What is the biblical definition of hell ?

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Hell has always made more sense to me in terms of being a concept representing separation from god, and not as an entity in it's own right. Please be sure that when you answer ...show more
Update : Please include references.
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I believe that what causes the problem with the Biblical understanding of the definition of hell comes from "revelations"

We have to understand that revelations itself is likely not even part of the new Testament, and is probably one of the Syphyllictic prophecies, which occurred and appeared within the Roman Empire many years after the advent of Christianity. The story that explains the creation of revelations or the Syphyllictic prophecy is a that the seer Syphyllictic came to the Roman emperor with 10 books of prophecies and demanded her weight in gold in exchange for them, whereupon the Roman emperor laughed at her. She immediately burned five of the box and left . she returned the next day and the demanded her weight in gold for this remaining five. When she was again laughed at she burned three of them are left again. I again she returned the next day and wanted her weight in gold for the two remaining books, and once again the emperor laughed. She responded by burned the one of the remaining two and left again to return the next day once more demanded her weight in gold for the one remaining book , at which time the Roman emperor were immediately paid her price to get the one remaining book, and kept it is the document are many years. The truths, and I use the term loosely that are contained in this book form the basis of the Christian belief of hell, which is combined with the ancient Greek definition, and belief of a physical place call Hades.

I tend to agree with you that hell is a state of mind, in that you have a separation from God , and are operating entirely from an ego state... rather than a physical place where we are punished eternally after we die. I wouldn't attempt to waste my time, or even arguing the fact with a right-wing evangelical Christian, who are solid in their belief that hell is a place were unbelievers and sinners are punished.
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  • David L answered 7 years ago
    Hell is a hole in the ground. When you die they put you 6 feet deep in the ground that is what hell is
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  • Pastor Biker answered 7 years ago
    Hell, in Christian beliefs, is an afterlife in which the soul suffers the consequences of sin. Jesus, the Savior, saves the faithful from hell.

    The nature of hell and its punishment is a subject of debate between various denominations. Hell is however generally held to be irrevocable and eternal. Some Christians believe that hell is a physical place. Some believe that, while hell is real, it is a state, rather than a place, of separation from God. Others hold that hell is a metaphor for a self-imposed mental separation from God. Some view hell as a place of punishment by God while others see it more in terms of self-exclusion from God. Some hold that there are physical torments in hell, principally fire. Some believe that Hell is nothing more than a vice that has been created through literature and other non-Biblical sources in order to "win" people to Christianity and that it has little to no Biblical support. Hell has historically played a large part in post-Constantinian Western culture, especially during the Middle Ages,

