Bible Question: Does Christ's statement as to the "Rich Man" and "Lazarus" teach that the wicked go to eternal torment at death?

Answer:—There is not a single word in this much discussed parable about the Rich Man being a wicked man or the Poor Man being a good man. Therefore, in answer to the question, it could be positively stated that there is nothing said about the wicked going to eternal torment at death. To interpret the story literally just as it reads, as so many are prone to do who believe in the theory of eternal torment for nearly every one but themselves, involves one in a number of absurdities. It would signify that all who are clad in purple and fine linen and who fare sumptuously every day, are at death to be placed in a furnace of fire and tormented. It would also mean that unless we were poverty stricken beggars, the companion of dogs, full of sores, and fed on crumbs at some rich man's back gate, we would never be able to wing our flight to Abraham's bosom when we departed this life. Poor Abraham would experience considerable difficulty in clasping all of the poor to his expansive bosom! The parable, rightly understood, does not in the remotest degree teach the monstrous doctrine of eternal torment.
Conceding that "Dives and Lazarus" is a parable, representing the Jews' and the Gentiles' positions of favor and disfavor during this Christian Age, the question arises concerning the figure itself: (a) Is it not a well- known fact that or Lord used everyday occurrences and things to make up the various figures and "dark sayings" (sheep, goats, seed, sower, harvest, reaper, stewards, etc.)? (b) Then why did Lazarus die to be carried to Abraham's bosom? Why must the "Rich Man" be alive in torment when he is DEAD? If "hell" is a place of "forgetfulness," why did the "Rich Man" remember his "five brothers?" Lastly, if the Lord knew of such a place, why did He picture Dives in the hell of Dante's Inferno—even for the sake of a figure? (T.E.)

Answer:—The Scriptures were written and arranged in such a way by the Lord, through the inspired writers that they could not be understood excepting by those who would come into harmony with Him by faith and obedience. The Lord is pleased to enlighten His children by the operation of the holy spirit through His Divine purposes. It is related of our Lord Jesus, that in all of His teachings He addressed the multitudes in parables and dark sayings and then afterwards explained them to His disciples. (Mark 4:11,33,34) The parable of "The Rich Man and the Poor Man" is a remarkable prophecy of conditions relating to the Jews and the Gentiles and, we believe, could have been stated in no other way without disclosing the realities which was evidently intended by the Lord should remain disguised or concealed from the world in general and whose real significance would be known only by His devoted followers. The entire book of Revelation is composed of prophecies thus concealed in signs, symbols and figures.

Bible Question: Please explain Rev. 20:10, particularly the last clause of the verse which reads: "and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

Answer:—All Bible students recognize that the expressions of this chapter and verse are highly figurative. Where it is stated that a "beast and false prophet" are to be cast into the "lake of fire and brimstone," no reasoning mind would say that literal beast, or a literal false prophet were meant; but that these were symbols, and represent false and beastly systems. And if not an actual beast is meant, so also with the "lake of fire and brimstone." This lake would fittingly symbolize absolute destruction, for whatever is cast into fire and brimstone, the two most destructive agencies known to mankind, is immediately destroyed and not preserved in any sense. As stated in the 14th verse, it is the "second death"—annihilation. To our understanding, the "devil" here mentioned is not Satan himself, but is an evil system—a devilish power. These evil systems—false civil and ecclesiastical powers—in the end of the Age are to be "tormented day and night," as long as they last, with financial, social, and religious difficulties and pains. "Forever and ever" is from the Greek aionion which signifies lasting. The "torment" will last until these Satanic systems are consumed.

Bible Question: Please explain "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever." "And the smoke of their torment ascended up forever and ever, and they have no rest day and night which worship the beast and his image."

Answer:—These passages are taken from Revelation, and the book of Revelation is a symbolical book; that is exactly what it purports to be. We read that Jesus sent his angel and signified or made signs of certain things, and those signs, or symbols, have been with us and have been examined for 2000 years. Now we will not undertake at this time to investigate the entire book of Revelation, but content ourselves briefly by saying, first, that all teachers will admit that no doctrine should be based wholly on a text of Scripture found in Revelation, if it does not have some foundation in other parts of the Word of God; no one may build a doctrine merely upon a passage of Scripture which has only Revelation for its basis, because that being a symbolical book, nearly all the statements in it are symbolical. Now in this case you will notice the reference to the beast and false prophet—one beast and one false prophet. Who is that beast? Have you seen that beast? Do you know anything about that beast? Do you know anything about that false prophet? Now, you see, unless I would take time to go into the matter and discuss what the beast symbolizes, and what the false prophet symbolizes, it would not be proper to discuss what is meant by this, and what happened to them. The beast is a symbol of a great system, but time will not permit us to go into a discussion of the subject. I believe it represents a great system of religion that is now in the world. And the false prophet I understand represents another system of religion—not a man, not men, but a system; and that system. is to be destroyed; and that system is to have torment, and it is to collapse—not the people.

