice the words "the vengeance of eternal fire." Are Sodom and Gomorrah still burning in eternal fire today? No, - but their destruction is eternal. The word used in Jude 1:7 is "aionios" meaning everlasting, and "aion" means perpetuity, or without end. In the same way the wicked will be burned up and become ashes. Can ashes be tormented forever? The term ashes denotes a complete destruction. We know that ashes cannot suffer forever but the "consequences" of their sins will remain "forever." What does this mean in Rev 14:11. "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." It sounds like torment will be forever when misguided teachers use this scripture to say eternal torment is what the wicked will receive. The reason they misunderstand this is because they fail to read the words; "And the "smoke" of their torment" as these words show it is the "smoke" that ascends up forever meaning the "consequences" of their sin is forever; not that they are tormented forever. This verse with many others like Mal 4:3, reveal the wicked will never exist again, but will become ashes as Jesus denoted concerning the Valley of Hinnom. Below is a picture showing what the burn pit in Jerusalem could have looked like when Jesus was there.

(Their judgment is final)
What about the wording "and they have no rest day or night,"? This too can be misinterpreted as people being tormented forever. To find the truth we must look at the word "rest" in the Greek. The word rest is anapausis; meaning "intermission," so "no rest" means "without intermission," which means the same thing as, "their destruction is final." Their destruction is without intermission in the same way as "the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever." The false teaching of eternal torment has those we love who are dead, and supposed worst sinners than the rest of us are now being tormented with fire. Most of us have been burned with fire to some degree or another and can in some small way imagine what it must be like to have our bodies engulfed in fire forever.

What a way to treat people who may have never known of or even heard of Jesus' sacrifice. What a cruel thing to do to people who never had a chance to understand the true plan of salvation and never loved evil but was decent and respectable people although they have not accepted Jesus. What about those who were deeply hurt by some preacher or Christian and as a result turned from the Church? What about the people who did the best they could, but was born in a family of drug addicts and the addiction was stronger than they were and died in their sins never truly understanding how to overcome? What about a drunk? He or She will "Fall off the wagon" from time to time because of the weakness of the flesh. Should they be able to repent even though they know a day will come when they will fall again? When most drunks or others with addictions fail they fail for some time not just for a few days and in many cases they die before they can get it together again. Can you see a loving, kind, merciful, and forgiving God say "Oh well cast them into the lake of fire to be tormented forever!"

This teaching of eternal torment was brought into the Church by preachers that did not even question if it was biblical. What these preachers did not understand is this LIE is from Satan the Devil who is trying to make our loving Father appear evil. Satan is the one who would torment people, not our loving God who gave His son's life with great suffering for us! You can not find the teaching of eternal torment any place in scripture!!

Where did the concept of people burning in a hell fire forever come from?

The myth came from a play write named DANTE, Alighieri, born in Florence, Italy, May 14, 1265; died at Ravenna, Sept. 14, 1321. Acording to his history Dante came from an ancient family of what was referred to as the lower nobility and was educated under Brunetto Latini. DANTE became familiar with the sciences of his time and with the writings of many famous poets, including Horace, Virgil, Statius, and Ovid. DANTE wrote what became known as Dante's Inferno and is a highly symbolic work dealing with themes of sin, salvation, and redemption. Its view of Hell is based on “Catholic doctrine” at the time of the late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance.

According to what I found concerning the playwrite the Inferno begins on "Good Friday" in the year 1300. When the poet was around 35 years old he had reached middle age according to the standards of the time. According to the story Dante is lost in a deep woods and unable to find the straight path and had repeated attacks by allegorical depictions of sin and temptation. Realizing that he is facing ruin, Dante contemplates suicide, but he is rescued by the writings of the poet Virgil who conducts him on a journey through Hell. When he enters the gates of hell, Dante sees the famous line "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here". And that is indeed the chief punishment of all the inhabitants of the Inferno: they have no hope of salvation, no hope of release, no hope of any improvement or escape from their punishments.

Virgil guides Dante through the nine circles of Hell and the circles of Hell are concentric. Each deeper level holds greater sinners and greater punishments. The deepest circle of Hell is at the center of the Earth and it is here that the chief sinner, Satan, is held bound in a lake of ice for all eternity. “The sinners that Dante encounters in the Inferno are each punished in a fashion befitting their crime. The most severe punishments are reserved for the residents of the lower depths of Hell.” Later, in his journey to Purgatory, Dante will encounter more sinners. But the sinners in Hell are very different from those in Purgatory; these sinners are not repentant and justify their sins. As the story goes in their conversations with Dante, the afflicted souls of Hell attempt to justify what they did on earth. Despite their punishments they cannot feel remorse. The residents of Hell also have no knowledge of the present; they can only remember the past. This means that when the Final Judgment comes and time is extinguished they will be consigned to oblivion.

