You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Perry Stone is the best-selling author of numerous books, including The Meal That Heals and Breaking the Jewish Code. He directs one of America’s fastest-growing ministries, The Voice of Evangelism. An international evangelist, Perry holds a BA in theology from Covenant Life Christian College. He lives in Cleveland, Tennessee, with his wife of twenty-seven years, Pam, and their two children.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Charisma House; Original edition (September 7, 2010)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
There are three worlds, one seen and two unseen. Yet the unseen realm is as real and tangible as the seen. These three dimensions are written about in the following passage:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. --Philippians 2:10, kjv
“Things in earth” are living human beings. “Things in heaven” include God, Christ, and the angels. “Things under the earth” include chambers where fallen angels are bound in chains of darkness while waiting for the day of their judgment (2 Pet. 2:4). According to the New Testament, there are also the souls and spirits of departed men and women, some being reserved in a special region in heaven and others in chambers located under the earth.
The location of those now residing in heaven is identified by the apostle Paul as a heavenly paradise, alluded to in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. The opposite holding chambers, known as the land of the departed unrighteous souls, are located under the earth and include a series of large caverns and chambers, deep under the crust of the mountains, where the unrighteous souls and spirits are taken immediately following their physical death on Earth. (See Numbers 16:30-33; Luke 16:23-31.)
The Creation of the Underworld
Moses recorded that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). Prior to when God formed Adam in the Garden of Eden, angels preexisted with God and were watching the activities of Creation as the Almighty spoke it into existence (Job 38:4-7). Some scholars point out that in Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word for “created,” which is bara« (baw-raw«), indicated the heavens and Earth were formed in a perfected condition.1
However, in Genesis 1:2 we read that the “earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” Darkness is on the “deep.” The Hebrew word for “deep” is tehom and alludes to the subterranean chambers under the earth where the waters are stored.2 This apparent chaos seen in verse 2 has been identified among some biblical students as the time of the fall of Satan and his angels from heaven (Isa. 14:12-15; Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:7-10), thus causing a chaotic event to occur on the earth.
Thus, between the mysterious and unknown “ages past” of Genesis
1:1 and the fall of Satan in Genesis 1:2, the expulsion of Satan from heaven to Earth struck the planet like lightning (Luke 10:18), and, as some suggest, this was the time when God created a place called hell in the heart of the earth. It is clear that hell was never created for man but originally was intended only for Satan and his rebellious angels. We read in Matthew 25:41:
Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
While the details of the expulsion of Satan from heaven and the creation of hell remain somewhat of a mystery, the waters covering the earth in Genesis 1:2 are believed by some to be the waters cooling the planet down after chamber after chamber of hell had been formed in the center of the earth. Oddly, there are scientists who believe the earth was at one time a ball of fire that eventually cooled (with water) and formed the planet we now dwell on. The difference between what I am sharing and the scientific “slow-evolving planet theory” of the earth is the time element. Scientists believe the formation process took billions of years. However, although in ages past the original Creation of Genesis 1 may have occurred millions of years ago, the time frame recorded from Genesis 3:3 onward--of God creating the light, plants, and man-- was slightly more than six thousand years ago according to traditional theology. Whether hell was prepared before the fall of Satan (Gen 1:1) or afterward (Gen 1:2), Scripture and science agree on these facts: there are different levels under the earth, and the center of the earth is fire.
The Underground Chambers
Throughout the Bible there are five different words used to identify the area I call the underworld: These words are:
Sheol--an Old Testament Hebrew word
Hades--a New Testament Greek word
Gehenna--a New Testament Greek word
Tartaroo--a New Testament Greek word
Abyss--a New Testament Greek word
The word Sheol is used sixty-five times in the Old Testament. It is translated as “hell” thirty-one times in the Bible, thirty-one times as “grave,” and three times as “pit.” The word Hades is translated as “hell” ten times in the New Testament. It is also found in 1 Corinthians 15:55, where the English word is grave. The only exception is Revelation 6:8. In that passage the pale horse rider is Death, and hell (Hades) follows him.
