Is Salvation A Deliverance
From Hell or Eternal Death?
By Gary Amirault
Are your beliefs on this most important topic based upon facts or traditions? If Salvation is deliverance from Hell or Eternal Death, then it is vitally important the reader find out what your beliefs are based upon for your own sake and for the sake of your loved ones. Are you willing to test your understanding of salvation and Hell? Are your church leaders willing to try to answer the questions contained in this book? This may be the most important test you will ever take. These questions were prepared by a conservative Christian who has spent thousands of hours researching this most important subject.
Hermann, MO 65041
Christians who try to share their faith with unbelievers are confronted with many questions, especially on the subject of Hell and eternal punishment. Many people have a real problem with Orthodox Christianity's belief that non-Christians will be punished eternally because they are not Christians. This is one of the main reasons many Christians do NOT like to share their faith. They find themselves short of good reasonable answers to questions like these:
"If my daughter is in Hell because she did not get "born again" then I'd rather go to Hell and be with her than to be with your God because there would be more love in Hell than near your vindictive God."
"How can you say burning someone alive forever is "just" or "fair" for everyone who hasn't accepted Jesus Christ? Even we humans fit the punishment to the crime. According to you, Christians, people are destined to be burned in Hell whether we are bad or not. Just being born into this world is grounds for being endlessly tortured. You say the punishment is the same regardless of the number of sins committed or how bad they were. This is not justice--this is insanity!"
"Infinite punishment for finite crimes just doesn't seem just."
"I could never torture people endlessly, especially my own children. How can you say that God will do that to His children? This seems hideous. You make God look like a monster worse than Hitler, not a loving Father Who would even die for His enemies!"
"If Hell is real and the greatest part of humanity went there, how could you HONESTLY say that 'Love NEVER fails?' Seems like Love fails most of the time according to your understanding of things." (I Cor. 13:8)
"If the wages of sin is eternal punishment in Hell, then Jesus would have to be eternally punished if in fact He died for my sins. But the Bible says the wages of sin is death which is exactly what Jesus did--died. So how can you say people will be eternally tortured in Hell? Is Jesus presently being eternally tortured in place of those who accepted Him as Lord?
Questions are powerful truth-finders. At all costs, avoid religious groups that fear questions. Anyone who believes they have the truth should not only encourage questions, but should have solid answers for what they believe, especially if they are a leader. When asking serious questions about serious topics like the subject of Hell, look them right in the eye when asking the questions. The eyes will give away whether they are firmly convinced on their answer or if they are just passing on the "traditions" of their sect.
Whenever I was previously confronted with questions like those above (and I've heard these questions countless numbers of times), all of my answers seemed to fall short of being "reasonable." And if someone watched my body language, especially my eyes, they could have seen that I did NOT have good answers for the sincere questions they asked. And I was a zealous student!
Normally used to find myself stating that the Bible says Jesus paid for our sins, but we must accept Him as our Savior. Then I would usually say something like: "God is a just God and cannot allow sin into heaven. You must have your sins forgiven and Jesus is the only one Who can forgive you. He died for your sins. We all deserve to go to Hell, but Jesus died so we wouldn't have to go. But by turning from our sins and making Jesus our Savior, He'll deliver us from this fate to which all mankind is destined. He's given us all a chance; it's up to us whether we will take it or not." Then, often a discussion would ensue about the validity of the Bible and that would open up another can of worms. I wouldn't have admitted it then, but what I was REALLY passing on for truth, was what was passed on to me from the "experts" of my church. It was NOT really beliefs given to me by the Holy Spirit Who the Bible says will teach us all truth. (John 16:13) My beliefs therefore had to be tested by thoroughly subjecting them to honest questions…questions which made my conscience reveal to me that my answers were NOT built on truth.
During my early years as a Christian, I usually attended conservative churches that could probably be labeled "evangelical" or "fundamentalist" where the emphasis was on being "born again." I took the subject of Hell VERY seriously. I talked to people about Jesus every day. I used to have a compartmentalized attachment on the back of my car seat which contained various tracts warning of Hell and the way to avoid it. Having handed out thousands of "Roman Road" tracts, I knew (and still do know) all the salvation and Hell verses very well. I read my King James Bible everyday, went to Church whenever it was open and paid my tithes.
If Hell was real, then the most important thing in my life was to get as many people saved as I possibly could. I lost business contracts because I offended clients trying to "get them saved." I lost friends who I hounded with the "Good News" who didn't think my good news was so hot. I went to my family with tears in my eyes and begged them to accept Christ. By the time I was finished with them, they seriously considered having me committed to an institution for the insane. My brothers and sisters wanted nothing to do with me anymore. Tens of thousands of tracts explaining the simple plan of salvation were forced into the hands of people all over the Maryland, DC, Virginia area. Wherever I traveled, I usually took tracts with me. I was taught this rejection was the price one paid to follow Jesus. After all, He too, was despised and rejected even by His own family.
Whenever there was a missionary or evangelist in the area, I usually attended their meetings. I wanted to learn more about how to save more people. It was extremely frustrating and disappointing to find that most of the church members and my pastor did not share the burden for souls that seemed to me to be mandatory if in fact the teaching of Hell as taught by our Church and my King James Bible was true. We often heard sermons from pastorrs or highly paid traveling evangelists on the dangers of Hell. And then, instead of going out into the community to try to save a few doomed souls, we would often went to a nice restaurant to listen to the evangelist tell his favorite war stories while supposedly people all around us were dropping into the fiery pit. To me, it seemed that if the teaching of Hell was real, we, Christians, were not taking it seriously. And if WE weren't taking it seriously, how could we expect those we wanted to influence take it seriously themselves?
If there were a Hell or place of eternal punishment, our actions in our communities surely didn't show it. Our belief in Hell was NOT made manifest by our actions. We sinned just like those sinners we were trying to save. Oh, maybe for most of us, it wasn't the same kind of sins. Maybe we didn't drink, cuss, or smoke anymore, but boy we were experts in backbiting, slander, gossip, self-righteousness, pride, jealousy, and a host of other Biblical sins. How was it that we who were supposed to know better and supposedly had the Holy Spirit to help us lead a Holy life could sin and get away with it while those who were "slaves to sin" and had NO power to stop sinning were going to be endlessly tortured for theirs? This seemed a bit hypocritical.
I finally personally concluded we, Christians, including myself, WERE a bunch of hypocrites. We "said" but did not do. We condemned while doing the very same things we condemned others for. The more I looked at us while reading the Bible, the more we looked like the Pharisees who were Jesus' enemies--and I remembered what Jesus thought of the Pharisees and the many warnings He gave them. As a matter of fact, almost every time my King James put the word Hell into Jesus' mouth, He was always speaking to the religious people, NOT the street sinner. (Something to think about, isn't it?)
