THE THREE HELLS

“3 Hells”

An addendum to

“Keys to the Kingdom Found in the Parables”

By

Tom McManus

Contents

  •  Overview- Hell is not the Lake of Fire
  •  Hell(gehenna)
  •  Hell (tartarus), the Bottomless Pit and the Abyss
  •  Outer Darkness
  •  Hades, Sheol
  •  The Judicial Process

 

Hell is not the Lake of Fire

 Let’s look at a scripture that we reviewed earlier which will delineate the distinction between hell and the lake of fire. We have been so ingrained to think that hell is the lake of fire that it is important to bring further clarity through repetition that it is not.

Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV – 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is [the Book] of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

At the end of the 1,000 reign we see that three places give up their dead before the Great White Throne Judgment (GWTJ). You might picture these places of the dead to be huge warehouses if you will, that contain the dead until the judgment. There are three Greek words that are translated into hell; tartarus, hades and gehenna, which correspond to these places. Each are distinct from one another and none of them represent the lake of fire.

1.) “Hades”

 2.) “Death”  

3.) “The sea”

Our definition of hell is that it is a place which the dead reside until the final Great White Throne Judgment. These places can be pleasant or painful. Here is a general overview of the different hells, which we will look at more closely further on.

1.)  Hades(hell) is specifically the place where the souls of all men go. There is a (pleasant) place for the righteous and a (not so pleasant) place for the unrighteous. The righteous (believers) descend into Hades when they die until they are resurrected at the end of this age, which follows the same pattern as Jesus.

Luke 23:43 NKJV – 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

We see in the description of Hades in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-32. There is a good place called Abraham’s bosom where Lazuras is and a not so good place where the rich man is. Paradise is another word for Abraham’s bosom.

When the righteous resurrect from Hades they will then stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. As we know those found carnal and not ready will end up in hell(gehenna) and those who are found faithful will enter into the kingdom of heaven on earth for 1,000 years.

The unrighteous stay in Hades until the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth and then resurrect to the Great White Throne Judgment. Their names are not written in the Book of Life and they are then caste into the Lake of Fire.

2.) Hell (tartarus) is a place where fallen angels stay until the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth and then they stand before the Great White Throne Judgment.

2 Peter 2: For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[a] and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; 

We will see further how this is another name for “Death”

3.) Hell (gehenna) is a place a carnal believer can go and experience punishment before the Great White Throne Judgment. Hell(gehenna) is a general term but can be a place a believer can go after death, after the resurrection or after the Judgment Seat. Outer darkness and jail (Matthew 18:34 and 5:25) are specific names describing hell(gehenna). We will see further how this is another name for “The sea”.

From the scripture above we see that the Sea, Death and Hades (Hell) give up their dead to the Great White Throne. The Sea, Death and Hades represent holding tanks, so to speak, for souls that have died and are awaiting final judgment. This is an important piece of information. When they are emptied of all the souls in them, these emptied structures are then thrown into the Lake of Fire. It is critical to note that there is a distinction between Hades (Hell) and the Lake of Fire since one is thrown into the other. Hades (Hell) will burn in the Lake of Fire, but there will be no one in it. Do you see how hell and the Lake of Fire are different?

 

Hell(gehenna)

Hell(gehenna) is translated nine times as hell, and three times as hell fire. Jesus warns his disciples ten times using hell (gehenna) as a consequence of living a carnal life. In two cases, Jesus warns the scribes and Pharisees of the consequence of hell (gehenna) for their hypocritical ways. Remember that the Pharisees have a righteousness that comes from faith although they act carnally, they are tares. Jesus never warns unbelievers with hell (gehenna), only the righteous. Hell (gehenna) refers to any place a believer goes where they experience punishment before the final judgment (Great White Throne Judgment).

Matthew 10:28 KJV – 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(gehenna).

Matthew 18:9 KJV – 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell(gehenna)  fire.

Matthew 23:15, 33 KJV – 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[G1067] than yourselves. … 33 [Ye] serpents, [ye] generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell(gehenna)?

Mark 9:43, 45, 47 KJV – 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell(gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched: … 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell(gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched: … 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell(gehenna)  fire:

Luke 12:5 KJV – 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell(gehenna); yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

James 3:6 KJV – 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(gehenna).

In Matthew 5 Jesus communicates with His disciples as to what the new covenant standards are that He will use to judge them and what the consequences are if they fail to repent.

