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'Hell' in Solidarity Theology (Part 1)

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posted on Apr, 29 2007 @ 09:45 PM
The doctrine of “Hell” as it is traditionally taught should be removed from the catalogue of Christian beliefs.


Before delving into this study, I wish to make some preliminary remarks regarding assumptions. Any important study should be qualified with the principles that underlie its conclusions.


As herein discussed, the teaching of “Hell” is primarily rooted in references to the “lake of fire” that are found in the Book of Revelation.

The Book of Revelation comes from a class of literature known as apocalyptic. “Apocalyptic” portends the end of Evil and the triumph of Good.

Revelation, like all apocalyptic literature, communicates this message through symbolism. It is mystical. There are bizarre creatures, numerology, and allegory. Every aspect of the book is symbolic, including time periods, people, locations, animals, numbers, colors, clothing, and jewelry.

This is no less true of the mystical “lake of fire”.

The book’s introduction identifies its symbolic nature beyond any doubt: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Revelation 1:1). The word “signified” means “in signs”, i.e. “in symbols”.

[A symbol is a printed or written sign used to represent something else by association, resemblance, or convention, especially a material object used to represent something invisible. Linguistically, the word “symbol” is associated with the concepts creed, mark, and throwing (hand signs): Middle English symbole, creed, from Old French, from Latin symbolum, token, mark, from Greek sumbolon, token for identification (by comparison with a counterpart) : sun-, syn- + ballein, to throw.]

Regarding the Book of Revelation, one writer has stated, “Sometimes the images draw meaning from different associations, including other biblical stories. No one really knows what it all means -- the original key, if ever there was such a thing, is long lost. In short, there is no one single answer.”

As used in the New Testament, “key” is a symbol for knowledge. In Luke 11:52, Jesus said, “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered”.

In the New Testament, the key of knowledge is applied to the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 16:19), David (Revelation 3:7), the Bottomless Pit (Revelation 9:1; 20:1), and Hell and Death (Revelation 1:18). This mystic application of the symbolic “key” suggests that Jesus was introducing a significant new teaching or an important corrective to an old teaching.

For my present purpose, I wish to focus on the last entry on this list of keys. Jesus said, “I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).

Jesus claimed to possess the truth regarding Hell and Death! His own resurrection testifies to the truth that there is life after death. This bold, confident announcement of His possession of the key and the fact that He marshals it as a token befitting close inquiry, suggests it is one of the primary subjects DESTINED FOR DISCLOSURE; hence, its rightful place in a book called Revelation.

To fully appreciate this revelation, one must attempt to recover the understanding and experience of the typical first-century Jewish audience who were plagued by uncertainty and fear about the afterlife. By pledging solidarity with the human family, Jesus ensured our immortality and supplanted any fear they or we might entertain about Hell. I will have more to say about the twin subjects of Hell and Death in my writings on Solidarity Theology.

Where did people err, then, in regard to the doctrine of Hell?

They mistook the symbol for the message. This is the first of three causes that contributed to the misapprehension regarding Hell.

The second cause stems from a failure to understand that the Bible predicts two messiahs.

posted on Apr, 29 2007 @ 09:49 PM
. . .


When the two messiahs are joined, the mystery of God is finished.

Jesus Christ is the first of these two messiahs. The second messiah is the Antichrist.

The Book of Revelation is fraught with imagery drawn from the Old Testament. Apart from the beast-imagery reminiscent of the Book of Daniel, the chief source of material appears to be the Sanctuary service.

For example, mention is made of the candlesticks (Revelation chapter 1), sacrificial Lamb (chapters 5-7, 13-15, 17, 19, 21, 22), incense and altar (chapters 8, 16), and temple compartments (chapters 11, 15).

These allusions are taken from the Torah, which describes a two-phase salvation illustrated most notably by the two compartments (Holy Place and Most Holy Place) of the Sanctuary, the daily (lamb) and yearly (goat) sacrifices, and the works of the ordinary priesthood and that of the high priest.

The various aspects of the Sanctuary system are an object lesson of the authentic order of salvation. The everlasting gospel is found in the Sanctuary. The gospel message also has an order, which has not been finished.

The everlasting gospel regarding the two messiahs is found in the Sanctuary, under the figures of the daily (lamb) and yearly (goat) sacrifices. The two messiahs are Jesus Christ and the Antichrist. They are complementary one to the other, each having a different role and function.

Many have mistaken what is meant by "Antichrist" by confusing the concepts "opposite of" and "opposed to". The mistake occurs in the meaning attributed to the prefix “anti-“. In modern usage, “anti-“ usually denotes something “in opposition against”. However, as used in relation to the Antichrist, the prefix “anti-“ means “placement opposite to or in contrast with another”. It is supplemental and complimentary, not subversive.

All treatments on the subject of the Antichrist appear to err because of their a priori premise; i.e., that there is but one messiah. When writers believe in one messiah, Jesus Christ, they are compelled to cast the Antichrist in a negative light. Thus the Antichrist is a supposed imposture.

The relationship of Jesus the Christ and the Antichrist is similar. They stand “opposite” each other in place and time. They are not “opposed” to one another. They are two messiahs having different roles and functions.

How does the concept of two messiahs, particularly the second of the two messiahs, the Antichrist, relate to a misunderstanding of Hell? According to Revelation 19:20, the Antichrist Beast is the first to be cast into the “lake of fire”. He is cast there even before the Devil and his angels (Revelation 20:10).

I will have more to say about this in Part II of this study.

The last cause contributing to a mistaken Hell is:


The Book of Revelation is fraught with translation problems that inevitably mislead the reader. These mistranslations stem from what I believe to be an unintentional failure by the translators to grasp the biblical teaching of two messiahs.

Guided by the premise of two messiahs when forming a new, proper translation, for example, I suggest that the plural “servants” in Revelation 1:3 (KJV) ought to be translated the singular “Servant”.

The book appears to be directed primarily to this single person, the Servant, for his use and benefit. I believe that a description of this Servant is given in chapter 5, under the figure of the Lamb. He is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.

Kindred other problems in the translation of Revelation may be corrected bearing in mind the two Keys of the Kingdom; i.e. two messiahs. Recall that as used in the New Testament, “key” is a symbol for knowledge.

I believe that a proper, accurate new translation will lead to a revision in the popular understanding of the role and function of the Antichrist. It will also fulfill the prophecy in Revelation 10 regarding a second application of the overall tone and meaning of the Book of Revelation.


There is no human way to estimate the number of souls who have turned away from living a life of active faith because they could not reconcile the traditional teaching regarding Hell with their image of a loving God and His loving Son, Jesus Christ.

The traditional teaching of Hell is erroneous because it rests on one or a combination of three defects in scholarship. They are interpreting a symbol literally; failing to understand and apply the concept of two messiahs; and, mistranslating the text.

In Part II of this study, I will define what is really meant by the mystical “lake of fire” and prove that the traditional teaching of Hell is a fallacy.

posted on Apr, 30 2007 @ 02:58 AM
Interesting. I'm eager to read part II.


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