This is a topic of great dispute, which is why I’m writing this. A lot of people do not really understand what Hell actually is and believe that it is a place of fire and brimstone.
In short there are three realms which are considered Hell: The Grave [Sheol/Hades], The Bottomless Pit [Tartarus], and The Lake of Fire [Gehenna]. The simple answer is that “Hell” is the grave. When man dies he goes into the earth, into the grave, and knows nothing. The fiery place of torment is the Lake of Fire, often translated as Hell from the word Gehenna. This is reserved for the wicked after the judgement. The following verses all contain the word Gehenna which was either translated into “Lake of Fire” or “Hell”: Matt. 5:22, Matt. 5:29, Matt. 5:30, Matt. 10:28, Matt. 18:9, Matt. 23:15, Matt. 23:33, Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Mark 9:47, Luke 12:5, James 3:6, Rev. 19:20, Rev. 20:10, Rev. 20:14, and Rev. 20:15. This list is from here, if you want to check their sources.
“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalms 16:10). When a person dies, they are put in the earth. This is Hell. It is a place of cold nothingness. It is a cold, blank state. And, of course, the resurrection of judgement day is when the dead will rise again from their graves.
“Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations” (Isaiah 14:9).
It seems, on a spiritual level, that below hell is the bottomless pit. I only say this because of this verse: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:15).
So, then what is the bottomless pit? It is the home of the fallen angels. It is the great darkness that they are bound in. “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:13).
Last, we have the Lake of Fire, which is the place of the eternal torment of the wicked. This is the traditional “Hell” that is thought of. The fact is, though, that no one is here yet, either. This is a place reserved for after the judgement. As to where the Lake of Fire is, it seems to be located in the Bottomless Pit. Revelation gives us clues to this:
“And the smoke of their torment 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” (Revelation 14:11).
“And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit” (Revelation 9:2).
“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” (Revelation 20:10).
The Lake of Fire burns forever and the smoke of their torment also ascends forever. We also see that when the Bottomless Pit is opened, there ascends smoke as from a great furnace. It would seem that the furnace is the Lake of Fire in this context, but there’s no real way to be sure. One last interesting verse to point out is this: “And again they said, Alleluia. And her [Babylon’s] smoke rose up for ever and ever” (Revelation 19:3). Again, here is more smoke ascending forever. Why does the burning of Babylon correspond with the Lake of Fire? Is the burning of Babylon the same as the opening of the Bottomless Pit? Just some questions to be pondered.
Ultimately, though, the point of this is to understand the nature of Hell, that what we call Hell is simply the state of being dead and buried in the Earth. It is the ground and the grave. Even so, at the end of all things, there will be a resurrection, all who lived will be judged, and those who are not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
I beseech all those who haven’t found Jesus to repent, be baptised (whole body in Jesus Christ’s name), and seek the Holy Ghost. No one wants damnation, so seek salvation.
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