pitcherStephen Pitcher became a Christian at age 17 through the ministry of Young Life and was baptized in a Baptist church. He later converted to Adventism which he left after 18 years. He currently attends Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church in Riverside, California. He continues a 38-year study of cults, world religions, and the occult from his home in Yucaipa, California.







The Seventh-day Adventist belief about hell is one of its distinctive differences from evangelical Christianity. Adventism says that hell is a temporary punishment resulting in the wicked’s being annihilated, never to exist again. In fact, Adventism’s fundamental belief #27, which explains Adventism’s belief about the millennium and the end of sin, articulates their belief this way:

The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged; the earth will be utterly desolate, without living human inhabitants, but occupied by Satan and his angels. At its close Christ with His saints and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The unrighteous dead will then be resurrected, and with Satan and his angels will surround the city; but fire from God will consume them and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever. (Rev. 20; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3; Jer. 4:23-26; Rev. 21:1-5; Mal. 4:1; Eze. 28:18, 19.)

Notice that, according to this statement of belief, the unrighteous dead are not cast into hell or into the lake of fire as explained in Revelation 20:13-15: “And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Instead, Adventist doctrine states that Satan and his angels, along with the wicked, are consumed by a “fire from God” which also cleanses the earth, annihilating sin and sinners. Importantly, although Scripture promises that God will wipe away all tears and will glorify us eternally, the Bible never states that the “universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever.” In other words, while Scripture is clear that the righteous can look forward to an eternity of freedom from sin, the Bible never says that the wicked dead will be annihilated and cease to exist.

The doctrine of hell can be an emotional one even for Christians, particularly if family members have passed away who have not known the Lord. Nevertheless, the biblical teaching of hell—God’s eternal punishment of unrepentant, unbelieving sinners—reveals both the seriousness of sin and God’s mercy expressed in His Son’s sacrifice of Himself as our Substitute, offering us a rescue from hell if we believe. Conversely, Adventism diminishes the seriousness of sin and the spiritual nature of man by teaching a “hell” that is temporary, consuming everything it touches.

In this article we will contrast the teaching of The Clear Word—the Adventist paraphrase of the Bible written by former chairman of the theology department at Southern Adventist University, Jack Blanco—with what the Bible says about hell.


What is hell?

Throughout the Old Testament the word indicating the abode of the dead, death, and the grave, is sheol. Blanco fairly consistently and properly interprets sheol as “the grave” in his Old Testament passages. Our primary concern, however, is with the word “hell” and its use in the New Testament, so this article will focus on the New Testament occurrences of hell.

Adventism says that death is a time of sleep or unconsciousness, but when we examine its doctrine closely, we find that it really teaches that the dead do not exist. The spirit (interpreted by Adventism as “breath”) returns to God, and the body returns to dust. Within the Adventist paradigm, when the body ceases to breathe, the person, or soul, dies. Thus, there is no immaterial part of the person that exists after death. This doctrine that denies the existence of a person’s soul after death negates any belief in a place of torment for the souls or spirits of the wicked dead.

Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus, however, demonstrates that the dead do not cease to exist, and there is a place of torment for the wicked dead. Here is a passage from this parable recorded in Luke 16:24-26:

And he [the rich man] called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on 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.” But Abraham said, “Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.”

Adventists dismiss this story as revealing anything about the state of death by saying, “It’s just a parable.” They limit this story to an illustration about the fickleness of wealth and social classism.

To be sure, this story is a parable, but Jesus would never use an untruth about the nature of God, man, or reality to teach a truth. While this story is clearly a parable, the reality of conscious existence after death is the framework on which Jesus built His illustration.

Interestingly, Blanco has actually used the word “hell” in verse 26 of The Clear Word (TCW) even though it does not occur in standard translations. This insertion is unusual, as we will see, because Blanco often changes the word “hell” where it does occur in the New Testament. In TCW, therefore, Luke 16:26 states:

Besides there’s a great distance between heaven and hell, so no one from here can go down there nor can anyone from there come up here.



