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Thread: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

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    Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Well... i am sure there is some controversy here. I have to ask. What are we to do with all these different ideas?

    Hell
    Hades
    Abraham's Bosom
    Death
    Lake of Fire
    Bottomless pit
    Gehenna

    I have heard people say "there is no hell" which may be true to some extent depending on what is meant by "hell". I have also heard some say that the idea "developed over time" which seems like sort of an Atheistic/historical view point.

    I personally believe that there was a place called Abraham's Bosom (it is not just a story) It shows that there is separation between believers in God and those who reject Him even before anyone was raised from the dead. Also, I believe the old testament referring to Death and the Grave to be an accurate depiction of where the old testament person went... a place of waiting. No one was raised until Jesus was.

    And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Matthew 27:51-53

    I also believe that Hades as in the new testament being depicted as a place of waiting by the Strong's concordance is also accurate. Because there is a second resurrection in the future. So the idea that we all go to a place of waiting even now is wholly in keeping with the bible in my opinion.

    For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

    But no matter how you cut it, it seems that the ultimate destiny of the unsaved is the Lake of Fire which is thrown into the Bottomless Pit.

    And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:10

    And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15


    One things seems certain, the unsaved eventually go to the same place Satan does.

    For the sake of time and readability I skipped some major ideas. Anyways, feel free to rip it all to shreds.

  2. #2

    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Well... i am sure there is some controversy here. I have to ask. What are we to do with all these different ideas?
    They have to be defined properly in order to be understood.

    Hell comes from an old, old, old Proto-Germanic word meaning 'to cover up'. The English concept of 'hell' specifically came from the Norsehel, the name of the underworld in Norse mythology, as well as the name of its ruler. The Norse concept of hel has very little resemblance to the contemporary concept of a burning place of torment. The word 'hell' was used as a catch-all rendering for sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartarus when the Bible began receiving English translations. This word really should be left out of the discussion when studying the topic of afterlife punishment, because it's far too ambiguous and inaccurate to be of any help.

    Sheol
    is a common Hebrew word used to refer to what we would otherwise call 'the grave', and is treated as contextually synonymous with death, destruction, the earth (as being buried), the sea (as being a deep, dark place), or the pit. In the Hebrew Scriptures, sheol is the fate of all men: to die. The rare occasions that sheol is described beyond the concept of simply being the end of man, it is dark, gloomy, and defined by its 'residents' inactivity, lack of knowledge, memory, thoughts, or even awareness.

    Hades originally referred to both the Greco-Roman underworld, as well as the Greek god that ruled over it. Hades was a world of dark, gloomy, nothingness (which is why it was chosen to be the most appropriate Greek word for sheol, when the Jews translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek the second or third century BC), but it came to be seen as having different regions within it for either the righteous or unrighteous. When we get to the New Testament, hades is regularly used when citing Old Testament passages that refer to sheol. Very rarely, hades is sometimes used as an illustration for afterlife punishment, but it otherwise continues to carry the simple idea of 'the grave', the state of being dead. In this way, sheol / hades is seen as being the ultimate enemy of Christ, and was conquered through his resurrection. In the Revelation, 'death and hades' are thrown into the lake of fire.

    Abraham's Side, (let's face it: the word 'bosom' is weird in contemporary English; the most appropriate modern word is 'chest' or 'side'), is a figure of speech referring to the place of rest for those considered members of the Covenant family (i.e. children of Abraham). Analogy can be drawn to the early custom in the ancient near east that resting against the side of one's master was a sign of honor and favor. So, to be resting at Abraham's side meant one was favored and honored by Abraham (or rather, by the God of Abraham). The phrase originated in reference to the 'side of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob'. In wider Jewish culture (outside of Jesus' use of the phrase), this place was seen as a part within hades, where the righteous would go apart from the unrighteous. The mere fact that Jesus names Abraham and has him speak in no way means the parable is meant to reflect a literal account. Jesus adapted a common cultural image for the sake of his parable. He even utilizes Abraham's servant from Damascus, Eliezer (in Greek: Lazarus), to illustrate that those who originally were not included in the inheritance of the Covenant people have now been included (Eliezer was set to be Abraham's heir until Isaac was born).

