The Origin of Hell

Before you can really understand the doctrine of hell, you must first understand some things concerning God’s people (The Israelites) who were under captivity of the Egyptians for about 400 years. During this time, they were introduced to many of the pagan gods in Egyptian mythology. This is where the origin of the hell doctrine started.

In Egyptian mythology, Duat (pronounced “do-aht”) (also Tuat and Tuaut or Akert, Amenthes, Amenti, or Neter-khertet) is the realm of the dead. The Duat is the realm of the god Osiris and the residence of other gods and supernatural beings. It also was the place where people’s souls went after death for judgement, though that was not the full extent of the afterlife. The geography of Duat is similar in outline to the world the Egyptians knew. There are realistic features like rivers, islands, fields, lakes, mounds and caverns, along with fantastic lakes of fire, walls of iron and trees of turquoise. In the Book of Two Ways, one of the Coffin Texts, there is even a map-like image of the Duat. The dead person must pass a series of gates guarded by dangerous spirits, depicted as human bodies with grotesque heads of animals, insects, torches or knives. These beings have equally grotesque names, for instance “Blood-drinker who comes from the Slaughterhouse” or “One who eats the excrement of his hindquarters”. Other features emphasized in these texts are mounds and caverns, inhabited by gods or supernatural animals, which threatened the spirits of the dead. The purpose of the books is not to lay out geography, but to describe a succession of rites of passage which the dead would have to pass to reach the afterlife. If the deceased successfully passed these unpleasant demons, he or she would reach the Weighing of the Heart. In this ritual, the heart of the deceased was weighed by Anubis, using a feather, representing Ma’at, the goddess of truth and justice. The heart would become out of balance because of failure to follow Ma’at and any hearts heavier or lighter than her feather were rejected and eaten by the Ammit, the Devourer of Souls. Those souls that passed the test would be allowed to travel toward the paradise of Aaru.

In spite of the unpleasant inhabitants of the Duat, this was no hell to which souls were condemned; the nature of Duat is more complex than that. The grotesque spirits of the underworld were not evil, but under the control of the Gods. The Duat was also a residence of gods themselves; as well as Osiris, Anubis, Thoth, Horus, Hathor and Ma’at all appear as a dead soul makes its way toward judgement. It was also in the underworld that the sun, Ra, travelled under the Earth from west to east and was transformed from its aged Atum form into Khepri, the new dawning Sun. Just as a dead person faced many challenges in the Duat, Ra faced attack in the underworld from the evil serpent Apep.

It should be easy enough to see that all of this stuff you just read comes from ancient mythology. A myth is a false story otherwise known as a fable. None of this stuff is truth. It is no more true than the Loch Ness Monster of the Scottish Highlands. There were many other pagan beliefs that crept in to the minds of God’s people including man having an immortal soul, belief in reincarnation, and the afterlife. Many people today still believe these things that have their origin from ancient pagan belief systems. Over the centuries, new ideologies were formed to create this modern view of hell more specific, eternal punishment. The sad truth is that these pagan ideas have no origin in the holy scriptures. If you choose to continue believing this garbage, you are simply putting your faith in lies and the bible teaches us that the devil is the father of lies.

John 8:44 YE ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. WHEN HE SPEAKETH A LIE, HE SPEAKETH OF HIS OWN: FOR HE IS A LIAR, AND THE FATHER OF IT[So let me ask you this – who is your daddy?]

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, 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.

Does this definition not sound like some fabricated garbage similar to the beliefs of the Egyptians? Where do you think Merriam Webster got this definition from in the first place?

The word “hell” isn’t and never was a biblical word. The actual word “hell” never came out of the mouth of Jesus Christ. Hell was translated from the Hebrew word, “shĕ’owl” (31 times) and the Greek word(s) “hadēs” (10 times), “geenna” (12 times), and “tartaroō” (1 time). The King James Version is the only English translation in modern use to translate shĕ’owl, hadēs, geenna, and tartaroō as hell. This fact alone should tell you that something is just not right about this word.

