The Way It Happened

Revelation 20:14, The Death of Hell, Part I of II

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

//Few Christians are aware of this verse, and fewer still know what to make of it. John’s famous apocalypse, the book of Revelation, promises here that hell will one day be destroyed. All of the evil people down there will be emptied out and tossed into a flaming lake of fire, and then hell itself will be tossed into the flames.

Wait. Isn’t the lake of fire down in hell to start with? How can hell be disposed of in the lake?

Answer: This isn’t hell that Revelation is talking about, it’s Sheol, the underworld where the souls of men descend after death to await punishment or reward. And neither is the lake of fire part of hell. It’s just a place to dispose of evil fellows, to kill them a second time. “This is the second death,” today’s verse explains, after they have been brought up from Sheol.

It’s absolutely amazing to me what people think Revelation says. There’s no hell in that book at all. More about this topic tomorrow.


  1. I know this is picky, but Rev. 14:20 is [New Living Translation (©2007)]
    The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.

    I think you mean Rev. 20:14; you have transposed the numbers.

    Before I can comment – tell me more about why this means Sheol, and how you reconcile this with Rev. 21.8.

    I am not arguing; I find this interpretation fascinating.

  2. You’re right, I transposed them! I fixed the title; thanks for pointing that out!

    The word used is neither Hell nor Sheol, of course; it’s Hades, the Greek underworld. Hades, by my research, resembles the Jewish Sheol much more than it does today’s Hell. For one thing, Sheol is emptied of souls in Revelation, so we know it’s not a place of punishment, but a holding area. Here’s the full passage:

    And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    What we see, then, is that the realm of the dead is emptied; evil men are brought up and disposed of in the lake of fire. Then, Sheol itself is discarded.

    This matches 21:8 perfectly, where it is explained that these evil men are dying a second time.

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