The Concept of Hell and Where It Came From
The idea of Hell, in one capacity or another has been around for a very long time. The Egyptians, Babylonians and others had various pagan concepts of it but the Israelites and later with the Judaism, it didn't seem to be an item of religious importance nor was it a Christian concept until around the year 1321 CE/AD. That was the year that a poet by the name of Dante Alighieri passed away. In 1307 Dante began to write a poem or book entitled "The Divine Comedy". It was an imaginary journey through his idea of what happened after a person died. The journey was composed of three phases. They were Hell, a fiery, agonizing place, where a person might be forever; Purgatory which was a sort of a half way place or a kind of Limbo. Here the person stayed until a decision was made as to where the person would go,up to Heaven or down to Hell. The book/poem was a mental exercise going from a morbid place, to a paradisical place with a possible stopover in between.
The Church, always having its antenna up seeking a way to increasing its hold and power over an essentially illiterate membership grabbed onto Dante's allegory and proceeded to incorporate it into its control program(and it did exercise considerable control since even kings were illiterate). There was no convenient way for the people to reference what the church leaders were telling them. Between the way it was being presented as a sort of scare tactic and the awe inspiring trappings of the church, the snow job was a shoo in!To top that off, the church had an "example" to intimadate them with straight out of the Bible...Gehenna!...which was a symbol of all the negatives.
The people didn't dare oppose the church. By then, it had caused the Crusades, been the religious base in Rome and was known for its lack of mercy. Its leaders had convinced the people AND the governments that they possessed the authority and power to absolve sinners of their errors. NO human has that power or authority! Later the church was responsible for Inquisitions, witch hunts, tortures, beheadings, burnings at the stake; atrocities of every sort. All of the things were the true opposite of Christianity.
Hell or Hades is a fiery place of eternal torment
The words used in all translations and versions of the Bible today are: Sheol, Hades, Grave, Hell and Gehenna.
Sheol, a Hebrew word, is translated and literally means the common grave of mankind where we all end up after living. It can also be used to designate a single burial place.
All that your hands find to do, do with your very power for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going.
In all the scriptural appearances of Sheol, there are no appearances of awareness nor feeling of any sort, much less torment.
The word Hades was used to translate the word Sheol into Greek. Hades was used 73 times in the Scriptures. In Greek mythology, it is used to indicate: in the depths of the earth, a hole, a pit, burial place, tomb or disposition of the dead. There was no indication of distress or torment even in mythology, Essentially, Hades meant the same thing as Sheol.
Grave is the term used most today means to bury or cover over and is the same as Sheol and Hades. There is no mention of agony or torment. Grave, like Hades, Sheol and Hell is a Scriptural word with the same meaning.
The idea that Hell or Hades is a fiery place of eternal torment is not true.
I know this because the Bible tells me so.
According to Scripture, when we die, we die but with the promise of Resurrection, it's like being put on hold.