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The devil and hell


justdreamin

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Does anyone have any thought or rationale on why the terms devil, satan etc. and the place "hell" (as a punishment) is almost completely absent from the Old Testament? There is quite a bit about satan and hell in Moses (PoGP), but it is presented in much the same way as in the New Testament. This came up in a meandering discussion at church and many people said that, in fact, hell is the same in the Old T as it is in the New T, but I can't really even find a mention of it in the first 5 books of the OT. At some point after that, hell does indeed seem undesirable, but is not a punishment per se. It's the same with the devil. He doesn't seem to be of much consequence in the OT until around Job.

The Book of Mormon, obviously, has quite a bit of information about hell and satan. I understand that much of it is written having an understanding of Christ, but much is written(I think) having only the ancient understanding of those from the OT era. It seems to me that the things that are written have the more recent flavor of hell and satan.

If anyone has ever thought about this, or better, has an explaination, could you please share it.

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Does anyone have any thought or rationale on why the terms devil, satan etc. and the place "hell" (as a punishment) is almost completely absent from the Old Testament? There is quite a bit about satan and hell in Moses (PoGP), but it is presented in much the same way as in the New Testament. This came up in a meandering discussion at church and many people said that, in fact, hell is the same in the Old T as it is in the New T, but I can't really even find a mention of it in the first 5 books of the OT. At some point after that, hell does indeed seem undesirable, but is not a punishment per se. It's the same with the devil. He doesn't seem to be of much consequence in the OT until around Job.

The Book of Mormon, obviously, has quite a bit of information about hell and satan. I understand that much of it is written having an understanding of Christ, but much is written(I think) having only the ancient understanding of those from the OT era. It seems to me that the things that are written have the more recent flavor of hell and satan.

If anyone has ever thought about this, or better, has an explaination, could you please share it.

Maybe it's because under the law, judgement was usually given in this life.

For those who broke the law, it was hell on earth. :P

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Usually the term 'the grave' is the word in the KJV OT which usually translates the hebrew sheol which is one of the words in the NT translated as 'hell'.

1 Enoch, on the other hand, has a lot more about hell/spirit prison / the abyss as a place for punishment (especially for the rebellious angels)

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During most of Old Testament times, people believed, and prophets taught, that God caused good and evil. The concept of Satan did not exist. People sinned by their own free will and consequently God caused evil to punish them. God often plays the role of the adversary. He also delegated the role of the adversary to his spirits. These spirits come from Godâ??s presence and entice (persuade and deceive) under the direction of God. In the story of Job, God carries on a cordial conversation with an adversary and makes a bet with him. The adversary acted with Godâ??s permission. Also note that Job did not blame Satan; he attributed his trials to God. This adversary was unlike the Satan of the New Testament, who is impious, disobedient, and contrary to God.

â?¢ I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

â?¢ Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: (2 Kings 22:16)

â?¢ Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? (Amos 3:6)

â?¢ Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. (1 Kings 22:23)

â?¢ Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. (2 Sam 12:11-12)

â?¢ He [God] turned their heart to hate his people. (Psalms 105:25)

â?¢ And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. (Ezekiel 14:9)

Moses did not warn the Hebrews about Satan. This is no passage in the O.T. that states or implies that Satan was Lucifer, or a fallen angel, or the leader of the fallen angels (as some believe today), or the leader of evil spirits.

There are very few scriptures in the Old Testament that refer to Satan. In Zech 3:1 the Hebrew word can more correctly be translated as â??accuserâ?. The same is true for Psalms 109:6. The Hebrew word simply means an adversary.

What about Lucifer? Isaiah 14:12 is often quoted as evidence for the existence of Lucifer. Reading the entire chapter, it is clear that these passages refer to a fallen king of Babylon. Regardless of what the name Lucifer has come to mean, the text in Isaiah 14 is about a fallen king of Babylon.

Itâ??s interesting that the Latin name â??Luciferâ? would be in a Hebrew manuscript. The original Hebrew words simply mean â??Day star, son of the Dawn.â? So Lucifer is simply the ancient Latin name for the morning star (the planet Venus). Early Christian translators used the Latin name Lucifer which is quite correct given the Hebrew meaning. It was only much later that Christians started to equate â??Luciferâ? with â??Satanâ?.

The point is that early Bible writers did not believe in or teach about the concept of Satan. The problem is that Christians generally believe that Satan is a being who has always existed and they use the Isaiah scripture as proof.

