Honest Questions About The Meaning Of Hell : New Testament

Hell Is Not a New Testament Doctrine:

A popular selective theological mythical construct:

 "Jesus spoke of Hell more than He did of Heaven"

This is erroneous, not to mention untrue! Now, Jesus did warn the Jews many times of impending judgement and destruction, both nationally and individually. He used several different terms to refer to punishment/destruction, some of which were wrongly  translated as the same word, “HELL” by Bible translators. I do not, nor would not deny that God will indeed judge the whole world, and nor do I wish to make light of His judgments. Rather, I would challenge the belief that His judgment on sin and unbelief is eternal torment/ HELL and never-ending separation from GodCertainly, Jesus spent a lot of his ministry warning people to repent or reap the consequences, (particularly “Gehenna.”) But could we be reading more into His warnings than He originally intended?

Think about it.......

If HELL is real, why were most of the warnings pertaining to punishment/Gehenna directed to Israel, particularly the Lord’s own disciples as well as the Pharisees? The first great cluster of references to Gehenna, are found in the Sermon on the Mount (Mat 5:22, 29, 30), Jesus' great sermon to His disciples in which He warned that one was in danger of Gehenna for the likes of calling someone a fool. This is a far cry from our modern Evangelical interpretation that says not accepting Jesus as your Savior is what sends someone to Hell. Are we perhaps missing the symbolism that Jesus originally intended?

If HELL is real, aren’t we taking verses out of context when we warn sinners/outsiders of HELL, when in the original context they were directed to covenant people?

Since the concept of HELL doesn't exist in the Old Testament, how could Jesus and his disciples teach that salvation was deliverance from a place that is not even found in their scriptures? And if He was introducing the subject for the first time, why did He do it so casually, as though His listeners already understood what He was talking about?

If HELL is real, since some English translations use the word Hell for the Greek word "Gehenna," in the New Testament, why didn't this same place (Gehenna) get translated HELL in the many places where it appears in the Hebrew form "ga ben Hinnom" in the Old Testament?

If the Jews did not understand “Gehenna” as a symbol of everlasting torture, but rather as a place of shame, filth, and defilement (where Israel participated in the grossest form of idol worship), why do modern theological constructs ascribe more to the word than the original meaning did? The teaching of Gehenna has evolved in Jewish teachings to include punishment in the afterlife; but even today, Gehenna still does not mean "endless" punishment to the Jews.

If HELL is real how could the Apostle Paul (who was especially commissioned by God to preach the gospel to the nations) say that he had declared the entire counsel of God (Acts 20:27), when indeed he never warned of “HELL” in any of his letters? If HELL is real, wouldn’t Paul, of all people, warn of it repeatedly?

If HELL is real, the sin/death of Adam has had a far more powerful effect on the world than the resurrection life of Christ! And yet Paul declares in Romans 5 that Christ's victory is far greater than Adam's transgression! Listen to Paul's confidence in the work of Christ! If Paul believed in eternal hell for the majority of men, how could he write the following verses?


“…Just as the result of one trespass (Adam’s) was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness (Christ’s) was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.(Romans 5:18,19).

“Since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22)

"For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4;10). 


(The above verses are just a few of the many verses where Paul writes of a pre-eminent Christ that far transcends the traditional Christian view. This essay could be full of many more New Testament references by Paul that display his views of the Christ triumphant, unlimited, all-powerful, all-conquering, and victorious).

If HELL is real, why is it that the only time Paul even mentioned “HELL” in any of his epistles, was declare the triumph of Christ over it? (1 Corinthians 15:55). The word “Grave” in the passage is the Greek word “HADES”.

If HELL is real, why is it not mentioned once in the book of Acts in any the evangelistic sermons that were recorded by the early Apostles?

If HELL is real why do some of the best Bible scholars and Bible teachers say it is not in the Greek or Hebrew text? (William Barclay, John A.T. Robinson, Lightfoot, Westcott, F.W. Farrar, Marvin Vincent, etc.)

If HELL is real, why does the word itself come from the Teutonic "Hele" (goddess of the underworld "Hell" of northern Europe). The description of this ancient mythological place has very little resemblance anymore to the modern Christian image of Hell. See any encyclopedia or dictionary for the origin of the word.

FACT: The apocryphal books of the intertestimental period had a tremendous impact on the Jews in the time of Christ. It is from these books, especially the book of Enoch, that many of the Jewish myths and fables concerning Hell, heaven, demons and angels and many other fables first became a part of Judaism and from there became a part of Christianity. The myths and fables of these books came from Pagan influences (namely Zoroastrianism), during and after the Babylonian captivity of Israel. In fact, Zoroastrianism looks more like modern Christianity in many ways than ancient Judiasm does!

If HELL is real, why did Paul warn Timothy repeatedly to stay away from Jewish myths and fables, the likes of which were influencing many in the early church? Rather than affirming such doctrines, Paul declares them to profane fables.

Just asking is all...

deleted deleted
26-30
2 Responses Jan 6, 2012

I will go to Hell.

There is still hope for you. Hell is real. We need to repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. http://www.divinerevelations.info/documents/7_jovenes/english_7_jovenes_hell.htm

I believe hell is real as well as heaven.. so do you believe in heaven? Maybe their focus was not to condemn but to focus on christ. The message from paul was always christ centered right? If Jesus clearly made the hell thing clear as he did say "will not enter the kingdom" and "weeping and gnashing of teeth" why would they need to re say everything christ made christal(christ and cristal) :) clear.