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The Unseen Place of Torment

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9th November 2006

Hi Guys,

hope yesterday was not too much of a shock for you ('Suffering & Time' Article).

I must bring things into balance today.

There is a place of the departed dead - a place of distress, pain. There is no place called purgatory (an attempt to 'buy back' a soul by the sale of indulgences, man's effort again) in scripture.

The greek word for torment is basanos. This is a noun. Translated as 'torment' in Matt 4:24 (People healed from torments by Jesus), Luke 16:23-28 (Story of Lazarus and the Rich man). It is from the touchstone- the black stone used to test the quality of precious metals like gold/silver by rubbing it against them.

The verb is basanizo. Used in Matt 8:6 for the centurion's son in 'distress'. Used by demons in Matt 8:29, Mark 5:7, Luke 8:28 when they were 'distressed' by the presence of Jesus. Used in Mark 6:48 when Jesus saw the disciples 'toiling' at sea. Used in 2Pet2:8 describing Lot being 'vexed' by the ways of the wicked. Used in Rev11:10 for the 2 witnesses 'tormenting' those who worshiped the beast. Used in Rev12:2 for the woman 'pained' to be delivered. Used in Rev 20:10 for the pain of 'torment' for the devil, beast and false prophet.

I have laid it out so we can get rid of misconceptions.

I know the parable of Lazarus and the rich man is a parable. I know the rich man was Judah (remember he had 5 brothers - Gen 35:23 - Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun. The sons of Leah). He represented the nation of Judah (the Jews). I also know that Lazarus speaks of those outside the promises of Israel.

But yet there is a greater spiritual truth. Do you remember Matt 8:11?

For in Luke 16:24, it tells us the origin of the fire of hades. - The tongue! Why do you think he only wanted his tongue cooled? In James 3:6, it says the 'tongue is a fire'. He says it is set on course of gehenna ( the judge's fire/judgment). You're going to get in trouble with the judge if you say the wrong thing!
[As a note: gehenna is different from hades. Remember when Jesus said if you say you fool you are in danger of hell fire- it was gehenna - a judge's fire, whether earthly or heavenly. Matt5:22]

Hence our modern day saying ,'You have the right to remain silent...anything you say will be used against you in a court of law'.

We must understand the dynamics of the 'Unseen realm' pre- and post-Jesus resurrection.

The place of the departed was called Sheol in the Old testament. Ps 16:10, Ps 139:8, Gen 37:35 (mis-translated grave here), Gen 42:38, Num16:33, 1Sam2:6, 1Kings2:6, Job 7:9,  It is derived from Sha'al which means to inquire (e.g Gen 24:47, 57.Gen 32:29).
It is confusing because it has been translated as 'grave' and 'pit' which have their own hebrew words.(Q'burah e.g Gen 35:20 and Bor - e.g Ps 30:3 ....should not go down into the pit)

The greek word equivalent is Hades. But we do not use the greek/roman concept of hades (e.g cerberus- the 3-headed dog at the entrance, Pluto/hades the god of the underworld etc..). There is truth in them but perverted truth.

The new testament writers only used greek words to convey Hebrew concepts. They did not imply the greek concepts. (Which we unfortunately have done in our day). They relied entirely on Hebrew, old testament concepts.

So to understand hell and heaven, we have to see what the old testament says about it.

Sheol was a place of inquiry (Sha'al). Alot of questions were asked!(metaphorical sense)

For the righteous: they passed on into a place called Abraham's bosom, Paradise- a place of happiness. (Luke 16:22, 23:43). The scriptures talk of them being gathered unto the fathers, gathered unto the people in Gen 49:29, Judges 2:10, 2Kings2:20. This was not merely dying, this was something beyond death.

For the evildoers: they passed on into another place within Shoel ('the unseen place').  'The wicked shall be turned into shoel and all the nations that forget God' Ps 9:1. Apostle Peter in 2Pet 2:4 calls this Tartaroo (translated generically in english into 'hell', which obscured things again for us).