Bible Question: In Revelations 20:14 & 15 it talks about the lake of fire is the second DEATH and whosoever was not found written in the Book of life was cast into the lake of fire. That is what the word says, and what do you do with that?

20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The death spoken of in verse 14 is Adamic death, which claimed the whole race for the sin of their father, Adam. Death is the penalty which was place upon Adam for his disobedience. God did not say that in the day Adam sinned he would burn forever. No, He said that Adam would indeed die.
If there is to be a second, it implies that there has been a first. Not only so, but the second must be like or similar to the first, or it would not be a second.
Adamic death is that which our Savior came to destroy.
The word hell in verse 14 is from the Greek word hades, the grave or oblivion
Both Death, Adamic death and Hell, the grave, will be thrown into the lake of fire.
Most Bible scholars today admit that the book of Revelation is highly symbolic. Fire is considered a symbol of complete destruction. Therefore, if death and hell and all who continue to rebel against God are cast into this symbolic fire, this would mean utter destruction for eternity. These are the willfully wicked and not the merely ignorant, mislead, blinded or
The grave will be no more, and the Adamic death will be no more.
1 Cor. 15:26 states: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." This is the death which passed upon all through Adam. The second death will always be possible, because once someone is given an opportunity to learn righteousness and they still choose to disobey, they will die of their own choice.
Jer. 31:29 speaks of this time. "In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge."
When full opportunity is offered to each individual, although Adamic weaknesses shall be upon them, their death will not be counted as being a part of Adamic death, but as being a part of the second death because their failure to make progress will be the result of their own willfulness, and not that of Adam.
The "Lake of fire" is referring to fires that kept burning in the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) for the destruction of offal and the prevention of contagion. Into this fire the carcasses of malicious evildoers might be thrown for destruction. It thus symbolized the second death. Nothing was tormented in the fire of the valley of Hinnom.
These are just a few thoughts on the subject. I would appreciate hearing from you. I'm sure that you will have other questions. Truly, if you read the booklet, you will see the reason why so many of those who love the God of love could never believe in a place where individuals, no matter how bad they were, would be tortured for ever. If we are horrified by the terrible events of the past days, and realize that many of these people who died in such a horrific way were not Christians, how could we think that these kind hearted people would be now, continuing to burn in a fiery, literal hell. The Scriptures teach a time when those who did not accept Christ now will have a full, fair opportunity to learn righteousness.

Bible Question: Where in the Bible does it state that Jesus went to Hades or Hell after he died on the cross?

Answer: The scriptures that tell the story are given below. But it is important to know that the definition of "hades" is the grave. This is where someone is put when dead, not a fire and torment, but a condition of being dead — like a sleep. Jesus slept in that grave (was buried) for three days before His resurrection.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Act 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell [hades], neither his flesh did see corruption.
Strongs condordant definition of "hades":
hah' -dace
From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1492; properly unseen, that is, "Hades" (state) of departed souls: - translated as either grave or hell.

Bible Question: I notice you do not believe in hell. It's easy for people to believe that God can make a place for the righteous but he will not make a place for the wicked. Then if there is no hell, lets party, drink, cuss, and be evildoers because there will be no punishment thank the Lord. Now if I'm unsaved you have just put a stumbling block in front of me and you know what the Lord says about a stumbling block. Because now I don't have to worry about being punished can't I just continue in sin?

Answer: You may have misunderstood our teaching on the subject of "hell." God did make a "place" of punishment for sin. It is called in the Hebrew "SHEOL" and in the Greek "HADES," both of which all Bible dictionaries define as "the grave" or "the pit" where the dead are placed. This is the place for those who are dead — death being the penalty for sin according to the scriptures:
Genesis 2:17 "but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."
Neither the Jews or the early Christians believed that the wicked would be alive in a burning place underground. This concept is an interpretation of some symbolic passages that came about in the 3rd Century A.D. to add some extra fear into the picture to gain more converts.
God is merciful, and He would not make any punishment greater that the crime. It is no different than when a horse with a broken leg is killed by its owner to put the horse out of it misery. This is what God will do with those men who are un-teachable, who are active sinners without repentance. They will be destroyed, not tortured.
Would you not rather have a God of Love and Justice and Mercy, rather that one who seems vindictive and full of wrath? Does not God want his creation to obey Him out of love rather than out of fear?