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Thank you for all the comments. I enjoyed the preliminary read through of the paper by Margaret Barker, and will be more thorough as time permits, as well as the extended comment from Kiviuq and the link from Luigi.

How did the LDS morph into not believing in the hell of fire and brimstone? Is this change entirely attributed to Joseph's revelation on the Kingdoms of Heaven? I know that we still teach that Satan is the adversary and would like nothing more than to drag our souls to hell, but I also seem to recall Joseph saying that we would flee this life if we knew the glory of the Telestial Kingdom.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge.

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How did the LDS morph into not believing in the hell of fire and brimstone? Is this change entirely attributed to Joseph's revelation on the Kingdoms of Heaven? I know that we still teach that Satan is the adversary and would like nothing more than to drag our souls to hell, but I also seem to recall Joseph saying that we would flee this life if we knew the glory of the Telestial Kingdom.

It's hard to say all of what may have influenced him but it's clear that a God who punishes very few people for eternity (outer darkness sons of perdition in Mormonism) and that gives varying degrees of reward for various degrees of compliance is much more appealing by our more modern ideals of justice and tolerance than a God who just has a 'pass' or 'fail' system for life. Religions who have locked into scriptures that were written in ancient times-when punishments without varying degrees were more the norm (such as having the death penalty for a wide array of offenses) with a God who seems to reflect that sense of justice-have a difficult time using the scriptures to formulate such a belief system as they don't accept the canon can be expanded by revelation.

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If anyone has ever thought about this, or better, has an explaination, could you please share it.

Perhaps it is because the earliest books were written by Moses to preserve teachings so basic that they would not be rejected as severely as the original teachings had been. Perhaps this was done to preserve just enough information to allow the "schoolmaster" law to be effective in keeping a "national" belief in a Messiah sufficiently long enough to bring forth the Gospel in the Meridian of Time and have the desired dynamics and impact during that generation. After all, he "would God that all the Lordâ??s people were prophets (Numbers 11:29)" and may have had the attitude that anyone could/should learn these things by revelation if they were faithful in keeping the law. It seems that prophets after Moses and until the time of Christ may have had this objective as well, and those who wrote more about the devil, hell, heaven, etc. may have anticipated that their teachings would be appreciated, followed and preserved by a specific group of faithful followers/priesthood, again sufficient to produce the desired effects in the world the mortal Jesus worked in. It could also be that the older the scripture, the greater the number of details were compromised due to a variety of reasons.

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Thank you for all the comments. I enjoyed the preliminary read through of the paper by Margaret Barker, and will be more thorough as time permits, as well as the extended comment from Kiviuq and the link from Luigi.

How did the LDS morph into not believing in the hell of fire and brimstone? Is this change entirely attributed to Joseph's revelation on the Kingdoms of Heaven? I know that we still teach that Satan is the adversary and would like nothing more than to drag our souls to hell, but I also seem to recall Joseph saying that we would flee this life if we knew the glory of the Telestial Kingdom.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge.

Regarding fire and brimestone in LDS belief, Mosiah 3:25 explains that the torment of the guilty is "as a lake of fire and brimstone," (also, Alma 12:17). In both of these key instances, the imagery is clearly metaphorical, clearly signaled by the use of "as". Alma 36 is very clear on this point.

Regarding "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7), Avraham Gileadi argued that "The antithetical statement, 'I make peace and create evil" need not cause any theological controversy of whether God created evil. "Peace," in ancient Near Eastern terminology, means covenant or covenant blessing, the Hebrew term "peace" (salom) possessing the additional meanings of "well-being" and "completeness." Within the same context, the Hebrew term "evil" (ra ; ra a) signifies covenant curse, and entirely lacks its english equivalent's connotation of an absolute, an abstract idea created in the minds of sophists and philosophers. So also, the exortation to "do good" (see Isaiah 1:17), in the language of Isaiah, is an exhortation to keep covenant with the Lord, the rewards of such righteousness taking the form of covenant blessing, namely, eating the "good" of the land... Failure to "do good," on the other hand, brings "evil," or covenant curse, namely, the people's destruction... the Hebrew term "evil" possessing the additional meanings of "disaster," "calamity," and "misfortune." (from "Avraham Gileadi, "Isaiah: Four Latter-day Keys to an Ancient Book" in Monte Nyman, ed. Isaiah and the Prophets (Religious Studies Center, Provo, 1984) 123-124.

