Death, Judgment and the Second Death
In the chapter of Psalms 16:10-11, we read “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
The word “Hell” would not be the correct translation of this verse. A correct reading should have been “the grave” or “Sheol.”
“Who is the man who will live and will not see death and will save his soul from the hand of Sheol?”
Psalm 89 speaks of the time when the soul is separated from the body. The body is given over to death where it will decay, while the soul is assigned to Sheol/Hades to await the final judgment.
At the crucifixion, Jesus said to the thief beside Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43), but according to the Bible, Jesus did not immediately ascend to heaven: he descended to Sheol/Hades. While Jesus’ body lay in the tomb; His soul/spirit went to the “paradise” side of Sheol/Hades. He then removed all the righteous dead from the “static” paradise, a “way station” and took them with Him to heaven. In Kabalistic terms, Jesus would have facilitated the dimensional upgrade of these souls, removing them from the realms of eternity, the otherworld, to the realms of everlasting, the Upper Kingdom of God. For all intents and purposes, what we nowadays would call limbo, purgatory and hell are still parts of what the Christian theology called the “Community of Saints”, which would exist on the multidimensional levels of the various realms and worlds of eternity.
More than different semantics, different outlooks
Unfortunately, in many translations of the Bible, the translators were not consistent or correct. Often, they did not have the historical reference to make a balanced selection of words in order to preserve the original concept presented in scriptures. They tended to mistake, confuse and amalgamate the Hebrew and Greek words for “sheol,” “hades,” and “hell.”
Gehenna in the Old and New Testament
Gehenna, a Greek word, actually existed as a geographical location in ancient times. It was known as the Gehinnom in Rabbinical Hebrew and Gehinnam in Yiddish. These are terms derived from a place outside of ancient Jerusalem known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. It was one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City. The location of the Valley of Hinnom was supposed to be at the base of Mount Zion.