    Sheol was translated in the Septuagint as 'Hades', the name for the underworld in Greek mythology and is still considered to be distinct from "Hell" by Eastern Orthodox Christians. In Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries and Concordances it is transliterated "Sheh-ole". The Lake of Fire and realm of Eternal Punishment in Hellenistic mythology was in fact Tartarus. Hades was not Hell in Hellenistic mythology, but was rather a form of limbo where the dead went to be judged. The New Testament uses this word, but it also uses the word 'Gehenna
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  • Tom J answered 7 years ago
    Simply speaking, Hell is the common grave of mankind. There is no thought process there and no torment for real humans.
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  • Frank A answered 7 years ago
    First of all, I know that my Father is a God of love. There is not a creature in the universe as loving as He is. To think that He would create a torture chamber to cause unending pain to those He loved so much, that He gave His only Son as a sacrifice…is to me, the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. I hope when we are through, you will think so also.
    Here is something to think about while we study. There was a man many years ago named Dr. Good. He wrote a book entitled Book of Nature. He devotes a section to the myth of hell telling that it was invented by the Egyptians to keep their people in line. The fable had two places that your soul could travel to. One was a good place and the other was hell. There was an impassible gulf that separated them. The souls in hell could talk to the ones in the good place but that is all. It is interesting that the Egyptian fable didn’t call the good place heaven. And neither did Jesus when he used the same fable to get a message across to the people that were listening to him. Remember the story of the rich man and Lazarus? We’ll mention it later.
    Normal church teaching says, “The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons in this congregation. That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God, there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open. You have nothing to stand upon, nor anything to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air. It is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.” (3/2/2003)
    Christians who try to share their faith with unbelievers are confronted with many questions, especially on the subject of Hell and eternal punishment. Many people have a real problem with Orthodox Christianity’s belief that non-Christians will be punished eternally because they are not Christians. This is one of the main reasons many Christians do not like to share their faith. 1Corinthians 13: 8 says that love never fails. If there is a hell I guess that Scripture is a lie.
    The almighty question is a very powerful tool; even Satan knew that, when he asked Eve, “Did God really say…”? I am going to ask some questions concerning hell in this study, so bear with me. Also, at all costs, avoid religious groups that fear questions. Anyone who believes they have the truth should not only encourage questions, but should have solid answers for what they believe.
    Before the Holy Spirit enlightened me I used to say that the Bible says Jesus paid for our sins, but we must accept Him as our Savior. Then I’d say something like, “God is a just God and cannot allow sin into heaven. You must have your sins forgiven and Jesus is the only one that can do that. We all deserve to go to Hell, but Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to go.” What I was really passing on for truth, was what was passed on to me from the “experts” of my church. It was not beliefs given to me by the Holy Spirit who the Bible says will teach us all truth. Let’s look at that in John 16: 13…Read… “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” My belief in Hell has to be tested thoroughly through honest questions.
    During my early years as a Christian, the emphasis was on being “born again.” I took the subject of Hell very seriously. I always had trouble with Scriptures like James 2: 13…Read… “…because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” Wide is the gate that leads to destruction. Probably 90 percent of mankind will end up in Hell. That doesn’t sound like mercy triumphing over judgment…does it to you?
    Looking back on my years as a religious zealot; although I went to Church regularly and studied the Bible much more than most of my counterparts at that time, my belief was based upon the “traditions of men,” and a couple of Bible translations that mistranslated a handful of key words.
    If Hell is real and describes a real place, why does the English word “Hell” come from a pagan source instead of the ancient Hebrew writings of the Bible? Why is the word “Hell” not found in the Jew’s Bible which is the Christian’s Old Testament?
    Furthermore, the word “Hell” has completely disappeared from the Old Testament Scriptures in most leading Bibles. Why? Because the best scholarship findings demand it. The word “Hell” comes from the Teutonic “Hele” goddess of the underworld “Hell” of northern Europe. The rest of the hell doctrine comes from pagan Egyptian fables. The description of this ancient mythological place has very little resemblance anymore to the modern Christian image of Hell. Look at any Encyclopedia or dictionary for the origin of the word. Seeing that the Bible is supposed to be “Holy,” why have pagan religious words been added to our modern English Bibles? Please understand the English word “Hell” and its concepts are neither in the Hebrew nor Greek. They come into the English through Northern European and Egyptian mythologies, not from the roots of Christianity.
    If Hell is real and it is a place of eternally being separated from God, why does David say in the King James Bible, “Though I make my bed in Hell (Sheol) lo, Thou are there”? Please note most Christian Bibles no longer have the word “Hell” in the Old Testament. The King James written over 350 years ago is an exception. The Jews do not put the word “Hell” in their English translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament and the leading English Christian Bibles have removed it because it is not in the originals. Most Christian scholars now acknowledge it should never have been placed there in the first place.
    Turn to Jeremiah 32: 33-35…Read… “They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. They set up their abominable idols in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, not did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.” Now, the way you sacrifice your children to Molech is to throw them into the fire. God says here that that is a detestable thing and that it never entered His mind to do something like that. How could God say that such a detestable thing never entered His mind if in fact He is going to do the very same thing to most of His own children?
    Church leaders as late as the forth century AD acknowledge that the majority of Christians believed in the salvation of all mankind. The church didn’t teach Hell until after they departed from reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, substituting Latin in its place several centuries after Christ’s death. It stands to reason, if you want to initiate a brand new doctrine and say it’s from the Bible, it’s always a good idea to print your Bibles in a language no one can read except your leaders.
    By the way, it was at this time that the Catholic Church states: “The Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the Holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” The inspired word of God and the traditions of men are equal. So why did Jesus get upset when He said, “Your traditions are nullifying the word of God.” If you think that was only their view back then, I got this from the current Catholic Catechism Part 1, Section 1, Chapter 2, Article 2 verse 82... if anyone wants to look it up.
    The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “There is a hell and all those who die in personal mortal sin, as enemies of God, and unworthy of eternal life, will be severely punished by God after death…” Also, “The Holy Bible is quite explicit in teaching the eternity of the pains of hell. The torments of the damned shall last forever and ever…” Let me get this straight: The Inspired Word of God, the creator of everything that was created and the Catholic Traditions are equal. Now, hell is for those who are unworthy of eternal life so they will be tormented forever and ever…I think I got it…
