The Origin of "Hell"

In this section, we will examine hell's origins, as men have translated it in our Bibles - for those interested in a fuller study into scriptural and historic realities. Those having been raised believing in hell (similar to a growing number of Christians who are also now rejecting it) may be interested in its roots. Many people from young ages are disciplined to receive and abide by doctrinal creeds before opening a Bible. Many react in anger at the mere suggestion that God may not actually abandon his creation to an eternal hellhole of pain and defeat. Imagine that

Nevertheless, truth will always withstand scrutiny, and it reveals depraved perversions within church traditions, which run contrary to God's deep love and perfection in his workings. They do not know the power of God. Not only is the very concept of a demonic house of terror unscriptural, abhorrent and outright sadistic, it solicits the lie that justice cannibalizes love. How many times will someone say "God is love, but he is also just" as though the two must be mutually exclusive? This shows what a mess the hell doctrine is.

"Hell" is neither a Hebrew or a Greek word (both Old and New Testaments were written in those languages), nor did it primarily indicate "a place of torment." Biblical translators actually derived it from a secular German word - spelled hel - meaning nothing more than concealed or covered. The concept of a demon regulated horror-house was indeed derived from that word, but it actually evolved from Teutonic mythology.

Not only is hell an ancient pagan tradition (not at all unique to Christianity), but the ancient Israelites did not understand death that way according to the Holy Scripture. This is why modern Bible translations are completely evicting that word from the Old Testament! Now, why would any Bible translation seek to remove a word unless it did not belong there in the first place? Because this disgusting fable, originated from a place other than God's Holy Word - yet was craftily slipped in by the dogma motivated church of ages past.

Example: as demonstrated below, the King James Version erratically assigns two meanings ("hell" and "the grave") to one Hebrew word: "sheol" (pronounced showl). How many minds have been influenced by this vulgar, hypocritical manipulation? Do "hell" and "the grave" mean the same thing? Ask the church, ask anyone, and they will say "of course not!" In fact, open a modern Bible, and you will find they have all silently eliminated this deceit! How have they repaired this glaring contradiction? Not by translating sheol as hell consistently. Quite the opposite. They fixed the problem by contradicting the King James Version outright, and eliminating "hell" from the Old Testament altogether!

But, unfamiliar to the Christian majority, the word "hell," in the entire Bible was actually translated from four unique words: Sheol, Gehenna (a valley in Jerusalem used for dumping refuse), Hades, and Tartarus. Below are a few charts detailing these words to demonstrate how they were translated. For anyone new to the Bible, the NIV stands for New International Version, one of the most popular modern Bibles used in churches worldwide.

Here is an example: the King James translators rendered the Hebrew word sheol as "the grave" 31 times, but, they translated it as "hell" 31 times. Now, the the Israelites believed that everyone - good or bad, great or small - goes to sheol when they die. Conveniently, as evidenced in the two exemplary scriptures below, the word was rendered "grave" when God's people were said to go to Sheol, and "hell" at other times.

Genesis 44:31
It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he (Jacob) will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave (sheol).

Proverbs 9:18
But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell (sheol).

This section of this site is not intended to explain the meanings of "sheol" "hades" "gehenna" or "tartarus." This page is more intended to provide translation charts to compare between the King James version of the Bible, and other versions. For an excellent study regarding the origins of the "hell" concept, I have provided these excellent papers by on the subject. These links will open a window to www.bible-truths.com:

1) "Sheol" (translated grave, translated hell)
2) The origin of "endless punishment" (read paper)
3) The Christian Hell is a Christian Hoax (read paper)
4) "Gehenna" (paper 1, paper 2, paper 3)
5) "Hades and Tartarus" (read paper)

The deeper meaning in "Lazarus and the Rich Man"
This parable has been often misunderstood to prove the existence of eternal torment. But is there a deeper meaning here than often understood?

The tables and commentary below were created by Gary Amirault of Tentmaker Ministries, modified and and reformatted for this website.

