Death and Hell


Eons and Ages


Word of God



   The Apocalypse





Statement of Faith






  Right Division    Jesus Christ       The Walk         The Key



   New Audio Room


   New Forum


   New Blogger



   Test Your 



   View Guestbook

   Sign Guestbook


new_tiny.gif (143 bytes)

The Pleroma



   Plainer Words


   Tom Ballinger


Library of Articles

new_tiny.gif (143 bytes)

Theme of The Bible  The Kingdom of God


The Times of Refreshing


S. Van Mierlo


Summary of the Divine Plan 


The Message of the Kingdom


Three Spheres



new_tiny.gif (143 bytes)

The Works of Flavius Josephus



Quick Search

Bible Studies

 Alphabetical Analysis



  Also -





   "Practical Truth in Ephesians"


A Study in Pentecost


Heavenly Places

by Charles H. Welch PDF

The One Great Subject of

 The Word



By Charles H. Welch



 by E.W. Bullinger



 by Tom Ballinger


Present Truth


The Foundations of Dispensational Truth


Introduction To Acts 28


 Dispensational Expositions


ACTS 28. The Dispensational Boundary


None Other Things




Tested Truth


Things That Differ 


Before and After Acts 28:28


The Hope of Paul's

Acts Epistles


Who is YOUR Apostle


The Ministry of Paul 




The Structure

of Ephesians


A Study in Pentecost


The Elect Remnant 


Time and Eternity

Death, Soul and Hell

Do YOU have an Immortal Soul?

The Resurrection

of the body


Visible Hell

The Gift, Hope and the Prize

The Fullness

Three Spheres of Blessing

The Bride and The Body

Structures or Parallel Lines


Children vs. Sons

Earthly Things




Dispensational Outline Of The Books Of The N.T.


Gementria in Christ's Geneaolgy
















The Bible Hell
Part 2



The Hebrew Old Testament, some three hundred years before the Christian era, was translated into Greek, but of the sixty-four instances where Sheol occurs in the Hebrew, it is rendered Hadees in the Greek sixty times, so that either word is the equivalent of the other. But neither of these words is ever used in the Bible to signify punishment after death, nor should the word Hell ever be used as the rendering of Sheol or Hades for neither word denotes post-mortem torment. According to the Old Testament the words Sheol, Hadees primarily signify only the place, or state of the dead. The character of those who departed there did not affect their situation in Sheol, for all went into the same state. The word cannot be translated by the term Hell, for that would make Jacob expect to go to a place of torment, and prove that the Savior of the world, David, Jonah, etc., were once sufferers in the prison-house of the damned. In every instance in the Old Testament, the word grave might be substituted for the term hell, either in a literal or figurative sense. The word being a proper name should always have been left untranslated. Had it been carried into the Greek Septuagint, and then into the English, untranslated, Sheol, a world of misconception would have been avoided, for when it is rendered Hades, all the materialism of the heathen mythology is suggested to the mind, and when rendered Hell, the medieval monstrosities of a Christianity corrupted by heathen adulterations is suggested. Had the word been permitted to travel untranslated, no one would give to it the meaning now so often applied to it. Sheol, primarily, literally, the grave, or death, secondarily and figuratively the political, social, moral or spiritual consequences of wickedness in the present world, is the precise force of the term, wherever found.

Sheol occurs exactly sixty-four times and is translated hell thirty-two times, pit three times, and grave twenty-nine times. Dr. George Campbell, a celebrated critic, says that "Sheol signifies the state of the dead in general, without regard to the goodness or badness of the persons, their happiness or misery."



Professor Stuart (orthodox Congregational) only dares claim five out of the sixty-four passages as affording any proof that the word means a place of punishment after death. "These," he says, "may designate the future world of woe." "They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to Sheol." "The wicked shall be turned into Sheol, and all the nations that forget God." "Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of Sheol." "But he knoweth that the ghosts are there, and that her guests are in the depths of Sheol." "You shall beat him with a rod, and shall deliver his soul from Sheol. He observes: "The meaning will be a good one, if we suppose Sheol to designate future punishment." "I concede, to interpret all the texts which exhibit Sheol as having reference merely to the grave, is possible; and therefore it is possible to interpret" them "as designating a death violent and premature, inflicted by the hand of Heaven."