Bible Question: Help me understand scriptures that tell us the ,"if any of these deeds are found in us that we will inherit our portion of the lake of fire.. ", Is the lake of fire not hell?.. What about the reference for that is in Rev 21?

Answer: The "lake of fire" is reserved not only for Satan and all who have resorted to his evil tactics on the spiritual and earthly planes, but it is also reserved for dead and "hell." The study book you requested goes through all of the scriptures that remotely connect with the word "hell." After researching the scriptures and the original Greek and Hebrew meanings of these words in their context, you will come to the conclusion that "hell" and the "lake of fire" are both highly symbolic of the "grave" and "second death."
The reason why it is so important to know the proper meaning of these words, is because they have great implications on our views of the Heavenly Father's character and plans. If we claim HIm as a God of love, as the scriptures declare, it is very hard to accept Him as a God who could create a place where billions of His human and spiritual family will burn forever. Even when the Jews joined in with the pagan worshipping nations in offering their children on the burning arms of the statue of "Molech," God declared: "And they built the high places of Baal, which [are] in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through [the fire] unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination..." Jer. 32:35

Bible Question: I've read about the hell through your first two books "where are the dead?". now, what about the souls of those who died in the Lord? will they sleep in the Lord, according to paul? if so, what does jesus mean the saved thief to be in paradise?

Answer: Jesus reassured his disciples that, although he was leaving them, they would be with him again: at his second advent. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."John 14:3
The Psalms confirm that the Lord's people must all die. "Ye shall die like men." Psa 82:7 The Christian's reward comes only after death.
"Be thou faithful until DEATH and I will give thee a crown of life." Rev 2:10 Death is figuratively called sleep in Scripture because of the provision for a resurrection. John 11:11-14
Combining these two points, we can reason that all of the Lord's people must die and "sleep" until the second advent.
Paul elaborates about the resurrection of the Lord's people in his letters to the Corinthians and Thessalonians. His letters teach that at the time of the second advent, the Lord's people (the "we" class) who are asleep in death will be resurrected immediately. The Lord's people still alive will be "caught up" (resurrected) immediately as each finishes his course by death. There is no need for the Lord's followers to "sleep" after the Lord has returned! "We shall not all sleep".
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thess 4:15-17
"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Cor 15:51-52
All faithful Christians are assured that they will be part of the "first" resurrection. It is called the first resurrection because all Christians will all be resurrected before the world of mankind (the second resurrection). The reason is very important. Those of the first resurrection will assist Jesus with the work of the second resurrection. One purpose of the reign of Christ is to establish a favorable earthly government and society into which the world of mankind can be resurrected and brought to the knowledge of God. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection....they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Rev 20:6 "And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." Heb 8:11
The thief on the cross was not one of the Lord's followers. Jesus would not, therefore, promise him a part in the "first resurrection". The repentant thief was being promised a part in the second resurrection: he was promised a place in Paradise.
The word Paradise signifies a garden. The Septuagint reads "God planted a paradise in Eden." Gen 2:8 The Garden of Eden was but an illustration of the perfect and beautiful earth when fully released from the curse. Jesus was referring to the favorable earthly government and society to be established in the future: the earthly Kingdom of God (not heaven). Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden and was given dominion over the earth and all in it. After sin entered, man was locked out of the Garden. Jesus could promise the thief that he would be with him in Paradise someday because Jesus knew his death would be the means to secure the restoration of that paradise condition. But this time, Paradise will not be "planted eastward in Eden", but will fill the whole earth. Acts 3:19-21 Rev 21:3-5
The original Scriptures were not punctuated. Punctuation was added by the translators, and is a comparatively modern invention. In Luke 23:43, the comma should be after and not before "today" in order to permit harmony with these foregoing facts and agreement with Scriptures that clearly tell us where Jesus would be that day when his body was taken off the cross.
Scriptures testify that our Lord did not go to Paradise that day. Acts 2:31; Psa 16:10, Luke 24:46; John 20:17 On the morning of his resurrection, our Lord did not say he had been in Paradise or in heaven. Paul declares that "he rose from the dead on the third day." 1 Cor 15:4
While most translations do put the comma before today, a number of translations put the comma after today, which then lets this passage agree with the testimony of Jesus and Paul.
In the Rotherham translation, Luke 23:43 reads; "And he said unto him-Verily, I say unto thee this day: With me, shalt thou be in Paradise". Another translation reads; And he said unto him, Truly I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise. Instances of a similar use of the word "today" are found in Deut 15:15; 30:15,16; Acts 26:29

Bible Question: Can a soul be prayed out of hell? If someone dies unsaved and not knowing Jesus, can their soul be prayed for by people and the soul will then get to enter heaven?
I have a friend [whose a Mormon] and they say that they can go into the Temple and pray for a deceased sinner's soul and it will then be admitted to heaven. I'd like to know if this is true and if it is, where can I find it in my Bible?