It is also important to remember, in reconstructing the beliefs of Ancient Israel, that the Hebrew Bible is not the sole source of information, and that as a source, that particular bit of information had editors, just as it continues to have interpreters. The Enoch literature is a window into other sources of information and different editors. Margaret Barker has shown how as a context 1 Enoch casts light onto Isaiah. She shows how Isaiah presupposes the same stories of the fallen angels that appear in the Enoch texts. The sins that Isaiah condemns are not those of the 10 commandments, but the sins of the fallen angels. Isaiah 1:2 refers to rebellious sons, and Isaiah 1:31 refers to a "strong one" which happens to be the meaning of the name Azazael that appears in the Enoch texts, and in the accounts of the Day of Atonement scapegoat.

Plus, regarding the beliefs of ancient Israel and life after death, remember that both Justin Martyr and Iraneus claimed that the Jews had cut a prophecy of Jeremiah out of the Bible, which said that "The Lord God remembered His dead people of Israel who lay in the graves: and he descended to preach unto them His own Salvation." (Dialog with Trypho, 72). Barker's work on Temple Theology (www.margaretbarker.com) has shown how much that was considered Christian innovation has roots in the Hebrew temple. I personally think it very likely that some of the ancient Hebrews had a belief in an after life. Near Death experiences, such as Alma 36, provide valuable information for those who accept them.

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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Thany you again for your collective input. I find this subject especially facinating inlight of Christianity in general using hell as a threat against disobedience.

Edit: I mean hell as the actual place where the devil lives, amid the fire and brimstone, as opposed to hell as a troubled state of mind.

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The Jews believed that all who died (righteous and unrighteous) enteed the "abode of the dead". It was just a place where those who had died went. This is called Sheol. After Christ died, he went to this place and preached to the people there. Those who believed went to heaven. Those who denied he gospel were not raised to heaven. Sheol does not exist now. It was a temporary state needed before Christ opened heaven for us. Here is what wikipedia says about Sheol...

Sheol (pronounced "Sheh-ole")[1], in Hebrew שאול (Sh'ol), is the "abode of the dead", the "underworld", or "pit".[2] Sheol is the common destination of both the righteous and the unrighteous dead, as recounted in Ecclesiastes and Job.

Sheol is sometimes compared to Hades, the gloomy, twilight afterlife of Greek mythology. The word "hades" was in fact substituted for "sheol" when the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek (see Septuagint). The New Testament (written in Greek) also uses "hades" to refer to the abode of the dead.

By the second century BC, Jews who accepted the Oral Torah had come to believe that those in sheol awaited the resurrection either in comfort (in the bosom of Abraham) or in torment. This belief is reflected in Jesus' story of Lazarus and Dives. At that time Jews who rejected the Oral Torah believed that Sheol meant simply the grave.

Anglicans, who do not share a concept of "hades" with the Eastern Orthodox, have traditionally translated "sheol" (and "hades") as "hell" (for example in the King James Version). However, to avoid confusion of what are separate concepts in the Bible, modern English versions of the Bible tend either to transliterate the word sheol or to use an alternative term such as the "grave" (e.g. the NIV). Roman Catholics generally translate "sheol" as "death."[

Does anyone have any thought or rationale on why the terms devil, satan etc. and the place "hell" (as a punishment) is almost completely absent from the Old Testament? There is quite a bit about satan and hell in Moses (PoGP), but it is presented in much the same way as in the New Testament. This came up in a meandering discussion at church and many people said that, in fact, hell is the same in the Old T as it is in the New T, but I can't really even find a mention of it in the first 5 books of the OT. At some point after that, hell does indeed seem undesirable, but is not a punishment per se. It's the same with the devil. He doesn't seem to be of much consequence in the OT until around Job.

The Book of Mormon, obviously, has quite a bit of information about hell and satan. I understand that much of it is written having an understanding of Christ, but much is written(I think) having only the ancient understanding of those from the OT era. It seems to me that the things that are written have the more recent flavor of hell and satan.

If anyone has ever thought about this, or better, has an explaination, could you please share it.

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It was a temporary state needed before Christ opened heaven for us.

LDS, of course, disagree with this, and understand this realm as being the residence of the dead prior to their Resurrection, and where many dead who have not had the gospel preached to them await the opportunity to be taught.

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