By definition the word Hades is “the region of departed spirits of the
lost (but including the blessed dead in periods preceding the ascension of Christ).”3 The early church fathers commented on Hades. One Ante-Nicene father commented:
This is the torment compartment of Sheol-Hades where wicked souls have always gone and will always go until the end of the Millennium. . . . Hades is a place in the created system, rude, a locality beneath the earth, in which the light of the world does not shine; and as the sun does not shine in this locality, there must necessarily be perpetual darkness there.4
The third word, tartaroo, is a Greek word translated as “hell” and found in only one place:
For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment . . . --2 Peter 2:4
Tartarus was considered both a spirit or a deity in Greek mythology and the place of a chamber lower than Hades in which the most wicked spirits were confined. It was believed to be the first place created in the regions of the underworld, as angels fell into sin ages before Adam was created and sinned. Peter reveals that this is the chamber of the fallen angels.
Just as Satan will be cast into the abyss in the future and have a seal placed over the pit preventing his escape for one thousand years (Rev. 20:3), so those angels who were in revolt against God during the fall of Lucifer and those who corrupted themselves in the days of Noah by producing the offspring of giants (Gen. 6:4) are now chained in pits of darkness in the lowest parts of the earth. There is no indication that human souls are in this region, but only fallen angels. Jude wrote:
And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
The next word revealing another chamber under the earth is the Greek word abussos, which is translated in English as the word abyss. This word is found nine times in the New Testament and is translated in the Book of Revelation as “bottomless pit” (Rev. 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3). This word alludes to an unspecified area under the earth that is a huge void, an empty cavity that cannot be measured. This place was known to the evil spirit Christ encountered during His ministry. On one occasion, Christ expelled a large host of demons from a man, and the chief evil spirit requested not to be confined in the “deep” (Luke 8:31, kjv). The King James Version says “deep,” but the Greek word is abussos, or the abyss. Thus, as far back as almost two thousand years ago, the world of fallen and evil spirits under Satan's authority was fully aware of their final doom--the abyss.
The spirit world knows the Scriptures, as evidenced during Christ's temptation when Satan quoted from Psalm 91. (Compare Psalm 91:11-12 with Matthew 4:6.) The prophet Isaiah predicted that Lucifer would one day “be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isa. 14:15, kjv). In Christ's time, the evil spirits He encountered knew that their final doom would be confinement in a “pit.” Perhaps after seeing Christ, they believed the time of their destruction had arrived!
In the Hebrew text, when alluding to the underground chambers the word deep (tehom) is considered the “primeval sea.” In the Septuagint (the Old Testament translated from Hebrew to Greek), the word abyss is used in the place of tehom. Thus, the word tehom is linked to the sea in Job 28:14 and to the depths of the earth in Psalm 71:20. In the Apocalypse, John reveals that the evil entity that will one day become the Antichrist of Bible prophecy (identified by John as the “beast”) will be possessed and controlled by a spirit that will arise out of the abyss:
The beast that you saw [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is going to come up out of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and proceed to go to perdition.
--Revelation 17:8, amp
The Area of Ge-Hinnom
The final word found in the New Testament that is translated as “hell” is the Greek word geenna, transliterated in English as “Gehenna.” The Greek word geenna is found twelve times in the Greek New Testament and is translated eleven times in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) as “hell.” The word itself, however, has a more detailed historical and broader meaning than “just a Greek word for 'hell.'”
First, there is an area of Jerusalem that historically and biblically is named Ge-Hinnom. There is today a very deep ravine and valley outside of the southwestern walls of the old city of Jerusalem, known in the Old Testament as the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom, called in the early times Tophet.
For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he
hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood;
the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.
--Isaiah 30:33, kjv
In early Israel the valley served as a border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (Josh. 15:8; 18:16). In the days of the Canaanites the area later was called Ge-Hinnom, or the Valley of the sons of Hinnom. The early inhabitants worshiped an idol called Molech. This man-made god was originally an Ammonite god that sat on a brass pedestal and appeared as a man from the waist down and a calf from the waist up. Those who worshiped Molech would pass their children through the fires (2 Chron. 33:6).