An examination shows that these five passages agree with the rest in their meaning:
Ps. 9:17: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." The wicked here are "the heathen," "mine enemies," i.e.; they are not individuals, but "the nations that forget God," that is, neighboring nations, the heathen. They will be turned into Sheol, death, die as nations, for their wickedness. Individual sinners are not meant.

Professor Alexander, of the Theological Seminary, Princeton, thus presents the correct translation of Ps. 9:17, the only passage containing the word usually quoted from the Old Testament to convey the idea of post-mortem punishment. "The wicked shall turn back, even to hell, to death or to the grave, all nations forgetful of God. The enemies of God and of his people shall not only be thwarted and repulsed, but driven to destruction, and that not merely individuals, but nations." Dr. Allen, of Bowdoin College says of this text: "The punishment expressed in this passage is cutting off from life, destroying from the earth by some special judgment, and removing to the invisible state of the dead. The Hebrew term translated hell in the text does not seem to mean, with any certainty, anything more than the state of the dead in their deep abode." Professor Stuart: "It means a violent and premature death inflicted by the hand of heaven." Job 21:13: "They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave."

It would seem that no one could claim this text as a threat of after-death punishment. It is a mere declaration of sudden death. This is evident when we remember that it was uttered to a people who, according to all authorities, believed in no punishment after death.

Proverbs 5:5, "her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell." This language, making death and Sheol parallel, announces that the strange woman walks in paths of swift and inevitable sorrow and death. And so does Prov. 9:18: "But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell." Sheol is here used as a figure of emblem of the horrible condition and fate of those who follow the ways of sin. They are dead while they live. They are already in Sheol or the kingdom of death.

Proverbs 23:13-14, "Withhold not correction from the child; for if you beat him with the rod, he shall not die. You shall beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell." Sheol is here used as the grave, to denote the death that rebellious children experience early, or it may mean that moral condition of the soul which Sheol, the realm of death signifies. But in no case is it supposable that it means a place or condition of after-death punishment in which, as all scholars agree, Solomon was not a believer.


The real meaning of the word Stuart concedes to be the under-world, the religion of the dead, the grave, the sepulcher, the region of ghosts or departed spirits. (Ex. Ess.): "It was considered as a vast and wide dominion or region, of which the grave seems to have been as it were only a part or a kind of entrance-way. It appears to have been regarded as extending deep down into the earth, even to its lowest abysses. . . . . In this boundless region lived and moved at times, the names of departed friends."

But these five passages teach no such doctrine as he thinks they may teach. The unrighteous possessor of wealth goes down to death; the nations that forget God are destroyed as nations; lewd women's steps lead downward to death; their guests are on the downward road; the rod that wisely corrects the unruly child, saves him from the destruction of sin. There is no hint of an endless hell, nor of a post-mortem hell in these passages, and if not in these five then it is conceded it is in no passage containing the word.

That the Hebrew Sheol never designates a place of punishment in a future state of existence, we have the testimony of the most learned of scholars, even among the so-called orthodox. We quote the testimony of a few:

Rev. Dr. Whitby: "Sheol throughout the Old Testament, signifies not a place of punishment for the souls of bad men only, but the grave, or place of death."

Dr Chapman: "Sheol, in itself considered has no connection with future punishment."

Dr. Allen: "The term Sheol itself, does not seem to mean anything more than the state of the dead in their dark abode."

Dr. Firbairn, of the College of Glasgow: "Beyond doubt, Sheol, like Hades, was regarded as the abode after death, alike of the good and the bad."

Edward Leigh, who says Horne's, "Introduction," was "one of the most learned understanding of the original languages of the Scriptures," observes that "all learned Hebrew scholars know the Hebrews have no proper word for hell, as we take hell."

Prof. Stuart: "There can be no reasonable doubt that Sheol does most generally mean the underworld, the grave or sepulchre, the world of the dead. It is very clear that there are many passages where no other meaning can reasonably be assigned to it. Accordingly, our English translators have rendered the word Sheol grave in thirty instances out of the whole sixty-four instances in which it occurs."

Dr. Thayer in his Theology of Universalism quotes as follows: Dr. Whitby says that Hell "throughout the Old Testament signifies the grave only or the place of death."

