Hell, the Lake of Fire and Universalism Part 2
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
September 22, 1997

Last Updated :
February 11, 2012

Greek "Thanatos" Equals Death, Adam Was Whole But Lifeless Without God's Breath Of Life, State Of Being Dead, Jesus Will Destroy Both Physical Hell And The Process Of Death, Greek Word "Tartaros" Is Deepest Abyss Of Hell, Nephilim: Fallen Angels And Giants Of Genesis, Greek Word "Phulake" Represents Subterranean Prison For The Rebellious Spirits, "Ghehenna": Hell, Valley Of Lamentation, Valley Of Hinnom, Unbelieving Jews Conspired Against And Hastily Killed Jesus, Contrary To Popular Belief Jesus Christ Preached Hellfire And Damnation, Jesus Repeatedly Used Ghehenna To Symbolize Lake Of Fire, "Krisis": Damnation, Be Judged, Great White Throne Judgment: Great Separation And Division, Parable Of The Sheep And Goats, Parable Of Wheat And Tares, A False Watered Down Politically Correct Compromised Gospel That Mitigates Accountability And Consequences, Cast Into Hell

In Revelation 1:18 -- which I shared with you in part one -- the word "death" is rather interesting. We find another verse in the Book of Revelation where death and hell are also mentioned side by side. Consider this verse:

"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
Revelation 20:14, KJV

In both of these verses -- Revelation 1:18 and 20:14 -- the word "death" is derived from the Greek word "thanatos". This word has several meanings. First, it signifies the death of the physical body through the separation of one's flesh and spirit. As I explain in other articles, until God actually breathed the Breath of Life into the organism that was Adam, Adam was just a lifeless human form. All of his organs were present and ready to function, but without the in-dwelling of God's life-giving Spirit -- an infusion of Spiritual Energy we might say -- Adam was just a hunk of dead flesh. Consider this verse:

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
Genesis 2:7, KJV

The second meaning of "thanatos" is the miserable state of being dead. It is not the same as actually dying. It is the state our body lays in while we are in Hades; that is, in the grave. In other words, we lay in a state of death. So then, what it seems that we are actually being told, is that not only is Jesus going to destroy the literal place called "hell" that is located inside the bowels of the Earth, but He is also going to destroy the process of death itself, and the power that it currently holds over our natural bodies.

If you are wondering how hell can possibly be cast into the Lake of Fire if hell is itself a place of fire and brimstone as many people have been led to believe, I will address this issue in just a moment. To further clarify these concepts for you, following is an expanded definition of the Greek word "thanatos" that is taken from Thayer's Greek English Lexicon:

----- Begin Quote -----

thanatos {than'-at-os}

AV - death 117, deadly 2; 119

1) the death of the body
  1a) that separation (whether natural or violent) of the soul and the body by which the life on earth is ended
  1b) with the implied idea of future misery in hell
    1b1) the power of death
  1c) since the nether world, the abode of the dead, was conceived as being very dark, it is equivalent to the region of thickest darkness i.e. figuratively, a region enveloped in the darkness of ignorance and sin

2) metaph., the loss of that life which alone is worthy of the name,
  2a) the misery of the soul arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body in hell

3) the miserable state of the wicked dead in hell

4) in the widest sense, death comprising all the miseries arising from sin, as well physical death as the loss of a life consecrated to God and blessed in him on earth, to be followed by wretchedness in hell

----- End Quote -----

Another word which is translated as "hell" in the KJV New Testament is the Greek word "tartaros". This word is only used one time, and is used in reference to the Watchers of Genesis chapter six and the Book of Enoch. As I explain in other articles such as the series "Nephilim: The Giants of Genesis" and "The Book of Enoch: Truth or Heresy?", these Watchers were a group of Angels who rebelled against the Lord, and who chose to descend to the Earth -- possibly on Mount Hermon -- after which they engaged in illicit sexual intercourse with human women. This resulted in the birth of giant half-breeds who are referred to as the Nephilim.

The word "Nephilim" is derived from the primitive root word "naphal", which means to fall down, cast down, fall away, overthrow, inferior, and other things. So gain, these giant Nephilim were the children of the Fallen Angels; that is, the Watchers. In speaking of the judgment of the Fallen Angels following their rebellion against the Lord, and the wickedness which they committed on the Earth, the Apostle Peter wrote the following words:

"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;"
2 Peter 2:4, KJV

To reiterate, this is the only place in the entire King James Version of the Bible where we find the word "hell" translated from the Greek word "tartaros". Thayer's Greek English Lexicon states the following regarding this word:

----- Begin Quote -----

tartarow tartaroo {tar-tar-o'-o}

from Tartaros (the deepest abyss of hell);; v

AV - cast down to Hell 1; 1

1) the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews

2) to thrust down to Tartarus, to hold captive in Tartarus

----- End Quote -----

Notice that "tartaroo" -- or "tartaros" -- seems similar to "hades", except in this case we are told that it is in fact the deepest abyss of an obviously multi-tiered hell. Let me mention here that I have my doubts regarding Tartaros being the same as Gehenna. I will explain why I feel this way in a moment. What I find interesting regarding Peter's comments is that in his first Epistle, he also makes mention of this very same incident concerning the fate of the Watchers. The difference is that in his first Epistle, instead of using the word "hell", he uses another Greek word which has been translated into English as "prison". Consider these verses:

