In Part 2, I will be discussing the meanings of the Hebrew word shĕ’owl and the Greek word hadēs. It is important for us to understand these words in the original languages so that we can be clear that neither of these words should never have been translated as “hell”.
Shĕ’owl is a Hebrew word and it is defined in biblical use as the following; the underworld, grave, hell, pit, the abode of the dead, and the place of no return.
The word shĕ’owl is found 65 times in the Old Testament of the King James Bible and shĕ’owl was translated as hell in 31 scriptures. Would you be surprised to know that the word “grave” also appears some 31 times and the word “pit” 3 times in the King James also translated from the same Hebrew word shĕ’owl? So the question is, what inspired the King James translators to render the Hebrew word “shĕ’owl” as hell (31 times), grave (31 times), and pit (3 times)? Think about this for a second. Is there a logical reason for shĕ’owl to be translated as hell in 31 scriptures but grave in 31 different scriptures? Would it be okay to translate the word “heaven” as heaven in some scriptures but in other scriptures, a different word like “black hole”? Would that not confuse you? Well that is exactly what the King James translators did. They took the Hebrew word “shĕ’owl” and made it mean grave, hell, and pit. Is it too much of stretch to suggest that the King James translators were somewhat swayed in their beliefs about life after death and the fate of the wicked? There were other English translations of the Holy Scriptures before the King James Version. Those previous versions also used the word hell or another variant of the word hell. There is no logical or scriptural justification for the word “hell” to take the place of the Hebrew word “shĕ’owl”. Even modern translations are dropping the word hell altogether because they realize the travesty that was done by the King James translators and many other translations that use the word hell.
Let’s look at Psalm 139:8, and look at this verse in some different translations to see how they translated the Hebrew word “shĕ’owl” in comparison to the King James translation.
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (King James Version)
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. (New International Version)
If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. (New American Standard Bible)
If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. (The Living Bible)
If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I lie down in the grave, you are there. (New Century Version)
In this verse, David is making a statement about the omnipresence of God. Teachers of hell will tell you that being in hell is complete separation from God. If that is true then God cannot be everywhere at the same time but of course there is no such thing as complete separation from God. This is nothing more than another Christian fable.
Notice also that David says “if I make my bed in hell” according to the King James bible. A bed as it is used in this scripture is a symbol for a place where we sleep. Remember that hell in this verse was translated from shĕ’owl which is also translated as grave or pit in other scriptures. Based on what we know about the doctrine of hell, how could that ever be compared to being sleep in a bed? Death is oftentimes likened to sleep in the scriptures;
Psalm 13:3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I SLEEP THE SLEEP OF DEATH; [It should be very clear that David is referring to death in the grave? The pagan hell of Christianity is nothing more than a doctrine of contradictions.]
Let’s look at some other scriptures in the King James Old Testament that use the word shĕ’owl;
1 Kings 2:6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the GRAVE [Hebrew – shĕ’owl] in peace. The word grave in this scripture was translated from the Hebrew word shĕ’owl. Why didn’t the King James translators put hell in this verse? Let’s see what that would look like;
1 Kings 2:6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to HELL [Hebrew – shĕ’owl] in peace. They didn’t translate it that way because of the word “peace” as it is associated with this verse. You see, there isn’t any peace in the pagan hell of Christianity. There is only torture, misery, pain, and suffering. So hell wouldn’t work good in this verse so they stuck grave there knowing that most people are blind to the truth and wouldn’t catch this gross error. I will make the assumption that it is possible that the King James translators were just as blind to the truth as modern day Christians not even realizing their error as opposed to making an intentional translation error.
Psalm 31:17 Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the GRAVE [Hebrew – shĕ’owl]. Would anyone argue that it is silence in the grave? How would this verse sound if hell was put here instead of grave?
