A VISIT TO HELL
Jesus' warnings were extremely strong about the fires of "Gehenna." Again, speaking to the "chosen" people,
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into Hell (Gehenna). And if thy right eye offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into Hell." (Matt. 5:28,29; see also Matt. 18:9 and Mark 9:43,49)
If these Scriptures are to be taken literally, and if the consequences are eternal torment, then the church should be full of one-eyed, one-armed, one-footed members. The pulpits should have chairs behind them for the multitude of one-footed preachers who have problems with lustful eyes and hearts, and greed never being satisfied with the amount of money they raise.
I met a Christian who took these Scriptures literally and tried to take out one of his eyes. How many preachers would dare be bold enough in their so-called "faith" to counsel such a man that he was doing the right thing because he was following Scriptures? The justice systems would have those preachers behind bars in no time. Can you see the hypocrisy in this kind of reasoning? If Jesus meant what he said and if the consequences were what preachers tell us they are, then they should teach it all from a literal point of view, but they don't. They don't believe their own teachings.
Jesus rebuked God's "chosen people" evangelists declaring they were making their converts "two times the sons of Hell (Gehenna) as yourselves." (Matt. 23:15) If eternal torment is what is implied here, then God has a serious problem. He chose them to be His "evangelists." From the very beginning of Israel's history, God told them that they would forsake Him and become rebellious. (Joshua 23:16 and many other prophesies) If God knew that Israel was going to misrepresent God to the nations, that they would accept false God's and images and make their converts two times the sons of Hell (Gehenna) as themselves, then God is ultimately responsible for the fate of the peoples of this world because He knew in advance that Israel would misrepresent the Truth. If "Gehenna" is eternal torment, God has indicted Himself in being an accomplice to making the world full of people who are "two times the sons of Hell." God Himself chose these people as a nation of priests to the world. It was their responsibility to show the world His standards. They miserably failed. But God knew they would fail before they even began. Therefore, since He had foreknowledge of this fact, He is directly responsible for the world being deceived by His own priests. The buck stops at the top. If eternal torment is the punishment for not living up to God's standards, then God will ultimately have to be blamed for those who are in "Hell." When one studies the church record as being a standard of righteousness and truth in the world, we have even a worse example than Israel. The church, for a long time in its history, forbid people even owning a Bible at the penalty of death! Study church history from a non-denominational point of view and one will see liars, hypocrites, fornicators, murders, covetous, whoremongers, incest, false doctrines, power hungry leaders, Christians killing Christians etc. How can a human being make a reasonable decision regarding the truth when presented with such a miserable example of righteousness and holiness? Ultimately God will have to take the blame if "Hell" is full of "two-times the sons of 'Hell.'" His own evangelists made them that way.
"The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whasoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the street of the same, and say, 'Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: not withstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.' But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell." (Luke 10:9-15)
This portion of Scripture will reveal how distorted the Bible becomes when literalists refuse to acknowledge that the Hebrew language is a rich one full of idiomatic expressions. It also reveals some major differences between God's judgments and much of the modern churches concept of judgment. The Greek word behind the word "hell" is this passage is the word "hades" meaning "the unseen." Almost every translation since the KJV of 1611 has eliminated the word "hell" in this passage and substituted the word "Hades" or "the depths," (NEB) or "the dead," (Godspeed) or "realm of death" (NAB). Even the New King James Bible, in the KJV tradition, has abandoned "hell" for "Hades," the unseen.
Most English Bible translations have abandoned "hell" in this passage because there is obviously a problem here if one takes this passage literally. When was an entire city (Capernaum) ever in literal heaven? It never was! And neither will it ever be in the "Hell" of our modern theologians. But Capernaum did experience "heaven" in the idiomatic language of Hebrew and Capernaum also experienced the Biblical experience of the meaning of the Greek word "Hades."
Capernaum means "village of Nahum." The Book of Nahum is a short prophetic book which contains a strong prophesy against the city of Ninevah, capitol of Assyria. It prophesied its utter destruction. Capernaum was abandoned in the Islamic invasion in 638 A.D. No one knew the exact location of the city until Tell Hum was excavated in 1968.
