AND THE ABYSS
is the lowest region of the world, as far below earth as earth is
from heaven. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, a bronze anvil
falling from heaven would take nine days and nights to reach
earth, and an object would take the same amount of time to fall
from earth into Tartarus. Tartarus is described as a dark, gloomy
pit, surrounded by a wall of bronze, and beyond that a three-fold
layer of night. Along with Chaos, Earth, and Eros, it is one of
the first entities to exist in the universe.” Encyclopedia
mythology, Tartarus is a place in the underworld — even lower
than Hades. In Roman mythology, Tartarus is the place where
enemies of the gods are sent. Virgil describes it in the Aeneid as
a gigantic place, the deepest part of the underworld, surrounded
by the flaming river Phlegethon and triple walls to prevent its
tormented captives from escaping.“
primarily the prison for defeated gods; the Titans were condemned
to Tartarus after losing their battle against the Olympian gods,
and the Hecatoncheires stood over them as guards at the bronze
gates. When Zeus overcomes the monster Typhus, born from Tartarus
and Gaia, he hurls it too into the same abyss.
Hekatonkheires were children of Gaia and Ouranus. Three creatures
bearing hundreds of arms and fifty heads.
to Thayer’s Greek Deﬁnitions, Tartaroo is "the name
of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the
ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer
punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the
Jews." John F. Walvoord writes that the term "is
frequently found in Jewish apocalyptic literature, where it refers
to a place even lower than hell where the wicked are
later myths Tartarus becomes a place of punishment for sinners. It
resembles Hell and is the opposite of Elysium, the afterlife for
the blessed. Elysium or the Elysian Fields (Ancient Greek: 'H)\uo|ov
Trsoiov, Elysion pedion) is a conception of the afterlife that
developed over time and was maintained by certain Greek religious
and philosophical sects and cults.
separate from the realm of Hades, admission was reserved for
mortals related to the gods and other heroes. Later, it expanded
to include those chosen by the gods, the righteous, and the
heroic, where they would remain after death, to live a blessed and
happy life, and indulging in whatever employment they had enjoyed
in life. lt corresponds to “Abraham’s bosom“ or
Tartaros (Tdptoipog), in ancient Greek mythology, is the deep
abyss that is used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for the
wicked and as the prison for the Titans. As far below Hades as the
earth is below the heavens, Tartarus is the place where, according
to Plato in Gorgias (c. 400 BC), souls were judged after death and
where the wicked received punishment. Various forms of punishment
were devised for the prisoners, usually in an ironic way related
to their misdeeds on Earth.
Aeacus and Minos were the judges of the dead who went to Tartarus.
They were originally mortal men, sons of the god Zeus.
the guardian of the keys of the Hades and the judge of the men of
Europe, Rhadamanthys was lord of Elysion and judge of the men of
Asia, and Minos was the judge of the final vote. Some say there
was a fourth judge Triptolemos who presided over the souls of the
Initiates of the Mysteries. Otherwise the gods just sent who they
saw fit. The first inhabitants of Taitarus were the Cyclopes
(Giant beings with a single, round eye in the middle
foreheads.) and the Hecatonchires (“each of them having a
hundred hands and fifty heads"), put there by Cronus. Zeus
freed them in exchange for their help during the Titanomachy.
After the war, the Titans (who were a primeval race of powerful
deities, descendants of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky), that ruled
during the legendary Golden Age.
immortal giants of incredible strength and were also the first
pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses.) were thrown into Tartarus,
with a few exceptions. Even some of the Olympian gods were sent
there as Apollo was once a prisoner there. Generally it was the
prison house of the powerful super beings in the Greek mythology.
