Of the many religions and cultures around the world, there are many different names for Hell. The religions and cultures all tell of a place where the wicked and unjust go when they die. In the Bible, there is a difference between Hell and the “Lake of Fire.” The unfortunate and unsaved souls appear immediately in Hell, from where they will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14). The punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire are both the same, just that the inhabitants of each are different.
The Many Names of Hell
- Sheol (Grave) - Sheol is from the Hebrew Old Testament Bible meaning "grave." In the King James version of the Bible, Sheol was translated thirty-one times to "Hell" and "Pit" three times.
- Lake of Fire - Often used the same as Hell but is a different place in Hell. You can consider the Lake of Fire to be the deeper part of Hell. The Lake of Fire is also called the "second death" (Rev. 20:14; 21:8).
- Tartarus - Tartarus comes from Greek mythology where Hades (brother of the King of the Olympian Gods Zeus) reigns supreme over this domain of the underworld where all dead people go. There was no escape from Hades the God of the Underworld.
- Gehenna - Hebrew word for "Hell" appearing in the New Testament twelve times. Jesus Christ used this term eleven times and may be related to the Valley of Hinnom. During the reign of Ahaz, the false God Molech was worshipped by Israel. Ahaz sacrificed his son to Molech (2 Chron. 28:1-4). Molech was represented by a golden calf, fitting form from the religion of Canaan.
The Molech idol had the head of a bull and a hollow stomach where a fire burned. In its outstretched arms, a child was sacrificed on the arms to this false deity.
Under Josiah, this false God worshipping was stopped, and the lands became a dumping ground of garbage.
Jesus Christ may have used the term "Gehenna" because the Israelites associated the area with a horrid stench and filth (Matt. 5:22; 18:8, 9; 23:33; John 5:36).
- Naraka - Naraka is the Hindi/Indian mythology word for Hell. Naraka comes from the Sanskrit word for the realm of Hell in Dharmic traditions. Naraka is referenced in Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism texts.
- Jahannam - Urdu and Arabic
- Inferno - From Dante’s Divine Comedy
- Hel - In Norse mythology, Hel is both the name of the realm of the underworld and the name for the God who rules it. Hel receives a portion of the souls, most likely the souls that did not make it to Valhalla (Norse mythology version of Heaven).
- Annwn (Annwfn or Annwfyn) - Celtic mythology