The sinners in Hell are all guilty of one or more of the seven deadly sins. Four of the circles of hell are devoted to punishing these sins in their various manifestations. (Circle 2-lust, 3-gluttony, 4-greed, 5-wrath). The remaining circles do not correspond exactly to the seven deadly sins. The currently recognized version of the sins are usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

The nine circles of Dante's inferno were illustrated by Gustave Dore in a series of classic engravings, which some are presented below.



So we see from history that the concept of torment in hell is from the minds of men and is not biblical. Think about this fact... If God was going to have a place to cast condemned sinners to eternal torment why would it be on Earth or even on the Sun when scripture notes this Earth and Sun will be destroyed at the end of the thousand years of Jesus' rule when the New heavens and new Earth come down from God the Holy Father? No brethren I would think if man did not make up this story of hell fire being in the center of the Earth it would more likely be told to be on the Sun which is the hottest place around! The reason the Fabricated story has HELL FIRE in the center of the earth is because at the time of this fabrication mankind only knew about volcanos that came from deep below the Earth!

Now I know that many will go to the story of the rich man and Lazarus so let's answer the question about The rich man and Lazarus. This is a very popular story preachers refer to while teaching we go to heaven or hell at death and is recorded in Luke 16:19-20. Many times we don't want to believe what the bible teaches because we have heard the same error preached over so many times through the years that it sounds true. A man once stated, "if I tell the same lie long enough, to enough people, then it will eventually be accepted as truth." Politicians are well aware of this and they use it often. The question is, do you want to continue believing it because everyone else does?  Do you want to follow the true Jesus that brought this good news from our Holy Father who is in heaven? We should not want to take any belief from any minister as truth just because he said it's truth. We should want to know what the Christian bible teaches, and base our beliefs on that. If we truly want the truth that is written in the Christian bible then we must put aside OUR beliefs which in some cases comes from myths such as Dante's Inferno, and "honestly" look at what the bible teaches as we have already learned above.

Now looking at what we have already learned from the bible in this study concerning hell fire and torment and you will need to read the other two studys titled "Do we go to heaven at death" and "What happens after death?" (See links at the end of this study) to understand the whole truth which is that no one goes to heaven except the one who came down from heaven and that was Jesus the Messiah alone, and the Kingdom of God will come down to us, not us going up to heaven. If you have studied these three studies then you have learned what the Kingdom of God is, and have shown that it is not within us, but is a real Kingdom with a real ruler (Jesus) that is coming in the future. If you studied "What happens after death?" you have learned from scripture that the soul is not immortal, but the God family alone has immortality, and the truth is that the soul can die. We have learned that to be dead is to not know anything and those who have died are still dead to this day; and that there will be a resurrection of the dead at Christ's return and not anytime before. So the answer to the story of Lazarus and the rich man is if the Kingdom of heaven will not come until Jesus returns, then how could Lazarus be there? If there is to be a resurrection of the dead at Christ's return, how can Lazarus be alive? With all these examples we have learned in these three studies from the Old and New Testaments we can now understand that the story of the rich man and Lazarus was just a story Jesus told to illustrate why it would be hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom "from" heaven. And how the rich should treat the poor in the fear of God knowing that Jesus can require their soul at anytime; therefore the riches are a gift of God, and does not make anyone better than their fellow man, and the riches should be treated as a gift and even shared as the story teaches that the rich will forfeit ALL at death..

The story Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus was no different than the story the prophet Nathan related to King David to wisely get the King to see his error when he caused the death of the husband of the woman he desired. After reading this and the points made in the above study you will see the point and wisdom of our Lord Jesus. The story recorded reads."There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his morsel, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb, and prepared it for the man who had come to him." Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity." Nathan said to David, "You are the man." (2 Samuel 12. 1-7)

After Nathan pronounced the retributive judgment of God on David, we read, "David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.'" David thus acknowledged that the judgment he had made on the rich man applied by implication to a similar case, his own, as well. King David was a just man and this act showed it.

The truth is much more rewarding:
The big question we must ask ourselves is, does God who is love want "revenge" on people who have sinned?" John 3:16-17. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

Brethren, never forget that God loves all His creation, and especially His children, so much that He is making "every effort" to bring us into His family. Although there are those that will commit the unpardonable sin and there are those that will love Satan and hate God, we still know that God does not wish that any would parish. As I have stated in other studies, "Salvation is being offered to everyone at this time, but everyone will not accept it." Does God desire to see people in torment? No! What does God say about His desire for all mankind? 2 Pet 3:9. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." What we must do is repent. (Turn from sin). Is it asking to much of us to change and become like Him? Is it really asking to much for us to love, and help one another? I fully understand that this is a process that takes time and much help from the Spirit of God, but the key is that we need to be working on it daily. We need to come to understand what sin is, and that sin will harm those we love and destroy us all in the long run. If you don't think so than go check out a drug house where they shoot up all kinds of drugs in their arms! Or a hospital ward where they are dying of AIDS.

