Hell vs Gehenna vs Hades vs Sheol

Hell vs Gehenna vs Hades vs Sheol

What’s the actual difference between all of these? They are all mentioned in Scripture.

Hell = Hades = Sheol = the place of the dead where the just waited for the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross.

Hell = the place of the damned.

The difference? Context.

Gehenna = Hinnom = the valley on the south side of Jerusalem where Molech worship took place, which involved child sacrifice. It is an allusion and alternate name to refer to the hell of the damned.


Sheol and Hades were the Hebrew and the Greek names attached to the same idea, which was the place where the souls of all the dead dwelt in the afterlife. The Witch of Endor episode shows that Samuel, for all his great merit as a prophet, was condemned to spend eternity in the same gloomy underworld as everybody else.

It was only toward the end of the OT period that Judaism developed the idea of a segregated Heaven and Hell, one where good people are rewarded and the other place where bad people are punished. Hell, in this sense, is Gehenna in Hebrew, though that word is found only in the NT, not in the OT, except as a geographical name. As @Porthos11 explained, it was originally the name of a valley just outside the Jerusalem city walls.


Gehenna is the Greek word for Hell in English. It is the same thing as the lake of fire mentioned in Revelation Ch.20. Sheol is the Hebrew word translated Hades (which is a transliteration from Greek). Prior to the NT, Hades was simply the realm of the dead. But by the NT, Hades became synonymous with the “temporary” place of suffering where only the wicked go, because after Jesus’ death, He took the righteous from the “good part” (Abraham’s bosom)(Luke Ch.16) to Heaven. Revelation Ch.20 states that all those who will be in Hades at the end of human history will be cast into the lake of fire (ie: Hell).

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