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I have spent over 10 years diligently studying God's Word, and I have concluded that eternal hellfire is not taught in Bible and was never taught by Jesus.
This is what I learned.....:
Bible wasn't originally written in English. The word "hell" is not Hebrew or Greek word, its English! The Hebrew and Greek under the English word eternal, doesn't mean endless.
And interestingly enough, the NIV translators totally omitted the words hell and hellfire from the entire Old Testament, and the words don't even appear once.
In the original languages of the Bible. Hebrew and Koine Greek, eternal hellfire is NEVER taught!We only get this idea of an eternal hellfire where people will burn forever in agony in the English Bible. But God never ever taught it, and eternal hellfire is not Biblical.
What's the purpose of God's punishment as taught in Bible? Punishment is for CORRECTION and REDIRECTION of acts, to align with God's law and repent! Yet with a eternal hellfire, there is no objective in it, there is no end to the punishment and no opportunity to change and repent, hence, NO objective to the punishment! I reject the idea of eternal punishment and my God and my Bible doesn't teach it.
And if the wages of sin was eternal hellfire and agony, that would mean that Jesus, our total substitute, who had to bear the FULL penalty of our sins, would have to burn forever in agony in eternal hellfire.
Eternal sleep[death] is the wages for those who reject Jesus - john 3:36,Rom 6:23,Psa 37:20 104:35 They will burn, and burn up and be no more in a lake of fire which will eventually burn out - Oba 1:16.
And when it comes to Jesus, Jesus talked about Gehenna and Gehenna was a literal rubbish dump, but English translators used the English word HELL for this, but in the Greek there is no such word as hell.
When Jesus used the term "Gehenna", his hearers clearly understood it to be a rubbish dump, situated south/west of Jerusalem where refuse and the bodies of criminals were burnt. But English translators made it into HELL an English word that never exists in the original Greek.
Since rubbish and dead criminals and bodies were continuously added, the fires were perpetually flamed and kept alight. However, individual bodies did not burn endlessly, they became ashes! Eternal hellfire is ONLY taught in English translations, it is not taught in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.
Not once did Jesus say a place will burn the lost forever! Certain people only get this understanding from the English Bible. Nowhere in the Hebrew or Greek manuscripts does it talk about an eternal hellfire!
The rest this discussion is here.http://www.christianforumsite.com/threads/bible-doesnt-teach-eterna...
Ok Jenii, the doctrine of hell-fire is not something which I have put a great deal of study into. I certainly do understand that the Bible was not originally written in English, and that this obviously leads to mistranslations. Each word in the original Greek or Hebrew can translate into many different words in English, and that is why there are so many translations out there. I am not necessarily a person who holds to scriptural inerrancy. The "official" canon of scripture was not even formed until 367 A.D.
I do know that the translators of the NIV; Zondervan, is a division of HarperCollins, which publishes the Satanic Bible http://truthinheart.com/Zondervan.htm and that they have emitted many things, including Bible verses. Some are simply not there! They claim an original source difference from that of the KJV translators, along with ESV, NLT, and others.
I am not questioning your expertise here. I will have to look into it much further. I do know that the Old Testament really seems to have no concept of the afterlife period. In Genesis the Bible says we are dust and we return to dust. Ecclesiastes 9:5 says: "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten." This does seem to be a stark contrast. I have always thought the Old and New Testament were different in a myriad of ways.
I wish I were better at Greek! I used to have the Logos Bible software, but I don't have access to it anymore. How do you interpret this: "In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire." Luke 16:23-24? Lazarus here seems to still be in the fire.
I do know that the Zohar teaches that there is no eternal punishment. The Zohar states that when God says "punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation" that this means that an individual is sent into the world for the purpose of correction, and if he fails in his correction he must return again. The Zohar is actually teaching that the individual who committed the sin is the father, returning to pick up where they left off on the path to correction. In other words, they say this is reincarnation, and that you if you fail once, you get three more tries to get it right.
I understand your beliefs on this, and I will certainly not try to argue against you! I think that eternal punishment is wrong. At the same time, I would think that if there is an eternal reward, there would be and eternal punishment of some kind. I would like to think that the Bible teaches each will get their due reward. I believe each person will get exactly what they deserve, good or bad, but I cannot see the little old lady across the street who never accepted Jesus burning in eternal flames, maybe Hitler, but not the little old lady.
I am BIG on levels of consciousness, if you haven't been able to tell. I believe that in the past I have attained what I call "Cosmic Consciousness” or a universal awareness, though I do not resonate at that level all of the time. I personally believe that at the highest level of "vibration," lies the cosmic consciousness, which is the true bliss of the mind, body, and spirit. Likewise, I believe that the lower levels of consciousness operate on a lower level vibration and that the lower the vibration, the more dense and material one becomes. So high vibrations are more spiritual, and low vibrations are more material. When the scriptures speak of a separation of the "chaff from the wheat" and "the sheep from the goats" this is indicating a spiritual separation from the material, "Ascension" of the spirit if you will. I believe those who align with the higher level of consciousness as taught by Christ will be "lifted up" at the last day, and those of the material will grow increasingly dense. In other words, I think heaven and hell may be held within the consciousness and are not in need of external physical stimuli, though that could be the case.
It is interesting what you have said about Jesus and the full penalty of our sins: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23. This seems to indicate that death is the penalty for sins, but eternal life is found in Jesus. This is assuming that death happens once and is not eternal. There is however a second death, and again that is why translations are so tricky; and why I do not hold to inerrancy: "Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire." Revelation 20:14. This translation is using the term lake of fire rather than hell. Which translation was used for your Obadiah verse? Mine says: "For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so all the nations shall drink continually; they shall drink and swallow, and shall be as though they had never been."
