“Christians” for too long like to damn people to hell. If you do bad things, you will go to hell. That is a common view among many Christians. You have Calvinist who believe only a few people are going to go to heaven and those have been chosen before time. Other Christians believe that hell awaits those who fail to accept Jesus and many who don’t have a clue who goes, but they don’t want to be there. Confusing isn’t it.
The surprising part is that only Christians and Muslims talk about hell. Other religions have a temporary hell like aspect, but not an eternal hell. The Jewish faith is a little different. The current message is that the afterlife doesn’t matter, but this life is what people should focus on. This hasn’t always been the case though. Maybe it stems from the years of persecution and the fact that they no longer have a temple in which to worship God as their faith calls for. In any case, there seems to be a disconnect between the Tanakh / Old Testament and current views.
Job 14:13 Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
Job 17:13-15 If I hope for Sheol as my house, if I make my bed in darkness, (14) if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ (15) where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?
Job 24:19 Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters; so does Sheol those who have sinned.
Job 26:6 Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering.
Psa 9:17 The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.
Psa 16:10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
Psa 30:3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Psa 49:15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah
Psa 55:15 Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.
Psa 86:13 For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
Psa 139:8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
Pro 15:11 Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD; how much more the hearts of the children of man!
Pro 27:20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man.
Isa 14:11-15 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. (12) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! (13) You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (15) But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.
Isa 66:22-24 “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain. (23) From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD. (24) “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
Dan 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
I could go on, but you get the point. There is a view of heaven in the Jewish faith as well as Sheol. Many Christian translations have put Sheol to mean hell, but I don’t think that is what it is supposed to be. There are verses that talk about ransoming of life from Sheol as well as people who sin going there, so it seems to be more of a waiting place. There are depths of Sheol, so it sounds like there are levels to it. The deeper you go, the worse you were. There was a concept of an afterlife and punishment to some degree for a sinful life in Jewish belief.
From some pagan belief, we have the current view that hell is this fiery place where the Devil reigns and torments those who were sent there. Not a scriptural view, but it is held onto tightly. It is a view that takes up the performance oriented view of mankind. If you fail to live up and perform, you will be punished for eternity. Fun right!
The New Testament is more forward in addressing the concept of Hell and how you get there.
Mat 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Mat 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Mat 13:38-43 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, (39) and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. (40) Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. (41) The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, (42) and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (43) Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Rev 20:13-15 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. (14) Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. (15) And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Rev 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
The Christian view of hell is a lot more cut and dry than the Jewish view. What happened to make the leap? Jesus
Sheol would have been the waiting place until God passed judgment on them. Jesus came to bring judgment on all of mankind, so there is no more hanging out in the same place right?
Rev 20:5-8 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. (7) And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison (8) and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
You have Jesus ruling over all of the Nations for a thousand years along with those who shared in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over those. The second death references Rev 21:8. After the 1000 year period, the devil comes back and lies to the nations and the people get a second choice to choose between God and what they desire. If people go to hell when they die the first time, who are these people? These are people who have seen Jesus and not just accepted Him based on faith.
This is where I get the disconnect with common view of hell and what I have read.
Luk 12:46-48 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. (47) And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. (48) But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Rom 2:14-16 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. (15) They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them (16) on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
Those who don’t know the law but demonstrate it still show that they understand the nature of God. People who have never heard the gospel as to be judged on their actions instead of their faith. This seems to lead into that second group.
I know it is not part of the biblical cannon, but the book of Enoch mentions four groups of people. The first group would be those who are saints and already have a place secured in heaven. This would those who believed in Jesus and have been saved by faith. The second group are those who are not damned to hell, but have not secured a place in heaven. They have done good in their life, but not embraced God and have another chance at redemption. The third group have heard the message of God but have refused it. They lived a good life and have a second chance of redemption. The fourth group are those who did wicked in the sight of God have been condemned to the hell. There is no chance for them.
I kind of like this idea as it helps me understand that 1,000 year period where people have a second chance. It isn’t in the Bible, so I can not say for certain that it is the word of God.
My faith and belief says that I am to share the message of salvation to all. All who embrace it and accept are award salivation through appropriation. While I like the idea of a second chance for those who don’t accept, I am not going to stop sharing my faith with others hoping that it is true.