    Death is occasionally personified to represent the ultimate enemy of God and his people. Adam's disobedience to God brought death upon all humanity. Through his resurrection, Jesus overturned death. Death, along with hades, will be cast into the lake of fire.

    The lake of fire comes from Revelation, where John's vision borrows, but somewhat changes, the river of fire from Daniel 7. In Daniel's vision, the river of fire poured out from God's throne, and was a symbol for his divine judgment against Antiochus IV Epiphanes' for his persecution of the saints of Israel. In John's vision, the lake of fire is the place of divine judgment against the Roman Empire and its Emperors (the beast), and the Caesar cult (the false prophet). Later on, the satan (the dragon), death, the grave, and all of the wicked are likewise cast into the lake of fire. John explains to his readers very explicitly: the lake of fire is a symbol for the second death. The 'first' death (above) was the personified enemy of God and his people, because through sin this 'first' death brought death to even the righteous, including Jesus. The lake of fire, that is, the second death, represents the final punishment that Christ brings at his coming. It is not a depiction of eternal conscious torment. The Roman Empire and the Caesar cult, a kingdoms and a religion, do not suffer pain for eternity, they are simply destroyed in their entirety. Death and the grave are concepts, not persons that feel torment; they simply cease to exist.

    Bottomless pit is a symbol drawing from two sources.

    The first source is the Old Testament concept of 'the sea'. In the Hebrew Scriptures, 'the sea' is used poetically as a synonym for 'the deep' or 'the pit'. In the Hebrew Scriptures, 'the sea' could represent chaos and disorder. In the Hebrew Scriptures, 'the sea', as a symbol for chaos, is sometimes personified as a serpent / dragon / leviathan, sometimes named Rahab, which was an alternate name for Egypt. In poetic metaphor, Egypt is depicted as the ancient enemy of God's people, so God slays Egypt, the dragon called Rahab, splitting apart the sea for the freedom of his people. With the defeat of Egypt / Rahab / leviathan / serpent / dragon / sea / deep / pit, God brings a new life to his Covenant people. The exodus event is described in the Prophets as if it was a new creation event.

    This is not coincidental, because several Hebrew poetic passages look back to the time of creation (Genesis One) as the time when God conquered the deep / sea / chaos / dragon. Altogether, this 'God conquers the dragon' metaphor is tied together in Revelation 20 in two ways. First, the dragon is imprisoned in the bottomless pit for a thousand years; the serpent is cast back into the deep; leviathan is imprisoned in his sea. Second, the dragon is permanently destroyed in the lake of fire. With God's conquest of the satan / dragon / bottomless pit / chaos / deep / sea (through Jesus!), God begins a new creation with his Covenant people. (This is why John notices a lack of 'the sea' in his vision; he is saying that there will be no more chaos or sin.)

    The second source is that John appears to be borrowing from the Greco-Roman concept of tartarus. In ancient Greco-Roman mythology, tartarus was the place where the old gods (the Titans) were imprisoned by the new gods (the Olympians). In later (but still pre-Christian) Greco-Roman mythology, when hades began to be seen as having different regions for the righteous and unrighteous, tartarus was the place of punishment for the unrighteous. They would descend into the earth to be punished for a thousand years, after which they would be reincarnated. One of the epistles of Peter borrows the concept of tartarus as a prison in order to describe what God did with the ancient angels who sinned; they've been imprisoned. John borrows the concept of tartarus (referring to it as the 'bottomless pit') to describe the imprisonment of the dragon, satan.

    Gehenna should be translated as the Valley of Hinnom. This was a valley near Jerusalem, and appears to have held this name perhaps as back as the time of Joshua. This valley was used by the more idolatrous kings of Judah as a place where they would sacrifice their own children to the god Moloch. It may also have been the location where, in a single night, the Messenger of Yahweh killed a massive number of Assyrians from the army of Sennacherib. Going from there, it was traditionally associated with the location Isaiah refers to in his final chapter ('they shall go out' implies exiting Jerusalem into the valley), where dead bodies are devoured by unquenchable fire (i.e. fire that does not stop burning until it has completely consumed everything in its path) and undying worms (i.e. the maggots that unceasingly feast upon corpses). In ancient Aramaic translations of this chapter of Isaiah, the dead bodies are explicitly stated to be in the Valley of Hinnom, where the wicked suffered the 'second death'. Jesus confirms the traditional association by describing the Valley of Hinnom in the same way Isaiah describes the location filled with unquenchable fire and maggots.

