Is Hell the Grave?

Written by Danny D. Bunn B.A., (Born-Again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ)

Now I want to use an illustration in a bible to show that hell is hell and the grave is the grave and they will never meet unless you want to say that death exists in both. A dead body in the grave and a dead spirit person in hell. Let's talk about Jonah.

I am even going to use the New World Translation since it can still be used to prove a point. Remember the Old Testament is full of types and figures to represent a reality. Jonah is a very good one to show what hell is going to be like. Going to Jonah, I am going to give you a little run down on what has been happening before I read the verses that I am going to discuss.

Jonah was called of God to go to Nineveh to tell the people living there that God was going to destroy their city because of the wickedness there but Jonah chose not to obey God and ran the other way. He got a ride on a ship going to Tarshish, God causes a big wind and tempest upon the sea. The crew members are told by Jonah that this is happening because he disobeyed God and then he proceeds to tell them to throw him overboard and the winds will cease. So they throw him out of the ship. God stops the winds and causes a big fish to swallow Jonah whole. Now it is time for the verses that I am going to read and discuss a little bit with you. Reading Jonah 2:1-3, "Then Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God from the inward parts of the fish and said: 'Out of my distress I called out to Jehovah, and he proceeded to answer me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried for help. You heard my voice. When you threw me [to] the depths, into the heart of the open sea, Then a very river encircled me. All your breakers and waves- over me they passed on."

The Jehovah's Witnesses use these verses to try to prove that hell is just the grave. And you wouldn't believe some of the things that they say to try to prove that's what these verses are saying. Remember what I told you earlier we have all kinds of types and figures in the Old Testament to help us to picture the reality. So by reading Jonah let's try to determine if what Jonah was experiencing reveals more of what hell is going to be like or the grave.

I see by reading this that Jonah was a pretty miserable guy, he had weeds all over him, he was in distress, he was crying out to God for help. Surely in the fish's stomach, there had to have been hot gases, it had to be dark. Also just think, he was out in the middle of the sea and they throw him in the water. It must have looked hopeless to him. This is a very clear picture of what hell is going to be like. It lines up with so many things that Jesus said in the story regarding hell in Luke 16:19-31, reading:

"19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 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.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

I see from this that the rich man died and he wakes up in hell, he has eyes to see, ears to hear, he has a voice, his tongue is hot and his throat is parched. And added to all of this, he has a memory. He is alive but dead. I plan on dealing with the death part. Jehovah's Witnesses don't seem to understand death, destruction, and the like in the Bible. They believe that death means cessation of being. But does it? We'll let the Bible answer that question. What is also strange to me is that Jehovah's Witnesses believe that you don't exist anymore once you die so you don't experience anything or remember anything according to them so once again what Jonah went through surely can't illustrate the grave according to their own doctrine. So surely Jonah saying that he was in Sheol can't illustrate the grave, it has to typify hell as the KJV, the true word of God shows. I will be showing that hell is hell and the grave is the grave and they are two totally different places.
I used the New World Translation even though it is not the word of God just to show you that their own book condemns them.