The popular conception of hell is of a place of punishment for wicked “immortal souls” straight after death, or the place of torment for those who are rejected at the judgment. It is our conviction that the Bible teaches that hell is the grave, where all men go at death.
As a word, the original Hebrew word “sheol,” translated “hell,” means “a covered place”. “Hell” is the Anglicized version of “sheol”; thus when we read of “hell” we are not reading a word which has been fully translated. A “helmet” is literally a “hell-met,” meaning a covering for the head. Biblically, this “covered place,” or “hell,” is the grave. There are many examples where the original word “sheol” is translated “grave”. Indeed, some modern Bible versions scarcely use the word “hell,” translating it more properly as “grave” A few examples of where this word “sheol” is translated “grave” should torpedo the popular conception of hell as a place of fire and torment for the wicked:
“Let the wicked...be silent in the grave” (sheol [Psalms 31:17]) — they will not be screaming in agony.
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Author: Duncan Heaster
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Bible reference(s): Deuteronomy 32:22, 2 Samuel 22:6, Job 11:8, Job 26:6, Psalms 9:17, Psalms 16:10, Psalms 18:5, Psalms 55:15, Psalms 86:13, Psalms 116:3, Psalms 139:8, Proverbs 5:5, Proverbs 7:27, Proverbs 9:18, Proverbs 15:11, Proverbs 15:24, Proverbs 23:14, Proverbs 27:20, Isaiah 5:14, Isaiah 14:9, Isaiah 14:15, Isaiah 28:15, Isaiah 28:18, Isaiah 57:9, Ezekiel 31:16, Ezekiel 31:17, Ezekiel 32:21, Ezekiel 32:27, Amos 9:2, Jonah 2:2, Habakkuk 2:5, Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:29, Matthew 5:30, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 11:23, Matthew 16:18, Matthew 18:9, Matthew 23:15, Matthew 23:33, Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Mark 9:47, Luke 10:15, Luke 12:5, Luke 16:22-23, Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31, James 3:6, 2 Peter 2:4, Revelation 1:18, Revelation 6:8, Revelation 20:13, Revelation 20:14
Source: Bible Basics.
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