Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Is there a REAL Hell Fire?

There is no need to live in fear and doubt -- YOU CAN KNOW what and where hell is, WHO goes to hell and whether any can LEAVE hell. Read the answers, plainly written and explained from YEHOVAH's Own Word.

by HOIM Staff
THE RESTAURANT was crowded with businessmen and women of Pasadena discussing their day's business over lunch. Fitted in between a bank building and a hat shop, this particular restaurant was long and narrow so that many of those sitting in the rear could not see what was going on toward the entrance. About 12:30, when people were still standing in line waiting to get a table, three women walked in. Two were rather skinny, one was overly plump, all were unkempt and disheveled.
About halfway to the rear of the restaurant, one of the women burst out in a loud voice screaming, "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! HELL FIRE AND BRIMSTONE!"
Panic struck! Diners jumped to their feet, dishes clattered to the floor as patrons tried to leave through the nearest exit in response to the one word they had heard over the hubbub of conversation -- FIRE!
But the women went on "witnessing for Christ," crudely informing all of the patrons of the restaurant they would go to HELL and suffer in ever-burning flames unless they accepted Jesus Christ! While she was screaming this message at the top of her lungs, her disheveled partner bent near a patron's ear and whispered, "If you died TODAY, would you be ready to meet Jesus?"
Recovering from his shock, the manager invited these three self-styled prophetesses to leave his establishment. Things quieted down, and the hum of conversation again returned to near normal -- but few were talking about business anymore. The Greek name of Yeshua the Messiah had been used in a very unsavory situation -- people's stomachs were upset, food had been spilled on some clothing, nerves were shattered and on edge, the train of thought of those discussing business over their lunch had been forgotten -- for some the whole day had been ruined!
But despite her crude manner of presenting it, does the HELL FIRE this prophetess preached really exist?
World of Confusion!
Almost into the second decade of the 21st century, when mankind seems to have more knowledge on any given point than he has ever had in his entire history, there is more confusion, mixed-up ideas and superstitions prevailing about this burning issue of hell than ever before! God-defying atheists and narrow-minded scientists loudly proclaim they do not even believe YEHOVAH GOD exists, much less a heaven or hell. On the other hand are religious people who, for sake of dogma, or because it suits their sense of justice, believe there IS an ever-burning, never-consuming, torturing hell fire that awaits those who do not make a profession of THEIR Messiah.
Sincere, though deceived, these individuals insist that the message from YEHOVAH God to mankind is that if a man does not accept and love the Messiah in his given span of near 70 years, the Eternal God of heaven, All-Wise, All-Loving, All-Merciful will heap unimagined and excruciating pain in the ever-burning flames of hell upon that soul for all eternity -- because of 70 years of sin.
Many claim that this is the very POWER of the Gospel! That if you remove the punishment of hell, and the pains of everlasting suffering, from the GOOD news, the Gospel message, no one would accept YEHOVAH's other teaching. Hell, in THEIR good-news-Gospel, becomes the place where YEHOVAH God wreaks vengeance on "sinners!" If this be true, and the governments of this earth were to follow the example of this All-Wise God -- then criminals, instead of being put in jail, or put to death, should be TORTURED!
Those who claim to be YEHOVAH's representatives on earth, from a dignified priest to the street-corner evangelist, all demand that you choose NOW whether you will spend eternity in heaven or in hell! Two things are taken for granted here: one, that everyone, regardless of race, MUST choose NOW; and two, that ETERNITY will be spent in hell.
The Source of Truth!
Where CAN we go to find the real truth of this matter? If there is an ever-burning, torturing hell fire that the God of heaven has in store for those of us of Israel who sin against Him, then certainly it behooves each of us to find out the details regarding it!
Does science have the answer? Has anyone scientifically SEEN and examined hell? FELT and SMELLED of hell? Observed it in all of its excruciating agony and returned to tell of its existence and conditions?
NO! Science does not have the answer!
An encyclopedia can only give you what men have THOUGHT about hell throughout the ages of the past!
The only source that talks with real authority on this subject is the Word of YEHOVAH God! "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). The Bible is the only source that speaks with ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY ON THIS SUBJECT -- a subject beyond the realm of modern science, and yet modern science, as far as its KNOWLEDGE concerning the dead goes, completely agrees with the Bible in every detail.
Instead of trying to IMAGINE what hell might be like, let us go directly into the pages of YEHOVAH's Word and find out what YEHOVAH God has to say -- letting the Bible completely interpret itself -- not letting our imagination run wild on any point -- really proving all things! The doctrine of hell this world propounds determines, by the use of stark fear, to FORCE you into acceptance of the Gospel. This is not the spirit of YEHOVAH God, because YEHOVAH's Word says, "For God has NOT given us the SPIRIT OF FEAR; but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND! (II Timothy 1:7.)
The truth from YEHOVAH's own Word will agree with YEHOVAH's spirit of true love, yet will certainly NOT DETRACT from YEHOVAH's POWER and will, throughout its entire explanation, be completely SOUND-MINDED!
The over-all, principle CHOICE that YEHOVAH GOD lays down for every individual Israelite is found in the much-preached but little understood "golden text" of the Bible, John 3:16. "For God so loved the world [of Israel], that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should NOT PERISH, but have everlasting life." On the one hand YEHOVAH says that if those of you of Israel accept the sacrifice of His only begotten Son you WILL have everlasting life. On the other hand, if you do not accept the Savior who died for you, you must PERISH!
How does hell enter into THIS? WHAT is hell? WHERE is hell? Who GOES to hell? HOW LONG DO YOU STAY IN HELL? Can you LEAVE hell?
What Is Hell?
Confusion is in the mind of today's Christian because he is told either that the Bible does not mean what it says or that wherever "hell" is mentioned in the Bible it is a hell of FIRE for the eternal torture of the damned. YEHOVAH's Word plainly reveals that there is more than one kind of hell.
There are three DIFFERENT Greek words, each having A DIFFERENT MEANING, which have been translated "hell" in the King James Version.