    The Valley of Hinnom is only ever used by Jesus (with a single, extraneous usage by James) when speaking to his fellow Jews. He uses it especially when warning them about sinning unrepentantly. Jesus uses the Valley of Hinnom because it had become a common symbol for God's divine punishment. In this sense, it is analogous to the lake of fire (especially since both are referred to as the 'second death'). According to Jesus, God is able to destroy both body and soul in the Valley of Hinnom.

    Note: a little 'fact' is often thrown around that the Valley of Hinnom was a perpetually-burning garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem, where the bodies of dead criminals were thrown. As far as archaeological evidence goes, this is unproven. As far as textual evidence goes, the earliest this idea is mentioned is the 12th century AD. In the scope of this discussion, it is unreliable hearsay.

  3. #3

    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    I have heard people say "there is no hell" which may be true to some extent depending on what is meant by "hell".
    Right. 'Hell' as traditionally used is a translation of three different words. 'Hell' as a concept for the afterlife, traditionally seen as a place of eternal conscious torment, does not exist.

    I have also heard some say that the idea "developed over time" which seems like sort of an Atheistic/historical view point.
    One, equating the 'historical view point' with 'an atheistic' one is disingenuous. They're not the same thing.

    Two, this statement is somewhat true, as pointed out in my post above. Greco-Roman thought on 'hades' and 'tartarus' each evolved over time, especially with the coming of the Greek philosophers. When Alexander conquered everything between Macedon and the western edge of India, Greek thought came to the Jews, and slowly began influencing the way they articulated their eschatology. This Hellenization brought some of the ideas of the philosophers about hades to the Jewish concept of sheol.

    One important point to note is that, within the Bible there is no such concept as an 'immortal soul', or that humans are inherently immortal in any way. In fact, we have multiple statements that present the end of one's whole being at the point of death. The body of dust returns to dust. The spirit/breath of life returns to God. And, as Ezekiel said, 'the soul that sins shall die'. This makes sense, since according to Genesis 2, body of dust plus spirit/breath of life equals the 'living soul'. And since all humanity has sinned, every 'soul' shall die.

    It is only after Jewish thought began to be Hellenized that the idea of an 'immortal soul' (coming straight from the Greek philosophers) began to integrate with Jewish theology. Yet, the concept of an 'immortal soul' is never affirmed in the New Testament, centuries after this Hellenization took place. Rather, Jesus essentially echoes Ezekiel, by teaching that for those who sin, God is able to destroy 'both body and soul'. It is only after Christian thought began to spread outside of Judea into the rest of the Roman Empire that pagan thoughts began to be incorporated.

    (A very notable example of this is what we call 'Christian gnosticism'. The gnostic mentality seems to have evolved from Greek philosophy about the material world being a shadow of the spiritual world, where liberation of the soul could be found. The gnostics took this a step further and said that the material world was inherently evil or corrupt, where death was liberation of the soul, released into the spiritual world. As Christianity spread into the Roman Empire, some began to mix it with gnosticism, claiming that Jesus was a sort of quasi-deity who brought true knowledge/gnosis of how to escape the material world.)

    After Christian thought spread into the Roman Empire, Greco-Roman pagan thought on the 'immortal soul' began to be applied to eschatology. This has persisted ever since. Scripture never depicts humans as having an 'immortal soul', yet this idea is treated as essential to many Christian denominations, and in turn necessitated the idea of 'eternal conscious torment' to compensate for an 'immortal soul' that would never be destroyed.

    ... the Lake of Fire which is thrown into the Bottomless Pit.
    This might seem nitpicky, but this is not what Revelation 20 describes. The dragon, satan, is first imprisoned in the pit. He is then released out of the pit, but is then cast into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is not described as being 'thrown into the bottomless pit'.

  4. #4

    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Currently, there are two schools of prevailing thought in Christianity on what happens when people die.

    It is usually agreed between the two groups that the unsaved go off to sheol / hades (whether that refers to a literal location where their soul hangs out, or simply to death/non-existence, is debated). But the disagreement is: where do Christians go? One group says Christians go off to sheol / hades as well, where they await resurrection. The other groups says Christians go off to heaven, where they await resurrection.