Matthew 5:21-22 KJV – 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 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(gehenna) fire.

He continues:

Matthew 5:27-28 KJV – 27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Matthew 5:29 KJV – 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, 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(gehenna).

Matthew 5:30 KJV – 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(gehenna).

We should note that Jesus has been confronting the religious leaders who look holy on the outside “but within they are full of extortion and excess.” He is saying that He will be judging the hearts of men. If one has murder or adultery in their heart they need to repent or suffer hell fire. It would be better for you to pluck out your eyes of lust and enter heaven maimed than enter hell with all your eyes. It would be better for you to cut off your hand which strikes another or points a finger at someone than to go to hell with all your hands. The exhortation is clear, repent because this is the judgment you will face. The pain and suffering of hell is far worse than the momentary pain of cutting one’s members off.

Hell(gehenna) can include any punishment to the carnal believer before the Great White Throne Judgment. It is distinguished by the term of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” which described the feeling of those who have lost an inheritance that was theirs and are in the midst of a judgment that could have been averted if they simply repented.  Again it should be noted that all these verses are spoken to believers, not unbelievers.

Matthew 8:12 NKJV – 12 “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 22:13 NKJV – 13 “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast [him] into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Matthew 24:51 NKJV – 51 “and will cut him in two and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:30 NKJV – 30 ‘And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Luke 13:28 NKJV – 28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

One of the reasons it may be hard to understand what is happening here is because there are different words that describe hell(gehenna). There is “outer darkness”, “jail” (from the parable of the unforgiving servant) and “the furnace of fire” (which happens on the earth after the resurrection). We should note that hell(gehenna) is like a “jail” in that it is a confined place for a specified time period, not for eternity. The intensity and duration of the fiery purification is determined by the Lord.

Luke 12: 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

At the Great White Throne Judgment every believer receives the inheritance of eternal life (new heaven and new earth). After that point there will be no more pain or suffering (Rev 21:4). The refining work of the Master will have been completed.

We will give further insights on “outer darkness” further along.

 

Hell (tartarus), the Bottomless Pit and the Abyss

Tartarus is mentioned only once in scripture , it is a place where fallen angels are awaiting the final judgment.

2Peter 2: 4For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast [them] down to hell (tartarus), and delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

This hell is different in that it is specifically for angels and those angels will only be there until the final judgment. We’ll see that the same reference is made in Jude.

Jude 1:6 NKJV – 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

We might ask what event happened in the scripture which refers to the angels leaving “their own abode”?

Genesis 6:2-7 NKJV – 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. 3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. 5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

We won’t get into an exhaustive study on this but the sons of God are referred to in the scriptures as angels. During the time before the flood, angels left their heavenly domain and had sexual relations with the daughters of men who were the women on the earth and they produced giants. Much corruption spread throughout the world to the point that God sent a flood on the earth to destroy all except for Noah and those on the ark. This story is told in much more detail in the Book of Enoch. It corresponds to the Genesis 6 story but explains that the fallen angels taught the people about witchcraft and sorcery and how to make war. It also explains how God passed judgment on these angels and even describes them being sent to hell (tartarus). The references of the fallen angels from 2 Peter and Jude are clearly pointing to Genesis 6 and the Book of Enoch. These authors were familiar with the writings of their time and were writing from that context, so much so that Jude actually quotes the Book of Enoch as follows:

Jude14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’

This quote is from Enoch 1:9 in some editions, chapter 2:1 of the original English edition. I would suggest that you read the book to get a better understanding of Genesis 6, noting it is not a canonical book but offers context at the very least as a historical document. As we try to understand what hell (tartarus) is, Enoch can provide some insight.

Enoch 10:6. Again the Lord said to Raphael, Bind Azazyel hand and foot; cast him into darkness; and opening the desert which is in Dudael, cast him in there. 7. Throw upon him hurled and pointed stones, covering him with darkness; 8. There shall he remain forever; cover his face, that he may not see the light. 9. And in the great day of judgment let him be cast into the fire.

If we read the story in Enoch, we would find that Azazyel was the head angel that led other angels with him from their heavenly realm to sow corruption on the earth. We see that these verses correspond to Jude and 2 Peter in that they speak of the angels being cast into a place of darkness until the great day of judgment (great white throne). Make note that verse 8 states that they will be remain there forever, and yet they will only be there until the “great day of judgment”. As we discussed earlier this forever indicates a fullness of an age until the next age begins.