Since Jesus taught more about hell than any other person, it is important for us to understand what He and also His apostles said about it. The New Testament teaching of this doctrine, therefore, is crucial for us to understand and to take seriously. Understanding that Adventism teaches an unbiblical view of death prepares us to expect that The Clear Word will distort the teaching of the biblical doctrine of hell. Following, therefore, are comparisons of 14 New Testament uses of the word “hell” with the same passages in The Clear Word (TCW), The Easy English Clear Word (TEECW), and The Clear Word for Kids (TCWK) renderings of the same passages.

Matthew 5:22

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

Don’t be angry and hate people. Don’t even look down on others and call them names. If you do, how can God give you eternal life?

The Clear Word

But I’m telling you that even if you don’t kill, but you hate someone so much that if you had the opportunity you would kill him, you’ll be held responsible by the heavenly court the same as if you had committed murder. To go a step further, if you treat someone with contempt because you think you’re better than he is, you’re in danger of losing eternal life.

English Standard Version

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, “You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire.


In his paraphrasing of Mathew 5:22, Blanco is inconsistent in identifying the sin that he says threatens eternal life. In the TEECW and TCWK he states that being angry, hating, and calling someone names may prevent one from receiving eternal life, but in TCW the eternally fatal behavior is hating someone so much that one would kill if given the opportunity, or treating someone with “contempt” and thinking one is “better than he is”. The ESV, however, links being angry with someone with insulting him and defaming his character. Jesus says these reactions are as indicting as murder and make one liable to “the hell of fire”.

Even more significantly, Blanco has completely avoided using the words “hell of fire”— or even simply “hell”—replacing “hell” with the “danger of losing eternal life”. This change in wording eliminates the idea of eternal punishment and even of the wicked suffering in the fires of hell. In short, Blanco’s edits support the Adventist idea of annihilation.

Matthew 5:29-30

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

Be willing to lose an eye rather than to sin. God can restore your eye, but if you really don’t want to stop sinning, God can’t take you to heaven. It is better to lose a hand than to continue sinning and lose heaven.

The Clear Word

If there’s anything that keeps leading you into sin, you need to get rid of it, even if it’s as valuable to you as one of your eyes. It’s better to go without an eye than to go on sinning and lose eternal life. Even if you had to lose your right hand, it would be better to lose it here than to lose out on heaven later.

English Standard Version

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.


Again Blanco eliminates the word “hell” in this passage and substitutes it with “lose heaven”. Even though Adventism does teach a temporary “hell”, it is better for Adventist readers to avoid the word entirely because the word implies people being tormented for their sins. Blanco knows that his paraphrase needs to support the Adventist doctrine of annihilation at the end of all things, so he avoids “hell” altogether.

In the next comparison we are including a third version by Blanco, a stand-alone paraphrase of the New Testament, The New Testament, A Devotional Paraphrase to Stimulate Faith and Growth. We will see that Blanco has found three different ways to avoid the Matthew 10:28 assertion that God can destroy people in hell.

Matthew 10:28

The New Testament, A Devotional Paraphrase to Stimulate Faith and Growth

Don’t be afraid you might be killed. They can kill your body but not your spirit or your loyalty to me. Now, if there is something to be concerned about, it’s that you don’t lose your confidence in God.

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

Even if some people threaten to kill you, don’t be afraid. They can’t take away your eternal life. Only God has the power to give eternal life or to take it away.

The Clear Word

Don’t fear that you might be killed. They may kill your body, but they cannot take away your eternal life. God is the only One who has power over eternal life and death.

English Standard Version

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.


Blanco must have had a difficult time with these paraphrases. First, notice that in The New Testament Devotional Paraphrase, Blanco includes the word “spirit” instead of “soul” and states that it can’t be killed. In Adventism, one’s spirit is literally the breath in one’s lungs. Breath, of course, cannot be killed. Moreover, in Adventism, a “soul” is a body that has breath, not an immaterial part of man. This distinction between “spirit” and “soul”, however, is not explained but is assumed. Blanco’s Adventist readers will understand what he means. Also note his use of one’s “loyalty to me” which cannot be taken away, while one must be concerned about his “confidence in God” which he can lose. There is no hint of these concerns in the ESV.

