Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tim Conway: Hell Is Necessary

Your wondering why I would post a sermon about Hell? Well I think it essential as a Christian to understand the doctrine of Hell. It will cause you to have joy in your salvation knowing that God saved you from that and that God will justly punish all evildoers. like, Adolf Hitler, the child molesters, the rapists, murders, liars, blasphemers, adulterers, and all those who do not trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.

As an unbeliever it is necessary to understand what you will face with out Christ!!!! Some would object and say, "Your using fear to try to convert me!" to which I say, your right!! Hell is a true place and if it happens to cause you fear then you need to understand that God gave us fear in order to protect us. Like when you tell your child, "don't stick that screwdriver in the electric outlet you will get shocked!" or "don't go into the road you might get hit by a car!" We use fear to convey truth all the time!


  1. Boy, have I heard my share of sermons about hell. You see I am 66 and been in church all my life. But about 4 years ago, God took me on a little trip that I had not planned on. From what I have seen on your site, I know you wont agree with me, but hey you have made changes in your life before, so I only ask you to consider the following reasons why hell may not be as hot a topic as you thought.

    After Robert Young had spent about half of his lifetime studying Hebrew and Greek, he finished translating the Bible in his “Young’s Literal Translation” (YLT) in 1862. Some 36 years later he released his 3rd and final edition in 1898. Robert had grown up reading the KJV and realized, as many have over the years, that the world of Bible students desperately needed a version with greater clarity and understanding of many words, as the KJV had this bad habit of translating a single Hebrew or Greek word into many different English words. Translators know this is warranted in those cases where you have different shades of meaning, but the KJV seemed out of control in this area and left the student with wrong ideas about certain word meanings. For example, the English verb “destroy” in the KJV is used for 49 different Hebrew words (this can be seen in the Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance, p. 1510, 2nd edition). This is but one example of many.

    Concerning the use of the word hell, and the doctrine of hell that was instituted as an article of faith in the 6th century, Robert Young realized as many have that the word “hell” was a terribly poor choice of an English word for “sheol”, “hades”, “gehenna”, or “tartarus” since the word “hell” had picked up some baggage from its basic meaning of “hidden” or “unseen”, as is the proper understanding of this Anglo-Saxon word. In the intertestamental period, some notions out of pagan mythology became associated with the unseen realm of the dead. At some point in the development of English versions, this word for the unseen realm, “hell”, took on a concept such as what Dante’s fantasizing had envisioned in his “inferno”.

    Note in the following list of the number of times that the word “hell” appears is quite variable, ranging from 94 to 0. One of a number of those without the word “hell” is Young’s Literal Translation. Young is not alone among versions without the word “hell”. We have many people probably thinking that Jesus actually spoke the English word “hell” during those 8 addresses that Jesus used the words “gehenna “ or “hades”. Here is the list of versions with the number of times that “hell” occurs.
    DRB: 94, KJV: 54, MSG: 54, GW: 35, RV: 28, BBE: 25, GNB: 21, LITV: 20, NET: 16, ESV: 14, RSV: 13, NASB: 13, AMP: 13, DARBY: 12 , CLT: 0, ROTH: 0, YLT: 0

    When the words “sheol”, “gehenna”, “hades”, and “tartarus” are analyzed by usage, the only one that holds a possible association with the punishment of humans is “gehenna”. Gehenna is a geographical location, the Valley of Hinnom adjacent to Jerusalem. This was their city dump, where even bodies of criminals were dumped. When Jesus metaphorically spoke to the crowds using the word Gehenna, his audience, the Jews, knew exactly what he was referring to. These addresses involving the use of the word Gehenna were parables all if we are to believe Mat 13:34, “All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable.” We need to remember that a parable is a fictional story with a spiritually discernable message. One is hard-pressed to find “eternal” associated with “Gehenna”. Now, when you do find the words “eternal”, “everlasting”, “for ever”, etc., they are translations of “aion” and “aionios”. A search of the usage of the noun “aion” and its adjective “aionios” reveals that these words are associated with limited duration, so to also translate them as unlimited duration, one must question the validity. These words are clearly associated with “ages” or “eons”, such as those verses that use the phrases, “the current age” and “the age to come” and at least one version has chosen to translate them “eon” and “eonian”. An in-depth study of “olam” (the Hebrew word deemed equivalent to the Greek words “aion” and “aionios” by the Septuagint translators), “aion”, and “aionios”, such as was done by J. W. Hanson is very enlightening. A more recent and thorough study of these words can be found on, entitled “The Hidden Aeonian Realm”. As these studies were done, and is always the best way to determine the meaning of words, is to look at every verse containing them. Usage always trumps Etymology and Lexicography as to the determination of word meanings. Lexicography is especially subject to human bias.