    Turn to Psalm 30: 5…Read… “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” If Hell is real and everlasting, why does the Bible say that His anger is but for a moment? Turn to Revelations 20: 13-14…Read… “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.” The King James uses Hell instead of Hades. The NIV Study Bible tells us that Hades is the same word as the Hebrew word, “Sheol” which means the grave. If Hades is Hell and there is no escape from it, why is it emptied and cast into the lake of fire along with death?
    All who have sinned, and that means those who rejected Jesus as their savior by not asking Him into their hearts, are going to Hell and burn eternally. I guess that means those millions of aborted babies that we have in this country along with most children. Some denominations caught Holy wrath from the parishioners over such a thought so they invented a thing called, “age of accountability.” Don’t bother looking it up, it is not in the Bible.
    If there is a Hell and according to most denominations of Christianity the majority of mankind will go there, could you really enjoy heaven knowing your mother or father or children or best friend are suffering everlasting tortures the likes of which would make the Holocaust seem like a picnic? If the Rich Man and Lazarus story in Luke 16 is real and not a parable, then we will be able to converse with our loved ones who did not make it into heaven. Would heaven really be paradise if this were true? The NIV Study Bible footnote on that says that Hell is Hades and that it is the place to which the wicked dead go to await the final judgment or the grave. It says that many understand Jesus description as less than literal, in other words, it was a parable. I don’t know why but we all agree that Jesus taught in parables except for this story. This is the only story Jesus told that was factual truth. It was indeed a story that they (the Jews) were familiar with because it had its roots in paganism, that they were a part of for many, many years being in Egyptian captivity and then mixing with the pagan countries in the Promised Land. Jesus was just using something they could understand.
    Turn to Isaiah 57: 16-18…Read… “I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me—the breath of man that I have created. I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him…” It amazes me how anyone could read the love in that Scripture and imagine that He would even create such a place as Hell. If it is a place of eternal punishment, the scripture lies because it says God will not accuse forever, nor will He always be angry. By the way, can anyone show me where it says that God created Hell? Don’t bother looking; it’s not in the Bible. He created the Heavens and the Earth and everything in them. Most of it is listed out but as for Hell, there is no mention of it. The reason is that it is a creation of Man’s. It was created to keep us in line and doing what the leaders say.
    Turn to John 12: 32…Read… “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Was Jesus lying when He said He would draw or drag in the original Greek, all mankind unto himself? If the greatest majority of mankind is going to Hell, Jesus told a lie.
    Turn to Hebrews 1: 2…Read… “…but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” Does that mean that Jesus inherits Hell? It would have to be a part of “all things”.
    Turn to 1Timothy 2: 3-4…Read… “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” The scripture says, “all men”; if a lot are going to Hell, does that mean that God’s power is not strong enough to have His will fulfilled? Is man’s will more powerful than Gods?
    Turn to Luke 6: 32-33…Read… “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.” If Hell is real and God only loves those who love Him, what better is He than the sinner? Can you really call eternally torturing your own children love?
    Turn to 1Corinthians 6: 2-3…Read… “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” If Hell is real, will you judge your mother, son, or other non-believer to Hell? Do you not know that we will judge the world? The concept of Hell, and that’s all it is, a false concept, seems to violate everything that is reasonable. It violates the nature of God which is unconditional love. It violates the wisdom of God, the pleasure of God, the promises of God, the oath of God, the power of God; it eliminates the full power of the Cross of Christ; it goes against the testimony of the prophets; it violates the testimony of Jesus Christ and His apostles; it violates the Scriptures in their original languages. It goes against our conscience and our hearts. Finally, it has the ring of the greatest lie ever told.
    Jesus and the apostles gave many warnings that many would rise up within the church and draw many people after themselves forming denominations built upon the traditions of men and not the truth. 1900 years has created over 30,000 denominations of Christendom—denominations which cannot unite because they are divided by their “interpretations” of Scripture. Turn to Mark 3: 24…Read… “If a kingdom is divided against itself that kingdom cannot stand.”
    I believe that God has chosen this time in history to awaken our spirits within so that the Holy Spirit can teach us truth instead of tradition. Turn to 1John 2: 26-27…Read… “I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” Another word for anointing there is Christ. The Christ you received from Jesus remains in you. That’s what we’re doing here. My anointing is speaking to or reminding your anointing of the things that perhaps it has forgotten. I am not teaching you anything.
    Turn to 1Corinthians 1: 10…Read… “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” Are the Christian denominations following this request? The doctrine of Hell and eternal suffering is one of the major instruments Satan has used to turn sincere seekers of God’s love away from the truth; turning them either to idolatry in the form of false religions or materialism. The rest become atheists or an agnostic, that’s someone who says that it is impossible to know for sure if there is a God.
    Men and women like Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, reasonably concluded that Jesus is the savior of the whole world, not just a piece of it. After all, how can he be called the “Savior of the World” unless he actually saves it?
    What are the reasons for the different views in Christendom? For one thing: the failure to hold on to clear statements of God’s sovereignty, foreknowledge, power, omniscience, purpose of creation, and unconditional love; Failure to believe direct statements of Scripture declaring the ultimate salvation of all through the saving work of Jesus Christ; Pulling Scriptures out of context and putting them into an end-time scenario when, in fact, they deal with other ages. I hope I don’t offend anyone but some of the problem is inaccurate and misleading translations taken from the Roman Catholic traditional teachings that affected the first Protestant English Bibles which, in turn, adversely affected modern translations. We have put ourselves in bondage to the traditions and teachings of men rather than allowing the Spirit of Truth to lead us into all truth. Turn to John 16: 13…Read… “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
    The Dark Ages did not begin until the wretched doctrine of endless punishment entered the church! Check your history…The horrible teaching that God will torture most of His children endlessly has not only turned the world away from seeking the God of the Bible, it has turned many Christians away as well. Remember, the narrow road and few there are that will find it, the rest of humanity goes to Hell.
    Many Christians are filling their minds with a “fly-away” mentality while expecting non-believers to finally get what they deserve—100 pound hailstones, nuclear wars and horrible diseases. This teaching did not come from Christ! It came from the same spirit that drove the disciples John and James to want to command fire to come down upon the heads of those who did not believe on Jesus Christ. Turn to Luke 9: 52-56…Read… “And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” Please note the Samaritans who rejected Jesus were not condemned to Hell by Jesus for their rejection of Him; it was His disciples who were condemned for the foul spirit they had which wanted those un-believers burned instead of saved.
    Well, we will end for now. There are volumes that could be said concerning the false doctrine of Hell. But the good news is that we can approach people in love instead of the fear of flames…and maybe if a non-believer says, “Sorry, I don’t believe in your Hell and eternal torment!” Maybe we could say, “Neither do we; Our God is a God of Love!!! Let me tell you about Him…
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  • superstang99_4485 answered 7 years ago
    Sheol, Hades, common grave of mankind.


