The Doctrine of Eternal Damnation
The English word Hell does not exist in the Greek and Hebrew texts. There is one
Hebrew word and three Greek words that were translated as "hell" in the King James
Bible. Later translations did not correct this error because by then eternal damnation
was an accepted doctrine of organized religion.
In the Old Testament we find the word Sheol according to our Hebrew dictionaries
means "the place of the dead." The word always appears in the singular, never in its
plural form. It is not the "places" of the dead, not the individual graves where reside their
respective bodies, but the realm of the dead, the abode of the dead, or the state of the
In the New Testament the word Gehenna refers to the Valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna,
which was the city garbage dump outside the walls of Jerusalem, a place of constant
burning of refuse. Those who are pictured as going into Gehenna are, without exception,
not the sinners of the world, but the sinners among God's People. Gehenna was the city
dump of Jerusalem, the Holy City, where every unclean and unnecessary thing was
burned and consumed. Gehenna symbolizes the process of PURIFICATION by which
every unclean and unnecessary thing in the lives of His Holy People is purged and
consumed by the fires of His judgment. " He shall PURIFY the sons of Levi (the
Priesthood), and PURGE them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an
offering in righteousness" (Mal. 3:3). Gehenna stands as a type of the place or process
of the PURIFICATION OF GOD'S PEOPLE. It is referred to in the Old Testament by
the name of "Tophet," located in the Valley of Hinnom, a place where many sacrifices
were made and dead bodies consumed. Gehenna ceased to be a place of constant
burning with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Hades is the Greek word most often translated "hell." Where do the dead go? They go
into what has commonly been called "the unknown." The literal meaning of the word
hades from the Greek A(I)DES. The "a" is a prefix which is equivalent to our "un-" and
the stem "-id" means perceive. Thus we have un-perceived or imperceptible; the unseen.
That is Hades - the unseen world, the unknown realm. Our English word hell is derived
from an Anglo-Saxon word "hillan" or "helan," meaning a cavern, anciently denoting a
concealed or unseen place.
The Greek word Tartaroo (Tartarus)" is found is II Pet. 2:4. "God spared not the angels
(messengers) that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into
chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment." Jude also presents the same truth
without mentioning the name as he writes, "And those angels (messengers) who kept
not their first position of power and authority, but left their habitation, He has kept in
chains under thick darkness, for the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). Tartarus is not
the judgment itself, but a state or condition in which persons are inescapably held over
unto a day of judgment.
We know that the dead haven't passed out of existence altogether, for man is not only a
body and soul, but also spirit. And when the spirit of man" passes from this present
tabernacle of flesh it goes into a realm unseen by the eyes of mortal man. David, in
speaking of it at the time his first son by Bathsheba died, said, "I shall go to him, but he
shall not return to me." He knew there was a place where he would be able to join that
infant child. Our Lord spoke of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, linking their names together
as all being in the same place, and also added that their God is "not a God of the dead,
but of the living," thus affirming that they were alive at that time, even though they were
in the Hadean state. Indeed, they were all in Hades - the invisible world of departed
Some have contended that Sheol and Hades are never associated with the idea of
suffering, pain or torment. That is far from the truth! A careful examination of the Hebrew
and Greek words in context reveals that there is both the positive and negative aspects,
and there are those passages which connect them, either literally or metaphorically, to
darkness, restraint, distress, sorrow, suffering, pain, and torment.
Organized religion continued this fantasy by redefining Sheol and Hades as a place of
eternal indescribable torture. The eternal part was accomplished by mistranslating the
Greek word aion. Aion (Strong #'s 165 & 166) is correctly translate as `to the end of the
age', rather than eternal or forever. However nasty Sheol or Hades may be it is
temporal, not eternal.
Hell doctrines exist because organized religion believes that God must punish and
condemn rather than correct His children. He corrects us when correction is needed but
He never condemned us and definitely not forever.
In Scripture fire and brimstone are not associated with torture but with cleansing and
purification. Gold is heated in a furnace of fire and the dross floats to the top and is
skimmed off. We are to be pure as gold purified in the fire.
The false doctrine of Eternal Damnation belongs in the same category as Santa Claus,
the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy. It is not real!! It does not exist!! It is fantasy!!
Some thoughts on God and eternal damnation:
It is not the will of the Father that any be lost. This contradicts eternal damnation.
God is Love. This contradicts eternal damnation.
Jesus left the 99 to find the lost one. This contradicts eternal damnation.
Does the bible say "God so loved the world that He sent 98% to eternal damnation?
If "the world" means all the world this means all the world will be saved!
If Jesus meant it when He said "If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw (drag) all men
to me" then He contradicted the doctrine of eternal damnation.
If only one were lost then Grave (Hades) would have a victory and God would not be
If hell were real then how do we interpret 1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour
and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men,
specially of those that believe.
There is a great difference between what I am saying and what the evangelical leaders
of organized religion say. Because of translation errors and religious traditions they
preach and teach the false doctrine of eternal damnation. The eternal concept is due to
incorrect translation of the Greek word aion (Strong #'s 165 & 166) which correctly
translates as "to the end of the age" rather than eternal. The Greeks didn't have a word
for eternal. The damnation concept is the second translation error. Judgment or crisis
point is a far more accurate rendering than damnation.
The King James translators followed the Church of England doctrines which were very
close to the Roman Catholic doctrines pertaining to Hell and Damnation. These false
doctrines and poor translations were accepted and copied into later bible translations.
Translators translate scripture to agree with their own beliefs.
If we KNOW there is no eternal damnation, then:
A. We will see God as our loving father and not a schizophrenic monster;
B. We will know the good Shepherd who goes out seeking His lost sheep and
will leave none behind;
C. We will stand in agreement with King David and say, "The Lord is my
Shepherd I shall not want!"
D. We will not be intimidated by false shepherds.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath
righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the
living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their
God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
(2 Cor 6:14-18)
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
Almighty. (2 Cor 7:1)
What is the origins of the heresy of eternal damnation? In the book of Revelations in the
letters to the seven churches the Lord spoke of the deeds and doctrines of the
Nicolaitans. There is no record of any tribe, country, or religious group with that name. It
is a combination of two Greek words "Nicos + Laos" which translates as power over
the laity, lords of the laity, or rulers of the laity. These lords over the laity could not rule
in love so fear became the motivation, God who is love was transformed by those false
shepherds into a deranged monster who would indescribably and endlessly torture his
children who did not submit to their tyranny. They are still around today. Now their
power comes from degrees and titles from theological seminaries which teach this
doctrine of demons. Scripture does not support the clergy/laity concept. We are all the
laity of God!
If Eternal Damnation is heresy, then what is left? One equally absurd possibility is
annihilation, but there is no scriptural basis for it. The only thing left is universal salvation
through Jesus Christ (There is no other name given unto man by which we must be
saved. (Acts 4:12) This will be covered in the page titled Universal Salvation.
An excellent book that refutes the doctrine of Eternal Damnation in far greater detail is
Hope Beyond Hell by Gerry Beauchemin. (available in E-book or print)
|New Life Ministries
15 S Catherine LaGrange, Il 60525
A Sonship Church
Ray Janisch, Pierre Ruffin, & Bill Kerr Co-pastors