The Lie That Made God Cruel—Punishment in Hell, Eternal Fire
WHAT MANY BELIEVE
“Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church) Some religious leaders say that hell is a state of complete isolation and separation from God.
THE TRUTH FROM THE BIBLE
“The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) The dead “are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) If the soul dies and is unconscious, how could it suffer “eternal fire” or even the pain of everlasting separation from God?
In the Bible, the Hebrew and Greek words often translated “hell” actually refer to the common grave of mankind. For example, when Job suffered a painful illness, he prayed: “I wish you would hide me in my grave [“in hell,” Douay-Rheims Version].” (Job 14:13, Holy Bible—Easy-to-Read Version) Job wanted to rest, not in a place of torment or alienation from God, but in the grave.
WHY IT MATTERS
Cruelty does not endear us to God; it repels us. “From infancy I was taught the doctrine of hellfire,” says Rocío, who lives in Mexico. “I was so terrified that I could not imagine that God had any good qualities. I thought that he was angry and intolerant.”
The Bible’s clear statements about God’s judgments and the condition of the dead changed the way Rocío viewed God. “I felt free—that a big emotional burden had been lifted off me,” she says. “I began to trust that God wants the best for us, that he loves us, and that I can love him. He is like a father who takes his children by the hand and wants the best for them.”—Isaiah 41:13.
Many have striven to be pious out of fear of hellfire, but God does not want you to serve him because you are terrified of him. Rather, Jesus said: “You must love Jehovah your God.” (Mark 12:29, 30) Moreover, when we realize that God does not act unjustly today, we can trust his future judgments too. Like Job’s friend Elihu, we can confidently say: “Far be it from the true God to act wickedly, and the Almighty to act unjustly.”—Job 34:10.
Neither Yehowah or the Lord Jesus Christ (Yehohshua in Hebrew) can be motivated to be mean or cruel. Yehohshua is the perfect created being, who has inherited from his Father in Heaven and learned everything from him. He understands the nature of God as stated at 1 John 4:8 God is love. Although he was tortured, he will not torture, because he is God’s Son. He is powerful, more powerful than Satan understands. It might have even been a thought that crossed Satan’s mind. Get Yehohshua to feel hatred enough to do something wrong. Of course, nothing Satan desires in is wicked heart will come to pass. Yehohshua has also understood God’s character. He will simply execute Satan, not be tempted to do anything else.
The ultimate perfection, to do what God would do. No one can even fathom it. The case of Yehowah vs Satan is closed. Yehohshua has completely vindicated The Sovereign Lord, Yehowah God the Almighty. Let all creation understand this.
Lake of Fire and Hell Explained – Not a Literal Lake of Fire
The Bible says that the lake of fire “means the second death.” Revelation 20:14, 21:8
The Bible’s answer
The lake of fire is a symbol of eternal destruction. It is the same as Gehenna, but it is different from hell, which is the common grave of mankind.
Not a literal lake
- The Devil. (Revelation 20:10) As a spirit creature, the Devil cannot be harmed by literal fire.—Exodus 3:2; Judges 13:20.
- Death. (Revelation 20:14) This is not a literal entity but represents a state of inactivity, the absence of life. (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Death cannot literally be burned.
- “The wild beast” and “the false prophet.” (Revelation 19:20) Since these are symbols, doesn’t it seem reasonable to conclude that the lake they are thrown into is also a symbol?—Revelation 13:11, 12; 16:13.
A symbol of eternal destruction
The Bible says that the lake of fire “means the second death.” (Revelation 20:14; 21:8) The first kind of death mentioned in the Bible resulted from Adam’s sin. This death can be reversed by resurrection and will eventually be eliminated by God.—1 Corinthians 15:21, 22, 26.
There is no release from the symbolic lake of fire
The lake of fire represents a different, or second, kind of death. Although it too represents a state of total inactivity, it is different in that the Bible says nothing about a resurrection from the second death. For example, the Bible says that Jesus has “the keys of hell and of death,” showing that he has the authority to release people from the death brought by Adam’s sin. (Revelation 1:18; 20:13, King James Version) However, neither Jesus nor anyone else has a key to the lake of fire. That symbolic lake represents eternal punishment in the form of permanent destruction.—2 Thessalonians 1:9.
Identical to Gehenna, the Valley of Hinnom
Gehenna (Greek ge′en·na) is mentioned 12 times in the Bible. Like the lake of fire, it is a symbol of eternal destruction. Although some translations render this word as “hell,” Gehenna is different from hell (Hebrew sheʼohl′, Greek hai′des).
The word “Gehenna” literally means “Valley of Hinnom,” referring to a valley just outside Jerusalem. In Bible times, the city residents used this valley as a garbage dump. They kept a fire constantly burning there to destroy refuse; maggots consumed anything that the fire did not reach.