Here is another description of Tartarus in a further passage:

Enoch Chapter 21

  1. From thence I afterwards passed on to another terrific place;5. Where I beheld the operation of a great fire blazing and glittering, in the midst of which there was a division. Columns of fire struggled together to the end of the abyss, and deep was their descent. But neither its measurement nor magnitude was I able to discover; neither could I perceive its origin. Then I exclaimed, How terrible is this place, and how difficult to explore!6. Uriel, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered and said: Enoch, why art thou alarmed and amazed at this terrific place, at the sight of this place of suffering? This, he said, is the prison of the angels; and here they are kept forever.

I want to take note of the description of this “prison of the angels” for it reveals that this place corresponds to the “bottomless pit” or what some translations call the “abyss” in the New Testament, if we look at its description. Let’s look at it again.

  1. Where I beheld the operation of a great fire blazing and glittering, in the midst of which there was a division. Columns of fire struggled together to the end of the abyss, and deep was their descent. But neither its measurement nor magnitude was I able to discover; neither could I perceive its origin.

We have seen in Rev 20:1-3 that Satan will be thrown into the bottomless pit at the end of this age for 1,000 years and then released. I want to note that an angel who had a key to the bottomless pit and a chain escorted Satan to the bottomless pit for the prescribed sentence. This angel is referenced in the scripture below.

Revelation 9:1-2, 11 NKJV – 1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. … 11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew [is] Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

This angel releases locust that inhabit the bottomless pit at the designated time.

Revelation 9:3-4 NKJV – 3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

We see that the beast is released also from the bottomless pit.

Revelation 11:7 NKJV – 7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

Revelation 13:1 KJV – 1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

Revelation 17:8 NKJV – 8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Revelation 20:1 NKJV – 1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

I want to make a note that this angel was given the key and his duty is to open and close the gates to the bottomless pit at the times appointed by the Lord.

Revelation 1:18 NKJV – 18 “I [am] He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

There are two keys and we know what Hades is, so since we are trying to solve a mystery I would suggest that Death is another name for the prison of angels awaiting final judgment, it is also known as hell (tartarus), the bottomless pit and/or the abyss. Death releases those in it before the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the 1,000 year reign.

Outer Darkness

Let us again note that outer darkness is a specific name for the for hell(gehenna). We have seen in the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Wedding Feast that there are ones who are sent to outer darkness. This is a judgment that a believer can receive for not being found faithful at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We can see the outer darkness seen in another scripture.

Matthew 8:10-12 NKJV – 10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Jesus is noting the faith of the Centurion, who told Jesus that He didn’t need to go to his sick servant to heal him, all He needed to do was say the word and he would be healed. When Jesus says that many will come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, He is talking about the gentiles that will believe by faith. When He says that some of the sons of the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness He is talking about the scribes and Pharisees that have an inheritance that comes through faith but they will be found lacking and will lose the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20) and instead end up in outer darkness. This verse also illustrates how we will be connected with our Jewish brothers and sisters in the faith (before Christ) as we will “sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”

Here are some other NT passages that warn of outer darkness for those believers who are carnal and unrepentant.

2 Peter 2:1, 17, 20-21 NKJV – 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, [and] bring on themselves swift destruction. … 17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. ... 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Jude 1:13 KJV – 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

After understanding that the bottomless pit was probably Death, let’s look at its relation to the shadow of death.

Job 38:17 KJV – 17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?

Death and the shadow of death are two different places, each having their own entrances. One definition of shadow I found is used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom. The outer darkness could be outside death but within its shadow, which would make me believe outer darkness is also called the shadow of death. The following scripture reveals aspects of the shadow of death that are note worthy.

Psalm 107:10-21 NKJV – 10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons– 11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, And despised the counsel of the Most High, 12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and [there was] none to help. 13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, [And] He saved them out of their distresses. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces. 15 Oh, that [men] would give thanks to the LORD [for] His goodness, And [for] His wonderful works to the children of men! 16 For He has broken the gates of bronze, And cut the bars of iron in two. 17 Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted. 18 Their soul abhorred all manner of food, And they drew near to the gates of death. 19 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, [And] He saved them out of their distresses. 20 He sent His word and healed them, And delivered [them] from their destructions. 21 Oh, that [men] would give thanks to the LORD [for] His goodness, And [for] His wonderful works to the children of men!

