WHAT IS HELL?
Hell is a prison, a place of banishment and a place of torment, Actually, there is more than one hell. (Or, there is more than one location the Bible translates hell.) First there is the place the Hebrew language calls sheol in the Old Testament, and the Greek of the New Testament calls hades. We could call this location sheol-hades.
Another location the Bible translates hell is called Gehennah in the Greek. Gehennah and sheol-hades are two distinct locations, and are somewhat different in construction.
SHEOL-HADES. Sheol-hades is a prison divided into two regions, a) paradise and b) a place of torment. Paradise was a prison for those throughout the milleniums who trusted in the coming Messiah (Jesus Christ), a very comfortable place. There is a large chasm separating paradise from the place of torment which no man could cross. Paradise is now empty of its inhabitants as Christ had led them out of captivity immediately after His death on the cross and brought them with Him to heaven.
The place of torment, the second region of sheol-hades, is totally opposite paradise. This section is a place of continual torment. Jesus tells of one man in this place who cried out in agony, “Have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Those who are there are not in their bodies (earthsuits) but would still be recognizable because their spirits are the same size, shape and form. They are very much the same person they were when living on earth, only minus their physical bodies.
GEHENNAH. Gehennah is called “the lake of fire” and it too is a prison and a horrible place of punishment, beyond the ability of man to describe, much worse than sheol-hades. It was this location that Jesus warned of many times, a place He called “outer darkness” and a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”