FEEDBACK: HOW CAN HELL BE CAST INTO HELL?
We appreciate feedback on the studies posted on this website. It helps us to see if there is anything on this website that does not agree with the Bible.
Below IS A QUESTION ABOUT REVELATION 20:14 AND THE WORD HELL
THE READERS QUESTION IS IN ITALICS. OUR RESPONSE FOLLOWS.
Ive been reading your website and am encouraged to see that you remain standing for the truth of God's Word.
One of the arguments that Ive heard a number of times from those who believe in annihilation is that when they look at Rev. 20:14 they ask how can hell be cast into hell? Or, how can eternal conscious torment be thrown into eternal conscious torment?
Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
I dont know how to answer this and I was wondering if you could help.
Thank you and Lord bless.
It is nice to hear from you and it is encouraging that there are others that desire to remain faithful to the Bible. May God help both of us in that effort.
I think the problem that you describe comes from the imprecise language that we use.
The word hell is the best known word to describe an eternal condition of suffering for mankind. So, in our daily speech we say things like the unsaved will spend an eternity in hell. The Bible also uses the term lake of fire to describe the eternal destination of the unsaved. However, the term lake of fire is not as well known, so we normally do not use it.
What also makes it more complicated is that there are 2 different Greek words translated hell in the New Testament. Because they are both translated hell in our KJV Bible, we lose the distinction that God has given by using two different words. I believe there is a distinction in how God uses these two different words in the Bible.
The 2 New Testament Greek words translated hell are:
I am sure that you are familiar with these words.
Because they are both translated hell in our KJV Bible, we do not see the distinction as we are reading our Bible.
However, I think God does make a distinction between them.
In using the Greek word geenna, God talks about the whole personality, including the body, being cast into geenna.
Here are some verses with the Greek word geenna that show this:
Matthew 5:29 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 <1067>.
Matthew 5:30 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 <1067>.
Matthew 10:28 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 <1067>.
Matthew 18:9 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 <1067> fire.
Mark 9:43 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 <1067>, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mark 9:45 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 <1067>, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mark 9:47 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 <1067> fire:
James 3:6 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 <1067>.
We see a number of verses with this Greek word geenna in which God talks about the whole person, including his body, being cast into geenna. In Matthew 10:28 God talks about the soul and body. God also talks about the eyes, feet and tongue. These references to body parts do not mean unsaved who are cast into geenna have to have a body like we have now. Rather, they point to the body, along with the spirit, being cast into geenna. The unsaved in their whole personality will be cast into geenna.
We see several references to indicate that the unsaved in their whole personality, including the body, are cast into geenna. The word geenna probably is another name for the lake of fire.
Now, lets consider the other Greek word, hades, that is also translated hell in the Bible.
God never talks about the body when using the word hades. God gives quite a few verses that make reference to the body when talking about the word geenna, but when God talks about the word hades, God never refers to the body or any part of the body.
In fact we read two noteworthy verses with the Greek word hades:
Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell <86>, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell <86>, neither his flesh did see corruption.
In Acts 2:31 the flesh refers to the body of Christ. The word corruption refers to the decay of the body.
Notice in these 2 verses, God is making a distinction between the flesh or body versus the soul. In these verses the soul must refer to the spirit.
So, both Acts 2:27 and 2:31 talk about the spirit, but not the body, in hades. In these verses, hades is not a place, but rather represents the enduring of the wrath of God that Christ did in His Spirit on the cross.
Also, we read the word hades in Luke 16:23. Lets examine verses 22-23 to include the context:
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abrahams bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell <86> he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
This is talking about the rich man in hell or hades.
This passage does not give all of the details, but we do learn some important principles here.
Verse 22 talks about the fact that the rich man died from this world and his corpse was buried. That refers to the body of the rich man. His body is sleeping in the dust. There is no consciousness in his body while it is sleeping in the dust. This condition is the same for the body of the true believer.
In verse 23 God talks about the rich man being in hades. He is being tormented or consciously afflicted. This would have to be a reference to his spirit being afflicted because his body is sleeping in the dust. There is no consciousness in his body while it is sleeping in the dust.
This does not mean that his spirit had to go somewhere. Christs Spirit was in hades being afflicted while He was on the cross. Christs Spirit remained in His Body. It did not go anywhere. Rather, the word hades could be referring to the spirit of the unsaved, whose bodies are presently sleeping in the dust. This does not mean that the spirits of the unsaved have to go to some place. Christs Spirit was in hades on the cross without having to go anywhere.
