Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How Many Hells in Christianity?

Sheol and Hades are Biblical equivalents, and were temporary holding places for the righteous, and the sinner after their physical death. At least this was true until Jesus came. We find both Lazarus and the rich man together in Hades, or Sheol separated by a great gulf (Lk 16:19-31). The place where the righteous went in Sheol before Christ was called Abraham's bosom.

But now, after Christ, Abraham's bosom has been emptied out, which is what the verse means, which states that He first descended into the lower parts of the earth, and when He ascended He led captivity (the former inhabitants of Abraham's bosom) captive (see Eph 4:8-9; cp. Acts 2:31; Lk 23:43). So now when we die we go straight to be with Him in Heaven (2Cor 5:6-9). And the wicked dead still go to Sheol where there is torment awaiting the Great White Throne judgment when the inhabitants of that place will be cast into Gehenna- the Lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15).

In fact, the casting of the wicked inhabitants of hades/sheol into Gehenna-the Lake of Fire is called the second death (Rev 20:14), why? Because they will be cast into it after the resurrection of damnation (Jn 5:29; Rev 20:11-15).

I haven't yet mentioned Tartaros, where the angels that fell which brought about Noah's flood are currently held (2Pet 2:4);

Or even the Abyss, what Scripture calls the bottomless pit, the deep, or destruction, wherein Abaddon/Apollyon dwells with his minions waiting for the trumpet to be blown for his release (Mt 7:13; Rom 9:22; 2Pet 3:16- note: apoleia-destruction is related to Apollyon-destroyer in Greek, Rev 9:1-19).

Thus there are about 4 hells:

1. Hades/Sheol- Temporary holding place for wicked dead;

2. Tartaros- Temporary holding place for angels that sinned with women (Gen 6:1-4; 2Pet 2:4);

3. Abyss, or Bottomless Pit- Where especially wicked folk are sent, along with Abaddon and his hourdes;

4. Gehenna, the Lake of Fire- The final place of torment after sentencing is given at the Great White Throne judgment.

Hope this helps.