    Hell will deliver up other dead, and will be destroyed...Rev. 20:13,14

    Ec. 9:10
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  • DwayneWayne answered 7 years ago
    The words translated hell in the Bible are
    Sheol = Grave (Hebrew)
    Hades = Grave (Greek)
    Tartarus = Debased condition of the demons (Greek)
    Gehenna = Everlasting destruction/annihilation of those condemned by God (Greek)

    The bible says that at death we go to Sheol/Hades, meaning that one goes to the grave. The Gehenna was symbolic of the destruction that would be experienced by those whom God doesn't see fit to be resurrected to life on a paradise earth. Tartarus just refers to the lower condition that the demons are in as opposed to the elevated position they enjoyed before they rebelled.

    The idea that the wicked are tormented in a fiery hell comes from the Babylonian concept that an immortal soul survives the death of the body. Plato adopted this and the Church Fathers borrowed this idea.
    The first time that the concept of a burning hell was introduced was in Dante's Divine Comedy.

    Anything else...?
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  • jan answered 7 years ago
    What I tell you is from the original manuscripts:
    The lake of fire is such that it is able to kill not only the spiritual body, but the soul as well.
    There is no everlasting torture. In fact, the lake of fire does not come into existance until the period that follows the millinium, which is the 1000 yrs. that Christ ushers in when He returns. That 1000 yrs. is for teaching and disipline. Those people who have not had an opportunity to learn truth will be taught during that time. After the thousand years is up, Satan is loosed again for a short period to deceive those stragglers who still haven't managed to straighten up and fly right, sorta speak.
    All those who don't make the grade will follow satan into the lake of fire. It will take only as long as it will to "turn to ashes from within". It is said that the smoke of those will rise up forever and ever (smoke does that) but thats all thats "forever and ever".
    Nobody fries like bacon in hell and screams and pleads while we all enjoy Heaven.
    Thats awful, and not written. People who read scripture are often not knowledgeable of idioms (they are kind of like what a "saying" is to us.).
    After all those perish in the lake of fire,
    the "lake" is done away with completely.
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  • Royal Racer Hell=Grave © answered 7 years ago
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  • CyberNerd answered 7 years ago
    Hades/Sheol = grave (first death). Called a sleep.
    Gehenna = junkyard (symbol of second death). soul and body are destroyed (annihilation). The fire actually descends from heaven (read revelation 20).

    One would also have to understand that the "soul" in the bible (nephesh/psyche) is a mortal entity and not a vitalizing force (which the spirit is). The soul is the entire being, especially including the mind and feelings.
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  • Fairlady answered 7 years ago
    I believe that hell IS a real place according to the Bible which IS God's word.It is a place of damnation; a place of ETERNAL seperation from God forever.The Bible speaks of this place where God sends, at the end of time, those who don't personally know, love & serve Him & it is referred to as a place where He throws them into a lake of fire where there will be knashing of teeth.. A place where the ruler of Hell will be Satan himself & all the demons who were originally angels in heaven, (who believed Satan was better than God) who were cast out of heaven with Satan at that time.


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  • MARIE T answered 7 years ago
    Constant weeping and gnashing of the teeth
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  • Yoda answered 7 years ago
    All religions are connected in their myth and stories. It is likely that Hell was originally borrowed from indus valley cultures. It is known that Parsi (zoroasterians) got most of their belief's from the Vedic stories because the sanskrit words in the Vedas are borrowed by the persian Parsi's. Jewish beliefs are similar to the Parsi, so it is likely that both Parsi and Jews derive their religious tradition from the Vedas.

    With this in mind, Hell can be read about in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
    Briefly, Hell is a planet within the material world where souls are taken. In the Vedas, the grim reaper is called Mitra (and is a demigod whom serves God's will by attending to souls). Hell is called Yamaloka and hence Mitra is sometimes called Yama.
    It is said that a soul whom is obstinate and does not wish to serve God can find him/her self in Yamaloka. Yamaloka is not a permanent home for the wicked (as one reads within the new testament of the orthodox christian bibles). Instead, it is a place of suffering where one lives temporily (such as the earth). Whilst it is not a very nice place, devotee's of the lord can be sent there by God in order to teach the fallen souls whom have ended up there. The Srimad Bhagavatam is free to browse online.


