Before we move on, we need to agree on a common definition of a very important Bible term.
Twice in Peter’s sermon he referred to “hell.”
Fundamental Baptists have been often called “hell and brimstone” preachers.
You are a member of a “hell and damnation” preaching church.
But are you sure that you know what “hell” is?
Let’s take a little test?
Is hell always a place of judgment?
Is hell eternal?
Did Abraham go to hell when he died?
Was David expecting to go to hell when he died?
Did Jesus go to hell when he died?
Is “hell” a synonym for the “Lake of Fire?”
And the answers are?
Is hell always a place of judgment? No.
Is hell eternal? Not necessarily.
Did Abraham go to hell when he died? Yes.
Was David expecting to go to hell when he died? Yes.
Did Jesus go to hell when he died? Yes and no.
Is “hell” a synonym for the “Lake of Fire?” Not exactly.
This message tonight will not be a true sermon, but more of a Bible lesson.
Out of those languages, there are four words in our KJV Bibles which are translated “hell.”
Only one of those words is found in the Old Testament.
That word is “sheol.”
And that is the word which Peter quoted from Psalm 16 at which we looked last week.
But “sheol” is not always translated “hell,” sometimes it is translated “pit” and “the grave.”
“For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell…”
“The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.”
“Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?”
“Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”
“Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.”
“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
Now let me read you another 12 scriptures from another 31 verses that use the word “sheol.“
“And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.”
“And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.”
“The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.”
” Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.”
“As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.”
“O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!”
“For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?”
“O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.”
“Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.”
“Our bones are scattered at the grave‘s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.”
The other word which is translated from “sheol” is “pit” and it is found 3 times.
“But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.”
“They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.”
“They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.”
What do all these verses show us?
They show us what all the competent Bible dictionaries and lexicons tell us:
“Sheol” is not the Lake of Fire, but rather the place, or the world of the dead.
Sheol is not hell as most people picture hell, but rather the place of departed spirits,
And that is irrespective of whether they are saved or lost.
Sheol is simply a term meaning the state of the dead in general without any restriction to happiness or misery.
But sometimes it refers to the death of the righteous.
That is “hell” as it is found in the Old Testament.
“Tartarus” is used once in II Peter 2:4:
“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;
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly…”
“Hades” is translated “hell” ten times.
Matthew 11:23 – “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”
Luke 10:15 – “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.”
Luke 16:23 – “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
Revelation 20:13 – “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”
Revelation 20:14 – “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
There is one other use of “hades” in I Corinthians 15:55:
I Corinthians 15:55 is a reference to Hosea 13:14:
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”
Matthew 5:22 – “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Matthew 5:30 – “And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
Matthew 10:28 – “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 23:15 – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”
Matthew 23:33 – “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
James 3:6 – “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”
The word “Gehenna” is of Hebrew origin coming from the words “valley’ and “Hinnom,”
And where Ahaz introduced the worship of Baal and Moloch.
This worship was finally abolished.
With the smoldering of fires and the rot of dead bodies, Gehenna became a place where worms were constantly breeding and feeding.
So the Lord Jesus referred to Hell as the Gehenna of fire, into which both body and souls will be cast.
He said that Gehenna is a place of unquenchable fire and where the worm dieth not.
This hell is real.
But all four of those men did enter “sheol” – the place of the dead.
And likewise Jesus went to “sheol” or “hades” when He died.
It was at that time that I Peter 3:18-20 took place:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.”
I believe that he suffered everything necessary for my salvation when he died on the cross.
But He did really die, and He did really enter “hell” in the sense of the place of the dead.
And from there the Saviour took Abraham, Jacob, David, Job and a countless number of other saints with Him to glory.
Only in a very, very limited way, do Christians today go to hades:
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
It’s important that Christians today understand the various aspects of the doctrine of hell.