Read an article recently (URL below) that resulted in this posting.
On March 21, European Union leaders met in Brussels to consider the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May’s request for a delay to Brexit. A couple of interesting remarks made by European Council President, Donald Tusk, deserve some comment.
The EU 27 (nations) eventually agreed on a conditional delay to the Brexit withdrawal date (March 29) to assist Theresa May in attempting to get the so-called Withdrawal Agreement, which had been previously negotiated by the EU and the British Government, accepted by the British Parliament.
At the televised press conference held to proclaim the results of the meeting, the European Council President, Donald Tusk, proclaimed: “special place in hell for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan”
A final comment made by Mr Tusk – regarding hell – was also aimed at those who support Brexit: “According to our Pope, hell is still empty. It means there is a lot of space.”
We need to consider if Mr Tusk actually understands how hell (in the Biblical sense) is described in the Scriptures? We also need to ask the following question: Why did Mr Tusk refer to the Pope as – OUR Pope?
There a number of common misconceptions regarding the existence (or not) of hell. Is it a literal place of unbearable heat/cold where unrepentant sinners (through disbelief and worship of false gods) are subjected to gruesome ordeals with the devil and his demons prodding them on with their pitchforks? A place populated by people who have passed on from this mortal life and who have become totally separated from their Creator?
Abandon All Hope?
Dante Alighieri’s poem, La Divina Commedia, concerning hell, purgatory and paradise, greatly influenced and supported the Catholic-Christian concepts of his time. Many people, even today, across a broad spectrum of religious belief, appear to accept this concept of hell.
There are of course other levels of meaning within Dante’s literary work. However, it is not the purpose of this posting to discuss these.
Two Catholic Popes appear to have conflicting opinions concerning the concept of hell.
From the Global Catholic Network: https://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM
Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language.
Credo of the People of God
Pope Paul VI appears to have a different view of hell?
Pope Paul VI – Apostolic letter – June 30, 1968
He ascended to heaven, and He will come again, this time in glory, to judge the living and the dead: each according to his merits—those who have responded to the love and piety of God going to eternal life, those who have refused them to the end going to the fire that is not extinguished.
Biblical Hell – Old Testament
Rather than continue relating the various beliefs people may have concerning hell, let us instead see what the Bible has to say.
The word Hell is an English translation of both Hebrew and Greek words that were originally used in the Old and New Testaments respectively. The word Hell has been commonly used to translate into English, words that do not always have the same meaning in the original texts used.
Let us take a look at some examples.
Proverbs 15:24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
Hell – Hebrew word – shĕ’owl – underworld, grave, hell, pit. The OT designation for the abode of the dead. Without praise of God.
Psalm 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
Grave – shĕ’owl
Eccl. 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Grave – shĕ’owl
Proverbs 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
The word Hell is again a translation of the Hebrew word shĕ’owl
Biblical Hell – New Testament
Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Hell – Greek word – hadēs – name Hades or Pluto, the god of the lower regions; later use of this word: the grave, death
Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Hell – Greekword – hadēs – meaning – grave, death
Christ’s body (dead soul as opposed to a living soul – devoid of the breath of life) was not left in a grave, or tomb, for His mortal body to corrupt. It was resurrected to spirit-life
Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Again the word hell is substituted for the Greek word hadēs
The Hebrew word shĕ’owl and the Greek word hadēs that are translated hell in the KJV Bible have the same meaning – a grave – a dark place in which all mortals eventually end their days.
There is one hell mentioned in the KJV Bible that mortals do not enter. It is only mentioned once:
2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
The word hell is translated from the Greek word – tartaroō – regarded (?) by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds.
Tartaroō is clearly a place of confinement, an abyss or prison, for those angels (not human-kind) who left their first estate, rejecting their Creator’s way. Angels are spirit beings – they do not suffer a mortal death! – As far as is revealed. They do, however, just like mortal humans, face eventual judgement.