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  • Freedom answered 7 years ago
    According to the Bible, hell is most definitely real! The punishment of the wicked in hell is as never-ending as the bliss of the righteous in Heaven. The punishment of the wicked dead in hell is described throughout Scripture as "everlasting fire" (Matthew 25:41), "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12), "shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2), a place where "their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44-49), a place of "torments" and "flame" (Luke 16:23,24), "everlasting destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place of torment with "fire and brimstone" where "the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever" (Revelation 14:10,11), and a "lake of fire and brimstone" where the wicked are "tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). Jesus Himself indicates that the punishment in hell itself is everlasting - not merely the smoke and flames (Matthew 25:46).
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  • Pastor Iblis answered 7 years ago
    Definition of HELL

    hell (hµl) n.

    1. a. Often Hell. The abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan.
    b. A state of separation from God.

    2. The abode of the dead, identified with the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades; the underworld.

    3. Hell. Christian Science. Mortal belief; sin or error.

    4. a. A situation or place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction.
    b. Torment; anguish.

    5. a. The powers of darkness and evil.
    b. Informal. One that causes trouble, agony, or annoyance.

    6. A sharp scolding.

    7. Informal. Excitement, mischievousness, or high spirits.

    8. a. A tailor's receptacle for discarded material.
    b. Printing. A hellbox.

    9. Informal. Used as an intensive.

    10. Archaic. A gambling house. --hell intr.v. helled, hell·ing, hells.


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  • kate w answered 7 years ago
    You could be very right. Hell can be much more than fire. It could be the hell of a consience, going to the demons you chose to follow in life. The separation of from God is hell in itself. God is love. Can you really live without love? hell is being with Satan in one place(would a person really wanna live with the father of all evil in one place?)
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  • idahomike2 answered 7 years ago
    Eternal seperation from God... There is debate,even among those of The True Christian Faith, as to the exact nature of "hell"... I personaly do not have to worry about it, as I am not going there....but... what ever it is, it ain't going to be good for those there..... it is a specific place... but the universe is a specific place...so hell could be rather vast.

    Biblicaly, fire is mentioned... consuming?...everlasting?... I am just glad I have been saved from finding out.
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  • Gorgeoustxwoman2013 answered 7 years ago
    Hell is actually nothing more than the Valley of Gehenna.

    I believe that the souls that don't cross over go right back in-utero. that is indeed separated from God.
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  • Good News Proclaimer answered 7 years ago
    Hell is where all who die are buried. It is mankind's common grave, also known as Sheol in Hebrew and Hades in Greek.
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  • fireball226 answered 7 years ago
    the grave
    1 thes 4:15
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  • Sheriff of R&S answered 7 years ago
    an eternal seperation from God.

    the fiery pits of hell is a christian scare tactic. although ive said it a million times a bit more pleasant than spending an eternity with a god portrayed out in the bible.
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  • berdudget answered 7 years ago
    You seem to me like a well-educated person who regularly employs critical thinking and is constantly studying in the hopes of finding concrete, impelling evidence to convince you either to believe in God/spirituality of some sort or not to. I respect your open mindedness and your search and I hope you one day find that which you seek.

    Though I agree with/respect a couple of the other answers, you asked for references, so here are some:


    A word used in the King James Version (as well as in the Catholic Douay Version and most older translations) to translate the Hebrew she´ohl´ and the Greek hai´des. In the King James Version the word “hell” is rendered from she´ohl´ 31 times and from hai´des 10 times. This version is not consistent, however, since she´ohl´ is also translated 31 times “grave” and 3 times “pit.” In the Douay Version she´ohl´ is rendered “hell” 64 times, “pit” once, and “death” once.

    In 1885, with the publication of the complete English Revised Version, the original word she´ohl´ was in many places transliterated into the English text of the Hebrew Scriptures, though, in most occurrences, “grave” and “pit” were used, and “hell” is found some 14 times. This was a point on which the American committee disagreed with the British revisers, and so, when producing the American Standard Version (1901) they transliterated she´ohl´ in all 65 of its appearances. Both versions transliterated hai´des in the Christian Greek Scriptures in all ten of its occurrences, though the Greek word Ge´en·na (English, “Gehenna”) is rendered “hell” throughout, as is true of many other modern translations.

    Concerning this use of “hell” to translate these original words from the Hebrew and Greek, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (1981, Vol. 2, p. 187) says: “HADES . . . It corresponds to ‘Sheol’ in the O.T. [Old Testament]. In the A.V. of the O.T. [Old Testament] and N.T. [New Testament], it has been unhappily rendered ‘Hell.’”

    Collier’s Encyclopedia (1986, Vol. 12, p. 28) says concerning “Hell”: “First it stands for the Hebrew Sheol of the Old Testament and the Greek Hades of the Septuagint and New Testament. Since Sheol in Old Testament times referred simply to the abode of the dead and suggested no moral distinctions, the word ‘hell,’ as understood today, is not a happy translation.”

    It is, in fact, because of the way that the word “hell” is understood today that it is such an unsatisfactory translation of these original Bible words. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, under “Hell” says: “fr[om] . . . helan to conceal.” The word “hell” thus originally conveyed no thought of heat or torment but simply of a ‘covered over or concealed place.’ In the old English dialect the expression “helling potatoes” meant, not to roast them, but simply to place the potatoes in the ground or in a cellar.

