Hell is Not Forever
Eternal suffering in some kind of hell would undoubtedly be a horrible thing, but fortunately this isn't like our loving Creator at all.
The Bible is quite clear what happens when a soul sins.
The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
- Ezekiel 18:20 (KJV)
Once you know that the wages of sin is death most translations to the word "hell" can be easily understood, e.g. hell can mean "the grave", or "a place of burning" (a rubbish dump close to Jerusalem for example).
There are a number of places in the Bible, where the word "hell" is used in combination with the word "forever", or "eternal", etc. With a little bit of study even they can be understood.
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
- Revelation 20:10 (KJV)
That last bit should read something like "and shall be tormented day and night until they're dead". Big difference!!
Remember that if there are any discrepancies in the English Bible, we should always go back to the Greek (or Hebrew) translation for the correct interpretation.
The Greek words for "for ever and ever" are:
The word aion (Strong 165) can mean two things:
1) an age (finite period of time)
The correct meaning must therefore be determined from the context.
So when we read "for ever and ever", and apply the context "sin = death", we must conclude that we're dealing with a finite period of time here.
How can "for ever and ever" possibly refer to a finite period of time?
Well, it's the same as saying "It took forever to wash my car", when clearly it couldn't have taken forever.
Keep in mind that the English language in 1611 hadn't been fully standardized yet, and that the translation "for ever and ever" may very well have been the correct translation at that time.
Is hell the same as the lake of fire?
Hell means "the grave", and the lake of fire means "second death". So they're very similar. Interestingly enough it is death and hell that are thrown into the lake of fire.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
- Revelation 20:14 (KJV)
Note that in some Bible verses where "eternal" or "for ever and ever" are used, it simply means that death itself is eternal or forever. So death is "everlasting punishment". It's everlasting because no one comes back from death.
Some say that the fire is unquenchable. Which is true. As long as there are wicked people in the fire it cannot be quenched. It will simply "go out" by itself when it's fulfilled its purpose (burining of the wicked).
Here's an example of a fire in Jerusalem that could "not be quenched", yet today it's no longer burning.
But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
- Jeremiah 17:27 (KJV)
Don't be fooled by the doctrines of satan. God is Love and Just. No eternal suffering period.
God doesn't want you to perish, because He loves you!!
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
- 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
The hell doctrine is an insult against God, and it's time to let it go.