Sheol or Hell called the Grave
Death of the Body and the Second Death
As a Christian that confesses Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, it is my duty and responsibility to pray for and search out Gods word for truth. This article is a result of the many hours seeking Gods word for truth, yet I caution this is a study and not a teaching. Prayer began every preparation and often during this study, your prayer before reading this article is strongly suggested. It is my hope that what you find here will encourage your own search in the word of God for truth.
You will find what follows regarding Sheol contradicts various teachings, although is not a new understanding of scripture. So you are forewarned, beginning with the wicked suffering in Hell day and night forever and ever, or Satan the Beast and False Prophet tormented forever and ever as believed by some from Revelation 14:11 and 20:10. It must be understood Revelation is strongly symbolic for descernment, and within full context describes eventually an end of this earth age, this includes Hell/Hades existing no longer. After final judgment verse tells of smoke (of their suffering) rising forever, describing not an entity that yet exists, but that which has perished in the Lake of Fire. Also 'day and night' of this earth age as described within scripture is prophesied will end, the new age of new heaven and earth will thereafter be everlasting without end. In the following study these issues will be covered with much relevant and important scripture.
The most common description's for the grave as resting place of the dead, is called Sheol, Hell, Deepest/Darkest/Bottomless, Pit, Abyss, Hades, Ghenna, Lake of Burning Brimstone (or) Sulfur, Abaddon (also related to Satan), and some include Paradise, however 2 Corinthians 12:4 and Revelation 2:7, these clearly indicate Paradise is in God's heaven. Concerning the Spiritual gifts of God, scripture also describing as deposit, these are found as spiritual within this earth age but within the saints, afterward existing in the eternal earth age to come. This would appear to indicate suffering in Hell forever and ever is a duration limited to this earth age, after which are destroyed in the Lake of Fire, these no longer remembered nor do they exist.
The following describes our present earthage, in this age those found within the grave (Sheol/Hell) as the unredeemed and wicked are described suffering, the upright and righteous resting in peace. Beginning with verse describing suffering 'day and night forever', this is a condition during this earthage and before final judgment. In the past during this earthage we are told of the flood when all breathing life were destroyed in Gen 8:20-21 "...And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done." However from survivors of the Arc suffering continues as in Gen 20:22 "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." Understand this later prophecy is much like a math theorem or equation, when parts of the equation exist, however when most of the equation no longer exist, the entire equation is no longer valid. In great detail many verses prophesy this earth is to be destroyed as we know it, also clearly describing new creations of new heavens, earth, and Jerusalem, remembering at Christ's return He says He will make all things new. About the old order, verse describes these as no longer found and are no longer remembered.
Our present 'day and night forever' is during this earthage, not meant existing after final judgment, when night no longer exists, nor is need of the sun, moon, or lamp for light. And so the suffering or torment within Sheol/Hell during this remaining earthage, is described in Rev 20:10 "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." The "Lake of Burning Sulfur" is a holding place for the wicked awaiting judgment, where first the Beast and False Prophet will be thrown alive to await Satan, and in the end to include Satan and all wicked that are to be destroyed in the Lake of Fire. It is this Sheol/Hell/Hades/Gehanna/Pit/Abyss (Burning Lake of Sulfur) in composite form described as 'Death and Hades', are finally cast into the Lake of Fire described in Rev 20:15 "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Here at last in the Lake of Fire comes final judgment and total destruction of all wicked and unredeemed as punishment forever.
And so concerning the suffering/torment of those in Sheol/Hell waiting judgment, this too comes to an end along with heaven and earth, at Christ's return gathering all for final judgment. About this end for the unredeemed we are told in Rev 14:9-11 "A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever." Here before the angels and Christ, Gods wrath and judgment are administered, what will remain of the unredeemed and their suffering (before suffering day and night forever), is 'smoke of their suffering' that rises forever. Smoke is what remains of an object or entity, once destroyed in fire.
The Old Testament of the Bible does not talk about Hell, Hades or Purgatory, but does tell of Death and the Grave/Tomb/Pit or Sheol. Purgatory is a more recent belief that Christ dying for our sins was not sufficient, and that sinners must suffer to some extent for these sins. Unless Purgatory refers to the unsaved in the pit of hell waiting judgment, and excludes both the upright as righteous (Old Covenant) and redeemed in grace (New Covenant) that now reign with Christ, this does not agree with the redeeming blood of Christ.
Abaddon, Tartaros, Abyss, Deepest-Blackest-Darkest Pit, or Burning Lake of Sulfur are terms being a study in themselves. At one time or another these refer to the fallen angels who were cast down to earth; into darkness, also described as bound in everlasting chains until judgment. The Beast and False Prophet will be thrown into the Burning Lake of Sulfur; here they await the Devil who in the end is also thrown including all unredeemed. Note that although the Beast and False Prophet are thrown into the Fiery lake of Burning Sulfur, they have not yet met judgment or death, instead await the Devil who in the end will also be thrown. Concerning this Fiery Lake of Burning Sulfur after final judgment, Rev 21:8 says "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Remembering it is this composite called 'Death and Hades' that shall be cast into the Lake of Fire described as the second death.