    I am of the second school of thought. Paul teaches that through Jesus, God has already raised Christians to life, so much so that they are said to be already reigning in heaven with Jesus. Paul saw this as being so emphatically true that he said he could only gain from death (and he is consistent in referring to death as a bad thing), in the sense that dying meant being with Jesus. Jesus is not in hades, he is in heaven.

    Revelation 20, where we find in John's vision the saints being raised to life because they 'share' in a first resurrection, consisting of reigning with Jesus. As Matthehitmanheart has pointed out in another thread, Revelation 20 borrows a bit from Greco-Roman literature, taking common Greco-Roman mythology and flipping it around to adapt for a Christian audience. God has John's visions do this in order to make a powerful point to the primarily Gentile churches to whom John is writing: in the Greco-Roman literature, the righteous dead would go off to paradise (called Elysium) for a thousand years before being reincarnated. John's vision reshapes that Greco-Roman concept, instead saying that the righteous dead are raised and reign with Jesus (just as Paul says in Ephesians 2) for a thousand years before being resurrected. This is exactly how Paul describes the present time in Ephesians 2. Through Jesus' resurrection the Church has already been raised to life, raised up to reign in heaven with Jesus.

    Christians don't go to the 'waiting room' of hades when they die, a place of gloomy darkness, inactivity, sleep, and lack of praise for God (all of those are how sheol/hades is described in Scripture). They go to heaven to be with Christ, participating with him in his present reign over heaven and earth, to await the resurrection of their bodies.
    Last edited by markedward; Mar 31st 2012 at 06:27 PM.

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    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Great posts, Mark. One comment: I had always understood "Abraham's side" as dining at a table, as we see in John 13.23 at the last Passover. Is this accurate?
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    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    I believe Abraham's bosom, the third heaven, and paradise to be the same place. They are all names of heaven.

  7. #7

    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Quote Originally Posted by Nihil Obstat View Post
    Great posts, Mark. One comment: I had always understood "Abraham's side" as dining at a table, as we see in John 13.23 at the last Passover. Is this accurate?
    That's another thought some people had that I forgot to mention, yeah. So to be at Abraham's side would be to reclined in the spot of honor in the feast of the kingdom.

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    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    They have to be defined properly in order to be understood.

    Hell comes from an old, old, old Proto-Germanic word meaning 'to cover up'. The English concept of 'hell' specifically came from the Norsehel, the name of the underworld in Norse mythology, as well as the name of its ruler. The Norse concept of hel has very little resemblance to the contemporary concept of a burning place of torment. The word 'hell' was used as a catch-all rendering for sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartarus when the Bible began receiving English translations. This word really should be left out of the discussion when studying the topic of afterlife punishment, because it's far too ambiguous and inaccurate to be of any help.

    Sheol
    is a common Hebrew word used to refer to what we would otherwise call 'the grave', and is treated as contextually synonymous with death, destruction, the earth (as being buried), the sea (as being a deep, dark place), or the pit. In the Hebrew Scriptures, sheol is the fate of all men: to die. The rare occasions that sheol is described beyond the concept of simply being the end of man, it is dark, gloomy, and defined by its 'residents' inactivity, lack of knowledge, memory, thoughts, or even awareness.

    Hades originally referred to both the Greco-Roman underworld, as well as the Greek god that ruled over it. Hades was a world of dark, gloomy, nothingness (which is why it was chosen to be the most appropriate Greek word for sheol, when the Jews translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek the second or third century BC), but it came to be seen as having different regions within it for either the righteous or unrighteous. When we get to the New Testament, hades is regularly used when citing Old Testament passages that refer to sheol. Very rarely, hades is sometimes used as an illustration for afterlife punishment, but it otherwise continues to carry the simple idea of 'the grave', the state of being dead. In this way, sheol / hades is seen as being the ultimate enemy of Christ, and was conquered through his resurrection. In the Revelation, 'death and hades' are thrown into the lake of fire.