In what way was Capernaum ever in "heaven?" Looking into a Concordance and studying all the Scriptural references relating to Capernaum will bring forth great understanding. I will only touch the surface here.
If you recall, after His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus went to Galilee. Either the first city, or at least among the first cities He visited was Capernaum. Prior to entering the city, he preached outside the city. Many people from as far a Sidon and Tyre came to hear Him. Sidon and Tyre were not part of Israel, they were pagan cities! Visiting Capernaum was a fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1,2 declaring a light to the Gentiles. (Matt. 4:13-17) It was here Jesus began to preach the Kingdom of God. It was here He healed the Centurion, a non-Jew and said of the Centurion, "I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" It was here Jesus said, "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 8:5-13) It was here Peter, the apostle of the Circumcision lived. It was here Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy ladened, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) It was here He preached the principles of the kingdom. (Matt. Chapter 18 and other references) It was here the demons declared in public who Jesus was and He cast them out. (Mark 1:21-36)
Being the home of Peter the apostle, who apparently had a large house, Jesus spent a great deal of time in this city. It was in this city that many of the things Jesus did and the words He spoke which were recorded in our Bibles were spoken. It was here the disciples disputed among themselves who was the greatest. (A pastime still in favor among God's present people) (Mark 9:33,34) It was here He raised the dead. (Luke 7:1-17) It was here Jesus said, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting (aionios) life, which the Son of Man will give to you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." (John 6:26,27)
Is it too difficult to see that Capernaum was indeed a very privileged, an honored, an exalted, no-even further-a city in which the very kingdom of God on earth was not only declared, but manifested!? What a glorious privilege! It was indeed in "heavenly places" without being lifted up to some place millions of miles away with golden streets!
In the same manner, when Capernaum was covered up by the sands of Galilee's seashore after the Moslem's took over the region, can we not see the word "Hades" (unseen because it was covered up, forgotten, and abandoned) perfectly describes the condition of Capernaum after 638 A.D.? Does this city have to go to a physical fiery eternal place to fulfill Jesus' words?
Most Bible translations have abandoned their attempts to maintain modern Christianity' concept of "Hell" regarding Capernaum because they see it doesn't work very well. One day, they will discover, the modern concept of "Hell" doesn't work in any part of the Bible because this pagan myth doesn't exist.
Which brings us to the English word
"Hell" itself. Just a little study into the etymology of this word
should throw up a warning flag. But Christians are really not taught to study
past their own denominational doctrines, and therefore remain "in outer
It is always amazing to me how much knowledge we have of ancient times. It seems God, in His wisdom, tucked bits and pieces of information aside in the forms of an inscription, a piece of papyrus, a ruin, etc., and man, with his God-given abilities, has been gathering together in recent years these bits of ancient knowledge and reconstructing the past.
The study of word origins (etymology) is a very developed science few Christians spend any time studying. If one were to take the main theological words used in church and study their origins, one would learn much.
Remember, the Greek word "Hades" literally meant unseen. The pagans then turned a perfectly good usable word into the name of a God named "Hades" and created a place of the underworld called "Hades." They turned an everyday word with easy to understand meaning into a theological pagan word which, if one studies the "underworld" mythology of the Greeks, into a mass of confusion.
The English word "Hell" suffered the same unslaught, but not from pagan Greeks, but from pagan Christians! According to Arcade Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto, the etymology of the word "hell" is as follows:
hell (OE) Etymologically, "hell" is a 'hidden place.' It goes back ultimately to Indo-European 'kel' (cover, hide), which has contributed an extraordinary number of words to English, including 'apocalypse,'' cell,' 'cellar,' 'conceal,' 'helmet,' 'hull,' 'pod,' 'occult,' and possibly 'colour' and 'holster.' Its Germanic descendant was 'khel-,' 'khal-,' whose derivatives included 'khallo' and 'khaljo.' The first became modern English 'hall,' the second modern English 'hell-'-so both hall and hell were originally 'concealed or covered places,' although very different ways: the 'hall' with a roof, 'hell' with at least six feet of earth. Related Germanic forms include German 'Holle' (O with an umlaut), Dutch 'hel,' and Swedish 'helvete' (in which 'vete' means punishment').