The Greek word "hades" simply means "pit" or "grave." In 1611 when the King James Version was translated, the Englishmen spoke of putting their potatoes in "hell" for the winter -- that is, simply in a hole in the ground! There has to be a place for those who die and that place we are all in common knowledge of: the grave. If men, immediately when they die, either go to heaven or hell, then YEHOVAH's Word would NOT have said, "For David is NOT ASCENDED into the heavens" (Acts 2:34) and "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he IS BOTH DEAD AND BURIED, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day" (Acts 2:29).
At the time Peter was preaching his first inspired sermon on that day of Pentecost in 31 A.D. -- 99 days after the Messiah first ascended to the Father in heaven from this very "hell" -- he says that the great patriarch David is still in hell!
Let us UNDERSTAND this!
"Because thou wilt not leave my [David's] soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One [Yeshua the Messiah] to see CORRUPTION" (Acts 2:27). This is quoted in your New Testament from Psalm 16:10, where David prophesied of the coming of the Messiah, of his crucifixion and death, of his burial and stay in the grave, "hell -- but not long enough in that grave to suffer "corruption," that is the decaying of the flesh. Yet after the Messiah was resurrected, David still remained in the grave, in his sepulchre, completely corrupted and nothing but dust at that time.
By comparing this scripture with the Old Testament, we find that this hades-hell of the New Testament is the same as the sheol-hell of the Old Testament. YEHOVAH God's Word describes this hell very plainly. It is merely the grave where everyone goes when he dies. It is not "the abode of the dead" in the sense that dead spirits are walking around in a dark, cold cavern somewhere in the heart of the earth, but merely the resting place where all those who have died AWAIT A RESURRECTION. That is why the triumphant Psalm is quoted in I Corinthians 15 -- the resurrection chapter -- where it states, "O grave, where is thy victory?" (I Corinthians 15:55.) All the individual Israelites who have died and rotted and turned to dust will eventually be resurrected -- some to eternal life, some to judgment. This hades-hell will not have an eternal hold on those of Israel who spend time there.
The description of this hell is not left to the imagination of men but very clearly defined. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there IS NO WORK, NOR DEVICE, NOR KNOWLEDGE, NOR WISDOM, in the grave [sheol -- hades -- hell] whither thou goest" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Your Bible describes this as a very dead place! How else would YOU describe the grave?
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead KNOW NOT ANYTHING, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their LOVE, and their HATRED and their ENVY, is now PERISHED"! (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6.) YEHOVAH's Word is very plain-spoken. In the grave, "hell" -- where you or anyone goes upon death -- is neither a place of physical nor mental activity of any kind. "His [man's] breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in THAT VERY DAY HIS THOUGHTS PERISH! (Psalm 146:4.)
Any scientific experiment which can be enacted and observed completely backs up these Bible statements. But this is as far as science can help us. This is the ONLY hell that science is cognizant of.
Churchmen try to confuse this hades-hell by admitting that it is indeed the grave, but going on to explain that ONLY THE BODY goes to the grave while the soul goes elsewhere. This doctrine can nowhere be proved within the pages of YEHOVAH God's Word (Write for the article Do You Have an Immortal Soul?). YEHOVAH's Word very clearly says that David, not just David's body, is both dead and buried and is not in heaven! And if David is not there surely no one else is.
The second Greek word translated "hell" is "tartaroo." It is used ONLY ONCE in the Bible. "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell..." (II Peter 2:4). The word here, very loosely translated hell, is not a place but a condition. It refers to the CONDITION OF RESTRAINT that YEHOVAH God has imposed upon those angels which rebelled against Him and followed Satan the Devil. This word -- tartaroo-hell -- is never used in reference to man.
When Satan and his demons rebelled against YEHOVAH God, He put them in a condition of restraint -- much as modern governments put criminals in a condition of restraint -- where they must remain until their time of judgment (Jude 6).
Science has never observed this tartaroo-hell! Churchmen are confounded by it! YEHOVAH's truth is very plain concerning it!
The REAL Hell
The Greek word "gehenna" denotes a place of punishment. Gehenna, or the Valley of Hinnom, is a place just outside Jerusalem where trash, filth and dead bodies were thrown to be BURNED UP. It was a city dump and there was always a fire burning to CONSUME THE REFUSE that was thrown there. Yeshua the Messiah -- and the disciples and apostles after him -- used this word consistently when they were referring to that "hell" which will BURN UP SINNERS! Gehenna-hell is a synonym for the "lake of fire" into which the unrepentant dead of Israel are to be cast at the end of time. This is the only hell in the Bible which is associated with flames or fire. No inner caverns in the bowels of the earth are mentioned. No ice-filled rooms where people's feet are sticking out and being tickled by demented spirits are talked about in YEHOVAH's Word in reference to this gehenna-hell. It is never described as a fire in which the damned LIVE, but a fire in which the damned DIE!
To explain the usage of the two basic words used in the Greek language and translated "hell" in the English language in the King James Version: "And death and HELL were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second DEATH. And whosoever [of Israel] was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:14-15). The word translated "hell" in Verse 14 is hades, the grave. The grave itself and those which are not found written in the book of life are going to be cast into the lake of fire -- gehenna-hell. This will empty the grave -- hades-hell -- and it will cease to exist -- no dead will ever again be buried in the grave. They will be burned up.
Those of YEHOVAH's people Israel who refuse to live by YEHOVAH God's law, who insist on rebelling against the way of life that YEHOVAH knows brings happiness, health and peace, are going to be cast bodily into this gehenna-hell, the lake of fire, to terminate their MISERABLE existence, to put them OUT OF THEIR MISERY, to END their life!
Do These Scriptures Contradict?
In spite of how clearly the subject of hell is discussed in the Bible, many still quote other scriptures out of context as supposed proof that YEHOVAH God uses hell for the purpose of inflicting never-ending torture on the damned; while others also quote still other scriptures as proof that hell is the instrument YEHOVAH God uses to destroy the wicked, body and soul!

