What do these names Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, Queber, Tartarus, Abyss, Hell, and the Lake of Fire mean?
Whenever a new poll is taken it seems like fewer and fewer people believe the Bible’s teaching on hell. But if a person finds out that they were wrong about this subject when they die, it will be too late to do anything about it. So, we need to know now if hell is real!
The Bible says: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrews 9:22) These questions should be extremely important to every living man and woman. Is there a heaven, and is there a hell? If I were to die today where would my soul be?
Someone might say, “That is just nonsense!” “People do not believe in hell any longer.” “We are just too smart to believe such a thing!” I am sure that is what the people before the flood said about a flood coming. But many people, who do not believe the Bible, also do not believe a worldwide flood took place in the past, and they will not believe there is a hell until it is too late! That is really too bad, because it does not have to be this way. Whenever there have been hurricanes coming people are warned, but there are always those who for one excuse or another will not heed the warnings and move to safety.
Jesus came to this earth the first time as it was foretold, and He is coming again. The verse we had earlier from the book of Hebrews says He will come back for those who believe in Him. However, the Bible also predicts that many will not believe He is coming again just like they do not believe there was a flood in the past. “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?
For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:1-7)
Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven. Why was that? I believe it is because if a person’s house is on fire you need to warn them. They may not like to hear it, but that does not matter! They may be asleep, but you need to wake them up! The important thing is to get them out of the house that is on fire, and then we can talk about a new home in heaven later. You see we are lost in our sins and unless we receive Christ as our personal Savior we will perish. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
The reason I am sharing this with you is because Jesus loves you, and I love you, even though I have not seen you. I want you to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus, myself, and billions of other believers. You see when I was just a child of nine years old, someone shared this message with me about hell, and it was as a result of this message I received Christ as my LORD and Savior. Now I am on my way to heaven, and I want you to go with me. I do not want you to stay in the house of sin that is on fire, you need to get out of there and receive Jesus as your Savior. I am instructed to tell you this message, notice what these verses say: “. keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” (Jude 21-23)
Before I go into detail about hell from the Bible, I want you to know that you can receive Jesus Christ by faith right now wherever you are. Will you pray this prayer: Father God in heaven, I believe Jesus Christ of the Bible is your Son and that He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and that He came to life the third day. Right now, I repent of my sins (turn from them), and receive Jesus as my personal LORD and Savior. Thank you for saving me, in Jesus name, Amen.
You see God loves people and does not want them to be separated from Him in hell. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) God does not want people to go to hell, but they have a choice in the matter. If people refuse to take God’s gift of salvation there is no other way of forgiveness for sin. Since God is a holy God He has to separate Himself from those who are in sin, and He must punish those who sin. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Now as to how we know hell is real, let us look at what Jesus said about it. “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Raca! (Empty head) shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire (Gehenna).” (Matthew 5:22) “Hell fire is literally “Gehenna,” the Greek translation of the Hebrew “Valley of Hinnom.” The valley was a ravine south of Jerusalem where refuse was burned and where human sacrifices were offered to Molech (see 2 Kings 23:10). It was most likely symbolic of the fires and judgments of eternal punishment.” (Spirit Filled Life Bible) I shudder to think of kids in school calling each other “fool,” thinking it is some kind of joke. If we are truly Christians, we will show love to each other and will not be calling each other names.
Another place Jesus used the word “Gehenna” is in this verse: “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire (Gehenna).” (Matthew 18:9) Obviously He does not mean for people to literally pluck out their eye, because it is not our eyes or any other part of our body that causes the problem. It is the mind and the heart that cause the problem. Jesus is trying to get people’s attention and tell them that there is a hell to shun. If a person continues practicing sin they are not saved according to 1 John 1:6 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” But this Scripture goes on to say: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
The point in this 1 John passage is, none of us is perfect and if we say we are, we are lying. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” So what should we do if we sin? We should confess that sin and ask God for victory over it. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10) We can go right to God through Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive us for our sins. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:5)
Jesus said to the Pharisees, who were hypocrites (literally actors, pretending to be religious and righteous), “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell (Gehenna)?” (Matthew 23:33) Jesus had no kind words for people who were proud and pretending to be right with God, but all along doing everything they told the people not to do. You see God sees our hearts; He will be the One who judges us on that final day.
