The Hebrew concept “She’ol” is really more like “the place of thedead.” It is not value specific, everyone ends up there it seemsfrom David to Jonah to evil people. When translated into Greek inthe New Testament, it seems to take on the characteristic of beingthe place of God’s enemy (Matt 16:18, throughout Revelation).The other word for hell, “G’hinom” is actually a place outside of Jerusalem. It’s a garbage dump where trash is burned and isJesus’ favorite use of “hell”. It is with this word where we get thepicture of hell being a “fiery place” and lasting forever. (readMatthew 5:22-30)Revelation never uses the word “G’hinom”, but replaces it with theconcept of “the second death” – which is a sort of blending or combination of She’ol’s “place of the dead” concept and G’hinom’s“place of everlasting torment.”
Use of “she’ol” in Hebrew OT – over 60 times. Use of “Hades” in Greek NT – 10 times.
Use of “G’hinom” in Hebrew OT – 13. Use of “Gehenna” inGreek NT – 11 times.
Use of “second death” in Revelation (only used inRevelation) – 4 times.To make things even more confusing, a well meaning poet fromItaly named Dante Alighieri confused us even more with his book“The Divine Comedy” where he blended Christian, Jewish, andRoman ideas about Hell together in two of that book’s volumes,“Inferno” and “Purgatorio”. Unfortunately, when people thinkabout hell, they think about it more in terms of Dante than they doof even what Jesus has to say about the place.
What are the common ideas that you see in our cultureabout hell and where do you think they come from?
Our word “heaven” is the translation of the Hebrew word for sky,“Shama’im”. It is mentioned as a partner to earth in Genesis 1:1,and is one of the first things to get created and named by God(Genesis 1:8).