Saying in Rev 21:8 'this is the second death', this tells us there will be no redemption when at last after judgment being cast back into the Burning Lake of Sulfur, it is from here that final destruction is accomplished within the 'Lake of Fire'. The Eternal Fire and Eternal Lake of Fire or Lake of Fire, these refer to God, just as Fire, the Sword and Word are all God, and that God only gives or takes life eternal, described in Rev 20:14 "Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death", it is within this Lake of Fire where finally all the wicked shall perish, being destroyed in final judgment as eternal punishment. As Gods Word says in Heb 12:29 ...for our "God is a consuming fire."
After death of the flesh body, the Bible no longer draws our attention back to the old or natural world, but teaches and draws our attention into the Spiritual world called the Kingdom or Paradise of God. From this point onward, the Bible talks to the new man or new spiritual man, here we find understanding of the Spiritual world. In this regard is our own creation, first being formed from dust of the ground (body), who next received the breath of life (spirit), and in this slate or as a new born babe, become a living being (soul). This is our progression in Gods' creation through Body, Spirit, and Soul, and of these three, if in death the spirit returns to God who gave it, then it is our soul that God seeks and of which continues after the first death. And this agreeing with verse saying [1 Peter 1:9] you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your soul.
It will help to remember Satan is cast once only out of heaven, and in this event cast directly into the Abyss also called the grave and Pit of Sheol, this described in Isaiah 14:12-15 "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit." Christ also acknowledging Satan's fall in Luke 10:18 "He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." Paul assuring Satan now being restrained in the Abyss of Sheol where he is 'held back until revealed in end times', 2 Thess 2:5-7 "Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time."
In creation were also the fallen or dark angels or demons, these when described in the New Testament although having been cast bodily into hell bound in everlasting chains, now when mentioned among men on earth are in spiritual form as demons or unclean spirits inhabiting or being cast out of individuals. Some believe from the book of Enoch (held in doubt because some verse describe happenings that occurred after the time of Enoch) believe the demon are an evil spirit resulting from the Sons of God or dark angels mating with women on earth, the evil spirit (demon) being children born of this mating. Of the angels who remained true to God, these are also mentioned in the New Testament, described as when appearing on earth being little different in appearance of body than ordinary men. One interpretation from the Bible is that the 'Giants' of old were children born to these angelic or Sons of God who mated with daughters of men on earth. The meaning of giants is not clear whether this instead means in actions or cruelty. It is true there were giants in ages past, as there are today, notably in the past was Goliath. If he were a product of dark angels it would likely have been noted in the account of David and Goliath, which it was not.
Within the Old and New Testaments there is important teachings regarding those who go into the Grave, Sheol, Gehanna, pit, Hades or Hell. In the Old Testament scripture of Isa. 57:2, 20-21 is described a difference between the Upright and the Wicked, the upright finding rest and peace within the grave, contrasting this with suffering without peace for the wicked. The New Testament scripture has important teaching describing Christ after crucified going into the depths (grave), and in the depths preaching or proclaims, and in rising from the grave in victory over death (death no longer has hold over the saints), leads captivity captive or free. From this time of Christ onward, all who are redeemed by grace through faith anointing in covenant accept the Lord as Savior, after death of the body go directly to be with the Lord, the unredeemed remain in the grave or hell. This indicates that both the upright and righteous (under law who died in earlier ages), and the redeemed (under grace from the time of Christ onward), through common faith seeking their Savior and Messiah of promise will be resurrected from death (of the body) to be with the Lord, at this time John describes beneath the alter.
One other commonality remains in both the Old and New Testament, this being that in death of the body, the body is then put into the grave and returns to the dust of the earth. However after death of the body in both Old and New Testament, our soul after death of the body continues to exist. This was described in the Old Testament before Christ rose in victory over death leading captives free, here scripture tells of the rich man and Lazarus. After death they were next found in Sheol or grave however with Lazarus and the rich man separated by an un-crossable gulf. In the New Testament after the crucifixion of Christ, Sheol is no longer the destiny of the redeemed of promise, it began when Christ answered the man upon the cross next to Him saying, "Today you will be with me in Paradise", and were 'today' as a thousand years now past, would mean he was one of the souls beneath the alter observed by John in Revelation 6:9-11.