Archbishop Whately: "As for a future state of retribution in another world, Moses said nothing to the Israelites about that."

Milman says that Moses "maintains a profound silence on the rewards and punishments of another life."

Bishop Warburton testifies that, "In the Jewish Republic, both the rewards and punishments promised by Heaven were temporal only-such as health, long life, peace, plenty and dominion, etc., diseases, premature death, war, famine, want, subjections, captivity, etc. And in no one place of the Mosaic Institutes is there the least mention, or any intelligible hint, of the rewards and punishments of another life."

Paley declares that the Mosaic dispensation "dealt in temporal rewards and punishments. The blessings consisted altogether of worldly benefits, and the curses of worldly punishments.

Prof. Mayer says, that "the rewards promised the righteous, and the punishments threatened the wicked, are such only as are awarded in the present state of being."

Jahn, whose work is the textbook of the Andover Theological Seminary, says, "We have no authority, therefore, decidedly to say, that any other motives were held out to the ancient Hebrews to pursue good and avoid evil, than those which were derived from the rewards and punishments of this life."

To the same important fact testify Prof. Wines, Bush, Arnauld, and other distinguished theologians and scholars. "All learned Hebrew scholars know that the Hebrews have no word proper for hell, as we take hell."

[Footnote: Encyc. Britan., vol. 1. Dis. 3 Whateley's "Peculiarities of the Christian Religion," p.44, 2d edition, and his "Scripture Revelations of a Future State," pp. 18, 19, American edition. MILMAN'S "Hist. of Jews," vol. 1, 117. "Divine Legation," vol. 3, pp. 1, 2 & c. 10th London edition. PALEY'S works, vol. 5. p. 110, Sermon 13. Jahn's "Archaeology," 324. Lee, in his "Eschatology," says: "It should be remembered that the rewards and punishments of the Mosaic Institutes were exclusively temporal. Not an allusion is found, in the case of either individuals or communities, in which reference is made to the good or evil of a future state as motive to obedience."]

Dr. Muenscher, author of a Dogmatic History in German, says: "The souls or shades of the dead wander in Sheol, the realm or kingdom of death, an abode deep under the earth. There go all men, without distinction, and hope for no return. There ceases all pain and anguish; there reigns an unbroken silence; there all is powerless and still; and even the praise of God is heard no more."

Von Coelln: "Sheol itself is described as the house appointed for all living, which receives into its bosom all mankind, without distinction of rank, wealth or moral character. It is only in the mode of death, and not in the condition after death, that the good are distinguished above the evil. The just, for instance, die in peace, and are gently borne away before the evil comes; while a bitter death breaks the wicked like as a tree."


Consult the passages in which the word is rendered grave, and substitute the original word Sheol, and it will be seen that the meaning is far better preserved: Gen. 37: 34-35: "And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sack-cloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him." It was not into the literal grave, but into the realm of the dead, where Jacob supposed his son to have gone, into which he wished to go, namely, to Sheol.

Gen. 42:38 and 44: 31, are to the same purport: "And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall you bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave." "It shall come to pass, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and your servants shall bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave." The literal grave may be meant here, but had Sheol remained untranslated, any reader would have understood the sense intended.

I Samuel 2: 6: "The Lord kills, and makes alive: he brings down to the grave, and brings up."

I Kings 2: 6-9: "Do therefore according to your wisdom, and let not his old age (gray hair) go down to the grave in peace. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for you are a wise man, and know what you ought to do unto him; but his old age bring down to the grave with blood."

Job 7: 9: "As the cloud is consumed and vanishes away: so he that goes down to the grave shall come up no more."

Job 14:13, "Oh that You would hide me in the grave, that You would keep me secret, until Your wrath be past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me."

Of Korah and his company, it is said, "They and all that belonged to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the congregation." - Num. 16:33.

Job 17:13-14, "If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, You are my father: to the worm, You are my mother, and my sister."

Job 21:13, "They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave."

Job 33:21-22, "His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen: and his bones that were not seen stick out. Then his soul draws near unto the grave, and his lie to the destroyers."

Ps. 6:5, "In the grave who shall give You thanks?"

Ps. 30:3, "O Lord, You have brought up my soul from the grave: You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit."