In this verse, the ESV distinguishes between body and soul, but in Adventism a body and soul cannot be separated because a breathing body constitutes a soul. Consequently, Blanco eliminates the word “soul” in all of his versions and removes the clear statement that the soul lives on after the body is killed. Instead, he vaguely states that no human can take away another’s “eternal life”. This idea makes life, both temporal and eternal, related to the body and not to an immaterial soul or spirit.

Further, Blanco removes any hint that God destroys people, “soul and body”, in hell. Adventism teaches that if people are lost and annihilated in the fire of God at the end of time, they themselves have chosen that fate. Satan destroys, Adventists say, not God. Blanco, therefore, removes the word “destroys” and simply gives God “authority” over eternal life and death and once again removes the loaded word “hell”. Moreover, the fear of God is not placed in any of the versions of The Clear Word. Clearly, however, the Bible teaches that we are to fear Him who can cast both body and soul into hell.

Matthew 16:18

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

But don’t feel proud. You are only a little rolling stone. It’s on His Son, the Rock, that God will build His church. The forces of evil will go against it, but they will not win.

The Clear Word

But don’t become overconfident. You’re just a small rock, as your name indicates. However, the Rock on which I will build my church is the truth that was just revealed to you. The gates of wickedness and death will not be able to stand against it.

English Standard Version

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


Blanco attempts to avoid the Catholic argument that Peter was the first Pope because Jesus identified him as the rock on which He would build His church. In fact, the name Peter is petros, or a loose stone. The word underlying the “rock” on which Jesus would build His church is petra, or “bedrock”. Commentators have suggested several different interpretations of this difficult passage, but the idea of Peter being the “bedrock” upon which Christ built His church and becoming its first “pope” is clearly not suggested in this verse.

To avoid the Catholic conclusion, Blanco completely changes the meaning of the verse and makes Jesus’ words a reproof and a warning to Peter against pride. Furthermore, Blanco again eliminates the word “hell”. The Greek word Hades underlies the word “hell”, and its multiple definitions include the place of the departed spirits. The connotation of this word in context suggests that the powers of death—of all the forces that oppose God—cannot prevail against the church. Using the word “hell” here accurately portrays the meaning: the gates of the place where all the wicked will be punished will not prevail against the church. The term “hell” when used Biblically can give a powerful message, but Blanco carefully avoided the implications of the text of this verse.

Matthew 18:9

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

If your eyes keep looking at things you shouldn’t, do whatever is necessary to overcome evil. Think about loving God and being with Him. You don’t want to die forever, as the wicked will.

The Clear Word

If, for example, your eye causes you to sin, be willing to lose your eye if necessary rather than to lose out on heaven. If you must make a choice, it’s better to forego greatness in this life than to be consumed by the fire of God’s judgment.

English Standard Version

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.


First, Blanco eviscerates the hyperbole Jesus used of tearing out an offending eye and throwing it away rather than being thrown into hell. If we were reading this passage in a book of secular literature, we would immediately recognize it as a figure of speech intended to emphasize the importance of refusing to accommodate persistent sin in our lives. Blanco removed the hyperbolic power of Jesus’ words. In the TEECW/TCWK version, he made a moral lesson and challenged children to motivate themselves to overcome their sin. In TCW Blanco morphs the motivation and makes a case for choosing to debase oneself rather than insisting on greatness.

pullquote23Next Blanco again eliminates the word “hell”. Furthermore, he makes a point to refer to dying “forever” and to being “consumed” by the fire of judgment. Very deliberately Blanco washes the reference to eternal punishment out of this passage and reinforces the Adventist doctrine of annihilation.

Matthew 23:15

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

You tell people to sell their houses and give all they have to the Temple so you can use it. You’re willing to do anything to have someone accept your beliefs. But you teach him to be more like you than like God.

