Hell (Hebrew: שאול, Shĕ'ol and גהינום, Gehennam; Greek: ᾍδης, Hadēs and Ταρταρόω, Tartaroō; Latin: Infernus; Arabic: جهنم, Jahánnam) in Christianity (though also existing in world religions such as Islam) is a place of torment and pain in the afterlife. In Christianity, Hell was originally created for the fallen angels and Satan both who rebelled against God, but the [[|sin|Fall of Man]] in the garden of Eden reserved hell for sinful man as well. Fortunately, salvation through Christ and (formerly) obedience to the Law saved men from this. Thus, Hell is reserved for those who deserve eternal punishment, fallen angels and sinful humans both. In Catholicism, eternal punishment can be sentenced through lack of faith or lack of good works, while in most forms of Protestantism, hell is reserved for those who do not place their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Hell is described in the Bible as a "lake of fire" and of "brimstone" (Revelation 20:10) and is where Satan and his demons will be banished for all eternity when Jesus returns.
The Seventh-Day Adventist church and other denominations, both Orthodox and Protestant believe that punishment in Hell is not eternal, citing Bible verses such as 1 John 4:8 that 'God is love'. While this is true, punishment in Hell is eternal according to the Bible.
It is important to distinguish between hades, the intermediate state between death and resurrection and Gehenna, the eternal hell. The existence of hell is an irrefutable teaching of the Scripture, both as a place for those wicked dead as a condition for unsaved men.
The Bible describes three places where spirits are temporarily interred. Two of these are for humans. One is a special place for demons who defiled humanity in the time before the Flood.
Jesus asserted to Nicodemus that no man has ascended to heaven (John 3:13). Prior to the Crucifixion, no human souls had yet been redeemed. The Scripture clearly states (Hebrews 9:22) that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission. Sin follows the human soul after death (John 8:21-24), otherwise anyone who simply died could be free of sin and go to heaven.
God breathed a living soul "Hebrew:neshamah" into Adam. The living soul is a rational, reasoning capacity. It also makes the soul eternal. When the breath-of-life of a non-human living creature "Hebrew:nephesh" leaves the body, both the body and the soul die and essentially cease to exist. When the breath-of-life leaves a human however, the body ceases to live but the soul lives on. All human souls will resurrect (John 5:29) and be reunited in some form with a physical body. Some will be resurrected to eternal life and some will be resurrected to damnation.
The general word for the "underworld" is Sheol. In the Old Testament, all human spirits went to Sheol. Since the Crucifixion, only the wicked go to Sheol, specifically to Hell/Gehenna.
- Sheol is the place for spirits of dead humans. Proverbs 27:20. In the Old Testament, all spirits of dead humans went to Sheol, to reside in one of two chambers. Abraham's Bosom or Hell. Both of these chambers are likened to a prison.
- Abraham's Bosom - Luke 16:22 - This a temporary place of rest for Old Testament believers. It is not heaven, because Old Testament believers did not go to heaven prior to the Crucifixion (John 3:13). These believers have hope in the Messiah and died with faith in their hearts. They could not yet enter heaven because Christ had not yet redeemed them. When Jesus was Crucified, he descended to this place and preached to these spirits (1 Peter 3:18-19) the good news of the Gospel, that he alone had been crucified for their sins and paid God's ransom with his own blood. God's acceptance of Christ's payment was externally exhibited by the Resurrection (Romans 1:4) declaring Christ alone to be his chosen Savior. Upon Christ's resurrection, these Old Testament believers rose from their graves (Matthew 27:53).
- Hell - Hades:(Luke 16:23), Gehenna:(Mark 9:43-48) - This is a temporary place for unbelievers or "perished (lost)" souls. For those in Hell, all hope is lost. Hell is also likened to a trash-heap (Matthew 13:30). They are "perished" (John 3:16). It is also described (Luke 16:21-23) as a place of torment in the form of heat, but not physical heat, as the person's physical form is no longer present. Only unbelievers arrive in Hell. This is distinguished from the Lake of Fire.
