Questions about Names of Hell

by Rev. Jack Barr

Subject: Re: names of Hell
Date: Thu, 06 Dec 2001 00:52:07 -0600
From: Jack Barr
To: xxxxxx@xxxxxxx

Hi There,

I just got back into town and will try answering your question now.

You Ask:
There are so many names for hell. Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, and Hell. My question is this, which ones are pretty much the same, and which ones are the different end punishment. Is these names different names for the same place, or do they all have a purpose?

They are all basically the same. They all refer to the same place, "HELL". Below are definitions from Strong's Hebrew, Greek dictionary. The AV represents the Authorized Version, which is the KJV. Followed by the word the Hebrew or Greek word is translated as, and the number of times translated as that word. Then the definition or meaning of the Hebrew or Greek word. I believe that I gave some of this to you in a previous email, however, this may be more clear than the previous email.

I hope this will clear up your questions about Hell. Sheol is a Hebrew word, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartars are Greek words. If you have the Hebrew and Greek fonts on your computer then the parts immediately following the Strong's number should show in one of these two languages, that is, if your browser will recognize it, otherwise they will show as gibberish. "AV" is Authorized Version = KJV 1611. Words following the "AV" show the "Word" this was translated as, and the number of times translated as that word, ending the line with the total times used in the Bible

With the Love of Jesus

Rev. Jack Barr

Hell is a general term and denotes punishment.

Strong's Hebrew #0784 va 'esh aysh

a primitive word; TWOT-172; n f

AV-fire 373, burning 1, fiery 1, untranslated variant 1, fire+0800 1, flaming 1, hot 1; 379

1) fire
1a) fire, flames
1b) supernatural fire (accompanying theophany)
1c) fire (for cooking, roasting, parching)
1d) altar-fire
1e) God's anger (fig.)

Also as a dwelling place

Strong's Hebrew #04186 bvwm mowshab mo-shawb'or bvm moshab mo-shawb'

from 03427; a seat; TWOT-922c; n m

AV-habitation 12, dwellings 8, seat 7, dwelling 4, dwellingplace 3, dwell 3, places 2, sitting 2, assembly 1, situation 1, sojourning 1; 44

1) seat, assembly, dwelling-place, dwelling, dwellers
1a) seat, sitting, those sitting, sitting company or assembly
1b) dwelling place, dwelling
1c) situation, location
1d) time of dwelling
1e) those dwelling, dweller

Hades is usually translated as "Hell" and has the same meaning.

Strong's Greek #86 Adhv hades hah'-dace

from 1 (as negative particle) and 1492; TDNT-1:146,22; n pr loc

AV-hell 10, grave 1; 11

1) name Hades or Pluto, the god of the lower regions
2) Orcus, the nether world, the realm of the dead
3) later use of this word: the grave, death, hell

In Biblical Greek it is associated with Orcus, the infernal regions, a dark and dismal place in the very depths of the earth, the common receptacle of disembodied spirits. Usually Hades is just the abode of the wicked, #Lu 16:23; Re 20:13,14; a very uncomfortable place. TDNT.

Gehenna is the Greek word is usually translated as "Hell" and has the same meaning. The word "Gehenna" is not in the Bible as such, but is always translated as Hell, or Hell Fire.

Strong's Greek #1067 geenna geenna gheh'-en-nah

of Hebrew origin Mnh-ayq, 01516 and 02011; TDNT-1:657,113; n f

AV-hell 9, hell fire+3588 +4442 3; 12

1) Hell is the place of the future punishment call "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire". This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.

Sheol is a Hebrew word which means "the unseen state", and is usually translated as "Hell", "Grave", and "Pit".

Strong's Hebrew #07585 lwav sh@'owl sheh-ole'or lav sh@ol sheh-ole'

from 07592; TWOT-2303c; n f

AV-grave 31, hell 31, pit 3; 65

1) sheol, underworld, grave, hell, pit
1a) the underworld
1b) Sheol-the OT designation for the abode of the dead
1b1) place of no return
1b2) without praise of God
1b3) wicked sent there for punishment
1b4) righteous not abandoned to it
1b5) of the place of exile (fig)
1b6) of extreme degradation in sin

Tartarus is a Greek word and is used only once in the Bible, in 2 Peter

Strong's Greek #5020 tartarow tartaroo tar-tar-o'-o

from Tartaros (the deepest abyss of Hell); ;v

AV-cast down to hell 1; 1

1) the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews 2) to thrust down to Tartarus, to hold captive in Tartarus

And the following are notes about Hell, which I gave you in a previous email with comments


Derived from the Saxon helan, to cover; hence the covered or the invisible place. In Scripture there are three words so rendered:

  1. Sheol, occurring in the Old Testament sixty-five times. This word sheol is derived from a root-word meaning "to ask, " "demand; "hence insatiableness #Pr 30:15,16 It is rendered "grave" thirty-one times #Ge 37:35 42:38 44:29,31 1Sa 2:6 etc.

    The Revisers have retained this rendering in the historical books with the original word in the margin, while in the poetical books they have reversed this rule. In thirty-one cases in the Authorized Version this word is rendered "hell, "the place of disembodied spirits. The inhabitants of sheol are "the congregation of the dead" #Pr 21:16 It is:

    a. the abode of the wicked #Nu 16:33 Job 24:19 Ps 9:17 31:17 etc.;
    b. of the good #Ps 16:10 30:3 49:15 86:13 etc. Sheol is described as:
    a. deep #Job 11:8
    b. dark #Job 10:21,22
    c. with bars #Job 17:16
    d. The dead "go down" to it #Nu 16:30,33 Eze 31:15,16,17

  2. The Greek word hades of the New Testament has the same scope of signification as sheol of the Old Testament. It is a prison #1Pe 3:19 with gates and bars and locks #Mt 16:18 Re 1:18 and it is downward #Mt 11:23 Lu 10:15 The righteous and the wicked are separated. The blessed dead are in that part of hades called paradise #Lu 23:43 They are also said to be in Abraham's bosom #Lu 16:22

  3. Gehenna, in most of its occurrences in the Greek New Testament, designates the place of the lost #Mt 23:33 The fearful nature of their condition there is described in various figurative expressions #Mt 8:12 13:42 22:13 25:30 Lu 16:24 etc.

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