My mother was in the hospital. She woke up one night, in the dark and hearing someone scream in pain. For one moment she thought she had died and gone to hell. The person screaming was taken care of. Lights were on. She was relieved of her fears.
Now this is such a touchy subject. People may call me a heretic. For years I have striven with the doctrine of hell. Some people are hag-ridden by it. I am not. I know Christians are sealed by the Holy Spirit and cannot be lost. But I wish very much to have as perfect an understanding of God's Word as I can. I also want to share it with all who will listen.
I am not "going liberal", or departing from the faith once delivered. Rather, I am learning to be as Biblical as I can be. In this effort I have wrestled with scriptures that warn of eternal agony in flames for the damned. I wonder how many are repelled by this doctrine?
Revelation speaks of people being tormented for ever and ever. It is a horrible passage and seemingly unbreakable. It can however be misinterpreted, and I believe it has been.
I now feel the truth is rarely known concerning hell. Not because of my emotions or wishful thinking, but by a deeper understanding of the Word itself. A ray of light hit me as I looked at Isaiah 66. Angels behold people consumed by flames. But the people are dead! Could this be true of the passage in Revelation?
In my searches I have found a startling fact. "Hell" is nowhere in the original Hebrew or Greek texts. It has been inserted by translators, as was Easter in Acts 12:4, when Luke plainly wrote "passover." I stand in awe of the King James Bible. It has been my favorite translation and still is. But though I believe the original texts are inerrant, I do not believe any translation is perfect.
I found a source that lays this out better than I am able, complete with a chart showing the places where texts that say "sheol" for instance, which is the grave, have "hell" substituted. 54 times the King James uses hell. Hell is nowhere in the Bible under any name. It is as simple as that.
The wicked dead are destroyed, never to live again. Their punishment is eternal. They will never wake up to live again. I say this in full knowledge that I will some day stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ to give account for my words.