Jeremiah spoke of this dreadful act in Jeremiah 7:31:
And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart.
Rashi, a famous twelfth-century rabbi, penned a commentary on Jeremiah 7:31:
Tophet is Molech, which was made of brass, and they heated him from his lower parts; and his hands being stretched out, and made hot, they put the child between his hands, and it was burnt, when it vehemently cried out, the priests beat a drum, that the father might not hear the voice of his son, and his heart might not be moved.5
Thus, from the earliest times, the Valley of Hinnom became linked with idol worship, fire, and the passing of the children through the fires of Molech.
In the New Testament, the area of Hinnom was located outside of one of Jerusalem's main gates, the Dung Gate. Having been to Jerusalem more than thirty times and having stood in the Valley of Hinnom, I am aware of a piece of fascinating history linked to the area. In the time of Christ, the valley was actually the garbage dump of the city. It was also a place where the carcasses of dead animals were burned. The area was a very deep gorge and had slick, high rock walls on either side of the valley that went from the deep gorge up to the top of the hills. A fire continually burned in the valley, accompanied by the normal odors that follow burning trash.
When Christ alluded to hell in the New Testament, He used the Greek word geenna and was able to present a visual imagery to His listeners, who were very familiar with the garbage at Gehenna.
There are two palm-trees in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, between which a smoke arises: and this is that we learn, “The palms of the mountain are fit for iron.” And, “This is the door of Gehenna.”6
Christ often used visible objects to illustrate spiritual truths. He spoke of sheep and goats, using these two animals as an analogy for the righteous and the unrighteous. The same is true with the wheat and tares. These natural grains, which were common in Israel, are used as imagery to describe the children of the world (the tares) and the children of the kingdom (the wheat). (See Matthew 13:24-38.)
Skeptics teach that because Christ used the word geenna for hell and because this place was located in Jerusalem, hell does not exist and was only a valley in Jerusalem. This theory is like saying that Christ spoke of Jerusalem, and because Jerusalem was an actual city in His time, then the New Jerusalem mentioned in Revelation 21 and 22 is an allegory and does not really exist in heaven. When speaking of hell, Christ used this word to paint a clear image in the minds of His listeners, who were familiar with the deep pits, the continual fires burning, and the smoke that rose from the area--comparing it to the actual underworld of departed souls.
Ge-Hinnom and the Death of Judas
One of Christ's original twelve apostles was Judas Iscariot (Matt. 26:14). Judas identified Jesus by a kiss (v. 49) and betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 27:3). Judas later regretted his actions, but he repented to himself and not to God (v. 3). After throwing the silver money on the temple floor, Judas went out and hung himself on a tree (v. 5). Later, when the apostles were replacing Judas, Peter stated: “Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out” (Acts 1:18). Critical scholars say this is a contradiction: one statement says Judas hung himself, and the other says he fell headlong. As always, there is a simple explanation to these complex theological debates.
I have stood in the area numerous times and even visited a monastery that sits on the top of the hill overlooking the Valley of Hinnom. On top of the hill there are numerous trees whose branches reach out over the cliffs to the valley below. It becomes apparent that Judas took a rope and hung himself by jumping off the cliff, with his body dangling from the tree branch. At some point, the branch snapped, and the body of Judas plummeted below, dashing upon the jagged rocks that protrude along the cliff walls and landing on rocks at the bottom of the valley. Thus there is no contradiction. He hung himself first, and after the branch broke, his body fell. The impact caused the results mentioned in Acts
1:18. Concerning Judas, Peter wrote:
To take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. --Acts 1:25
Judas was a part of the apostolic ministry and fell into sin when “Satan entered him” (John 13:27). After his death, Peter said he went “to his own place.” The word place in Greek is topos and alludes to a certain location. It can allude to a place (room) that a person occupies (Luke 14:9-10). Some scholars suggest that this phrase “his own place” alludes to a special room in hell where Judas was taken for betraying Christ. Christ had said that for the person betraying him, “It would have been good for that man if he had never been born” (Mark 14:21).