Ps. 88:3, "For my soul is full of troubles, and my soul draws near to the grave."

Prov. 1:12, "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave.

"Ps. 20:3, "In the grave who shall give thee thanks?"

Ps. 141:7, "Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth

."Song Sol. 8:6, "Jealousy is cruel as the grave."

Ecc. 9:10, "There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you are going."

Isa. 38:18, "For the grave cannot praise You, death cannot celebrate You, they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Your truth."

Hos. 14:14, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave-O grave, I will be your destruction."

Job 33:22, "His soul (man's) draws near unto the grave."

I Kings 2:9, "But his old age you bring down to the grave with blood." 

Job 24: 19: "Drought and heat consume the snow-waters; so does the grave those which have sinned."

Psalm 6:5, "For in death there is no remembering You, in the grave who shall give You thanks."

Psalm 31:17, "Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."

Psalm 89:48, "What man is he that lives, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?

Prov. 30:16, "The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that says not, It is enough."

Isa. 14:11, "Your pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of your violins; the worm is spread under you, and the worms cover you." 

In Isa. 38: 18: "For the Grave (Sheol, Hades) cannot praise You; death cannot celebrate You; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Your truth."

Prof. Stuart says: "I regard the simple meaning of this controversial place (and of others like it, e.g., Ps. 6:5; 30:9; 88:11; 115:7; Comp. 118: 17) as being this namely, "The dead can no more give thanks to God nor celebrate his praise among the living on earth, etc." And he properly observes (pp. 113-14): "It is to be regretted that our English translation has given occasion to the remark that those who made it have intended to impose on their readers in any case a sense different from that of the original Hebrew. The inconsistency and irregularity with which they have rendered the word Sheol even in cases of the same nature, must obviously afford some apparent ground for this objection against their version of it."

Why the word should have been rendered grave and pit in the foregoing passages, and hell in the rest, cannot be explained. Why it is not grave or hell, or better still Sheol or Hades in all cases, no one can explain, for there is no valid reason.


The first time the word is found translated Hell in the Bible is in Deut. 32:22-26, "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest Hell, Sheol-Hades, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword without and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs. I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men."

Thus the lowest Hell is on earth, and its torments consist in such pains as are only possible in this life: "hunger," "the teeth of beasts," "the poison of serpents," "the sword," etc.; and not only are real offenders to suffer them, but even "sucklings" are to be involved in the calamity. If endless torment is denoted by the word, infant damnation follows, for into this hell "the suckling and the man of gray hairs go," side by side. The scattering and destruction of the Israelites, in this world, is the meaning of fire in the lowest hell, as any reader can see by carefully consulting the chapter containing this first instance of the use of the word.

Similar to this are the teachings wherever the word occurs in the Old Testament: "For You will not leave my soul in Hell nor suffer Your holy one to see corruption." Ps. 16:10. Here "corruption" is placed parallel with Sheol, or death.

"Though they dig into Hell, then shall my hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, then will I bring them down." Amos 9:2.
"If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Hell, behold, You are there." Ps. 139:8.
"It is as high as heaven; what can You do? deeper than Hell; what can You know." Job 11:8.
The sky and the depths of the earth are here placed in opposition, to represent height and depth. A place of torment after death was never thought of by any of those who use the word in the Old Testament.

If the word means a place of endless punishment, then David was a monster. Ps. 55:15: "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into Sheol-Hades!"

Job desired to go there. 14:13: "Oh, that You would hide me in Sheol-Hades.

Hezekiah expected to go there. - Isa 38:10: "I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of Sheol-Hades.

Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16:30-33) not only went there "but their houses, and goods, and all that they owned," "and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that belonged to Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that belonged to them, went down alive into Sheol-Hadees, and the earth closed upon them; and they perished from among the congregation."

It is in the dust - Job 17:16, "They shall go down to the bars of Sheol-Hades, when our rest together is in the dust."

It has a mouth, is in fact the grave, see Ps. 141:7, "Our bones are scattered at Sheol's-Hades' mouth, as when one cuts and cleaves wood upon the earth."

It has gray hairs, Gen. 42:38, "And he said, my son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol-Hades."

The overthrow of the King of Babylon is called Hell.