We see that it is a place where believers can go, those who have “rebelled against the words of God”. God delivers those from the shadow of death who cry out to Him, so it is a temporary place. Those in the shadow of death can draw “near to the gates of death”, so they seem to be in close proximity to one another.

We should note by the following scriptures that this is a place that believers can go.

Job 10:21-22 KJV – 21 Before I go [whence] I shall not return, [even] to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; 22 A land of darkness, as darkness [itself; and] of the shadow of death, without any order, and [where] the light [is] as darkness.

Jeremiah 13:16 KJV – 16 Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, [and] make [it] gross darkness.

Psalm 23:4 NKJV – 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You [are] with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

David declares that if he is in the worse place that he could be, he would trust in the Lord in that place. For the Jews the shadow of death corresponds to outer darkness in the same way that Sheol corresponds to Hades.

This is what it might look like from a bird’s eye view.

Let’s look at the three places that give up their dead at the end of the 1,000 years: Hades, death and the sea. We have seen Hades as being the place for the souls of men and Death being a place of angels awaiting judgment, which leaves the sea. The sea could be outer darkness. Remember we are trying to solve a mystery J. We saw Hades and Death thrown into the lake of fire but what happens to the sea?

Revelation 21:1 NKJV – 1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

My hope is that this sea represents outer darkness or any other place of the dead because I love to swim in salt water.

 

Hades (hell)

The Greek word for Hades in the NT corresponds to the Hebrew word Sheol in the OT. Sheol is translated as the grave, hell or the pit. Its use show it to be a place for the dead awaiting final judgment and also it is used to specifically denote the fiery aspects of Sheol

As we said earlier, Hades is where the souls of dead men awaiting judgment reside; the righteous and the unrighteous are separated. There will be a place for the faithful righteous which will be a pleasant place and the place for sinners which will be a place of torment. The righteous are in Hades until the first resurrection. The unrighteous are there until they are resurrected at the Great White Throne Judgment. Jesus descended into Hades (hell) when He died and then resurrected to the earth. I believe we will follow the same pattern. There are some that believe that Jesus took the dead saints from Hades to heaven and that’s where saints go now when we die. The evidence isn’t compelling to me. It seems that we will be resurrected up from Hades and not down from heaven. We will see that the place for the righteous in Hades is quite beautiful, but more are familiar with it’s darkside. Be that as it may let’s look at the description of Hades by Jesus in Luke 16.

Luke 16:19-31 NKJV – 19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 “But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 “desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ 27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 ‘for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

Lazarus is poor and crippled and is laid at the gate of the rich man so to eat the crumbs from the rich man’s table. The rich man is dressed well and eats the finest foods while Lazarus eats crumbs. During the rich man’s lifetime he received good things but now he is tormented. Similarly, Abraham states Lazarus received evil things but now is comforted.

The indication is that the rich man disregarded the needs of the poor, lived a life of luxury and is suffering for his actions. The story also shows that God knows the poor, where they are, what they are going through, he has compassion for them and will judge those who don’t. We see that Hades is a place for souls awaiting judgment. The heat and thirst that the rich man experiences are nothing compared to the lake of fire burning with brimstone. There will most probably be an inability to have conversations in the lake of fire. You can test this theory by taking a lighter and placing it over the tip of your finger and then try having a conversation.

Jesus is telling this story before Hades “gives up its dead “, judgment hasn’t happened yet since the rich man pleads with Abraham to contact his brothers to warn them of the fiery place he is in. The implication is clear that they should repent and amend their ways before they die so not to suffer the same fate.

Lazarus is comforted in Abraham’s bosom. Jesus before His death told the man on the cross that “today you will be with me in Paradise”, I would suggest Paradise is Abraham’s bosom. When the rich man asked Abraham to have Lazarus place his finger in water to cool his tongue, Abraham responds that there is a great gulf separating the two places.