Geenna or Gehenna
Mathew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Hell – Greek word– geenna
Mathew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Hell – Greek word– geenna – from root word of Hebrew origin – gay’ – meaning – valley, a steep valley, narrow gorge. Hell also derived from Hebrew word – Hinnom – meaning – lamentation. Sometimes written as Gehenna
Hinnom is a valley (deep and narrow ravine) with steep, rocky sides located southwest of Jerusalem, separating Mount Zion to the north and the sloping rocky plateau of the plain of Rephaim to the south
Fire – Greek word – pyr – fire.
The valley of Hinnom was Jerusalem’s garbage pit. All rubbish and garbage from the city was burned here. The fire continually burned – until there was nothing left to burn. It is not burning now!
There are those who would have one believe that the unrepentant sinner and those who have perhaps never even heard of Jesus Christ or God the Father, are doomed to the fires of a so-called hell when released from the mortal world. The Book of John reveals that this is not the case.
John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Damnation – Greek word – krisis – a separating, sundering, separation. The same Greek word translated to the English word Judgement, 41 times in other New Testament verses in the KJV. It should be noted that it is from the grave ALL the dead shall hear his voice.
The timeline of God’s judgement of human-kind is revealed in the Scriptures. This is not however, within the parameters of this posting.
Jesus Christ associated hell fire with Geenna or Gehenna fire. It would appear to be the fate for those who absolutely reject the way of God the Father?
It would also appear that it is not a place of eternal punishment? It is also not associated with the first mortal death:
Rev. 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
We have relatively briefly covered the various meanings of the one word hell as presented to us in the English translation of the KJV of the Holy Bible. We could have continued in further study but will leave the interested reader to form their own opinion.
Hell is still empty?
At the start of this posting I quoted a statement made by European Council President, Donald Tusk – “According to our Pope, hell is still empty. It means there is a lot of space.”
It would appear that not all Popes share the same view of hell, as we have mentioned in the above section. Mr Tusk, in his statement, was referring to the current Pope Francis.
So what is Pope Francis opinion regarding hell? There would appear to have been some media interest in the past regarding Pope Francis opinion on the existence, or not, of hell
In 2016, he said that people who do not open their hearts to Christ will end up condemning themselves to hell. The same year, he referred to hell as “the truth” and described it as being “far away from the Lord for eternity.”
The BBC reported on 30 march 2018, that Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the most senior Catholic in England and Wales, said “there’s nowhere in Catholic teaching that actually says any one person is in hell”.
According to an Italian journalist, the Pope said that: “Souls are not punished,” the Pope was quoted as saying in the Repubblica piece. “Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and go among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. There is no hell – there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”
If true (lets be cautious, journalists do not always write accurately), then the Pope’s disputed statement would actually be in accord with Jesus Christ’s statement regarding hell fire (Math. 5:22)
The Vatican press office released a statement denying reports in many mainstream media that the Pope had denied the existence of hell to an Italian journalist.
Let us leave the claims and counterclaims aside. It is fairly clear what the word hell variously means as revealed in the Bible.
Mr Tusk also referred to the Pope as OUR POPE. What did he actually mean by that reference? Mr Tusk was speaking as a representative of the European Union and thus his statement would appear to indicate that although EU countries contain a mix of differing religions, it is the Catholic faith that is pre-eminent and it is the Pope who leads the religious arm of the European Union. This should come as no surprise given the history of Europe. The EU has visions of Empire and is gradually making its presence felt globally. Europe has looked upon itself as an Empire in the past, albeit under various leaders. However, the religious arm of the Vatican has always had been a permanent part of the body. Thus, the past centuries of Holy Roman Empire are celebrated annually, in Aachen, by way of awarding the Charlemagne Prize to a personage who has distinguished him/her self through their work in promoting and accomplishing greater European unification. This has been covered in previous posting.
Donald Tusk received the prize in 2010, Angela Merkel in 2008, Jean-Claude Juncker in 2006. Pope Francis received the prize in 2016 and Emmanuel Macron in 2018.
Pope John Paul II received the prize in 2004.
For More Info: https://www.karlspreis.de/en/laureates
The legacy of Charlemagne remains strong among the ruling class of Europe, as does their belief in Catholic Christianity. The only ingredient missing that would assist the EU in evolving from Union into Empire is a strong charismatic leader of the calibre of Charlemagne!