Hell’s Eternal Torment?
“GO TO HELL!!!”
I have received these directions a few times in my life, as I am sure most people have also received these directions.
Hell is a big topic in the United States. Consider these idioms:
A cold day in hell Hell yes
All hell breaks loose I’m mad as hell
Bat out of Hell Kick the hell out of
Burn in hell Raising hell
Catch hell Shut the hell up
Come hell or high water The hell you say
For the hell of it Who the hell knows
Get the hell out of here Until hell freezes over
Get the hell out of Dodge Your own private hell
Give someone hell The road to hell is paved with good intention
Go trough hell Make someone's life a living hell
Go to hell and back Hell week
HE-double-hockey sticks Hell to pay
Hell's bells Hell raiser
Hell bent for leather Hell on wheels
Hell cat Hell on earth
Hell's half acre Hell in a handbasket
Hell hole Hell if I know
Hell has no fury like a woman scorned
We are obsessed with hell. What mainstream Christianity has accomplished with inaccurate teachings on hell has stolen the peace and joy in believing God’s Word, so that, the average Christian does not abound in the hope of our Lord’s return.
There are three Greek words that are translated hell in the New Testament. The three Greek words are Tartaroo (also known as Tartarus), Hades, and Geenna (also spelt Gehenna).
Studying these three words will give the average Christian a working knowledge of what God says about hell, and about death, and about eternity.
2 Peter 2:4
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (tartaroo), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.
This is the one and only time this Greek word, tartaroo, is used in the New Testament.
This verse gives us a few questions that must be answered. First, who exactly are these angels, and then, what sin did they commit that got them cast into hell and finally, are there any people in this hell.
The verse begins with the Greek word gar. The further explanation concerns judgment, the context is about judgment.
2 Peter 2:1-3
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
These false teachers are examples of the unrighteous people we encountered in Romans 1:18-32. In Romans we saw their downward path, here we skip right to the end, judgment. If God is going to judge these fallen angels, He is also going to judge these false teachers. The contextual explanation shows us the first point of comparison is judgment. The further explanation is a surety of that judgment.
The phrase, “if God spared not the angels that sinned…” is a first-class conditional clause, meaning it is the assumed reality. With the assumed reality the word “if” in such a statement is better understood as the word “since.”
The first part of a conditional clause is called the protasis. It is the clause that sets the condition. Then it is generally followed by the apodosis which is the clause that expresses the consequence or reward. But this protasis is not followed by the apodosis, the consequence.
A simple example of this type of clause would be, “If you believe in Christ (protasis) – you will be saved (apodosis). The condition and the reward.
After the conditional clause in Second Peter, we have the word, “but” which is alla in the Greek. This is the strongest way for the Greeks to set a contrast. What is the contrast? We have the protasis but not the apodosis. Rather than give us the apodosis God continues the argument of judgment for these false teachers. God uses the arguments of the flood in Noah’s day and the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, both of which are the figure of speech idioma of the verb by permission.
These further examples are followed by God delivering righteous Lot with a further explanation in the parenthesis of verse eight, until finally in verse nine God gives us the apodosis.
2 Peter 2:9
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
The word “reserve” is tereo and it means to watch over, to guard something in your possession. The essence of the opening of 2 Peter 2:4 is, “For since God has not spared the angels that sinned BUT…” He will also not spare the false teachers. Both groups will be judged. Judgment is the point of comparison.
The next portion of the verse says, “…cast them down to hell…” “Cast them down to hell” is the Greek word tartaroo from tartarus or tartaros, their immediate consequence.
In Greek mythology Tartarus is the deepest abyss in the earth where prisoners of the gods are held while suffering pain and torment. The same is true in Roman mythology, prisoners of the gods are held in Tartarus. The names of the gods change from Greek mythology to Roman mythology but the stories in both mythologies have the prison in Tartarus, the deepest abyss in the earth.
This example shows us a few things. First, hell is a poor translation. A better translation would be an abyss. The second thing this shows us is what I have said before about God working with us where we are. Due to the influence of Greek and Roman mythologies God uses a word tartaroo, that immediately tells us these angels are the enemy of God and he has bound them in the deepest abyss in the earth. The problem with this is taking the comparison of mythology further than God takes the comparison. We still need to only compare those areas or aspects that we can see in the scriptures.
“Darkness” is the Greek word zophos.
Helps Word-studies says of this word: “murky, appalling gloom, referring to darkness so dense and foreboding it is "felt"; (figuratively) apocalyptic, gloomy darkness associated with the nether world bringing its indescribable despair (incredible gloom).”
“Reserved” is again the Greek word tereo and it means to guard by watching over.
2 Peter 2:4 is telling us, “For since God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to the deepest abyss as prisoners, bound in gloomy darkness, watched over until they are judged.”
