Reply To: Heaven, Hell, and the Bible as an Intricate and Intriguing Metaphor

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Ray Butler # Posted on August 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

The original idea of repentance involved turning away from your sin, the churches of Catholicism in a sense would charge a toll that permitted you to sin, you would go out and defy what is righteous then come back a week later, pay your fee which is under the guise of a charity, then confess your sins and be absolved, then you go out and do it all over.
But I have learned a few things studying the Bible. The idea for Hell is based on a few things.
1) There is Hades, which is an Ancient Greek under-world, a place of rivers of fire, a type of Hell for the dead, but the only reason Hades was used is because there was no Greek word for the word they were replacing in the Greek translation, that word being Sheol.
Sheol is best described as the common grave of man, a place where good and evil go, but as it says “There is no devising in Sheol…” and “The living are aware that they will die but the dead are aware of nothing at all” of course the latter could be a metaphor for people who have no faith and do not wish to do the will of God, but the first one is a dirrect description of Sheol.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave(some translations actually use Sheol including the original Torah of the Jews), where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”
So this tells us that the grave is a place where you are not aware of anything and incapable of actions.
2) The other name that Hell is derived from is Gehenna, or the Valley of Hinnom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna This is where the citizens of Jerusalem would bring their trash and it would be covered in sulfur and set alight, this also gave the place the name “the lake of sulfur and fire” which may sound familiar as a way religious people describe Hell. But also vile criminals were brought here to be burned up also.
But originally, some including myself believe, that this process of covering with sulfur and burning was a way to destroy things forever, you could even see fire as a purifyer, and that is what I think the metaphor that Jesus was offering was meant to be when he spoke of Gehenna, everlasting destruction, that you would cease to exist, not be tortured for eternity.
As for Heaven, it says in the Bible John 3:13 “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven” meaning Jesus. Heaven has been confused with the paradise Earth on many occasions. Ressurection means to come back to life on Earth, this is a fact because to come to life in Heaven is call transfiguration or accending and ressurection can not be confused with those otherwise they would use the same words to describe it.
Instead the Bible hints that 144,000 people will go to heaven, but not as a reward but to rule up-high with the Lamb of God, it is all over Revelations, but with that book you can never take anything as literal, that is one big metaphor cluster-fuck.