In summarizing the life and death of Judas:
He was chosen as one of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:1-4).
He is called a “bishop” based on a prophecy in Psalms (Ps. 109:4-8; Acts 1:20).
He was given spiritual authority over demons and disease (Matt. 10:1).
He was appointed the treasurer of the ministry (John 12:6).
He was called a thief before he ever betrayed Christ
He eventually sold out his ministry for money (Matt. 26:15).
He was called a “devil” by Christ (John 6:70).
He allowed Satan to enter his heart at the final supper
He betrayed Christ with a kiss and gave Him over to the soldiers (Matt. 26:48).
He realized his sins but repented to himself and not to
God (Matt. 27:3).
He went out and took his life (Acts 1:18).
His soul and spirit were taken to their own location under the earth (Acts 1:25).
Blood Money for a Graveyard
Since the thirty pieces of silver was money used to betray an innocent man and shed innocent blood, a curse was placed upon anyone who shed innocent blood. Since Christ's blood was shed as a result of Judas's action, the money could not be returned to the coffers in the temple. It was used to purchase a field in which to bury strangers who died in Jerusalem. The field, called Aceldama, meaning the “field of blood,” was purchased in the valley where the lifeless corpse of Judas was found. While standing in the area of Aceldama in Jerusalem, I realized that this field is located on the edge of what was known as the Valley of Hinnom, or Ge-Hinnom. Judas literally took his life on the edge of what was labeled as hell in his time!
Christ used the word Gehenna to describe hell. There are various historical and Jewish commentaries that give their insights and opinions on the subject of hell. Among the Jews there are seven names of seven different divisions of Gehenna and a belief that the entrances to this underworld are both in the sea and also on the dry land. According to Josephus, the Essenes described Gehenna as a cold and dark cave.7
This area throughout history was a place to bury the dead, as indicated by Jeremiah:
They will bury in Tophet until there is no room. --Jeremiah 7:32
These words--Hades, Sheol, Tartarus, Gehenna, and the abyss--are the five main words used to identify the underground world of fallen angels, certain evil spirits, and the souls of the unrighteous.
The Location of the Underground Chambers
After spending hundreds of hours in researching the possible locations and entrances to this rather mysterious underground world, there are three important facts that emerge.
First, these chambers and caverns are all located underneath the earth's surface. In the Scriptures heaven is always identified as being up, and hell is always referred to as being down or beneath (Num. 16:30; Job 11:8). Never is hell spoken of as being up, and never is heaven's location given as down. Second, these underground holding places for the unrighteous and fallen angels are under the mountains, as revealed in the story of Jonah (Jon. 2:6). Finally, a lesser-known and -taught aspect of the underworld is that many of the entrances are located under the seas (Job 26:5).
Hell is definitely located down and under the earth:
“Go down quick into hell” (Ps. 55:15, kjv).
“Shalt be brought down to hell” (Isa. 14:15, kjv).
“Cast him down to hell” (Ezek. 31:16, kjv).
“They also went down into hell” (Ezek. 31:17, kjv).
“ God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them
down to hell” (2 Pet. 2:4, kjv).
One example of hell being under the crust of the earth is in the case of the rebellion of Korah against Moses. Korah was jealous of Moses's and Aaron's authority over the people and sought to led a coup against these men of God. The Almighty brought a sudden judgment on Korah and his rebels:
And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the congregation. --Numbers 16:32-33
This word pit is not the word for a small opening in the ground, like a crack caused by an earthquake. The Hebrew word is Sheol--the world of departed spirits. This was a supernatural event, for following their descent into the underworld, the earth closed up and sealed the opening to prevent others from falling into the chasm. The rebels went down into the pit.
