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Gehenna vs Life    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

Unfortunately, the King James Version of the Bible uses the Old English word “hell” to translate the Hebrew word sheol, and the Greek words hades, tartaros and gehenna. This has caused great confusion in the Church in leading many Christians away from a true understanding of the meaning of gehenna. Heaven is a place and is located in the “sides of the North” due north of the North Pole in what is known as the Orion Nebula.

(Psa 48:2 KJV)  Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

(Isa 14:13 KJV)  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

Hades and Sheol are the same place and are located in the underworld, or a subterranean part of the earth. Hades is the transliterated Greek word for the abode of the dead, and sheol is the transliterated Hebrew word for this same place. There is another compartment in the subterranean part of the earth that is lower than Hades, and this place is called Tartaros in the Greek. This is the deepest abyss in Hades, and this is the place where the angels that sinned are held until judgment. Tartaros is the abyss or the bottomless pit where Satan will be imprisoned for the millennium. We know from Scripture that Hades and Tartaros are places located in the subterranean part of the earth. Tartaros proper would have to be in the very center of the earth, for this would be the only place inside the earth that does not have a bottom. Any direction would be upward, so Scripture refers to Tartaros as the Bottomless Pit or the Abyss.

Above Tartaros would be the compartment referred to in the Scriptures as The Place of Torment. This is the place of the unsaved dead. Separated from The Place of Torment by a “great gulf” is a third compartment called Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise. When God’s elect people descended into Hades or Sheol, they descended into the place called “Abraham’s Bosom”. This is also the place where Jesus went at his death. Jesus even told the thief on the cross that he would be with Jesus in Paradise that same day. When Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven, He transferred Paradise from Hades into heaven and took all of the occupants with him to heaven. The following verse in a psalm of David and the verses in Acts confirm that David descended into Sheol, the abode of the dead. It also confirms that “Thy Holy One”—Jesus Christ—would also be there. David was confident that the Lord would resurrect him up out of Sheol, and that Christ would be resurrected out of Sheol.


(Psa 16:10 NASB)  For Thou wilt not abandon my (i.e., David’s) soul to Sheol; Neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.  

(Acts 2:27 NASB)  BECAUSE THOU WILT NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW THY HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.

(Acts 2:31 NASB)  he (David) looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.

(Eph 4:7-10 KJV)  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. {8} Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. {9} (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? {10} He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)  

(1 Pet 3:18-20 NASB)  For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; {19} in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, {20} who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.  

In accordance with the above passages of Scripture, Jesus Christ descended into Sheol into Paradise and preached to the “spirits in prison”. These were the elect of God confined in Sheol until the atonement was made and made it possible for them to enter heaven. This was when Jesus transferred Paradise into heaven.  This is the meaning of “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

When Jonah was in Sheol before the resurrection of his body in the great fish, he was confident that his soul would be brought up from Sheol at some point in time. David, Jonah and Jesus would have been in Abraham’s Bosom or the place known as Paradise, which is in Sheol.

(Jonah 2:1-2 NASB)  Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish, {2} and he said, "I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; Thou didst hear my voice.  

(Jonah 2:6 KJV)  I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

It is clear from the Scriptures that Hades, Tartaros, Sheol, Abraham’s Bosom, and Paradise are all located in the subterranean part of the earth. The Scriptures are also clear that the unsaved dead will spend eternity in The Place of Torment, which is the second level in Sheol or Hades:

(Psa 9:17 NASB)  The wicked will return to Sheol, Even all the nations who forget God.  

All of these described places are literal places. We can point to them from anywhere on the earth by pointing straight down. Thus, hell is a place if one is speaking of Sheol, Hades or Tartaros.

The transliterated Greek word gehenna is used twelve times in the New Testament, and each one refers to THE DESTROYING FIRE OF GOD, which results in the STATE of perdition or destruction, but it does not refer to a place. To be cast into Gehenna for the Christian is the opposite of entering into life, which is destruction of the soul. The Christian who is cast into Gehenna fails to realize the salvation of his soul.

Note: Gehenna fire applies to Christians and the unsaved dead. Gehenna is the destroying fire of God that destroys the souls of unfaithful Christians and the resurrected bodies of unsaved reprobates. THE FIRE THAT TRIES THE LIVES OF CHRISTIANS IS THE SAME FIRE THAT WILL CONSUME THE BODIES OF THE UNSAVED DEAD. This truth is very unpopular and rejected by the majority of the Church, but it is a Biblical fact. Fortunately, the Christian will receive a new soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and be like Christ. Unfortunately, the unsaved dead will spend eternity in Hades without a body and with the old soul that has not been redeemed. Thus, the Christian is completely redeemed in spirit, soul and body, but the unsaved reprobate is left with a dead spirit, a depraved soul and no body to fulfill the fleshly desires of the depraved soul. Therefore, the unsaved reprobate cannot quench his thirst or satisfy any of the lusts of the flesh. Undoubtedly, this is the torment that the unsaved dead will experience in Hades in The Place of Torment.

