Gary Thomas @ www.boundless.org reviews the reality of Heal. He addresses:
Ancient Views of Hell
"The English word "hell" is most often used to translate the Old Testament Hebrew word Sheol, which is also often translated as grave, and the New Testament [Greek] words hades and gehenna. Sheol designates a place of darkness and decay where the dead go after they die. In the Hebrew worldview of the Old Testament, judgments were reserved primarily for this world, so Sheol doesn't really speak to either punishment or reward as much as it simply describes a place where both the ungodly and the godly go, without distinction".
Jesus: The Teacher of Hell
It's primarily from Jesus' words in the New Testament that we've developed most of our notions about hell today, moving us more toward the sense of Gehenna than Hades.
Jesus describes hell as:
- a place of severe judgment, so painful that a person would prefer to lose a bodily part here on earth than have his whole body thrown into such a painful place (Matt. 5:29-30).
- There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12; 22:13).
- a place where (quoting from Isaiah) "their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:48).
- In the famous "Sheep and Goats" parable, Jesus describes the fate of those who go to Gehenna as "eternal punishment" (Matt. 25:46). In the midst of this punishment, there is also separation from the presence of Christ (Matt. 7:23).
- there will be degrees of punishment, just as in heaven there will be degrees of reward (Mark 12:40, Luke 12:47-48).
The Early Church and Hell
What Does All This Mean?