Even though initially only immortals were cast into Taltarus but,
later, it came to be a place for wicked mortals as well.
mythology, Tartarus is the place where sinners are sent. Virgil
describes it in the Aeneid as a gigantic place, surrounded by the
flaming river Phlegethon and triple walls to prevent sinners from
escaping from it.
is guarded by a hydra with fifty black gaping jaws, which sits at
a screeching gate protected by columns of solid adamantine, a
substance akin to diamond - so hard that nothing will cut through
is a castle with wide walls, and a tall iron turret. Tisiphone,
(Her name means ‘voice of revenge.‘ The Erinyes were formed
when the blood of Uranus fell on Gaia when the son of Uranus,
Cronus, killed him. The Furies pursued particularly heinous
criminals) one of the Erinyes who represents revenge, stands guard
sleepless at the top of this turret lashing a whip. There is a pit
inside which is said to extend down into the earth twice as far as
the lands of the living to Olympus. At the bottom of this pit lie
the Titans and many others.
only known in Hellenistic Jewish literature from the Greek text of
1 Enoch, dated to 400-200 BC. This states that God placed the
archangel Uriel "in charge of the world and of Tartarus"
(20:2). Tartarus is generally understood to be the place where 200
fallen Watchers (angels) who are imprisoned until the final
God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell
(Lit. Tartarus) and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to
be kept until the judgment; . . ." (2 Peter 2:4).
We can see
the identification of the tradition of Titans with the fallen
reasoned that Peter's use of language relating to the Titans was
an indication that the ancient Greeks had heard of a Biblical
punishment of fallen angels. Some Evangelical Christian
commentaries distinguish Tartarus as a place for wicked angels and
Gehenna as a place for wicked humans on the basis of this verse.
Other Evangelical commentaries, in reconciling that some fallen
angels are chained in Tartarus, yet some not, attempt to
distinguish between one type of fallen angel and another
gives the following description:
the infernal regions of ancient Greek mythology. The name was
originally used for the deepest region of the world, the lower of
the two parts of the unden/vorld, where the gods locked up their
enemies. It gradually came to mean the entire underworld. As such
it was the opposite of Elysium, where happy souls lived after
death. In some accounts Tartarus was one of the personified
elements of the world, along with Gaea (Earth) and others.
According to those accounts, Tartarus and Gaea produced the
is so named after the god, or angel, who keeps charge of this
deepest region (likewise Abaddon is a place in Job 26:6 but a
person in Rev 9:11). According to the Greeks, the supreme god in
the beginning was Ouranos (or Uranus), a name that simply meant
‘Heaven’. He was married to Gaia (‘Earth’), at a time when
there was no divorce between the domains: the God of heaven lived
on earth. However, as in the traditions of other peoples, men
became wicked and rebellious. Many of Ouranos’s sons, called
Titans, were closely involved in
rebellion. Eventually a Titan named Kronos emasculated Ouranos
with a knife and reigned on earth in his place. But he could not
rest. Haunted by Gaia’s prophecy that one of his sons would
overthrow him, Kronos swallowed his own sons as soon as they were
born — including Poseidon and Hades — and imprisoned them in
his stomach. It was to no avail. Unbeknown to Kronos, there was
another son, Zeus, and when he reached manhood Zeus forced his
father to vomit up his children. War broke out between the Titans
headed by Kronos
younger gods headed by Zeus. Great boulders crashed down from the
heights of heaven and crushed the Titans. Sea and earth resounded
with the clamour, the firmament groaned, torrential rain flooded
the earth. Some men tried to escape to the hilltops but were
overwhelmed by the waters. Only one couple, righteous and
God-fearing, survived, floating in a wooden ark or chest, and
eventually they came to land on Mount Parnassus. The defeated
Titans were chained up in Tartarus, Poseidon was allotted the
dominion of the ocean, and
(another god) was allotted the dominion of the underworld.
between the two traditions, Greek and Hebrew, are striking. Since
the Greeks and Israelites were too remote from each other for
borrowing to be plausible, and culturally too disparate, it must
be that both traditions had the same root. Ouranos was the God of
heaven, Kronos was one of his sons. In the Hebrew tradition the
son assumed the form of a legged serpent (a dragon or lizard) and
rebelled against his father. In consequence, his offspring (Gen
8:44, Eph 2:2) were destined to be at enmity with the primeval
woman's offspring, though eventually one of her descendants was to
bruise his head. In the Greek tradition the dragon, called Typhon,
was the result of Gaia mating with Tartarus. Zeus, whose name also
meant ‘Heaven’, seemed to be the same deity as Ouranos, but he
was a new ruler of the world, a son of Kronos rather than of
Ouranos, one who falsely presented himself as having defeated the
dragon long before the present age. The Titans - ‘the former
gods‘ in Hesiod‘s phrase - were brothers of Kronos, fellow
sons of Ouranos. In order to have intercourse with
also had abandoned their proper places in heaven, and the Cyclopes
were the giants born of their union (cf Gen 6)"
Rudolf Steiner Sculpture of Lucifer in the Abyss
The next word
revealing another chamber under the earth is the Greek abussos,
which is translated in English as the word abyss. This word
alludes to an unspecific area under the earth that is a huge void,
an empty cavity that cannot be measured. The King James Version
says “Deep,” but the Greek word is abussos, or the abyss.
