Does Hell exist? Yes!  The Bible says it does.

Do you accept the fact that God is the author of the Bible?  

  • Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20,21).
  • "All Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16)

Hell is the term generally used in Scripture to refer to a place of future punishment for the wicked dead. The major Old Testament terms for the unseen world of the departed are Shoel and Pit.  The major New Testament Greek words are Hades, Gehenna, Tartarus, and the Lake of Fire.

"Tartarus" is used only in 2 Peter 2:4  "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell (Tartarus), putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment."

"Gehenna" from the Greek word "Geena" is the eternal dewelling of the wicked. It also means the place of eternal damnation.

In the New Testament, "hell" is portrayed as: 

  1. unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12; 5:22; 18:9)
  2. a place of condemnation (Matthew 23:33)
  3. a firery furnace (Matthew 13:42, 50)
  4. blackest darkness (Jude 13)
  5. a firery lake of burning sulfer (Revelations 21:8)
  6. a place prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 2:41)

Whenever "Gehenna" is used in the New Testament, it always means the place of eternal damnation.  It was named for the ancient vally of Hinnom where fires consumed refuge and worms fed on dead bodies (Joshua 15:8; Jeremiah 19:2-5)

The Greek translation of the Aramaic "gehinnam," which itseld refers to the Hebrew "ge hinnom," Valley of Ben Hinnom (2 Kings 23:10; 2Chronicles 28:3)

Jeremiah 7:32 and 19:6 contain the prophecy that this place of shame will become the place of God's punishment.

Because of these word associations, by the First Century B.C. "Gehenna" came to be used metaphorically for the "hell of fire," the place of everlasting punishment for the wicked.

"Shoel" and "Hades" are the same; one Hebrew the other Greek:

  • Psalm 16:10 (RSV) For thous dost not give me up to Shoel, or let they godly one see the Pit.
  • Acts 2:27 (RSV) for thou wilt not abondon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption [Acts 2:27 is quoting Psalm 16:8-11].

The New International Version (NIV) translators use the word "grave" for both "Shoel" and "Hades."  But in Luke 16:28 the NIV uses "Hell" for "Hades." And in Isaiah 38:10 the NIV uses "death" for "Shoel."

In the Old Testament there are serveral ways "Shoel" is used:

  • Once there,a person has no hope of returning to the realm of the living (Job 7:9; 17:13-16)
  • The place where all people go upon death. The phrase "in mourning will I go down to the grave" occurs four times in Genesis (37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31). Keep in mind this was before the New Testament era.
  • A place where the wicked go upon death (Job 21:13; 24:19; Psalm 9:17; Psalm 31:17; 49:14).
  • A place from which the righteous are saved (Psalm 49:15; 86:13; Proverbs 15:24).
  • A place over which God has absolute sovereignty. Shoel "lies open, naked before" God (Proverbs 15:11; Job 26:6).

Shoel is also used as a metaphor:

  • greed (Habakkuk 2:5; Proverbs 27:20; 30:16)
  • murder (Proverbs 1:12)
  • jealousy (Song of Solomon 8:6)
  • troubles of life (Psalm 88:3)
  • near death situations (2 Samuel 22:6; Psalm 18:5; 30:3; 116:3; Jonah 2:2)
  • great sin (Isaiah 28:15, 18; 57:9)

The older translations use Shoel and Hades to refer to a place beneath the earth where all wicked men of ancient times are confined: (Ezekiel 31:16-18; 32:17-32; Luke 16:23-28).

This place has gates:

  • Isaiah 38:10  the gates of Shoel
  • Matthew 16:18 the gates of Hades

This place has bars:

  • Jonah 2:2-6 I went down to the land whose bars clsoed upon me forever

Christ has the keys to this place:

  • Revelation 1:18 Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living One; I died,and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
  • The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work -- 1 John 3:8
  • Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death -- that is, the devil -- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death -- Hebrews 2:14,15
  • For He (Jesus Christ) has rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son God loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins --  Colossians 1:13
  • Having disarmed the powers and authorities, He (Jesus Christ) made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross -- Colossians 2:15

One day this place will give up its dead for judgment:

  • Revelation 20:11-15  And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them,

"Pit" in the Old Testament is the place into which the wicked descent:

  • Numbers 16:28-33 the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, . . . so they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Shoel; and the earth closed over them, and they perished. [The NIV uses "grave" for "Shoel" but it would be hard to believe that a grave swallowed up all those  people along with all their belongings]
  • Ezekiel 26:20 then I will thrust you down with those who descend into the pit
  • Isaiah 14:15 you will be thrust down to Shoel, to the receses of the pit

Inferno locusts are confined in the bottomless pit:

  • Revelation 9:1-11 the fifth angel opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, . . . from the smoke came locusts [NIV uses Abyss]

Satan will be cast into the pit of the abyss:

  • Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years are ended.

The lake of fire is the final abode of Satan, his angels, the antichrist, false prophet, and all those whose names were not found written in the book of life:

  • Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
  • Revleation 20:10 and he devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimestone
  • Revelation 20:15 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life is thrown into the lake of fire
  • Revelation 19:10 The beast (antichrist) and the false prophet, the two of them are thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

An invitation: If you haven’t accepted God’s free gift yet, but you would like to simply pray this prayer:

“Jesus Christ, I believe you are the Son of God and the only way to God.  I admit that I’m a sinner, please forgive my sins and come into my life; I want to be born again.  Please show me how real you are, also baptize me with your Holy Spirit.  Thank you for accepting me.”

If you’re a skeptic: “God, if this is true, please help me understand so that I can accept the gift of New Birth you purchased for me.”

Here is a link to an informative article about the Horrors of Hell

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