At this point in Jesus’ ministry, Jesus is talking to the Jews about the Jews; He had not expanded his ministry to the gentiles. The two men are Jews, God’s chosen people. This is not about a judgment on an unbelieving gentile and a believing Jew. Jesus is telling God’s people how He will judge the righteous. This is consistent to all we have seen in our study with the gospel of the kingdom, those who are separated or judged are all believers. The rich man recognizes Abraham and understands the teachings of Moses. He was also “clothed in purple and fine linen “which is a clue that this man was a priest. Jesus had consistently been confronting the Pharisees. These are those who look religious on the outside but are corrupt on the inside. I think of the rebuke to the Pharisees when Jesus said you tithe mint and your herbs but you miss the weightier things as justice, mercy and faith. The rich man asks Abraham to warn his brothers and Abraham replies, “29.. They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them”. The rich man thinks that might not be enough and responds by asking Abraham to send someone back from the dead to warn them. The implication is clear, it’s not that he and his brothers don’t know about what the scripture said about treating the poor, it’s that they didn’t know the consequences. So what do the scriptures have to say about the poor?

Deuteronomy 15:7-9 NKJV – 7 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, 8 “but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. 9 “Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you.

Proverbs 21:13 NKJV – 13 Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be heard.

These scriptures were given to God’s people as a warning. The rich man is not an unbeliever. An unbeliever is not judged for neglecting the poor, unbelievers will be judged because they didn’t believe in God. So the rich man knew the scriptures, disregarded them and is suffering because of that choice. It is difficult for believers to think a believer can receive such a judgment, yet God has consistently warned Israel of their waywardness by sending prophets over and over until finally judgment would come if there was no repentance. Cities were destroyed; people were enslaved and exiled to other nations for God consistently renders judgment on His people that refuse to repent.

The church today has disregarded the warnings of scripture concerning the punishment of God’s people who disobey his commands. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

I want to show you a warning in the New Testament that many Christians would consider as more of a suggestion than a coming judgment for those not ready.

1 Timothy 6:9-11 NKJV – 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

The rich are not pierced through with many sorrows when they are living but after they die. How we will be judged concerning the poor is of utmost importance for the American church today, and consider that the prevelant “prosperity gospel” has more to do with consuming than giving. Wouldn’t you agree?

The rich man pleads that one be sent back from the dead to tell them so that they would repent. Abraham yet states that “neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” These words should shake us to the core of our being when we realize that it is Jesus, who rose from the dead who is telling us this story for the expressed purpose that we (believers) might understand the consequences of not being ready.

Is the church ready to hear what Jesus has to say about the righteous concerning hell?  His words fall on deaf ears today because they have no place in the doctrines of any modern denomination.

For many it would be easy to assume that there are two places in Hades separated by a chasm, one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous. What if there are more than just two places in Hades?

Remember a major tenet which shapes the modern Christian perspective is that there is just one judgment and you go to either heaven or the lake of fire. Through our studies we have found there are two judgments, two ages to come and a variety of inheritances that can be lost and punishments given to carnal believers. The more revelation we have to the obscure sayings of Jesus will benefit us greatly.

The Book of Enoch may shed some light on what Jesus is saying about Hades.

Enoch Chapter 22

  1. From thence I proceeded to another spot, where I saw on the west a great and lofty mountain, a strong rock, and four delightful places.
  2. Internally it was deep, capacious, and very smooth; as smooth as if it had been rolled over: it was both deep and dark to behold.
  3. Then Raphael, one of the holy angels who were with me, answered and said, These are the delightful places where the spirits, the souls of the dead, will be collected; for them were they formed; and here will be collected all the souls of the sons of men.
  4. These places, in which they dwell, shall they occupy until the day of judgment, and until their appointed period.
  5. Their appointed period will be long, even until the great judgment. And I saw the spirits of the sons of men who were dead; and their voices reached to heaven, while they were accusing.
  6. Then I inquired of Raphael, an angel who was with me, and said, Whose spirit is that, the voice of which reaches to heaven, and accuses?
  7. He answered, saying, This is the spirit of Abel, who was slain by Cain his brother; and who will accuse that brother, until his seed be destroyed from the face of the earth;
  8. Until his seed perish from the seed of the human race.
  9. At that time therefore I inquired respecting him, and respecting the general judgment, saying, Why is one separated from another? He answered, Three separations have been made between the spirits of the dead, and thus have the spirits of the righteous been separated.
  10. Namely, by a chasm, by water, and by light above it.
  11. And in the same way likewise are sinners separated when they die, and are buried in the earth; judgment not overtaking them in their lifetime.
  12. Here their souls are separated. Moreover, abundant is their suffering until the time of the great judgment, the castigation (reprimand (someone) severely.), and the torment of those who eternally execrate (feel or express great loathing for), whose souls are punished and bound there forever.
  13. And thus has it been from the beginning of the world. Thus has there existed a separation between the souls of those who utter complaints, and of those who watch for their destruction, to slaughter them in the day of sinners.
  14. A receptacle of this sort has been formed for the souls of unrighteous men, and of sinners; of those who have completed crime, and associated with the impious, whom they resemble. Their souls shall not be annihilated in the day of judgment, neither shall they arise from this place. Then I blessed God,
  15. And said, Blessed be my Lord, the Lord of glory and of righteousness, who reigns over all forever and forever.