The Clear Word

You will go to any length to convert one person, both here and abroad, but after that person is converted, he’s twice as unfit for heaven than before, because of what you taught him.

English Standard Version

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.


In this example the verse from TEECW/TCWK is different in meaning from The Clear Word, let alone from the ESV. Rather than making the proselyte “a child of hell”, Blanco has the Pharisees teaching them to be “more like you than like God.” Although this accusation may be true, it is not what the Scripture states. In TCW Blanco merely refers to “what you taught him,” but he changes “twice as much a child of hell” to “twice as unfit for heaven.” Once again Blanco negates the seriousness of Jesus’ words and removes His judgment against the unbelieving Jews for their deception and false teaching. Blanco not only eliminates the reference to hell, but he also downplays the Jews’ offense and eliminates the truth about God’s judgment of sin.

Matthew 23:33

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

You’re very shrewd. How can you expect God to approve what you’re doing?

The Clear Word

You’re as slippery as snakes. How do you expect to receive anything except total annihilation?

English Standard Version

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?


Here TEECW/TCWK is timid, calling the Pharisees “shrewd,” and ending with God’s simply not approving what they’re doing. In The Clear Word Blanco introduces a simile—“slippery as snakes”—and becomes explicit with the Adventist doctrine of annihilation. Not receiving God’s approval and being sentenced to hell, however, are not equivalent in any way. Children and those learning English as a second language are not receiving the full impact of Jesus’ words, while the readers of TCW are being reinforced in their belief in annihilation. In reality, Jesus uses an image of deception and calls the Pharisees vipers. He clearly says they will not escape being condemned to hell, but Blanco utterly eliminates this serious judgment and the message to all who pervert God’s word and deceive the unsuspecting.

Mark 9:43, 45, 47

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

If your hand, foot, or eye causes you to lose your faith or leads you into sin, it would be better to be without a hand, foot, or eye than to lose heaven and die forever.

The Clear Word

You must be willing to sacrifice anything that would take you away from me, even something as valuable as your right arm. It is better to be physically handicapped and be in the kingdom of God than to go through life physically whole only to lose eternal life and be consumed in the lake of fire. Anything that holds you back spiritually needs to be removed. If you have to sever your foot to keep from straying away from God, do so. Why go through life striving to be a great success if it means sacrificing eternal life for the fires of hell? Whatever perverts your spiritual vision, get rid of it. It’s better to lose an eye, if you have to, and be in God’s kingdom than to be praised by men and be thrown into the lake of fire.

English Standard Version

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell.


TEECW/TCWK has condensed five verses, 43-47, into the brief statement shown above. Significantly, “unquenchable fire” in verse 43 is changed to “die forever”—a change which loses the impact of Jesus’ reference to eternal punishment. In TCW, however, Blanco has the wicked being consumed in the lake of fire in verse 43. He cannot use the term “unquenchable”, however, because it would contradict the Adventist belief in annihilation of the wicked.

Interestingly, however, we finally find Blanco using the term “the fires of hell” in verse 45 of TCW. In the context of his paraphrase, though, there is no sense of these fires being eternal. Moreover, Blanco once again destroys the hyperbole Jesus used when He says to cut off offending body parts if they cause one to sin. Blanco “spiritualizes” the text and makes a moral lesson about eliminating whatever “perverts your spiritual vision.” He also uses the idea of perverted spiritual vision and being praised by men as the antithesis of being in “God’s kingdom”.

In context, however, Jesus is warning against sinning against other believers. This warning about cutting off hands and feet if they cause one to sin immediately follows His statement that whoever causes a little one to stumble would be better off thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck. Jesus is warning against hurting and deceiving others and against persistent sin, and He recommends radical measures to remove sin from one’s life. Blanco weakens the pointed warnings, morphs the concern into one of being praised by men, and eliminates the references to eternal punishment.

Luke 12:5

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

Only God has the power to destroy forever. He’s the one you should respect.

The Clear Word

The only One to stand in awe of is God, who can not only destroy your body but also has the power to destroy you in the lake of fire. He is the One to fear.

English Standard Version

But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!


Blanco does two things in this verse. First, he softens the word “fear”, although in the kids’ version he eliminates “fear” altogether. Most Adventists learn that the texts that ask us to fear God really mean we are to hold Him in awe. God, however, should be feared by those who do not know Jesus. He is the sovereign Power in the universe and holds life and death in His hands.

Second, Blanco again avoids using the term “hell”. He is comfortable, however, using the term “lake of fire” because in Adventist thought, this phrase carries with it the idea of annihilation. The belief in annihilation shapes Blanco’s phrase “the power to destroy” in both versions.

James 3:6

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

A tongue is a flame of fire. It can ruin a person’s life as if his body had been set on fire by Satan himself.

The Clear Word

The tongue is just like that. It can inflame emotions and create a world of evil. It can poison the whole body and set a person’s whole life on fire, as if it had been done by the devil himself.

English Standard Version

And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.


In this verse, Blanco again modifies the power of the biblical metaphor. The Bible actually says the tongue is “a world of unrighteousness”. Blanco says it can create a world of evil. This shift from identity to creation removes the unrighteousness from the tongue of the person and puts it outside the person as something his tongue happened to do. James puts the fire and the unrighteousness in the body—the tongue—of the person as a natural part of the human inheritance. This wording supports the biblical teaching that we are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). Moreover, Blanco removes the reference to the “fire of hell” and says the destruction one’s tongue can cause is like a fire caused by Satan himself.

This wording changes the meaning of the metaphor. “Hell” is God’s judgment and punishment of the wicked. It is not caused or powered by Satan; it is God’s own wrath against sin that creates hell. By saying that an unrighteous tongue destroys one’s life as if with fire caused by Satan, Blanco gives Satan illegitimate power. Satan is not the cause of nor responsible for the destructive power of hell. God is. The actual passage from James makes it clear that an unrighteous tongue creates destruction in one’s life that is related to the destruction of hell—a destruction that is God’s judgment on sin.

Finally, “hell” and “the devil himself” are not equivalent. One is a place and a condition of judgment, while the other is an evil being. Again, removing hell eliminates the echoes of “eternal burning” and the connection between one’s natural sin and the fires of hell.

2 Peter 2:4

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

If angels who sinned were put out of heaven, it’s only a matter of time before false teachers will also be punished.

The Clear Word

If God didn’t spare the angels who had sinned but had to put them out of heaven to remain in darkness until they are judged, it’s only a matter of time before these false teachers will have to face the consequences of what they have done.

English Standard Version

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; …


In this passage Blanco adds content to the verse. The Bible says nothing in verse 4 about the false teachers being punished. Moreover, Blanco removes the certainty that the sinful angels are already being judged as they wait for “the judgment”. The ESV states that God “cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness”, and there they are kept until Judgment Day.

Blanco also removes the reference to hell and chains. In TEECW/TCWK he only states that the sinful angels were “put out of heaven”; in TCW he says they are remaining in darkness “until they are judged”. Blanco is being true to Adventism in this alteration, however; in the great controversy paradigm, no creation is cast into the lake of fire until the end of the investigative judgment. Blanco cleverly omits this biblical proof that God is already keeping some angels bound in hell until the day of judgment.

Revelation 19:20

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

But the sea beast and land animal that had turned false prophet were both captured. They were thrown into a lake of fire and destroyed.

The Clear Word

But the sea beast and the animal turned false prophet were taken prisoner. This is the false prophet who had worked miracles to deceive people and had forced them to worship the sea beast and to receive its mark. Both of them were engulfed by a lake of fire and destroyed.

English Standard Version

And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.


In this verse Blanco states that the beast and the false prophet were thrown into “a lake of fire” and destroyed. There is nothing in Scripture, however, that indicates that they are destroyed by this lake of fire. They are thrown in alive. Moreover, Revelation 20:9-10 make it clear that the lake of fire did not consume the beast and the false prophet:

“And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

The passage in Revelation 20 is set after the millennium, 1000 years after the passage in Revelation 19 where the beast and the false prophet were thrown into the lake of fire. A millennium later, they are still there and will be tormented with Satan forever and ever.

Revelation 20:10

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

All of them will be destroyed, including Satan and his angels. This is called the second death. That death will last forever.

The Clear Word

And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and consumed together with the sea beast, the land animal, and all the wicked. Their destruction will be forever and ever.

English Standard Version

…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.


In this passage Blanco has eliminated the concept of “torment” and inserted the clear statement of the eternal destruction of the wicked. This change accommodates the Adventist doctrine of annihilation. Scripture, however, tells us that the wicked will be tormented “day and night forever and ever.” Blanco’s change of this passage from one that teaches eternal torment to a statement of destruction is one of his most blatant changes of Scripture. By altering these words, Blanco changes the nature of eternal hell into something that is much more comfortable for an Adventist audience and for others who have a difficult time believing in eternal punishment.

Revelation 20:14-15

The Easy English Clear Word and The Clear Word for Kids

That’s when I saw Satan, together with all those whose names were not written in the Book of Life, thrown into the lake of fire and totally destroyed. This is called the second death.

The Clear Word

Then I saw death and the grave thrown into a lake of fire. This is called the second and final death. Anyone whose name was not recorded in the Book of Life was consumed by this same fire.

English Standard Version

Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.


TEECW/TCWK fails to say that death and the grave, or Hades, were thrown into the lake of fire. The Clear Word in this instance is closer to Scripture than are the simplified versions. However, both of Blanco’s paraphrases state that the lost are consumed or destroyed by this fire. He adds to the passage the concept of destruction instead of using the Scriptural words: the wicked, death, and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire.



Seventh-day Adventism does not teach the biblical doctrine of hell. It teaches that the wicked dead are “asleep” (actually non-existent) as are the righteous dead. Further, Adventism teaches that the wicked dead will be resurrected to face the lake of fire where they will be totally annihilated, never to exist again. Jack Blanco has altered the New Testament passages about hell to make them consistent with Adventist theology. In other words, he has made the passages more comfortable for an Adventist audience.

When Adventists read The Clear Word, they will not find its words to be challenging or puzzling as the Bible would be. Revelation 20:10, for example, is difficult but clear: “they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Blanco has “fixed” this passage in his paraphrases so it will be familiar for Adventists rather than jolting them into searching the Scriptures to see if their beliefs are true or not.

Blanco will stand one day facing the judgment of the words of Scripture. The large audience that uses The Clear Word in one or more of its editions as a study aid are learning Adventist doctrine from its pages. Moreover, they are being confirmed in their belief that Adventism is the only belief system that is true to the Bible. The words of James 3:1 reveal that those who teach, as Blanco does through his Clear Word paraphrase, are judged with greater strictness:

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

Finally, Revelation 22:18-19 clearly states the outcome for those who tamper with God’s word:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

The Clear Word is not a Bible. Adventists need to know that reading this book will not teach them God’s word. Instead, it will confirm the unbiblical doctrines of Adventism. †


Life Assurance Ministries

Copyright 2016 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Camp Verde, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised August 23, 2016. Contact email: proclamation@gmail.com


S U M M E R • 2 0 1 6

This article is excerpted from a forthcoming book by Stephen Pitcher on the Adventist “devotional paraphrase” of the Bible, The Clear Word (TCW). Written by Jack Blanco when he was chairman of the religion department at Southern Adventist University, TCW was first published as a whole work in 1994 with the title The Clear Word Bible. The Adventist organization denies that this work is “official”, yet the Adventist Review and Herald Publishing Association prints the book, and Adventist Book Centers sell several versions of this book as Bibles, both online and in their stores. In spite of statements denying its being an official Adventist Bible, inside the organization it is treated and marketed as a Bible.