So Sheol was originally just a neutral name for the place where those who had died went. It was not the grave (hebrew - Q'burah).

So also was Hades pre-resurrection!

When the rich man lifted up his eyes, he was in Tartaroo. Lazarus was in Paradise. Both places were in Shoel - the unseen realm. Unseen by human eyes.

When Christ went down to Shoel - he went to both places that day. Hence the thief being promised 'today you will be with me in paradise'!

It was necessary for Christ to go to both places. For ' this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead that they might be judged according to men in the flesh [that is, as if alive in the body] but live according to God in the Spirit' - 1Pet 4:6. He even preached to the disobedient in Noah's day! -1Pet 3:19-20.

At the resurrection of Jesus, there was a 'earthquaking' shift in the 'unseen realm' (Shoel).

It says in Hosea 13:14 : 'I will ransom them from the power of sheol (hell); I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O sheol I will be thy destruction...' Paul quoted this directly in 1Cor 15:55: 'O death, where is thy sting?O hades where is thy victory?'.

I believe there was a movement of Paradise into the 3rd heaven when Jesus rose again. Hence what happened in Matt 27:52. Leading captivity captive.

There was so much life-energy at His death that the temple veil was torn, paradise started rupturing from shoel leaving tartaroo behind; and as He was raised, the saints in Abraham's bosom raised out of sheol with Him and appeared to some believers.

However there were some who then began teaching the resurrection of the saints was past because of the above events -2Tim 2:17-18. These were also those distressing the Thessalonian christians in 1Thess 4:13.
For the saints that rose when Jesus did, did not have bodies of physical glory. They were in transition as they were going to heaven. Remember Jesus telling Mary - 'touch me not, I have not yet ascended to my father' (John 20:17).

Well, I hope this helps bring things into perspective. It may not answer everything but helps us to start searching and seeing.
Remember, there are consequences if we sin. Pre-death and post-death. We can either be cut off from God in hell (now only known as tartaroo) or united with Christ in heaven. If we have Christ we are united with Him in heaven. What we sow we reap. But Jesus has gotten the victory everywhere! He breached the gulf between tartaroo and paradise and severed it's union as sheol forever! He has the answer in every realm! AMEN.

Stay blessed in Him,

Tony A.

Unseen place -addendum 14th November 2006

Just before we enter this new topic, there were questions regarding the 'Unseen place' (9th November mail).

Some did not like the idea that Shoel, post-resurrection, now only consisted of Tartaroo.

I guess there are other levels of inquiry in Shoel; Tartaroo being the deepest.  Just as there are different crowds in the 3rd heaven (e.g. 24 elders, 4 beasts, angels, Bride of Christ, etc..) and different levels of reward.
But the 'Inquiry'  (Sha’al) still remains the same. For those who are not angels (i.e. the angels who sinned in Gen 6:2 who are in chains of darkness -2Pet 2:4) the question on inquiry still remains the same:

'What shall you do with Jesus who is called Christ?' Matt 27:22.

The distress (torment) this produces is worse for some than others. Remember that no one can call Jesus ‘Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3 -the context being a human being); and every tongue shall confess (Phil 2:11); and the tongue is a fire (James 3:6). Please read the chapters not just this string of verses.

 I said in ‘Unseen Place ’ that the tongue was the origin of the Rich man's fire. I made a mistake. The tongue 'catching fire' (set alight) is the effect of the fire, rather than the origin. That's the correct meaning of James 3:6. The earthly or divine judge is the one that delivers the fire- the origin.

In addition to the tongue, when we look at 'Gehenna' ( Valley of Hinnom - typifying the Judge's fire), Jesus mentions the eye, hand, foot. Matt 5:29-30, Matt 18:8-9.
We can't understand these verses if we take the mindset of Hades (Shoel). Gehenna just means an earthly or divine judgment by a judge. The judgment could be an earthly prison or God’s divine judgment at the Great White throne – The Lake of fire. Gehenna does not mean the same thing as Shoel (Hades) – the place of the dead without Christ.

Related Articles: 
Suffering & Time   The Worms.What are they?