Answer: Many-concerned for their family and friends who died without knowing Jesus-have in all sincerity even paid for Catholic masses for the dead in hopes of shortening their time in hell. Your question is whether prayer makes any difference? But behind your question, we should also ask, Exactly what is hell? What is God's plan for the unsaved?
DEATH PENALTY FOR SIN. Actually when Adam sinned, the penalty for sin was death-not an eternity of conscious torture. Gen 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." In God's day of a thousand years, Adam did die within in 930 years (Gen. 5:5)-within God's day.
LIE CONCERNING AFTERLIFE. However, Satan, who is the "father of lies" (John 8:44 New American Standard), said through the serpent, "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). But when people started to die, more lies had to be manufactured to explain and cover up what was happening. From the earliest civilizations, the Babylonians and Egyptians had religious myths of after-life which included torture awaiting. The Greeks and Romans also had their versions of not really dying. Eventually, Christianity picked up on the same idea with their own twist.
RESURRECTION OF SOUL. But when God created Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him-he became a living soul. (Gen. 2:7 Dust + Breath of Life = Soul) He was not given a soul-he was a soul. And the penalty for sin was death. Ezek 18:4, 20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. . ." That is why Christ died-that man can be resurrected from the dead! "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor 15:13-14, 21, 22 "But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. . .For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
SHEOL, HADES, HELL. The word translated "hell" comes from the Hebrew word sheol or the Greek word hades. In the Old Testament, if the reference concerned a good person, sheol was translated "grave." If an evil person, it was translated "hell." Both Jacob and Job-righteous men-referred to themselves as going into "sheol," so it was translated "grave." Gen. 42:38; 44:29;Job 14:13 The translators obviously were prejudiced. So in actuality, "sheol" and "hades" (NT) are the "grave" into which all of Adam's children go awaiting the resurrection. Sheol-the grave or hell-is a condition of death-not a place.
FIRST RESURRECTION, Now there is the "first resurrection" (Rev. 20:5,6)-which implies another or second resurrection. The followers of Christ, if faithful, are the "firstfruits" before the rest of the world of mankind come back from the dead. James 1:18 "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." 1 Cor 15:20 "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." Christians are raised first from the dead-while the rest of the world is raised from the dead to the judgment day. Because hell is a condition of death-which anticipates a resurrection-it is often referred to as a sleep.
JUDGMENT DAY RESURRECTION. The Judgment day is 1,000 years long (2 Peter 3:7, 8). During the judgment day man will have full opportunity-with Satan out of the way (Rev. 20:1-3-to choose God and righteousness and live forever! John 5:28-29 "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth;[1] those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, [2] those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment." (NAS) The word "judgment" here does not mean a sentencing, but a crisis (krisis, NT2920) where under the favorable conditions of God's Kingdom people have the ability and encouragement to chose life. A "highway" (Isaiah 35:1-10) will then be open to all-easier than the "narrow way" (Matt. 7:14) only open now.
PRAYING FOR THE DEAD. But, Sandy, when we pray for the Kingdom on earth-as Jesus encouraged us-we are praying for those who knew not Jesus to come back from the grave! Matt 6:10 "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. . ." Although there is no specific scripture on the actual procedure, it is very likely that the last generations will pray for previous generations to come back from the dead-until all of Adam's children will have been gradually raised. This suggestion would be based on the scriptural principle: "The first shall be last, and the last first." So the Church will be with Jesus sharing his power in the "regeneration," the resurrection ready to help the dead up a "highway of holiness" to life. Matt 19:28-30 "And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life. 30 "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first." NAS
So, Sandy, rather than thinking we should be praying for the unsaved to get out of a "hellfire" place-we should be praying for God's Kingdom to be established so the world will begin to come back from the dead-from their graves. By various prophecies being fulfilled today, we see that Kingdom is coming soon.

Bible Question: Please tell me the verse that states when you die you don't go straight to hell or heaven but the waiting place - a "limbo".

