There seems to be some confusion about the meaning of Hell and who goes there because of the way the Hebrew word Sheol and the Greek word Hades have been translated in our English Bibles. Since this confusion has led some into an erroneous understanding of what the Bible actually teaches about the intermediate state and the final state of the dead, we think that it is important that we address this subject here.
Sheol is found in the Bible sixty-five times. It is translated "the pit" three times, "the grave" thirty-one times, and "hell" thirty-one times. Hades is used eleven times, being rendered "hell" ten times and "grave" once. Adding to the confusion is that two other words are also translated hell in the New Testament. These are Tartarus, which is found once and Gehenna, which is used twelve times.
The term "Hell" is commonly understood to mean a place of torment where the souls of the wicked go after physical death. This is true. However, because Hades in the New Testament and Sheol in the Old are variously rendered hell or grave, there has been some misunderstanding about what hell and the grave are. Before looking at these words though, we should first give our attention to the Greek word Gehenna, which is always translated hell and used in reference to the Lake of Fire. It is found in Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33; Mark 9:43,45,47; Luke 12:5; and James 3:6.
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“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” - Spurgeon