Bible Study on Torment of Fire for Lost
Email of George on Hell-Fire for Lost
Doug, do you believe /teach in an eternal hell fire for the lost?? (12/22/2014)
My Answer on What Jesus Teaches on Hell and Torment
Before we answer what Jesus teaches about an eternal hell fire for the lost, we need to clear up translation errors.
The King James mistranslates Gehenna and Sheol / Hades as both Hell, giving us a misimpression if we compare verse to verse. So in Acts 2:31, it says Jesus went to Hades but this is mistranslated as Hell in the KJV. Both Sheol or Hades are simply more neutral terms to refer to the abode of the dead, and does not imply a place of punishment.
Gehenna was a place where a fire continually burned trash outside Jerusalem. The fire constantly smolded. James alludes to this in James 3:6: "And the tongue is a fire,...and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by, 'Gehenna.'" Jesus in Mark makes a similar statement. In Mark 9:43, we read: "It is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into, 'Gehenna,' into the unquenchable fire."
An advocate that Jesus' words on this topic must be spiritually discerned, and not taken literally, concedes that Gehenna was the following when Jesus spoke:
At the time of Christ this was the same valley in Jerusalem where worms did not "die" and were continually feeding on dead rotten flesh, and the fires were continually burning filth and garbage and were never quenched. http://bibletruths.150m.com/Gehenna.htm
So what solves the translation error?
Translators here should always simply use the original term Gehenna or "hell" but not apply "hell" to Sheol in the OT or Hades in the NT. Otherwise, it creates confusion between a place that is not punishment (Hades / Sheol) and a place that is punishment - Gehenna. Then people can study whether Gehenna is literal or figurative or symbolic. I prefer using Gehenna as a transliteration in the NT because then at least the reader knows we are talking about an actual place with physical characteristics of fire and worms.
Finally, what did Jesus mean? Was this a hell-fire of torment for the lost?
Jesus' reference to Gehenna apparently is drawn from Isaiah:
Isaiah 66:24King James Version (KJV) reads:
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
Some unaware of Isaiah disagree on taking Gehenna literally as a result for the lost, and instead it is supposedly some spiritual torment on this side of the grave to perfect us. I don't agree. But here is the argument:
Christ used that burning garbage dump near Jerusalem called Gehenna simply as a SYMBOL picturing a very REAL truth about a certain "fire" that consumes and burns away the carnal desires about us in order to get God’s desired results. http://bibletruths.150m.com/Gehenna.htm
I think this is wrong. Gehenna is the result of dying lost; it is not a spiritual warning of suffering in this life only. That it is a condition of the lost is implied in Isaiah 66:24 and in Luke 16:28.
In Luke 16:28, Jesus was clear that it was a place after death, and it was an undying pain -- a torment. In Luke 16:28 http://biblehub.com/luke/16-28.htm Jesus tells a story of a deceased man who is in "this place of torment," and wants his living family members warned. Obviously, whether physical or spiritual, it is a torment suffered by the dead, not the living.
In sum, Jesus said the deceased lost go to "Gehenna." Once Jesus called it fire -- in Mark's Gospel. This is a place of the burning of refuse outside Jerusalem. I assume Jesus used this for a purpose, and thus I would repeat His warnings of fire and torment after death if someone is lost, whether it is physically in Gehenna or whether our physical bodies are transferred to a place like it, or whether our spirits suffer emotional loss that feels like such burning torment forever. Among the three, I believe it is our physical bodies are transferred to a place like Gehenna forever, akin to what is implied in Luke 16:28.