Clearing up misconceptions


To clarify:

  • Final punishment is not the 'main thing'; Jesus is the main thing
  • There is punishment, the wrath of God is coming
  • There is a day of Judgment when souls will be found written in the book of life - or they will be condemned
  • Those found guilty by God will suffer various degrees of punishment - and then suffer destruction
  • The concepts I explain are from the Bible, not from my own (or others) ideas
  • I realized the traditional doctrine of hell was in error as I studied the Bible on my own (not from outside influence)
  • After my own study, I found other believers who had studied and found similar conclusions
  • I am learning; I am not suggesting that I have complete understanding of final punishment
  • One thing I've learned: the idea of 'the immortal soul' is not in the BIble! It is a man-made concept.
  • I am not trying to say, "Take my word for it", but pleading for believers to take a second look at these things for themselves. Because of its depth and sheer volume of biblical references, I have attempted to share my findings to make your study less time intensive. I always strongly encourage you to look up verses with context! God's word speaks for itself.

In other words:

This is not my personal doctrine; it is a view held by many Believers today and through the centuries beginning with the Apostles as revealed in the writings of Paul. (Note: before researching others’ studies on this subject I did an in-depth study on my own using the Bible and asking for the Lord’s guidance by His Holy Spirit, which leads us to truth. This was a span of about two years.) Keep in mind that this subject in Heb. 6:1-2 was considered one of the ‘elementary teachings about Christ’ (eternal judgment) and was a settled doctrine without controversy.

I am not trying to erase final punishment. Scripture is clear that there is a Day of Judgment coming. “The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.” (Nahum 1:3) There is punishment; there is reward. The Lord is the Judge. He has given us some insights into these eternal consequences – we should handle the Word of God with great care and thoroughness before teaching on such an immense subject.

I am not saying that I have found THE truth about this subject or that only my conclusions could possibly be God’s reality. However, there is enough (overwhelming, in my opinion) support in Scripture to doubt the traditional view of Eternal Conscious Torment in so-called ‘hell’.

I don’t give respect to the word ‘hell’ and prefer not to use it. (I do repeat it when discussing the traditional view which can be called the doctrine of hell). To avoid regrettable misunderstandings and misleadings when discussing Scripture, I choose to use the transliterated words from Hebrew and Greek that have at various times been translated ‘hell’: Sheol, Abaddon, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus (used once). The most direct phrase used of final punishment is of course the Lake of Fire, which is the second death (Revelation 20:14, 21:8).

I’ve come to believe that if a person wants to approach this subject with a clear mind, they should investigate this entrenched idea of the immortal human soul (this idea gives birth to the idea of eternal conscious torment – it is the unavoidable conclusion if you try to apply God’s judgment on an immortal soul). This teaching has been passed down since the days of Plato through religious vehicles such as Tertullian, Augustine, Calvin and the Roman Catholic Church.

Scripture clearly states that God alone is immortal (1 Tim. 6:16) and we only read of the redeemed receiving immortality as a gift from God (1 Cor. 15, Rom. 2:7). "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." Matthew 10:28  “Behold, all souls are Mine...The soul who sins will die.”  Eze. 18:4 “…let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death…”  James 5:20  “And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’  Peter speaking in Acts 3:23 (see Deut. 18:19)

If you have any questions for me, I am glad to respond. Thank you for your taking the time to read and consider these things.

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I understand this is a difficult subject and there are different views from folks who all value God's inspired word. I value your feedback, corrections and questions. Please leave a comment!