I finally became so disgusted with our poor example and lack of concern for the lost that I asked God to take me out of this world. I was tired of the hypocrisy. I was worn out. Burned out. It seemed to me that if anyone deserved to go to Hell, it was us Christians for our hypocrisy and lack of concern for the lost.
God answered my prayer not by killing me, but killing a lot of "traditional teaching" I had swallowed which did NOT come from Him NOR from the Bible in its original languages. He had someone give me a handful of booklets dealing with a handful of key words in the Bible. According to this author, these words were mistranslated in many of the leading "selling" English Bible translations. After reading these booklets, I made an extensive search at various seminaries to see if in fact what this author was saying was true. It was true!! What this author was saying made God's judgments perfectly line up with His love. It wiped away those contradictions that I constantly had to shove under the rug of "Well, God said it, I believe it even if I can't understand it all." The Bible FINALLY made perfect sense! Scriptures like "Mercy shall triumph over judgment" (James 2:13) all of a sudden fit. I always had trouble with Scriptures like that one. After all, ninety-nine percent of mankind in Hell didn't sound like mercy triumphing over judgment! Does it to you?
I wrote this book to challenge my fellow Christians to think through what they believe about this most important subject. Why are Christians so lackadaisical about their responsibility to lay down their lives to save their friends and enemies? The following questions may break through the crust of traditions of men and bring the reader to some new ground of understanding on this most important subject. If salvation is deliverance from Hell, then Hell must be thoroughly understood! Now let's see how well you know the subject and whether your beliefs are based upon facts or simply the "traditions of men." Looking back on my years as a religious zealot trying to save the world, although I went to Church regularly and studied the Bible much more than most of my counterparts, my belief was based upon the "traditions of men," and a couple of Bible translations that mistranslated a handful of key words. Ask your church leaders these questions. Look them in the eyes and see if their answers belong to them or if they are just regurgitating the denominations traditions. You MAY be shocked to find out they have almost NO answers to ANY of the questions. And now for the questions:
- If Hell is real and describes a real place, why does the English word "Hell" come from a pagan source instead of the ancient Hebrew writings of the Bible? Why is the word "Hell" not found in the Jew's Bible which is the Christian's Old Testament? Furthermore, the word "Hell" has completely disappeared from the Old Testament Scriptures in most leading Bibles. Why? Because the best scholarship demands it. (The word "Hell" comes from the Teutonic "Hele" goddess of the underworld "Hell" of northern Europe. The description of this ancient mythological place has very little resemblance anymore to the modern Christian image of Hell. See any Encyclopedia or dictionary for the origin of the word.) Seeing that the Bible is supposed to be "Holy," why have pagan religious words been added to our modern English Bibles? Please understand, the English word "Hell" and its concepts are NOT in the Hebrew nor Greek. They come into the English through Northern European mythologies, NOT from the roots of Christianity.
- If Hell as a place of everlasting tortures was the real fate of all mankind unless they did something here on earth to prevent it, why didn't God make that warning plain right at the beginning of the Bible? God said the penalty for eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was DEATH. He did NOT define death as eternal life being forever tortured in burning fire and brimstone.
- If Hell was real why didn't Moses warn about this fate in the Ten Commandments or the Mosaic Covenant consisting of over 600 laws, ordinances, and warnings? The Mosaic Law simply stated blessings and cursings IN THIS LIFETIME for failure to keep the Mosaic Law.
- If Hell is real and it is a place of eternally being separated from God, why does David say in the King James Bible, "Though I make my bed in Hell (Sheol) lo, Thou art there? (Again please note, most Christian Bibles NO LONGER have the word "Hell" in the Old Testament. The KJV written over 350 years ago is an exception. The Jews do NOT put the word "Hell" in their English translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament and the leading English Christian Bibles have removed it because it is NOT in the originals. Most Christian scholars now acknowledge it should never have been placed there in the first place.)
- If Hell is real and if good people go to heaven and bad people go to Hell, why does EVERYONE, good or bad, go to the same place in the Old Testament? They ALL go to Sheol which the King James Version translated "Hell" thirty-0ne times, "grave" thirty-one times and "pit" three times? Are we all destined to go to Hell or did the King's translators make some gross translational errors?
- If Hell is real, why don't the Jews, many who know the Old Testament better than most Christians, not believe in the modern Christian concept of Hell? They say they don't believe it because it is not in their Scriptures. Most scholars today can not find Hell in the Old Testament. Most leading Bible translations no longer contain the word Hell in the entire Old Testament. (Genesis through Malachi.)
- If Hell doesn't exist in the Old Testament, how could Jesus and his disciples teach that salvation was deliverance from a place that is not even found in their Scriptures? (There was only the Old Testament at that time.) Would that not make Him appear like a false teacher? Or could it be that Jesus never taught such a concept in the first place? Could it be that this concept has been added to the church and SOME Bibles through "traditions of men?"
- If Hell is real, since SOME English translations use the word Hell for the Greek word "Gehenna," in the New Testament, why didn't this same place (Gehenna) get translated Hell in the many places where it appears in the Hebrew form "ga ben Hinnom" in the Old Testament? If the Jews did not understand this valley as a symbol of everlasting torture, why do SOME English translations give this word such a meaning? And who burned who in this valley? And what was God's response for Israel doing such a horrible thing to their children? (Jer. 32:33-35) And how could God say "such a thing never entered His mind" if in fact He is going to do the very same thing to most of His own children?
