“Gehenna” is used twelve times in the New Testament, eleven of those by the Lord Himself (Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mk. 9:43, 45, 47; Lk. 12:5; Jas. 3:6). In both verses, the text of Matt. 5:29 and 30 speak of being “cast into Hell.” In Matt. 10:28 Jesus spoke of having “both soul and body” destroyed “in Hell.” Similarly, Matt. 18:9 speaks of being “cast into hell fire,” indicating the nature of the punishment therein. Jesus admonished to “Fear Him Who…has power to cast into Hell” (Lk. 12:5).
The description of Hell in Mk. 9:43-47 is quite specific: “it is better…to enter into life maimed…than…to go to Hell,” (vs. 43); “It is better…to enter life lame…than…to be cast into Hell” (vs. 45); “It is better…to enter the kingdom of God with one eye…than…to be cast into hell fire-” (vs. 47). In addition, each of these statements is followed by the further statement, “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (vs. 44, 46, 48), indicating a definite place under consideration.
The language in these texts is neither vague nor allusive; it is direct, explicit, precise, specific. It unambiguously speaks of a definite place called Hell. The nature of Hell is described clearly and repeatedly. It is a place of “fire” (Matt. 5:22; 18:9; Mk. 9:44, 45, 47; Jas. 3:6), with the implication of obvious suffering going therewith. It is also a place of condemnation (Matt. 23:33) and destruction (Matt. 10:28).
Other texts further describe Hell as a “lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8). At the same time it is a place of “outer darkness” and agony (Matt. 22:13; 25:30) such as would cause “wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:41-42, 49-50). It is a place of torment and utter separation from God (Lk. 16:24, 28; 2 Thess. 1:7-9).
Is Hell real? It is virtually impossible to read objectively all that the scriptures say about Hell and not conclude that it is indeed a real place, one to be avoided at all cost…