Isa. 14:9-15, 22-23, "Hell, Sheol-Hades, from beneath is moved for you to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, even all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto you, are you also become weak as we? Are you become like unto us? Your pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of your harps; the worm is spread under you, and the worms cover you. For I will rise up against them says the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, says the Lord. I will also make it a possession for the wading bird, and pools of water; and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction, says the Lord of hosts." All this imagery demonstrates temporal calamity, a national overthrow as the signification of the word Hell.

The captivity of the Jews is called Hell.

Isa. 5:13-14, "Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore Sheol-Hades, has enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure; and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoices, shall descend into it.

Temporal overthrow is called Hell.

Ps. 49:14, "Like sheep they are laid in the grave, death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in Sheol-Hades, from their dwelling."

Ezek. 32:26-27, "And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to Sheol-Hades with their weapons of war, and they have laid their swords under their heads." Men are in hell with their swords under their heads. This cannot mean a state of conscious suffering.

Hell is to be destroyed.

Hos. 13:14, "Oh grave I will be your destruction."
I Cor. 15: 55: "Oh grave (Hades) I will be your destruction."
Rev. 20:13,14,  "And death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them, and death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire."

Sheol is precisely the same word as Saul. If it meant Hell, would any Hebrew parent have called his child Sheol? Think of calling a boy
Sheol (Hell)!

Nowhere in the Old Testament does the word Sheol, or its Greek equivalent, Hades, ever denote a place or condition of suffering after death; it either means literal death or temporal calamity. This is clear as we consult the usage.

Hence David, after having been in Hell was delivered from it:

Ps. 18:5; 30:3, "O Lord, You have brought up my soul from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. When the waves of death compassed me the floods of ungodly men made me afraid." "The sorrows of Hell, Sheol-Hades compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me," so that there is escape from Hell."

Jonah was in a fish only seventy hours, and declared he was in hell forever. He escaped from Hell.
Jon. 2:2, 6, "Out of the belly of Hell (Sheol-Hades) I cried, and You heard my voice, earth with her bars was about me forever."
Even an eternal Hell lasted but three days.

It is a place where God is and therefore must be an instrumentality of mercy.
Ps. 139:8, "If I make my bed In Hell (Sheol-Hadees), behold You are there."

Men having gone into it are redeemed from it.
I Sam. 2:6, "The Lord kills and makes alive, He brings down to the grave (Sheol-Hadees) and brings up."

Jacob wished to go there.
Gen. 37:35, "I will go down into Sheol (the grave, Hades) unto my son mourning."


Besides the passages already given, we now record all the other places in which the word Sheol-Hadees, occurs. It is translated Hell in the following passages:

Ps. 86:13, "You have delivered my soul from the lowest Hell."

Ps. 156:3, "The pains of Hell got hold on me: I found trouble and sorrow."

Prov. 15:11, 24, "Hell and destruction are before the Lord. The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from Hell beneath."

Prov. 23:14, "You shall beat him, and deliver his soul from Hell."

Prov. 27:20, "Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied."

Isa. 28:15, 18, "Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with Hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then you shall be trodden down by it."

Isaiah 57:9, "You did debase yourself even unto hell."

Ezek. 31:16-17, "I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to Hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. They also went down into Hell with him, unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelled under his shadow in the midst of the heathen."

Jonah 2:2 says, "Out of the belly of Hell cried I, and You heard me."

Hab. 2:5, "Also because he is transgressed by wine, he is a proud man who neither stays at home, who enlarges his desire as Hell and is as death, and cannot be satisfied."

We believe we have recorded every passage in which the word Sheol-Hades occurs. Suppose the original word stood, and we read Sheol or Hades in all the passages instead of Hell, would any unbiased reader regard the word as conveying the idea of a place or state of endless torment after death, such as the English word Hell is so generally supposed to denote? Such a doctrine was never held by the ancient Jews, until after the Babylonish captivity, during which they acquired it of the heathen. All scholars agree that Moses never taught it, and that it is not contained in the Old Testament.

Thus not one of the sixty-four passages containing the only word rendered Hell in the entire Old Testament, teaches any such thought as is commonly supposed to be contained in the English word Hell. It should have stood the proper name of the realm of death, Sheol.


Men in the Bible are said to be in hell, Sheol-Hades, and in "The lowest hell," while on earth. Deut. 32:22; Jon. 2:2; Rev. 6: 8.

