THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF HEAVEN AND HELL (PART 1) ) A Non-Scriptural Concept

There are different opinions when it comes to the doctrine of heaven  and hell however, it is important to know and to understand it from the point of view of the Eternal (or the Scriptures) and not what has been handed down to us for centuries by teachers and scholars. We have to ask ourselves if this doctrine is Scriptural or not. It does not matter how long we have known it, what matters is if it comes from the Eternal or not. The Eternal wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth and not with a mixture of truth and error. We are going to be looking at what the Scriptures say as this is the source of truth.
Before Philo Judaeus (Jewish philosopher 20 BCE-50 after Yeshua) Judaism (Scriptural Judaism) did not believe in the immortality of the soul because it simply is not in the Scriptures. The only time Israel believed in the immortality of the soul is when they adopted beliefs from the pagan nations around them and engaged in idolatry. But as long as they practiced what the Eternal had commanded them through Moses, they did not believe in the immortality of the soul nor in the concept of heaven and hell. Some people take for granted that this doctrine existed since the days of Abraham and it did not.
Philo, who lived during the time of the Messiah, was a highly respected philosopher in the Jewish community of Alexandria, yet he was a Hellenised philosopher, influenced by the Greek view of life. He was heavily influenced by Plato’s teachings and his belief in the immortality of the soul. Being a very influential philosopher he gradually introduced theses teachings and beliefs into Judaism, in Alexandria at first and slowly throughout the Jewish community worldwide. However, in Israel, where a part of the Jewish community survived under Rome, that belief did not exist. There was no doctrine of life after death in heaven, hell or anywhere in between, all the Jews in that generation looked to the resurrection and the judgement in the last day at the end of the age. They believed, as it was written in Scripture, that when you die you are dead and have to wait for the resurrection at the end of time, whenever that would be.
The Pharisees, which were the majority of the Jewish community at that time believed in the resurrection because they followed Moses and the prophets (the prophets did speak about the resurrection).
The Sadducees, somehow lost that understanding and belief because they claimed to follow only Moses and he didn’t talk much about the resurrection. They believed that the Eternal gave us life and that we should live it as best as we could and we should be thankful to Him and that when you die, that’s it…you are gone.
We see that either faction in the Jewish community of that time did not believe in the doctrine of Heaven and Hell [basically it is the belief that when people die they go to heaven or hell depending on whether they were good or bad.]
The followers of the Messiah, the Jewish brethren that were a part of the body of Messiah, did not believe in this doctrine of Heaven and Hell, it was non-existent in the community, there was no such teaching. As for the non-Jews who came from the Greek world, from the eastern religions and the gentiles through the work of the apostle Paul (the Eternal was not calling all the gentiles but individuals from the gentiles; the calling of the whole world will come at the time of the end ) they discarded their traditional beliefs and teachings of Heaven and Hell, and adopted the teaching of the Scriptures.
As time went by they began to go back to their old habits, concepts, and ideas, and began to incorporate these philosophies from their old religions into their new religion later called Christianity and yet that was not the teaching of the Scriptures. They went back to believing in the afterlife and not in the resurrection and judgement of the Eternal on the last day.
People do not realise that within Judaism there are two religions in essence:
• Biblical Judaism (based on the Scriptures)
• Rabbinic Judaism ( a mixture of Scriptural teachings and the teachings of the Rabbis)
When we study these things, we must ask ourselves if what we believe in is the truth. To know the truth we must go to the Scriptures.
Revelation 12 tells us something very interesting, it talks about the people of the Eternal described in verse 1 as a woman, speaking specifically of the commonwealth of Israel