    Abraham's Side, (let's face it: the word 'bosom' is weird in contemporary English; the most appropriate modern word is 'chest' or 'side'), is a figure of speech referring to the place of rest for those considered members of the Covenant family (i.e. children of Abraham). Analogy can be drawn to the early custom in the ancient near east that resting against the side of one's master was a sign of honor and favor. So, to be resting at Abraham's side meant one was favored and honored by Abraham (or rather, by the God of Abraham). The phrase originated in reference to the 'side of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob'. In wider Jewish culture (outside of Jesus' use of the phrase), this place was seen as a part within hades, where the righteous would go apart from the unrighteous. The mere fact that Jesus names Abraham and has him speak in no way means the parable is meant to reflect a literal account. Jesus adapted a common cultural image for the sake of his parable. He even utilizes Abraham's servant from Damascus, Eliezer (in Greek: Lazarus), to illustrate that those who originally were not included in the inheritance of the Covenant people have now been included (Eliezer was set to be Abraham's heir until Isaac was born).

    Death is occasionally personified to represent the ultimate enemy of God and his people. Adam's disobedience to God brought death upon all humanity. Through his resurrection, Jesus overturned death. Death, along with hades, will be cast into the lake of fire.

    The lake of fire comes from Revelation, where John's vision borrows, but somewhat changes, the river of fire from Daniel 7. In Daniel's vision, the river of fire poured out from God's throne, and was a symbol for his divine judgment against Antiochus IV Epiphanes' for his persecution of the saints of Israel. In John's vision, the lake of fire is the place of divine judgment against the Roman Empire and its Emperors (the beast), and the Caesar cult (the false prophet). Later on, the satan (the dragon), death, the grave, and all of the wicked are likewise cast into the lake of fire. John explains to his readers very explicitly: the lake of fire is a symbol for the second death. The 'first' death (above) was the personified enemy of God and his people, because through sin this 'first' death brought death to even the righteous, including Jesus. The lake of fire, that is, the second death, represents the final punishment that Christ brings at his coming. It is not a depiction of eternal conscious torment. The Roman Empire and the Caesar cult, a kingdoms and a religion, do not suffer pain for eternity, they are simply destroyed in their entirety. Death and the grave are concepts, not persons that feel torment; they simply cease to exist.

    Bottomless pit is a symbol drawing from two sources.

    The first source is the Old Testament concept of 'the sea'. In the Hebrew Scriptures, 'the sea' is used poetically as a synonym for 'the deep' or 'the pit'. In the Hebrew Scriptures, 'the sea' could represent chaos and disorder. In the Hebrew Scriptures, 'the sea', as a symbol for chaos, is sometimes personified as a serpent / dragon / leviathan, sometimes named Rahab, which was an alternate name for Egypt. In poetic metaphor, Egypt is depicted as the ancient enemy of God's people, so God slays Egypt, the dragon called Rahab, splitting apart the sea for the freedom of his people. With the defeat of Egypt / Rahab / leviathan / serpent / dragon / sea / deep / pit, God brings a new life to his Covenant people. The exodus event is described in the Prophets as if it was a new creation event.

    This is not coincidental, because several Hebrew poetic passages look back to the time of creation (Genesis One) as the time when God conquered the deep / sea / chaos / dragon. Altogether, this 'God conquers the dragon' metaphor is tied together in Revelation 20 in two ways. First, the dragon is imprisoned in the bottomless pit for a thousand years; the serpent is cast back into the deep; leviathan is imprisoned in his sea. Second, the dragon is permanently destroyed in the lake of fire. With God's conquest of the satan / dragon / bottomless pit / chaos / deep / sea (through Jesus!), God begins a new creation with his Covenant people. (This is why John notices a lack of 'the sea' in his vision; he is saying that there will be no more chaos or sin.)

    The second source is that John appears to be borrowing from the Greco-Roman concept of tartarus. In ancient Greco-Roman mythology, tartarus was the place where the old gods (the Titans) were imprisoned by the new gods (the Olympians). In later (but still pre-Christian) Greco-Roman mythology, when hades began to be seen as having different regions for the righteous and unrighteous, tartarus was the place of punishment for the unrighteous. They would descend into the earth to be punished for a thousand years, after which they would be reincarnated. One of the epistles of Peter borrows the concept of tartarus as a prison in order to describe what God did with the ancient angels who sinned; they've been imprisoned. John borrows the concept of tartarus (referring to it as the 'bottomless pit') to describe the imprisonment of the dragon, satan.