Does one scripture contradict another? No! YEHOVAH's Word plainly says, "...Scripture cannot be broken!" (John 10:35.) How can one set of scriptures be used to "knock in the head" another set of scriptures then? The answer is, it cannot be done -- honestly!

It is the habit of those who quote scriptures on the subject to use only part of the verses pertaining to the subject -- they read a false meaning into them. By subtle half-truths, by vivid pictures, by peddling popular -- not Biblical -- teachings, they shackle Christendom to unreasoning fear or insult the intelligence of the educated into complete disbelief!

We must not read our inherited or desired meaning into any particular passage of scripture -- "no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II Peter 1:20 ) -- but each passage is interpreted by, and in the light of, other texts!

Let's look into a few of the most commonly used scriptures on this subject, and understand them in the clear light of YEHOVAH's own Word -- let's see what they really say!

What About Lazarus and the Rich Man?

The 16th chapter of Luke has been used universally by those who believe in an eternally torturing hell.

If you will carefully read the chapter beginning in verse 19 and reading through to verse 31 -- the entire parable of Lazarus and the rich man -- you will notice there is no mention of TIME in the entire description!

Since this is so universally misunderstood, and there is not the space here to cover the background needed to thoroughly discuss the subject because of the need to answer many other questions, I will put down here a brief excerpt from the core of an article we have on the subject. This article goes thoroughly into this particular subject of Lazarus and the rich man. The following is an EXCERPT, only part of what is contained in the entire article covering the subject thoroughly:

The Fate of the Rich Man

Now let's see what happened to the rich man -- and when!

The Messiah said of him: "...The rich man also died, and was buried" (Luke 16:22). The Messiah did not say the rich man was taken immediately at the time to an eternally burning hell. He did not say the body was buried but that the rich man himself was plunged immediately into a burning hell. He said the rich man died -- and the rich man, himself, was buried.