    The meaning given today to the word “hell” is that portrayed in Dante’s Divine Comedy and Milton’s Paradise Lost, which meaning is completely foreign to the original definition of the word. The idea of a “hell” of fiery torment, however, dates back long before Dante or Milton. The Grolier Universal Encyclopedia (1971, Vol. 9, p. 205) under “Hell” says: “Hindus and Buddhists regard hell as a place of spiritual cleansing and final restoration. Islamic tradition considers it as a place of everlasting punishment.” The idea of suffering after death is found among the pagan religious teachings of ancient peoples in Babylon and Egypt. Babylonian and Assyrian beliefs depicted the “nether world . . . as a place full of horrors, . . . presided over by gods and demons of great strength and fierceness.” Although ancient Egyptian religious texts do not teach that the burning of any individual victim would go on forever, they do portray the “Other World” as featuring “pits of fire” for “the damned.”—The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, by Morris Jastrow, Jr., 1898, p. 581; The Book of the Dead, with introduction by E. Wallis Budge, 1960, pp. 135, 144, 149, 151, 153, 161, 200.

    “Hellfire” has been a basic teaching in Christendom for many centuries. It is understandable why The Encyclopedia Americana (1956, Vol. XIV, p. 81) said: “Much confusion and misunderstanding has been caused through the early translators of the Bible persistently rendering the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades and Gehenna by the word hell. The simple transliteration of these words by the translators of the revised editions of the Bible has not sufficed to appreciably clear up this confusion and misconception.” Nevertheless, such transliteration and consistent rendering does enable the Bible student to make an accurate comparison of the texts in which these original words appear and, with open mind, thereby to arrive at a correct understanding of their true significance.—See GEHENNA; GRAVE; HADES; SHEOL; TARTARUS.


    Definition: The word “hell” is found in many Bible translations. In the same verses other translations read “the grave,” “the world of the dead,” and so forth. Other Bibles simply transliterate the original-language words that are sometimes rendered “hell”; that is, they express them with the letters of our alphabet but leave the words untranslated. What are those words? The Hebrew she’ohl´ and its Greek equivalent hai´des, which refer, not to an individual burial place, but to the common grave of dead mankind; also the Greek ge´en·na, which is used as a symbol of eternal destruction. However, both in Christendom and in many non-Christian religions it is taught that hell is a place inhabited by demons and where the wicked, after death, are punished (and some believe that this is with torment).

    Does the Bible indicate whether the dead experience pain?

    Eccl. 9:5, 10: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all . . . All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol,* the place to which you are going.” (If they are conscious of nothing, they obviously feel no pain.) (*“Sheol,” AS, RS, NE, JB; “the grave,” KJ, Kx; “hell,” Dy; “the world of the dead,” TEV.)

    Ps. 146:4: “His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts* do perish.” (*“Thoughts,” KJ, 145:4 in Dy; “schemes,” JB; “plans,” RS, TEV.)

    Does the Bible indicate that the soul survives the death of the body?

    Ezek. 18:4: “The soul* that is sinning—it itself will die.” (*“Soul,” KJ, Dy, RS, NE, Kx; “the man,” JB; “the person,” TEV.)

    “The concept of ‘soul,’ meaning a purely spiritual, immaterial reality, separate from the ‘body,’ . . . does not exist in the Bible.”—La Parole de Dieu (Paris, 1960), Georges Auzou, professor of Sacred Scripture, Rouen Seminary, France, p. 128.

    “Although the Hebrew word nefesh [in the Hebrew Scriptures] is frequently translated as ‘soul,’ it would be inaccurate to read into it a Greek meaning. Nefesh . . . is never conceived of as operating separately from the body. In the New Testament the Greek word psyche is often translated as ‘soul’ but again should not be readily understood to have the meaning the word had for the Greek philosophers. It usually means ‘life,’ or ‘vitality,’ or, at times, ‘the self.’”—The Encyclopedia Americana (1977), Vol. 25, p. 236.

    What sort of people go to the Bible hell?

    Does the Bible say that the wicked go to hell?

    Ps. 9:17, KJ: “The wicked shall be turned into hell,* and all the nations that forget God.” (*“Hell,” 9:18 in Dy; “death,” TEV; “the place of death,” Kx; “Sheol,” AS, RS, NE, JB, NW.)

    Does the Bible also say that upright people go to hell?

    Job 14:13, Dy: “[Job prayed:] Who will grant me this, that thou mayst protect me in hell,* and hide me till thy wrath pass, and appoint me a time when thou wilt remember me?” (God himself said that Job was “a man blameless and upright, fearing God and turning aside from bad.”—Job 1:8.) (*“The grave,” KJ; “the world of the dead,” TEV; “Sheol,” AS, RS, NE, JB, NW.)

    Acts 2:25-27, KJ: “David speaketh concerning him [Jesus Christ], . . . Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,* neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (The fact that God did not “leave” Jesus in hell implies that Jesus was in hell, or Hades, at least for a time, does it not?) (*“Hell,” Dy; “death,” NE; “the place of death,” Kx; “the world of the dead,” TEV; “Hades,” AS, RS, JB, NW.)

