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.
Three types of hell in the Bible
In the Bible, there are three types of hell mentioned.
These are the following:
- Sheol or Hades – referring to the grave
- Tartaroo – referring to the place of restrain for demons
- 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.
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.
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).
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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