The Underworld

Any system of religion that has anything in it that
shocks the mind of a child cannot be a true system.
-Thomas Paine

The biblical system for explaining evil, features two warring camps that fought for the loyalty of humans in deadly combat. Each has its armies of lesser spirits, angels and demons. Since God is the Creator of all things in the universe, credit for their existence goes to the one and only.

In reality, the name "underworld" has to do with the ancient view of an earth centered universe. When the sun disappeared on the horizon, they believed it went under the world. This explains why Hell is portrayed as a hot place. The time of the year, when the Sun passes the fall equinox, is the time when the sun enters the gates to hell.

This list serves as a reminder of the haunted world in which the biblical writers lived.

Abaddon

In Hebrew, Abaddon translates to a place of destruction.

11Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD how much more the hearts of men! (Prov. 15:11)

22Abaddon and Death say, 'We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.' (Job 28:22)

6Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering. (Job 26:6)

11They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. (Rev. 9:11)

On two occasions, Abaddon is personified as a demon.

20Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man. (Prov. 27:20)

5The shades below tremble, the waters and their inhabitants.
6Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering.
(Job 26:5-6)

Angels

According to Jesus, the devil employs angels.

41Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; (Matt. 25:41)

Satan can disguise himself as an angel. If that is so, then it is impossible for a believer to know whether he is hearing from one of God's angels or one of Satan's angels.

14And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14)

Angels who have sinned will be cast into hell until judgment day. One wonders-if angels are not human, how can they sin? I don't know of any religious literature that suggests Satan and his angels are suffering in hell. By most accounts, they enjoy it there.

4For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; (2 Peter 2:4)

Antichrist

Antichrist designates the ultimate opponent of Jesus Christ when the end of the world comes. Hero gods and their nemesis are typical components of pagan mythology representing good verses evil.

18Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18)

Apollo

Apallyon translates to destroyer. Related to the Greek God, Apollo, Apollo was considered the author of evil and its avoidance.

11They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. (Rev. 9:11)

Azazel

Azazel translates to "scapegoat". The association of a goat with the Devil lies at the roots of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Two goats are selected. One was sacrificed to God. The second was sent to the wilderness to die. The second goat was believed to carry away the sins of the people of Israel.

7Then he shall take the two goats, and set them before the Lord at the door of the tent of meeting;
8and Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel.
9And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer it as a sin offering;
10but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel. (Lev. 16:7-10)

Babylon

Babylon is described as a place where demons dwell. The context could be interpreted as a prediction of the coming of the Catholic Church.

2And he called out with a mighty voice, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird;

3For all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness." (Rev. 18:2)

This next passage fits the description of the Catholic Church. Rome is known as the city of seven hills and the Church refers to itself as a mother. The passage above, Rev. 18:2, describes some of the Church's character traits as well.

9This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven hills on which the woman is seated; (Rev. 17:9 RSV Catholic version)

Most other revisions hide the association with mountains. Babylon refers to the Rome of Roman Empire days.

9This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; (Rev. 17:9)

Death

Death, translates to mot, meaning death in Hebrew. In this context, it also refers to a Canaanite demon more precisely known as Motu.

14Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your destruction? Compassion is hid from my eyes. (Hosea 13:14)

5Moreover, wine is treacherous; the arrogant man shall not abide. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations, and collects as his own all peoples." (Hab. 2:5)

In the New Testament, the Greek word for death is thanatos. Death is personified as a demonic power. In 1 Corinthians, Paul believes death can be conquered.

26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Cor. 15:26)

54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
55"O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?"
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (1 Cor. 15:54-56)

13And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done.
14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; (Rev. 20:13-14)

Deep

Deep translates to Tehom, which is etymologically related to Tiamat, the name of the cosmic sea. In the Babylonian creation epic Enuma elis, Tiamat is the personified primeval ocean that was defeated by Marduk, whose supremacy over the Babylonian pantheon was established through battle. Deep is an evil monster which is said to exist before the creation. In a sense, it presupposes a prior creation.

2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [tehom]; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. (Gen 1:2)

Demons

In Greek, daimonion translates to "gods," from which demon was derived from the singular form diamon. In the passage from KJV Acts 17:18, Paul is denounced by pagans for preaching about strange gods.

In both Testaments, there was no argument about whether other gods existed. They only disagreed on the identity of the Supreme God. Again and again, it must be stressed, Judaism and Christianity are just as polytheistic as their extinct pagan cousins. A demon with no name is still a god with a small "g".

18Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange [foreign] gods [daimonion]: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. (Acts 17:18 KJV)

22And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." (Matt. 15:22)

Casting out demons was one of Jesus' specialties.

39And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:39)

The Jewish scribes thought Jesus was the prince of demons.

22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons." (Mark 3:22)

Paul associates alien gods with demons.

20No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.

21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1 Cor. 10:20-21)

First born of death

Translates to bekor mawet. The term has an ominous meaning which parallels the Canaanite deity of death, Mot.