- If Hell was real, why did the early church appoint an avowed universalist as the President of the second council of the church in Constantinople in the fourth century? (Gregory Nazianzen, 325-381)
- If Hell was real, why did Church leaders as late as the fourth century AD acknowledge that the majority of Christians believed in the salvation of all mankind? (Ref, #1)
- If Hell was real and a place of no escape, why did the early church teach Jesus went to Hell (Hades), preached to them and led captivity captive? (Eph. 4:8,9; Psalm 68:18; 1 Peter 3:18-20)
- If Hell was real and the grave settled the matter forever, why did the early Christians offer up prayers for the dead? (Ref. # 1)
- If Hell was real, why did the first comparatively complete systematic statement of Christian doctrine ever given to the world by Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 180, contain the tenet of universal salvation? (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real, why did the first complete presentation of Christianity (Origen, 220 A.D.) contain the doctrine of universal salvation? (Ref #1)
- If Hell was real, why didn't the church teach it until AFTER the church departed from reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, substituting Latin in its stead several centuries after Christ's death? (Ref #1, 2, 7)
- If Hell was real, why did not a single Christian writer of the first 3 centuries declare universalism as a heresy? (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real why didn't a single one of the early creeds express any idea contrary to universal restoration, or in favor of everlasting punishment in Hell? (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real why did not a single Church council for the first five hundred years condemn Universalism as heresy considering the fact that they made many declarations of heresy on other teachings? (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real, why did most of the early church's leading scholars and most revered saints advocate universal salvation? (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real, how is it that the most prominent universalists of the early church were born into Christian families and were most highly revered by their peers while those who advocated Hell came from paganism and confessed they were among the vilest? (Tertullian and Augustine) (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real and found in the original Greek manuscripts of the Bible, why is it that it was primarily those church leaders who either couldn't read Greek (Minucius Felix, Tertullian), or hated Greek as in the case of Augustine, that the doctrine of Hell was advocated? Those early church leaders familiar with the Greek and Hebrew (the original languages of the Bible) saw universal salvation in those texts. Those who advocated Hell got it from the Latin, NOT from the original Greek and Hebrew. Who would more likely be correct--those who could read the original languages of the Bible or those who read a Latin translation made by one man (Jerome)? (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real why do most leading historians acknowledge that the early church was dominated by universalism? (Ref. #1, 7)
- If Hell was real then why did four out of six theological schools from 170 AD to 430 AD teach universal salvation while the only one that taught Hell was in Carthage, Africa, again were Latin was the teaching language, not Greek? (Ref. #1, 2, 7)
- If Hell was real why didn't Epiphanius (c. 315-403) the "hammer of heretics" who listed 80 heresies of his time not list universalism among those heresies? (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real, since most historians would acknowledge today that Origen was perhaps the most outstanding example of early universalism in the church, when Methodius, Eusibius, Pamphilus, Marcellus, Eustathius, and Jerome made their lists of Origen's heresies, why wasn't universalism among them? Could it be perhaps that it wasn't a heresy in the original church? (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real and a serious heresy, why was it not until the sixth century when Justinian, a half-pagan emperor, tried to make universalism a heresy? Interestingly, most historians will acknowledge that Justinian's reign was among the most cruel and ruthless. (Ref. #1)
- If Hell was real, since the early church was closest to the apostles and since they were closest to the original manuscripts of the Bible, why did the vast majority of the early Christian believers NOT believe in Hell as a place of everlasting burnings? (Ref. #1, 2, 7)
- If Hell was real and all died NOT because of their transgressions but because of Adam's transgression (Rom 5:18), why do many Christians not see what is plainly written, that "even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to ALL MEN, resulting in JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE!" (Rom. 5:18) This Scripture declares the FACT that all are justified due to Christ's righteous act. No one "decided" to die in Adam, it was "reckoned" to us. Equally no one "decided" to "receive eternal life," it is also "reckoned" to us. (A thorough understanding of Romans Chapter five carefully comparing several English translations would be a very good exercise. The omission of the definite article "the" in Rom. 5:15 before the word "many" in some translations has caused some great misunderstanding of this most important chapter of the Bible.)
- If Hell is real, in Romans 5:19, the "many" who were made sinners were actually "all" of the human race. Why is the "many" who were made "righteous" not equally be "all" of the human race? "For as by one man's disobedience MANY were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience MANY will be made righteous."
- If Hell is real and everlasting, why does Psalm 30:5 say His anger is but for a moment?
- If Hell is real one would never know it by the actions of most Christians. They go through life pretty much like atheists, pagans, etc. If they really believed in Hell, they would spend their entire life trying to snatch their friends and relatives from the burning flames. If Hell is real, why don't they do this?
- If Hell is a real place of merciless endless torture, since God knows the beginning from the end, why didn't God just kill Adam and Eve and end the long terrible chain of misery that passed to their offspring before it began? After all, the Scriptures say that all died BECAUSE of Adam. (Rom. 5:18)
- If Hell is real, why is it not mentioned in most leading English Bible translations until Matthew? (Most Bible translations now acknowledge Sheol should NOT ever be translated Hell as the King James Bible incorrectly did.)
- If Hell was real, and if Paul was commissioned by God to preach the gospel to the nations, why did Paul not mention Hell even once except to declare victory over it? (1 Cor. 15:55, the word death in this passage is the word "Hades" which some translations of the Bible also translate Hell.)
- If Hell was real and easy to define and find in the Bible, why did the translators of the original 1611 King James Bible find it so difficult to define Hades? They put Hell in the text at Rev. 20:13 and "Or, grave" in the margins while putting "grave" in the text and "Or, Hell" in the margins in 1 Cor. 15:55? Seems they couldn't make up their minds whether Hades meant Hell or grave. (Recent editions have removed the marginal readings thus avoiding the embarrassment.)
- If Hell is real, why are there many English Bible translations which do NOT contain the word Hell at all nor do they contain the concept of "everlasting torments"? (Ref. #6)
- If Hell was real and the belief that there is no Hell is a deception from Satan, why is it that those born from above Christians who DON'T believe in Hell seem to manifest more of the nature and fruit of the Spirit than those who teach Hell? Surely those who believe that Jesus is the Savior of all mankind manifest more love towards their enemies than do serious Hell-fire types. Could it be that we begin to manifest what we worship? If we believe God loves all mankind and plans to save it, then we have no excuse but to do the same. However, if we believe God will cast away most of mankind, then we begin to manifest the very same spirit here on earth.
- If there is a Hell and salvation is the deliverance from it, why does the word appear only a dozen times or so in most leading selling Bibles like the NIV, NASB, NRSV, NKJV, etc. as compared to the word Heaven which appears hundreds of times?
- If Hades is Hell and there is no escape from it, why is it emptied and cast into the Lake of Fire along with death. (Rev. 20:14)
- If the Lake of Fire is actually a place of everlasting burnings, why isn't it defined as such? The Bible calls it the "second death," that is, the death of the first death. One would think that the death of death would be LIFE, which is a good thing! (Rev. 20:14) Even in mathematics two negatives make a positive.
- If there is a Hell and all who have sinned are destined to go there (which is everyone) unless they figure out how to avoid it, does that not consign all aborted babies and most children to Hell? (Dear Reader, while some denominations teach a so-called "age of accountability," it is NOT found anywhere in the Bible. It is just some people's way of trying to make God more humane than the Hell teaching makes Him out to be.)
- If all things were made for GOD'S pleasure, is it conceivable that God would derive pleasure from seeing those He created endlessly tortured?
- If there is a Hell and according to most denominations of Christianity the majority of mankind will go there, could you really enjoy heaven knowing your mother or father or children or best friend are suffering everlasting tortures the likes of which would make the Holocaust seem like a picnic? If the Rich Man and Lazarus story (Luke chapter 16) is real and NOT a parable, then we will be able to converse with our loves ones who did not make it into heaven. Would heaven really be paradise if this were true?
- If Hell is real and a place of eternal separation from God, why would Paul the apostle say the goal of God's creative plan was to ultimately be "all IN all?" (1 Cor. 15:28)
- If Hell is real since there is only one name under heaven by which men might be saved (Acts 4:12), why did God wait thousands of years and millions of souls after Adam's fall to provide the name and means of salvation? Are all those before Jesus' birth damned forever because they never heard of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? Would that be just? (Remember the Mosaic Law can never "save" anyone and it was only for Israel. Rom. 3:20)
- If Hell is a real place of everlasting punishment and if Jesus died in our place to save us from this fate, wouldn't Jesus have to be eternally punished if in fact He took our punishment upon Himself? But He's NOT being eternally punished. He DIED which is what the penalty of the wages of sin is, DEATH, NOT everlasting life of unending torture or eternal death (annihilation).
