A Greek term [borrowed from a literal burning dump near Jerusalem] that always refers to hell – a place of torment [Matthew 5:30; 23:33]


The name Gehenna comes from a deep narrow ravine south of Jerusalem where some Hebrew parents actually sacrificed their children to the Ammonite god, Molech, during the time of the kings (2 Kin. 16;3; 2 Chron. 28:1-3; cf. Lev. 18:21; 1 Kings. 11:5,7,33).

This Pagan Deity is also referred to as Malcham, Milcom, and Moloch in the bible.

This valley later served as the city dump and, because there was continual burning of refuse there, it became a graphic symbol of the place of punishment for the wicked. 

It was named the “Valley of Hinnom,” which translated into Greek becomes Gehenna.

The passages where the word is found in the New Testament plainly show that it was a commonly used expression for Hell by that time. The word is found twelve times in the Scriptures, being used eleven times by the Lord Jesus and once by James. When we consider the context, it is clear the Lord used this word in reference to the place of everlasting punishment for the wicked dead and not to the city dump.

Gehenna, or the Lake of Fire, might be referred to as the future, or final, Hell because it is where all of the wicked from all ages will finally end up. Satan, the fallen angels, and all of the lost of mankind will reside in torment there forever and ever.

Strong’s Concordance

1067. geenna

geenna: Gehenna, a valley W. and South of Jer., also a symbolic name for the final place of punishment of the ungodly

Original Word: γέεννα, ης, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: geenna
Phonetic Spelling: (gheh’-en-nah)
Short Definition: Gehenna
Definition: Gehenna, and originally the name of a valley or cavity near Jerusalem, a place underneath the earth, a place of punishment for evil.


1067 géenna (a transliteration of the Hebrew term, Gêhinnōm, “the valley of Hinnom”) –Gehenna, i.e. hell (also referred to as the “lake of fire” in


Gehenna (“hell”), the place of post-resurrection torment (judgment), refers strictly to the everlasting abode of the unredeemed where they experience divine judgment in their individual resurrection-bodies. Each of the unredeemed receives one at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15), i.e. a body that “matches” their capacity for torment relating to their (unique) judgment.





1. the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, where propitiatory sacrificeswere made to Moloch. II Kings 23:10.

2. hell (def 1).

3. any place of extreme torment or suffering.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary.

Gehenna (originally Ge bene Hinnom; i.e., “the valley of the sons of Hinnom”), a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where the idolatrous Jews offered their children in sacrifice to Molech ( 2 Chronicles 28:3 ; 2 Chronicles 33:6 ; Jeremiah 7:31 ; Jeremiah 19:2-6 ).

This valley afterwards became the common receptacle for all the refuse of the city.

Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire kept always burning. It thus in process of time became the image of the place of everlasting destruction.

In this sense it is used by our Lord in:

• Matthew 5:22

• Matthew 5:29

• Matthew 5:30

• Matthew 10:28

• Matthew 18:9

• Matthew 23:15

• Matthew 23:33

• Mark 9:43

• Mark 9:45

• Mark 9:47

• Luke 12:5

In these passages, and also in James 3:6 , the word is uniformly rendered “hell,” the Revised Version placing “Gehenna” in the margin. (See HELL; HINNOM .)

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon3)

Synonyms for Gehenna4)

• inferno

• misery

• nightmare

• purgatory

• abyss

• affliction

• agony

• anguish

• blazes

• difficulty

• grave

• Hades

• limbo

• ordeal

• pandemonium

• perdition

• pit

• suffering

• torment

• trial

• underworld

• wretchedness

• Abaddon

• bottomless pit

• everlasting fire

• fire and brimstone

• hell-fire

• infernal regions

• lower world

• nether world

• place of torment


What is Gehenna?

References   [ + ]


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