Men have been in Hell, Sheol-Hades, and yet have escaped from it. Ps. 18:5, 6; II Sam.; Jon 2:2; Ps. 116:3; 86:12-13. Ps. 30:3; Rev. 20:13.

God delivers men from Hell, Sheol-Hades. I Sam. 2:6.

All men are to go there. No one can escape the Bible Hell, Sheol-Hades. Ps. 89:48.

There can be no evil there for there is no kind of work there. Eccl. 9:10.

Christ's soul was said to be in Hell, Sheol-Hades.
Acts 2:27-28.

No one in the Bible ever speaks of Hell, Sheol-Hades as a place of punishment after death.

It is a way of escape from punishment. Amos 9:2.

The inhabitants of Hell, Sheol-Hades are eaten of worms, vanish and are consumed away. Job 7:9, 21; Ps. 49:14.

Hell, Sheol-Hades is a place of rest. Job 17:16.

It is a realm of unconsciousness. Ps. 6:5; Is. 38:18;
Eccl. 9:10.

All men will be delivered from this Hell. Hos. 13:14.

Hell, Sheol-Hades, will be destroyed. Hos. 13:14;
I Cor. 15:55; Rev. 20:14.

At the time these declarations were made, and universally accepted by the Hebrews, the surrounding nations all held entirely different doctrines. Egypt, Greece, Rome, taught that after death there is a fate in store for the wicked that exactly resembles that taught by so-called orthodox Christians. But the entire Old testament is utterly silent on the subject, teaching nothing of the sort as the sixty-four passages we have quoted show and as the critics of all churches admit. And yet "Moses was learned in all the wisdom in all the wisdom of the Egyptians"
(Acts 7: 22) who believed in a world of torment after death. If Moses knew all about this Egyptian doctrine, and did not teach it to his followers, what is the unavoidable inference?


Dr. Strong says, that not only Moses, but "every Israelite who came out of Egypt, must have been fully acquainted with the universally recognized doctrine of future rewards and punishments." And yet Moses is utterly silent on the subject.

Dr. Thayer remarks: "Is it possible to imagine a more conclusive proof against the divine origin of the doctrine? If he had believed it to be of God, if he had believed in endless torments as the doom of the wicked after death, and had received this as a revelation from heaven, could he have passed it over in silence? Would he have dared to conceal it, or treat so terrible a subject with such marked contempt? And what motive could he have had for doing this? I cannot conceive of a more striking evidence of the fact that the doctrine is not of God. He knew whence the monstrous dogma came, and he had seen enough of Egypt already, and would have no more of her cruel superstitions; and so he casts this out, with her abominable idolatries, as false and unclean things."

So that while the Old Testament talks of ten thousand things of small importance, it has not a syllable nor a whisper of what ought to have been told first of all and most of all and continually. No one is said to have gone to such a place as is now denoted by the word Hell, or to be going to it, or saved from it, or exposed to it. To say that the Hell taught by partialist Christians existed before Christ, is to accuse God of having permitted his children for four thousand years to tumble into it by millions, without a word of warning from him. Earth was a flowery path, concealing pitfalls into infinite burnings, and God never told one of his children a word about it. For four thousand years then the race got on with no knowledge of a place of torment after death. When was the fact first made known? And if it was not necessary to the wickedest people the world ever knew, when did it become necessary?

The future world as revealed in the Old Testament is a conscious existence never described as a place or state of punishment. Prof. Stuart well calls it "the region of darkness or ghosts. It was considered as a vast and wide domain or region of which the grave was only a part or a kind of entrance-way. It appears to have been regarded as extending deep down into the earth, even to the lowest abysses. In this boundless region lived and moved at times the manes (or ghosts) of departed friends."

Bishop Lowth: "In the under-world of the Hebrews there is something peculiarly grand and awful. It was an immense region, a vast subterranean kingdom, involved in thick darkness filled with deep valleys, and shut up with strong gates; and from it there was no possibility of escape. There whole hosts of men went down at once; heroes and armies with their trophies of victory; kings and their people were found there where they had a shadowy sort of existence as manes or ghosts neither entirely spiritual nor entirely material, engaged in the employments of their earthly life though destitute of strength and physical substance." All was shadowy and unreal beyond death until Christ came and brought immortality to light through his Gospel.