Jesus, one day, talked about two men that went to pray. “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you; this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
Then we have the history of two men who when they lived on earth lived very different lives. One was a rich man, and the other a beggar. The rich man is not named, his name is not important now that he has gone to hell. Also, he was not sent to hell for having riches, but he showed what he believed in, by how he used his riches. The beggar on the other hand was a believer even though he was poor and despised on earth; in the afterlife he is revered. I do not believe this is a parable but a real history of two men. Always we are told when it is a parable, and no real names are used like here: Abraham and Lazarus. The beggar is Lazarus, and sometimes the name “Dives” is given to the rich man, but really this is not his name, the word Dives just means “a man of wealth” in Latin. Let’s look at this true history from Jesus lips and we will learn that hell is a real place.
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’” (Luke 16:19-26)
Before Christ’s resurrection, people went to Sheol (Hebrew from the Old Testament), or Hades (Greek from the New Testament). These words should never be translated as grave. The (Hebrew) word Queber – though, should always be translated as the grave. To simplify it, Sheol and Hades mean “the place of the departed spirits.” It is like we say, “Mr. Smith passed away.” We are not saying whether he went to heaven or hell, we are only saying that his spirit left this earth. That is basically what is being said of these terms. In Sheol/Hades there were two different sides or compartments, one was for torment, and the other for comfort as the passage in Luke makes clear. The hell side is not the second death; this comes after a person has been before the Great White Throne judgment. So, it is more like a holding cell in a “county jail,” for the sake of example. The person has to go to trial before they are put into the “state penitentiary” (hell).
You may remember that before Jesus died on the cross there were two thieves that were crucified with Him. One was repentant, and the other was not. Jesus said to the one thief that repented, today you will be with me in Paradise. Shortly after our Lord and Savior arose from the dead, the spirits of all in the place of comfort, known as Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise, went up with Christ, and the location of Paradise was changed to the third heaven. About ten years or so afterwards, Paul was caught up to it and heard unspeakable words, 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. (See our article, Will Heaven Be One Eternal Church Service?) The unrepentant thief, on the other hand, was sent to the “temporary hell,” that side of Sheol or Hades is still there, and will be until the Great White Throne Judgment takes place.
You may want to know why people went to Sheol/Hades before Christ arose from the dead. The reason for this is because until Jesus had settled the sin question they could not be forgiven completely. You see before Christ died on the cross for our sins, animals were sacrificed, but the book of Hebrews says that the sacrifice of animals could not take away sins, but only covered them for a time. Then when Jesus died on the cross He said, “It is finished!” Our sins were paid for, once and for all time, now those who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior do not have to go to Sheol/Hades, but now we go to be with Jesus in Heaven.
Where are Sheol, Hades and hell located? The Scriptures are also clear about this, look at these references: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40) Jesus went to the Paradise side of Sheol/Hades when He died. Abraham, Samuel, Lazarus, and millions of others would have been there, and then Jesus and the repentant thief on the cross went there as well. Then just after the three literal days were up (look at the article on the Resurrection from the Four in One Gospel) Jesus declared victory over Satan and proclaimed release to the “captives” that had been in this temporary place of comfort. Then Jesus transported the spirits of the Old Testament Saints to Heaven. Heaven is in preparation for us now, also Paradise (The Garden of Eden) has been moved there as well. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2-3)
When Jesus died on the cross, He went down into Sheol/Hades to the Paradise side with the repentant thief on the cross, the other unrepentant thief ended up in the torment or hell side of Sheol/Hades. When Jesus rose from the dead three days later, He took with Him all that were in the Paradise side to heaven with Him. “Therefore he says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ (Now this, ‘He ascended’-what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10) We said all this to point out that: “He ascended -what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?” Hell is in the lower parts of the earth.
We know by other Scriptures that the lower parts (heart) of the earth referred to here was Sheol, as we read, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10) This is explained by Saint Peter the apostle as referring to the Lord Jesus. “Because you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow your holy One to see corruption.” (Acts 2:27) From these two passages we see first that “Sheol” in the Hebrew is the same place that is named “Hades” in the Greek. Secondly, that the body and soul of our Lord Jesus were separated. In Isaiah it says: “And they made His grave (Queber) with the wicked-but with the rich at His death.” The Grave had His body and Sheol His soul.
