Death, Hades and is hell perpetual torment

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In this Bible Study we will look at what Hell is and whether it is a place of perpetual torment as people think.  This study will also look at death representing nothing more than a sleep, knowing nothing and experiencing nothing.


The first thing we need to look at from the Bible is the understanding of two very distinct places mentioned. These two places are Hades, and Hell.

The way to start this is by looking at what Hades is exactly, and how it affects us now.


For this we need to understand that Hades is where our Souls are after our physical bodies die.  How do we know this, simply the Bible tells us in these verses:


JB Ecclesiastes 9:5
The living know at least that they will die, the dead know nothing; no more reward for them, their memory has passed out of mind.

JB Ecclesiastes 9:10
Whatever work you propose to do, do it while you can, for there is neither achievement, nor planning, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in Sheol where you are going.


The word Sheol is interesting; it is Jewish/Hebrew and means:

Hebrew Lexicon
Strong’s Number: 7585
sh@’owl {sheh-ole’ or sh@ol sheh-ole’}

Word Origin
from  7592
TWOT – 23<03>c
noun feminine

1a) the underworld
1b) Sheol – the OT designation for the abode of the dead


As you can see, the word Sheol represents the Underworld or the abode of the dead. Many also assume that this is Hell as well; however it is in fact Hades.  More verses about Hades and the Dead sleeping are:


JB John 11:11-14
He said that and then added, ‘Our friend Lazarus is resting, I am going to wake him’.
The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he is able to rest he is sure to get better’.
13.  The phrase Jesus used referred to the death of Lazarus, but they thought that by ‘rest’ he meant ‘sleep’
, so
Jesus put it plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead;


JB John 11:23-26
‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’
Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day’.
Jesus said: ‘I am the resurrection.  If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’

JB Acts 7:60
60.  Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep.


The question here is did he fall asleep normally as we sleep when we go to bed?  No, we know that Stephen died (was killed).  Why would he use this term if he was dying to go to heaven?  He wouldn’t.  Additionally regarding mainstream Christian church doctrine regarding death and going to heaven is that many years ago, and even today, there is one thing that appears on grave stones.  That is RIP.  What does this mean, it means “Rest In Peace”.  How can somebody that has died and gone to Heaven “Rest In Peace”.  They can’t rest, they would still have things to do.  In accepting Scriptural Truth that when we die our Souls are asleep, then we are truly resting in peace.


JB Psalm 115:17
17. The dead cannot praise Yahweh,
they have gone down to silence;


This verse is pretty specific.  Does it mean that everybody that dies has gone to Hell?  No, for if you believe in the idea that Hell is a place of perpetual torment, do you really think that there would be silence?  As it states that they have gone down to silence, and cannot praise Yahweh, then they can’t have gone to Heaven either, as firstly, they have gone down, and Heaven is up, and secondly, in heaven we know that they could praise Yahweh.


Another good verse in respect to Death is the following:


JB 1 Thessalonians 4:13
13. We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died (*), to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope.


The Jerusalem Bible, which is a very scholarly study Bible, has a footnote about those that have died, that is what the * represents.  The footnote reads:

Lit.  ‘those who are sleeping‘.


The Bible acknowledges and supports that when we die we sleep in death.  That is what our soul is doing, sleeping.  The place that our soul sleeps is the “Underworld” or “Hades” in the Greek.

Let us look at the topic of Hell, or the Burning pit of fire mentioned in Revelation.  What does the verse say in Revelation that relates to Death and Hades?


JB Rev 20:13 – 15
The sea gave up all the dead who were in it;
14. Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them
; and every one was judged according to the way in which he had lived. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the burning lake. This burning lake is the second death;
15. and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was thrown into the burning lake.


This verse is written and relates specifically to Humanity and our own souls.  If we look at the preceding verse about the burning lake we see something completely different.


JB Rev 20:10
10. Then the devil, who misled them, will be thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur
, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their torture will not stop, day or night, for ever and ever.


In this verse, we notice straight away that God is talking about Satan and the other fallen angels.  We are told quite plainly that Satan and the other fallen angels will be tortured for ever and ever.  But we are not told that human souls will be, we are told simply that they will suffer the second death.  As the underworld (Hades) in which our souls reside when we die, then our soul is not able to exist.  Therefore the second death will be complete annihilation of our souls.  Those suffering the second death will just cease to exist.


There is no evidence in the Bible to support the false doctrine taught by mainstream christian churches on earth about Hell being a perpetual place of torment.  The main thing to keep in mind when looking at this idea from a church is “Why would a God of Love as Yahweh is, torture imperfect Human souls for eternity”.  What possible reason would he have to do this, what good would HE gain by doing this to imperfect souls? The answer is, NONE WHAT SO EVER.


Many out there that have been taught this false doctrine of the churches will say ‘but there are heaps of verses that prove this point’.  I have included some of them here, and given an explanation of what they mean, when you understand the difference between Hades (The place our souls sleep after death / the Underworld ) and Hell (the Burning lake of fire mentioned in revelations) then the verses become much clearer and make much more sense.


JB Matt 5:22
But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire.

This verse refers to The Burning Lake as mentioned in Rev 20.  To call your brother a Renegade would be a severe thing, for God will have chosen the Brother, for you to call him a renegade means that you are insulting God.  Nowhere in this verse does it say anything about being tormented eternally in hell though.


JB Matt 5:29
29. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away;
for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell.


Again, it is talking about the burning lake, the second death. If you understand that being thrown into the burning lake or second death means complete annihilation of your soul, it makes sense that you would cut out your eye does it not?  Again, nowhere in this verse does it say anything about being tormented for eternity.


JB Matt 5:30
30. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away;
for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.


As above, it is better to be one less-body part than have your soul annihilated in the second death.  Again also, this verse mentions nothing about being tormented for eternity.


JB Matt 10:28
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell.


This is a perfect verse from scripture regarding the difference between both Death and Hades as well as the burning pit known as hell.  In this verse we now see the opposite of what mainstream christan churches teach about perpetual torment in Hell, which is the burning lake or the second death.  In this verse we are actually told that God can destroy our body and our soul in HellTo be sent to hell means exactly that your physical body will have been destroyed, and your soul will also be destroyed.


JB Matt 16:18
So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.  And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.


In this verse we see the word “Underworld”.  This verse effectively tells us that death will not hold those. Death will not claim those that are in the underworld.  Remember that Christ Jesus tells us that some will not know death, for they will be resurrected almost immediately.  This is how the gates of Hades cannot hold.


JB Matt 23:15
‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when you have him you make him twice as fit for hell as you are.


This verse has some very bad connotations when we understand the difference between Hell (the burning lake or second death) and Hades (The realm our souls sleep in after we die).  What Christ is telling the scribes and Pharisees is that those that they teach are made more fit for destruction (of their souls) than the Pharisees are themselves.


JB Matt 23:33
‘Serpents, brood of vipers, how can you escape being condemned to hell?


Again, this verse is talking about the burning lake or second death.


As can be seen, a proper understanding of what the words mean makes a great difference to what God is teaching us in the Bible.  We hope, that this brief article will help you to draw closer to the Truth and urge you to study more yourself.


PLEASE, now that you have read this article, do not just take our word for it.  Get your Bible, look at it and read the Scriptures for yourself, and feel free to get our Book of Bible Articles or look at our articles website for further Bible Studies and Articles.