Answer: The Scriptures speak of those who have died as sleeping. They are in an unconscious state waiting for the resurrection. The following Scriptures give the condition of the dead as sleeping.
1. John 11:11-14 tells of the time that Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, had become ill and died.
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Here Jesus is equating the condition of death with the condition of sleep. Those who are asleep will awake and this illustrates that the dead will one day be awakened in the resurrection.
2. I Thessalonians 4:14-15 illustrates the dead who are awaiting the resurrection as being asleep.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. or this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
3. I Corinthians 15:51 explains that those awaiting the resurrection are sleeping. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
See the following link wherearethedead_01.cfm
We pray before meals because Jesus did, and as his followers we are to do as he did. Jesus taught his disciples the need for gratitude to God when he gave them the Lord's prayer in the following scripture.
1. Matthew 6:11, Give us this day our daily bread. We are to acknowledge that our live is dependent upon God as the giver of all of our provisions and to show him our gratitude for his loving care.
2. Luke 22:19, And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. It was always Jesus' custom to give thanks before eating. This was the occasion of the Passover meal.
3. Luke 24:30, And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. After Jesus resurrection he met his disciples on the shore of Galilee. They recognized him by his blessing the bread or in other words praying before the meal.

Bible Question: Are all people who commit suicide going to Hell?

Answer: No, people who are distressed enough to end their lives are not going to hell. They are no more responsible for their mental illness than someone who develops cancer or MS. Mental illness is a highly misunderstood disease and is somehow disassociated from other more "socially acceptable" diseases. All illnesses mental and physical are tragedies which have resulted from the fall of Adam. Some of us have inherited sins and weaknesses more than others. The final outcome for all of us is the un-escapable. It is death. If you know of someone who is thinking of suicide, please encourage them that there is hope. And if you have lost someone you love to this tragedy, please be comforted that God is compassionate and "is love" and has provided salvation for all. We know that the Scriptures assure us that Jesus tasted death for EVERY man (person). (I will give you all of the references at the end of this letter for you to review.) Jesus' death is to cover the sin of Adam—not only his original transgression and its penalty, but all the transgressions of his children, the world, which have resulted from his mental, moral and physical impairment. This provision of God includes not only mental sickness, but moral sickness and physical sickness. All mankind are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. The redemption of the world implies its eventual release from the condemnation of death. The mentally sick, the morally sick, and the physically sick—all will have opportunity for a full return to human perfection.
If you will review the following Scriptures, these should give you comfort. We also have an excellent short booklet called, "And God Cried." If you would like a copy, I'll be happy to send it off right away, free of charge. It is our belief that God is so much more loving and merciful than man makes Him out to be. This is not a belief based on "wishful thinking," but on sound Scripture study. Those who have committed suicide are no more responsible for their weakness than any other sin or sickness in any other person. These have all been covered by Jesus' death on the cross. Mental illness is a frailty, and you might even say more excusable than moral illness.

Bible Question: What are the three other names for hell?

Answer: When we look to see what is actually taught in the Bible, we find that the Bible "hell" is simply the death condition, which is a condition of oblivion. This can be proven by taking a Bible concordance and looking up the word "hell" in the Old Testament and New Testament. Briefly, in the Old testament, the word is translated from the Hebrew word sheol, which means grave, the condition of oblivion. Both the good and the bad went there, but the biased translators assigned the English word hell if it was a bad person. Job prayed to go to sheol [hell/grave] to hide from his pain (Job 14:13). Certainly, he would not have prayed to go there if he was to burn forever.
In the New Testament, the word "hell" is translated from three different Greek words: hades, meaning grave; gehenna, a valley in Jerusalem where the garbage was dumped and burned; and tartaroo, meaning a cast-down or hidden condition to which the fallen angels were sent after they sinned (2 Peter 2:4). In every case where the concept of hellfire is used, the context is highly symbolic — therefore, not to be taken as literal fire. We suggest that fire, when used in the Bible, symbolizes destruction and that it was Satan who came up with the false theory of a literal hellfire in order to slander God's loving, just, wise and powerful character.
Those who die are in the condition of oblivion (hell - sheol/hades ) and "know not any thing" (Ecclesiastes 3:5). When God's kingdom is established on earth (Matt. 6:10, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"), all who died will be awakened from death. They will have opportunity for everlasting life on a perfect earth and be instructed in righteousness by Christ and his church, who will be in heaven.

Bible Question: After Jesus' death, was his soul in hell for three days?