- If Hell is real why do some of the best Bible scholars and Bible teachers say it is NOT in the Greek or Hebrew text? (William Barclay, John A.T. Robinson, Lightfoot, Westcott, F.W. Farrar, Marvin Vincent, etc.)
- If Hell is real why is it that those who preach it the most look more like Pharisees and the devil, while those who believe in the salvation of all mankind seem to be more loving and merciful than strong Hell-fire believers? It's a plain fact that the colder less loving one is the easier it is to teach Hell while the more loving one becomes the harder it is to talk about Hell. Is heaven full of cold unloving people?
- If Hell is real and everlasting, why is it thrown into the Lake of Fire to be destroyed? And why is Hell never called the Lake of Fire nor the Lake of Fire ever called Hell if in fact they are the same thing?
- If Hell is real and the devil and all his works and people are to be thrown into it to stay alive forever, doesn't that violate Jesus' statement that He came to "destroy" the works of the devil? (1 John 3:8)
- If Hell is real and the greatest part of mankind eventually goes there, wouldn't Jesus be considered a great failure considering the fact He was sent to save the whole world? And if He failed so miserably this time to accomplish the will of the Father, can one really trust that He won't fail again? (1 Tim. 2:3,4 KJV; Heb. 10:9) We who believe that Jesus will save the world obviously do NOT believe He failed…He will save all of us.
- If Hell is real it must have been created at some time. Why doesn't the Bible tell us when Hell (as traditionally taught) was created? Could it be that the Bible fails to mention its creation because it was never created in the first place?
- If Hell is real and it is plainly seen in the original languages of the Bible, why is there such a great discrepancy among Bible translations as to which words should be translated Hell? (Ref. #6)
- If Hell is real and most of mankind ends up there, how can God have promised Abraham that in him ALL the families of the earth will be blessed? (Gen. 12:3)
- If Hell is real and Matthew chapter 24 says and means that the goat nations will go to "everlasting punishment," how can God promise to Abraham that "all the nations of the earth shall be blessed by him? (Gen. 18:18) Does God not keep His promises?
- If Hell is real, does that mean that motherly love is more powerful and enduring than God's love? Do you know of normal mothers who would endlessly torment most of her kids. Do you know "normal" Fathers who would do such a thing? Why do we believe our heavenly Father, who is millions of times more loving than all of us combined, could do such an evil, wicked thing?
- If Hell is real, is justice being served considering the fact that finite crimes would receive infinite punishment?
- If Hell is real, since all is out of Jesus Christ, does that mean Hell comes out of Jesus Christ? (Rom. 36:11)
- If Hell is real and all the different types of crimes committed here on earth receive the same punishment (endless torture) does "justice" not suffer?
- If Hell is real and a person gets caught stealing and goes to jail for it and does his time, is it just for God to still punish him eternally for that crime? Is this not "double indemnity?"
- If Hell is real, since some people receive many chances to "get saved," some receive only a few chances and billions have never even received one chance, does that make God a respecter of persons? (Acts 10:34, James 3:17)
- If Hell is real and is the fate of all mankind because of Adam's transgression, if all are not saved through the last Adam, Jesus Christ, does that not make the transgression of the first Adam greater than the redeeming act of Jesus? (Rom. Chapter 5)
- If Hell is real and most of mankind is doomed to go there, does that not violate the declaration of Paul who said that Christ's righteous act on the cross gave ALL mankind a free gift resulting in justification of life?! (Rom. 5:18)
- If Hell is real and God's wrath abides upon billions of human beings FOREVER, some being your relatives and friends (or it could be you), doesn't that violate the Scripture which says His anger WILL come to an end? (Isaiah 57:16-18)
- If Hell was real and you went there, would you consider that good? (Psalm 145:9 says all will praise Him.)
- If Hell was real and you were consigned to it, would you praise Him for sending you there? (Psalm 145:10)
- If Hell is real and most of mankind will fall into this fiery pit, if there is not escape out of it, would this not violate the Scripture that says He raises ALL who fall? (Psalm 145:14)
- If Hell is really a place from which there is no escape, why does God turn man to destruction and then give the command to return from it? (Psalm 90:3) If Hell is "everlasting" destruction," how can man return? (2 Thess. 1:9)
- If Hell is real and most find their way to it, was Jesus lying when He said that He would "draw" ("drag" in the original Greek) all mankind unto Himself? (John 12:32)
- If Hell is real, since Jesus ultimately fills ALL things, will Jesus fill Hell as well? ((Eph. 4:10) How can Hell be eternal separation from God is Jesus fills Hell with Himself?
- If Hell is real and Jesus is the Heir of all things, does that mean He inherits Hell as well? (Heb. 1:2)
- If Hell is real, since God will have all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3 KJV), does that mean God's power is not strong enough to have His will fulfilled? Is man's will more powerful than God's?
- If Hell is real, would that not violate the plain Scripture of the "restitution of all things?" (Acts 3:21)
- If Hell is real and eternal separation from God, why does the Scripture say, "All flesh will come to God?" (Psalm 65:2-4)
- If Hell is real and most people don't get "born again," doesn't that make abortionists the greatest evangelists of all since they kill the babies before they can enter the world to begin their life of sin? (Gory thought, but think about it.)
- If Hell is real and there is no escape from it, how can the Scriptures speak of the gathering of all things into Christ? (Eph. 1:10)
- If Hell is real and God were human, we would give Him a death sentence for all the cruel things we say He is going to do to most of mankind?
- If Hell is real and most people around you are on their way to it, how can you talk with them and not beg them each and everyday to be saved? How can you not go crazy at just the thought of their fate?
- If Hell is real and you have "unsaved" family, friends, and business associates, when was the last time you went to them on your knees begging them to get saved? And if you haven't done this recently yet still believe their fate is everlasting punishment, don't you deserve to go to Hell yourself for being so callused and non-caring?
- If Hell is real, how does the threat of endlessly torturing us convince us that God loves us and that we should love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?
- If Hell was real and the "full" gospel was designed to reach all mankind, doesn't that make the results of the "full" gospel pretty "empty" considering that fact that most people are in Hell according to traditional theology?
- If Hell was real, does that mean Jesus raised the wicked from an unconscious state, make them alive only to be endlessly tortured? Wouldn't it be more merciful to just leave them eternally unconscious (which some believe)? (Ecc. 9:5; John 11:11)
- If Hell is real and God only loves those who love Him, what better is He than the sinner? (Luke 6:32-33) Can you REALLY call eternally torturing your own children love?