Translation of the word "Sheol" in the Old Testament

 
1611 KJV
King James Version
NIV
NKJV
YLT
CLT
Latin Vulgate
Gn. 37:35
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Gn. 42:38
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Gn. 44:29
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Gn. 44:31
graue
grave
grave
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Nu. 16:30
pit
pit
grave *2
pit
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Nu. 16:33
pit
pit
grave
pit
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Dt. 32:22
hell
lowest hell
death
hell
Sheol
unseen
inferni
1Sa. 2:6
graue
grave
grave
grave
Sheol
unseen
infernum
2Sa. 22:6
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
inferi
1Ki. 2:6
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferos
1Ki. 2:9
graue
grave
grave
grave
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Job 7:9
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Job 11:8
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
inferno
Job 14:13
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferno
Job 17:13
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferus
Job 17:16
pit
pit
death *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
infernum
  1611 KJV King James Version NIV NKJV YLT
CLT
Latin Vulgate
Job 21:13
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferna
Job 24:19
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Job 26:6
hell
hell
Death *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
infernus
Ps. 6:5
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferno
Ps. 9:17
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernum*11
Ps. 16:10
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
n/a
Ps. 18:5
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
n/a
Ps. 30:3
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
n/a
Ps. 31:17
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
n/v
Ps. 49:14
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
n/a
Ps. 49:14*5
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
n/a
Ps. 49:15
graue
grave
grave
grave
Sheol
unseen
n/a
Ps. 55:15
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
n/v
Ps. 86:13
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
n/v
Ps. 88:3
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
n/a
Ps. 89:48
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
n/v
  1611 KJV King James Version NIV NKJV YLT
CLT
Latin Vulgate
Ps. 116:3
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
n/v
Ps. 139:8
hell
hell
depths *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
n/a
Ps. 141:7
graues
grave
grave *2
grave
*6
unseen
n/a
Pr. 1:12
graue
grave
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
infernus
Pr. 5:5
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Pr. 7:27
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
inferi
Pr. 9:18
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
inferni
Pr. 15:11
hell
hell
Death *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernus
Pr. 15:24
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
inferno
Pr. 23:14
hell
hell
death *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
inferno
Pr. 27:20
hell
hell
Death*2
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernus
Pr. 30:16
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
infernus
Ec. 9:10
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferos
SS. 8:6
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferus
Is. 5:14
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
infernus
Is. 14:9
hell
hell *9
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernus
  1611 KJV King James Version NIV NKJV YLT
CLT
Latin Vulgate
Is. 14:11
hell
grave
grave
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Is. 14:15
hel*10
hell
grave
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Is. 28:15
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
inferno
Is. 28:18
hell
hell
grave
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
inferno
Is. 38:10
graue
grave
death*2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
inferi
Is. 38:18
graue
grave
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
infernus
Is. 57:9
hell
hell
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Ez. 31:15
graue
grave
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
inferos
Ez. 31:16
hell
hell
grave
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Ez. 31:17
hell
hell
grave
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Ez. 32:21
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
inferni
Ez. 32:27
hell
hell
grave
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Ho. 13:14
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
mortis
Ho. 13:14*5
graue
grave
grave *2
grave
Sheol
unseen
inferne
Am. 9:2
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernum
Jon. 2:2
hell
hell *9
grave *2
Sheol
Sheol
unseen
inferni *12
Hab. 2:5
hell
hell
grave *2
hell
Sheol
unseen
infernus


Key: KJV = King James Version; NKJV = New King James Version; NIV = New International Version

*2 the footnote says Hebrew Sheol
*3 note says sheol or hades
*4 note says Hebrew to Sheol
*5 the word sheol occurs twice in the verse.
*6 Saul, not Sheol
*7 Margin: " that is, from destruction"
*8 NASB: Sheol, NRSV: grave
*9 marg. or, The grave {The New Englishman's Hebrew Concordance, p.1220}.
*10 spelled with one L in the original
*11 verse 18 in the Latin Vulgate and Douay-Rheims Bibles. 
*12 verse 3 in the Latin Vulgate and Douay-Rheims Bibles. 
*13 verse 3 in the Latin Vulgate and Douay-Rheims Bibles. 
*** The Latin Vulgate is one of the earliest translations of the Hebrew and Greek scripture used before the King James Version was translated in 1611.