Now you might think this is sounds more like science fiction, but then so does the Book of Revelations. Remember Enoch walked with God and was translated into Gods presence and did not experience death. Here Enoch is touring with an angel called Raphael, who was one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. No that’s not true, I couldn’t resist.

Enoch and Raphael come across a “great and lofty mountain, a strong rock “which Raphael explains to be a place where “the souls of the dead, will be collected; for them were they formed; and here will be collected all the souls of the sons of men.4. These places, in which they dwell, shall they occupy until the Day of Judgment, and until their appointed period.

This is a place where the righteous and sinners are awaiting the great judgment. The righteous are separated from the sinners. The righteous are in Hades until the first resurrection. The unrighteous are experiencing suffering up until the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ and then resurrect before the Great White Throne Judgment. This place (Hades) may seem like it is the lake of fire since it says they will be “bound there forever”, but it also says that they will be there “, shall they occupy until the Day of Judgment, and until their appointed period.”  Again “forever” can also be translated as the fullness of time or the fullness of an age. As we have seen through scripture, after Hades gives up its dead before the Great White Throne judgment (great judgment), then Hades is thrown into the lake of fire (empty). Hades will function as a holding tank for unbelievers “until the time of the great judgment” which is at the end of the thousand year reign. So “forever” can express the fullness of an age, whereas going on to infinity would be “forever and ever” or from one age to the next.

We note that “spirits of the sons of men who were dead; and their voices reached to heaven, while they were accusing.” This spirit of Abel had been murdered and was crying out to God until justice was rendered towards the spirit of Cain. We can see several scriptures that reference God hearing the cries for justice.

Genesis 4:10 NKJV – 10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.

Revelation 6:9-10 NKJV – 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

It may be that there is a portal from Hades to the altar since there is “light above it”. This may become clearer as we look at some diagrams.

I make note of these references so we can see similarities in the Book of Enoch that correspond with other OT and NT passages. We also see a significant similarity in Enoch’s vision and Jesus’ description of Hades in that there is a “chasm” between the different parts.

Enoch22: 9. At that time therefore I inquired respecting him, and respecting the general judgment, saying, Why is one separated from another? He answered, Three separations have been made between the spirits of the dead, and thus have the spirits of the righteous been separated.10. Namely, by a chasm, by water, and by light above it. 11. And in the same way likewise are sinners separated when they die, and are buried in the earth; judgment not overtaking them in their lifetime.12. Here their souls are separated.

At this point I’m going to try to solve what seems to be a riddle in the following verses.

As I read this I was trying to figure out what it looked like and what was being described. There are three separations between spirits of the dead and then it says that the spirits of the righteous are separated and in the same way the sinners are separated. Here’s what I got.

    HADES

 

There is a separation of the righteous, those that are righteous from those righteous who are sinners. There is a separation between sinners that are unbelievers (unrighteous) and sinners that are believers (righteous). The three separations are made by a chasm, by water and by light above it. I would place the chasm between the righteous using the description of the great gulf (also translated as chasm) between Lazarus and the rich man taken from Jesus ‘story above. This was my first understanding of what it may be like, I’ll show you another drawing from a different perspective. I’m not sure that anyone else has proposed this but I think it fits the description.

Let’s look to see if we can pick up the distinction between the sinners in these passages. The two groups of sinners are suffering until the great judgment. There are different punishments for each. The severe reprimand is for the righteous believers (a.), we would see this illustrated as the rich man in the Hades story in Luke. The unrighteous (b.) experience a much greater torment. There is a clear distinction in the severity of suffering between these two groups as I have noted these with a.) and b.)