The Bible teaches that hell is in the earth from these verses: “The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.” (Proverbs 15:24) Then speaking of the King of Babylon whom Satan had energized it says: “Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming.Your pomp is brought down to Sheol…Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol to the lowest depths of the Pit.” (Isaiah 14:9, 11, 15) There are many other references to the location of Sheol/Hades and hell but we need to move on.
When will people be judged? The Scripture is very clear on the timing for judgments. At the end of the Great Tribulation (read our article on Prophecy) Satan is locked up for 1000 years, during which Christ will rule on the earth. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.” (Revelation 20:1-3)
The resurrection of the Old Testament saints (with the exception of a few who were raised at Christ’s resurrection Matthew 27:52-53) will take place after the Tribulation, according to Daniel chapter 12. “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:1-2) The bodies of the unsaved or Old Testament unbelieving will not be raised for judgment until after the 1000 years of Christ’s reign on earth. “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.” (Revelation 20:5a) Note: When it says sleeping, it is their bodies that are sleeping because their souls are very much alive as we see in many Scriptures. Also, even though there are several different times that the righteous are resurrected, it is always called the First Resurrection. So, the First Resurrection has several phases. However, the “Second Resurrection” is for all the unbelievers of all time, and it only happens once at the end of what we call time (or the world as we know it).
“The suggestion that Israel will be resurrected prior to the tribulation saints results from a comparison of Revelation 19:7-9 with Psalm 50:1-6. At the marriage supper of the lamb, Israel will be in attendance as friends of the Bridegroom. Since the marriage supper will occur just prior to the glorious appearing, we may assume that Israel will be resurrected before the glorious appearing, tribulation saints during or at His glorious appearing.” (Revelation Illustrated and made Plain by Tim LaHaye)
Christians have a judgment of their motives for their works, but this is for rewards, and has nothing to do with sin, since their sin has been forgiven. This Bema seat of Christ takes place in heaven during the time of tribulation on the earth. “Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor…If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3: 8-15)
After the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth a throne is prepared for the trial of the ages. All those of all time who were not believers will have to stand before Christ and be judged for every thought, every action, that is every sin that they ever committed will be broadcast and then their judgment will be meted out to them. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great standing before God, and books were opened.
“And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20: 11-15) This is where Sheol/Hades is emptied out, (that temporary hell, “local jail”) and after people are judged for their sins they are cast into the “state penitentiary” eternal hell, or the Lake of Fire (the second death).
Now we do notice the unsaved are judged according to their works. This means there will be degrees of punishment in hell, but it will be bad enough just to be separated from God forever. “But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12: 45-48)
People who have had a lot of light spiritually will be judged more severely in hell. Yes it will be terrible enough to be in hell for all eternity, but it will be worse for those who had a lot of truth. For example, those who live in the United States have a church on almost every corner. We have freedom of the air waves so we have many radio and television programs that are Christian. We have newspapers and magazines that have Christian statements in them. We have the Bible, and so much Christian literature. We have excellent evangelists like Billy Graham, Luis Palau and many others. We have thousands of Christian Bible Schools and Seminaries. There is no excuse for a person not to know and receive the truth in countries like the United States. You would have to deliberately close your ears, and turn off the words of those around you in order to reject the truth of God’s Word. Will we be held very accountable, more so than others who have not heard the Gospel? You better believe it!
In the history that we had earlier about the rich man and Lazarus it goes on to say that the rich man wanted Lazarus to go to his brothers to warn them so they wouldn’t come to the place where he was. “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘no, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise form the dead.’” (Luke 16:27-31)
You see these men had the Word of God which is what is meant by Moses and the prophets, but they were not willing to believe them. The rich man thought if they had someone go to his brothers from the dead they would believe, but Abraham said if they do not believe the Bible, they would not believe even if someone did rise from the dead in front of them. We have no excuse; we have the Word of God in our hands. If we end up in hell, it is not because God did not warn us! Probably one of worst things about hell will be the feelings of remorse people will have for how they missed the opportunities to be saved.
Then there will be nothing like what is in heaven, love, joy, peace, light, etc. It will be darkness and burning. Some people laugh at the idea of hell and burning, they say, “How can you burn without burning up?” I do not know how it will work, nor do I want to go there to find out. I just know what God says in His Word about hell, and that is enough to keep me from wanting to go there. Some say, “Oh, all my friends will be there, we will just have a great time together.” A person will be so full of pain, like the rich man in the true story Jesus told, that a person will not enjoy anything! A person is conscious and aware of what they did wrong for eternity. In another Scripture Jesus says, “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12) It does not sound like they are having too much fun there to me!