    Gehenna should be translated as the Valley of Hinnom. This was a valley near Jerusalem, and appears to have held this name perhaps as back as the time of Joshua. This valley was used by the more idolatrous kings of Judah as a place where they would sacrifice their own children to the god Moloch. It may also have been the location where, in a single night, the Messenger of Yahweh killed a massive number of Assyrians from the army of Sennacherib. Going from there, it was traditionally associated with the location Isaiah refers to in his final chapter ('they shall go out' implies exiting Jerusalem into the valley), where dead bodies are devoured by unquenchable fire (i.e. fire that does not stop burning until it has completely consumed everything in its path) and undying worms (i.e. the maggots that unceasingly feast upon corpses). In ancient Aramaic translations of this chapter of Isaiah, the dead bodies are explicitly stated to be in the Valley of Hinnom, where the wicked suffered the 'second death'. Jesus confirms the traditional association by describing the Valley of Hinnom in the same way Isaiah describes the location filled with unquenchable fire and maggots.

    The Valley of Hinnom is only ever used by Jesus (with a single, extraneous usage by James) when speaking to his fellow Jews. He uses it especially when warning them about sinning unrepentantly. Jesus uses the Valley of Hinnom because it had become a common symbol for God's divine punishment. In this sense, it is analogous to the lake of fire (especially since both are referred to as the 'second death'). According to Jesus, God is able to destroy both body and soul in the Valley of Hinnom.

    Note: a little 'fact' is often thrown around that the Valley of Hinnom was a perpetually-burning garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem, where the bodies of dead criminals were thrown. As far as archaeological evidence goes, this is unproven. As far as textual evidence goes, the earliest this idea is mentioned is the 12th century AD. In the scope of this discussion, it is unreliable hearsay.
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    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Quote Originally Posted by Nihil Obstat View Post
    Great posts, Mark. One comment: I had always understood "Abraham's side" as dining at a table, as we see in John 13.23 at the last Passover. Is this accurate?
    I never considered Abraham's bosom like that, guess that would make sense. We see that during passover people recline against the breast of an individual during the feast....I wonder what that symbolizes....

    As far as hell is concerned, from my own studies, I've found that hell is a place of fire and torment. But the Lake of Fire seems to be a place of destruction for even hell.
    Don't seek too much knowledge. You just may be putting more weight on your shoulders than you're able to bare. Let God be the one to decide how quickly you grow.

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    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    This might seem nitpicky, but this is not what Revelation 20 describes. The dragon, satan, is first imprisoned in the pit. He is then released out of the pit, but is then cast into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is not described as being 'thrown into the bottomless pit'.
    Very true. My bad. Lake of fire but no bottomless pit.

    I have two questions. The first is... you said.

    It is usually agreed between the two groups that the unsaved go off to sheol / hades (whether that refers to a literal location where their soul hangs out, or simply to death/non-existence, is debated).
    The Roman Empire and the Caesar cult, a kingdoms and a religion, do not suffer pain for eternity, they are simply destroyed in their entirety. Death and the grave are concepts, not persons that feel torment; they simply cease to exist.
    First off if i agreed with all you said... then how do we get around the idea in Revelations that...those who are cast into the lake of fire "shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever"?

    And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:10

    Now certainly i agree to some extent that fire is depicted as judgment. But also, it would seem that judgment comes with punishment. The idea that those who go to the Lake of Fire are tormented forever and ever night and day seems hard to get around. Also, verses that follow would seem to logically indicate that people who are unsaved will also be punished forever and ever night and day...

    And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15


    Second question.

    Why when no one has been to heaven or hell (for lack of better words) would Jesus or Paul etc... use silly ideas that people made up that are not accurate to describe these places? This is why i referred to it as Atheistic/Historic view point. It seems as though it could only be entertained in the mind of someone who does not trust God. What would cause God to come and say something as silly as "God's thrown is like the Easter bunny" then we are to determine what aspects of the Easter bunny are true and which aspects are simply myth and then attribute them to God's thrown which is a topic we hardly understand? It seems illogical that Jesus would come and attribute a real place or aspect of a real place to a purely mythical idea made by pagans... instead of simply telling us what it IS like. (of course i believe the bible does tell us what it is like by describing only true aspects.)