KJV= King James Version
NKJV= New King James Version
YLT = Young's Literal Translation
Ro = Rotherham's Emphasized Bible
NIV = New International Version (one of the most read modern translations in the world)

N/A = Not Available. The word does not appear in these verses in the Vulgate.
N/V = No Verse. The verse does not appear in the Vulgate.

Note: Ez. 31:16-17
Note: Grave was spelled graue in 1611 KJV and Geneva bible

Translation of the word "Hades" in the New Testament

1611 KJV
KJV
NIV
Geneva
NKJV
CLT
Vulgate
Mt. 11:23
hell
hell
depths
hell
Hades
unseen
infernum
Mt. 16:18
hell
hell
Hades
hel *4
Hades
unseen
inferi
Lk. 10:15
hell
hell
depths
hell
Hades
unseen
infernum
Lk. 16:23
hell
hell
hell *7
hell
Hades
unseen
inferno
Ac. 2:27
hell
hell
grave
grave
Hades
unseen
inferno
Ac. 2:31
hell
hell
grave
grave
Hades
unseen
inferno
1Cor. 15:55**
grave*2
grave
death
grave
Hades
death
mors
Rv. 1:18
hell
hell
Hades
hell
Hades
unseen
inferni
Rv. 6:8
hell
hell
Hades
Hell *5
Hades
unseen
inferus
Rv. 20:13
hell *3
hell
Hades
hell
Hades
unseen
inferus
Rv. 20:14
hell
hell
Hades
hell
Hades
unseen
inferus

*1 prop. unseen {Strong's #86}
*2 margin "Or,hell"
*3 margin "Or,hell" in some 1611 printings. Some printings had "grave" in the text and "Or, hell" in the margin. Clearly some peculiar intentional hanky panky going on.
*4 spelled with one L in the original
*5 Capitalized in the original
*7 footnote says Greek Hades
*8 Hades] The unseen World, the adobe of departed spirits, In the A.V. both this word and 'Gehenna' are rendered 'Hell.' Each occurs twelve times. In this translation the two words are everywhere kept distinct.

**In the King James Version, 1 Corinthians 15:55 reads: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave (hades), where is thy victory?"

This is a reference to the Old Testament: Hosea 13:34: "I will ransom them from the power of the grave (sheol); I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave (sheol), I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes."

Translation of the word "Gehenna" in the New Testament

1611 KJV
KJV & NIV & NKJV
Geneva
NASB
YLT
Vulgate
Mt. 5:22
hell fire
hell
hell *3
hell *6
Gehenna
gehennae
Mt. 5:29
hell
hell
hell
hell
Gehenna
gehennam
Mt. 5:30
hell
hell
hell
hell
Gehenna
gehennam
Mt. 10:28
hell
hell
hell
hell
Gehenna
gehennam
Mt. 18:9
hell fire
hell
hell fire
hell
Gehenna
gehennam
Mt. 23:15
hell
hell
hell
hell
Gehenna
gehennae
Mt. 23:33
hell
hell
hell *4
hell
Gehenna
gehennae
Mk. 9:43
hell
hell
hell
hell
Gehenna
gehennam
Mk. 9:45
hell
hell
hell
hell
Gehenna
gehennam
Mk. 9:47
hel fire*1
hell
hellfire
hell
Gehenna
gehennam
Lk. 12:5
hell
hell
hell
hell
Gehenna
gehennam
Js. 3:6*2
hell
hell
hell *5
hell
Gehenna
gehenna


Jeremiah prophesied that one day this land - a garbage dump in Jerusalem called Gehenna - would one day be holy unto the Lord: "'The time is coming,' says the LORD, 'when all Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah. And the entire area--including the graveyard and ash dump in the valley (that's Gehenna), and all the fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the Horse Gate--will be holy to the LORD.'" (Jer. 31:38-40)

Many people claim that this Gehenna (otherwise known as the Valley of Hinnom) represents a hell of eternal suffering. Now, if Gehenna really symbolizes "hell" (though it really does not) and Gehenna will be holy to God, then wouldn't it also make sense to say that hell will someday be holy to God?