A second point is that a person must descend below the mountains in order to reach the caverns and pits of the underworld. There is interesting insight into the story of the death of Jonah, reported in the Book of Jonah. Children are taught that Jonah was thrown off a ship, and a whale swallowed him, allowing Jonah to live for three days in belly of the fish. However, when a person carefully examines the words and statements made by Jonah himself, the rebellious prophet actually drowned, and the fish preserved his body from being eaten by other sea creatures. After three days of being preserved, God raised Jonah from the dead and brought him out of the belly of the fish. Here is what Jonah wrote:
Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly, and said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. --Jonah 2:1-7, kjv
Jonah recalled that after he was thrown off the ship, the waves of the sea passed over him, and his head became entangled in seaweed. He described his soul fainting within him, which would be a reference to his soul preparing to depart from his body through death. He describes going to the “bottoms of the mountains,” and the “bars” were about him forever. Yet God brought him up from “corruption,” which is an allusion to physical decay after death. Notice Jonah did not pray in the belly as some modern translations indicate but out of the fish's belly. Jonah described crying out of the “belly of hell.” The Hebrew word here is Sheol, the common word for the subterranean world of the departed dead.
Jonah literally drowned, and after his death he went into the belly of the subterranean world for three days. As Jonah cried unto the Lord, God brought Jonah's spirit back into his body. This is the reason Christ compared His three days and nights in the heart of the earth to Jonah's three days and nights in the belly of the fish (Matt. 12:39-40). Just as Lazarus was dead for four days, and Christ raised him back from the dead, Jonah was dead for three days; the Almighty brought the prophet's spirit and soul from Sheol back into a body that had been preserved in the belly of a large fish. Matthew's Gospel translates the Greek word ketos as a “whale” (Matt. 12:40, kjv), but the word means “a large fish” or a “sea monster” (used in the Septuagint in Job 7:12; 9:8; 26:13). Men have assumed the great fish was a whale, since this would have been the largest sea creature with the capacity to swallow a human body.
Jonah spoke of the bars under the mountains that closed on him. When Job and his friends were speaking about death, we read:
Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? --Job 38:17
While most scholars believe these “doors” are simple metaphors, there must be portals or entrances to both heaven and to the underworld. This brings us to the third point: the openings of the underworld that are located under the waters. Notice the references to these openings in the following scriptures:
They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.
--Job 17:16, kjv
The dead tremble,
Those under the waters and those inhabiting them.
Sheol is naked before Him,
And Destruction has no covering.
Or who shut in the sea with doors . . .
Have you entered the springs of the sea?
Or have you walked in search of the depths?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?
--Job 38:8, 16-17
Let not the floodwater overflow me,
Nor let the deep swallow me up;
And let not the pit shut its mouth on me.
In the context of these scriptures, these passages all allude to either death or hell, and some mention gates and bars that are entrances to the pit, or to hell. I would suggest that just as the New Jerusalem in heaven has twelve entrances into the Holy City, there are also entrances scattered around the world that lead to the subterranean world of Sheol.
While it may be impossible to prove with visible evidence, there are some rather mysterious places where bizarre magnetic activity occurs in and around certain seas. One such noted location is the Bermuda Triangle, with its borders touching Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and Florida. The exact size of the Bermuda Triangle depends on the source describing it, but it is in the range of two hundred thousand square miles off the Atlantic Coast. It is reported to have claimed more than a thousand lives in fifty years. Since 1945, more than a hundred ships, boats, and planes have reportedly vanished.
The Bermuda Triangle is one of two places on the earth where a magnetic compass does point toward true north. Normally it points toward magnetic north. The difference between the two is known as compass variation. The amount of variation changes by as much as twenty degrees as one circumnavigates the earth. If this compass variation or error is not compensated for, a navigator could find himself far off course and in deep trouble.8 Strange, glowing white water and green fog have been spotted there from satellites. The Bermuda Triangle has a deep trench near San Juan measuring twenty-seven thousand feet deep.