I have heard what you say about "Gehenna" before, and it was a rubbish dump where bodies were burnt. Revelation 20:15 says "And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." but it does not say for how long. I will read your link here in just a bit, I have been very busy. I do think it is wrong to say that innocent Buddhists and Hindus etc. will burn in hell forever because they have a different worldview. I will look into this more as well. You have raised a good question here. This is just off the top of my head, and like I said, I have done no solid research into it other than what I have heard on random occasions. I have just always known I wasn't going to hell I guess, so I did not investigate heavily. Anyway, hope I could help, and said kind of what you wanted to know.
Well, I didn't realize you didn't write that until after I posted and looked at your link. Anyway, just admit the parts where I address you personally.
I have looked at the link a bit, this is kind of straight forward: Revelation 20:10 "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." It does say for ever and ever there, I don't know. I think this is something I will have to discuss a bit before I can come to a conclusion. I still believe in consciousness though, always will.
How do you feel about this topic?
I read most of the link. They have obviously raised some good points, on both sides of the argument. I think people who stick to and extreme Biblical basis, who always say "let's look at the exact context and what the scriptures are trying to teach," are possibly a little closed off for my taste. I like to think abstractly, and look at the ideas and concepts behind things, with reason, not just blind faith. The difference between gnosis and orthodoxy is that many believe, but some know.
I would almost say it is irrelevant, mainly because if we do what is right, we would not have to worry about it. The Bible teaches that there are consequences, and I have known Jehovah Witnesses who believe that when you die, you are simply asleep. To them, that is a serious consequence, and one of the worst things they can imagine is ceasing to exist. I'm fine with their beliefs. I do not believe that is an issue of salvation, but only a minor doctrinal difference. For the record, that is why I refuse to claim a doctrine. I will never be bound to a system and I plan to continually grow and develop. Do they believe in Jesus? That is likely a bit more important. I will leave that up to God. I am anxious to hear your thoughts though.
This is not my expertise but something I was reading and wanted your input and thought on.For ,I value your spiritual wisdom and knowledge, and pretty sure you could teach and I could learn a thing or two from you,without a doubt..
The doctrine of hell-fire,I'm not sure if I believe there is a place.I believe our punishment is eternal separation from God, that is a fate worse then death, if we really look at it.
But,I will get back to you on this with more questions in this area as soon at time allows me.
Ok Jenii, hope I could help! I really like what you said here: "I believe our punishment is eternal separation from God." I believe much of it will be spiritual, and internal. I guess that is the difference in the esoteric's and the exoteric's.
I need to start a topic on here, I'm just exhausted. It's been a LONG week, lol. Talk to you later :)
Get some rest dont over do it!!
I'm not worried what the Revelation says. The Hindu scripture Srimad Bhagavatam have its own description of hell or hellish planets. http://vedabase.com/en/sb/5/26 All sinful persons who have not atoned are destined to be sent to hell. Punishment and length of stay dependent on gravity of sin but it is not eternal. Every person or soul within a human, animal or plant body is an eternal being. The journey to Utopia, Shangrila, Kingdom of God, Spiritual World or whatever name it is called is a long journey. Until one becomes a saint or godly, one is not allowed to enter the world of the godly.
That makes good sense to me. I think the Gnostic's believe that Christ taught the same way, about a temporal rather than eternal hell. That seems fair to me. But what do the Hindu scriptures say about the most evil of souls? Will they ever become saintly or godly?
Those guilty of the most evil acts will restart from the lowest lifeforms like one celled organism. It will take them millions of births before they evolve back as humans. The human and demigod form have the intelligence to pursue the 4 goals of life namely artha (economic development), kama (sensual gratification), dharma (duties and virtues) and moksha (liberation). To become godly is not easy, like a camel passing the eye of the needle. But if one does only artha and kama, one only falls below human birth. It seems we almost have eternity to become godly. An intelligent person understands living in the material world is full of suffering even if one is born as rich, beautiful, healthy, etc. Other persons will cause one's suffering. Nature is not too kind too as we have earthquakes, floods, cold wave, heat wave. So an intelligent person would seek self realization through spiritual studies, meditation, good deeds, sense control. The beauty of self realization is everyone who have healthy sense organs can take this path. Even if one fails to become godly in this lifetime, one is certainly given the continuity in the next life.
My view of "hell" encompasses two things: First, the theological question about whether a land of eternal suffering exists as God's "great plan" for most of humanity.
Second, the question of the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology.
Since a lot of religious tradition says at lot about it. One view of God - the more fundamentalist view - is of a retributive God just itching to punish those who "stray."And my other view, going right back into the New Testament,is of an all-forgiving God who in the person of Jesus Christ ended the era of scapegoat sacrifice,retribution and punishment forever.
As Jesus said on the cross: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."
God is far from being a retributive God seeking justice, God is a merciful father who loves all his children equally. This is the less-known stand teached and practiced today.Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge(my opinion of course)And according to brain chemistry studies, taking revenge and nurturing resentment is a major source of life-destroying stress.(I am a brain person Gerett you know that ;) )
For a profound exploration of the madness caused by embracing the “justice” of “godly” revenge and retribution, watch the film “Hellbound”.
We need “hell” like a hole in the head. It’s time for a empathetic merciful belief system and a loving God understood.
Good point Jenii, Jesus did say they know not what they do. That is another reason I think mainstream Christianity has always misunderstood Christ's teaching, even the twelve did not get it.
It is easy to contrast the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. If I were to take the OT account of God literally, I would say that he is evil.
Yes, of course it matters. If we align with the good we have nothing to fear. We must know within ourselves who we serve.
Much of it is fear-based. Many people do use hell to convert people, and it actually does turn many people away, I find that so sad. Politically, I don't think we know the half of the horrors that have been done. I do certainly know that people with power love to control.