The following verse is addressed to the disciples of Jesus. The warning about Gehenna Fire is for believers:

(Mat 18:9 KJV)  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell (i.e., gehenna) fire.  

NOTE: The alternatives are to enter into life or to be cast into gehenna fire. LIFE IS NOT A PLACE AND NEITHER IS GEHENNA FIRE. To enter into life is to realize soul salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ. To be cast into gehenna fire is to have one’s soul (i.e., life) destroyed by the fire that tries our works.  

Please read my article  To Perish or not to Perish for a detailed explanation on the destruction of the soul.  

The following passage of Scripture also depicts Gehenna as the opposite of entering into life:

(Mark 9:39 KJV)  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

(Mark 9:40 KJV)  For he that is not against us is on our part.

(Mark 9:41 KJV)  For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

(Mark 9:42 KJV)  And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

(Mark 9:43 KJV)  And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

(Mark 9:44 KJV)  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

(Mark 9:45 KJV)  And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

(Mark 9:46 KJV)  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

(Mark 9:47 KJV)  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

(Mark 9:48 KJV)  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

(Mark 9:49 KJV)  For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.

(Mark 9:50 KJV)  Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

Verse 41 above confirms that the issue is “reward” and not the final destination of the person. Verses 43, 45 and 47 confirm that a Christian either enters into life, or he passes away in Gehenna, which is the state of destruction for the soul. Verse 49 confirms that Gehenna fire is that fire that will try all of the Christian’s works. A Christian either enters into life, which is soul salvation, or he enters into Gehenna, which is destruction of the soul. The following Scripture is addressed to believers and confirms that Gehenna is the fire by which God destroys both the body and the soul:

(Mat 10:28 KJV)  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (i.e., gehenna).  

This Scripture states very clearly that believers are not to fear men who are able to kill their bodies, but they are to fear God (i.e., him) who is able to destroy their soul in Gehenna.

The following Scripture verse shows three levels of judgment for the Christian’s hostile attitude toward his brethren. The levels of judgment increase in severity as the level of attitude becomes more virulent.

(Mat 5:22 KJV)  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell (i.e., gehenna) fire.  

The first Christian who is angry with his brother without justification is in danger of “the judgment”. The Greek word for judgment is krisis and means a sundering, or separation. This Christian is in danger of being separated at the Firstfruits Rapture. It means that he does not qualify for being the bride of Christ. He is not a part of the out-resurrection, which is the better resurrection or the abundant entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

The Christian who says to his brother “Raca” shall be in danger of “the council.” The term “Raca” is a term that means a scornful attack on a person’s intellect. In modern English, we would call a brother stupid. The “council” is the Judgment Seat of Christ at the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church. The Christian who shows disdain for his fellow Christian and calls him stupid is in danger when he will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He could be rejected for the kingdom, or relegated to a lower position in the kingdom.

The Christian who calls his brother a “fool” is in danger of Gehenna fire, which is the destruction of the soul by fire. Calling a brother a fool is a scornful attack on a brother’s moral character. This is a judgment of our Christian brother that we are not qualified to make. Only God is capable of making this judgment, for He is the only one who knows all of the facts and the state of the Christian’s heart. The Christian is not to judge his brother’s moral character and consign him to destruction by Gehenna fire, or that Christian who does the judging will be in danger of destruction by Gehenna fire himself.

NOTE: In the above verse, the separation is not a place. Also, a less than favorable judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ is not a place. Finally, destruction by Gehenna fire is not a place.  

The Scriptures are very clear that gehenna and the lake of fire are the same. The following Scripture verse defines the Lake of fire as the second death:

(Rev 21:8 KJV)  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  

Unless we can state with a straight face that the second death is a place, then we must conclude that the lake of fire IS NOT A PLACE. This verse is talking about unfaithful Christians having their part or portion in the lake of fire. As stated earlier in this article, this is an extremely adverse judgment for Christians who have been unfaithful. They end up with their lives destroyed by the fire of God’s judgment. Their lives have been a waste and will be consumed by the fire of God’s judgment. The following Scripture passage is the best link showing that Christians can suffer loss in the judgment by fire.