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
1 Peter 3:18-20, KJV

In this case, the word "prison" is translated from the Greek word "phulake", which Thayer's Greek English Lexicon informs us means a prison, or one who watches over a prison. Allow me to share the full definition with you:

----- Begin Quote -----

fulake phulake {foo-lak-ay'}

AV - prison 36, watch 6, imprisonment 2, hold 1, cage 1, ward 1; 47

1) guard, watch
  1a) a watching, keeping watch
    1a1) to keep watch
  1b) persons keeping watch, a guard, sentinels
  1c) of the place where captives are kept, a prison
  1d) of the time (of night) during which guard was kept, a watch i.e. a period of time during which part of the guard was on duty, and at the end of which others relieved them. As the earlier Greeks divided the night commonly into three parts, so, previous to the exile, the Israelites also had three watches in a night; subsequently, however, after they became subject to the Romans, they adopted the Roman custom of dividing the night into four watches

----- End Quote -----

From the Scriptural and lingual evidence we have examined thus far, it becomes rather apparent that hell is indeed a real place. Furthermore, the word "hell" does not refer to the common grave alone; rather, it also signifies a type of subterranean, multi-tiered prison system where rebellious spirits, Fallen Angels and disembodied spirits abide. Based on the definitions of these root words, I suspect that this unseen prison of the dark underworld may possibly operate in a fashion that is very similar to the prison system that we we use in our own world. In other words, there seems to be different sections and security levels for different types of criminals. The more dangerous the criminal, and the more heinous his crimes, the deeper he appears to be imprisoned in the bowels of the Earth, in chains and utter darkness.

Before moving on in our discussion, let me just mention here that Enoch and the Apostle Peter are not the only writers who discuss the fate of the Fallen Angels, and how these beings are currently "cast down to hell" and imprisoned in "chains of darkness". In his brief Epistle, the Apostle Jude writes the following regarding this very same incident:

"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Jude 1:6, KJV

If you happen to be one who has rejected the Lord's Mercy and Salvation time and time again, and if you are utterly afraid of the dark, perhaps having this knowledge will motivate you to get your heart right with the Lord while you still have the time to do so. Just imagine for a moment if you were to suddenly find yourself imprisoned in such a terrible place with others who are equally as wicked as yourself. Imagine that the darkness is so thick, that you can't even see them, or know what they may be doing or possibly even be planning against you!

Finally, we come to the last Greek word that is translated in the New Testament as "hell"; that is, the word "Ghehenna". It is this word which is normally identified with the place of fire and terrible destruction which most people are familiar with. Ghehenna is actually derived from two combined Hebrew words. These words are "gay" -- pronounced gah'-ee, which is a steep valley or narrow gorge -- and "hinnom" -- which means "lamentation". Thus, the word Ghehenna signifies the "valley of lamentation". The following information is extracted from Thayer's Greek English Lexicon:

----- Begin Quote -----

Hinnom {hin-nome'}

probably of foreign origin

AV - Hinnom 13; 13

Hinnom = "lamentation"

1) a valley (deep and narrow ravine) with steep, rocky sides located southwest of Jerusalem, separating Mount Zion to the north from the "hill of evil counsel" and the sloping rocky plateau of the "plain of Rephaim" to the south

----- End Quote -----

Referring again to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, we find some addition information which provides us with an even clearer picture concerning why Jesus often referred to this valley when describing the final destruction of the wicked at the end of this present age. Please refer to some of my other other articles -- such as "From Armageddon to the New Earth" -- which describe some of these interim events. Here then is what the Greek lexicon tells us regarding Ghehenna:

----- Begin Quote -----

geenna {gheh'-en-nah}

of Hebrew origin 01516 and 02011

AV - Hell 9, Hell fire + 3588 + 4442 3; 12

1) Hell is the place of the future punishment call "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire". 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.

----- End Quote -----

Imagine how those rebellious, unbelieving Jews must have felt each time that the Lord would speak of the future fate of the wicked, and He would use this phrase "gay hinnom". Jesus obviously knew that they understood it perfectly well. Is it any wonder then that the unbelieving Jews conspired to kill the Lord, and eventually succeeded with their devilish task? While there appears to be a modern inclination to try to deflect criticism from the unbelieving Jewish religious leadership of that day, and cast the blame completely upon the Romans who were not that familiar with Jewish messianic prophecies, the Bible makes it very clear who is responsible for Jesus' hasty trial and murder, as we see by these verses:

"Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."
Matthew 26:3-5, KJV

"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people."
Luke 22:1,2, KJV

"And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
John 5:16-18, KJV

"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him . . . Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? . . . Then said some of them of Jerusalem, is not this he, whom they seek to kill?"
John 7:1, 19-20, 25, KJV

"I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:37-44, KJV

"Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."
John 19:10-12, KJV

". . . My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36b, KJV

"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."
Acts 5:27-30, KJV

Imagine how you would personally feel if you lived at that time, and Jesus came up to you, looked you straight in the eyes, and said with the authority of God's Spirit, "Listen, you know that deep gorge called Hinnom that is located to the south of Jerusalem where you burn all of your garbage and filth and the bodies of dead animals and criminals? Yes, the place that has the terrible stench of putrefaction, and that is always full of flies and maggots, where the fires never burn out. Well, if you don't repent of your unbelief, you are going to end up in a place very similar to that!"