From this time onward as described in the New Testament, all those in Christ when absent from the body (in Christ coming), after death go to be with the Lord. This validates and agrees with scripture throughout the Bible, this being that it is the wicked alone who remain in the grave and wait the time of final judgment, awaiting the second resurrection apparently as Gog and Magog. Of the saint's Christ in heaven now fulfills His promise in John 14:2-4 "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
It should be mentioned that Hell is in translation an English word, usually used in the Old Testament for Grave/Sheol, or in the New Testament for Gehenna/Hades. There were Jewish leaders who believed there was no life or existence after death of the body. Yet as taught in both Old and New Testament, there is eternal life promised after death (or sleep) to those who receive grace from God, and in judgment the second death as death of soul for the wicked and unrepentant. As it says in [NIV] Matt 16:26-27 "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" The second death described in Ps 145:20 "The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy." In the New Testament this destruction is also called perdition, which also means 'Calamity', the calamity carried out in the Lake of Fire and meaning destruction or the Second Death.
In the New Testament Christ refers to the place where after the first death (of the body) the wicked and disobedient will go, relating this place to Gehenna, a despicable place where in earlier times human sacrifices were made to false gods. At the time of Christ this same location was used as a dump where garbage and human refuse (not living) burned day and night. This in itself was a frightening visual picture, yet Christ did not mean this place in hell is where those who were obedient or upright would go. The abyss is described in [KLB] Psalms 86:13 as the 'lowest hell', this lower hell (or pit) is also called the Lake of Burning Sulfur usually associated with angelic beings. An exception is Rev 21:8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Throughout the New Testament, when describing the first death, Hell or Hades is used to describe the place after death into which the wicked would go to await judgment. As described in Mark 9:48 "...It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'" Understand this 'Hell' is not yet the 'Burning Lake of Fire' where Judgment is carried out to destruction, this is the 'grave or hell' where after the first death the wicked are found to reside awaiting judgment.
Man is formed by God as told in Gen 2:6-7 "...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." The worm mentioned in Mark 9:48 is thought by some to be a literal worm in reference to the decomposing such as in Gehenna. However as described in the Genesis of creation, it would more accurately refer to the individual-soul (soul being worm) who must wait for judgment, this born out as in Isa. 41:14 that mentions the 'worm of Jacob', Jacob at this time in the grave. So also the (unquenched fire) in this context better describing the individual soul still within creation. Here we may remember the breath or Spirit of God as fire, and the soul described (after the body received the breath or fire of God) became a 'living being'.
The wicked in hell apparently experience an overwhelming enormity or fire that cannot be quenched. The Bible indicates that the calloused and hardened heart by this time cannot change, the darkness in hell then might be understood as a spiritual darkness, perhaps like the great delusion (Satan or spirit) God sends the rebellious generation in the end times. In this it should not be confused that what God allows of our own will to be interpreted as what God causes. Again what God foresees or foreknew He predestines or empowers be done. Judgment of the wicked is not completed in hell as told in Matt 12:36-37 "For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned," these all occur during life and not after death. Then in hell those already judged await the wrath to come ending with destruction in the eternal lake of fire. What then must those who know their fate to come, must in this spiritual darkness experience within their own soul?
In Luke 16:21-31 is described an especially detailed event of death, in it Abraham and Lazarus are found after death. Also is found a rich man who too had died and is now in Hell or Hades. Some teach this scripture is but a parable regarding Gods people, however the compliment of scripture relating to both the redeemed and the unredeemed indicates a far greater purpose. In detail Lazarus had suffered during his life, of the rich man we know little, except that his life brought him to hell. Lazarus after dying had been carried by angels to be beside Abraham in Sheol, the rich man is now in deep darkness of hell, yet looks upward across an un-crossable chasm to see Abraham and Lazarus. To Abraham and Lazarus the rich man complains of thirst that torments him. The rich man does not mention heat in his complaint, although the Bible describes this torment as brought by fire, and the rich man in this bodiless existence is begging for even a drop of water to cool his tongue. Some may recall Christ teaching of the water of life; water that quenches thirst forever, yet this is not given in explanation for the rich mans need of water. The importance of this scripture will be touched upon later.
Before Christ led captives free of the grave, the upright and righteous knew they did not have to fear death, knowing it is the wicked who in judgment meet the second death. Of the upright we are told in Isa 57:2 "Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death." The warning for all told in Matt 10:28 "Do not fear those who can kill the body...but rather fear him who is able to destroy the soul and body in hell," and in Luke 12:5 "Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell." Here we are told that God has the power to kill both the flesh body in the first death, and in hell where the wicked reside, also kill their soul in a second death. Scripture describes this final judgment as when the Lord calls both the good and wicked (souls) together into judgment, the wicked to perish in a second death this time of the soul, the redeemed to receive a new eternal spiritual body, also receiving reward. Before this the souls of the redeemed are described in Rev-11, and in questioning about judgment are told to wait for the last soul to join them, receiving a white robe as covering.
If as scripture indicates none in the grave has yet received a new spiritual body, then these described earlier can only be in a state of existence being their soul. We are told of the new spiritual body in 1 Cor 15:42-44 "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." This clearly tells us that the redeemed when raised from the grave (first death) are not receiving a new soul, nor will they be receiving their old flesh body glorified, instead scripture says they will receive a new spiritual and imperishable body. This would mean the rich man begging for water to cool his tongue may be from desires remembered from his old home or tent-covering of his soul; much as the desire of the evil spirit driven out of a person described in Matt 12:43-44 "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left'."