    Does anyone ever get out of the Bible hell?

    Rev. 20:13, 14, KJ: “The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell* delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.” (So the dead will be delivered from hell. Notice also that hell is not the same as the lake of fire but will be cast into the lake of fire.) (*“Hell,” Dy, Kx; “the world of the dead,” TEV; “Hades,” NE, AS, RS, JB, NW.)

    Why is there confusion as to what the Bible says about hell?

    “Much confusion and misunderstanding has been caused through the early translators of the Bible persistently rendering the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades and Gehenna by the word hell. The simple transliteration of these words by the translators of the revised editions of the Bible has not sufficed to appreciably clear up this confusion and misconception.”—The Encyclopedia Americana (1942), Vol. XIV, p. 81.

    Translators have allowed their personal beliefs to color their work instead of being consistent in their rendering of the original-language words. For example: (1) The King James Version rendered she’ohl´ as “hell,” “the grave,” and “the pit”; hai´des is therein rendered both “hell” and “grave”; ge´en·na is also translated “hell.” (2) Today’s English Version transliterates hai´des as “Hades” and also renders it as “hell” and “the world of the dead.” But besides rendering “hell” from hai´des it uses that same translation for ge´en·na. (3) The Jerusalem Bible transliterates hai´des six times, but in other passages it translates it as “hell” and as “the underworld.” It also translates ge´en·na as “hell,” as it does hai´des in two instances. Thus the exact meanings of the original-language words have been obscured.

    Is there eternal punishment for the wicked?

    Matt. 25:46, KJ: “These shall go away into everlasting punishment [“lopping off,” Int; Greek, ko´la·sin]: but the righteous into life eternal.” (The Emphatic Diaglott reads “cutting-off” instead of “punishment.” A footnote states: “Kolasin . . . is derived from kolazoo, which signifies, 1. To cut off; as lopping off branches of trees, to prune. 2. To restrain, to repress. . . . 3. To chastise, to punish. To cut off an individual from life, or society, or even to restrain, is esteemed as punishment;—hence has arisen this third metaphorical use of the word. The primary signification has been adopted, because it agrees better with the second member of the sentence, thus preserving the force and beauty of the antithesis. The righteous go to life, the wicked to the cutting off from life, or death. See 2 Thess. 1.9.”)

    2 Thess. 1:9, RS: “They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction* and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” (*“Eternal ruin,” NAB, NE; “lost eternally,” JB; “condemn them to eternal punishment,” Kx; “eternal punishment in destruction,” Dy.)

    Jude 7, KJ: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (The fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah ceased burning thousands of years ago. But the effect of that fire has been lasting; the cities have not been rebuilt. God’s judgment, however, was against not merely those cities but also their wicked inhabitants. What happened to them is a warning example. At Luke 17:29, Jesus says that they were “destroyed”; Jude 7 shows that the destruction was eternal.)

    What is the meaning of the ‘eternal torment’ referred to in Revelation?

    Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10, KJ: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment [Greek, basa·ni·smou´] ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

    What is the ‘torment’ to which these texts refer? It is noteworthy that at Revelation 11:10 (KJ) reference is made to ‘prophets that torment those dwelling on the earth.’ Such torment results from humiliating exposure by the messages that these prophets proclaim. At Revelation 14:9-11 (KJ) worshipers of the symbolic “beast and his image” are said to be “tormented with fire and brimstone.” This cannot refer to conscious torment after death because “the dead know not any thing.” (Eccl. 9:5, KJ) Then, what causes them to experience such torment while they are still alive? It is the proclamation by God’s servants that worshipers of the “beast and his image” will experience second death, which is represented by “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” The smoke, associated with their fiery destruction, ascends forever because the destruction will be eternal and will never be forgotten. When Revelation 20:10 says that the Devil is to experience ‘torment forever and ever’ in “the lake of fire and brimstone,” what does that mean? Revelation 21:8 (KJ) says clearly that “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” means “the second death.” So the Devil’s being “tormented” there forever means that there will be no relief for him; he will be held under restraint forever, actually in eternal death. This use of the word “torment” (from the Greek ba´sa·nos) reminds one of its use at Matthew 18:34, where the same basic Greek word is applied to a ‘jailer.’—RS, AT, ED, NW.

    What is the ‘fiery Gehenna’ to which Jesus referred?

    Reference to Gehenna appears 12 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Five times it is directly associated with fire. Translators have rendered the Greek expression ge´en·nan tou py·ros´ as “hell fire” (KJ, Dy), “fires of hell” (NE), “fiery pit” (AT), and “fires of Gehenna” (NAB).

    Historical background: The Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) was outside the walls of Jerusalem. For a time it was the site of idolatrous worship, including child sacrifice. In the first century Gehenna was being used as the incinerator for the filth of Jerusalem. Bodies of dead animals were thrown into the valley to be consumed in the fires, to which sulfur, or brimstone, was added to assist the burning. Also bodies of executed criminals, who were considered undeserving of burial in a memorial tomb, were thrown into Gehenna. Thus, at Matthew 5:29, 30, Jesus spoke of the casting of one’s “whole body” into Gehenna. If the body fell into the constantly burning fire it was consumed, but if it landed on a ledge of the deep ravine its putrefying flesh became infested with the ever-present worms, or maggots. (Mark 9:47, 48) Living humans were not pitched into Gehenna; so it was not a place of conscious torment.