Another area where the same strange phenomena occur is the Devil's Sea. The sea is located on the other side of the world, opposite the Bermuda Triangle. The area is located east of Japan between Iwo Jima and Marcus Island. The Japanese government labeled this area as a danger zone. Near Guam is the world's largest underwater trench, measuring thirty-six thousand feet deep.9 It is unknown why these areas have such strange magnetic fields, and this book will not detail research related to these incidents. However, there are numerous places in the world where there is odd magnetic activity that occurs on a consistent basis, including areas where the compass actually goes in the opposite direction.
A man named Ivan Sanderson, a professional biologist who founded the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in Columbia, New Jersey, claims to have discovered twelve electromagnetic vibrations around the world, called by some the “Ten Vile [Strong] Vortices.” In 1972, Sanderson wrote an article in Saga Magazine calling his discovery “The Twelve Devil's Graveyards Around the World.” Sanderson had researched the areas around the world where ships and planes had allegedly disappeared and discovered ten regions of the world, spaced equally apart, that experienced these strange phenomena.10
These areas of strange magnetic and space-time phenomena are situated with five above the equator and five below at equal distances from the equator. Adding the North and South Poles, there are twelve areas. Sanderson claims the ten main areas are located at seventy-two-degree intervals, which include the Bermuda Triangle and the Devil's Sea. Sanderson has laid the areas that produce the electromagnetic energy in a grid and believes these may be portals or vortices. East of the Bermuda Triangle is the Sargasso Sea, an area where the compass of Columbus acted strangely during his journey. The ten areas are:
1. Bermuda Triangle
2. Algerian Megalithic Ruins (south of Timbuktu)
3. Karachi (Pakistan)
4. Devil's Sea Triangle (near Iwo Jima, Japan)
5. Hamakulia, southeast Hawaii (focal point is in the ocean
southeast of Hawaii)
6. Megalithic structures at Sarawak (Borneo)
7. Nan Madol (Pohnpei Island, Micronesia)
8. The seat of the Incan culture in South America
9. Easter Island
10. Gabon (West Africa)11
One of the explanations for difficulties with ships and planes in these areas is the frequent crosswinds of hot and cold air that form in the atmosphere over the sea. However, it does not explain why there are so many large stone monuments, called megaliths and dolmens (stone tables), erected in the areas where the magnetic activity is the most intense.
I personally visited one such area in the Golan Heights in Israel. The place is a paleomagnetic park known as the Magnetic Stones. If you place a compass near the stones in this area, the compass points in the opposite direction of true north. This abnormality has various explanations. However, this area also has more than three thousand large stones called dolmens, which are also found scattered in other places around the world, including Easter Island, thousands of miles away from the Golan area. Biblically, this area was once the home of the biblical giants, a race of very large men who lived before and after the flood of Noah (Gen. 6:1-4). Secular historians question how a normal man could have moved such large stones, which require a special mechanical lift just to erect them in an upright position. The simplest explanation is that the biblical giants were a part of these areas and assisted in the building of these megalith monuments. It is, however, a mystery as to why these monuments are found in the same areas where strange magnetic activity is occurring.
Spirits Under the Euphrates
A region of the world that is alluded to in biblical prophecy is the Euphrates River. In the Apocalypse, this famous ancient waterway will dry up, and four mysterious angels will be released from their confinement (Rev. 9:14). The Euphrates River originates in the Taurus Mountains and flows through Syria and Iraq, eventually joining the Tigris in the Shatt al-Arab and emptying into the Persian Gulf. The apocalyptic prophecy that mentions the loosing of the four angels also reveals that a dangerous angel named Apollyon, or Abaddon (Rev. 9:11), will be released from the abyss near the same time these other four angelic beings are released from their captivity, where they are confined in caverns under the waters of the Euphrates.