Jesus used Gehenna as a symbol of everlasting destruction. (Matthew 23:33) He said that in Gehenna “the maggot does not die and the fire is not put out.” (Mark 9:47, 48) He thus alluded to the conditions in the Valley of Hinnom and also to the prophecy at Isaiah 66:24, which says: “They will go out and look on the carcasses of the men who rebelled against me; for the worms on them will not die, and their fire will not be extinguished.” Jesus’ illustration describes, not torture, but complete annihilation. The worms and fire consume carcasses, or dead bodies, not living people.
How “tormented day and night forever and ever”?
If the lake of fire is a symbol of destruction, why does the Bible say that in it the Devil, the wild beast, and the false prophet “will be tormented day and night forever and ever”? (Revelation 20:10) Consider four reasons why this torment does not refer to literal torture:
- For the Devil to be tortured eternally, he would have to be kept alive forever. However, the Bible says that he will be brought to nothing, or put out of existence.—Hebrews 2:14.
- Everlasting life is a gift from God, not a punishment.—Romans 6:23.
- The wild beast and the false prophet are symbols and cannot experience literal torture.
- The context of the Bible indicates that the torment of the Devil is everlasting restraint or destruction.
The word used for “torment” in the Bible can also mean “a condition of restraint.” For example, the Greek word for “tormentors” used at Matthew 18:34 is rendered as “jailers” in many translations, showing the connection between the words “torment” and “restraint.” Likewise, the parallel accounts at Matthew 8:29 and Luke 8:30, 31 equate “torment” with “the abyss,” a figurative place of complete inactivity or death. (Romans 10:7; Revelation 20:1, 3) In fact, several times the book of Revelation uses the word “torment” in a symbolic sense.—Revelation 9:5; 11:10; 18:7, 10.
Neither the Pope nor Peter is head of the church, Jesus is
(Pe’ter) [A Piece of Rock]. This apostle of Jesus Christ is named in five different ways in the Scriptures: by the Hebrew “Symeon,” the Greek “Simon” (from a Heb. root meaning “hear; listen”), “Peter” (a Gr. name he alone bears in the Scriptures), its Semitic equivalent “Cephas” (perhaps related to the Heb. ke·phim’ [rocks] used at Job 30:6; Jer 4:29), and the combination “Simon Peter.”—Ac 15:14; Mt 10:2; 16:16; Joh 1:42.
1 Corinthians 9:5 We have authority to lead about a sister as a wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Ce’phas, do we not?
John 1:42 He led him to Jesus. When Jesus looked upon him he said: “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Ce’phas” (which is translated Peter).
Peter identifies Jesus as Head of the Church and this is confirmed by Jesus himself
Matthew 16:16 In answer Simon Peter said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Further proof Peter was married
Luke 4:38 . . . Now Simon’s mother-in-law was distressed with a high fever, and they made request of him for her.
Mark 1:30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying down sick with a fever, and they at once told him about her.
The Rock Mass is Jesus Christ
16 in answer Simon Peter said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 in response Jesus said to him: “Happy you are, Simon son of Jo’nah, because flesh and blood did not reveal [it] to you, but my Father who is in the heavens did.
18 Also, I say to you, You are Peter, and on this rock-mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha’des will not overpower it.
1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they used to drink from the spiritual rock-mass that followed them, and that rock-mass meant the Christ.
Ptolemaic Frieze showing the cross with a picture of a man and woman on it.
Clearly, the cross is the male image of Egyptian origin.
Deuteronomy 4:16 that you may not act corruptly by making for yourselves any carved image having the form of any symbol, the representation of male or female,
The Myth of the Trinity
What is the origin of the myth?
“The impression could arise that the Trinitarian dogma is in the last analysis a late 4th-century invention. In a sense, this is true . . . The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century.”—New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Volume 14, page 299.
“The Council of Nicaea met on May 20, 325 [C.E.]. Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions, and personally proposed . . . the crucial formula expressing the relation of Christ to God in the creed issued by the council, ‘of one substance with the Father.’ . . . Overawed by the emperor, the bishops, with two exceptions only, signed the creed, many of them much against their inclination.”—Encyclopædia Britannica (1970), Volume 6, page 386.
What does the Bible say?
“Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘Look! I can see heaven thrown open,’ he said, ‘and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.’”—Acts 7:55, 56, The New Jerusalem Bible.
What did this vision reveal? Filled with God’s active force, Stephen saw Jesus “standing at God’s right hand.” Clearly, then, Jesus did not become God again after his resurrection to heaven but, rather, a distinct spiritual being. There is no mention of a third person next to God in this account. Despite attempts to find passages of Scripture to support the Trinity dogma, Dominican priest Marie-Émile Boismard wrote in his book À l’aube du christianisme—La naissance des dogmes (At the Dawn of Christianity—The Birth of Dogmas): “The statement that there are three persons in the one God . . . cannot be read anywhere in the New Testament.”
The dogma that Constantine championed was intended to put an end to dissensions within the fourth-century Church. However, it actually raised another issue: Was Mary, the woman who bore Jesus, “the Mother of God”?
The Trinitarian dogma is a late fourth-century invention
Additional Information PDF: Should You Believe in The Trinity?