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    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Also, you said....

    One important point to note is that, within the Bible there is no such concept as an 'immortal soul', or that humans are inherently immortal in any way. In fact, we have multiple statements that present the end of one's whole being at the point of death. The body of dust returns to dust. The spirit/breath of life returns to God. And, as Ezekiel said, 'the soul that sins shall die'. This makes sense, since according to Genesis 2, body of dust plus spirit/breath of life equals the 'living soul'. And since all humanity has sinned, every 'soul' shall die.
    This is only sort of true.

    Daniel 12:2 - "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."

    It seems clear that Daniel knew that there was both an immortal aspect to the soul... and that "shame and everlasting contempt" would await some. I would add as a side note that this lines up quite well with the idea of a lake of fire which is reserved for those who do not believe and where they are tormented night and day forever and ever.

    Job 19:25-26 - "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God..."

    It also seems that Job, who was in arguably the oldest book in the bible, was aware that "after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh i shall see God". He must have had some concept of both the resurrection and the new body.

    In the New Testament...


    (John 11:24) - "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."


    Martha seemed aware of this historically held belief although she was unaware of Jesus' full power.

    (Act 24:14-15) - "But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust."

    Paul also testifies to the fact that this was the commonly held view point "laid down in the Law and written in the Prophets.... which these men themselves accept". He also testifies to the "resurrection of both the just and the unjust"

    All of these are more reasons why i think it is a belief that excludes the revealed truth in the bible and instead holds to a historical/atheist view.

  12. #12

    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    First off if i agreed with all you said... then how do we get around the idea in Revelations that...those who are cast into the lake of fire "shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever"?

    And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:10

    Now certainly i agree to some extent that fire is depicted as judgment. But also, it would seem that judgment comes with punishment. The idea that those who go to the Lake of Fire are tormented forever and ever night and day seems hard to get around. Also, verses that follow would seem to logically indicate that people who are unsaved will also be punished forever and ever night and day...

    And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15
    Although Revelation 20 only specifically says that the devil, beast, and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire to 'be tormented day and night into the ages of the ages', even if we apply that image to death, hades, and the rest of the wicked, we have to keep something in mind:

    The beast, the false prophet, death, and hades are not literal people. Each of these is a metaphoric symbol for something within historical reality. As such, what happens to them is also a metaphoric symbol. The text says that the beast and the false prophet will be 'tormented day and night', but the beast and the false prophet are symbols for a corrupt kingdom and its false religion. Kingdoms and religions don't literally experience pain or torment. My own belief is that they represent the Roman Empire and the Caesar cult. When these things were judged / punished by God, they collapsed in on themselves and ceased to exist entirely. Likewise, John looks forward to the overthrowing of death and hades (that is, death and the grave) not as happening to persons who experience literal torment forever and ever. What he sees is a metaphoric symbol for the end of death for the righteous. The personifications of 'Death' and 'Hades' being cast into the lake of fire represent the concepts of 'death' and 'the grave' ceasing to exist.

    So even if it is textually accurate to apply 'torment day and night forever and ever' to the satan and to wicked humanity, that 'everlasting torment' is a part of the metaphoric symbol, and not of literal reality. The symbol is that the beast was tormented forever and ever, but the reality is that the Roman Empire fell apart and ceased to exist as a result of God's judgment. In the same way, we are stretching the metaphor of 'everlasting torment' much too far when we see it as describing the literal fate of the satan and wicked humanity.

    Second question.

    Why when no one has been to heaven or hell (for lack of better words) would Jesus or Paul etc... use silly ideas that people made up that are not accurate to describe these places?
    God is a loving God who speaks to his people in a level they can understand. He steps down and speak to them using their own language and idioms and expressions and figures of speech. It is not necessary to express what the literal reality of heaven or 'hell' will be on a systematic level. The necessity is communicating not what it will exactly be like, but what it's overarching purpose is. (This is, perhaps, why Scripture never delves very far into what heaven is really like.)

    The 'side of Abraham' was an expression that was around before Jesus, and denoted a place of rest for the Covenant people. Jesus adapted this expression into his parable of 'Lazarus and the rich man', not to provide a teaching on what heaven or hell are like (because that wasn't the point of his parable, which he spoke in order to rebuke the uncaring religious leaders), but to make a certain point: the oppressed and downtrodden, the outcasts of society, will be given rest, because they are to be included in the Covenant family of Abraham.

