Redefining Hell - Part 1
The First Man
Sometimes, all it takes is just one thought to pass through your mind to deepen or change your current understanding. Such was the case when this thought passed through mine.
Hell is the manifestation of death.
How did such a thought arise? It came after I read the following passages.
Revelation 6:7-8 (KJV)
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him…
The Strong’s Concordance defines “followed” as “a road; properly to be in the same way with, i.e. to accompany (especially as a disciple).” Based on this definition, I believe it’s appropriate to say that where death is, hell is, and where hell is, death is (See also Rev. 1:18; 20:14). And just as sunlight is the manifestation of the sun but is not the sun, so too “Hell” is the manifestation of “Death” but is not “Death.” The idea of a “road” leads to the following.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way (road; Strong’s) that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Here we find the Lord Jesus speaking of a “narrow gate” and “difficult” way or “road” as opposed to a “wide” gate and “broad” way “that leads to destruction.” Of course, He is not talking of literal roads or pathways but of our walk and conduct in this life. This being true, might “Death and Hell” then be viewed as the wide and broad way and life and heaven as the narrow way? Since the Bible clearly teaches that death exists in this life (Rom. 8:6; Eph. 2:1), and hell is its manifestation, then hell must exist in this present life as well. What Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23:15 seems to support this view. Perhaps that is why in the book of Revelation we see both death and hell cast into a lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), signifying that there does come an end to both.
There is one definition for hell in the Old Testament and three in the New. In the Old Testament, it’s the transliteration Sheol, defined by Strong’s as “Hades or the world of the dead.” As noted, the Greek equivalent of this word in the New Testament is “Hades,” which Strong’s defines as “unseen.”
The second word translated as hell in the New Testament is Gehenna, meaning “valley of (the son of) Hinnom; a valley of Jerusalem.”
The third word translated as hell in the New Testament is tartaroo, used just once in 2nd Peter 2:4.
So what does all of this mean when it comes to “redefining hell”? First, let’s consider the following words from the Lord Jesus.
Luke 20:38 (ESV)
38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him."
Based on these words from Christ, I believe it is appropriate to say that death does not exist within the confines of the kingdom of God. How could it since God in Christ is light and life and only light and life? (John 8:12; 9:5) As John wrote, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1st John 1:5; KJV). Since darkness typifies death (John 1:4-5; 3:19), and there is no darkness in our Creator, then it affirms that “he is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”
Now, if I am correct in stating that hell is the manifestation of death, then it’s to our advantage to consider what the scriptures mean by death and why it exists on this earthly plane. As most everyone knows, the entrance of death in our existence is illustrated by the story of Adam and Eve, confirmed by what Paul wrote in the following.
Romans 5:12 (ESV)
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…
Paul is clear. “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin.” So who is this “one man”? Everyone agrees its Adam, and Paul confirms this a couple of verses later, stating, “Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” (Rom. 5:14; ESV).
However, let’s back up a moment. When we consider the Genesis parable and the name “Adam,” Strong’s defines it as, “Ruddy, i.e. a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).” “A human being”? Yes! “An individual or the species”? Yes! This being the case, is it at all possible that the individual called Adam could be representative of the entire human race or species at that time, that there were far more people on this planet than just Adam and Eve and their story is actually a parable illustrating every person’s entrance into this physical realm? Why not? And when we treat this story as such, it does away with the foolish idea that incest was necessary to propagate the species.
So let me ask again. Who is this “one man”? If we know its Adam, does it represent an individual or the species? The answer is both! Consider what Paul wrote in the following.
1 Corinthians 15:45-47 (ESV)
45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being (soul; KJV)"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the SPIRITUAL that is first but the NATURAL, and then the SPIRITUAL. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
Here Paul calls Adam “the first man” and Christ the “second man” and “last Adam.” He also clarifies that the “first man” is “natural” while the second, “spiritual,” so the critical point to take from this is the idea of “natural,” not the idea of Adam as a unique person. This word “natural” brings us to the following.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
When Paul spoke of the “natural man” in this passage, was he referring to a particular individual or of something characteristic of an entire species? Friend, it’s the latter! Adam, the “first man,” created as a “natural man,” represents every person who enters this earthly plane! In other words, we are birthed into this world a “natural” person, someone who “does not receive the things of the Spirit of God.” This being the case, it helps explain why Adam and Eve “fell” from grace in the Garden of Eden. And the Garden of Eden? This, my friend, is the key to understanding why death is here in the first place! In Part 2, we will consider this.