There is some language in Luke 16:19-31 that confuses people. You are welcome to examine the study at the link below to help you in your study of this passage, if you like:
In summary, geenna could be like a synonym for the lake of fire. That is where we get the idea of the unsaved suffering in their whole personality in hell forevermore. That could come from the Greek word geenna.
Whereas, hades seems to identify with the spirit of the unsaved whose bodies are sleeping in the dust. This does not mean that the spirits of the unsaved go to some place called hades when their bodies sleep in the dust. Rather, like in the case of the Lord Jesus, the Greek word hades could refer to them being afflicted under the wrath of God.
There is one more piece of information that we need in order to examine Revelation 20:13-14. God talks about the sea in connection with the unsaved under the wrath of God. Again, we imprecisely say that the sea is another name for hell. That is not too accurate.
The word sea often refers to the present condition of unsaved man in this world who is under the wrath of God.
We think about the fact that Jesus told the disciples that He would make them fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). The disciples took their ship and went out on the sea of Galilee and caught fish. The fish came out the sea. The fish were brought into the ship. The fish represents those being saved. The ship represents the church, the eternal church if the people were true believers. The sea represents the present condition of the unsaved who are under the wrath of God.
When we are saved, we are taken out of the condition of being under the wrath of God (the sea) and brought into the Kingdom of God. The sea represents the condition of mankind in this world being under the wrath of God.
With this information, I think we can understand Revelation 20:13-14. We read there:
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Verse 13 talks about the dead. The dead are the unsaved. Adam died the day he sinned (Genesis 2:17) and the unsaved in this world are already dead (Matthew 8:22, Luke 9:60, Ephesians 2:1,5, 1 Peter 4:6).
We read about the sea giving up the dead in it. The sea refers to the unsaved that are still in this world at Judgment Day. These are the unsaved that will be here when Christ comes at the end of the world. They are in the sea. They are under the wrath of God.
Those in the sea, the unsaved in this world when Christ comes, will be delivered up for the lake of fire, the eternal dwelling of the unsaved under the wrath of God.
Next in verse 13 we read about death and hell that gave up the dead in them. The word hell in verses 13 and 14 is the word hades. We saw from the study above that hades can refer to the spirits of the unsaved whose bodies are now sleeping in the dust. The word death can refer to their bodies. So, the phrase death and hell can refer to the unsaved, both in body and spirit, who have died from this world.
Verse 13 is indicating that when Christ comes, the unsaved who are in this world, represented by the sea, are delivered up for the lake of fire. Then, the unsaved who have previously died from this world, represented by death and hell, will also be delivered up for the lake of fire.
Then, verse 14 talks again about the unsaved who have previously died from this world. In their body and spirit, referred to as death and hell, they will be cast into the lake of fire as their eternal dwelling under the wrath of God.
Revelation 20:14 is talking about at the end of the world, when the unsaved who have previously died from this world will awake to consciousness in their bodies and will be cast as a whole personality into the lake of fire. It is the transition point from the 13,023 years of this worlds existence into eternity future for the unsaved who have previously died from this world.
Lets look at your specific question. You said how can hell be cast into hell?
The hell in Revelation 20:13-14 is the word hades. God identifies hades with the spirits of the unsaved who have previously died from this world, whose bodies are sleeping in the dust. The word death best identifies with the bodies that are sleeping in the dust. Death and hell are cast into the lake of fire signifies that the unsaved who have previously died, in their whole personality, are cast into the lake of fire, the eternal dwelling of the unsaved.
The reason that people say how can hell be cast into hell? is because we have not been very precise in our use of the word hell and because the KJV translators translated 2 different Greek words as hell.
Also, your other question was how can eternal conscious torment be thrown into eternal conscious torment?. The answer to this question is similar to the one above. The Greek word hades translated as hell in Revelation 20:13 & 14 refers to the spirits of the unsaved whose bodies are sleeping in the dust. At the end of the world, their bodies which are sleeping in the dust will awake to consciousness, and as a whole personality, referred to as death and hell, they will be cast into the lake of fire, the eternal dwelling of the unsaved.
I hope this helps and if you have any more questions or topics for discussion, please let me know. Thank you again.