    They aren't 'silly ideas', if God considers them worthwhile to use and adapt for the sake of his listeners. Instead, they become powerful symbols for communicating important messages and ideas.

    It seems as though it could only be entertained in the mind of someone who does not trust God.
    How much outside of your own set of beliefs do you study, or interact? I only ask this, because the many Christians you assume distrust God actually place a great amount of trust in him, and are very enthusiastic for exploring and understanding and sharing God's reappropriation of already existing figures of speech.

    It seems illogical
    I'll stop here and point out two things.

    First, what may seem 'illogical' (see 1 Corinthians 1.20-25) should be set aside in the face of hands-down evidence. We know without a doubt that certain phrases and symbols existed before they were used by Jesus and the Apostles, in which case we know without a doubt that God was reappropriating figures of speech for his purposes. The concept of 'tartarus' is one. 'Tartarus' came from Greek thought, and was used for centuries as referring to a prison of divine beings before Peter came along and used it to refer to the imprisonment of fallen angels. There's just no way around this. This does not mean that Peter was confirming that pagan gods were indeed in tartarus. All it means is that he was using a cultural image his readers would understand.

    Second, we have in the book of Acts alone at least three examples of Paul quoting from Gentile literature when that quotation helped make his point. He does the same thing a few more times in his letters. What we should note is that he specifically does this when speaking to Gentiles. Paul speaks to formerly-pagan Gentiles using ideas from pagan Gentile thought. So when we have very clear examples of God (through Paul) taking 'silly ideas' from non-Jewish, non-Christian thought and using it to communicate a Christian message, is it really so hard to believe that God would take 'silly ideas' from within Jewish thought (Abraham's Side, the Valley of Hinnom, etc.) and reuse them in a similar way?

  13. #13

    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    This is only sort of true.

    Daniel 12:2 - "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."

    It seems clear that Daniel knew that there was both an immortal aspect to the soul... and that "shame and everlasting contempt" would await some. I would add as a side note that this lines up quite well with the idea of a lake of fire which is reserved for those who do not believe and where they are tormented night and day forever and ever.
    Daniel 12 does not confirm the idea of an 'immortal soul'.

    First, I will state that I believe Daniel (who was a contemporary of Ezekiel, and lived only about 150 years after Isaiah) is describing national resurrection, not bodily resurrection. Both Isaiah and Ezekiel used 'resurrection' language when referring to the reconstitution of Israel. In this case, Daniel is not referring to people being raised to life on an individual basis, but of the restoration of power to the nation of Israel as a whole, following its persecution under the oppressive reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

    Second, even though most people disagree with this above view that I have, Daniel still does not confirm the 'immortal soul'. The wicked in Daniel 12 are raised to 'shame and everlasting contempt'. Very coincidentally, the Hebrew word for 'contempt' is used in only one other place in the Bible: that of Isaiah 66, where the prophet describes the 'contempt' the living have when they look upon the corpses of the wicked (i.e. bodies completely devoid of life, and in no way immortal). If we are meant to connect Daniel 12 to Revelation 20, this is entirely consistent with John's depiction of the fate of the wicked as being the 'second death'. This phrase of 'second death' is used in ancient Aramaic translations of Isaiah 66 when referring to the corpses of the wicked.

    None of the other three verses you quoted depicts the teaching of an 'immortal soul'. While the verse from Job very likely does not refer to 'resurrection', the two verses from the New Testament do confirm the truth of 'resurrection', but none of those verses suggests that the soul is immortal.

  14. #14

    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Quote Originally Posted by nzyr View Post
    I believe Abraham's bosom, the third heaven, and paradise to be the same place. They are all names of heaven.
    Where is it stated those are names for heaven?

  15. #15

    Re: Hell, Hades, Abrahams Bosom, Death, Lake of Fire, Bottomless Pit

    Are the dead (νεκρός nekros), who death (θάνατος thanatos) and Hell (ᾅδης hadēs) had given up cast into the lake of fire or are, death and hell cast into the lake of fire?

    I have always found it interesting how we read this.

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