    Jesus’ uses of the word “gehenna” was confined to Jewish audiences as indicated in one of His missional statements (“…only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”). Jesus commissioned Saul (Paul) to carry the kingdom message to the Gentiles. One would think, in Jesus’ revealings to Paul, the message would be the same, unless as some believe, the gospel was different to the Jew than it was the Gentile. Also, Paul said, as recorded by Luke in Acts, that he did not fail to declare the whole counsel of God. What then is interesting to see is that the word “hell” or “gehenna” is not in any of Paul’s writings nor in the gospel of John, Hebrews, 1 Peter, or 1, 2, 3 John. Since Jesus commissioned and revealed to Paul, if the doctrine of hell is true, it is incomprehensible that Paul would not mention it many times and very explicitly. Some will argue that we should give more weight to what Jesus personally said. But if you believe that Paul was inspired to speak the message Jesus would have him to speak, then essentially when Paul speaks, Jesus speaks. The most disciplinary-sounding words that Paul wrote are found in 2Th 1:9, “They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might …”. The words “eternal destruction” are the translation of “olethron aionion”, which could be translated “eonian destruction”. This word “olethron” which is translated “destruction” is the same word use in 1Co 5:5, “you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” We see here that “destruction” is of the flesh, not of the spirit, which serves the purpose of preparing the person for life in the presence of God, “that his spirit may be saved…”

    Relative to “aionion”, note what Vincent has to say in Vincent’s Word Studies: Additional Note on ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον eternal destruction, 2Th_1:9
    Ἁιών transliterated eon, is a period of time of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning and an end, and complete in itself.
    The word always carries the notion of time, and not of eternity. It always means a period of time. Otherwise it would be impossible to account for the plural, or for such qualifying expressions as this age, or the age to come. It does not mean something endless or everlasting. The adjective αἰώνιος in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting. Ἁιώνιος means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time. Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods. Ζωὴ αἰώνιος eternal life, which occurs 42 times in N.T., but not in lxx, is not endless life, but life pertaining to a certain age or eon, or continuing during that eon. I repeat, life may be endless. The life in union with Christ is endless, but the fact is not expressed by αἰώνιος. Κόλασις αἰώνιος, rendered everlasting punishment (Mat_25:46), is the punishment peculiar to an eon other than that in which Christ is speaking.

    This doctrine is built on tradition, mistranslations, the institution of the Catholic Church, backing by the state, and perpetuated by the likes of Augustine and other “popular” and influential people. It became entrenched just like the Roman Catholic Church did and people begin to believe that if the majority believe in something it must be true and history has surely taught us better than placing any trust in humans, preachers, institutions, etc. Jer. 17:5, “Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.
    Jer. 17:6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
    Jer. 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
    Jer. 17:8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."
    Pulling out the key statements relative to trust, we have the following.
    "Cursed is the man who trusts in man”
    "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD”

    Many need to re-think this inherited doctrine which makes God out the hypocrite in that He through Jesus instructed us to “love your enemies”, whereas He, by this doctrine if true, is not willing to show a love that “never fails” to His enemies. And by the way, these “enemies” of God were declared justified by the blood of Jesus.

    Rom 5:6-10 “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God's wrath. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life?

    Note that a summary of these verses could be the following:
    While we were helpless ungodly sinners who were His enemies, Christ died for us, declared us righteous by his blood, will save us from God’s wrath, and reconciled us to God through His death.

    Helpless ungodly sinners who were enemies of God and Christ may be words written to those of Rome who were currently believers, but here Paul is obviously referencing their status with God prior to their becoming believers. Therefore the being reconciled to God and declared righteous occurred prior to belief since these descriptions are hardly of believers.

    At the foot of the cross were many helpless ungodly sinners who were the enemies of Jesus, yet He said, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing”. I believe the Father was in agreement with this prayer of Jesus and so their sins were or will be forgiven on the merits of Jesus alone. Mankind was justified on that day. Paul reinforces the fact of being declared justified was for all mankind a few verses later in Rom 5:18, “Consequently, just as one offense resulted in condemnation for everyone, so one act of righteousness results in justification and life for everyone.”

  2. Don thanks for your comment. As you can tell I am no scholar so I cant really respond with out some further study. I have heard this argument before but I cant recall all the details right now, but I am going to read and re-read your comment and study this issue for myself. Then I'll respond.

  3. Alright, Ive studied up and am thoroughly conviced that This is nonsensical Unitarian heresy you are spewing! "aionios" is not a translation; it's transliteration. "eis ton aiwnion" is an idiom for "unto eternity." If we take your claims, then we have to conclude that Jesus NEVER said He himself would reign for "eternity" in Revelation 22:5. The same idiom is used in Hebrews. Beside, if there is no eternal punishment, then why an eternal reward? and why did we need a perfect and eternal sacrifice? better yet why did we need a sacrifice at all. If you think about it inhalation is better for those who hate God! It would be more of a punishment being in heaven with God then if they just suffered briefly and were annihilated.

    As far as "ALL" being saved. Read John 3:18, "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.(ESV)" You also exhibit VERY BAD biblical hermeneutics in your last few paragraphs. It almost seems you copied the first few from somewhere else.

    I hope you've studied this issue heavily on both sides of the coin. I'm not sure you have to believe in Limited Atonement or hell to be saved, but if your not reading scripture properly I wonder if you know the right Jesus.

    This is an issue that has been debunked centuries ago! I am not interested in a debate because your argument exhibits bad logic, interpretive, and reasoning skills. Though your first paragraph seems really fancy it is just the opinion of a very few fringe scholars and does not line up with the rest of scripture or historical understanding.

    Read up on the truth about the "uni" views at or better yet if your looking to debate with someone or want a forum to express your veiws, call the owner of that site, Matt Slick, on his radio show and he will certainly set you on the right path.

    God Bless!


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