What does the word “hell” really mean? And is hell literal or symbolic?

Hello W,

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The word hell is translated from several different words with various meanings, as indicated below:

In the Old Testament:

31 times from “Sheol,” which means “the grave.”

In the New Testament:

10 times from “Hades,” which means “the grave.”

12 times from “Gehenna,” which means “the place of burning,”

1 time from “Tartarus,” which means “ a place of darkness.”

54 times total.

The Greek word “Gehenna” (mentioned above) is a transliteration of the Hebrew “Ge-Hinnom,” which means the “Valley of Hinnom.” This valley, which lies immediately south and west of Jerusalem, was a place where refuse were dumped. Fire burned constantly, as it does at modern sanitation dump sites. The Bible uses “Gehenna” or the “Valley of Hinnom” as a symbol of the fire that will destroy the lost at the end of time. The fire of Gehenna was not unending. Otherwise it would be still burning southwest of Jerusalem today. Neither will the fire of hell be unending.

The scriptures teach that the fire of hell will be the literal punishment of the wicked: “It is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” ( Matthew 5:30); “Rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28); “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

But the Bible also teaches that hell fire will go out and that there will not be left “a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it” (Isaiah 47:14). The wicked do not keep on burning endlessly; the fires of the last day will literally “burn them up” (Jer. 17:27; Matt. 3:12; 25:41; 2 Peter 3:7–13; Jude 7). In God’s new kingdom all “former things” will be passed away. Hell, being one of the former things, is included. God promises that hell will be abolished (Revelation 21:1, 4).

Is hell forever? Check the following link-   https://bibleask.org/is-hell-forever/

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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