  1. And in the same way likewise are sinners separated when they die, and are buried in the earth; judgment not overtaking them in their lifetime.12. Here their souls are separated. Moreover, abundant is their suffering until the time of the great judgment,(a.) the castigation (reprimand (someone) severely.), (b.)and the torment of those who eternally execrate (feel or express great loathing for), whose souls are punished and bound there forever.
  2. And thus has it been from the beginning of the world. Thus has there existed a separation between the souls of (a.)those who utter complaints, and of (b.)those who watch for their destruction, to slaughter them in the day of sinners.14. A receptacle of this sort has been formed for the(b.) souls of unrighteous men, and (a.)of sinners; of those who have completed crime, and associated with the impious, whom they resemble. Their souls shall not be annihilated in the day of judgment, neither shall they arise from this place. Then I blessed God,

The souls of the sinners are separated and I hope you can see the distinction between the righteous and unrighteous sinners (a. and b.) The righteous sinners resemble the impious but are not. They are reprimanded and utter complaints. They will not be annihilated (thrown into the lake of fire) in the day of judgment. The unrighteous are tormented and experience great loathing. They watch for their destruction and slaughter on their day of judgment.

Lazarus is with Abraham in the righteous fold and so will born again believers that are faithful. The rich man is with the righteous sinners.

Let’s revise the diagram that I made for Hades.

 

We can see the three sections. The section for the Unrighteous is in red denoting the torment that they are experiencing. The pink section denotes the suffering that the righteous sinners experience with the understanding that their suffering is probably less than the torment of the unrighteous. This can also be called hell (gehenna), since we have defined hell(gehenna) as any place of punishment for believers before the final (GWTJ) judgment. The white section denotes the purity of the righteous, the place where the righteous dead go. Jesus before His death told the man on the cross that “today you will be with me in Paradise”, I would suggest Paradise is this place. Abraham’s bosom is another name for paradise.

 Enoch Chapter 22

  1. From thence I proceeded to another spot, where I saw on the west a great and lofty mountain, a strong rock, and four delightful places.
  2. Internally it was deep, capacious, and very smooth; as smooth as if it had been rolled over: it was both deep and dark to behold.

 

This is from the perspective of the side of the mountain.

 

Here is a picture from the side with the separations made horizontally. It would seem that the four delightful places would be in Abraham’s Bosom. The underworld may be layered like this with the hottest places being on the bottom which is indicated by the following scripture that reveals Lucifer’s judgment.

Isaiah 14:12-15 NKJV – 12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [How] you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

It could be that the Bottomless Pit is below the bottom of Hades.

The light above may be an indication of the access that the saints have to the throne of God, as we saw earlier.

I believe when the text mentions “Internally it was deep, capacious, and very smooth” it is talking about separations between each compartment. The chasms would be huge and its sides would be smooth “as if it had been rolled over”, to make it impossible to climb. Its depth would be deep and dark.

This is from the perspective of looking down on the mountain from a bird’s eye view.

If we look at this diagram we can see that Abraham’s Bosom (white) is separated from hell(gehenna) by a chasm. When Jesus is telling the story of Lazarus and the rich man, He is revealing just two sections of Hades with a chasm between them. This is a way the Lord hides things, remember we are solving a mystery.

I would suggest that the separation that we saw earlier at the resurrection could be that those in Abraham’s Bosom go to the wedding and those in hell(gehenna) go to base of the mountain.

 

John 5:26-29 NASB – 26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [the] Son of Man. 28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good [deeds] to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil [deeds] to a resurrection of judgment.

 

 

After the righteous are resurrected only the unrighteous are left in Hades and they will be resurrected after the 1,000 years and stand before the Great White Throne.

Hell(gehenna) can refer to any place a believer goes where they experience punishment before the final judgment (Great white throne judgment), that could include Hades, outer darkness or the furnace of fire on the earth. The intensity and duration of the fiery purification is made by the Lord. Although this may seem a bit intimidating we should note that even in this life we experience fiery trials and tribulations.

Let us repent and be ready for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

 