- If Hell is real, since "love thinketh no evil," can God design the ultimate evil of a single soul? (1 Cor. 13:5)
- If Hell is real, since"love worketh no ill," can God inflict, or cause, or allow to be inflicted, an endless ill? (Rom. 13:10)
- If Hell is real, since we are forbidden to be overcome by evil, can we safely suppose that God will be overcome by evil? (Rom. 12:21) Would not the infliction of endless punishment prove that God HAD been overcome by evil?
- If Hell is real, if man does wrong in returning evil for evil, would not God do wrong if He was to do the same? (Rom. 12:20,21) Would not endless punishment be the return of evil for evil? As we are commanded "to overcome evil with good," may we not safely infer that God will do the same? Would the infliction of endless punishment be overcoming evil with good?
- If Hell is real, if God hates the sinner, does the sinner do wrong in hating Him?
- If Hell is real, if God loves His enemies now, will he not always love them? Is God a changeable being? (James 1:17)
- If Hell is real, is it just for God to be "kind to the evil and unthankful," in their present life? (Luke 6:35) Would it be unjust for God to be kind to all men in a future state?
- If Hell is real, if all men justly deserve endless punishment, will not those who are saved, be saved unjustly?
- If Hell is real, would it be merciful in God to inflict endless punishment--that is, merciful to the sufferer?
- If Hell is real, if the demands of divine justice are opposed to the requirements of mercy, is not God divided against Himself? If the requirements of mercy are opposed to the demands of the justice of God, can His kingdom stand? -- (Mark 3:24)
- If Hell is real, does not judgment triumph over mercy and thus contradict this Scripture? (James 2:13)
- If Hell is real, if you had sufficient power would you not deliver all men from sin? If God WOULD save all men, but CANNOT, is He infinite in power?
- If Hell is real, if God CAN save all men, but WILL NOT, is He infinite in goodness?
- If Hell is real and created by God, does it not stand against God's DESIRE the salvation of all men? (1 Tim. 2:3-4) Since God is righteous, must not the desire for universal salvation be a RIGHTEOUS desire? Is it true, that "the desire of the righteous shall be granted?" -- (Prov. 10:24)
- If Hell is real, would endless misery benefit the Almighty, as the INFLICTOR? Would endless misery benefit the saints, as SPECTATORS? Would endless misery benefit the sinner, as the SUFFERER?
- If Hell is real and endless punishment is the "wages of sin," could the sinner ever receive payment in full? (Rom. 6:23)
- If Hell is real and sin is infinite, can it be true that, "where sin abounded grace did MUCH MORE abound?" --(Rom. 5:20)
- If Hell is real, if ONE sin deserves an eternity of punishment, how much punishment will TEN sins deserve?
- If Hell is real, yet God "openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing" -- (Ps. 145:16), If I desire all men be saved, will God satisfy my desire? Is it good to desire all men to be saved? "This is GOOD and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who DESIRES ALL MEN TO BE SAVED and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:3,4)
- If Hell is real and you are a Calvinist, were you "responsible" for getting into heaven? Then why do you take the responsibility for those going to Hell away from God and put it on those you say are going to Hell? Is God "sovereign" only over the "elect?"
- If Hell is real and God is our Father and our Potter (Isaiah 64:8,9) did He make mostly junk and are most of the children He raised misfits worthy only to be thrown away and endlessly tortured? Do we not hold parents responsible for their children's outcome? If we use the same standards towards God's "fathering" abilities, according to the doctrine of endless punishment, our Father did a very poor job in raising His children.
- If Hell is real and a person is considered foolish trying to build a tower without first seeing if he has enough resources with which to complete it, wouldn't Jesus also be foolish if He purposed to save the world but only came away with a part of it? And wouldn't Jesus appear foolish if He came to destroy the works of the devil but left most of the devil's work continuing endlessly in the Lake of Fire? Wouldn't He be found guilty of not counting the costs before He began?(Luke 14:28-32)
- If Hell is real and since probably less than one percent of the world's population ever got "born again" and stayed on the straight and narrow, doesn't this fly in the face of Jesus' words which says He leaves the ninety-nine to find the one and doesn't give up until He finds it? (Luke 15:4)
- If Hell is real and a place of terrible pain, why is it that we wouldn't think of sending our pets to such a place yet don't blink an eye at the thought of God sending His very own children to such a place?
- If Hell is real and universalism is a heresy, why is it that those who believe God loves all and will save all find it easier to love all people than those who believe most people are going to Hell? (Think this through very carefully.)
- If Hell is real, will you judge your mother, son, or other non-believer to Hell? "Do ye not know that the saints "shall judge the world"? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?" 1 Corinthians 6:2-3
I think that a person whose mental faculties, conscience and heart are still working will come to the reasonable conclusion that the concept of Hell as a place of everlasting punishment leaves a LOT of questions unanswered. Yes, the concept of Hell (and that is all it is, a false concept) seems to violate everything that is reasonable. It violates the nature of God which is unconditional Love. It violates the wisdom of God, the pleasure of God, the promises of God, the oath of God, the power of God; it negates the full power of the cross of Christ; it goes against the testimony of the prophets; it violates the testimony of Jesus Christ and His apostles; it violates the Scriptures in their original languages; it violates the writings of the early church leaders who read the Scriptures in the original languages; it goes against our conscience and our hearts, Finally, it has the ring of something the subtlest of all creatures would concoct…the greatest lie ever told.
Jesus and the apostles gave many warnings over 1900 hundred years ago that many would rise up within the church and draw many people after themselves forming denominations built upon the traditions of men and NOT the Truth. 1900 years has spawned over 30,000 denominations of Christendom--denominations which cannot unite because they are divided by their "interpretations" of Scriptures AND traditions which have been added which are NOT based upon the Bible. "A kingdom divided against itself CANNOT stand." (Mark 3:24) Obviously, the denominations of Christendom are NOT the kingdom of God. The Scriptures warned us that most Christians would depart from the faith. It is plainly written for all to see. Why is it that many Christians cannot see what is plainly written?
1 John 2:18-20
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
1 John 2:26,27
26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-- just as it has taught you, remain in him.
1 Tim. 4:9-16
Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Note Paul NEVER preached salvation as deliverance from Hell.)
KJV Galatians 3:1-3
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
2 Peter 3:15-18
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
1 Cor. 1:10-15
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
As we can plainly see, God warned that there would come a great falling away IN THE VERY FIRST CENTURY, not hundreds of years later. That early falling away would produce a system of religion full of the abominations of the world. (Rev. Chapter 17 and 18) One must look to the past to find the "great falling away," NOT the future. John, the apostle whom Jesus loved said it was the "last hour!" Last hour of what?
The writer of Hebrews writing over 1900 years ago informs us that they were living at the "end of the world:"
"For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Heb. 9:26)
Obviously he was NOT talking about the physical world. The writer of Hebrews was writing to Jews who were under the Old Covenant "world." This "world" was about to come to an end when Titus would destroy the city of Jerusalem, the only city in which Jews could offer up animal sacrifices to God. The Mosaic Covenant world was coming to an end and God was about to establish a New Heaven and a New World, that is, a new Covenant. This was very plain to Hebrew-speaking Jews of the first century. We, modern Christians, have misused certain key words which have thrown off our eschatological understandings greatly.