Now one would hardly say of one being put into the burning caldron -- luridly described as the imaginary hell -- that the act of throwing one into that burning region was a BURYING of the person, would he? One is not buried unless he is covered up.

People are buried in a grave, and covered with earth. But the imaginary hell that was described by Dante Alighieri is never pictured as a place of BURIAL! But this rich man died and was buried! He, himself, was buried -- not a "house" he had lived in. The Messiah said so -- read it in your Bible! The rich MAN was buried!

What Kind of Hell?

In the next verse, the Messiah said, "And in hell he lifted up his eyes" (verse 23). So the rich man was in a place called "hell," after all, wasn't he? And in this hell he "lifted up his eyes." His eyes had been closed, in death, and now there came a time when they opened -- he "lifted up his eyes"!

What kind of "hell" is this? Startling though it may be, the rich man was buried in the same kind of "hell" the Messiah was buried in! Yes, Yeshua died and was buried -- and in "hell"!

In the first inspired sermon preached by Peter on the day the New Testament Church started, Peter said: "He [David] seeing this before spake of the RESURRECTION of Christ, that his soul was not left IN HELL, neither his flesh did see corruption" (Acts 2:31).

The most commonly used Greek word for the term "hell" was written here by Luke -- hades. And hades means the grave -- a place of burial in the ground!

As we have already seen, when the King James translation of the Bible was made, Englishmen spoke commonly of "putting their potatoes in hell for the winter." They buried them in the ground! This is the "hell" the Messiah was buried in -- the "hell" his soul was not left in -- the grave, or tomb, from which he was resurrected! And this, hades, was also the "hell" in which the rich man was buried!

What Is This Flame?

But when he is resurrected, he sees a flame which torments him. What is this?

Now the Messiah did, on other occasions, speak of perishing and being destroyed in "gehenna FIRE." What is this? It is described in Revelation 20:14-15, as a "lake of fire." Scripture everywhere describes the final fate of the wicked of Israel as being burned up by fire. It is this "lake of fire," which is "the second death," from which there shall be no resurrection! The PUNISHMENT is death by fire! They remain forever DEAD! This death is for all eternity -- eternal punishMENT -- but it is not eternal punishING!

Now, opening his eyes in his grave, this rich man SEES Abraham, and Lazarus in his "bosom" -- his embrace! Yes, the Messiah said that some would SEE Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom and they themselves thrust out! This rich man sees them! He also sees this awful flame of fire -- this lake of fire which is about to destroy him forever! He is terrified!

What happens when one is suddenly so horrified with fear? His mouth goes dry. His tongue sticks to his mouth and throat! The rich man cries out in this mental agony: "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my TONGUE, for I am tormented in this flame."

Now if the rich man were in the kind of "hell" most people seem to believe, his whole body would be on fire -- you would think he would have called for at least a bucket of water to put out the fire, wouldn't you?

Look at this!

How much water did he call for? He said to Abraham: "...Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water." Just a couple of drops -- that's all the water he requested! Doesn't that strike you as strange?

Why did he call for water? To put out the fires of all "hell" -- the kind of hell people would have you believe he was in? Ah, no! He only wanted a mere couple of drops of water on Lazarus' finger. Why? To "cool my tongue"! That's what the rich man said! Open your own Bible again, and read it!

The flame, he said, was "tormenting" him. This word "tormented," used in verses 24 and 25 is translated from the Greek word odunomai. This is defined in any Greek-English lexicon as "to cause pain, to pain, distress; pain of body, but also, pain of mind; grief, distress."

Why, of course! This rich man opens his eyes in his grave in a resurrection. He is resurrected mortal, just as he was before he died -- not immortal like Lazarus! He sees this lake of fire. Now he knows the frightful, the awful doom he is to be thrust into, to be burned up -- destroyed! He is suffering mental anguish such as he never experienced in his lifetime. His tongue is dry. He breaks out in a cold sweat. He cries for a little water on the tip of Lazarus' finger to cool his tongue! He is in a condition of weeping and gnashing of teeth!

The Final Hell Fire

Now once again read this in your Bible! Read exactly what the Messiah said, not what the "hell-fire" preachers have told you he said! Did the Messiah say this rich man was going to suffer endlessly and forever -- always burning -- being on fire -- yet never burning up? Did he? Of course NOT! There is not one word here about HOW LONG his anguish is to last.

The rich man is pictured as being among the wicked of Israel who are going to be cast into the lake of fire! When they lift up their eyes in the resurrection, they shall know that they are doomed, now to be cast into the lake of fire to be burned up!