Revelation 12:1 
1 And a great sign was seen in the heaven: a woman {Yisrael} clad with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 
{twelve stars: the twelve tribes of Israel. Remember the dream of Joseph about the stars, the moon and the sun}
2 And being pregnant, she cried out in labour and in pain to give birth.
3 And another sign was seen in the heaven: and see, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads. 
4 And his tail draws a third of the stars of the heaven and throws them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, to devour her child as soon as it was born.{Israel gives birth to Yeshua the Messiah. The adversary rebelled against the Eternal and took with him one third of the angels that later on became demons. As soon as Yeshua is born the adversary, through Herod, tries to destroy him}.
5 And she bore a male child who was to shepherd all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught away to Elohim {the Eternal} and to His throne. {This happened after Yeshua’s resurrection}
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by Elohim, to be nourished there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
{ These are the faithful. The ones who followed the Messiah fled into the wilderness. The great majority of theses were of the commonwealth of Israel}.
7 And there came to be fighting in the heaven: Mika’el and his messengers fought against the dragon. And the dragon and his messengers fought,
{This is a future event, but in the Scriptures we read it as one continuous story. We will see this event described in other places as in Daniel 12 for example}.
8 but they were not strong enough, nor was a place found for them in the heaven any longer. {The Dragon and his demons did not prevail and they were not allowed to enter heaven any longer}.
9 And the great dragon was thrown out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who leads all the world astray. He was thrown to the earth, and his messengers were thrown out with him.

WHAT DO THE SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT THIS
Let us begin with the book of Job. The Eternal declares Job to be a very righteous man. There was no man like him in the face of the earth.

Job 1:1, 6, 7 & 8
1 There was a man in the land of Uts {a land towards the east, Babylon} whose name was Iyoḇ {Job}. And that man was perfect and straight, and one who feared Elohim {the Eternal} and turned aside from evil.
6 And the day came to be that the sons of Elohim  came to present themselves before יהוה, and Satan also came among them.{At this time Satan is still allowed to come before יהוה but, as we saw in Revelation, there is a future time when he will no longer be allowed to do so, he and his demons will be cast down. יהוה allows this for His own plans.} 
7 And יהוה said to Satan, “From where do you come?” And Satan answered יהוה and said, “From diligently searching in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” 
8 And יהוה said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Iyoḇ, that there is none like him on the earth, a perfect and straight man, one who fears Elohim and turns aside from evil?”

The Eternal allowed the adversary to afflict Job with painful boils, loss of all his children, cattle and loss of all his wealth. All of this was done according to the plan of the Eternal as we see at the end of the book. After being afflicted Job declares:

Job 14:13
13 If only You would hide me in the grave, conceal me until Your wrath turns away. Set me a time, and remember me!
14 If a man dies, would he live again? All the days of my struggle I wait, till my change comes.

The Eternal resurrects our body and makes you alive again. He puts your spirit back in you and gives you a new body, not like the one that went into the ground. When Yeshua was resurrected he was still flesh and bones [<See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have>] but at the same time he had the ability to go through walls and appear to people in different places.
When we die our mortal body is corrupted in the grave then the resurrection comes and we receive the spirit we were given at birth and gave up when we die. That is what the <change> is all about. Then we will live eternally.

Job 13:15
15a You would call, and I would answer You. 
{This statement will become more meaningful when we go to the New Covenant and also before that in some passages of the Prophets.}
15b You have yearned for the work of Your hands.

He is speaking of Job himself and all of us, we are all the work of the Eternal’s hands. He allows us a period of time to be alive, then we die and we go to the grave and then at the end time the Eternal is going to bring on the resurrection and He will put in us the same spirit that He put in us when we were born and a new body and we will be alive again.
 Psalms has more information

Psalms 30
8 I cried out to You, O יהוה; And to יהוה I prayed: 
9 “What gain is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Would dust praise You? Would it declare Your truth? {A dead person can not praise יהוה. When you are dead you are dead. David is pleading with יהוה to keep him alive so he can praise and worship Him.}

In Psalm 88 we get a little more information

Psalms 88:9-12
9 My eye grows dim because of affliction. יהוה, I have called upon You, all day long; I have stretched out my hands to You. 
10 Would You work wonders for the dead? Would the dead rise to praise You? Selah. 
11 Is Your kindness declared in the grave? Your trustworthiness in the place of destruction? 
12 Are Your wonders known in the dark? And Your righteousness in the land of no remembrance?