If the King James translators made translation mistakes, how did this happen? The first thing that you need to understand is that the King James translators were not inspired of God in contrast to the men who penned the holy scriptures under divine inspiration of God. Many people believe that the King James bible is God’s perfect restoration of his word. What people fail to realize is that the King James translators made this admission in their own preface to the readers;

“No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied
to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it.”

This is stated in the preface of the King James bible of 1611 but it is no longer included in many modern translations. Does this mean that we shouldn’t study the bible or trust God’s word? Absolutely not but it is important to consider these interesting facts regarding the history of the bible;

  • In 382, the first Latin translation was produced by St. Jerome and this translation was known as the Latin Vulgate.
  • The holy scriptures were translated in to many other languages, however, the Roman Catholic Church made it punishable by death to possess a non-Latin bible.
  • The Latin Vulgate was the primary and in many places the only version of the holy scriptures controlled by the Roman Catholic Church for nearly 1,000 years. (This period is known as the Dark Ages)
  • During the Protestant Reformation period, the first English translation of the holy scriptures was written by John Wycliffe around the year 1380.
  • The Wycliffe English bible was translated from Latin to English due to the fact that the original manuscripts were not available to John Wycliffe.
  • Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450’s making it easier to make copies as opposed to hand written copies which were in limited supply.
  • Towards the end of the Dark Ages, the truth about the corrupt Roman Catholic church began to be exposed and the Latin Vulgate was considered by many to be inaccurate even to the point of taking away the gospel of Christ.
  • In 1537, John Rogers completed the English bible which was the first English bible translated from the original biblical languages of Hebrew & Greek.
  • The first English bible that was authorized for public use was the “Great Bible” published by Myles Cloverdale at the request of King Henry VIII.
  • Queen Mary I of England took the throne after King Henry’s death, and she made it her purpose to destroy the Reformation movement and to return England back to Roman Catholicism.
  • Fleeing persecution, a group of Reformers including John Calvin published the Geneva Bible in the 1560’s and this bible is commonly known to be the first bible taken to America.
  • The Roman Catholic church eventually had there own English translation (Douay–Rheims Bible) published fully in year 1610 directly from the Latin Vulgate which was known to be a corrupt translation.
  • The Geneva Bible was well accepted by the people, however, the marginal notes grossly criticized the Roman Catholic church for their heretical practices and the powers that be sought to have a less than controversial translation.
  • From 1605 to 1611, about 50 bible scholars used the the Tyndale New Testament, the Coverdale Bible, the Matthews Bible, the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the Rheims New Testament to evetually publish the well known King James bible.
  • All bibles discussed so far included 80 books (66 old and new testament books + the 14 books of the Apocrypha) until the 1880’s when they were removed.
  • Today, there are hundreds of translations available and the most recognized translations in America remains to be the King James, the New American Standard Bible, and the New International Version.

In consideration of these facts, what can we learn about God’s plans? If the holy scriptures were locked in the Latin language for nearly a millennium, how does the doctrine of hell make any sense? With that said, the bible used during that time (the Latin Vulgate) was known to be corrupt and full of inaccuracies only to promote the power and business of the Roman Catholic church. How can a person’s eternal fate depend on a message that is false? If God is all knowing and all powerful, then we can surmise that God knew that this would happen to his word and he of course allowed it to happen. Many people do not understand the mysterious ways about God but I can assure that these actions did not occur against God’s will. My point in showing you these facts is to illustrate to you how the times have changed in regards to people seeking the truth in God’s word. During the time that the Roman Catholic church was in control, the primary way for people to hear God’s words was to hear it from a Catholic priest. There weren’t any pocket bibles or stores where you could just stop by and buy a copy. Of course there wasn’t any Internet so these people had no way of determining if God’s truth was actually being delivered. This stuff was serious business back then and in no way compared to the soft holier than thou Christians of today. People were executed by being burned at the stake for doing something as petty as having a non-Latin bible in their possession. Can you imagine being burned alive just for having a English pocket bible? Thank God we live in a time of relative peace but I believe that it is this peace that has created a spirit of stupor in this country.