This rich man cried out for help because of his mental and physical anguish -- knowing what was now to befall him! He knew he was guilty! When a man realizes he is guilty, and faces his just and terrible retribution, the very first part of the body to be affected is the tongue, which dries out -- seems to be on fire!

Be sure to write for our FREE article -- Lazarus and the Rich Man.

Immortal Worms?

A startling statement is found in Mark 9:48. In this passage of Scripture, Yeshua the Messiah spoke of a worm that "dieth not." Whoever heard of the immortality of worms? What did the Messiah mean?

Some PEOPLE think that the Messiah was referring to people as worms and was trying to say that these "people" never died -- but lived on in agonizing torment. Those who say this fail to notice that Yeshua does not call the wicked people "worms," but instead speaks of THEIR worm. The lexicons define the Hebrew (Isaiah 66:24) and Greek (Mark 9:48) words translated "worm" as a grub or maggot, and these words in no way refer to a man. The Messiah was NOT teaching the immortality of people or worms!

Actually, the Messiah was here warning his listeners that those Israelites who would "offend" -- who would live a life of rebellion against YEHOVAH God -- would be cast into "hell fire." Most Bibles show in the marginal rendering that this was Gehenna fire. The Messiah was referring to Gehenna as a type of the "lake of fire" which will befall the second death in the ungodly of Israel.

Gehenna, or the Valley of Hinnom, was located outside of Jerusalem and was a place where trash, filth, and the dead bodies of animals and despised criminals were thrown. If anything, especially a dead body, landed on a ledge above the fires, it would be devoured by many worms or maggots which were kept alive by the animal and vegetable substances deposited there.

It was to these worms that the Messiah was referring when he said "their worm dieth not." But the Messiah didn't mean that each individual worm continued to live forever!

Actually, these worms, or maggots are the larvae which develop from eggs deposited by flies. They continue for only a few days in this larval stage, then they pupate and finally emerge as flies, later dying. These are scientific facts, known by any real student of science. And yet some people think that the Messiah ignorantly stated that these larvae continued to live forever in that stage of development! This just goes to show that we should always be careful to use wisdom and common sense in studying YEHOVAH's Word. The holy spirit is the spirit of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). Let's rightly use the minds YEHOVAH God gave us!

This same reference to worms is found in Isaiah 66:24. Here we again find that the Hebrew word simply means a common grub or a maggot. These worms or larvae also feed on the dead bodies for a few days, and then emerge as flies. Thus, these worms "dieth not" but continue to develop into flies just as any normal, healthy worm! The flies continue to deposit their eggs only as long as there are dead bodies or other matter for the larvae to feed on. Also notice that this verse plainly says people are going to see, "look upon" -- this does not take place in the center of the earth or hidden away in some hole in the ground.

Startlingly, a clear and thoughtful reading of this particular verse (verse 24), shows that the verse is not talking about LIVE people, but the "CARCASES of the men that have transgressed against me." They are not alive and consciously suffering in any case!

Fire Never Quenched!

"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be QUENCHED"! (Mark 9:43 -- see also Matthew 18:8-9 where same question is treated.)

Does that mean burning forever, and never burning up? Try this test: Put a piece of paper in a pan. Light it with a match.

Now, don't QUENCH that fire!

Don't put it out -- for that's what "quench" means. Very soon the paper will burn up. Then put it down on the floor and step on it! Now it's merely ashes under the soles of your feet -- precisely as your Bible plainly says the wicked of Israel shall be! In Jeremiah 17:27, YEHOVAH God warned the Judahites that Jerusalem would be burned, and the fire would not be quenched -- unless they repented. In Jeremiah 52:13, you read the account of the burning of Jerusalem. That fire was not quenched! It is not still burning! It just burned itself out.

Example of Hell Fire

YEHOVAH does not leave the answer to these questions for man to reason about and come up with his own ideas. In the stern warning to those Israelites who were in need of getting back to the faith once delivered, YEHOVAH, through His servant Jude, left the perfect example of the effect of eternal fire! "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for AN EXAMPLE, suffering the vengeance of ETERNAL FIRE"! (Jude 7.)

These cities of Sodom and Gomorrah suffered from the vengeance of eternal fire. Are these cities still burning and yet not being consumed?

Of course not!

"Eternal fire" means a fire whose RESULTS are permanent or everlasting. Sodom and Gomorrah have never been rebuilt!

The fires which burned Sodom and Gomorrah went out of themselves. Clearly there is no question as to the plain meaning of YEHOVAH God's Word. All who will insist on rebelling against Him unrepentantly will be burned to a crisp in a very real hell fire!

