The advocates of "New Theology" may deny the existence of hell, but hell does exist. New Revelation makes this clear beyond all doubt. Just as undoubtedly, however, there also is no eternal damnation.
Before we present the message of New Revelation, the doctrine relating to hell will be considered, as it has been put forward in different ways over the centuries. The greatest biblical scholar in the Roman Catholic Church, Origen (C. A.D. 250), held the view that in the course of long periods of time, God would receive all human souls again into his kingdom. The Prodigal Son - representing the whole of mankind - would have returned to the house of his divine father when the material world came to an end.
This doctrine, known as apocatastasis, which New Revelation confirms, was rejected in the 6th century (Denz. 211, 429, 531). Instead of reconciliation of mankind with God, there was now eternal damnation, a concept not really part of church philosophy until then. This is confirmed in the Lexikon fuer Theologie und Kirche, a standard reference work (1959, vol. 5, p. 446): "The eternal duration of punishment in hell was established in A.D. 543, as the culminating point of a long struggle, in C 9 of "Canones adv. Origines" (Denz. 211). "This attempt (the doctrine of apocatastasis, i.e., Origen's doctrine of total reconciliation (Do princ. I 6, I and 3) was finally put a stop to by Justinian, as part of the general elimination of Origenism" (p. 447). Justinian actually was not a Pope, but an imperious 6th century Roman emperor. He had the Pope put in prison and himself decided what was to be the prevailing doctrine in the Catholic Church.
Does Holy Scripture confirm the doctrine of eternal hell? It does not. The word generally translated as "eternal" in the New Testament is Liwploc, (aionios) in the original Greek, a term that can be interpreted in different ways, and not necessarily as "eternal." The Begriffslexikon Zum Neuen Testament gives the following for "aionios" (1971, vol. III, p. 1459): "A long time, duration, meaning both one that is exactly limited and one that is unlimited. . ."
lt thus is a matter of casuistics, or the influence of certain theologians or the powerful groups behind them, how the word 'aionios' is translated. Church history does indeed show how radical or less radical doctrines have evolved in this context. The Catholic Lexikon fuer Theologie und Kirche (vol. V p. 446), says that a limit to purgatory had first been contemplated by Clement of Alexandria (d. before A.D. 215). (Strom. VII 16, 102 and VI 6, 46) According to the above source, similar concepts were also held by "Origen, Jerome, Cyprian (Ep. 55, 20), Hilary (in Ps. 57, 5), Ambrose (in Ps. 36, 26), Gregory of Nyssa, Didymus, Diodorus of Mopsuestia".
Jerome, venerated as a Doctor of the Church (d. 420) and secretary to Pope Damasus, wrote in his exegesis of the Prophet Isaiah that the damned would later receive abundant share of comfort, but that this had to be kept quiet, so that the faithful would refrain from sin for fear of eternal damnation. (Is 14, 2) This educative purpose was no doubt one of the reasons why church members contended and condemned Origen's doctrine of apocatastasis.
Peter Chrysologus, Bishop of Ravenna (d. 450), also was convinced, like other bishops, that the tortures of purgatory did not continue forever. In his text on Lazarus and the Rich Man, he said: "Those who have once been condemned to hell could nevermore attain to the peace of the blessed, if they had not already been redeemed by the mercy of Christ, freed from the place of despair through the intercessions of the faithful, so that the church (the prayer of the faithful), generating grace, attains for them what penal judgement has refused." 15
The dreadful influence of Augustine was to prevail more and more, however. In his Handbook (29, 111)16, he decreed that the punishment of hell was eternal. Apocatastasis had thus been rejected in theologlcal circles.
According to Augustine, children all over the world who died unbaptized - and in those days that meant almost all children - would be exposed to eternal torment in hell, for in his view, God had created almost the whole of mankind for eternal agony in hell.
The Council of Florence (1438-1445), confirmed these views, decreeing that "none that are outside the Catholic Church, whether heathen or Jew or Unbeliever (Islam), nor any separated from the unity of the Church shall partake of life eternal, but rather burn in the eternal fire: (Denz. 714, see Anm. 24 and Neunes-Roos-Rahner p. 530, see Anm. 43).
The pressure of world opinion forced the bishops to abandon this absurd doctrine at the 2nd Vatican Council in the 1960's.