The fact is that the great falling away occurred almost 2000 years ago and every denomination of Christianity is a part of it. The glue that keeps this abominable system of divided denominations together is the teaching that God is a failure. God fell short of His goal to save all mankind, thus making God to appear as the greatest fool and hypocrite that ever lived. The doctrine of Hell is one of the major instruments Satan has used to turn sincere seekers away from the truth turning them either to idolatry in the form of false religions or materialism. The rest became atheists or agnostics.
Recently I watched a movie entitled "Inherit the Wind" which dealt with the subject of whether evolution could be taught in public schools. Prior to the trial, a young boy the young science teacher was very fond of and was mentoring drowned. At the boy's funeral, some Hell-fire fundamentalists talked about how this boy was rotting in Hell because he wasn't "saved" before he drowned. The words of these fundamentalists turned this science teacher away from the Truth towards the lie of evolution. There are countless atheists and agnostics in the world who have been turned aside from seeking God because of this greatest of lies.
Perhaps the reader can now see some of the horrible consequences of this terrible stain on the nature and character of our heavenly Father. Now if the reader still insists that God endlessly tortures most of the human beings He made and also insist that the love of God is in you, then you owe all the people in the world a reasonable answer to the above questions.
Thousands of people in ages past HAVE asked these questions and have come to the logical Scriptural conclusion that the teaching of Hell is a plain unadulterated lie of the highest magnitude. Men and women like Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence) asked questions like the ones above and reasonably concluded that Jesus IS the Savior of the whole world, not just a piece of it. After all, how can one be called the "Savior of the world" unless one actually saves it?
Great theologians and scholars have also come to the same conclusion. Among them are William Barclay, William Law, Karl Barth, Schliermacher, Bishop Westcott, Lightfoot, Canon F.W. Farrar, John A.T. Robinson, Andrew Murray and Andrew Jukes. Some of the greatest writers and poets are in the "Cloud of Witnesses" to the glorious truth of the salvation of all mankind through our glorious savior Jesus Christ. Elizabeth Browing, John Donne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe and countless more. The list of preachers who have asked these same questions and have come to the reasonable and Scriptural truth that Hell is nothing more than a great lie is endless. They were not afraid to ask their Maker some straight-forward questions. They invited the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus to lead us all into Truth to make plain to them the Truth concerning the doctrine of Hell. Men and women of all ages have asked these questions AND have received truthful answers to these questions. A man named A.C. Thomas collected some of these questions and they found themselves in a book written in the 1800's entitled: "The Key to Truth" by E. H. Lake. Isn't it time to get the Truth? Here are some of the questions sincere people from all ages have asked which brought them to the truth.
- Do you ardently DESIRE the salvation of all men?
- Is it true that God "openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing?" -- (Ps. 145:16)
- Do you fervently PRAY for the salvation of all men? (1 Tim. 2:1)
- Do you pray in FAITH, nothing doubting? (James 1:6)
- Are you aware, "that whatsoever is not of faith is sin?" -- (Rom 14:23)
- Would God require us to pray for all men, and to pray in faith, unless He intends all men should be saved?
- If you believe endless misery to be the truth of God, why should you desire and pray that it may prove false?
- Power is the ability to do: is knowledge simply the ability to know?
- If God knew when He created man, that some would be eternally damned, did He not will this to be their doom?
- If God willed the endless misery of a part of His creatures, why is it said that "he will have all men to be saved?" -- (1 Tim. 2:4, KJV)
- If the Scriptures should testify, that God "will have all men to be damned," could we really safely assume that a part might be saved?
- If the Scriptures testify, that God "will have all men to be saved," can we safely assume that a part may be damned?
- Can Jesus Christ be the Savior of any more than He actually saves?
- Can Jesus be "the Savior of the world," (1 John 4:14), if the world is not saved by him?
- Is Christ, in any sense, the Savior of unbelievers?
- If Christ is in no sense the Savior of unbelievers, why are unbelievers called upon to believe in Christ as their Savior?
- If unbelievers are not called upon to believe in Christ as their Savior, what are they to believe?
- Must not the thing to be believed, be true before it is believed?
- Must not the thing to be believed continue to be true, whether it be believed or disbelieved?
- "What if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith, [or faithfulness] of God of none effect?" -- (Rom. 3:3)
- Is it true that "God hath concluded all in unbelief that he might have mercy on all?" -- (Rom 9:32)
- Can God be "especially the Savior of them who believe," unless He is actually the Savior of all? -- (1 Tim. 4:10)
- If belief and good works in this life are essential to eternal salvation in the next, can infants be saved?
- Can the good actions of finite man merit an infinite reward?
- Can the evil actions of finite man merit infinite punishment?
- If men are saved by works, is salvation of grace?
- If one man is saved by grace, why should not all be saved in like manner?
- Is God a partial being?
- Can the faith of the Partialists (believers in Hell or annihilation) be based in the wisdom that is "full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality?" -- (James 3:17)
- Can sufficient provision be made for the salvation of all men, if some men are never saved?
- Must not sufficient provision be sufficient to subdue the will of the creature?
- Is there any other way to determine the sufficiency of the means employed, than by the accomplishment of the end designed?
If God is loving, merciful, wise, always gives "righteous" judgment and is all powerful and has a desire or will to save all mankind (1 Tim 2:3,4) which will come closer to the above attributes?:
A Savior of all mankind?
An eternal torturer of most?
Children, saints, truth-seekers, sinners, universalists and even atheists always get the right answer.
Pharisees, hypocrites, control freaks, hate-mongers, and other sundry snakes always get it wrong.
My conclusion that the modern church concept of God consigning the greatest majority of the human beings He created to everlasting tortures (which is NOT worthy of His honor) does not come from my wishful thinking, but from thousands of hours of studying various English Bible translations, the original languages, early church history, revelation from the Holy Spirit, as well as from a clean conscience and a sound mind. Listed below are a few of the hundreds of books I've read or written as a result of this intense search for the truth of the matter. I believe that anyone who truly desires to KNOW God and to honor Him in the earth will undoubtedly come to the same conclusions I and millions of other Christians who have tasted of God's mercy have come to over the last two thousand years...that Jesus is the Savior of all mankind, as the Scriptures plainly declare(John 4:42; 1 John 4:14)…not just a few. The reasons why most Christians in this present age do not see this glorious truth are:
REASONS FOR THE DIFFERENT VIEWS
1. Failure to hold on to clear statements of God’s sovereignty, foreknowledge, power, omniscience, purpose of creation, and unconditional love.
2. Failure to believe direct statements of scripture declaring the ultimate salvation of all through the saving work of Jesus Christ.