Then there is another word “Tartarus” translated hell in 2 Peter 2:4-6, where the angels that sinned were reserved unto judgment. “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.” “The verb tartaroō, translated ‘cast down to hell’ in 2 Peter 2:4, signifies to consign to Tartarus, which is neither Sheol/ Hades nor Hell, but the place where those angels whose special sin is referred to in that passage are confined ‘to be reserved unto judgment;’ the region is described as ‘pits of darkness,’ RV. (VINE’S)
Now back to a description of hell itself. The rich man that Jesus spoke about’ who was in the temporary hell was even then in torment. He says, “. send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:24) You might ask, “How could he feel pain since he does not have a body, only a spirit?” From this passage, and other passages, we see that spirits do have emotions and do feel pain. The “rich man” would have just enjoyed having a little taste of water again. We live in the world that God has created for us. We drink of His water, we breath His air, and everything He has created is for us to enjoy. However, if through unbelief we do not appreciate the spiritual and physical blessings God has given us He can also take these things away.
God hates for people to be proud and think that they have their things because of something they alone have done. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27) “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store al my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)
What will hell be like for these people? One of the worst things I believe beyond the physical torment will be the ever-present thought that this did not need to happen to me. Look at the rich man’s statements: “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’” (Luke 16:27-28) He realized too late how he had blown it, and he wished he could spare his family. No doubt before when he was alive Lazarus had warned him of the judgment and life to come, but when the rich man was living that did not seem important at the time. He had everything he could ever dream of, that is why Jesus said of rich people it is hard for them to get saved. The reason for this is because they usually do not see their need of salvation because they have everything they want here and now. They tend to forget that they will die one day and leave all of their things behind.
Here are some other descriptions of hell: “the eternal fire” (Matthew 18:8), “the unquenchable fire,” “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:43-47) Gehenna is the word that is used along with the word “Lake of fire,” and it occurs twelve times in the New Testament, Matthew 5:22, 29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6. It is the final and eternal abode of the wicked. Fire is mentioned in connection with these verses eleven times. It is said to be everlasting, eight times. Eleven times out of the twelve it is mentioned by our Lord.
What is the Abyss? The Greek word Abussos, is translated as deep, bottomless, well, shaft, and bottomless pit. Satan is cast into the abyss, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.” (Revelation 20:1-3)
The fact of this “shaft,” is truly taught in the Bible. In Scripture it says: “Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.” (Revelation 9:1,2) This word rendered pit, is Phrear and is the same word that is translated well, (John 4:11-12) I believe that the Bible teaches that there is an abyss and a shaft down to it.
The abyss was comprised of the two compartments where demons and Satan will all go sooner or later. “Jesus asked him, saying, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion,’ because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.” (Luke 8:31-32) “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). (Romans 10:7) This would be referring to the three days that Jesus went to the “comfort” side of Sheol/Hades or the Abyss. We have the same truth taught in the Old Testament look at this verse “But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You.” (Psalm 55:23)
Now what about the Lake of Fire? It is mentioned five times in the New Testament. The first mention we will quote a verse for is about the false prophet and the Antichrist: “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Revelation 19:20)
The Devil himself is talked about as being cast into this place next: “And the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)
Third: Then, “Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14)
Fourth: “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
Fifth: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
Let me close by saying that hell is very real, but it was not made to begin with for people, but for the devil and his fallen angels (demons). However, those who do not want their sins forgiven, and want to follow the devil, will end up where he ends up. “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41, 46)
Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? In other words, have you asked God the Father to forgive you for your sins, and for Jesus to come into you and be your Savior? The choice is yours; God loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him. He will not force people to repent, but if they do not, He cannot let their sins go unpunished. It will mean eternal separation from God for a person who does not want to be saved. Receive Jesus as you LORD and Savior right now if you have not already and you will have no fear of hell! “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:16-17)
*The study on the Greek and Hebrew words should be credited to Dr. Congdon, one of my professors at Multnomah.
by Gary T. Panell
What do these names Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, Queber, Tartarus, Abyss, Hell, and the Lake of Fire mean?