Much of the future prophetic activity mentioned in the Old Testament and in the Apocalypse will unfold in and around the Middle East. Since this future activity is identified as occurring near the Euphrates River, and one of the evil agents released on the earth is called Abaddon, could this evil angel that is now in the abyss be released somewhere in the Persian Gulf area, because the Euphrates and Tigris eventually empty into the Gulf? It is interesting to note that the Euphrates and Tigris join and empty into the Persian Gulf in a place where there is a famous island. This island, called Abadan, is forty-two miles long and twelve miles wide and is presently a main oil refinery island for Iran. It was the centerpiece of the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. The location of the island is just below where the Euphrates and Tigris come together at a place in southern Iraq called Bosera, joining as one river and flowing into the Persian Gulf.
The Hebrew name of this demonic being that will be released from the bottomless pit at some point during a time of tribulation on Earth is Abaddon. The Hebrew has no vowels, and the name of the oil-rich island has some of the same Hebrew letters of the Hebrew name Abaddon, indicating that there may be a linguist link, however weak, to this island and to the release of the spirit called Abaddon from a black-smoke-filled pit. Since the location is near the Euphrates, which is mentioned by name in the prophecy, the spirit called Abaddon could be bound under the earth in this region of the world. Strong prince spirits often take on the same name of the region they control, such as the prince of Persia and the prince of Grecia (Dan. 10:13, 20).
When this “pit” (Rev. 9:1) is opened, black smoke fills the air, darkening the entire area. Because the Abadan Island is used to refine oil, any form of explosion could literally cause black smoke to billow into the atmosphere, thus fulfilling the visual description given by John in Revelation
9:2. During the Gulf War in 1991, hundreds of oil wells were set on fire, causing the air in Kuwait and the surrounding area to be filled with a black smoke that covered the sun, and, at times, the chemicals that remained in the atmosphere caused the moon to have a reddish appearance.
These fallen angels are bound both “under the waters” and “in the pit” (abyss). The inspired writers of Scripture speak of the gates under the sea:
Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb? --Job 38:8
Have you entered the springs of the sea?
Or have you walked in search of the depths?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?
Spirits Are Under the Waters
When studying the Scriptures, many times it becomes important to examine the original meaning of words to ensure that the English translation has correctly presented the true interpretation. Below is one example:
Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. --Job 26:5-6, kjv
In this passage Job mentions hell (Sheol) but also mentions destruction, which is the Hebrew word abaddon, the same name of the evil angel mentioned in Revelation 9:11! Another word to examine is the word dead, which in this passage is the Hebrew word rapha« or rephaim. What makes this word unique is that the word rephaim is used in the English translation of the Bible as one of the common names for a race of giants that once roamed the earth. The name is found in 2 Samuel as a valley in Jerusalem once ruled by the giants (2 Sam. 5:18, 22; 23:13). The word giants is found throughout the English translation of the Old Testament and is the word rapha«, the root word for rephaim.
Job 26:5 says: “Dead things [rapha«] are formed from under the waters.” The word form in Job 26:5 in Hebrew is chuwl, and it can mean “to writhe in pain.” Since fallen angels are now bound in tartaroo (2 Pet. 2:4), then these fallen angels are now confined under the waters, under the mountains in the lowest subterranean chambers, experiencing eternal pain.
And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness the judgment of the great day.
These will be part of the angels that at the Great White Throne Judgment will be brought out of hell, and the saints will judge them (1 Cor. 6:3; Rev. 20:11-15). They are reserved (the word reserved means “to be kept under watch and guard”) until the day of their judgment!
On the Edge of the Triangle
I have ministered many times at a great church in Huntington, West Virginia. Years ago I was informed of an amazing story concerning a former pastor, Reverend Roland Garner. In 1977-1978, Pastor Garner went on a two-week diving expedition in the areas of the Bahamas and Bermuda, serving as a chaplain for the diving crew. The researchers and divers on the expedition were researching activity near the Bermuda Triangle and why the mysterious magnetic activity occurred.