Whitby on Acts 2:27, "That Sheol throughout the Old Testament, and Hades in the Septuagint, answering to it, signify not the place of punishment, or of the souls of bad men only, but the grave only, or the place of death appears, first, from the root of it, Sheol, which signifies to ask, to crave and require. Second, because it is the place to which the good as well as the bad go, etc."


During all the time that generations following generations of Jews were entertaining the ideas taught in these sixty-four passages, the surrounding heathen believed in future, endless torment. The literature is full of it. Says Good in his "Book of Nature": "It was believed in most countries 'that this Hell, Hades, or invisible world, is divided into two very distinct and opposite regions, by a broad and impassable gulf; that the one is a seat of happiness, a paradise or elysium, and the other a seat of misery, a Gehenna or Tartarus; and that there is a supreme magistrate and an impartial tribunal belonging to the infernal shades, before which the ghosts must appear, and by which they are sentenced to the one or the other, according to the deeds done in the body. Egypt is said to have been the inventors of this important and valuable part of the tradition; and undoubtedly it is to be found in the earliest records of Egyptian history.'  [It should be observed that Gehenna was not used before Christ, or until 150 A. D. to denote a place of future punishment."]

Homer sings:

"Here in a lonely land, and gloomy cells, The dusky nation of Cimmeria dwells; The sun ne'er views the uncomfortable seats, When radiant he advances or retreats. Unhappy race! whom endless night invades, Clouds the dull air, and wraps them round in shades."
Virgil says:
"The gates of Hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way." Just in the gate, and in the jaws of Hell, Revengeful Cares and sullen Sorrows dwell, And pale Diseases, and repining Age, Want, Fear, and Famine's unresisted rage; Here Toils, and Death, and Death's half-brother Sleep Forms terrible to view, their sentry keep; With anxious pleasures of a guilty mind, Deep Frauds before, and open Force behind; The Furies' iron beds; and Strife, that shakes Her hissing tresses, and unfolds her snakes. Full in the midst of this infernal road, An elm displays her dusky arms abroad; -- The god of sleep there bides his heavy head; And empty dreams on every leaf are spread. Of various forms unnumbered spectres more, Centaurs, and double shapes, besiege the door. Before the passage horrid Hydra stands, And Briarius with his hundred hands; Gorgons, Geryon with his tripe frame; And vain Chimera vomits empty flame."
Dr. Anthon says, "As regards the analogy between the term Hades and our English word Hell, it may be remarked that the latter, in its primitive signification, perfectly corresponded to the former. For, at first, it denoted only what was secret or concealed; and it is found, moreover, with little variation of form and precisely with the same meaning in all the Teutonic dialects. The dead without distinction of good or evil, age or rank, wander there conversing about their former state on earth; they are unhappy and they feel their wretched state acutely. They have no strength or power of body or mind. . . Nothing can be more gloomy and comfortless than the whole aspect of the realm of Hadees, as pictured by Homer."

The heathen sages admit that they invented the doctrine.
Says Polybius: "Since the multitude is ever fickle, full of lawless desires, irrational passions and violence, there is no other way to keep them in order but by the fear and terror of the invisible world; on which account our ancestors seem to me to have acted judiciously, when they contrived to bring into the popular belief these notions of the gods, and of the infernal regions." B. vi. 56.

Strabo says: "The multitude are restrained from vice by the punishments the gods are said to inflict upon offenders, and by those terrors and threatenings which certain dreadful words and monstrous forms imprint upon their minds. . . . For it is impossible to govern the crowd of women, and all the common rabble, by philosophical reasoning, and lead them to piety, holiness and virtue-but this must be done by superstition, or the fear of the gods, by means of fables and wonders; for the thunder, the aegis, the trident, the torches (Of the Furies), the dragons, etc., are all fables, as is also all the ancient theology." Geo. B. I. Seneca says: "Those things which make the infernal regions terrible, the darkness, the prison, the river of flaming fire, the judgment-seat, etc., are all a fable, with which the poets amuse themselves, and by them agitate us with vain terrors." How near these superstitious horrors--these heathen inventions.

 Part 3 - The Christian Idea Of Hell