This is a very deep and wide topic, so today we are just going to scratch the surface by just looking at the use of the word HELL in the Bible.
Four different words from the Greek & Hebrew were translated into English as HELL,
54x in the KJV,
32x in the NKJV, and
11x in the NASB.
However, this is very confusing because these 4 different words have 4 very different meanings, and none of them mean HELL as we understand it - a fiery place of eternal torment. The words are:
Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, Tartarus
So what do they mean exactly?
Sheol is only used in the Old Testament, and it is a reference to where ALL souls (good and bad) go after their body dies - there is no torment or suffering. Sometimes it is simply referencing the grave. When we read our modern understanding of Hell into these verses, we drastically change the meaning of the passage into something it was never meant to be.
Hades is used in the NT and is a word borrowed from Greek mythology and the understanding of it was similar to the OT Sheol. A place for souls, but not a place of torment.
Gehenna is used most often by Jesus, who was echoing His Father's words in Jeremiah when He referenced this well known (to Jewish people) valley of pagan human sacrifice which eventually became the city sewage, open grave, burning trash pit. God renamed it the Valley of Slaughter. Again, it is very misleading to use the word Hell in place of Gehenna. When Father said Valley of Hinnom, the translators left it as is, but when Jesus referenced the Valley, they translated it into HELL. Why? Misleading and inaccurate.
Tartarus is used once in reference to angels, not humans - and it is borrowed from Greek mythology. It is the place within Hades where the punishment happens.
So, here's something interesting: there was no word in their own language - Hebrew or Greek - that would reference a place of eternal torment, without borrowing it from pagan mythology. It did not exist in their vocabulary, or in their concept of the afterlife. One only needs to go as far as Wikipedia to learn that torment in hell is not a belief of Judaism. (Christians added that!) If eternal torment in 'hell' is actually a thing to God, it is not represented in these 4 words, or even in the language His people spoke. In fact, the word HELL as a place of torment and punishment, did not start showing up in writings until 700 years after Christ!! 🤯 Prior to that, the word only existed in Norse mythology (Hel is the daughter of Loki, who ruled the underworld). I don't know about you, but to me, this means I need to rethink what I what I've been taught about hell...
See you on the next Quest!
Explore this topic some more!