(1 Cor 3:11 KJV)  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(1 Cor 3:12 KJV)  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

(1 Cor 3:13 KJV)  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

(1 Cor 3:14 KJV)  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  

The fire in verse 13 above just happens to be the second death, which happens to be the lake of fire, which happens to be Gehenna fire. The fact that the works of Christians will be tried in the same fire that will destroy the bodies of the unregenerate is confirmed in the following verse of Scripture:

(Rev 2:11 KJV)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.  

Christians who overcome the world, the flesh and the devil will not be hurt by the second death, which is the lake of fire, which is Gehenna fire. Christians who do not overcome the flesh nature and Satan WILL BE HURT BY THE SECOND DEATH. The fire will try the work of every Christian. If his work passes through the fire, then he will receive a reward. THE FIRE DETERMINES OUR REWARD, AND NOT OUR DESTINATION. THE DESTINATION OF ALL CHRISTIANS IS HEAVEN, WHICH IS A PLACE. THE PLACE FOR THE UNREGENERATE IS HADES (GREEK), OR SHEOL (HEBREW), WHICH IS THE ABODE OF THE DEAD. AN ABODE IS A DWELLING PLACE.  

Summary

Heaven is a place! Hades and Sheol are a place. Tartaros is a place. Earth is a place. The kingdom of heaven is NOT A PLACE, but a position of authority. Outer Darkness is NOT A PLACE, but the loss of a position of authority. Gehenna is the fire that will try men’s works. It refers to the destruction of either the body or the soul. This destruction is forever. This is the meaning of “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Gehenna fire and the Lake of Fire are the same. Both refer to the Judgment fire of God to destroy the bodies and souls of men. Many Christian’s will be hurt by Gehenna fire, which is called the Second Death in the following Scripture:

(Rev 2:11 KJV)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.  

(Rev 20:6 KJV)  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.  

(Rev 20:14 KJV)  And death (i.e., thanatos) and hell (i.e., hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  

(Rev 21:8 KJV)  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  

The last two verses above clearly state that the LAKE OF FIRE IS the SECOND DEATH. Therefore, these verses clearly define the Lake of Fire as a STATE, which is the SECOND DEATH.

Therefore, the lake of fire and Gehenna ARE NOT PLACES.  They are the fire by which God is able to destroy both body and soul. The unsaved, spiritually dead will have their bodies destroyed in the lake of fire, and unfaithful Christians will have their souls destroyed in the lake of fire. Please read my article To Perish or not to Perish to more fully understand the meaning of a Christian having his soul destroyed, but a brief explanation is necessary here.

All spiritually, regenerated Christians have a new spirit, and they will get a new soul and a new body. The Christian gets his new spirit when he is regenerated and believes that Jesus died for him. The Christian is commanded to lose or crucify his soul in this life. This means he must die to self, put off the old man, walk in newness of life, enter into life, renew his mind, walk in the Spirit, walk in the light, put on the new man, and a myriad of other clauses that describe the work that a Christian must do to realize the salvation of his soul. If the Christian does this, then he has a new soul or life controlled by the Holy Spirit. If he does not do this, then his soul will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and he will be hurt by the second death. In his new body, which will be totally obedient to the Holy Spirit, this Christian will be completely conformed to the image of Christ, so he will have a new soul. Unfortunately, he will lose his reward of entering into the king’s dominion. The loss of the soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ pertains to the loss of reward and not to his final destination. All Christians go to heaven. All Christians get a new soul. All Christians get a new body. All Christians will be complete and perfect in heaven, and live in their new home, which is the heavenly or New Jerusalem. Unfortunately, it will be necessary for the souls of many Christians to be destroyed at the Judgment Seat of Christ in order for them to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. If a Christian crucifies his old self now, then it will not be necessary for Jesus to destroy it at the Judgment Seat of Christ. THE OLD MAN MUST DIE!  

The words “soul” and “life” in the following passage are the same Greek Word psuche.

(Mat 16:24 KJV)  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

(Mat 16:25 KJV)  For whosoever will save his life (psuche) shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life (psuche)  for my sake shall find it.

(Mat 16:26 KJV)  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (psuche)? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (psuche)?

(Mat 16:27 KJV)  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Verse 27 confirms that soul salvation pertains to reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

The misunderstanding about Gehenna is the reason that so many Christians erroneously believe that a Christian can lose his spirit salvation and go to “Hell”. A Christian can lose his soul in the Judgment Fire of God, but he still goes to heaven and he is still redeemed in spirit, soul and body. It is his reward that he loses. THE OLD MAN MUST DIE, EITHER NOW IN THIS LIFE OR AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.