Also called Destruction/Tartarus/Abyss/Bottomless Pit: The angels who fell before the Flood and defiled God's provision for a Savior by insulting God's chosen method to enter history as Jesus Christ (the ability of a spirit to overshadow a human female and sire a child). Additionally, they attempted to annihilate mankind and defiled God's plans with mutant (blemished) progeny (The Nephilim). (Genesis 6:1-4) (Jude 1:6) (Proverbs 27:20) (Luke 1:35)
This prison is in the geometric center of the Earth, where all walls are a ceiling and there is no bottom.
Lake of Fire
The Bible describes a permanent place of damnation, the Lake of Fire (Limne-Pyr), also called the Second Death (Revelation 20:14). At the Great White Throne, all of the temporary locations for dead humans and imprisoned spirits are emptied out of their residents and are dispatched to the Lake of Fire.
The Bible describes five separate judgments, four of which are personal (e.g. one-on-one) to the human soul.
Judgment Seat Of Christ
Found in (Romans 14:10), (2 Corinthians 5:10) - The believers are judged here. All who are present in this judgment are already written in the Lamb's book of life. Christ judges the believers works, not their sins. The works are judged whether they are good or bad.
A good work is one that is profitable to the kingdom. A bad work is one that is unprofitable. An example of a bad work would be one performed by a human for personal glory, gratification or enrichment, or as something done "in the flesh" rather than "in the spirit". An example would be giving money to a church to find favor with God rather that to cheerfully support the ministries of the church. The works are tested by fire and those that are unworthy will be burned up. Someone who has spent a lifetime in good works that were worthless will "suffer loss" (1 Corinthians 3:15).
Great White Throne Judgment
Found in (Revelation 20:11) - Only the wicked dead are judged here. All who are present in this judgment have already rejected Christ and are not written in the Lamb's book of life. They are judged on their works, not their sins. The works are judged to compare their works to God's standards of righteousness. Sin is not judged here.
Example in (Colossian 2:14) - This is where God judges Sin. All Sin is judged here. Sin is not judged at the aforementioned judgments. Christ accepted God's judgment of sin upon himself. God has never accepted anyone else's blood as a permanent payment for sin.
This is because the only means of sin's remission is blood (Hebrews 9:22) and n believer can offer their own blood (it is tainted by Adam's sin) and there is no physical blood available to the unbeliever after death. The only place that a human soul can find God's mercy is at the Cross, because this is the only place where acceptable blood was shed for sin (Hebrews 9:22). God testified that he accepted Christ's payment for sin by raising him from the dead (Romans 1:4). This is a picture of God's justice, in that someone who is guilty of a crime can be released from the sentence once the penalty is paid. If the penalty is death, the only way to release Christ from the sentence is to raise him from the dead. Moreover, Christ's death saves a believer from God's wrath, not from sin, death, hell or Satan (Jon 3:36) (Romans 1:18).
Judgment of Nations (Sheep/Goat Judgment)
Found in (Matthew 25:31-46) - When Christ returns, he will judge the living nations. Every person who is living when he returns will come before him and be judged. Only those he finds worthy will remain among the living with the remainder dispatched to hell.
Judgment of the Believer's Self
Found in (1 Corinthians 11:31) - the believer is adjured to judge his/her own sins and commit to a continuous walk toward increasing sanctification. God rewards the believer who moves toward sanctification but does not condemn believers who do not (Romans 8:1).
- Romans 3:23
- Matthew 25:2
- Matthew 25:2
- Unger, Merrill F (1988). Harrison, R. K.. ed. The New Unger´s Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press. p. 550-551. ISBN 0-8024-9037-9.
- Douglas, J.D.; Tenney, Merril C, ed. (1987). The New International Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. p. 431. ISBN 0-310-33190-0.