Tormented Forever?

Many are confused by Revelation 20:10, partly by a mistranslation, and partly because they do not let the Bible interpret the Bible. "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."

In your King James Version you will notice that the word "are" is in italics. This means that the word was supplied by the translators and is not in the original Greek. This is the mistranslation that misleads, indicating that the beast and the false prophet are still in the lake of fire at the time that the devil and his demons are cast into this lake. According to the chronology of Revelation itself both the beast and the false prophet were cast alive into the lake of fire at the beginning of YEHOVAH's thousand-year reign on the earth (Revelation 19:20). By merely using YEHOVAH's definition of what happens to human bodies when they are cast into fire, we can realize that they will be burned up just like so much fat on a hot stove (Psalm 37:20), and therefore the phrase in Revelation 20:10 should be translated "where the beast and the false prophet WERE."

In Matthew 25:41 Yeshua said, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." The Messiah here plainly showed that the everlasting fire was prepared for Satan and his angels. Yet he goes on to show that Israelites who are ultimately judged unfit for eternal life, and are not granted the gift of LIFE -- something they do not have of themselves -- are also to be cast into this very lake of fire, as verse 46 says, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishMENT" (verse 46). This final punishment which sinners suffer is eternal DEATH by fire. It is not eternal punishING! Once they are burned up and now dead they are going to stay dead forever -- this makes the punishment everlasting!

When these people are cast into this lake of fire it is by YEHOVAH's definition -- the Bible definition -- an eternal, everlasting DEATH from which there is no resurrection forever, called "the second DEATH"! "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars [that is, all those of YEHOVAH's people Israel who insist on breaking YEHOVAH's laws, who persist in sin -- I John 3:4], shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is [by YEHOVAH's own definition] the second death"! (Revelation 21:8.)

"The Smoke of Their Torment" (Revelation 14:11)

Does the scripture, "...And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever..." (Revelation 14:11), contradict the passage which reads, "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet..."? (Malachi 4:3.)

Notice that verse 8 gives the time setting of Revelation 14:11. It is speaking about the impending fall of "Babylon."

Verses 9 and 10 say: "...If any man worship the beast and his image and receive his mark...he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone...in the presence of the Lamb" (that is, at the Messiah's second appearance)!

Those who have a part in this system of "Babylon," and who receive this frightful punishment from Almighty God, have "no rest day nor night" as long as they remain in that land falling under YEHOVAH's wrath! They will either have to flee that area and seek YEHOVAH's mercy or be tormented by sulphurous fumes till they perish.

Notice that this passage does NOT say these individuals are being tormented forever in an ever-burning hell. Verse 11 says: "...The SMOKE of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever...."

The Bible plainly teaches that flesh and blood is subject to combustion and death. Malachi 4:3 says the ashes of the wicked of Israel will finally be under the feet of the righteous. The wicked will be DESTROYED and will die that death -- the second death -- from which there is never to be a resurrection (Revelation 20:6, 14).