Answer: King David, inspired by Holy Spirit prophesied about Jesus' death, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Psalm 16:1 Yes, Jesus went to hell (hades) for parts of three days. So what is this word hell? What is sheol, hades?
The meaning of the Hebrew word sheol (hades is its Greek equivalent) can scarcely be expressed by any one English word: it signifies hidden or extinguished, or obscure—the condition or state of death: it is not a place but a condition, and perhaps the word oblivion would more nearly than any other in our language correspond with the word sheol of the Hebrew and hades of the Greek.
We will find it clearly stated in the Scriptures that sheol, hades, oblivion, receives all mankind, good and bad alike; that it has no light, no knowledge, no wisdom, no device; that no tongue there praises the Lord, neither blasphemes his name; that it is a condition of absolute silence, and in every way an undesirable condition, except that it has attached to it a hope of resurrection.
These plain statements were repeated by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:29-36) and should clarify this subject to all genuine truth seekers. They set before us the following facts: (1) The soul (being) of our Lord Jesus went to oblivion, to sheol, at death. (2) He was dead parts of three days. (3) He arose, was quickened, brought out of oblivion to the divine nature on the third day by the power of the holy Spirit of God, and became "the first fruits of them that slept." Our Lord's being or soul was non-existent during the period of death: "He poured out his soul unto death; he made his soul an offering for sin." But his soul [being] was revived in resurrection, being granted a new spiritual body.
This is a most important truth to understand, because God is immortal. He cannot die. It shows that Jesus was not God, but that He is God's son, made flesh—a man who gave himself a ransom for all. John 1:14, 1 Tim. 2:5, 6
The apostle John seemed to be keenly aware that there would be those who would soon begin to deny this simple truth, so he wrote, "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 1 John 4:2-3, 2 John 1:7
Jesus also similarly testified of himself: "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." "And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; ' These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.' " Rev. 1:18, Rev. 2:8

Bible Question: Where in scripture is it said that Christ entered the center of the earth (hell), and preached to the ones that died before He was born. The three days He was believed to have spent in the tomb, was he giving all a chance to hear the Gospel and be saved?

Answer: The scripture you refer to is 1 Pet. 3: starting in vs. 18 — "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

The popular view is that this "prison" is some place where the dead go — like hell or purgatory, etc. However, this view is dependent on what "death" is. Some mistakenly believe that when one dies that they have "a spirit" that lives on, and then apply this definition to Jesus also — that when he died on the cross, he was really not dead, but he was able to "preach" to the others in "prison".
This popular view has some serious errors. First of all, the opposite of life is death. Simple. The scriptures also clearly state that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" — which means that there is nothing "living" in the condition of death, even the "soul" is dead. The belief that there is some kind of "immortal soul" is one made up my man in the dark ages of Church history and finds no clear support in scripture. In Genesis 2:7 it states " And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." in the King James version. The New American version is better — "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." What this means is that man did not receive a soul, but became one. Therefore, when anyone dies (including Jesus), they are completely dead.
Jesus "gave up the ghost" or "gave up the spirit or soul" when he died on the cross. The word for "ghost" or "spirit" in this scripture is the same word for "breath of life". Lets go back to my statement that one's view of the subject of "prison" depends on the definition of the word "death" (or even the definition of soul or spirit). Can you see that If Jesus could not have literally "preached" with words if Jesus was dead at this time? But, if taken symbolically, it can be harmonized. Jesus could have "preached" by example. The example of his loyalty to God, his Father, and the obedience unto death, was an example to all that the Father's plan of salvation would be taking place.
But one more hitch. How could the spirits "hear" — even in a symbolic sense, if they were dead, or in "prison". The solution is that the scripture above only states that Jesus was dead and figuratively preached by his example. The "prison" referred to is not the state of death. 2 Peter 2:4 says "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment". Remember that Satan persuaded many angels to follow him instead of Jehovah God. The fallen angels were put in a condition of being restrained from their evil activity called "chains of darkness" or also called "prison". The fallen angels in this condition clearly saw Jesus' example, and it was a "preaching", by example, to them that God's plan for salvation was going grandly on.

Bible Question: After Jesus' death did he go to hell for the 3 days? If not where was he those 3 days?

