Sheol and Gehenna and Hades (Oh My!)

Please read this brilliantly, biblically researched article by fellow blogger John. It could be subtitled, “Living in the Freedom of Christ.” He shines light into the Gospel, casting out previously learned fear through truth and the love of Jesus.

Christian INTP

I read a question somewhere several months ago and have been researching it since. The question was: Is hell a part of the Gospel (Good News)? First, I wanted to define the meaning of hell I’ve been taught most of my life as a reference point, then I’ll state what I’ve found by researching the Bible.
The traditional meaning of hell I was taught centered around: a place of everlasting, conscious fiery torment where any human that dies without becoming a Christian will end up. The exact methodology of this process was always a shifting target though. Even after the initial salvation experience, there was a host of other mandates to follow to increase the coverage of the fire insurance policy. The very word hell became associated with fire and brimstone and feelings of absolute dread and despair. This led to all kinds of confusion for me growing up as I struggled to figure…

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10 comments

  1. A great article & very much in line with what I believe when we consider the true meanings of Gehenna, Sheol & Hades. This is pretty much how the JW’s understand it & it’s one of their beliefs that I’m convinced they are right about.
    I’ve just finished writing part 2 of my series about leaving the WT & will probably post it sometime next week. After a bit of chopping & changing my mind I’ve decided to stick with my self hosted site & have moved my posts & their comments from the WP.com blog to that site. It’s at http://atomicunderpants.com please feel free to drop by any time Susan

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    1. Looking forward to it, Tony.

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  2. Susan, this is really, really wonderful. Growing up in the Catholic religion, the fear of hell was a big part of my childhood. If we can take fire as purification, and Jesus’s rebuking the Pharisees for their false piety, and the mixing of Greek mythology into the Hebrew religion, we can be freed of a major seeming contradiction in Christianity. Thank you for sharing this! I am going to pass it around to others. John is right, for a group that believes in the traditional view of hell, we don’t seem to be working very hard to avoid it, or to help others do so.

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    1. Yes, Beth, I agree. I keep rereading this so I can solidly digest it. Thanks for passing it on. Please let John know your thoughts on his site, too.

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  3. Very thought-provoking 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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  4. The True Light! · ·

    My thoughts go this way: The gospel message is simple, and deals with heaven not hell. It is as follows: Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Messiah. He died on the cross for the sins of all humankind and was raised up from death to eternal life, as we will be if we believe this and live by this gospel.

    Christ is the head of the church and the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Why was hell created? It was made as the final everlasting punishment for Satan and all who follow him. Hell can be know by other names, such as “Hades,” or “Sheol” which came from the early Greek and is synonymous with the evil of the ancient underworld.

    Whew! Class dismissed…

    Steve

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    1. Steve, I think John’s research is right on the money. I’ve always felt (maybe from prompting from the Spirit) that hell is being sent away from God, or simply being without Him.
      This “feeling” has been confirmed Scripturally. We Christians in the Western World have a much different view of hell than that of the Eastern World. Of course, we have a much different view of Christianity, too! 😉

      Thanks for adding your thoughts.

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      1. The True Light! · ·

        You are spot on as they say! Hell is the complete absence of God…can you even imagine that kind of place!

        The better question is who or why would want to?

        And yes, some basic beliefs exist between the East and West I believe, but there are different beliefs to be sure.

        There isn’t a lot of description of either heaven or hell in the bible, but there is enough to get a taste of both…

        Enjoy your weekend,
        Steve

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      2. I would be devastated without God – an awful place to be. You enjoy yours, too, Steve.

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      3. The True Light! · ·

        I am sure we have no idea in our human minds just how bad a world without God would be!

        Thanks for your support here, Susan!

        Steve

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