13By disease his skin is consumed, the first-born of death consumes his limbs. (Job 18:13)

Gog and Magog

Gog and Magoog are recognized as enemies to be defeated during the final days of the apocalypse.

1"And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; (Ezekial 39:1)

18But on that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord God, my wrath will be roused. (Ez. 39:18)

8and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. (Rev. 20:8)

Hades

The Greek name for the underworld and its ruler, Hades was the name of a shadowy God in Greek mythology.

15And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. (Luke 10:15)

27For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption. (Acts 2:27)

Hatred

Mastemah is always a proper name for the leader of the evil angels. It is not Satan because this angel has a god.

7The days of punishment have come, the days of recompense have come; Israel shall know it. The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad, because of your great iniquity and great hatred [mastemah].
8The prophet is the watchman of Ephraim, the people of my God, yet a fowler's snare is on all his ways, and hatred [mastemah] in the house of his God. (Hos. 9:7-8)

Hell

"Hell" is used interchangeably with the Hebrew word sheol, meaning a place where the spirits of dead sinners go. The Bible does not portray Satan or any other deity as a resident of a permanent hell. This notion came from Dantes "Inferno," written from 1310-1314. In his tour down into hell, he sees the Devil.

'Hell' comes from the Norse verb helan, "to hide." In Norse mythology, Hel was the goddess of death and the underworld. As a side note: Hel's father, Loki, gate-crashed a party of twelve gods, in which the favorite god was killed. This is why the number thirteen is associated with bad luck.

'Hell' is used 31 times in the King James Old Testament, whereas newer revisions use Sheol or "underworld" instead. Most likely, the revisionists wanted to disassociate the fiery hell in the New Testament from the deep darkness of the Jewish sheol.

In allegorical terms, in a flat earth centered universe, hell is literally under the world. The gates of hell occur in the fall month of October when nights start getting longer than days.

According to Moses, when speaking for God, the fire of his anger will reach down to hell. This means that it doesn't get hot unless God makes it hot. That might explain where hell gets its heat from.

22For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. (Deut. 32:22, KJV)

Hell is located deep below the surface. The O.T. does not suggest it is a place of suffering.

15Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. (Psalms 55:15, KJV)

13For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. (Psalms 86:13)

15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isa. 14:15, KJV)

What could be more cruel and unjust than the idea of eternal punishment for unbelief? According to the New Testament, God created a fiery hell where unbelievers and sinners would be made to suffer for their unbelief. Jesus' remarks on hell belie the myth of his kindly nature.

In Mark, he moralizes against those who slander his name. Jesus is the first to promote hell as a place of suffering.

29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark 3:29)

38John said to him, "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us."
39But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
40For he that is not against us is for us.
41For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.
42"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
43And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:38:43)

In Luke, Jesus tells us that wealth is cause for condemning a man to suffer in hell.

19"There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores,
21who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried;
23and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom.
24And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' (Luke 16:19-24)

In Matthew, he is more vivid about the horrors of hell.

41The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers,
42and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. (Matt. 13:41-42)

8And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. (Matt. 18:8)

33You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Matt. 23:33)

41Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; (Matt. 25:41)

46And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matt. 25:46)

Paul foresees hell for those who do not know God or who do not obey the gospel of Jesus.

6since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,

7and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire,

8inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

9They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, (2 Thes. 1:6-9)

Revelation describes hell as a place of torment.

11And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name." (Rev. 14:11)

Jackals

One of many demon possessed animals. Note the association with the demon satyrs.

21But wild beasts will lie down there, and its houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches will dwell, and there satyrs will dance.

22Hyenas will cry in its towers, and jackals in the pleasant palaces; its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged. (Isa. 13:22)

King of Terrors

The identity of the specific demon is not clear, but the context has demonic context.

14He is torn from the tent in which he trusted, and is brought to the king of terrors.

15In his tent dwells that which is none of his; brimstone is scattered upon his habitation. (Job 18:14-15)

Legion

The name for many demons.

8For he had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"

9And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many." (Mark 5:8-9)

Leviathan

The Hebrew name of a mythical sea serpent. To the Canaanites he was known as Yam. Notice the credit Isaiah and Psalms gives to Yahweh for slaying the dragon Leviathan.

1In that day the LORD [Jehovah] with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea. (Isa. 27:1)

13Thou didst divide the sea by thy might; thou didst break the heads of the dragons on the waters.  

14Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan, thou didst give him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. (Ps. 74:13-14)

14Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan, thou didst give him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. (Ps. 74:14)

Lilith

The expression night hag translates to liyliyth or Lilith, the name of a female goddess known as a night demon who haunts the desolate places of Edom. In the King James Version, she is translated as screech owl. In the Talmud, she is known as Adam's first wife who left him after a quarrel.

14And wild beasts shall meet with hyenas, the satyr shall cry to his fellow; yea, there shall the night hag alight, and find for herself a resting place. (Isa. 34:14)

Lions

Job suggests that God destroyed them because they are demons. Peter reveals his paranoia about fiendish lions.

9By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.

10The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion, the teeth of the young lions, are broken.