Psalm 31:17 Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in HELL [Hebrew – shĕ’owl]. You should be able to see a pattern with the King James translators. They put the word hell everywhere it sounded like it would fit. In verses like this one, they put grave because hell doesn’t fit because there is no silence in the pagan hell of Christianity. There is nothing but screams of horror, pain, and misery.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 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 [Hebrew – shĕ’owl] whither thou goest. Before we do the same hell test in this verse, let’s make sure that we understand a few things about what this verse is telling us.
The first thing that we need to consider is the subject matter in regards to the context of Ecclesiastes 9. If you understand the context of Ecclesiastes 9, you should know that this chapter is speaking about humanity in general (both the righteous and the wicked) in regards to living life well because all life ends in death.
Ecclesiastes 9:2 ALL THINGS COME ALIKE TO ALL: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; Irregardless of what you do with your life, there is one common denominator for all humanity and it is that we find our end at the grave. That is why you see the phrase “whither thou goest” which means “where you’re going” at the end of Ecclesiastes 9:10 because all humanity (righteous and wicked) is going to the grave. It should be clear that shĕ’owl means “grave” and it should never have been translated as hell. Now let’s see what this verse would look like if the King James translators put hell in this verse instead of grave;
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the HELL [Hebrew – shĕ’owl] whither thou goest. With hell is this verse, does this present a problem? It absolutely does. The Christian church teaches that only the wicked go to hell (shĕ’owl) and that these lost souls in hell remember their life and the choices they made back on earth. They know that they will be in hell forever and that they have no hope. They have no rest day or night forever and ever right? But this verse says that there is NO work (labor), NO device (ability to reason), NO knowledge (perception) and NO wisdom (understanding) in SHĔ’OWL (Hell or Grave?) WHERE YOU’RE GOING. So does shĕ’owl mean hell or grave? We already know what the Christian church teaches. If shĕ’owl really means hell, then this verse is telling us that everyone is going there. Now we have a contradiction. If the doctrine of hell is real, then this verse completely contradicts it. The truth is that the contradiction falls on the doctrine of hell and the Christian church. Shĕ’owl only means “grave” and if translated this way, it makes complete sense because we know that we all are going to the grave no matter how we live our life (good or bad).
To further prove that shĕ’owl should never be translated as hell, let’s look at a blatant contradiction in scripture in regards to the doctrine of hell;
Jonah 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the BELLY OF HELL cried I, and thou heardest my voice. Now in this verse, the King James translators decided to use the word hell as the translation for the word shĕ’owl instead of grave or pit. The first thing that you need to know is that Jonah was a man of God. But I thought only wicked and unbelieving people went to hell? This verse says that Jonah cried unto the Lord while in the belly of hell. This means he was praying to God. Ask any Christian if God hears of answers the prayers of those people who they believe are in hell. They will certainly tell you “NO” because in hell, it is eternal separation from God. They will tell you that people in hell stay in hell for eternity. Never mind all of the accounts of people who claim to have had near death experiences in which they go to hell but then are allowed to come back to earth to tell their story. In consideration of these things, there is only one word that comes to mind for me and it is – contradiction.
So we read that Jonah prayed to God while in hell but would you be surprised to learn that God in fact heard Jonah’s prayer? Not only did God hear his prayer, God actually answers Jonah’s prayer; Jonah 2:10 And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. So we have a scriptural account of a person (albeit a righteous person) who was in hell, (proceeded to pray to God), and the prayer was answered by God. God delivered Jonah out of hell. When we really look at the scriptures, the doctrine of hell has no substance because it is based on lies from pagan cultures. The doctrine of hell teaches that the wicked and unbelieving go there – so explain why Jonah went there? Being in hell is eternal separation from God but Jonah can talk to God. Hell is taught to be eternal but Jonah was redeemed from hell. The second chapter of Jonah has absolutely nothing to do with a literal fire burning hell. In context it has nothing to do with a fish in the sea. This is all symbolic and figurative language. Jonah chapters 1 and 2 both reveal prophetic details concerning the events leading up to and including the death and resurrection of Christ.
