Jehovah`s Witness/The True Baptist Doctrine of Hell
I would now like to address the doctrine of hell. There seems to be quite the misunderstanding of what Rando seems to think educated Baptists believe on the subject. I would like to go into specifics below. All I ask is that experts should reference this question/answer to be sure that what they say Baptists believe matches up with what they actually do believe. Please note that my explanation below is abridged. I will be happy to go into great lengths on any particulars if asked.
In my opinion, the biggest misunderstanding regarding mainstream Christianity’s belief of hell stems from the use of the word “hell” as a translation of the original words “Sheol”, “Hades”, “Tartarus”, “The Pit” and “Gehenna”. While I understand why some people gravitate toward the KJV and other similar translations, the use of “hell” to replace all of the words above leads toward confusion for those who don’t look deeper.
1.Sheol (Hebrew) and Hades (Greek) are the same place. Everybody in the Old Testament (and many in the New Testament, up to a point) expected to go there whether or not they were righteous or unrighteous. We believe the parable of Luke 16 is a description of this place, with one side for the righteous (“Abraham’s bosom”, or “paradise”) and another side for the “unrighteous”. We believe the Old Testament saints, Jonah, Lazarus, the thief on the cross, and even Jesus went to Sheol when they died. We believe that Sheol exists to this day and will eventually be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:13-14) because it will be unnecessary at that point.
2.Tartarus is a word used only once in the Bible. It is at 2 Peter 2:4 and references the deepest abyss of Hades where fallen angels have been chained and await judgment.
3.The Pit (OT) and Gehenna (NT) are the same place. We believe they are the Final Hell and the same as the “lake of fire”, where the devil, the beast, and the false prophet will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev. 20:10). This is same location that those whose names were not written in the Book of Life will go (Rev. 20:15). The reason that Baptists believe that the final destination for the unrighteous will be an eternal burning torment is because those in verse 15 go to the same place as those in verse 10.
4.Old Testament Patriarchs were most assuredly deemed righteous as mentioned in Hebrews 11.
5.We believe that Jesus went to Sheol went he died (Eph. 4:8-10), proclaimed to the imprisoned spirits while He was there (1 Peter 3:8), and with His ascension Jesus led the righteous from Abraham’s bosom in Sheol to heaven (Eph. 4:8). At this point, we believe that all who are deemed righteous and whose names are written in the Book of Life will go to heaven as Paul expected in 2 Cor. 12:2-4 and discusses in 2 Cor. 5:8 and Phil. 1:23.
6.When Judgment Day comes, we believe that the present earth and heavens will disappear (2 Pet. 3:10-13, Matt. 24:35); death, Hades, and the unrighteous will be thrown into the lake of fire; and that a new heaven and new earth will be created so that God can reside with His people forever (Rev. 21).
This is the doctrine of hell of mainstream Christianity in an abridged format. If anyone would like for me to expand on any of these points, please feel free to ask. Again, all I ask is that if someone references what Baptists believe regarding hell, that they consult this link first to see if it lines up. No excuses.