The doctrine of hell is an evil doctrine that originated from pagan mythology, but the Roman Catholic church used it to put fear in to the minds of people only for control. It is documented that many Roman Catholic officials would charge fees for the forgiveness of sins and for the indulgence of certain sins. The people that lived during this time cannot be held responsible for being under that kind of spiritual tyranny. By understanding the history and the translations we have, we can learn a lot concerning the truth about this evil doctrine of hell. If we are to trust and believe that the bible is the word of God, we need to understand the differences in the translations. Since the doctrine of hell is believed by the whole Christian church, consider these differences in the usage of the word hell in these following translations;

Year

Bible Version OT NT Total

382

Latin Vulgate 87 24 111

1611

King James 31 23 54
1862 Young’s Literal Translation 0 0

0

1901 American Standard 0 13

13

1982 New King James 19 13

32

Who is right and how can we know? The truth is that the word hell is not necessarily a bad translated word. The actual word “hell” has German origin. If you study Teutonic mythology, which is the study of Germanic paganism, you will learn that the word “hell” orginated from the word “hel” which meant that which is hidden or out of sight. In ancient German culture, the common phrase, “they went to hel” meant that two people went to go hide. The Old Norse (an ancient Germanic language) word hel derives from the Proto-Germanic word haljō, which means “one who covers up or hides something”, which itself derives from Proto-Indo-European word kel-, meaning “conceal”. The cognate in English is the word hell, which is from the Old English forms hel and helle. In Norse mythology, Hel is a being that resides over a place of the same name Hel, where this being receives the dead.

It is the modern interpretation of the word hell that involves literal torture that is the primary problem. People have long been plagued with fear because of this terrible false doctrine that is deceiving millions but it is time for the truth to come forth. Even though I use to believe in hell, I find it strange that people continue to believe it even with overwhelming evidence that it is complete garbage. I think most people believe in hell because they really think it is God’s word. I also think that other people really like the idea of their enemies burning in real fire forever. Sadly for the most part, people just haven’t heard the truth and they’ve been brainwashed in to believing a counterfeit gospel.

Case in point: a common misconception that people spread about the teaching of hell is that Jesus talked more about hell than he did about heaven. Maybe you have even said this before not really knowing if in fact it is even true at all. Let’s fact check this common belief;

The word hell appears (54) times in the King James Version bible; 31 times in the Old Testament, and 23 in the New Testament. Of the 23 times hell is used in the New Testament, 16 times the usage was accounted to Christ. The words punishment, judgment, and damnation appear 42 times and many of these are also accounted to Christ. However, the majority of the accounts of these words are in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke) which all give accounts of some of the same messages. Irregardless of this fact, I will count all of these uses anyway. So we have a total of 58 uses of hell, damnation, punishment, and judgment. Would you believe that the words heaven, kingdom, kingdom of heaven, paradise, kingdom of God is used some 242 times with the majority of these references accounted to Christ? People are infatuated with this teaching of hell and eternal punishment. You see the numbers; believe what you will but I chose to believe the truth.

In Part 2, I will be explaining the meaning of the Hebrew word shĕ’owl and the Greek word hadēs.

Click the link to go to Part 2: The Meaning of Shĕ’owl & Hadēs

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4 thoughts on “The Origin of Hell

    1. Jesus says that because that is the reaction that the Jews will have when they see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God while they themselves are trust out. Jesus was condemning the evil self-righteous Jews with his words and the phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is never used to describe the reaction of any person going to some place called hell. You have to read the whole scripture and interpret all of the words instead of just picking out phrases to justify commonly accepted ideas of Christianity.

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    1. The word “hell” is often used as hyperbole but it really has no correlation with the actual literal doctrine of a torturing fire burning hell. Whatever a person suffers through on earth it will eventually end at death. There is no end to the suffering and misery in the teaching of a literal hell.

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