It is evident then that before Christ in resurrection led captivity captive (or free), both Lazarus and the rich man had died, and having died are found no longer in their earthly or flesh body. Also these dead including the rich man are found in Sheol or Hell (Grave) together, with significant and different conditions mention between the good and wicked who are separated by an un-crossable gulf or chasm. It is evident also that the rich man alone is tormented, perhaps indicating he cannot bring an end or second death of himself, but instead in torment must wait for Gods judgment. As the new spiritual body has not yet been awarded in hell, and as Christ has not yet called the good and wicked together in judgment, those in death within the grave exist in the state of their soul.
Before Christ led captives free, and in this state with their soul, scripture that describes death as being asleep then relates to a state of their soul. Also that in this state there is no longer awareness of those yet living. However scripture describing Lazarus and the rich man does indicate there is awareness of those in the grave around them, Abraham addresses and answers the rich mans plea. Also as described it is only the wicked in hell who are experiencing some kind of suffering or torment. If it is the soul of the wicked in torment, this raises a question of how the soul suffers. We might believe that only the physical flesh body suffers, but here the Bible tells us that the soul is suffering. Who knows what the soul then experiences, the soul now without the breath or fire of God, nor even the old flesh body.
Then what some believe is eternal or everlasting suffering, in these passages shows that the suffering takes place in hell after the first death of the body, this is in hell or the grave and awaiting final judgment. Those in the grave or hell have not yet been thrown into the Burning Lake of Fire; they are still in the grave or hell. The upright or redeemed did not suffer in the grave before the first resurrection, it is the wicked in hell that suffered. The levels or places in Hell where these wicked reside are called many names such as the Grave, Sheol, Gehanna, Hades, the pit (bottomless), abyss or Lake of Burning Sulfur. The Lake of Sulfur being the common place in the end that all the wicked go including Satan, then death and hell with all the wicked are cast into the Lake of Fire to destruction. These locations may then be understood as the place in hell where the wicked wait for judgment.
Some describe scripture in which Christ tells his disciples to let the dead bury their dead. Christ is not saying they have already died either in flesh body or their soul, but they live in sin that leads to death. Reading further into scripture we are told those who die unredeemed of their sin, in judgment meet their second (soul) death. Yet all have sinned, and the unforgivable sin we are told is the deliberate rejection of the Holy Spirit. This is told in parable as the seed having fallen on rocky and hardened ground, not taking root but dying. Also Gods time scale is different than ours, a day itself like a thousand years, when Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden being told they would die, lived for what we would call a long period of time before dying.
What this means is that separation from God is not an immediate death whether first or second, separation from God is a condition due to sin of the unrepentant. This does not mean God will not be found within some part of His creation, as David says in Ps 139:8 "If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there." The Bible tells us by our own words and deeds we will be judged, we know that the fire which is God will be in the depths, this would seem to say that Gods justice is fair and if there is torment it is of our own making. The wrath of God is just, not to be compared with that which is the nature of man.
Only those after the first death who are resurrected back into the first body will know that life of the old flesh body again. Those who were raised back from death into the first body, as those in most cases described in scripture, these were people who had not yet seen corruption and returning of the body to dust. Others as the bones in the valley of a great battle, being raised again becoming flesh, symbolically describes a future resurrection and gathering. This does not mean that God is limited within any natural or spiritual condition, only that a certain order and justice is found in God. Of those who came out of the grave at the death of Jesus upon the cross, little is told beyond this. Regardless, God does not tempt or torment, this being the understanding and way of natural man.
It is commonly taught and believed that after final judgment, when the wicked are thrown into the Lake of Fire; in the Lake of Fire they will suffer and be tormented forever. This however I cannot say is found in Gods word. It is true that all whose names are not in the book of life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. All wicked and unredeemed will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, yet the Bible does not say these will all suffer forever with Satan, the Beast, and False Prophet. This suffering was while in Sheol, certainly to continue when at last and temporarily thrown back into the Fiery Lake of Burning Sulfur. About this judgment concerning our soul we are told in Matt 16:26 "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Here forfeit of the soul means surrender or suffering lose, specifically called destruction or perishing, and this does not occur until after the second death, nor happen in the Burning Lake of Sulfur in Sheol, scripture saying destruction as punishment forever occurs in final judgment within the Lake of Fire.
The Bible does tell us of an interim period in Rev 9:2 "When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace." This will be a time of great testing for those without the mark of God, after this will come the end time of Gods wrath and final judgment as told in Rev 20:13-15 "Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." If Death and Hades are thrown in judgment into the Lake of Fire, then Hell also ends, for Hades and Hell are one and the same, addressed as both representing the same.
