Basic Truth #20 - Hell Is Mankind's Common Grave

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Basic Truth #20 - Hell Is Mankind's Common Grave

Post by bejay » Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:04 pm

Basic Truth #20 – Hell is Mankind’s Common Grave

The word hell was used in many early bibles as a translation of the Hebrew word she’ohl and the Greek words hai’des and Ge’en na. Hell has been taught for centuries by religionist to mean a place of fire and torment where the souls of wicked people go to be tormented forever and ever. Later revisions of these bibles have transliterated the original Hebrew and Greek words as ‘Sheol’ and ‘Hades’, but the idea of a burning hell has persisted in the minds of many. Also the fact that many modern Bibles still translate the Greek word Ge’en na as hell has not helped the situation any.

Most people would balk at the idea that Jesus was in hell if it were a place of fiery torment, but the Bible does teach this. The King James Version says this at Acts 2:31: ”He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell (Greek, hai’des), neither his flesh did see corruption.” This verse is a quote from Psalms 16:10 which reads: “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Hebrew, she’ohl); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (KJV) The rendering of the Greek and Hebrew words as hell, show that they mean the same thing.

This same Hebrew word, she’ohl, is translated as grave at Job 14:13. It reads: “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave (she’ohl), that thou wouldest keep me secret until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time and remember me!” (KJV) Here the Greek word, she’ohl, is translated as grave instead of hell. Again we are given another clue to the real meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words. Job would not be praying to be taken to a place of fiery torment to wait for a resurrection, would he? Genesis 37:35 also supports the idea that she’ohl is the common grave of mankind. Here Jacob believes that his son Joseph had been killed and he is bereaved. It reads: “And all his sons and all his daughters rose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave (she’ohl) unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.” (KJV) Here Jacob has reference to his death and burial in the grave where he believes his son already is.

The Greek word, Ge’en na, has also been translated as hell but according to Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, Ge’en na or Gehenna, is “the Greek name for the Valley of Hinnom.” The Valley of Hinnom was near the city of Jerusalem and is noted as the place where Israelites, including Solomon, built altars to pagan gods and sacrificed their children to them. It later was made into a place where the garbage was dumped and the fires were kept burning to insure that the garbage was completely destroyed. Jesus used the Greek word, Gehenna, at Mark 9:43, 45 in reference to the place where disobedient humans, who have no hope of a resurrection, would be eternally destroyed not where they would be eternally tortured.

The Greek word, tartaroo or Tartarus, is used only once in the Bible and is translated as hell at 2 Peter 2:4 where it speaks only of the debased angels being there. It reads: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to hell (tartaroo) and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment.” (KJV) No humans are spoken of being in this place.

In previous topics we have learned (1) that the soul is not separate from the body but that man himself is the soul and that the soul (man) dies, (Genesis 2:7), (2) that the wicked are not punished eternally but are to be destroyed for eternity, (Psalms 37:9, 10), and (3) that the dead are not conscious of anything, (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10). Knowing these facts helps us to see that the Bible does not support the idea that there is a place where humans are tormented. It supports the fact that when humans die they go to the grave where they await a resurrection if they are in Jehovah’s memory. (John 5:28, 29)

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