11The strong lion perishes for lack of prey, and the whelps of the lioness are scattered. (Job 4:9-11)

8Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. (1 Pet 5:8)

Midday Demon

Demons can come in the night or in the day. The one to fear in this case is the destruction that comes at noon. This probably has to do with the hottest time of the day.

5You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. (Psalms 91:5-7)

Panic

It was common practice to personify physical forces and abstract concepts.

27when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. (Prov. 1:27)

25Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes; (Prov. 3:25)

Perdition

It was common practice to personify physical forces and abstract concepts.

5"For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of perdition assailed me;

6 the cords of Sheol entangled me, the snares of death confronted me. (2 Sam. 22:5)

Pestilence and Plague

It was common practice to personify physical forces and abstract concepts. Pestilence translates to Deber, meaning pestilence or plague.

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence

5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. (Ps. 91:3, 5-6)

5Before him went pestilence [Deber], and plague followed close behind. (Hab. 3:5)

14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues [Deber]? O Sheol, where is your destruction? Compassion is hid from my eyes. (Hos. 13:14)

Pit

Another name for the netherworld where dead infidels inhabit.

14He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the Pit, neither shall his bread fail. (Isa. 51:14)

20then I will thrust you down with those who descend into the Pit, to the people of old, and I will make you to dwell in the nether world, among primeval ruins, with those who go down to the Pit, so that you will not be inhabited or have a place in the land of the living. (Ezek. 26:20)

Rahab

Rahab personifies a sea monster. Parallels the Babylonian epic Enuma elis describing Marduk's creation of the cosmos by defeating the chaos sea monster Tiamat. These passages credit Yahweh instead.

9 Thou dost rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, thou stillest them.

10 Thou didst crush Rahab like a carcass, thou didst scatter thy enemies with thy mighty arm. (Ps. 89:9-10)

9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the dragon? (Isa. 51:9)

Resheph

Resheph was a popular deity in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. He was the gatekeeper of the Netherworld and lord of battle and of diseases, which he spreads with his bow and arrows.

24they shall be wasted with hunger, and devoured with burning heat [resheph] and poisonous pestilence; and I will send the teeth of beasts against them, with venom of crawling things of the dust. (Deut. 32:24)

3 There he broke the flashing arrows [resheph], the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. (Ps. 76:3)

48 He gave over their cattle to the hail, and their flocks to thunderbolts [resheph]. (Ps. 78:48)

Sacrifice

"Demons" can be found twice in the Old Testament in reference to child sacrifice.

17They sacrificed to demons which were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come in of late, whom your fathers had never dreaded. (Deut. 32:17)

37They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; (Ps. 106:37)

Sheol

A Hebrew word for a place of the dead where sinners go.

15Let death come upon them; let them go down to Sheol alive; let them go away in terror into their graves. (Psalm 55:15)

10My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
11If they say, "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us wantonly ambush the innocent;
12like Sheol let us swallow them alive and whole, like those who go down to the Pit; (Proverbs 1:10-12)

11"Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven." (Isaiah 7:11)

12like Sheol let us swallow them alive and whole, like those who go down to the Pit: (Prov. 1:12)

30But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD." (Num. 16:30)

Spirit of the Dead

The term is associated with necromancy. The spirits could be summoned or sent back to the netherworld by means of magical incantation.

27"A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned with stones, their blood shall be upon them." (Lev. 20:27)

6And he burned his son as an offering, and practiced soothsaying and augury, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. (2 Kings 21:6)

Spirits of the dead

The term for the spirits of the dead is called rapha in Hebrew. Isaiah believes some day the dead will rise from their graves in hell.

19Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead [rapha](Isa. 26:19 KJV)

9Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead [rapha] for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. (Isa. 14:9 KJV)

The King James is too hoary for the revisionists, so they softened its tone.

9Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come, it rouses the shades [rapha] to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. (Isa. 14:9)

19Thy dead shall live, their bodies shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For thy dew is a dew of light, and on the land of the shades [rapha] thou wilt let it fall. (Isa. 26:19)

Samuel's ghost appeared to Saul.

13The king said to her, "Have no fear; what do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth."

14He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up; and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. (1 Sam. 28:13)

Terror of the Night

Fear of darkness invokes a belief in a demonic terror of the night.

5You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, (Psalms 91:5)

Terror and Panic

Terror and panic have the same Hebrew root word pachad. In Hebrew, the underlined words all denote the names of demons.

5You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. (Psalm 91:5)

25Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes; (Prov. 3:25)

Unclean spirit

According to Jesus, if a demon is cast out, you make room for him to retake his possession with seven other spirits more evil than himself.

43"When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none.

44Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.

45Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation." (Matt. 12:43-45)

Vampires

The description characterizes vampires. "Leech" comes from aluqah, meaning to suck.

14There are those whose teeth are swords, whose teeth are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among men.

15The leech has two daughters; "Give, give," they cry. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, "Enough": (Prov. 30:14-15)

Reference

Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible by Karel Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking and Peter W. Der Horst