The perdition of unbaptized children as taught by Augustine was so nonsensical that it had to be abandoned within a short time. It had brought despair to the mothers in his diocese. Today the doctrine is that unbaptized infants enter into limbo, where they are not exposed to suffering but also cannot enter into heaven (Denz. 410, 464, 693, 791). From New ReveIation, however, we learn that God's design in this respect is wholly different from that envisaged by the guardians of the faith with their changeable views.
As to eternal punishment in hell, the Catholic Church has adhered to this doctrine from the Middle Ages when Pope Innocent IV made it official, to this day (Denz. 546, 211, 429, 531). Before 2nd Vatican, the oddest justifications for this could be found in the approved Catholic Literature. "Temporal reward or punishment", Josef Staudinger (195) wrote, "would be ineffective on its own. Divine sanction therefore must be for eternity." 17
This is the educationist point of view of Jerome again, that hell eternal has to be taught to frighten people away from sin. Yet it is exactly this which the Lord rejects in New ReveIation. (Gr VI 243, 3) Staudinger then continues, pushing his unholy concepts - which, however, were acknowledged by the church - to their extreme: "Indeed, even love and mercy is demanding hell eternal, however strange this may seem.... 18. The devouring fire of divine hate is beyond our ability to grasp..." 19
Catholic authors do not hesitate to pervert God's attributes; instead of God's love, which is His very essence, "hate" is made to prevail. It is, in fact, doctrine in the Catholic Church that anyone who puts God's love, goodness and mercy higher than His "hate" and therefore feels unable to believe in eternal punishment in hell, has already condemned himself to eternal punishment in hell (Denz. 40).
Can a church that so distorts the image of God really expect people today to believe in its teaching? Churchmen are looking for the reasons for defection everywhere but in themselves. One has to agree with the opinion expressed by the Protestant Bishop Schjelderup, in disputing the views of a fanatical pastor: "I am glad that on the Day of Judgement we shall be judged not by theologians and princes of the church, but by the Son of Man himself. And I have no doubt that God's love and mercy is greater than that expressed in the doctrine of eternal torment in hell..." "For me, the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell is not part of the religion of love." 20
The terms "a long time" and "duration" agree exactly with what New Revelation has to say on the subject. Here, distinction is first of all made between the duration, i.e., the endurance, of hell as such on the one hand, and the duration of the punishment for individual souls on the other. "Are not 'prison' and 'imprisonment' two different things? (VdH II 226, 11) Hell will continue to the end of time, i.e., until the whole cosmos is dissolved, but the damned are able to leave their prison providing they gain insight into the evil and despicable nature of their deeds and change their ways.
In Lexikon fuer Theologie und Kirche 2 III, 195, it is still said that hell is a place where a material fire is burning, as past Popes have also maintained. This false doctrine again stems from Augustine's lively imagination, for he believed that there was a physical fire in hell that tormented the physical bodies of the damned.
Staudinger, faithful to the establishment, also wrote in 1950, "that hell is in a particular place is beyond doubt" and "hell fire must be thought of as a genuine and real fire". 21 Theologians in those days insisted that they knew everything exactly, and Staudinger thus speaks of the "crackle and hiss of the flames, and the wailing of the damned". 22
That is very much the style of the monks who right until the 1930s put fear into the hearts of credulous people when speaking from the pulpit of 'popular missions'. Following the last Council, theological lexicons and journals of the Catholic Church now say that hell is not a place but a condition, exactly what New Revelation has been saying more than a hundred years ago. "There is no place anywhere called heaven or hell, for all this every individual is for himself, and none will ever enter into a heaven or a hell other than those he bears within him." (GS II 118, 12) "Nowhere is there a specially created heaven, nor any specially created hell, for all this comes from the heart of man, and thus every man prepares heaven or hell in his heart, depending on whether he does good or evil deeds . ." (Gr II 8, 7)
"The world of the spirits does have nothing whatsoever to do any more with the space and time in this material, judged and therefore unfree world, but space, being the outermost envelope, is in the final instance still the bearer of all heavens and all spirit worlds, because these can never be anywhere outside the infinite space of creation. And so, to put it clearly for your understanding, there have to be also certain spatial areas where the spirit worlds are present as though located in space, though in fact a perfected spirit is as little concerned with space as this Mount of Olives if you want to think of Rome or Athens. For the spirit, there is no specific space of this kind nor any measured time." (Gr VIII 33, 2)
Nor is there physical fire in hell. The "inoxtinguishable fire" shows itself, according to New Revelation, only in phenomenality. The details given are as follows: "This is the difference between the blessed and the damned state: In blessedness the soul enters wholly into the spirit, and the spirit is then the real essence. In the state of damnation, the soul wants to reject the spirit and assume another, that of Satan." This leads to a reaction, and "this is the most painful sensation for the soul, and from this stems also the suffering and the pain of hell, as this very reaction appears in phenomenality as the inoxtinguishable fire of hell. And that is the worm in the soul, who does not die, and whose fire never goes out." (EM p. 166)
New Revelation here offers deep insights as compared to the untenable doctrines of the churches. At the Council, the Belgian Bishop Charne had the courage to express the current situation plainly and clearly, saying that the traditional doctrine of heaven and hell is not obsolete. "Within foreseeable time, many other things will show themselves to be obsolete, untenable and false, despite the repressive measures taken. Churchmen - and this is becoming ever more obvious - have far too often laid false claim to divine authority. There have already been consequences, and these will become more and more apparent.
