The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.(Ezekiel 32:21) KJV
In the King James version of the Bible the word hell occurs 54 times. In the Old Testament this is a translation of the Hebrew word sheol – שְׁא֣וֹל. In the New Testament the word hell is a translation of three Greek words: hades– ᾅδῃ, tartarus – ταρταρώσας and gehenna – γέενναν. I will explain how all of these words relate to the internal structure of the earth or, in one case, why it doesn’t.
It is commonly thought today that sheol or hades is mythological, the realm of the dead, where souls go when their physical bodies die. Science rejects the existence of the human soul. As far as most people are concerned, especially Christians, hell is not physical. It describes a state of spiritual separation from the love of God. The word sheol is translated in various ways, sometimes as Hell, but other times it is rendered as the pit, or the grave. This adds to the popular notion that sheol or hades are just a spiritual thing and it’s not even real. Some of the most obnoxious people that you will encounter on the internet are “Biblical scholars,” and “Christians,” who are determined to intimidate you into believing that hell, a place of burning torment, does not occur in the Bible.
In Matty’s Paradigm sheol and hades includes the molten core of the earth, the great gulf of open space between the surface of hell and the lower mantle, the pillars of the earth that extend from the lower mantle to the core, and the chambers in the lower mantle where the Old Testament saints had to await the coming of the messiah. As such, sheol or hades is indeed the underworld realm of the dead, but it has structure and form which is fitted to its function. Sheol/hades occupies the space formerly filled by the waters of the great deep, or tehom.
We make the connection between tehom, the deep, and sheol/hades through Job:
Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?(Job 38:16-17) KJV
Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
Here job is describing the deep – tehom, the open space within the earth formerly occupied by the waters of the deep, and relating it to the passage from life to death.
It is necessary for the concept of sheol to encompass all parts of the internal structure of the earth that we have identified. Does the Biblical use of the word sheol justify our interpretation of the internal structure of the earth?
In the New Testament the concepts are the same but the Greek words hades– ᾅδῃ and tartarus – ταρταρώσας are used. Hades is a general term used as sheol is, while tartarus is specific. Tartarus is used to refer to a place lower than hades, and you will see this reflected in its usage, except that the usage of hades encompasses that of tartarus.
In summary, the features of the earth’s internal structure which are part of sheol/hades correspond to levels of hell/sheol.
- CRUST – sheol / erets / tebel
- MANTLE – tavek sheol / tachti erets / mowcadah tebel
- GREAT GULF – bad sheol / matsuq erets
- CORE – sheol tachti / mowcadar erets
The midst of hell is a synonym for the earth’s mantle.
Biblical Features of the Mantle
|Abraham’s Bosom||kolpos||Luke 16:22||16|
|Belly of hell||mibbeten sheol||Jonah 2:2||16|
|Bottoms of the mountains||qetseb har||Jonah 2:6||16|
|Chambers of death||chadrei maveth||Proverbs 7:27|
|Foundations of the hills||mowcadar har||Psalms 18:7||17|
|Foundations of the mountains||mowcadar har||Deut. 32:22||17|
|Foundations of the world||mowcadah tebel||Psalms 18:15||17|
|Lower parts of the Earth||tachti erets||Ezekiel 32:24||18|
|Midst of hell||tavek sheol||Ezekiel 32:21||19|
|Nether parts of the Earth||erets tachti||Ezekiel 26:20||18|
|Sides of the pit||yerekah bowr||Ezekiel 32:21||20|
The only remaining feature to be accounted for are the gates of hell, which, as discussed elsewhere, may or may not be a physical location, but they have a spiritual meaning:
- the gates of hell, the passage from physical life to physical death. (Matthew 16:17)
There is another word in the Greek translated hell which is Gehenna – γέενναν. This is conceptually quite different from hades because it is used to refer to the burning of trash in the vale of Hinnom outside Jerusalem.
Matty’s Paradigm is the outgrowth and theoretical foundation of an evangelistic ministry that began with the question: Who wants to attack hell with me? We are told that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. The odd thing is that practically every commentator I have looked at seems to think that this means that the church will withstand all of the assaults of hell. I almost hate to bring it up, but gates don’t attack, they are a defensive structure. If the gates of hell will not prevail, then we need to be attacking the gates of hell, not defending against them.
Is there really an underworld realm of the dead? Consider this:
- the deepest hole is 12 km deep,
- the Lehmann discontinuity is about 220 km deep.