    At Matthew 10:28, Jesus warned his hearers to “be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” What does it mean? Notice that there is no mention here of torment in the fires of Gehenna; rather, he says to ‘fear him that can destroy in Gehenna.’ By referring to the “soul” separately, Jesus here emphasizes that God can destroy all of a person’s life prospects; thus there is no hope of resurrection for him. So, the references to the ‘fiery Gehenna’ have the same meaning as ‘the lake of fire’ of Revelation 21:8, namely, destruction, “second death.”

    What does the Bible say the penalty for sin is?

    Rom. 6:23: “The wages sin pays is death.”

    After one’s death, is he still subject to further punishment for his sins?

    Rom. 6:7: “He who has died has been acquitted from his sin.”

    Is eternal torment of the wicked compatible with God’s personality?

    Jer. 7:31: “They [apostate Judeans] have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.” (If it never came into God’s heart, surely he does not have and use such a thing on a larger scale.)

    Illustration: What would you think of a parent who held his child’s hand over a fire to punish the child for wrongdoing? “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Would he do what no right-minded human parent would do? Certainly not!

    By what Jesus said about the rich man and Lazarus, did Jesus teach torment of the wicked after death?

    Is the account, at Luke 16:19-31, literal or merely an illustration of something else? The Jerusalem Bible, in a footnote, acknowledges that it is a “parable in story form without reference to any historical personage.” If taken literally, it would mean that those enjoying divine favor could all fit at the bosom of one man, Abraham; that the water on one’s fingertip would not be evaporated by the fire of Hades; that a mere drop of water would bring relief to one suffering there. Does that sound reasonable to you? If it were literal, it would conflict with other parts of the Bible. If the Bible were thus contradictory, would a lover of truth use it as a basis for his faith? But the Bible does not contradict itself.

    What does the parable mean? The “rich man” represented the Pharisees. (See verse 14.) The beggar Lazarus represented the common Jewish people who were despised by the Pharisees but who repented and became followers of Jesus. (See Luke 18:11; John 7:49; Matthew 21:31, 32.) Their deaths were also symbolic, representing a change in circumstances. Thus, the formerly despised ones came into a position of divine favor, and the formerly seemingly favored ones were rejected by God, while being tormented by the judgment messages delivered by the ones whom they had despised.—Acts 5:33; 7:54.

    What is the origin of the teaching of hellfire?

    In ancient Babylonian and Assyrian beliefs the “nether world . . . is pictured as a place full of horrors, and is presided over by gods and demons of great strength and fierceness.” (The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, Boston, 1898, Morris Jastrow, Jr., p. 581) Early evidence of the fiery aspect of Christendom’s hell is found in the religion of ancient Egypt. (The Book of the Dead, New Hyde Park, N.Y., 1960, with introduction by E. A. Wallis Budge, pp. 144, 149, 151, 153, 161) Buddhism, which dates back to the 6th century B.C.E., in time came to feature both hot and cold hells. (The Encyclopedia Americana, 1977, Vol. 14, p. 68) Depictions of hell portrayed in Catholic churches in Italy have been traced to Etruscan roots.—La civiltà etrusca (Milan, 1979), Werner Keller, p. 389.

    But the real roots of this God-dishonoring doctrine go much deeper. The fiendish concepts associated with a hell of torment slander God and originate with the chief slanderer of God (the Devil, which name means “Slanderer”), the one whom Jesus Christ called “the father of the lie.”—John 8:44.


    Insight on the Scriptures Vol. I (a Bible Encyclopedia); Reasoning from the Scriptures (a Bible handbook)
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  • Eurydice answered 7 years ago
    racist America
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  • Jeancommunicates answered 7 years ago
    Lake of fire where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
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  • Shauna O answered 7 years ago
    A lake of fire, gnashing of teeth, eternal darkness and pain.

    Not over-ruled by some guy with horns and a cape.
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  • LottaLou answered 7 years ago
    Separation from God is the reality. But there are different levels of hell. My guess, different locations also. The bible describes it as a place of knashing of teeth. Fire torment. No living water. Outer Darkness. Worms eating you & pooping you out. These just come to mind.

    The lake of fire is the end, the final death, when hell & death get thrown in there. That is basically a place of eternal torment & fire.

    If I have time, I will look up the descriptive verses in the bible. There is a hell fire. Since Jesus used those two words together. And he describe the situation of the rich man who abused the poor man & the rich man ended up in hell fire, far away from Abrahams Bosom that was raised up to the 3rd heaven at Christ Resurrection.

    Hell was made for the devil & his messengers. Ghena fire refers to where they sacrificially passed their children through the fire to devils. This practice grieved Gods heart. God didn't think for them to do this. So, also the devils were behind these types of sacrifices. So, Ghehina fire refers to this ultimate evil.
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