literally the Deep or Abyss (Greek Septuagint: abyssos), refers to
the Great Deep of the primordial waters of creation in the Bible.
It is first mentioned in Genesis 1:2:
earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face
of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the
waters." Thus, the word tehom is linked to the sea in Job
28:14 and to the depths of the earth in Psalm 71 :20.
BELIEFS IN AFTER LIFE
three groups of people within the Jewish community which is
reported to us essentially through Josephus.
War, Book II, Chapter 8.2
three forms of philosophy are pursued among the Judeans: the
members of one are Pharisees, of another Sadducees, and the third
[school], who certainly are reputed to cultivate seriousness, are
rejected the Oral Law as proposed by the Pharisees. Rather, they
saw the Torah as the sole source of divine authority. The written
law, in its depiction of the priesthood, corroborated the power
and enforced the hegemony of the Sadducees in Judean society.
Josephus, the Sadducees believed that:
- There is no
- God does
not commit evil
- Man has
free will; “man has the free choice of good or evil"
- The soul is
not immortal; there is no afterlife, and
- There are
no rewards or penalties after death
rejected the belief in resurrection of the dead, which was a
central tenet believed by Pharisees and by Early Christians. As a
result of their rejection of life after death, the Sadducees
believed that God's blessing and judgement would occur during
one's life on earth. Unlike the Essenes, who were fatalistic, the
Sadducees believed in free will. The Sadducees supposedly believed
in the traditional Jewish concept of Sheol for those who had
began sometime after the Babylonian exile and before the uprising
of 165 BC. Most scholars link them with the Hasidism or
"pious men" of the 2nd century. The Pharisee
("separatist") party emerged largely out of the group of
scribes and sages. The Pharisees were active from the middle of
the second century B.C.E. until the destruction of the Temple in
"mostly denies or at least ignores the possibility of a
future life. Only a few texts come out strongly for a different
view. The resurrection concept burst into Judaism only during the
Babylonian exile of Judah with Daniel.
says: "1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who
protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress
such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.
But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found
written in the book— will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep
in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life,
others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise
will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead
many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 4 But
you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the
of the end.
Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
If they were
to be resurrected the dead should be somewhere still living. It
means there is life after life after life. It is not a single
stage life afterlife
Not like this
But this is a
two stage future life.
purpose of the intermediate stage is either rest or a period of
purification. The cycle of day and night analogy will indicate a
period of sleep and rejuvenation for a more mature adult life.
This also assumes that during the intermediate period, the
personality (soul) remain in tact as a unit without dissolution.
This would mean the immortality of the soul of man with a
memory and personality. Resurrection also implies a Judgment which
decides the new body. This was the belief of the Pharisees.
consider annihilation for the unrighteous based entirely on the
character of the loving God. We have no scriptural revelation for
ancient authors including Philo of Alexandria and Pliny the Elder
mention the Essenes, only Josephus and Hippolytus make reference
to their views of the afterlife which shows the origin of the
Gnostics of the later generations.
“For it is
a fixed belief of theirs (of the Essenes) that the body is
corruptible and its constituent matter impermanent, but that the
soul is immortal and imperishable. Emanating from the finest
ether, these souls become entangled, as it were, in the prison
house of the body, to which they are dragged down by a sort of
natural spell; but when once they are released from the bonds of
the flesh, then, as though liberated from a long servitude, they
rejoice and are borne aloft.
belief of the sons of Greece, they maintain that for virtuous
souls there is reserved an abode beyond the ocean, a place which
is not oppressed by rain or snow or heat, but is refreshed by the
ever gentle breath of the west wind coming in from the ocean;
while they relegate base souls to a murky and tempestuous dungeon,
big with never-ending punishments.