The Damned or Unredeemed in hell are not described as those who will suffer forever, it is the smoke of their torment that will rise forever as described in Rev 14:10-11
"And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever." Their punishment will be forever, however this means no redemption or revival is possible after they experience their second death. To those whom God inspired to write 'forever and ever', this was expressed and understood by man only as a very long time, yet must be understood by including all inspired scripture relating and recorded throughout the Bible.
Scripture taken out of context might lead to confusion regarding the ending of the first or Old Covenant having been broken by man, and in error not include Gods New Covenant of grace through Christ Jesus our Messiah. The new supplants the old, and it is the New from which we need look for fulfillment as reminded in Heb 8:13 "By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear." Promises have been both covenantal and dispensational, under the New Covenant all will be fulfilled.
The Bible is clear that sin will be punished, also that sin leads to death, and in final judgment the second death is punishment that is eternal and everlasting. There will be no second chance after the second death to reverse this judgment. Gods judgment is described as an eternal punishment in Matt 25:46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life", or as in 2Thess 1:9 "They will be punished with everlasting destruction..." Here we are told that punishment is given once and for all. The punishment is destruction, in the lake of fire this destruction is the second death, this second death is everlasting destruction given as punishment.
God did not say He is planning to begin everlasting punishment from which there is redemption or correction. God has plainly said there is given a second death as judgment, this judgment is the second death as punishment, from this punishment there will never be reprieve, there will never be a correction. Confusion between punishment and destruction exists only if both continue to exist forever. However this destruction reduces to ashes as described in [NIV] 2 Peter 2:6 "...if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly..." This example is punishment by eternal fire described in Jude 7 "They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire." And this eternal punishment then is forever as described in Zephaniah 2:9 "...surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah-a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever."
In the first life after the Body ends in death, in death all that remains of the flesh body are residues that are dead, these remains are as smoke or ash which once were natural and living flesh bodies. In the second death of Soul, these the Bible says perish in the Burning Lake of Fire, this destruction is said to be for eternity and as punishment. Punishment then ends when destruction is final, however, as this destruction is an eternal fact, it is correct to say this destruction is eternal. So also because this destruction of the soul is punishment in the Lake of Fire, the punishment of these unredeemed may also be said rising as smoke eternally, because their punishment is true for eternity. Again, it says in Heb 12:29 ...for our "God is a consuming fire." The eternal question at this time would be, what remains of mans soul after it is extinguished and destroyed, would also smoke that rises for eternity be a description?
Punishment in this context may also explain why some believe in eternal suffering. Scripture tells us in the second death it is the 'smoke of their torment' that rises forever and ever, not that they suffer in torment forever and ever. The second death is of the soul for eternity, then what is left to suffer, what is left for torment, what is left to punish. There may be confusion about the second death or destruction with cessation of inanimate objects, yet there is no comparison between cessation of the inanimate, with death and destruction of the soul that once lived in God breathed spirit. And about this the Bible in Revelation says the second death is for eternity, the Bible speaks not at all of a third, forth, or any death of the soul beyond the second death. Some say there is no chronology to these events, however for those living the Bible says in Heb 9:27 "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." This judgment in itself would have no consequence if not carried out to conclusion of purpose. The conclusion is said completed when those judged for this purpose are cast into the Lake of Fire, and in the lake of fire they are destroyed, this destruction is called the second death.
The Fiery Lake of Burning Sulfur described somewhat differently in Matt 13:42 "They will be thrown into a fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth", this would indicate that before perishing and while in the grave these wicked will realize their great loss, and in this conviction or fire great anguish will be their response. In judgment Gods word is like an all consuming and eternal fire, devouring everything that is in Gods wrath. God being the only one who creates a soul, and God alone may end it. Those in torment must surely want their torment to end, yet as the rich man, it is evident they cannot destroy their own soul to end their torment. Many I am sure can remember suffering in conscience over a serious misdeed, how this was like a fever of torment in the body, indeed if not also our spirit and soul within. This is not given as explanation of how the soul might suffer, but by the grace and power of God and unless God wills otherwise, our soul continues beyond the first death.
So in the end or last days Satan will be released from the Abyss to be ruler over and deceiving those on earth not found in the book of life, culminating in an abomination leading to Satans Gog and Magog army defeated by Christ with His angelic army, leading as told in Rev 20:10 "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Notice that the angels are not mentioned here, although there is specific mention of the Devil, Beast, and False Prophet. An important point of this scripture is the mention of suffering 'day and night for ever and ever'; this event during yet this earthage, also as dire warning directed to those given offices of leadership in 1 Tim 3:6 "...or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil." This is exemplified further in scripture as a sternness possible warning, of such leaders we are told in Mark 12:40 "Such men will be punished most severely..."
For the righteous it is very different, as in 1 Cor 15:22-23 "...For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him." This describes saints in the first death, later including the last yet living, now gathered together in the air meaning in heaven, verified in 1 Thess 4:16-17 "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." At the Day of the Lord, Christ sends the angels to gather the saints out of heaven as told in Matt 24:30-31 "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." There is teachings of multi-levels of heaven, this may explain the souls now beneath the alter in Rev 6:9 "...I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held..." And these described in Rev 6:11 "Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed."All saints having a part within the first resurrection, Satan gathering his Gog and Magog being the second resurrection.