Answer: Many Christians are perplexed as to where the Lord Jesus was from the time of His crucifixion to the time of His resurrection. However, the Bible does not leave us in doubt about the matter but plainly teaches that, during the three days following the crucifixion, the Lord Jesus was in "hell." The hell of the Scriptures is the condition of death, the grave. Jesus was in the tomb, the grave. He was dead, as the Bible affirms, and was raised the third day. Of this, the apostle Paul writes: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3,4
Also, the apostle Peter states: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible Things... But with the precious blood of Christ... Who by him do Believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him
Glory... 1 Peter: 18,19,21
Jesus was in the tomb for three days and was raised from the dead, as was prophesied by the Psalmist: For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Psalms 16:10 This scripture is repeated in Acts 2:27: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. To fully understand the scriptural statements of our Lord's death and resurrection we need to consider the definitions of the Hebrew and Greek words from which "hell" is translated.
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word from which "hell" is translated is "sheol." In the New Testament the Greek word is "hades." The Hebrew sheol, the Greek word hades, and the English word hell all signify the same thing-the grave, the condition of the dead. There is no suggestion, in the original meaning of these words, of fire, brimstone and torment.
For further discussion on the subject of "hell" a good booklet is "Where are the Dead."

Bible Question: Why does your interpretation of Hell not seem to be like Webster's definition? What about the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus?

Answer: Thank you for the Webster definition, but remember that Webster (as all dictionaries of English usage) only defines words as they are commonly used, and this includes common interpretations. An interpretation or common definition is what people commonly believe a word means today, but does not reflect the real definition according to the Hebrew and Greek scriptural definitions.
In Strong's concordance, the definition is given in the New Testament as usually from the Greek word
G1492; properly unseen, that is, " Hades" or the place (state) of departed souls: - grave, hell.
from Thayer's NT words: hade*s
1) from Greek name Hades or Pluto, the Greek god of the lower regions
2) Orcus, the nether world, the realm of the dead
3) later use of this word: the grave, death, hell
and in the Old Testament it is always from the Hebrew word she' o*l she' o*l
From H7592; hades or the world of the dead (subterranian), including its accessories and inmates: - grave, hell, pit.
In our view, other New Testament words translated as "hell" are symbolic. These words are in Greek tartaroo
Thayer Definition:
1) the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews
2) to thrust down to Tartarus, to hold captive in Tartarus
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer's/Strong's Number: from Tartaros (the deepest abyss of Hell) geenna
Thayer Definition:
1) Hell is the place of the future punishment call " Gehenna" or " Gehenna of fire" . This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.
Note: This last word is used where the "fire" is symbolically used in scripture.
Let me know if this is still confusing.

Next, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus —
" There was a certain rich man... clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." Luke 16:19-31
Though most will admit that this scripture is a parable, they mistakenly draw conclusions from it as though it were a literal statement and use it to prove the doctrine of eternal torment. However, in a parable the thing said is never the thing meant. We know this from our Lord's own explanations of other parables. When he said wheat in Matthew 13, he explained that he meant children of the kingdom, and tares he explained were children of the devil.
To regard the Rich Man and Lazarus parable as a literal statement involves several absurdities; for instance, that Lazarus was blessed, not because he was full of faith, but simply because he was poor and sick. If this be interpreted literally, we can assume that only the poor and sick will be saved, and Abraham's bosom must be a literal place where millions of the earth's poor will reside.
As a symbolic lesson, this parable becomes much more reasonable. In symbol, Abraham represented God and His promise to Abraham that his seed would bless all nations of the earth. (Gen. 22) The rich man represented the Jewish nation who inherited this promise through Isaac and Jacob and then to Jacob's twelve sons— Israel. In Jesus' day the Jews had " fared sumptuously"— being the special recipients of God's favors. Paul said that the Jews enjoyed great advantage: " ... every way: chiefly, because to them were committed the oracles of God [Law and Prophecy]." They were a royal nation of God as represented by the rich man's purple. Their typical sacrifices of the Law constituted them a holy nation, represented by the rich man's fine linen— symbolic of righteousness.
Lazarus pictured not only the publicans and sinners of Israel estranged from God, but also truth-hungry Gentiles who were feeling after God. These, at the time of this parable, were outcasts from divine favor under the Law, and who— sin-sick— hungered and thirsted after righteousness. They lay at the gate of the rich man. No promises of royalty were theirs, but in moral sickness and sin, they were companions of dogs. Dogs were regarded as detestable creatures in those days, and the typically clean Jew called outsiders heathen and dogs, and would never have any dealings with them. (John 4:9) As to how these ate of the crumbs of divine favor which fell from Israel's table of bounties, the Lord's words to the Syro-Phoenician woman give us a key: " It is not meet [proper] to take the children's [Israelites' ] bread and to cast it to dogs [Gentiles];" and she answered, " Truth, Lord, but the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their master's table." (Matt. 15:26,27) Jesus healed her daughter, thus giving the desired crumb of favor.
After Jesus' death there came a great dispensational change in Israel's history when, as a nation, they had rejected and crucified the Son of God. Then, their typical righteousness and the promise of royalty ceased to be theirs. The kingdom was taken from them to be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof— the Gospel Church, " a holy nation, a peculiar people." (1 Pet. 2:9; Matt. 21:43) Thus the rich man died to all these special advantages, and soon he (the Jewish nation) found himself in a cast-off condition— in tribulation and affliction. In such a condition that nation has suffered from that day to this.
Lazarus also died: the condition of the humble Gentiles and the God-seeking outcasts of Israel underwent a great change, being carried by the angels (messengers— apostles) to what is symbolized by Abraham's bosom— recognition as the heirs of all the promises made to Abraham: " if ye be Christ's, then are ye [believers] Abraham's seed [children], and heirs according to the [Abrahamic] promise." Gal. 3:29
" In hell [hades, the grave] he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off...." This illustrates that great sufferings or torments would be added to the Jews after their national dissolution; and that they would plead in vain for comfort at the hand of the formerly despised Lazarus class. For nineteen hundred years the Jews have been relentlessly persecuted by all classes, including professed Christians. The veil (2 Cor. 3:13-16) of prejudice still exists, but it will be gradually taken away as the light of the Millennial morning dawns. Paul assures us that when the full number from among the Gentiles necessary to make up the bride of Christ is complete, then " The deliverer shall come out of Zion [the glorified Church], and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob [natural Israel].... As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.... For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." Rom. 11:25-32


