Mar 01

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One thing most people know about “hell” is that they do not want to go there! Just how, or what is necessary to avoid going to “hell” may be a most unknown to these same people, however. It is known by many that Jesus went to “hell” after death. This comes from the words of Peter on the day of Pentecost, as he quoted from the Psalms: “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:26; Psa. 16:10).
It is from the Psalms, which Peter quoted, that a false doctrine arose, and it came about because people did not know that in the New Testament the inspired writers used three different Greek words which are unfortunately translated in the King James Version into our one English word “hell.” Therefore, the first thing a person needs to know about the word “hell” is that there are three Greek words translated “hell.” A person is never going to really understand the subject without this knowledge. Without this knowledge, a person may conclude that Jesus did in fact go into the place known as eternal “hell.” However, the Bible never teaches such!
The first thing we need to know, what are the three Greek words and to what do they refer? First, let us take the Greek word “geenna” which better known as “Gehenna.” Thayer says of this word: “This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.” However, the valley of Hinnom has a history which is most unpleasant as it relates to the Jews. The Valley of Hinnom had a very horrendous history in ancient times. It was used as a place where the pagan worshipers did all sorts of vile and wicked things – including burning children alive as sacrifices to the idol Moloch. Worse yet, it appears that there was a time when even Israel offered their children as a sacrifice to the idol Moloch in the Valley of Hinnom. In the time of Jesus, it truly was a place, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). This is the place Jesus used as a figure of eternal “hell.” The New Testament never says that Jesus went to this place!
Second, let us look at the Greek word “hades,” which is also translated “hell.” This is the word that so many fail to understand; in fact, many read the New Testament as though this word does not appear at all. This is the word used by Peter as he quoted from Psalms 16:10, in Acts 2:26: “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Hades, frw), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Yes, this is the place Jesus’ spirit went when his spirit departed his body. Remember here the word of James: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). When Jesus died on the cross, his spirit departed his body and his spirit went to Hades. However, this is only part of the story when it comes to Hades!
When looking at Jesus’ death, keep in mind his body was taken by Joseph of Arimathaea: “And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed” (Matt. 27:60). His spirit, on the other hand, went into Hades, as God would not “leave” his “soul,” his “spirit” in “hades.” His body was not in the sepulcher long enough to “see corruption,” not long enough to“stinketh” (as in the case of Lazarus) (John 11:39). To understand “hades,” we need to study of the “rich man and the beggar Lazarus. This is not the Lazarus whose body “stinketh.” The story is in Luke chapter sixteen. There was a rich man who died, whose body was buried and his spirit went to “hades,” which was in “torments.” On the other hand, Lazarus the beggar was in “Abraham’s bosom” a place of comfort. The “rich man” being in “torments,” was told, when he desired that Lazarus might come and comfort him, “there is a great gulf fixed” between “Abraham’s bosom” and the place of “torments,” and that no one could pass. Therefore, Hades is a place of departed “spirits” which has three parts: 1) “Abraham’s bosom,” 2) the “great gulf,” and 3) “torments.”
Now, here is the question, “The spirit of Jesus went into Hades, but what part did his spirit go?” Before going on, just what part of hades do you think the spirit of Jesus went? In the story above, it is clear the “rich man” was an evil man. Why you ask? Well, there was Lazarus, a beggar in need and the “rich man” who never offered to help him; no, not even with the “crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.” He went to the part of “hades” describes by the word “torments,” while “Lazarus” was comforted in “Abraham’s bosom.” So, just what part of “hades” do you think the spirit of Jesus went?
We will answer the question as we study more on subject in the second article, “What do you know about hell?”

— Frank R. Williams

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