(1 Corinthians 3:15 MLV): “If the work of anyone will be burned, he will forfeit that work; but he himself will be saved; but so as through fire.”
For years now, I’ve wanted to look a closer look at hell and the afterlife, but haven’t felt led to do so. I try only to write things which are fresh and meaningful, which I feel the Spirit is speaking to me about at the time. I also try to write primarily of things I’m certain I’ve been shown and avoid much speculation. That said, I admit I do not know everything about what happens after death, or how things are all going to play out. All I intend to do here is share one “clue” I recently noticed which is related to “the afterlife.” I’m sure it is not the whole picture. I’m also working on a second post which delves a bit deeper, which I hope to publish in the next couple weeks. I’ll allow and wait for the Spirit to fill in the blanks, to me or others, as He sees fit.
What I want to look at here is the concept of “destruction;” a term the Bible uses to describe the fate of wickedness or evil. When trying to get a feel for what the Bible has to say about a subject, I have found it helpful to take the clearest statements first, and use those to help interpret the more vague or confusing things. With that in mind, as I’ve read the New Testament, the clearest thing I see about the fate of evil men and wickedness is this: they will be destroyed. Numerous scriptures speak emphatically (though differently) of this destruction.
While the idea of destruction seems simple enough, it’s actually not. First of all, the English word “destroy” or some variant of it is used in English translations of the Bible, such as the KJV, to translate around 5 different Greek words, all which have different meanings. Not only that, but the same Greek word may be translated “destroy” in one place, and something very different in another. This is why looking at the Greek words is often very helpful to get a better understanding of what the Biblical writers intended.
The most common Greek word translated “destroy” is apollumi. While “destroy” is a decent translation, apollumi can also mean “to remove,” “to lose,” “to render useless,” and things like that.
Here is one scripture which uses this word, which is often used to support the claim that Jesus taught about and warned of an eternal torment in hell:
Matthew 10:28 MLV: “And do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy (apollumi) both soul and body in hell.”
You’ll notice Jesus didn’t say “eternally torture,” but destroy; a very different idea! However, even if you think Jesus was referring to eternal torment in this statement, consider these scriptures as well:
Matthew 10:5-6 MLV: “Jesus sent forth these twelve apostles and commanded them, saying, Do not go into any road of the Gentiles and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost (apollumi) sheep of the house of Israel.”
Matthew 16:24-25 MLV: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and lift up his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life, will lose (apollumi) it and whoever loses (apollumi) his life because of me, will find it.”
2 John 1:7-8 MLV: “Because many misleaders have entered into the world, those who are not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the misleader and the antichrist. Look to yourselves, that you should not destroy (apollumi) the things which we have worked in you, but that we may receive a full reward.
1 Corinthians 8:10-11 MLV: For if anyone sees you, (you who has knowledge), reclining at a table in an idol’s sanctuary, will not his conscience, being weak, be built up to eat idolatrous-offerings? And the weak brother will perish (apollumi) on account of your knowledge, but Christ died because of him.