Aug 20

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After having written on heaven, it seems only natural to write on “hell!” There is some misunderstanding on this subject to say the least! Part of this confusion comes from the King James Version of the Bible. It translates three Greek words, Hades, tartaroo, and Gehenna, into the one English word. My computer recognizes the Greek word Hades Gehenna but not tartaroo, with this it is much like the general public. A “little” light on the subject is, therefore, in order!
Let us take up the word Hades first. The word appears eleven times and is translated “hell” ten time and the grave one time. The use of the word helps us understand the meaning, better. Allow me to start with the Greek “hades,” as it is used the most. The King James Version would have served us better had it transliterated the Greek into the Greek “hades”; thus, we would have read “hades” and not “hell.” This would have separated the two Greek words! We have often heard that Jesus went to “hell” and gave those within the opportunity to leave. Now really, how many souls would have stayed in place fill with treatments?
The best place to get a better understanding is Luke sixteen, where the story, not a parable is told. It is not like something; it is really something! As you read the story of the “rich man” and the “beggar” and where they went following death. All Bible readers have come across these events. The “rich man” was really a man” of much and the “beggar” was also really a man but of “nothing!” Both die, but here, the story changes, as the “rich man” is in “torments,” while the “beggar” is comforted. The difference being the way they lived while on earth. To keep it simple, the “rich man” does not share his riches with those in need. While the “beggar” would eat the things that fell from the “rich man’s” table. He ate with the dogs and who do you think got the best of this food that tell from the “rich man’s” table? However, all this would change upon the death of each. The “rich man” would find himself in “torments” while the “beggar” was “comforted.” Get this now, both were in “hades”, but they were not together. In this reality, the “rich man” would learn that there was a “gulf” between the two which could not be crossed as they had no such freedom! The “rich man” desired that Abraham would allow the “beggar” to come across this great “gulf, a divide which no soul could cross! This was not within Abraham’s power! The “rich man” upon learning this, having brothers yet on the earth, he desired that the “beggar” be allowed to go back to earth and tell them of the “torments” he was in and warn them. He would also learn that this was also impossible. Here is a point that is often overlooked, even though the “rich man” was totally aware of his own “torments” and aware of his brother’s spiritual state but in there was nothing he could do to change this; no, it was up to them! Is there any reason to believe that the “rich man’s” brother would change while they remained on earth?
Now, the place that the “rich man” and the “beggar” were located was “Hades!” Yes, that is right, both were in “hades” but in totally difference parts of it! Hades is not the final place of the dead; neither the righteous or the unrighteous! But it is the place all the dead go upon death! If we can understand this, it will help us understand what Peter says about Jesus being in Hades! Jesus being the perfect righteousness, would have gone to the same place the “beggar” went upon his death, which was Hades! Peter quotes the Old Testament in Acts chapter two. Peter starts with the command, which each person would be totally aware of; as he said: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22). Next, he reveals what they all knew to be the truth: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: ”Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (verses 23-24). Then, he moves to the one man, the one king, which they all believed; and he said: “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope” (verses 25-26). Here is Peter’s answer: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” What was that? Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.” There it is! Jesus, who is the subject of David’s words, Jesus’, soul was not left in hell, but the word here is “hades.” Now you tell me; being in “hades” what part do you honestly think Jesus’ soul was in: “the paradise part! It helps us, just here, to recall the words of Jesus to the man who was sacrificed with him, to who Jesus said: “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). Yes, Jesus went to the place of “comfort,” and known as “paradise!” Yes, Jesus went to Hades but to the part of “comfort!” This being the same place of the “beggar!” To conclude this part of our article, let us return to the words of Peter: “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:28). From here Jesus returned to earth and competed his work as he talked with the apostles! (Mark 16:14 and Acts 1:8).
Finally, we must recall that Peter in Second Peter two, verse 4, wrote this: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Does this not sound like hades, as it is a place where souls are waiting for the final judgment?” The Greek word is “tartaroo.” Please note, that those who sinned (and who did not obey God) were “cast down to hell” (Tartarus) to wait for the final judgment!
The third and final word Greek word translated “hell” is the Greek “Gehenna.” It is most interesting that Jesus is the one who used this word each time it appears in the New Testament. It is also most interesting that the one who speaks of “Gehenna,” is the one who loves us and gave himself for us! This is the final place of those who do not obey the gospel and is “Gehenna” ( 2 Thess. 1:9). You might make this point about eternal hell and everlasting heaven they are the same Greek word and mean the same thing! (Matt. 25:46). The Greek word is “aionios!”
Therefore, in reading the New Testament keep in mind that there are three Greek words translated “hell” know the difference and know where the different Greek word is used. It will help you better understand the New Testament!

Frank R. Williams

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