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What is the difference between Sheol, Gehanna, Hades and Tartarus? Are they the same?

There is no difference between the places Sheol and Hades. One is a Hebrew word used in the Old Testament and the other is Greek used in the New.

This place is in the nether world of those who have departed from this life. It is more properly described in Luke 16:23. Here is was the place where all souls went when they died. The saved into a compartment called Abraham's Bosom. And the unsaved, into a place of torment. There was a great gulf fixed between the two so that there could be no crossing from one to the other. This is where Jesus went during the three days between His death and resurrection Acts 2:31 He seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. The word "hell" here is the word "Hades." Hades then speaks of the place of departed souls, but not bodies. Jesus body was in the tomb and His soul in hades.

The word "hell" is used nine times and is translated from a Greek word "Gehenna." It was only used by Jesus when on earth. He uses is as a metaphor as the place of the future punishment call "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire". This was a place originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned, a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction. This was a place where both body and soul went forever. Matthew 10:28.

The place "Tarturus" was a dark doleful place and is translated only once in our Bible. In 2 Peter 2:4, it is said to be the prison house of certain fallen angels that will later be judged and cast into the lake of fire.

Needless to say that these all describe terrible places to go. That is why Jesus loved sinners and died that they might be saved. What about you? Are you sure that you are trusting Him alone for salvation?

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen