Three Little-Known Types of Hell Mentioned in the Bible

Do you know that there is more than one type of hell mentioned in the Bible? In fact, the hell in the Bible is overwhelmingly different from the traditional hell most people know. Do you want to know the truth? If yes, read on to learn more!

When you hear the word “hell,” what is the first thing that comes into your mind?

You probably think of ever-burning fire where sinners forever burn day and night.

Well, what if I tell you that what most people think of hell is wrong?

What you have been taught and told about hell is most likely false — unless you can prove it through the Word of God.

Shocking as it may sound, the Doctrine of Hell is among the most common teachings that Christians got wrong.

Thankfully, in this post, you will learn the truth.

You would be surprised to learn that there is actually more than one type of hell mentioned in the Bible – three to be exact.

In this post, let me share with you the shocking three types of hell that no one has probably told you before.

3 Little-Known Types of Hell Mentioned in the Bible

Three types of hell in the Bible

In the Bible, there are three types of hell mentioned.

These are the following:

  1. Sheol or Hades – referring to the grave
  2. Tartaroo – referring to the place of restrain for demons
  3. Gehenna – referring to a consuming fire that burns garbage and trash

Now, let me give you an overview of these three types of hell.

Sheol or Hades

The first hell is called the Sheol in Hebrew and Hades in Greek.

Let’s closely examine these two.

Sheol, as defined by Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, is “the state and abode of the dead; hence the place in which the body rests.”

The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words added, “Thus there are no references to eternal destiny but simply to the grave as the resting place of the bodies of all people.”

In short, the first definition of hell is the grave.

In the Bible, sheol is translated as hell, grave, or it remains untranslated.

Thus, we read about some of the faithful servants of God to be going to hell.

These include the following:

  • Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:10)
  • Job (Job 14:13)
  • Jacob (Genesis 37:35)
  • David (Psalm 88:3)

Obviously, these people didn’t go to the so-called ever-burning inferno because they would be saved during the return of Christ.

Thus, the only conclusion we can make is that they went to the grave like any of us who will die.

On the other hand, hades in Greek is used in the Bible as the grave as well.

While it is true that Greek mythology uses Hades as a place of mysterious consciousness of death, it is never used that way in the Bible.

Whenever the New Testament quotes an Old Testament verse with Sheol in it, Hades is used.

We read that in the following verses:

  • Matthew 11:23
  • Luke 10:15
  • Acts 2:27–31

This shows us that both Sheol and Hades refer to the grave.

Further proof of this is when Peter mentioned that even Christ was in Hades or hell as shown in Acts 2:27–31:

For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 

This tells us that Christ was in the grave, but not in the same hell that most people mistakenly thought of.

Tartaroo

Another Greek word is also translated as hell and this is tartaroo.

It has only been used once in the Bible and it is found in II Peter 2:4 where we read:

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.

Hell in this verse came from the Greek word tartaroo. This term refers to the present imprisonment or restraint of the demons or fallen angels.

According to the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, “tartaros was the Greek name for the mythological abyss in which rebellious gods were confined.”

Thus, Peter used the term tartaroo as a fitting name to refer to a place where fallen spiritual beings were delivered and put into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.

What’s interesting to note is that tartaroo is only applicable to demons and not to human beings.

Gehenna

Lastly, the Greek word gehenna is another word translated as hell in the New Testament.

It seems that it is this Greek word that people associate with the traditional view of hell.

Gehenna is actually a Hebrew expression that refers to the Valley of Hinnom.

It was popularly known in the past as a place of idolatry and human sacrifices.

King Josiah then assigned this place as a place of refuse, garbage, and other dead materials so that people would stop using the Valley of Hinnom as a place of idolatrous worship.

Later, the Valley of Hinnom was used as a city garbage dump.

It was then a place where trash was burned along with dead bodies of criminals and animals.

Fire is needed to continually burn garbage in Gehenna. 

When Yahshua or Jesus Christ used the word gehenna, his audience knew that He is referring to the Valley of Hinnom where the fire consumes and destroys garbage.

However, it is worth noting that Gehenna’s fire was not an ever-burning fire.

As soon as there’s nothing to burn anymore, the fire would fizzle out by itself.

Christ would then warn the people that the incorrigibly wicked would be thrown to a hell similar to that fire found in Gehenna.

But where is this hell now?

Hell doesn’t exist as of now.

It will be lit up in the future during the great judgment of the wicked.

According to the prophet Malachi, this hell will turn the wicked into ashes (Malachi 4:1–3) and NOT burn them forever in hell as many believe.

In the book of Revelation, we read that this hell is also called the “lake of fire.”

Those who are thrown in the lake of fire will experience the second death and will not be resurrected anymore (Revelation 21:8; Revelation 20:10–15; Revelation 19:20).

Final words

So, there you have it.

I hope this would correct the wrong assumption of the many people today about hell.

Hell is not an ever-burning inferno where people would forever suffer.

Remember, the penalty of sin is death, not eternal life in hell (Romans 6:23).

In summary, hell in the Bible could be the grave, a place of restrain for the demons, or the lake of fire.

Nowhere will you read that people immediately go to hell when they die.

The dead will be waiting for the Great White Throne Judgment in the future.

You would need to carefully read the context to understand which hell a passage is referring to.

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6 thoughts on “Three Little-Known Types of Hell Mentioned in the Bible

  1. I appreciated your post and the history. However, their is a discrepancy- in Mathew 25:41, Jesus himself said their is an eternal fire that the “goats” will be banished to along with the devil and the fallen angels…
    So, their is a place for humans to be eternally punished…not all. I have read some people just get turned into dust…but certain souls will be in eternal fire. Unless in that passage you have a different understanding of eternal? Just trying to have some discourse with you.

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    • Thanks for your comment, Sarah.

      Please note that what was mentioned is eternal fire. It is the fire that’s eternal. It is not the humans who will live forever and suffer forever. Remember, eternal life is only given to the righteous. It is never given to the wicked. Can you imagine how sadistic God is if He will burn people in hell forever?

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      • This notion of can we imagine how wicked God will be like if people are to burn in hell forever isn’t consistent with the scriptures.

        It is not about is not about our imagination, after all how much so we know to be imagining because you can only imagine to the level of what you know. Our knowledge is limited as men so to be imagining for God is wrong.

        If the scripture says something then that is what it is.

        The scripture is emphatic on the salvation of the wicked ones who don’t have a place in the first resurrection and that is where the sovereign mercy of the Lord is displayed.

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  2. Good analysis but I do not totally agree with you even though there are levels of truth in what you said.

    If Jesus used “Gehenna” it is for a reason beyond the physical and a temporary burning. The words used in the scriptures are carefully used as inspired by the spirit. If Jesus said the wicked shall be thrown to Gehenna, then there is a spiritual reality to it.
    The lake of fire will not be lit in the future. It is already is and it is that flame that goes before the Lord to consume his enemies.
    Hell is a realm of the dead. Jesus died and went to that realm and took the key(power) of death and hell. Hell is beyond just the digging of the ground to put someone there. This is because the soul is not buried in that ground. There is a realm of the dead that goes beyond where the body lies or thrown to or burnt into ashes or drawn. If not then the story or the rich man and Lazarus makes no sense. Because it was said in the story that while humans are on earth, the rich man desires to come and tell the living about the realm he finds himself that none should come there.
    There are degrees of that realms. Jesus died was buried in the grave but went to hell in this case the realms of the dead.In the New Testament, the word “Hades” has a twofold usage: in some cases it denotes the place of all the departed dead (the grave – Acts 2:27,31); in others, it refers to the place of the departed wicked (Hell – Luke 16:23; Revelation 20:13-14)

    What is significant about the claim of Jesus being going to hell to disarmed wicked authorities and powers if it was just for his body to be buried?

    When his body was buried and he hasn’t go yet to the father, where then was he? After coming from that realm he now said I go now to the realm of His father to show himself to Him.

    When an unsaved soul dies and buried, the spirit goes back to God and his soul which is the person himself goes to the realm of hell. While a believer dies, his spirit goes to God and his soul is at rest in The Lord.

    Have you heard before that there is no rest for the wicked? That is because after there body is buried they enter into that realm of no rest
    The bible said hell which is the realm of the wicked souls and death shall be thrown into the lake of fire which is the second death.

    But the righteous man enters into the realm of rest, the bible said on the last day, those who enter also into the realm of rest shall be awaken for their rewards.

    Like

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