Answering Walter Martins Kingdom of the Cults about Hell

by Peter Salemi

(watch video first)


Walter Martin who is famous for his kingdom of the cults book that labels any organization who does not believe in so called "orthodox" Christianity, he labels a "cult." He sets a side a whole chapter for the 7th day churches of God, especially the old World Wide church of God, and HWA.

One doctrine he deals with is our belief about what they call "Hell." He believes in the pagan concept of hell, of everlasting torment in hell, and says that those who believe that Gahenna is a place where people are "burnt up" and do not exist any longer is not in the Bible.

Here are his basic arguments:

1.There is not Hebrew or Greek word that can be properly translated in context "annihilated" Really!

Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical words says this word Samad (Strong's 8045) says, "to destroy annihilate, exterminate...This word always expresses complete 'destruction' or 'annihilation'" (p.59, emphasis added). Does Mr. Martin just conveniently ignore the evidence? Now the Greek equivalent for this word is "ap ollumi " (Strong's 622) (Greek to Hebrew Dictionary of Septuagint words). This is the same word Jesus used for the destruction of the wicked, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy [ap ollumi] both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28). 

2. You can destroy something material, but something immaterial cannot be reduced to ashes: Here Mr. Martin tells a partial truth, yes spirit beings cannot die as Jesus said they cannot see Luke 20:35-37. But then the twist comes, he says man is spiritual! An immaterial nature beyond the body. Here Mr. Martin introduces his belief of the immortal soul, the Greek dualistic idea of man, that is nowhere in the Bible! He basis his whole belief around this, and that we ignore passages that say that there is consciousness after the death of the body!

Lets examine this:

The book Genesis shows us how man is put together. "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen 2:7). It does not say you have a soul, or God put a soul into you, it says you are a soul! The word is "nephesh" and it means a living creature. Man is a living creature. This word is used for animals as well as a dead body! A dead nephesh (creature).

What about this word "Ruach" that Mr Anckerburg wants us to look up in the Brown Driver and Briggs. It says in that source, "From H7306; wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): - air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y)." This word and the other word “Neshamah” are used interchangeably in the Bible and both have the same meaning, the "breath" of life that God gave man, and also animals (Gen 7:15). Are we to suppose that animals have an immortal soul? Is there anything in the source above that indicates an immortal soul? No!

If there is consciousness beyond the grave then why does David say, "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." (Psalm 146:4). The Bible likens death as sleep see John11 for just one example.

Man has a human spirit. Many passages of Scripture show that there is a "spirit" IN man! (Job 32:8, 18; Zech. 12:1; I Cor. 2:11). This spirit is not the man---it is something that in IN the man. Joined with the physical brain of the man, it forms the human MIND. It imparts to man's brain his unique powers of intellect and personality---the ability to think rationally and make free will decisions. It imparts the ability to learn mathematics, languages or other types of knowledge such as music, art, carpentry, flying. This is the conscious part of man also called the “spirit IN man.” “The spirit is used to represent the seat of insight, feeling and reasoning...This accounts for many uses of the term ‘spirit’ in the Old and New Testaments. ‘Man’s spirit is stirred’ (Ezk 2:2), or troubled (Gen 41:8); is hardened (Deut 2:30). A man being patient in spirit (Ecc 7:8)...ruling one’s spirit (Prov 25:28)...” (Immorality or Resurrection, p.97).

This is not a spirit being as Mr. Martin believes is an immortal soul. This essence is power, like God's holy spirit. The holy spirit is the power and mind of God. But that is eternal, the spirit of man is temporal just like the rest of man. Jesus plainly said that the spirit, the life, the ruach, or psuche (breath) is destroyed in Gahenna. Matthew 10:28. That power in us can be put out just like shutting off a light switch. The source is only temporal not eternal. It functions with the body as James says, "For as the body without the spirit is dead," (James 2:26). They function as one not separate,  and when one goes, so does the other.

Nowhere does the bible say man is immortal. In 1 Timothy 6:15, 16 it says, "Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality..."

And at the second coming of Jesus it says, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinth 15:54). Notice we are temporal and we put on immortality it is not something that you already posses!

3. He speaks about Satan I urge to read our booklet on Satan fate and what really torments the devil for ever, and its not the fire. Man as we have proven is not an immortal soul.

4. He quotes 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 that says, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Notice first that those who are dead in Christ  ARE ASLEEP! Does it say anything about their spiritual natures in verse 14? No Mr. Martin is just adding his belief of the immortality of the soul into the scriptures!

Verse 14 the apostle Paul is describing the dead in Christ who are asleep in their graves and that Jesus will bring them with him, and verses 15-17 describes how he will do it by a resurrection!

5. He quotes Philippians 1:21 that says, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." We do a full study on this is in our booklet is there life after death and show from the Bible that it is not Paul that profits but Jesus and the expansion of the Gospel, that is the context, its got nothing to do with dying and going to heaven.

6. Everlasting Gahenna read out booklet on Hell for a full study on this subject and you will see how Mr. Martin is in error.

Our booklets for a full study

Is there really a hell fire

Satan's Fate

Is there Life after Death