Whitby on Acts ii:27, says: "That Sheol throughout the Old Testament, and Hadees in the Septuagint, answering to it, signify not the place of punishment, or of the souls of bad men only, but the grave only, or the place of death, appears, 1st. From the root of it, Sheol, which signifies to ask, to crave and require. 2d. Because it is the place to which the good as well as the bad go, etc."
We repeat that during all the time that generations following generations of Jews were entertaining the ideas taught in the sixty-four passages, the surrounding heathen believed in a future, endless torment. Their literature is full of it. Says Good in his "Book of Nature":
"It was believed in most countries, that this Hell Hadees, or invisible world, is divided into two very distinct and opposite regions, by a broad and impassable gulf; that the one is a seat of happiness, a paradise, or Elysium, and the other a seat of misery, a
Gehenna, or Tartarus; and that there is a supreme magistrate and an impartial tribunal belonging to the infernal shades, before which the ghosts must appear, and by which they are sentenced to the one or the other, according to the deeds done in the body. Egypt is said to have been the inventress of this important and valuable part of the tradition; and undoubtedly it is to be found in the earliest records of Egyptian history." (It should be observed that Gehenna was not used before Christ, or until 150 A.D. to denote a place of future punishment.)
Dr. Anthon says, "As regards the analogy between the term Hadees and our English word Hell, it may be remarked that the latter, in its primitive signification, perfectly corresponded to the former. For, at first, it denoted only what was secret or concealed; and it is found moreover, with little variation of form, and precisely with the same meaning, in all the Teutonic dialects."
The heathen sages admit that they invented this doctrine.
Strabo says: "The multitude are restrained from vice by the punishments the gods are said to inflict upon offenders, and by those terrors and threatenings which certain dreadful words and monstrous forms imprint upon their minds For it is impossible to govern the crowd of women, and all the common rabble, by philosophical reasoning, and lead them to piety, holiness and virtue—but this must be done by superstition, or the fear of the gods, by means of fables and wonders; for the thunder, the aegis, the trident, the torches (of the furies) the dragons, etc., are all fables, as is also all the ancient theology." Geo. B. i.
Seneca says: "Those things which make the infernal regions terrible, the darkness, the prison, the river of flaming fire, the judgment-seat, etc., are all a fable, with which the poets amuse themselves, and by them agitate us with vain terrors."
Dr. Thayer in his "Origin and History," says" "The process is easily understood. About three hundred and thirty years before Christ, Alexander the Great had subjected to his rule the whole of Western Asia, including Judea, and also the Kingdom of Egypt. Soon after he founded Alexandria, which speedily became a great commercial metropolis, and drew into itself a large multitude of Jews, who were always eager to improve the opportunities of traffic and trade. A few years later, Ptolemy Soter took Jerusalem, and carried off one hundred thousand of them into Egypt. Here, of course, they were in daily contact with the Egyptians and Greeks, and gradually began to adopt their philosophical and religious opinions, or to modify their own in harmony with them."
We must either reject these imported ideas, as heathen inventions, or we must admit that the heathen, centuries before Christ, discovered that of which Moses had no idea. In other words either uninspired men announced the future fate of sinners centuries before inspired men knew anything of it, or the heathen and "evangelical" descriptions of Hell are wholly false.
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