You would think that such a powerful statement would suffice to shake up anyone, and would motivate them to repent of their rebellion and unbelief. Sadly, as we know, such was not the case with some of those stiffnecked Jews. Like the Egyptian Pharaoh of old, they chose to harden their wicked hearts even more, until they finally murdered the very One who had come to save them.

Contrary to the dangerous, popular belief which has been promoted by a number of modern preachers and misguided false prophets, Jesus Christ most certainly did preach hellfire and damnation. In the following verse where Jesus uses the phrase "hell fire", the original Greek word that is used there is in fact "Ghehenna":

"But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Matthew 5:22, KJV

It is difficult to not conclude that Jesus is using the word "Ghehenna" -- that is, the Valley of Hinnom -- as an example of the Lake of Fire in the above verse. The same holds true with the following verse where He again uses Ghehenna as an example of the Second Death which will occur to everyone who is not found written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and as a result will thus be cast into the Lake of Fire following the Great White Throne Judgment:

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Matthew 10:28, KJV

Consider these next verses where Jesus warns the unbelieving Jewish Elders that not only are they going to end up being burned in Ghehenna -- which symbolizes the Lake of Fire -- but every person who they convert to their false religion is going to suffer the very same horrible fate:

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves . . . Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"
Matthew 23:15, 33, KJV

To reiterate, in all of the previous verses, "Ghehenna" is used in the original Greek text, and not "Hades". There is a reason for that. The authors of the Bible were careful in their choice of words. While later English translators chose to translate all of these different words as "hell", I view this as a mistake on their part, because the original authors obviously intended different meanings for the verses which I have shared with you. In the case of the previous verses, the Lord is not talking about the common grave, or Hades. He is warning His listeners about the dangers of the Lake of Fire, and using the Valley of Hinnom, or the Valley of Lamentation -- that disgusting garbage dump which was located outside of the walls of Jerusalem, and which had a terrible stench and was always on fire -- as a metaphor, or symbol, for it.

In that last verse that is taken from the Gospel of Matthew, the word "damnation" is rather interesting. It is translated from the Greek word "krisis", which is usually translated as "judgment". In other words, the word "damnation" means to be judged, and Jesus is talking about being judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and then being cast into the Lake of Fire.

However, according Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, it seems that "krisis" has another meaning of which I personally was not aware; and that is "a separating or a sundering". I am reminded of another verse I have often quoted where the same kind of phrase is used, even though the Greek word "merismos" is used instead. Similar to "krisis", "merismos" also means a division, separation or partition. Consider this verse:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV

If there is one thing that the previous verses all make very clear, it is that a Great Day of separation and division is coming. While the spiritual sheep and goats may share this present world for the time being, and while the useless tares may currently be growing right along side the wheat, in God's chosen time, a clear separation and division, that is to say, a dividing asunder, is going to take place. The sheep will go to their reward, while the goats, or tares, will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Jesus spoke about these events a number of times in the Gospels, and each case, He plainly stated that these reprobate offenders will be cast into the fire, as we see by the following sample verses:

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . . Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels . . . And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46, KJV

"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
Matthew 13:24-30, KJV

In light of Parables such as the previous two, as well as the other verses which I have shared with you thus far, in my view, it is ludicrous to claim that Jesus never preached hellfire and damnation. The people who promote this false doctrine are clearly in denial of the Scriptures, and are in fact preaching the doctrines of men. They are preaching a watered down, compromised, politically correct, false gospel which offends no one, and which motivates no one to repent of their rebellion and unbelief. The dangerous attitude that this false doctrine promotes is this: "If there is no hell, then what is there to worry about? We can all live as we please, and never have to suffer any consequences for it." In short, this devilish doctrine mitigates accountability.

It is very clear from God's Word that when that final Day of Judgment arrives for the wicked, the Lord is going to speak the Word -- which is symbolized as a Sword which proceeds out of His mouth in the Book of Revelation -- and they are going to be cast into the Lake of Fire. As Jesus said, it will be similar to how the ancient Jews cast the bodies of undesirables, dead animals and criminals into the Valley of Hinnom, where they were burned up. What happens to these unbelieving reprobates once they are cast into the Lake of Fire is an issue which I will be discussing later on in this same series. Following are a few more verses that are found in the Gospels where Jesus discusses being cast into hell, and uses Ghehenna as a symbolic reflection of the Lake of Fire:

"And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:"
Mark 9:45, KJV

"But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him."
Luke 12:5, KJV

Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.

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