Consider very carefully what Rev 20:4-5 has revealed to us. Does it tell us all in the grave (Sheol) now reign with Christ, no, it said those on thrones given authority to judge (and) those in martyrdom by death who did not worship or accept the mark of the beast now reign with Christ. Look again, did it say those redeemed reign with Christ a thousand years? The redeemed in Christ are now called the new man or spiritual man, and yes we are told we reign (spiritually) with Christ in 2 Tim 2:11-12 "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him...", to endure in Christ also meaning to remain in faith trusting in the Lord. Then who other in the grave can these be after the first resurrection completed but the unredeemed, those awaiting judgment? Some apparently believe there are two resurrections for the redeemed, but this verse says the martyr were led free, the martyr during the spiritual war are also those holding true to the testimony of Christ until the end. If this is true for all the redeemed, those of grace are alive in Christ, and in death go directly to be with the Lord now in heaven, with the last of saint's living gathered by the Lord, leaving only the unredeemed upon earth and remaining in the grave until final judgment.
To the thief next to Christ on the cross we first hear in [KGV] Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Referred also as promise in Rev 2:7 "To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." Only the redeemed will be taken into Gods Paradise, significant in understanding Rev 20:4-5 "They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended). This is the first resurrection." This reigning with Christ is serving with Christ, Christ made clear He did not come to rule in Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Telling us we must do as He described in Eph 6:6-7 "...but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men..."
But scripture says those during life that remain true and obedient to God, those not taking the mark of the beast, these are the martyr in faith who in death go to be with their Lord. Of these captives Christ led free John refers to in Rev 6:9-11 "...I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?' Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed." The justice of God is not slow as we know slowness, and heaven awaits the last soul who sheds the tent of life to be with the Lord. Does 'under the alter' designate the levels of heaven, all that we can be sure of is that their request for justice was before the time of final judgment.
Here in Rev 20 we are told of the 1st resurrection, giving reason to understand there will be another. But don't the righteous in death as Paul indicates go to be with the Lord, as described in 2 Cor 5:8 "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." This being where a Christian believes that at death they do not go into Sheol/Hell, but go directly to be with the Lord. We know Jesus is the resurrection as in John 11:25-26 'Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life..." It is the [KJV] version that best describes Acts 4:2 "Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead," this acknowledging that through Jesus the righteous are resurrected. Then it was not the truth about resurrection that was being warned against in 2 Tim 2:18 "...they say that the resurrection has already taken place," instead it was warning against incomplete and misleading teachings that might lead to believing the Coming of the Lord for those yet living, and the Return of the Lord also called Day of the Lord for final judgment had already occurred.
Death is sometimes said brought by an angel or messenger, and this may be as deserved by one of two. Lazarus at death was carried by an angel to be with Abraham, yet death itself is given understanding regarding Christ in Heb 2:14 "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might be destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil." In this context death might be considered as the un-natural or permitted destroyer as in 2 Kings 19:35 "That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp." Death in the natural we can consider as in 1 Cor 15:55-57 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
The very last of revelation then is death and Hades being thrown into the burning lake of fire; this is the second death and destruction. Remembering again Eph 4:7-8 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men..." These redeemed who had been captured in the grave by death were those Christ led captive or free, and Christ now is with God in heaven meaning Paradise. This would mean any second resurrection after the first is for the wicked and unredeemed, and these being called out of their grave and into judgment. Salvation by grace is not accomplished in the natural or verbal condition, it is a covenant met in conversion by Christ in spiritual condition.
Did the upright only exist during Old Testament times, no the Bibles says the upright today are those being a law unto themselves. Do those who are a law unto themselves then have no opportunity to receive grace through Christ, no the Bible says that everyone will know and see the Lord as described in Titus 2:11-12 "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age..." Concerning these upright Christ leads free we are told in Rom 2:13-16 "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares."
It is true that the Lord is in all creation (even Sheol), yet as the thief upon the cross was promised paradise with Christ in heaven, the tree of life will not be in the grave (Sheol), and Christ led the redeemed free from the grave or Sheol. Read again 1 Thess 4:16-17, remembering that Gods time scale is nothing like ours, can man imagine this verse and Rev 20:4-5 both being verse's speaking of the same resurrection but in Gods own will and reference. Remember also there is another book, from this the garment is a promised as reward, this garment I believe is not the white robe but the Glorified and new Heavenly body.
