There are “FOUR” dimensions for the abode of spirits awaiting the judgement: TARTARUS”, “GEHENNA”, “HADES”, and “SHEOL”
Each has a different meaning in scriptures and is identified according to the context or the nature of the text. Yet, they are all rendered “Hell” in most English translations of the Bible.
Hades is called “The Underworld”, yet the Greeks identify Hades as the god of the underworld and the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea. It is said that the brothers split their rule with Zeus becoming a god of the skies, Poseidon a god of the sea and Hades becoming a god of the underworld.
However, whether there be a demon-god over the domain of the dead or not, the term Under world let us know that it is indeed an actual “world”; a place, a Domain, a Sphere, a Realm where beings dwell.
It’s a place that was divided into two parts; “Gehenna” and “Paradise” (which is called Abraham’s bosom) and was the abode of the souls of both the righteous and unrighteous. It designates not the place of dead carcasses but the state of death or disembodied existence. In this sense even the soul of Jesus was in Hades according’ to Peter’s statement (Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31 – which was a fulfilment of Psalms 16:10).
KJV uses one word Hell to apply to every part of the underworld and does not distinguish between the grave for the dead bodies (Sheol) in Hebrew: and the place of the fallen angels that are bound in darkness (Tartarus), and Hades the abode of spirits.
- GEHENNA – a place where unrighteous souls suffer damnation with eternal fire. The original concept came from a place outside the South-western wall of Jerusalem, where the Children of Israel would burn garbage and build sacrificial fiery altars to offer their children to Molech. (2Kings 23:10, Joshua 15:8, Jeremiah 7:31). Because of the constant throwing of garbage, the fire would continuously burn day and night. This is the valley (or “ravine”) of Hinnom (Nehemiah.11:30) in the land of the Jebusites (Jerusalem) and is called (“the ravine of the son of Hinnom,” or the valley of the sons of Hinnom. The Hebrew phrase Gê (“ravine of”) Hinnom became Ge-hinnon or Gehenna in Greek. The torment in this section is based on the sin of the person. Each sin has its own torment and punishment. Also, once in this place there is no way out. In hell, there is no rest, neither day nor night. Upon arrival, you will see hell. . you will smell hell. . you will breathe hell . . you will hear hell . . you will feel hell. . you will taste hell. . you will be hell. There is a perfect and precise example in Ezekiel 26:20, “I will send you down to the world of the dead to join the people who lived in ancient times. I will make you stay in that underground world among eternal ruins, keeping company with the dead. As a result you will never again be inhabited and take your place in the land of the living”. The place where the rich man went after he died (Luke 16:22-23), is Gehenna; a place of unquenchable fire where worms does not die.
- SHEOL is the Hebrew equivalent of Hades, but donates a place of the dead, without consciousness – (the grave). It is for the dwelling of carcasses not a place of spirits and punishment; therefore, Sheol is on surface as a physical place.
- PARADISE- Before the resurrection of Jesus, the souls of the righteous went to Paradise, which was located in a certain part of Hades, as confirmed by scriptures. Luke 23:43, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Yet, the scriptures say that Jesus was in Hell for three days and three nights. Presently, the place of the Righteous (Paradise/Abraham’s Bosom) is no more in the underworld; but has been relocated to the 3rd Heavens in the presence of God. Jesus went to Paradise, yet, the scriptures are saying that he also descended down into hell; Eph. 4:9-10, “…..he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth…..he that descended is the same also that ascended…..” It is confirmed again that Jesus went to hell; Acts 2:31, “….spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”
TARTARUS (Greek) – This dimension is located in the 5th Heavens, and is separate from Hades, Gehenna or Sheol, and is a place reserved only for Fallen Angels. The word occurs only once in the Bible in 2 Peter 2:4 where it says, “For if God did not spare sinning angels, but thrust them down into Tartarus, and delivered them into chains of darkness, being reserved to judgment”. There are no Biblical references to people going there.
Many people say that God is too loving to send people to Hell fire. We must remember that God is all loving and merciful; but God is also a consuming fire, just and holy and rewards everyone based on their choice. God DOES NOT tolerate sin and rebellion. 1Samuel 15:23, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”
Galatians 5:19-21 made it clear, “Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness,
V.s 20, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies,
V.s 21, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that they who do such things SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
When he says repent and serve Him and have eternal life, He means it; but when He says the reward of living in sin is eternal damnation, He means what he says. Therefore, “We” are responsible for choosing Heaven or Hell, not God!
Jehovah witnesses and many other Christian churches say that the word “Hell” in the Bible means the Grave or Tomb. But according to Psalm 9:17 “Hell” CANNOT mean simply the grave, why?
Book of enoch 41:2 said, “And there I saw the mansions of the elect and the mansions of the holy (John 14:2), and mine eyes saw there all the sinners being driven from thence which deny the name of the Lord of Spirits, and being dragged off: and they could not abide because of the punishment which proceeds from the Lord of Spirits”.
Don’t the righteous people also go to the grave? If the word ‘Hell” means the just the grave as the Jehovah Witnesses say, then it makes Jesus a liar and deceiver.
But we all agree that the righteous in Christ and the wicked (unsaved people) are going to the same place- the Grave.
However, Hell is MORE than the Grave. If we are careful to search the scriptures, we will see that both the prophets of the O.T and the Messiah have made mention to “everlasting fire”, “lake of fire”, “flames”, “fire”, “hell” etc.