3. Pulling scriptures out of context and putting them into an end-time scenario when, in fact, they deal with other ages. Scriptures speak of at least two other ages to come. (Eph. 2:7)
4. Inaccurate and misleading translations. Roman Catholic tradition strongly affected the first Protestant English Bibles which, in turn, adversely affected modern translations.
5. Injection of Roman\Greek concepts which are not Biblical such as the immortality of the soul into the Bible. Adam was removed from the garden lest he eat from the tree of life. He was therefore not immortal. Eternal life is found only "in" Christ, not in Adam. "In Adam all died." (1 Cor. 15:22) If Adam was immortal, how could he die?
6. Bondage to the traditions and teachings of men rather than allowing the Spirit of Truth to lead us into all truth. (John 16:13)
8. A hidden desire in many of us to have our enemies get what we feel they deserve while we get off free and clear. (Luke 9:51-56)
9. The desire of religious and government leaders to use fear to maintain control. Love cannot be perfected with fear, therefore, the church has few members whose love is perfected. Perfect love casts out fear! (1 John 4:18)
10. Satan’s power and authority to deceive.
- Failure to see that "Love never fails," (1Cor. 13:8) His "mercy endures forever," (1 Chron. 16:41) and "mercy triumphs over judgment." (James 2:13)
- It's not your time to see. (Acts 13:48, John 6:44)
- Fear of persecution of men (males and females) for not going along with the majority view.
- Misunderstanding of the purpose of God's "remnant," His "chosen people."
God has always wanted a people here on earth to act as intercessors on behalf of those who do not know Him. God wanted Israel to be a "nation of priests," but Israel violated God's commandments even as He was writing them. (Ex. 19:6-8; 32:21-29; Deut. 21:5) So God selected only the tribe of Levi under the Mosaic Covenant to be His priests. These priests were to offer up prayers, intercessions, and sacrifices not only for Israel, but for all the nations around them.
Ultimately Israel became so degenerate that the Priests refused to offer up sacrifices on behalf of the Gentile nations. Josephus, the Jewish historian, records this for us. In 70AD, God destroyed the nation of Israel and took the priesthood away from the tribe of Levi and gave it to "another nation" to intercede on behalf of the nations of the world who do not know their left hand from their right. This nation was to be a light for them. In studying Church history, while the "early" Church was a great light, after a few centuries the light disappeared into what became known as the Dark Ages. This "Dark Ages" was NOT in Africa, NOT in Asia, NOT in South America; it was in the very nations which has the greatest population of Christians!! The Dark Ages did NOT begin until the wretched doctrine of endless punishment entered the Church! The horrible teaching that God will torture most of His children endlessly has not only turned the world away from seeking the God of the Bible, it has turned many Christians away as well.
Those who call themselves Christians, who are called to intercede on behalf of sinners but find it difficult to pray for them let alone love them are in danger of following the footsteps of the first priesthood which God removed because of their lack of mercy. Many Christians are filling their minds with a "fly away" mentality while expecting non-believers to finally get what they deserve--100 pound hailstones, nuclear wars and horrible diseases. This teaching did NOT come from Christ! It came from the same spirit that drove the disciples John and James to want to command fire to come down upon the heads of those who did not believe on Jesus Christ.
"Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, 'Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?'
But He turned and rebuked them, and said, 'You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them.'" Luke 9:52-56
Please note, the Samaritans who rejected Jesus were NOT condemned to Hell by Jesus for their rejection of Him; it was His disciples who were condemned for the foul spirit they had which wanted those unbelievers burned instead of saved. Much of the Church world is in the same foul spirit John and James were in.
Search your heart and conscience. Ask the Holy Spirit if some of these reasons listed above are blocking you from receiving the full truth regarding this matter. And above all "Study to show yourself approved."
I have included at the end of this book a list of reference material which will help prove that the "traditional" concept of Hell is false. Here is a list of Bibles revealing that the original languages of the Bible do NOT contain the teaching of Hell Some of them are published by leading Evangelical publishers:
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (Kregal Publishers, still in print), Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Baker Book House Publishers, still in print; Robert Young is author of the famous Young's Concordance), Concordant Literal Translation of the N.T. (Concordant Publishing Concern, still in print), Scarlet's New Testament (Nathaniel Scarlett, 1798), The New Testament (Abner Kneeland, 1823) Emphatic Diaglott (Greek/English Interlinear), The New Covenant (J.W. Hanson, 1884), New Testament in Modern Speech (Weymouth, 1910), The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible (1976), The Twentieth Century New Testament (1900), The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed (James L. Tomanek)1958), The Western New Testament (1926), The New Testament, a Translation (Rev. Edgar Lewis Clementson, 1938), The People's New Testament (Arthur Overbury), The Holy Bible in Modern English (Ferrar Fenton, still in print), The New Testament, A New Translation based upon the Oldest Manuscripts (Johannes Greber, 1980).
There are other translations like the Companion Bible King James Version, American Standard Version (1901), the Newberry Reference Bible (Still published by Kregal Publications), and the Riverside New Testament by Ballantine (1934) which contain footnotes, marginal readings and appendages which point out that several key Greek and Hebrew words have been MIStranslated by such Bible versions as the King James Bible.
Listed at the end are the names of a few of some of the best material from which I have gleaned on the subject of Hell. Our Internet site has many more and I have many more in my library. The plain fact is that the teaching of a Hell of everlasting tortures is NOT in the Old Testament in the Hebrew. Jews today do NOT believe in the modern Christian's version of Hell. It is NOT in what is commonly, but incorrectly called the New Testament in the original languages nor is it contained in English Bible translations properly translated. Certainly the greatest majority of the early church and its leadership did NOT teach the modern concept of Hell. It was clearly borrowed from the pagans--it did NOT come from Mosaic Judaism which is the root of Christianity. These are plain facts. The books below will prove this. The question is...are you going to follow the "traditions of man" which "make the word of God of no effect" or will you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth even though you may be severely persecuted by many of your Christian brothers and sisters? Jesus was persecuted by His own. So, too, will His disciples. I leave the choice in your hands and in the hands of your Maker. Peace, Love, and Truth to you...In Him, Gary Amirault.
Postscript: By the way, if you REALLY want to know who invented Hell, the book "The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment" is an excellent place to begin. Here is a list of quotes taken from ancient history which plainly reveal who the inventors of a Hell of eternal punishment are. The source for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny is the very same source of Hell…political, business, and religious men and women who invent ways to hold power over people and to make money of them.