Another verse that must be considered and understood is in the Epistle of Jude.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
“Kept” is a Greek word we have already seen twice in this paper; it is the Greek word tereo. These angels did not keep, they did not watch over, they did not guard “their first estate.” The Greek word is arche and its basic definition is origin or beginning. However, that is not the only way God uses the word arche. Arche carries a different meaning when the context changes.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
The word “principalities” is arche in the Greek. Here you would define arche as dominion, or authority, or power.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Once again arche is translated principalities and is referring to the power, the authority that the Devil and his fallen angels have in this world.
1 Corinthians 15:24
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
Here arche is translated “rule” and again refers to authority and dominion.
So, you ask the logical question, what authority does the Devil have in this world? What is his dominion?
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
All this power, exousia, which means authority, will the Devil give to Jesus and the glory of all these kingdoms for it had been delivered to him. Now watch this, it is beautiful, “it is delivered” is in the perfect tense which means it is a completed action in the past with a continuing result. The word delivered is paradidomi in the Greek. So, this should read, “all the authority and glory of these kingdoms was turned over to me and I can give it to whoever I please.”
Who gave the Devil his authority and power in this world?
Adam did. But you can only give what you have. What authority and dominion did Adam have when God placed him in the Garden?
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Now look at what God is telling us in Jude 1:6, These fallen angels did not watch over, they did not guard their dominion, their authority…but left their own habitation. “Left” means to forsake, or to leave behind. Both “kept” and “left” are in the active voice meaning the angels took the action spoken of in this verse. Then, “their own” is the Greek word idios which means one’s own.
2 Peter 1:20-21
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
“Of any private” is the Greek word idios. We are to allow God’s Word to speak for itself, it is not of one’s own interpretation. You do not have the right to your own interpretation, I do not have the right to my own interpretation, no one has the right to his own interpretation of God’s Word. We are to allow God’s words to speak for themselves, to bring forth their own interpretation.
“Habitation” is the Greek word oiketerion and it means dwelling, their own dwelling. That dwelling is established by the dominion they received from Adam and where God has placed them. They no longer had a right to go to or enter heaven.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
They were cast out of heaven; they no longer had a place in heaven. The words “were cast out” are in the passive voice, meaning they were acted upon. So, these angels in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6 are restricted to what they received from Adam. They also had a place on earth for that is where they were cast to from heaven.
And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
New International Version
And the angels who did not stay within their own domain but abandoned their proper dwelling—these He has kept in eternal chains under darkness, bound for judgment on that great day.
Berean Study Bible
And angels who did not keep their own designated place of power, but abandoned their proper dwelling place, [these] He has kept in eternal chains under [the thick gloom of utter] darkness for the judgment of the great day,
This then answers our first question from Second Peter in chapter two, who are these angels? These are some of the angels that were cast out of heaven (passive voice) in Revelation chapter twelve, who later did not keep (active voice) their dominion, which they had received from Adam and who left (active voice) their dwelling, which was earth.
This knowledge also sends us in a specific direction to see the sin they committed to get themselves cast down to the abyss. But why is this “casting” to the abyss in the active voice? It is in the active voice because the verse is speaking of the action God is taking.
There is another section of scripture that speaks of these devil spirits that are held in prison.
1 Peter 3:18-20
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Christ who gave himself as the perfect sacrifice, was raised back to life (quickened) by God, went and preached to the devil spirits that are held in prison by God, for being disobedient in the days of Noah.
What an amazing section of scripture!!!
What did these devil spirits do in the days of Noah?
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
These fallen angels, devil spirits, did not keep the domain, the authority they received from Adam, and they left the dwelling, earth, where God had placed them after their rebellion, and once again they were disobedient entering heaven to open the windows of heaven to inundate earth with a great flood, as the Devil had done between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.
Why would God allow this to take place?
We saw the answer to this in Romans chapter one with the usage of the Greek word paradidomi, to turn over to another, to give into the hands of another. It was used in Romans 1:24,26, and 28. Only Noah received God’s grace. The rest of the world rejected God; therefore, God turned them over to the one they worshipped as God.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
Once again, we see the figure of speech anthropopatheia for God does not repent, He does not grieve, and He does not have a heart.
This then is the answer to our second question, what sin did these devil spirits commit to get them cast into the abyss.
Our final question was about people. Are there any people sent to this abyss?
And Jesus asked him, saying, what is thy name? And he [the devil spirit] said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
The Greek word translated “deep” is abyssos, better translated abyss, it is used nine times in the New Testament. In other verses abyssos is translated “bottomless pit.” None of the nine occurrences of abyssos speak of people being sent to the abyss.
These devil spirits besought Jesus, the Greek word is parakaleo and in this context is best translated begged. These devil spirits begged Jesus not to send them to the abyss. Later, in the Book of Revelation it is translated bottomless pit, however, the best translation for clarity is abyss.
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
During the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, the Devil and his devil spirits will be held in the abyss.
The only time we see people in the abyss is in Greek and Roman mythologies and they are not a source for Truth.
Next, we will look at Hades.
© Auxano Ministry 2023