Part 2 – Defining “Hell” and “the Lake of Fire”

This Article is part of a multi-part Study Series called What Exactly is Death and Hell?.

Many are surprised to learn that there are actually these three Greek words that often are mistranslated as “hell” in the KJV New Testament… 1) Hades, 2) Gehenna, and 2) Tartaroo. There also are Old Testament Hebrew equivalents for Hades and Gehenna.  As you will see, the use of the word ‘hell’ is most often a mistranslation.

  1. The New Testament Greek word “hades is often mistranslated at ‘hell’ when properly it refers most often to “the grave.” Hades is the Greek equivalent of the Old Testament Hebrew term ‘Sheol,’ which refers in general to “the place of the dead” being “the grave.”

The word ‘hell’ is often mistranslated from ‘hades’ and misused in many places in the KJV Bible. Most often it refers to “the grave.” Twelve times in the New Testament the word from the Greek “gehenna” is mis translated as “hell” when it actually refers to ‘Hell-fire” of “the lake of fire.

By example we see the misuse of “hell” for the O Hebrew ‘Sheol’ in Psalms 16:10 and 49:15 and from the Greek ‘hades’ in Acts 2:27 (all below). These All mean “the grave” to describe the location of Christ’s body while He was dead for three days and three nights (cf. Matthew 12:40).

“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Heb, Sheol, the grave); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One [Jesus] to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10 (KJV)

“Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Grk. hades, the grave), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One [Jesus]to see corruption.” (Acts 2:27 (KJV)

Concerning Jesus’s resurrection: “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave [Heb. Sheol]: for he shall receive me. Selah. (Psalm 49:15 (KJV)

So, we see that the dead body of our Lord Jesus Christ was then located in ‘the grave of His tomb’ for 3 days and nights. A grave can also be in the sea (Rev. 20:13). Jesus was not in the so-called ‘good side or paradise side of hell’ as is falsely taught by most all of Christendom. They rely upon misinterpreting Jesus’ intent in the parable of “The Rich Man and Lazarus” in Luke 16.

For an explanation of “The Rich Man and Lazarus” (Luke 16) go to these two places to read or listen;



  1. The Greek “gehennarefers to the valley of Hinnom, a valley outside the walls of Jerusalem between Jerusalem and the Mt of Olives. It is still there to this day. Child sacrifice occurred in this Hinnom Valley, sacrificing them by fire in connection with Pagan rites unto the Pagan god, Molech, a god of the Ammonites. Because of this, the Hinnom valley became associated with the idea of ‘Tophet,’ or ‘hell fire’. Tophet shall henceforth be called “the valley of slaughter” (Jer. 7:32, see also 19:12 and Isaiah 30:33. In Old Testament times this had been the scene of the practice of child-sacrifice under some of the godless kings of Israel.

“And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them [Israel] not, neither came it into my heart.” (Jer. 7:31 (KJV)

Then after the overthrow of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and down to New Testament times, incidental references to Tophet or Gehenna indicate that it was a kind of perpetually burning rubbish-heap, where the refuse of Jerusalem was consumed. Later garbage and the dead carcasses of animals were disposed of, being burned by fire and consumed by maggots (called ‘worms’ in the KJV) in this valley. Jeremiah wrote of a time when;

“And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.” (Jeremiah 31:40 (KJV)

Therefore, the valley of Hinnom (Greek gehenna) which is real, is also the Biblical metaphor for the actual “hell fire” (Matt. 18:9) of “the lake of fire” described in Rev. 19:20, having the unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43). The fire will completely consume, destroy, the carcasses of the unbelieving dead after being judged at the final “Great While Throne Judgment.” The names of those destroyed will not have been found in “the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 21:27).

  1. The Greek “tartaroo appears only once in the Bible, in 2 Peter 2:4 (below), referring to a place and condition of restraint upon demons, certain fallen angels. They are alluded to in Jude 1:6 (below). With the Fifth Trumpet Judgment of the Tribulation period as seen in Revelation 9, we note the uniquely described class of demons, seen as stinging “Locust” being released from a “pit” to inflict “torment” upon the ‘unsealed’ (unprotected) people during the last half of the 7-year Tribulation period (Rev. 9:4-5).

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Grk. tartaroo), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” (2 Peter 2:4 (KJV)

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 1:6 (KJV)

The demon’s “king,” Satan, is seen here below in verse11. Later, at the end of the Millennium, both “the Devil and his angels” will be cast into “the lake of fire” (Matt. 25:41).

“And they [the demon Locust] had a king [Satan] over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” (Revelation 9:11 (KJV)

In Hebrew, the name “Abaddon” means “destruction”; the Greek title “Apollyon” literally means “The Destroyer.” Abaddon/Apollyon is often used as another name for Satan.’ We find Satan, the Devil, later on in the Revelation, when he is seized and bound in the pit by angel of the Lord for 1,000 years Millennial reign of Christ after the Tribulation period (cf. Revelation 20:1-4). After this Satan is released only to provoke the final ‘Gog and Magog’ war od Ezekiel 38-39. At the end he is “cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:10).

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