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What is Hell?
     1. The Old Testament.-- The Hebrew word for hell is Sheol, which corresponds to the Greek Hades, and means the under-world or the realm of the dead. It is derived by some from the root "to demand" (hence the "grasping" or "insatiable"), by others from the root "to make hollow" (comp. the German Holle with Huble), so as to mean the vast subterranean receptacle and resting-place of the dead. Sheol is variously translated in our English Bible by the terms "hell," "pit," and "grave." In many places it is rightly translated "grave." 1 Sam 2:6; Job 14:13, etc. Sheol is represented as in the depths of the earth, Job 11:8; Prov 9:18, dark, Isa 38:10, all-devouring, Prov 1:12, destitute of God's presence, Ps 88:10-12, a state of forgetfulness, Ps 6:5, insatiable, Isa 5:14, remorseless, Cant. Isa 8:6, and a place of silence, Eccl 9:10. The Hebrew notions about it were vague and indefinite. It was regarded as the place where worldly occupations, good or bad, did not enter. Eccl 9:10; Job 3:13-20. It can by no means be made out that the term refers exclusively or definitely to infernal anguish. But it no less certainly represented terror and repulsiveness to the Hebrew mind. 2. The New Testament. -- The two words translated "hell" are Hades and Gehenna. Hades occurs eleven times, and is once rendered "grave," 1 Cor 15:55; in all other places "hell." It evidently does not refer to the ultimate abode of the impenitent and the final state of exclusion from God, but to the disembodied state between death and the final judgment of the Son of man, when he shall come in his glory, Matt 16:27. After the crucifixion, our Lord descended into hades, Acts 2:27, and this is an article of the Apostles' Creed, where, however, we use wrongly the word "hell." It was in this realm that our Lord "preached to the spirits in prison," 1 Pet 3:19. See Hades. The term Gehenna, which occurs twelve times, more nearly corresponds to our word "hell." It signified primarily the valley of Hinnom or the deep, narrow valley south of Jerusalem which had been the seat of the worship of Moloch. Jer 7:31; 2 Chr 33:6; 2 Kgs 23:10. It afterward was turned into a place for the deposit of the filth and dead animals of the city. Hence this term was applied to the final state and abode of lost souls. Matt 5:29; Ezr 10:28; Matt 23:15; Jas 3:6, etc. It is here that "their worm dieth not" and the "fire is not quenched," Matt 17:9. Into this realm the rebellious angels were cast, 2 Pet 2:4 (where the word is a derivative from "Tartarus"). At the great day of judgment the cursed shall go away into this abode and receive the everlasting punishment. Matt 25:46.

Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'hell' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". - Schaff's

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