As our study titled "Just what is Sin." brings out, sin is forbidden because it is harmful. Would you want to live forever in a Kingdom with the type of crime ridden Satan perverted society we have today? I doubt that you would. To seek only our own good is what destroys those around us, and those who are caught up into Satan's traps are truly living lives of misery and suffering. We must come to understand that lust destroys love just as sure as poison destroys the body. The way of sin is full of sorrow, destruction, and it's full of every thing that leads to death. However, the way of God is full of love, life, joy, and peace for all. When God is in control then all things blossom in a way that is fantastic. I'm reminded of the cartoon "Fern-gully" where all was peaceful until man, controlled by greed, came to exploit the land. It was not long after man arrived that the peaceful life around was turned into ruin. They rooted up the trees and filled in the creeks and replaced soil with concrete and buildings.

Why would a loving God allow this evil we see on Earth to continue in His Kingdom forever? We were created to have the perfect world, the perfect body, and perfect relationships. Science has found that our bodies were even created to last for hundreds of years in good health if sin was not in the flesh. Our Loving Father wants us to live in peace and joy, with great prosperity for all. The laws of God (The Ten Commandments) are for that purpose. They are laws of love, first our love for God and then our love for mankind. Even the destruction of the incorrigible wicked (those who refuse to change) will be an act of love by God. We read in Isa 26:14. "They are dead, they will not live; they are deceased, they will not rise. Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish." Notice the prophet was inspired to write, "they will not rise." And also "Made all their memory to perish." So we understand that even their memory will perish so those who are in the Kingdom of God will not live in anguish over those they love who were destroyed. Never forget that everything God does is motivated from love.

The fantastic truth of God is far greater than what is taught today. The truth is a Kingdom is coming, and because of Jesus' sacrifice we can be part of it if we are willing to repent and accept Jesus as our savior and be willing to do the best we can to work on changing our character but we are not saved by our works. The truth is we can become priests, ruling with Jesus with a fantastic love we never dreamed possible. The truth is a wonderful world is coming with all the good fruits and beautiful valleys and with all the creation living in complete harmony. A world where God will make all that is wrong right and we will finally receive what God created us to have. Letís read the bible's account of this wonderful time. Isa 11:6-9 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."

This is the true gospel Jesus our savior preached. This is the good news that was preached by the apostles. What God will do out of love is forever put to sleep those who love Satan and don't want to change so all who do will be able to live throughout eternity in peace. Please understand that God does not want us coming to Him because we fear burning in torment forever, but because we "want to love" Him and be a part of His wonderful Kingdom continuing to learn, grow, and build in this Kingdom as spirit born children of God having a fantastic love relationship with our heavenly Father and our elder brother Jesus the Messiah. God does not want anyone to be in His Kingdom that truly does not understand the point of it, or who does not want to be there. That is the whole point of our Christian walk which is to learn and develop holy righteousness character. To chose now to do what is right even when our human nature pulls us towards selfishness. We as begotten children of God must work now with the Holy Spirit to become mature Christians and that is why we must study to prove the truth of God and not follow some man, or organization of men, who teach contrary to the bible. Don't ever let a misguided minister convince you that God has the same evil nature as Satan the devil. No! God loves us all with an everlasting love that is far greater then we can fully understand.

What did John record in I Jn 4:9? "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him." We see here that God first loved us. He did not have to send Jesus to die for our sins, and Jesus did not have to come and suffer by the hands of evil men. When mankind neglects to believe and obey God's command he causes the curse of death to come upon himself. God does not do this to us, but He gives us a way out through Jesus our Savior in a pure heart of deep love for us all. Remember, God the Father, and Jesus our elder brother wants us to come to them because we have realized that their ways are full of life, joy, health, and prosperity. They want us to repent because we understand how harmful sin is, and how magnificent it will be to live in the Kingdom they are preparing for us now. They want us to love them because of who they are, not for what we think we can get from them. They want our love for them to be just as Their love is for us, which is unconditional. This kind of love is free love, and when this kind of love is within a family, Church, or Nation, no one wants to do anything to harm any of the others, but actively looks for ways to help, and serve. This is what God desires to give us all after death, or the resurrection; question we believe it, and are we willing to receive it? 

For more good information on this subject see.. Do we go to heaven at Death? because to understand what the bible teaches about the soul and if it is immortal is very important if we are to find the truth and not just believe what some men have taught. Note: Some information is duplacated in these two studies but to understand the subject of the "Soul" read... What happens after death? and you also might want to study the Truth about the Rapture

What is the Weakness in your flesh?

In Jesus' Service and hope to see you in the Kingdom of God.

Timothy M. Youngblood
The Master's Table