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Afterlife; Biblical themes

Descriptions of Hell's other torments. A Catholic
publication about Hell. Hells in other religions.

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Other torments in Hell:

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In spite of the flames, Hell is totally dark:
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Matthew 8:12: "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness..."

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Matthew 22:13: "...take him away, and cast him into outer darkness."

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Matthew 25:30: "And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness..."

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Torturing prisoners with sulphur: 
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Revelation 14:10: "...and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb." The "Lamb" here refers to Jesus. It is not clear whether Jesus and the angels are present as torturers or merely as observers.

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Worms -- apparently flesh-eating:
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Mark 9:44-48: "Where their worm dieth not..." The immortal worm is repeated three times in this passage for emphasis. One point of interest is that the author of Mark refers to "their worm" not to "the worms." That seems to imply that each prisoner has his own worm.

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Extreme thirst:
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Luke 16:23-26: "And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."

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Prisoner's reaction to the torment:
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Matthew 8:12: "...there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

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Matthew 13:42: "... there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

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Matthew 13:50: " there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

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Matthew 25:30: "... there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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The punishment in Hell lasts forever:

The torment is apparently for all eternity; it never ceases:

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Matthew 25:46: " And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.

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Mark 9:43-48: "...it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched" The unquenched fire is mentioned three times in this passage for emphasis.

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Revelation 14:11: " And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night...

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A Roman Catholic children's booklet on Hell:

Various faith groups within Christianity embellished the descriptions of Hell that appear in the Bible. Starting in the mid-1850's the Roman Catholic church distributed a fear-based booklet written by Fr. John Furniss called "The sight of Hell." It was intended to educate and motivate children in Ireland and England. William Meagher, the Vicar General in Dublin wrote an approbation, saying that he found that the booklet had "a great deal to charm, instruct, and edify our youthful classes, for whose benefit it has been written." Some of Fr. Furniss' thoughts are listed below. 1 Remember that this booklet was written for children!. Today, many would regard exposing this material to children would be a form of child abuse:
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Hell is located in the center of the earth, 4,000 miles from the surface.

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"Millions on millions are shut up there. They are tormented with the most frightful pains. These dreadful pains make them furious."

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There is "an upper hell, and a middle hell, and a lower hell." Punishments became progressively more horrendous as one descends.

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"...torrents, not of rain, but of fire and brimstone, are rained down."

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"...hell is filled with sulfur and smoke... they are stifled and choked each moment..."

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"There is in hell a sound like that of many waters...It is the sound of oceans of tears running from the countless millions of eyes. They cry night and day."

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"...the devil is king of hell, he is also judge."

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"The prison of each soul is different, according to its sins."

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"The [devil's] first stroke will make your body as bad as the body of Job, covered from head to foot with sores and ulcers. The second stroke will make your body twice as bad as the body of Job...How then will your body be after the devil has been striking it every moment for a hundred million of years without stopping?"

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"The sinner lies chained down on a bed of red-hot blazing fire!"

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"How will you feel in hell, when millions of...[flesh-eating worms] make their dwelling-place in your mouth, and ears, and eyes, and creep all over you, and sting you with their deadly stings through all eternity."

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Various inmates, little boys, girls, teenagers, and adults:
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are forced to wear a dress made of fire, 

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are trapped in a burning coffin,

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are forced to stand on a red-hot floor,

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suffer from blood boiling in their veins, or

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are trapped in a red-hot oven.

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"A mortal sin of one moment deserves the everlasting pains of hell." That is, eternal torture in Hell is a reasonable punishment for a single brief indiscretion lasting only a brief instant on earth.

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Versions of Hell in non-Christian religions:

Shelby Hoebee, an undergraduate at Arizona State University studying psychology and medicinal biochemistry, described concepts of Hell taught by non-Christian religions. Some are:

  • Niflheim is described in ancient Norse and Germanic religions. It is a cold world of ice and snow, ruled by Hel -- from which the English word "Hell" was derived. A giant snake feeds on the dead. People in Niflheim are in constant pain.

  • Tuonela is a gloomier version of Earth found in pre-Christian Finland. Unlike most places for the dead, this one allows visitors.

  • The House of Lies is the Zoroastrian version of Hell. After death, each person is brought to the Chinavat Bridge where they are judged on the basis of their good and bad works while on earth. If they fail the test, the bridge turns, dumping the person into a demon-filled pit. Here, they are continually tortured.

  • Duat is a Egyptian land of the dead ruled by Osiris, the god of the dead. The mass of each person's heart was compared to that of a feather. Those with heavy hearts received punishments from serpents and devouring demons.

  • Gehanna was originally the name of a garbage dump outside Jerusalem which was continuously burning. Followers of the god Moloch were said to perform human sacrifices there. It became interpreted as the Hebrew version of Hell where evil people were punished for their sins.

  • Hades is described in ancient Greek and Roman religions where the dead were housed. Tartaros is a deep black dungeon that is part of Hades, and is full of sinners who being tortured.

  • Naraka is temporary version of Hell taught by some branches of Buddhisn, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. Here, the dead pay for their sins during life. After they are sufficiently punished -- perhaps after billions of years -- they are reborn.

  • Diyu is a version of Hell conceived by traditional Chinese culture. It is composed of multiple levels with such descriptive names as: the Chamber of Tongue Ripping, the Chamber of Scissors, the Chamber of Steamer, the Cauldron of Boiling Oil, the Chamber of Dismemberment, the Mountain of Flames, etc. 2

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References used:

  1. Fr. John Furniss, "The sight of Hell," at http://home.att.net/
  2. Shelby Hoebee, "10 fascination descriptions of Hell," 2013-SEP-04, at: http://listverse.com/

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Site navigation:

Home page > Christianity > Themes & Topics > here

Home page >  Christianity > Christian beliefs > Afterlife > here

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Copyright 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Origional posting: 2014-FEB-03
Latest update: 2014-FEB-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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