In our present life the flesh is referred to as a tent, in eternal life the promised garment is referred to as the 'Glorified Body', the incorruptible and eternal Flesh or Spiritual Body. The Bible tells us in John 5:28-29 "...a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." The redeemed of the New Testament are those in the Old Testament who are called the Upright, these both will receive the new heavenly body. Of these bodies we are told in 1Cor 15:40 "There are also the heavenly bodies and there are the earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly body is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another." Then it is the soul of the unredeemed that are destroyed in eternal judgment. Then it is the redeemed or upright who receive the garments of righteousness, and this is called the Glorified body, the everlasting and spiritual body.
Consider the many who died before Christ descended into the depths, the depths from which Christ lead captives free. Consider the wicked that went into the place of hell where the rich man was found. Surely to these before Christ led captives free, these wicked in hell below and across the deep chasm from Abraham, these must have believed their suffering lasted an eternity. Hell is not judgment, just as the first death is not judgment, but after the first death we know in hell the wicked will suffer. In the throes of the second death of the soul there will be heard weeping and gnashing of teeth. The second death will be for eternity a punishment, because God is eternal, so also this punishment is for eternity. God did not set an infinite number of years for the first life in flesh, but consider the span of time the wicked suffer in hell after their first death, waiting for the time of judgment.
Do the wicked go to eternal shame and contempt as described in Daniel 12:2, no the word of God says they will be remembered no more, then the meaning of this was related to mans ways and thoughts. There will not be eternal punishment in hell (after the second death), because in Final Judgment hell and death will also be cast into the lake of fire. Just as the Bible says in Also in [NIV] Rev 21:7-8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." And this second death is finalized in the Lake of Fire as described in [KJV] Rev 20:13-15 "Then death and Hell were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
This tells us that judgment is carried over from the end of the first life into hell. In hell will be found everything associated with wickedness. This Abyss or Hell after the Millennium (properly called a Thousand) is opened and all the wicked are released for a final war, after defeated these wicked are cast into the Lake of Burning Sulfur, then sentenced according to judgment that is then carried out in the Burning Lake of Fire, and this is the second death meaning perishing in destruction as punishment. What need is there of Hell/Hades/Sheol/Grave/Pit after this, for the grave and the wicked therein including the Beast and the Lawless One (Satan) after destruction in the Lake of Fire will never again exist or be remembered.
This is the promise God gave about this earth age after the flood, this concerning the misunderstood promise of 'day and night existing forever and ever'. The promise only for this earth age is in Gen 8:22 "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." This promise explains mans misunderstanding of hell being everlasting suffering, never ending, lasting day and night for ever and ever. Instead we now have a new promise, and this concerning 'day and night' within the New Heavens and New Earth in Isa 66:22 "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me. For biblical description's of this 'Destruction, Passing Away, Perishing, fleeing at the Return of the Lord and No Place Found For Them', CLICK HERE for these descriptions.
God ends this earth age along with day and night forever when heaven and earth are destroyed or perish, beginning a new earth age with the New Heavens and Earth. His promise is not to repair or restore the 'old earth'; this is a new promise that both the heavens and earth are to be made anew, a New Heaven and New Earth. With this new promise the old order of day and night will end as God assures us in Rev 22:5 "There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever." Scripture tells us we are now in the last days of this earth age, described in Heb 9:24-27 "For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself." In the new creation there will no longer be 'day and night forever and ever', and although revealed in part, we cannot even begin to imagine the blessings of the new promise within Paradise called the New Heavens and New Earth.
Then in the teaching of 'suffering day and night forever and ever', this 'day and night forever and ever' will end as foretold in Isa 24:5 "The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant." The Old Covenant has ended and we now have a New Covenant and promise told of in Isa 65:17 "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind." This also foretold in Heb 1:10-12 "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end."
Some have been told or want to believe Satan has yet to be cast bound in chains in the abyss, however there was only one time Satan was cast out of heaven to the earth, this clearly told in Isa 14:12 "I How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit." Here the grave is Sheol/Hell, and the pit is the abyss, Christ had even described Satans fall from heaven in Luke 10:18-19 He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." Satan once led all the nations astray, Revelation-20 tells us in the last days Satan will again lead all nations astray. Paul however assures us Christ is now holding Satan back in 2 Thess 2:5-6 "Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time."
In this same context, the bible verses tells us of the lawless man in Rev 17:7-8 "The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction," this ending or destruction also repeated in 2 Thess 2:1-4 "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
It is very important to know and understand, that this present heavens and earth will one day perish and be no more, to be replaced with a New Heavens and a New Earth. This is repeated in both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament says in Isa 66:22 "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure," and in Isa 65:17 "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind." This is repeated in the New Testament in Rev 20:11-12 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them." Describing the new in Rev 21:1-2 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea." The warning and promise of the old replaced with new described in 2 Peter 3:10-13 "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."
Here is the sequence of the old and the new, Rev 20:11 "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them." Rev 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away..." Rev 21:1-2 "I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem..." Rev 21:5 "He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." Other references are Mark 13:30-31 and Heb 1:10-12.