Why Does YEHOVAH God Use Gehenna-Hell?
YEHOVAH God's plan of salvation for Israel is a 7000-year plan. For 6000 years of this time YEHOVAH God has allowed Adamic mankind to go his way, under the influence of his own mind and directed also by the mind of Satan the Devil. Adamic man has tried every way he can think of to govern himself to bring peace, happiness, health, prosperity, but has failed miserably! Down through the ages YEHOVAH has selected some few whom He called OUT OF His people Israel to realize His plan of salvation, to repent of their ways which are contrary to His laws, and to change their way of life to agree with YEHOVAH God.
When YEHOVAH God and His Messiah return to this earth in the very next few years YEHOVAH will, FOR THE FIRST TIME in Adamic mankind's history, set His hand to save all of His people Israel -- that is, all Israelites who are alive on the earth at that time. He will offer them the same salvation that He has in the past only offered to a few whom He has called OUT OF Israel. Then, at the close of a thousand years of this reign, all of the Israelites who have ever died, but never had a chance to know the True God and His appointed messenger Yeshua the Messiah -- and His true Gospel message -- will be resurrected and given their ONE opportunity to obey and, by the strength of YEHOVAH's holy spirit, enter into His Kingdom!
At ONE TIME OR ANOTHER every Israelite who has ever existed will stand with his mind open and his understanding clear to live a life of overcoming with YEHOVAH's spirit and endeavor to enter into His Kingdom.
There have been, and there will be, however, some few of Israel who will UTTERLY REBEL against doing YEHOVAH's will -- who will set their wills against obedience to His laws so completely that NOTHING CAN BE DONE WITH THEM. These will be the individuals YEHOVAH God refers to in His Word as those who have committed the UNPARDONABLE SIN!
YEHOVAH God in His mercy has planned that these individuals should be COMPLETELY DONE AWAY WITH -- made to CEASE TO EXIST! It is set down very plainly: "For the wages of sin [the transgression of YEHOVAH's law, living contrary to the very nature of life itself] is DEATH [the cessation of life]" (Romans 6:23).
Lest anyone should question what YEHOVAH God meant by this, He firmly stated: "Behold, all SOULS [OF ISRAEL] are mine; as the SOUL of the father, so also the SOUL of the son is mine: THE SOUL THAT SINNETH, IT SHALL DIE" (Ezekiel 18:4).
Regarding this to be of utmost importance, YEHOVAH God was not satisfied with stating it once but restated it so that there WOULD BE NO QUESTION that He did NOT mean just the body and not the soul, but very firmly reaffirmed, "THE SOUL [OF ISRAEL] THAT SINNETH, IT SHALL DlE" (Ezekiel 18:20).
YEHOVAH's promise to His people Israel is LIFE or DEATH! Not life or LIFE!
YEHOVAH God realizes that Adamic men are weak, that they are subject to vanity -- He created them that way! He has not devised this lake of fire in order to torture Adamic human beings, but only to rid them once and for all from off the face of the earth -- to do away with their lives. Knowing that they cannot continue to live the way they WANT to live, but that they would only bring MISERY and PAIN and SUFFERING on themselves throughout eternity if He allowed them to live, YEHOVAH mercifully puts an end to their life. And even in this act YEHOVAH God is NOT PLEASED. "For I have NO PLEASURE in the death of him that dieth" (Ezekiel 18:32). YEHOVAH does not WANT anyone of Israel to be thrown into this lake of fire! But those Israelites who insist on living contrary to the laws of life are going to be mercifully SNUFFED FROM EXISTENCE by this method.
"For if we [of Israel] sin WILLFULLY AFTER that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain FEARFUL looking for of judgment and FIERY INDIGNATION, which shall DEVOUR the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27).
Therefore we see from YEHOVAH's Word that hell fire is NOT held over the head of every individual to force him INTO accepting Yeshua the Messiah as his personal Savior -- it is NOT a threat of pain and eternal punishING that the Merciful and All-Powerful Eternal God is levying against those of Israel who refuse to hear His Gospel -- but a final judgment, a doing-away-with the individuals of Israel who REJECT Him AFTER they have received a knowledge of His truth.
The time when the REAL FEAR OF A REAL HELL FIRE comes on an individual is AFTER he has sinned willfully against the knowledge of YEHOVAH's truth that has been opened to his mind!
How Hell Fire Works!
Long ago YEHOVAH God set an example in His Word of what this fire is like, how it works, and what the result of it is. "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange [homosexual] flesh, are set forth for an EXAMPLE, SUFFERING VENGEANCE of ETERNAL FIRE" (Jude 7). Sodom and Gomorrah, the two sinful cities in the valley of the Jordan by the Dead Sea suffered, as you can read the account in Genesis 19, from a great fire that fell from heaven CONSUMING everything it fell upon. All the people in those cities were BURNED TO DEATH. The cities themselves were CONSUMED and ARE NOT THERE FOR US TO SEE TODAY!
But they are NOT STILL BURNING! They have suffered as an EXAMPLE of the vengeance of YEHOVAH's ETERNAL FIRE.
THEY ARE BURNED UP. The eternity of this fire is its EVERLASTING EFFECT!
YEHOVAH God explains that this is going to be exactly the penalty for those Israelites who insist on disobedience to Him. "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all [of Israel] that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall BURN THEM UP, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall LEAVE THEM NEITHER ROOT NOR BRANCH....And ye [those Israelites who become the Sons of YEHOVAH God in His Kingdom] shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ASHES under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 4:1, 3).
When physical bodies come into contact with flame they burn up! David very graphically describes this in the Psalms. "But the wicked shall PERISH, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as THE FAT OF LAMBS: THEY SHALL CONSUME; INTO SMOKE SHALL THEY CONSUME AWAY (Psalm 37:20).
YES, THAT IS WHAT YEHOVAH GOD SAYS! Very plain and easy to understand! There is no mystery about it, no strange fire that burns forever and yet does not consume anything. No sadistic God on high who desires to execute pain on an Israelite body forever because of sins committed over a period of a few years. Only a loving God Who, after offering one of His people Israel His very own spirit and mind and power determines to put that individual out of his misery when that simple human being finally rebels against his Creator and refuses to hear any of His advice and to use any of His power.
There is a VERY REAL HELL FIRE -- A VERY REAL PAIN -- A VERY REAL DEATH! "He [of Israel] that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son [born into the very Kingdom of YEHOVAH God -- this is the purpose of life, the plan of creation from the beginning, the reason those of Israel draw breath now]. But the fearful, the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone [gehenna-hell]: which is [BY YEHOVAH'S OWN INTERPRETATION, NOT BY THE IMAGINATION OF MANKIND] the SECOND DEATH" (Revelation 21:7-8).
Whom You Really Need to Fear!
YEHOVAH God offers salvation to His people Israel, not suffering! You do not need to fear men's imaginations. You do not need to fear the unreasoning tortures of an ever-burning hell, but you DO need to have a HEALTHY RESPECT for the One Individual in all creation Who is ABLE TO SAVE YOU from being BURNED UP in a lake of fire -- gehenna-hell -- AND GRANT YOU LIFE FOREVER WITH HIM IN HIS KINGDOM!
"And fear NOT them which kill the body [those who kill and execute YEHOVAH's chosen people of Israel, making them martyrs because they believe the truth of YEHOVAH God], but are NOT ABLE to kill the soul [in Luke's account the word is "life"]: but rather FEAR HIM [fear YEHOVAH God, not hell or the Devil] which IS ABLE TO DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN [gehenna-] hell" (Matthew 10:28).
Do not fear the imaginations of ignorant men's minds. Do not fear that the Devil will plunge you into torture for eternity. But DO begin to see how powerful and loving and reasonable and true your Creator really is. Begin to have that RESPECT and AWE -- that proper fear, respect and honor due to the greatest Power in the universe -- that fear that is the beginning of wisdom, not the beginning of terror.