The Judicial Process

I must admit that as I look at the charts with all the arrows and the sequence of events I have pondered does it have to be this complicated? I put these pieces of the puzzle together as the Lord gave me understanding of the parables and they seem to fit together in ways that are confirmed by a host of scriptures. There are judgments made at the end of each age and a separation of the saints at the resurrection followed by a period of time before the Judgment Seat of Christ. A fair question may be “Why doesn’t the Lord just have one day of judgment with believers and unbelievers and (BOOM!) It’s done? Most people believe that there is one judgment because they don’t understand that there are two judgments and two ages following this age. One could see that having judgments at the beginning of each age would determine who enters into that age and what rewards are given. We could also be content with the fact that God gets to choose how He creates, how He redeems and how He unfolds His plan. Our job is less to critique His plans but to understand them. With that said I want to share with you a way of understanding why Jesus has put this together in the way He has. There is a revelation that we can have of the spiritual when we connect it to the physical. For instance, we can understand more fully what Jesus is talking about concerning the spiritual working power of the blood if we understand the physical attributes of what the blood cell actually does. Every living cell must be in contact with a blood cell or it will die. Life is in the blood. The blood cell releases nutrients to the cell and takes away toxic byproducts. These toxins are a result of the cellular function of breaking down food to produce energy. The blood cells move through all the organs of the body (lungs, kidneys, liver etc..) in which an intricate array of biochemical reactions are made, none of which can be left undone without ramifications to the body. The more that one studies these in detail, the more one sees the absolute design and creativity of our God. The more one sees the physical aspects of the blood, the more one can better understand the spiritual fullness of the blood of Christ that was shed for us.

In the same way if we look at our judicial system we might see it is a reflection of the judicial system of the Lord. This understanding came to me when a friend of mine was accused falsely of beating up someone and I came to understand the complexity of our court system. It was not as simple as going to a judge and the judge saying you’re not guilty and you can go home. There is a due process that has been created so that the accused can adequately defend themselves and those who have been wronged can be given a process to air their grievance.

My friend had charges brought up against him of beating a woman, which is a felony. Police arrested my friend and brought him up before a judge who determined whether the case had merit and whether the accused would stay in jail until his next court date or whether he could be released on bail which is an amount of money that would be the lost if the accused did not show up to court. If the accused is thought to be violent or a flight risk the judge could have the accused jailed until his next hearing called a felony preliminary hearing which has to be within 5 days from this judgment. This was just the beginning of a judicial process, one would be advised to have a lawyer to navigate through this process.

At this point I want to show you a general outline of the court process. You will see that it takes some time before the actual trial takes place.

 

DV – Basic Steps in Court Process-12

There are several points I want make related to the charts we have been looking at. First the “natural” judicial system is done in such a way as to be thorough. It has been found that a quick process can lead to injustice. There are points along the way that judgments/decisions are made by judges which take the process down the appropriate path.

Our charts may be very similar to the above chart with all the arrows and divergent paths. A judgment is made when one dies as to which compartment one goes to in Hades to await final judgment. At the resurrection of believers there is a judgment made and a separation which is not the final judgment (Judgment Seat of Christ) but is part of the judicial process that leads to that. We might also note that the angels (workers) who are involved in the spiritual judicial process seen in the parables do not make judgments but act more like police officers or officers of the court, who do the work of moving the accused through the court system including taking the guilty to the appropriate place/prison for the specified term. We might note that a defendant may be confined to a jail during the legal proceedings but this is different from a prison term that is given after the final judgment.

We might note that our court rooms maintain a procedural order. Dates and times are set for court appearances and attendance is mandatory with severe repercussions for those disregard court orders. The defendant is escorted into the court from a jail and sits before the judge in a specific place. The judge enters the court to his chambers and enters the court room from his chambers, those in attendance rise until he sits on the judgment seat. The lawyers enter the court and are given authority to approach the bench and stand before the judge. The jury gathers into a designated room and then enters the court room from that room to a specific area in the court room. The public is able to enter the courtroom after going through a security check but are confined to designated seating.

Most of Christianity has a very simplistic view of how the final judgment will happen. Many believe there will be one judgment and you either go to heaven or hell (lake of fire). Our prominent doctrines (Calvinism / Arminianism) distinguish themselves in whether a believer can go to heaven or hell. Calvinism believes a believer is predestined to heaven and there is no suffering in heaven thus no punishment for a believers’ carnal life. The Arminian believes there is punishment for the carnality of the believer but misunderstand the fires of hell(gehenna) as the lake of fire. These major doctrines do not understand how a carnal believer (who is unrepentant) can experience punishment and yet also receive eternal life. I would say that many reject anything that sounds like purgatory because of the blatant misuse of indulgences by the Catholic Church. Their understanding of one judgment (heaven or hell) constrains them from seeing how punishment and eternal life can coexist. They thus must disregard or morph scripture to support their doctrines. I pray that the understanding of the judgments of God is not just an esoteric exercise in eschatology but will give us a fuller understanding of what the fear of the Lord is, so that we may be found ready at His coming.