Answer: Jesus did not get literal "keys" but it is symbolic of receiving power to unlock mankind from the bondage of sin and death. The word "hell" is a poor translation, and should be translated "grave." In other words, by Jesus death, he accomplished opening "the door" of opportunity for man to go to heaven by atoning for the sin of Adam.
Our Lord gained the power to resurrect all who have gone
into the tomb, the great prison-house of death, from which
our Lord Jesus will call them forth.
Speaking of His own resurrection, Jesus said, "I am
He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am
forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of
death." (Revelation 1:18.) God raised Him up from
the death condition on the third day. He was the first One
who descended to the tomb, and was raised from the
dead, and who has ascended far above angels, principalities,
powers, and every name that is named.—Ephesians 1:20-23;
Philippians 2:9-11.
Since our Lord has passed through these experiences,
the Apostle's suggestion is that He who brought the Lord
Jesus from the tomb is also able to bring us. He tells us
that we need not sorrow as do those who have no hope;
for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, let us
believe that He will bring all that are in the death condition
back to life. (1 Thessalonians 4:13,14.) Let us
believe that "all who are in the graves shall hear His
voice, and shall come forth" (John 5:25-29)—the Church
first. As it is written, "Blessed and holy are all they
that have part in the First Resurrection; on such the
Second Death shall have no power; but they shall be
priests of God and of Christ; and shall reign with Him
a thousand years."—Revelation 20:6.
Our Lord's statement on the subject to Peter, before his crucifixion,
saying, "I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom
of Heaven," [probably the one in the movie] (Matt. 16:19) signifies that Jesus was to give the Apostles [at Pentecost] power to unlock the door to salvation. Peter opened that work to both Jews and Gentiles, as the Lord had predicted.
He used the first key at Pentecost, where he was the first, chief, principal speaker, who introduced the new dispensation of the Spirit to the three thousand who at once believed and entered the door.
(Acts 2:37-41)

Bible Question: I have been telling my Mormon girlfriend that she will burn in hell unless she converts. What can I say to convince her?

Answer: Many use the fear of burning in hell as a motivator to get people to convert to Christianity or their particular denomination. But I would appeal to your reasonableness... would God want (with free will) people to come to him out of fear? Or love?
Think of parents — should they force children to obey their rules, and threaten them or punish them until they do? Or did should they teach the reasons for their rules, and then encourage their child to obey because of love and respect them? God is no different. If the threat of burning was the motivation for believing, then later on what is to keep that person faithful? Won't they rebel and disobey as soon as God's "back is turned," so to speak? Could they ever be trusted?
Second point: God could not create such a place as a burning hell where the punishment far outweighed the violation. Could you burn your child or dog or cat forever because it "messed" on the rug, for instance. Could God burn someone forever just because they were ignorant and followed the wrong path? Could God burn forever millions of those who were good people, but never had a chance to know Christ now? Look at Jeremiah 7:31 where the scripture says that this kind of thing (in that case God was speaking of the burning of people on an alter of sacrifice) would NEVER EVEN ENTER HIS MIND.
I think you really owe your girlfriend an apology. She may be mistaken in her faith, but you really have misrepresented God's love and mercy. Teach her, don't threaten her. Educate yourself also on the subject of Hell.