Scripture tells us that death means total cessation of life. The false doctrine of heaven and hell teaches that death does not mean total cessation of life, it means life in a different form. It is not a Scriptural teaching.

Psalms 146
3 Do not put your trust in princes, In a son of man, in whom is no deliverance.
4 His spirit goes out, he returns to his earth; In that day his plans {some translations: thoughts} perish.

When we are dead we do not think or plan anymore. Some believe that when you die the real you (the soul) comes out and that you can think. Scripture says our thoughts and plans perish when we die.
We have a spirit [«ruach»=wind] that the Eternal puts in us, it is not a soul, although sometimes it is used synonymously. It is not a person, as some think, it is a spirit essence, a power of intellect, of emotions, of creativity etc… that comes from the Eternal.
Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, speaks about this matter

Ecclesiastes 3:19 [Concordant Literal Version]
19 For the destiny of the sons of humanity And the destiny of the beast, It is one destiny for them; As death is for this one, so is death for that one, And one spirit is for all; There is no advantage for the human over the beast, For the whole is vanity."

The spirit  in man is not a soul and not a person that is in you. That spirit functions through your brain, it sees through your eyes, it hears through your ears, it speaks through your mouth, it functions through your body and nervous system. When the breath of life goes, the body shuts down and the spirit departs. The spirit cannot function without the body. Basically, the story of man is the same as that of the beasts.  As long as the spirit is in us we  are able to function but when we die , we stop functioning. There will be a resurrection for men but there will not be one for the beasts.
While you are alive that is all you have, so rejoice. In essence he is admonishing people to walk in righteousness and the way of  the Eternal.

Ecclesiastes 9:3-6
3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one event to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are filled with evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and then – to the dead! 
4 But for him who is joined to all the living there is trust, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. {Here he is contrasting life and death. As long as you are alive there is hope. Why? Because you think, you feel, you function...but when you are dead, you are dead.}
5 For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know naught, nor do they have any more reward, for their remembrance is forgotten. 
6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy have now perished; and they no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.

This is what Biblical Judaism has always believed, but when they came back from captivity in Babylon, they brought back with them pagan doctrines. They discarded the teachings of the Scriptures, in essence, the Adversary deceived them as he has deceived the whole world.
The Scriptures do not tell us lies and fables.

Ecclesiastes 12:7, 8, 13 &14
7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to Elohim who gave it.
8 “Futility! Futility!” said the Qoheleth {the preacher}, “All is futile, “
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the entire matter: Fear Elohim and guard His commands, for this applies to all mankind! {This is what Yeshua said to those who wanted to know how to obtain eternal life (Matthew 19:17). In other words if you do not obey the words and commandments of the Eternal, He will never resurrect you into eternal life.}
14 For Elohim shall bring every work into right-ruling, including all that is hidden, whether good or whether evil.

This what Paul tells us <we must all stand before the judgement seat of Messiah>.This does not happen when we die, it occurs in the Last Day. This is what the children of Israel always believed until the doctrine of pagans entered into Judaism and it became Rabbinic Judaism, a  mixture of truth and error, a religion of man.
We continue with the prophet Isaiah

Isaiah 26 :13-14, 19
13 O יהוה our Elohim, other masters besides You have had rule over us; only in You do we make mention of Your Name. 
14 The dead do not live; the departed spirits do not rise. Therefore You have visited and destroyed them, and made all their remembrance to perish.
19a Let Your dead live, together with my dead body, let them arise. {This is what resurrection is about as in Ezekiel 37 the valley of the dry bones that come back to life.}
19b Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; {We dwell in the dust when we die, not in heaven or hell. Of course, there is a heaven where the Eternal is, hell is an imaginary place invented by man.}
19c for Your dew is a dew of light, and let the earth give birth to the departed spirits

In Isaiah 38 we read about a righteous king Hezekiah who was ill and the Eternal told him he was going to die. He prayed for the Eternal to prolong his life and the Eternal restored him to health.