The Ancient Inventors of Hell1. Polybius, the ancient historian, says: "Since the multitude is ever fickle, full of lawless desires, irrational passions and violence, there is no other way to keep them in order but by the fear and terror of the invisible world; on which account our ancestors seem to me to have acted judiciously, when they contrived to bring into the popular belief these notions of the gods, and of the infernal regions." B. vi 56. 2. Dionysius Halicarnassus treats the whole matter as useful, but not as true. Antiq. Rom., B. ii 3. Livy, the celebrated historian, speaks of it in the same spirit; and he praises the wisdom of Numa, because he invented the fear of the gods, as "a most efficacious means of governing an ignorant and barbarous populace." Hist., I 19. 4. Strabo, the geographer, says: "The multitude are restrained from vice by the punishments the gods are said to inflict upon offenders, and by those terrors and threatenings which certain dreadful words and monstrous forms imprint upon their minds...For it is impossible to govern the crowd of women, and all the common rabble, by philosophical reasoning, and lead them to piety, holiness and virtue - but this must be done by superstition, or the fear of the gods, by means of fables and wonders; for the thunder, the aegis, the trident, the torches (of the Furies), the dragons, &c., are all fables, as is also all the ancient theology. These things the legislators used as scarecrows to terrify the childish multitude." Geog., B. I 5. Timaeus Locrus, the Pythagorean, after stating that the doctrine of rewards and punishments after death is necessary to society, proceeds as follows: "For as we sometimes cure the body with unwholesome remedies, when such as are most wholesome produce no effect, so we restrain those minds with false relations, which will not be persuaded by the truth. There is a necessity, therefore, of instilling the dread of those foreign torments: as that the soul changes its habitation; that the coward is ignominiously thrust into the body of a woman; the murderer imprisoned within the form of a savage beast; the vain and inconstant changed into birds, and the slothful and ignorant into fishes." 6. Plato, in his commentary on Timaeus, fully endorses what he says respecting the fabulous invention of these foreign torments. And Strabo says that "Plato and the Brahmins of India invented fables concerning the future judgments of hell" (Hades). And Chrysippus blames Plato for attempting to deter men from wrong by frightful stories of future punishments. Plato himself is exceedingly inconsistent, sometimes adopting, even in his serious discourses, the fables of the poets, and at other times rejecting them as utterly false, and giving too frightful views of the invisible world. Sometimes, he argues, on social grounds, that they are necessary to restrain bad men from wickedness and crime, and then again he protests against them on political grounds, as intimidating the citizens, and making cowards of the soldiers, who, believing these things, are afraid of death, and do not therefore fight well. But all this shows in what light he regarded them; not as truths, certainly, but as fictions, convenient in some cases, but difficult to manage in others. 7. Plutarch treats the subject in the same way; sometimes arguing for them with great solemnity and earnestness, and on other occasions calling them "fabulous stories, the tales of mothers and nurses." 8. Seneca says: "Those things which make the infernal regions terrible, the darkness, the prison, the river of flaming fire, the judgment seat, &c., are all a fable, with which the poets amuse themselves, and by them agitate us with vain terrors." Sextus Empiricus calls them "poetic fables of hell;" and Cicero speaks of them as "silly absurdities and fables" (ineptiis ac fabulis). 9. Aristotle. "It has been handed down in mythical form from earliest times to posterity, that there are gods, and that the divine (Deity) compasses all nature. All beside this has been added, after the mythical style, for the purpose of persuading the multitude, and for the interests of the laws, and the advantage of the state." Neander's Church Hist., I, p. 7. 11 (The above quotes were taken from "The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment" by Thomas Thayer.) The question this book began with is now, I trust, answered by a sufficient number of witnesses to settle the matter. Hell was invented by men of power who felt it was the only way to hold the masses of ignorant people under their power. It is the same today. If the people of power today REALLY believed the myths they are perpetuating, they themselves would behave MUCH differently than they are. Seeing their own corrupt behavior should make it plain to anyone, these political, business, and especially religious leaders have not the slightest faith in these things themselves; they do not think them at all necessary to regulate their own lives, or keep them in order; but it is for the average people, the dumb sheep who must be restrained with fears of great terror in the afterlife. One cannot help noting the resemblance between those wise men of old and some of our own day, who seem so anxious to maintain the doctrine on the ground that it is necessary to restrain men from sin. I think it is time we "dumb sheep" wise up and get out from under the myths these men of corruption have used to hold the fetters of our minds in check and check ourselves in at the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd who knows how to restrain HIS sheep with love, not fear. What do you think?
#1 Universalism--The Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its
First Five Hundred Years by Dr. J.W. Hanson
#2 The Bible Hell by Dr. J.W. Hanson
#3 Arguments in Favor of Universalism
#4 100 Scriptural Proofs Jesus is the Savior of the world
#5 Bible Threatenings Explained by Dr. J.W. Hanson
#6 The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail by Gary Amirault and Tony Hinkle
(Proves many Bibles do NOT contain Hell or "everlasting punishment."
#7 Early Christian View of the Savior by Gary Amirault
#8 Aion by Dr. J.W. Hanson
#9 The Power of Life and Death is a Four Letter Greek Word--Aion by Gary
#10 Time and Eternity by G.T. Stevenson
#11 Analytical Study of Words by Louis Abbott
#12 Rich Man and Lazarus Parable Explained
#13 Eternal Death: One Step Out of Hell, One Step Short of Glory
#14 Just what you do mean...Judgment? by J. Preston Eby
#15 Arguments in Favor of Universalism by E.E. Guild
#16 The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment by Dr. Thomas Thayer
Mistranslation of the word "aion":
Aion by Dr. J.W. Hanson
The Power of Life and Death is a Four Letter Greek Word--Aion by Gary
Time and Eternity by G.T. Stevenson
Mistranslation of Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, Gehenna:
The Bible Hell by Dr. J.W. Hanson
Analytical Study of Words by Louis Abbott
The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment by Dr. Thomas Thayer
Rebuttals of Hell-supporting Scriptures in some Bibles:
Bible Threatenings Explained by Dr. J.W. Hanson
Rich Man and Lazarus Parable Explained
Proofs Annihilationism is NOT taught in the original languages of the Bible:
Eternal Death: One Step Out of Hell, One Step Short of Glory
God's punishment is NOT eternal:
Just what you do mean...Judgment? by J. Preston Eby
Arguments and Scriptures Favoring the Salvation of All Mankind:
Arguments in Favor of Universalism by E.E. Guild
Early Christian View of the Savior by Gary Amirault
The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail by Gary Amirault and Tony Hinkle
(Proves many Bibles do NOT contain Hell or "everlasting punishment."
100 Scriptural Proofs Jesus is the Savior of the world
About the Author: I'd like the reader to be aware that I am a conservative Christian who spent several years in very evangelical fundamental churches. Even before I became a Christian my values were always conservative, not liberal. I mention this because that is often the first line of attack against this glorious truth. The belief in the salvation of all mankind through Jesus Christ is NOT a far left liberal principle--it is simple a plain fact which Christians of all kind should pray about, study and then joyfully embrace.
For much more information regarding God's true judgments and how the traditional church has misrepresented them go to the Tentmaker Ministries Internet site located at:
Email Address: email@example.com
Gary and Michelle Amirault
Hermann, MO 65041
Original article found at: http://what-the-hell-is-hell.com/FromHellsEternalDeath.htm