Isn't it rather interesting that the place where people met under a roof and therefore "covered," (hall) and the place where people are "six feet under" and therefore "unseen," come from the same word? A church and a grave yard therefore have much in common. This book will not go into other theological words such as the word "church," but I assure you, there are many embarrassing surprises hidden in theological word origins.
We have found then, that the modern English word "Hell" was originally not a specific region for those eternally damned, as theologians would term it, but a common everyday word which basically meant "covered up" and therefore often "unseen." This word was useful to describe a number of different things.
But as with "Hades," and "Gehenna," a superstitious religious priestcraft used these normal everyday words and concocted images to hold people in their power. They used their deceptive power-hungry minds to tell the ignorant what was in the "unseen" place of the grave (hell).
They created a goddess in charge of affairs in "hell." She was called "Hel." The hole in the ground became a huge underground empire of which she was ruler. The word with a little "h" became a place with a capital "H."
This information I am bringing forth is not hidden away in some ancient monastery. It can be found in almost any book on word origins, regular dictionaries, and encyclopedias. But when Christians have been taught to stick their heads into a "hole" or "hall" called our "church building" and not to look at anything which does not conform to "their" teachings, it leaves most Christians in "gross darkness"-in other words in a "hell" of their own.
Even excellent study Bibles such as the Companion Bible by Dr. E.E. Bullinger, perhaps the best KJV Study Bible available, brings out the fact that these words have been greatly tampered with by the priestcraft. Under his appendage number 131 The synonymous words for "Hell", etc. he states:
"The English word is from the Anglo-Saxon 'hel', Genitive Case 'helle'=a hidden place, from the Anglo-Saxon 'helan'=to hide."
Dr. Bullinger covers the others words we have just been discussing. His appendages bring great light into a darkness many Christians have been placed into, allowing themselves to be "covered" by false shepherds.
A quick tour through the Norse and Germanic mythologies of the goddess Hel and her domain Hell should be a wake up call to any person whose mind is still functioning. The Encyclopedia Britannica tells us of "Hel":
"Hel or Hela, in Scandinavian mythology, goddess of the dead, a child of Loki and the giantess Angurboga, dwelt beneath the roots of the sacred ash, Yggdrasil (q.v.), and ruled the nine worlds of Helheim. In early myth all the dead went to her: in later legend only those who died of old age or sickness; she then became synonymous with suffering and horror."
It is common knowledge to anyone who has studied church history even just a little bit, that the Roman Catholic church made it a practice to absorb the pagan traditions of the nations which it tried to covert. She, the Roman Catholic church, by the power she claimed, just Christianized them. From this practice, we Christians have inherited all the superstitions of the world. Under the word "Hell" they incorporated the mythologies of the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Egyptians, Teutons, Druids, and only God knows what else.
This work cannot go into the thousands of pagan words, myths, rituals, artifacts, originating in pagan religions which have been brought into the Christian religion. Reading Hislop's Two Babylons, published by Loizeaux Brothers, or Babylonian Mystery Religion by Ralph Woodrow would be two good places to begin. For those of the Protestant persuasion who think they are immuned to the influence of Romanism, think again, the entire Protestant Sunday morning church ritual, including the structure of the building and its interior furniture, will not be found among the early believers in Jesus Christ.
While the Scriptures correctly translated have nothing to say about the modern theological concept of "Hell," nor do they speak of "eternal punishment," they do have much to say about "judgment."
-end of editor's note.
Those who believe in "hell" as a place of punishment (although the two words never appear together in the Scriptures, even in mistranslations) do not seem to remember the verse which says Jesus' soul was in "hell" three days and three nights. For what was He being punished? In the KJV at 1 Cor. 15:55, the word translated "grave" in the text is changed to "hell" in the margin, and at Rev. 20:14-15, the word "hell" in the text is changed to "grave" in the marginal reading! Apparently the translators could not make up their minds which word should be used. The word in the text used by the translators of the KJV is hades, meaning "unseen." It means neither "grave" nor "hell."