Isaiah 38:9-19
9 This is the writing of Ḥizqiyahu sovereign of Yehudah, when he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness: 
10 I said, “Am I to go into the gates of the grave {sheol} in the prime of my life? Shall I be deprived of the rest of my years?”
{Sheol is simply the grave and not a place of suffering as many believe it to be. This belief does not come from יהוה it comes from the Devil.}
11 I said, “I shall not see Yah - Yah in the land of the living! I shall no longer look on man with the inhabitants of the world!
{When you are in the grave you do not see יהוה, you do not feel, you do not talk...you are dead. It is a pagan concept that you can see people after they are dead.} 
12 “My dwelling is plucked up, taken from me like a shepherd’s tent. I have cut off my life like a weaver; He cuts me off from the loom. From day to night You make an end of me.
16 “O יהוה, by these do men live, and my spirit finds life in all of them. Restore me and make me live. 
17 “See, for peace I had what was bitter, bitter. But You have lovingly delivered my being from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
18 “For the grave does not thank You, nor death praise You; those who go down to the pit do not watch for Your truth.
19 “The living, the living – he is praising You, as I do this day. A father makes known Your truth to his children.

The imaginary concept that after we die, there is somebody within us that is separated from us called ‘soul’ that goes on living forever in a different state of life is a fable invented in the mind of Satan and planted in the mind of men.
Isaiah, speaking of Abraham the father of all, says

Isaiah 63:16
16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Yisra’el does not recognise us. You, O יהוה, are our Father, our Redeemer – Your Name is from of old.

Abraham and Israel (Jacob) do not know or recognise us because they are dead. They cannot do anything for us but the Eternal the Eternal can because He lives forever.
So far we do not see any mention of the immortality of the soul nor of life after death nor existence after we die. Had Abraham been in heaven he would not be ignorant of us.
In Ezekiel the Eternal describes the state of His people Yisrael, specifically Judah, and all the iniquities and wickedness that He found in them. It takes place in the days of Ezekiel after the Northern kingdom (Israel or Ephraim) went into captivity and only the kingdom of Judah is left behind and yet the Eternal is about to take them into captivity as well. Ezekiel was already in captivity in Babylon. So the Eternal in chapter 16 (if you read the whole chapter) is letting Judah know how He feels about their sins and iniquities and how he feels about other nations and how bad they used to be.
He compares Judah to other nations around them and He compares them to Sodom and Gomorrah and all the cities around them which were all destroyed.

Ezekiel 16:48
48 “As I live,” declares the Master יהוה, “neither your sister Sedom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. 

He goes on to describe the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some people have been led to believe that the main problem of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality and similar sins. However the Eternal points out sins that from His point of view are worst.

Ezekiel 16:48
49 “See, this was the crookedness of your sister Sedom: She and her daughter had pride, sufficiency of bread, and unconcerned ease {idleness}. And she did not help the poor and needy.

Pride is what entered into the mind of that super-being who later became the Adversary. He was an angel until pride entered into him. Pride leads into all kinds of iniquity.
Pride was the main problem of Sodom. She and her daughters had pride, fullness of food and abundance of idleness. This is what we see in Europe, America and other countries, therefore, they are given into all kinds of corruptions.

Ezekiel 16:48
50 “And they were haughty and did abomination before Me, and I took them away when I saw it.

When you believe in the doctrine of heaven and hell you say, “they (Sodom and Gomorrah) were evil and they all went to hell”. Is that what the Eternal says? He says <I took them away when I saw it>. What does He mean by that?.
If we go to Genesis 19 we see how it happened. The Eternal poured fire and brimstone on them and He zapped them. People, animals, plants…everything was destroyed, you can not grow anything there. That was a type of hell, they became dust, they do not exist anymore.