On the boat a man named Wingate and a close associate of Jacques Cousteau were leading the scuba expedition. During one dive the men found under the water what appeared to them to be the black basalt stones of an ancient temple, including a perfect marble column. During another dive, after twenty minutes the diver came up and told the others that he was not “going back down there.” When Pastor Garner asked him why, the fellow replied, “I could hear something groaning under the floor of the sea. It sounded like it was dragging chains.” Pastor Garner did tell the diver that there were fallen angels somewhere under the earth, and perhaps that is what he heard. They never returned to this area. It was noticed that at times a yellow smoke could be seen.
Pastor Garner returned and told the entire story to his congregation and gave details about the strange expedition. He believed, and taught, that it was possible the area was once a pre-Adamic region of the world where Lucifer once ruled prior to his fall. He also believed that these places where the electromagnetic field does bizarre things may be entrances to these biblical chambers.
Gates to Heaven and Hell
Many times when a biblical researcher or scholar does not fully believe in or accept a literal interpretation of a word of verse, he or she will
immediately write off the word or passage as a metaphor, an allegory, or a myth. Such is often the case when the subject of hell comes up. Often someone will comment, “I believe there is a heaven, but not a hell. God would never permit anyone to spend eternity in such a place of torment.” Others interpret hell to be the difficulties one encounters on Earth; thus the only hell we ever experience is on Earth. Still others suggest that the warnings about hell were exaggerations to emphasize the importance of how to treat others in this life. Some believe that ancient Egyptians initiated the belief in the afterlife and all other religions picked up on the doctrine and simply modified their ideas to fit their own religion.
I have always said that when the plain passage of Scripture makes sense, don't seek another sense or you will lose the common sense. The Bible was not written by Harvard and Yale professors but by forty different authors whose backgrounds were as shepherds, farmers, fishermen, a tax collector, a doctor, and a well-educated Pharisee (Paul). They wrote very simply and literally. Angels are literal, demons are literal, and heaven and hell are literal. The streets of gold are not a picture of the foundations of divine authority (since gold represents deity in the Bible), but they are literal streets with literal transparent gold! The twelve gates of pearl (Rev. 21:21) are not a representation of the apostolic ministry of the twelve apostles (since in the parable of the kingdom a pearl is the gospel [Matt. 13:46], and the apostles spread the gospel), but there are twelve literal gates to the heavenly city.
Any attempt to make hell a nonliteral place is futile, humanistic unbelief. Any effort to teach that the fire is spiritual and not literal also has no place in the true interpretation of the complete revelation of hell in both Testaments.
The apostle John was the only biblical writer to detail the size and appearance of the heavenly city, New Jerusalem. He alludes to twelve entrances or gates, guarded by twelve angels. These twelve gates are positioned with three on the north, three to the south, three to the east, and three to the west (Rev. 21:12-13). On the earth, we identify four points of the compass--the north, south, east, and west--and all people dwell in nations in one of those four directions. People from the north have a north gate, from the west a western gate, from the east an eastern gate, and those from the south could enter through a southern gate.
When a sinner departs from any part of the world, there may not be just one entrance to the underworld; but just as there are twelve gates in the New Jerusalem, there may be ten to twelve magnetic gates that actually lead to the underworld. Those from Australia enter the chambers in their regions, while the Africans, the Americans, and Asians use different entrances. All entrances lead to one main area under the mountains.
In the Garden of Eden, the tree of life was in the midst (center) of the garden (Gen. 2:9). Throughout the Apocalypse, the menorah is in the midst of the temple, and the Lamb is in the midst of the throne (Rev. 7:17). It may be possible that the very center or heart of the underground chambers on Earth is centered in Israel in a place known as the Dead Sea. As you will discover, the Dead Sea is not only filled with amazing history, but it is also a place of past spiritual conflicts and has numerous future prophecies linked to it.
This book has been enjoyable reading for me. The facts about ancient Jewish life and customs, the research into other history, and the analysis of scripture are fascinating. If you like diving deep into a subject, this is an excellent book I'm sure you'll enjoy. Even if you don't agree with every point of Perry Stone's theology, there is much to be gleaned here due to his intense background research. If you are interested in the afterlife at all, I highly recommend this book.