I believe the greatest problem understanding scripture of the end time, is grasping Gods meaning concerning what He will destroy and what He will create anew. Confusing the Old Covenant with the New Covenant, we now have the new promises and New Covenant replacing or fulfilling the old promises of those in the past who kept the Old Covenant in faith. That in which Satan is cast, in which all the wicked of the world is cast, this including death and hell, these are all destroyed and perish to be remembered no more. In the new earth age of the New Heavens and New Earth we will no longer endure suffering or hunger awaiting seasons of summer and winter, cold and heat, after planting and harvest for sustenance, these were conditions of the old order of natural flesh during the Old Covenant. Believe God when John tells of the new creation in Rev 21:1 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away..." One last revelation by John concerning the New Jerusalem in Rev 21:22 "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." To all of this we should all say, amen.
What should be taught often is that which is not, and that which is taught, at times being found nowhere in the Bible for validation. The Rapture was never mentioned by Christ nor is found in the Bible, it being an 18th century addition concerning the Coming of Christ (not to be confused with the Return of Christ) to gather those still living into the air (heaven) with those who had passed on before, told of in 1 Thess 4:17 "...we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." Many scholars and teachers are want in mentioning to the babe in Christ that there are apparently then two Raptures or Gatherings. Warning that one gathering is by the False Christ or the devil to claim those unprepared, or perhaps misled. It is during life that determines those that will be gathered by Christ, and those that will be gathered by the Devil. Christ will gather His people after the first death including those still living at His coming, Satan will gather his people after the first death including those still living at his release.
This is much like the 'tribulation' that began long ago, Paul spoke to those then living regarding their tribulation's in 2 Cor 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." Troubles mentioned here is interpreted from the original... thlipsis (thlip'-sis); from NT:2346; pressure (literally or figuratively): KJV - afflicted (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble. The Bible teaches that in the very end days these tribulation's reach climax when the Abyss is opened and calamity begins the curses of judgment, this apocalypse so devastating in nature and events as never seen before or ever to be seen again. I sometimes wonder however if those who believe tribulation's will not be in their lives, in so believing hope to be spared the thought or act of being brought before the leaders and authorities of their age. Still in all ages and everyone's lifetime there will be these occurrences, either in the body or in the spirit and soul, whether prepared or unprepared.
Some also still cling to the Old Covenant as though it were still in force. It is true God has not changed, He remains the God of order meaning His laws remain, and Christ said He did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill them. Yet the New Promise or Covenant is not of the law, but of grace, so then we must attend to the New Covenant. Do we know where the Temple of God is now found; it is not a Temple built by man. Do not look forward to being gathered into the old, but into the new, because the old will perish in destruction. Do not denigrate the works of Christ Jesus, in the New Covenant Christ is the only way to salvation. Who then are the chosen of God and those God seeks, not those who reject Christ Jesus who is the New Promise.
Prophetic scripture tells us in the end or last days a remnant of the chosen people will accept their Messiah that is Christ. Then the rebellious against God are purged out from among those who remained faithful, those that reject Christ destined for judgment to pass away or perish in destruction and be remembered no more. Scripture tells of the chosen remnant of Israel who return with heart of repentance in Romans 11:24 "...how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!" Scripture also makes clear salvation is to all who believe, as told in Acts 13:26 "Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent."
McMlintoch and Strongs Encyclopedia
she'owl (sheh-ole'); or sheol (sheh-ole'); from OT:7592; Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates:
KJV - grave, hell, pit
geena (gheh'-en-nah); of Hebrew origin [OT:l516 and OT:2011 ]; valley of (the son of) Hinnom; ge-henna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment:
KJV - hell.
haides (hah-dace): from NT:1 (as negative particle) and NT:1492 properly, unseen, i.e. "Hades" or the place (state) of departed souls:
KJV - grave, hell.
'abaddown (ab-ad-done'); intensive from OT:6; abstract, a perishing; concrete, Hades:
apoleia (ap-o'-li-a); from a presumed derivative of NT:611; ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal):
KJV - damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste.
tartaroo (tar-tar-o'-o); from Tartaros (the deepest abyss of hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment:
KJV - cast down to hell.
abussos (ab-us-sos); from NT:1 (as negative particle) and a variation of NT:1037; depthless, i.e. (specifically) (infernal) "abyss":
KJV - deep, (bottomless) pit.
'eyd (ade); from the same as OT:181 (in the sense of bending down); oppression; by implication misfortune, ruin:
KJV - calamity, destruction.
theion (thi'-on); probably neuter of NT:23 04 (in its original sense of flashing); sulphur:
KJV - brimstone.
maveth (maw'-veth); from OT:4191; death (natural or violent); concretely, the dead, their place or state (hades); figuratively, pestilence, ruin:
KJV - (be) dead ([-Iy]), death, die (-d).
***. Muwth lab-ben. See OT:4192.
paradise (par-ad-i-sos); of Original origin [compare OT:6508]; a park, i.e. (specifically) an Eden (place of future happiness, "paradise"):
KJV - paradise.
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