YEHOVAH God Is Love -- Justice!

The primary reason so many men and organizations of men have a false conception of "hell" is that they view the doctrine of hell just as an isolated doctrine. They fail to look at the overall purpose of YEHOVAH God in putting Adamic man on this earth, of offering him the gift of eternal life for obedience, or of everlasting punishment (not punishing) for disobedience.

YEHOVAH God created man in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). In the Garden of Eden, He told Adam the way that would lead to eternal life. Then He told Adam that doing the wrong thing -- eating of the fruit of the tree which YEHOVAH had forbidden -- would lead to death (Genesis 2:17). But Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), told Eve, "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4). Man has been believing that lie -- of being born with immortality within himself -- ever since!

YEHOVAH's purpose is to develop holy, righteous character in His people Israel which would make them fit for eternal life. YEHOVAH God gave ancient Israel His commandments, "that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever" (Deuteronomy 5:29). YEHOVAH's decrees are always for Israel's good. They are not designed as arbitrary decrees which YEHOVAH God has set in order to have some excuse for plunging His people into flames of fire! Where do men get such ideas about YEHOVAH God? Certainly not from the Bible!

YEHOVAH God created Adamic man in His own image in order that the line of Adam might be brought to the place where YEHOVAH could entrust it with the precious gift of eternal life. Notice that YEHOVAH God offered Adam and Eve life on one hand, and death on the other.

If some of YEHOVAH's people Israel would rebel against YEHOVAH God and make it impossible for YEHOVAH to entrust them with eternal life -- knowing that they would abuse that life -- then the kindest thing that YEHOVAH could do would be to let them die. Then, stubborn, sinning Israelites would be unable to bring any further misery on themselves or others by their wrong ways. They would just cease to exist, and thus would not interfere with the happiness of others who were found worthy of eternal life.

This is exactly what YEHOVAH God said would happen to Adam and Eve if they disobeyed! The reward of eternal life for obedience -- and of death -- eternal death -- for disobedience is stressed all through your Bible.

Only this is consistent with the Scriptures, and with YEHOVAH's plan and purpose for His people Israel -- and His character of supreme love! Yet YEHOVAH God will not, because of His infinite love, take away anyone's life because of ignorance or weakness, but because they willfully and knowingly refuse to obey their Creator.

The warning of a hell fire should be a fearful warning to those of Israel who know YEHOVAH's truth and still refuse to obey it! It should bring a sober realization that unless we of Israel surrender to YEHOVAH's will and His way of love, and refuse to let anything turn us aside, YEHOVAH God will take away forever the life He has given us!

Seek this God of truth, believe His Word, and His Word ONLY! Ask of this great God and He will grant to you the Spirit of LOVE and of POWER and of a SOUND MIND!

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.

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