*1
spelled with one L in the original
*2 The only other person in the N.T. besides Jesus who uses this term Gehenna.
*3 Margin reads: "Whereas we read here, Hell, it is in the text itself, Gehenna, which is an Hebrew word made of two, and it asmuch to say, as the Valley of Hinnon, which otherwise Hebrews called Tophet : It was a place where the Israelites were went most cruelly to sacrifice their children to false gods, whereupon it was taken for a place appointed to torment the reprobates in Jerem. 7:31.
*4 Margin reads: "Look Chap 5. Verse 22."
*5 Margin reads: "So the Grecians called the deep dungeons under the earth, which should be appointed to torment the souls of the wicked in."
*6 note says Gr., Gehenna

Translation of the word "Tartarus" in the New Testament

1611 KJV KJV, NKJV Geneva NIV NRSV YLT & CLT Roth Vulgate
2Pt. 2:4*1
hell
hell
hell
hell *2
hell *3
Tartarus
lowest hades
tartarum

*1 The only places in the Bible where this term appears
*2 note says Greek tartarus
*3 note says Greek tartaroo

The Perpetrators

Introduction: The following quotes from early philosophers and Church Fathers prove where the modern concept of a "Hell of everlasting punishment" came from. The quotes also expose those who are still perpetuating those concepts. The first group of quotes represents proof regarding the originators of the concept. The second group of quotations are from Christian leaders who have been instrumental in perpetuating these diabolical thoughts.

Polybius, the ancient historian, says: "Since the multitude is ever fickle, full of lawless desires, irrational passions and violence, there is no other way to keep them in order but by the fear and terror of the invisible world; on which account our ancestors seem to me to have acted judiciously, when they contrived to bring into the popular belief these notions of the gods, and of the infernal regions." B. vi 56.

Strabo, the geographer, says: "The multitude are restrained from vice by the punishments the gods are said to inflict upon offenders, and by those terrors and threatenings which certain dreadful words and monstrous forms imprint upon their minds...For it is impossible to govern the crowd of women, and all the common rabble, by philosophical reasoning, and lead them to piety, holiness and virtue - but this must be done by superstition, or the fear of the gods, by means of fables and wonders; for the thunder, the aegis, the trident, the torches (of the Furies), the dragons, &c., are all fables, as is also all the ancient theology. These things the legislators used as scarecrows to terrify the childish multitude." Geog., B. I

Tertullian (considered by many to be the father of modern church doctrine) "At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness…"

Gerhard "The Blessed will see their friends and relations among the damned as often as they like but without the least of compassion.

Charles Spurgeon (Commonly called the "Prince of Preachers" for being a preacher of great eloquence) "I further believe, although certain persons deny it, that the influence of fear is to be exercised over the minds of men and that it ought to operate upon the mind of the preacher himself."

Thomas Aquinas "That the saints may enjoy their beatitude more thoroughly, and give more abundant thanks for it to God, a perfect sight of the punishment of the damned is granted them"

Jeremy Taylor "Husbands shall see their wives, parents shall see their children tormented before their eyes…the bodies of the damned shall be crowded together in hell like grapes in a wine-press, which press on another till they burst…"

Richard Baxter "It is not a terrible thing to a wretched soul, when it shall lie roaring perpetually in the flames of hell, and the God of mercy himself shall laugh at them; when…God shall mock them instead of relieving them; when none in heaven or earth can help them but God, and he shall rejoice over them in their calamity ." – (The Saint's Everlasting Rest” 1846)

Reverend J. Furniss, C.S.S.R "The fifth dungeon is the red hot oven. The little child is in the red hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out; see how it turns and twists itself about in the fire. It beats its head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor." (The Sight of Hell - Quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin)

Reverend E.B. Pusey, D.D. "Gather in one, in your mind, an assembly of all those men and women, from whom, whether in history or in fiction, your memory most shrinks, gather in mind all that is loathsome, most revolting * * * conceive the fierce, fiery eyes of hate, spite, frenzied rage, ever fixed on thee, looking thee through and through with hate * * * hear those yells of blaspheming concentrated hate, as they echo along the lurid vault of hell; everyone hating everyone * * * Yet a fixedness in that state in which the hardened malignant sinner dies, involves, without any further retribution of God, this endless misery." (Quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin)

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Voltaire "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."