Matthew 12:40 For as JONAS WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE WHALE’S BELLY; so shall the SON OF MAN BE THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH.
So it should be clear that hell is a gross error in translation of the Hebrew word shĕ’owl. The Hebrew word shĕ’owl could just as easily been rendered “grave” every time it was used but for whatever reasons, the King James translators thought it wise to change the word to be rendered “hell” and this word has a very different meaning that has its origin from various pagan mythologies.
If the words hell, grave, and pit were all translated from the Hebrew “shĕ’owl”, then one can easily conclude that these all mean the very same thing. But that isn’t the case is it? The words grave, pit, and hell all have different meanings. Let’s look at the definitions for the all the words that have been translated from the Hebrew word shĕ’owl;
Hell – the realm of the devil and the demons in which the damned suffer everlasting punishment; a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness.
Grave– a place of burial for a dead body, typically a hole dug in the ground and marked by a stone or mound.
Pit– a large hole in the ground.
Now remember that all three of these words came from the same Hebrew word “shĕ’owl”. So please tell me how this one Hebrew word is translated as three different words with three completely different meanings? Grave and pit have some similarities, but hell has nothing to do with either of these two other words.
Shĕ’owl means” grave” and it is abundantly clear from the scriptures. There is no place for the word hell in the bible. .
The word “hell” appears 10 times in the King James New Testament as a translation from the Greek word hadēs.
Hadēs is defined in biblical use as the following; the realm of the dead, the god of the lower regions, the grave, death, unseen, and hell.
Let’s look at the definition for hell again;
Hell is defined as the realm of the devil and the demons in which the damned suffer everlasting punishment; a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness.
Since hell is translated from the Greek word hadēs, shouldn’t they both have similar meanings? Do you see any similarities with the definitions of hell and hadēs? How can hell be the definition of hadēs if hadēs is supposed to be hell? That question was supposed to sound stupid because it is stupid. Is the definition for heaven, heaven? If you ask yourself these questions with an open heart, you should clearly see that this is a problem.
Let’s look at some scriptures that have the word hell in it that was translated from the Greek word hadēs;
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of HELL [Greek – hadēs] shall not prevail against it. Now do we really think that Christ is talking about the pagan hell of Christianity? It should be understood that Jesus never actually said the word hell because he didn’t speak English. Furthermore, the New Testament was originally written in Greek so it would behoove any person who claims to study and know God’s word to become familiar with the words used in the original languages. Now let’s take another look at Matthew 16:18 focusing our attention on the phrase “the gates of hell”. This is the only time this phrase is used in scripture – or is it?
Isaiah 38:10 I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to THE GATES OF THE GRAVE: I am deprived of the residue of my years. This is an Old Testament scripture that uses the phrase “the gates of the grave”. It doesn’t say hell in this verse but I want to show you that hadēs also means the grave as does the Hebrew word shĕ’owl. Let’s look at another verse;
Acts 2:27 Because You will not leave My soul in HELL [Greek – hadēs], neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption. (New Testament)
Hadēs is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word shĕ’owl and it is clear from scripture;
Psalm 16:10 For You will not leave My soul in HELL [Hebrew – shĕ’owl]; neither will You suffer your Holy One to see corruption. (Old Testament)
The writer of Acts is making an Old Testament reference to David’s Psalm in the above two scriptural references. In order for these scriptures to be truthful, the two words translated as hell in the original languages (shĕ’owl and hadēs) must have the same meaning since we both have an Old Testament and New Testament reference. We have already determined the true meaning of shĕ’owl to be grave and this conclusively proves that hadēs also means grave. If you scroll up and take another look at the definition of hadēs, you will see that grave is one of the words used to describe its meaning.