Throughout the ages, compassionate people have found it difficult to accept the doctrine of a wengeful God.
As Jerome, Doctor of the Church, was to write in the 5th century: "At the time of all-encompassing restitution, when Jesus Christ, the true physician, shall come to heal the body of the church that today is divided and torn, every one shall take his place again and return to what he originally had been." (Commentary on the Letter to the Ephesians 16) and Luther, too, realized that hell would not remain hell if within it you were to call and cry out to God . 24
In 1955, G. Papini, the well-known Catholic writer, caused a sensation with his book The Devil. He showed that the interpretation of the words spoken of "everlasting fire" in Matthew 25, 41 had been "made in too facile a fashion, and believed in too facile a fashion". 25
Papini argued as follows: "In reality 'aionios' means 'always', i.e., something enduring in time. The word therefore in no way represents an absolute, metaphysical concept of eternity, i.e., an eternity that by definition is timeless, and this is obvious also from the older interpretation that relates it to the length of human life. The fire therefore will burn only for as long as what St. Paul calls 'the shape of this world' exists; it will always burn for as long as the present real world continues." "Hell therefore does have everlasting duration, but in a strictly earth-time sense, i.e., at a lower level and heavens apart from what is eternity." 26
Below, two passages are quoted from New Revelation, and it is worth noting how far Papini's interpretation agrees with Jakob Lorber's message.
Many Protestant theologians of the present age endorse the doctrine of apocatastasis, among them P. Althaus, 27', E. Brunner, 28 and Karl Barth (KD 1).
New Revelation teaches that the very core of Jesus's message is the proclamation of God's infinite love for his creatures, and that He still shows mercy to men, even in the next world and even in hell, providing the damned soul realizes his evil nature and shows the will to reform. This true doctrine will overcome the cruel doctrine of an institution that has deviated from the spirit of the gospel.
Several volumes of New ReveIation contain detailed descriptions of the destiny of dead souls and of conditions in the next world. It must of course always be remembered that New Revelation also says: "All this is merely a shadow picture of the truth, but carefully thought out." (Pr 97) Spiritual realities can only be roughly conveyed in analogues.
"... things are quite different in the spirit world than on this earth." (Gr VI 237, 3) "I am telling you and all you others, that everything is different yonder from the pictures presented in Scripture." (Gr V 272, 11)
It is important above all to rid oneself of the prejudice, long promulgated in the church, that certain passages in the Bible relating to hell are to be taken literaIIy. Thus New Revelation says: "I presented to them (the people, author) the consequences of disregarding My teaching, using the terms 'cast into the fire' and 'eternal darkness', which correspond in meaning to spiritually paintul reprimand and a neglected heart." Nor are the words "Go and leave me, you that are accursed" to be taken literally. New Revelation says: "The question is who did accurse them? The godhead not possibly!" "Yet by whom? No one can be condemned but by himself. A free being can only 'accurse' itself, i.e., separate itself wholly from the godhead." (VdH I 29, 3 and 5)
"What else can love eternal do but say: Go and leave me, you that have totally separated yourselves from me, and go to another maintenance school, that has been made ready for all that are like you, for your possible redemption!" (VdH I 28, 8)