Ezekiel 16:53
53 “And I shall turn back their captivity, the captivity of Sedom and her daughters, and the captivity of Shomeron {Samaria} and her daughters, and the captivity of your captives with them, 

He is talking about the captivity of death, the captivity of the grave. And so it was with the children of Samaria, when war came upon them during the invasion, many of them died. He is going to bring them back, he is going to resurrect them [the inhabitants of Sedom as well as those of Shomeron].
<And the captivity of your captives with them>. That means everyone who is dead or is going to die will be brought back from the captivity of death at the resurrection on the Last Day.
In Ezekiel 37 we read the captivity in which Israel was because of all their sins. Many died but the Eternal will give them life again.

Ezekiel 16:54 
54 so that you bear your shame, and shall blush for all that you did when you comforted them, 
55 “and your sisters, Sedom and her daughters, return to their former state, and Shomeron and her daughters return to their former state, and you and your daughters return to your former state.

So they are not in hell as the false doctrine says, instead, the Eternal will restore them at the resurrection and to repentance on the Last Day. From the beginning of Yisrael up to the time of  Yeshua the Messiah the people of the Eternal never believed in the fable of the doctrine of heaven and hell.
Daniel is given information on the End Time 

Daniel 12:1-5, 8-18, 13 
1 “Now at that time Mika’el {Michael, the archangel who is in charge of the nation of Israel} shall stand up, the great head who is standing over the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of distress, such as never was since there was a nation, until that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book,
2 and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth wake up, some to everlasting life, and some to reproaches, everlasting abhorrence.
{Those who are dead will come back to life some to eternal life, this means they did not have it before,  and some to permanent death.}
3 “And those who have insight shall shine like the brightness of the expanse, and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
{The righteous will come back to life and be like the stars. The unrighteous will come back to life and be destroyed.} 
4 “But you, Dani’el, hide the words, and seal the book until the time of the end. Many shall diligently search and knowledge shall increase.” 
5 Then I, Dani’el, looked and saw two others standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank.
8 And I heard, but I did not understand, so I said, “My master, what is the latter end of these matters?”
9 And he said, “Go, Dani’el, for the words are hidden and sealed till the time of the end.
10 “Many shall be cleansed and made white, and refined. But the wrong shall do wrong – and none of the wrong shall understand, but those who have insight shall understand. {If you do not believe the Eternal and in His word, you are wicked in His sight. People deceive themselves and believe they are righteous. If you believe the Eternal and follow His commandments you will be wise  and you will understand.} 
13 “But you, go your way till the end. And rest, and arise to your lot at the end of the days.”

Death is also called <rest>.
In the days of Daniel, there was no such thing as the doctrine of Heaven and Hell. They believed that you are alive, then you die (rest), then you arise (resurrection) at the Last Day.

Malachi 4:1
1 For look, the day shall come, burning like a furnace, and all the proud, and every wrongdoer shall be stubble. And the day that shall come shall burn them up, said יהוה of hosts, which leaves to them neither root nor branch.

Peter talks about the same thing in 2 Peter chapter 3
Stubble = something you can burn and once it is consumed it is gone.
This is what the real hell is all about. Those who will be burned up, the unrighteous, will not be burning forever and ever. Like stubble, they will be destroyed by fire and will be totally gone (neither root nor branch).

Malachi 4:2-3
2 “But to you who fear My Name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings. And you shall go out and leap for joy like calves from the stall.
3 “And you shall trample the wrongdoers, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” said יהוה of hosts. 

That is the fate of the wicked, not burning in hell forever, but like stubble, they shall burn and turn into ashes to be trodden under the soles of the righteous. This is what happened to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. These things will occur in the so-called Lake of Fire, the unrighteous will be zapped and consumed to a permanent death

Ecclesiastes 9:10 
10 All that your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

Solomon in the whole book of Ecclesiastes admonishes people to live righteously, to do everything with all their strength because in the grave you can do nothing. If in this life we do not do what Yahweh has created us for then we have lived in vain. So, everything that we do we should do it with everything that is in us, we should give it all that we have and the reason is you are not going to have a second chance.

In Part 2 we will continue to look at this topic 

 

[PART 2]

 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are from The Scriptures,
Copyright by Institute for Scripture Research.
Used by permission.