Now from a practical standpoint, if hell is a literal fire burning place of torment, why would King David, who was a man after God’s own heart make a reference to not being left in hell? Why would he even be there seeing that he was a man of God? Jesus descended from the line of David. Surely we wouldn’t suppose that Jesus is a descendant of someone who was hell-bound. Also, isn’t the teaching of hell’s duration eternal? If so, then how can someone not be left there? If you have any sense, try to answer these questions. You will not be able to answer them logically because all of this hell business is nothing but lies. Psalm 16:10 is actually referring to Christ even though David wrote it in first person. This was a prophetic statement from the psalmist.
So the Greek “hadēs” is equivalent to the Hebrew “shĕ’owl ” which we have already determined the meaning to be “the grave”. The grave isn’t referring to an actual cemetery grave but the state of being dead in the grave which we cannot access or see – “the unseen” or “imperceptible”. Think of the grave as the place you were before you were conceived.
Now remember that I stated that in the King James New Testament, hadēs is translated as hell 10 times. The word hadēs is found one more time in the King James New Testament and it is not translated as hell. Would you like to guess what hadēs was translated as this time? In 1 Corinthians 15:55, the same word hadēs is translated as, you guessed it GRAVE.
Let’s see the Scriptural proof;
O death, where is thy sting? O GRAVE (hadēs), where is thy victory?
Now remember that the Greek word hadēs is found a total of 11 times in the New Testament. This word is translated as hell 10 out of the 11 times it is translated. Can you explain why the King James translators decided to translate hadēs as grave this ONE and ONLY time in 1 Corinthians 15:55? Let’s see what this verse will look like if they translated hadēs as hell;
O death, where is thy sting? O HELL (hadēs), where is thy victory?
Do you see the justification? It is the inclusion of the word VICTORY in this scripture that is the reason why the King James translators didn’t translate hadēs as hell. In the world of Christianity, hell is a doctrine of eternal punishment and thus it would be contradictory to say that there is victory over their hell. But hell is an evil and fallacious translation of the Greek word hadēs.
So ask yourself a question? Can you see these truths with your own eyes and continue believing that hell is a literal fire burning place of evil torture ruled by the devil and his minions? If so, then you are spiritually blind my friend and I’d venture to say that you may also have a wicked heart to continue thinking and believing that God will literally torture people with real fire.
Christ tells us this; 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, Revelations 1:18. Why does Christ have keys to hell if the damned are sentenced to this place for eternity? The purpose of a key is to unlock something. Some will ignorantly argue that a key is also used to lock something as in the case of locking wicked people in hell for all eternity. This type of thinking is foolishness. If I removed the lock from your front door, would you still be able to lock the door with a key? A lock is used to lock something not a key so the fact that Christ has a key tells us that he is going to unlock something that is already locked. What is significant about unlocking hell and death? Well if hell is the literal place of eternal torment with fire then unlocking hell wouldn’t make any sense. But if we put the grave which is the accurate word then we can know with certainty what is being unlocked. Because of sin, we are all locked in the death when we go to the grave but Christ defeated sin and death at the cross. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, 1 Corinthians 15:26.
It is not a coincidence that the words death and hell (grave) are grouped together in many scriptures. When we (as in ALL humanity) die, we ALL go to the grave. Death and the grave are grouped like this because they are inseparable. You cannot die and somehow bypass the grave and you cannot go to the grave without dying.
Genesis 3:1 Now the SERPENT WAS MORE SUBTIL than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made…, Subtil means cunning, intelligent, or crafty. Satan deceived Eve and he also deceives the whole world… Revelation 12:9
The King James translators could have easily translated Revelations 1:18 in this way;
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of the grave and of death. [When translated this way, it blends beautifully with 1 Corinthians 15:55.]
But for whatever reason, the King James translators didn’t translate this verse in that way. They inserted the word hell without any divine inspiration. The word hell is a man made word from pagan origin. This word should have never been included in the bible. The doctrine of hell is a doctrine from Satan. Ask yourself what that makes you if you believe it?
In Part 3, I will be discussing the meaning of both the Greek words, gehenna (which comes from a Hebrew word) and tartaroō.
Click the link to go to Part 3: The Meaning of Geenna & Tartaroō