Jefferson Vann – Spoiling the Vineyard

In this series of studies on hell so far, we have examined two Old Testament terms that help explain the biblical warnings about hell, and describe its nature.

We looked at the term, חרם, in the recent article “Set apart for destruction,” and found that all items or souls so dedicated were to be completely destroyed as offerings to God.

We also looked at the term אבד (Abad), the word normally translated ‘perish,’ in the article Perish the thought. We saw that it always refers to death or annihilation. It never means merely being marred and separated.

So far, we have uncovered nothing of the concept of a never-ending place of suffering. Instead, we have seen that the biblical audience would have understood these warnings as threats to their lives, so that if the words were used to describe hell, the listeners would expect hell to be a second death, an ultimate death.

Today I would like to centre our focus on the Hebrew word שחת (shachat), which can have the meaning of mar, or spoil. Could this be where people get the idea that hell is simply going to be suffering, and not ultimate death? As usual, I want to look at how the term is actually used in the Bible.

To continue reading Jefferson Vann’s article, click here.

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