In this short post I am going to establish that the place called hell (Greek geenna/gehenna), which the Lord Jesus mentions all throughout the Gospels, is the same as the lake of fire that John the Apostle spoke of in the book of Revelation.
According to the Lord, hell is the place of unending/everlasting fire where all the unbelievers will be cast into with their physical bodies to experience pain and anguish:
“But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be in danger of the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be in danger of HELL FIRE (ten geennan tou pyros)… And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. For it is profitable that one of your members should perish, and not that YOUR WHOLE BODY be thrown into hell (geennan). And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that YOUR WHOLE BODY be thrown into hell (geennan).” Matthew 5:22, 29-30
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul AND BODY in hell (geenne).” Matthew 10:28
“Therefore if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life lame or maimed than having two hands or two feet to be thrown into ETERNAL FIRE. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than having two eyes to be thrown into THE FIRE OF HELL (ten geennan tou pyros).” Matthew 18:8-9
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into HELL (geennan), into the fire THAT SHALL NEVER BE QUENCHED, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into HELL (geennan), into the fire THAT SHALL NEVER BE QUENCHED, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into THE FIRE OF HELL (ten geennan tou pyros), where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire IS NOT QUENCHED.’” Mark 9:43-48
John describes the lake of fire as the place where disbelievers will undergo everlasting torment, where they shall never experience peace or rest ever again:
“A third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out in full strength into the cup of His anger. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. The smoke of their torment will ascend FOREVER AND EVER. THEY HAVE NO REST DAY OR NIGHT, who worship the beast and his image and whoever receives the mark of his name.’” Revelation 14:9-11
“But the beast was captured and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake OF FIRE that burns with brimstone.” Revelation 19:20
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars shall have their portion in the lake which burns WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
The Lord Jesus further taught that the casting of evildoers into hell fire occurs at the end of the age, which is the time when he returns to the earth with his angels to sit enthroned in judgment over all the nations:
“Then Jesus sent the crowds away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, and the good seed are the sons of the kingdom. But the weeds are the sons of the evil one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest IS THE END OF THE WORLD, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the weeds are gathered and burned IN THE FIRE, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send out His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who do evil, and will throw them into A FIERY FURNACE. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:36-43
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, THEN HE WILL SIT ON THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY. Before Him will be gathered all nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.’… Then He will say to those at the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into THE ETERNAL FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels.’… And they will go away into ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46
Note the reference to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, and contrast that with what John writes:
“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tormented day and night FOREVER AND EVER. Then I saw A GREAT WHITE THRONE AND HIM WHO WAS SEATED ON IT. From His face the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one by his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:10-15
John, in agreement with his risen Lord, proclaims that the casting of the dead/disbelievers into the lake of fire also takes place at the end of the age, which is the time when the dead are gathered before the throne of the Lord Jesus to receive their just sentence.
All of these factors conclusively prove that hell and the lake of fire are one and the same place. This now brings me to my next point.
Hell and Hades are not the same
Our Lord referred to another place, to another spiritual dimension, called hades1 where the souls of the damned are sent to suffer torment:
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. There was also a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores, who had been placed at his gate, desiring to be fed the crumbs falling from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. It came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s presence. The rich man also died AND WAS BURIED. In HADES, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham from a distance and Lazarus in his presence. So he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. For I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things. But now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf, so that those who would pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ He said, ‘Then I pray you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, to testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them hear them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham. But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31
Since Christ speaks of the rich man being buried, it is therefore clear which part of him went to hades, i.e., the body of the rich man was buried whereas his soul/spirit was sent to hades to undergo punishment for his wickedness.
This, therefore, helps us to see the difference between hades and geenna/gehenna or hell, e.g., hades is the place where souls/spirits of the unbelievers are cast into, whereas hell is the place where both the body and the soul/spirit of the disbeliever are sent to undergo everlasting, conscious torment.2
With that said, the book of Revelation indicates that both death (the grave or all the places where physical bodies are buried) and hades will be cast into the lake of fire:
“The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one by his works. Then Death and Hades WERE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. This is the second death.” Revelation 20:13-14
Since hell and the lake of fire are the same place/dimension, this means that hades shall be cast into hell. As such, hell and hades cannot possibly be the same place/dimension; otherwise we would have to assume that Christ is going to actually cast hell into hell!
Here is a helpful break down of the foregoing points:
- The God-breathed Scriptures teach that hell (geenna/gehenna) and the lake of fire are one and the same place/dimension.
- The Holy Bible also teaches that hades will eventually cease to exist since it will be cast into the lake of fire.
- Since the lake of fire is the same as hell, this means that hades will be cast into hell itself.
- Therefore, hell and hades cannot be the same abode/dimension. These are two different places that all the unrighteous go to once they die in their unbelief and transgressions.
All scriptural references taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.
1. Hades may also be a reference to the common grave, since this was the term used to translate the Hebrew word sheol, a phrase which in the Hebrew Bible often means grave.
2. There is some indication that prior to the Lord Jesus’ physical resurrection and bodily ascension into heaven, everyone was sent to hades. As such, there were actually two sections/compartments in hades, one for the disbelievers and the other for all the believers. Moreover, unlike the unbelievers who were/are experiencing conscious torment, the faithful that dwelt there were in a state of peace and bliss awaiting the time when their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would open up the gates of heaven so that they could then enter there and live in the presence of the Godhead and of the holy angels (cf. Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16, 39-40; 12:1-3, 22-24; 13:14).