100% of Jesus’ alleged references to “Hell” are actually references to Gehenna.
Gehenna doesn’t mean eternal fire or torment. It is the actual name of a physical, geographic location – the Valley of Hinnom.
The section of this valley referred to as “Gehenna” was known as an evil and dark place, used for a variety of evil acts throughout Israel’s history. In the time of Hosea, the rebellious Israelites committed child sacrifice there to honor the pagan god Molech (Molek) found in 2 Kings 17. In 2 Kings 23:10, King Josiah “desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice their son or daughter in the fire to Molek.”
This valley was known as a place of fiery torment and sacrifice in honor of Pagan gods. When King Josiah burned down the evil altars, the location remained a site for burning pagan artifacts as the country was purged of idolatry. As time when on and there were no more idols to burn, people began dumping and burning their trash in the valley, a practice that continued all the way through the time of Jesus.
In fact, when Jesus spoke of “Gehenna”, it was literally a place of continuous fire as Jerusalem’s defacto trash dump, in which fires would constantly burn away whatever was not wanted inside of the city. Any type of filth, including human cadavers were thrown into this dump to burn away. Isaiah 66 speaks of this saying “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
When we look at history, we see that the Gehenna was quite literally a place of perpetual fire. We see a dump filled with so many bodies that the worms would never die from lack of sustenance. The valley contained so much trash that the bodies would burn perpetually with virtually no end.
Jesus spoke about Gehenna. In the book of Jeremiah, Gehenna(valley of the sons of Hinnom) was a place where Judah broke the law by sacrificing children to the god Molech. This was an abomination and the very worst example of violating the law. Therefore, it also became the very worst example of the curses of the law for Jeremiah said the same valley would be filled with the corpses of the inhabitants of Judah when the Babylonians would invade.
Jesus said that those in Israel such as the Pharisees and scribes who snared little ones from believing in Him, that it would be better for all concerned if these snares(Pharisees, scribes, etc) were cut off from Israel, had a mill stone hanged about their necks and cast into the sea. He then goes on the illustrate this by saying, if your eye snares you, or your hand snares you, etc., it’s better to cut off the offending part of the body than for your whole body to go through the fires of Gehenna. He wasn’t saying that an individual should pluck out their eye, or cut off their hand, rather, He was saying that it would be better for the whole body of Israel to cut off the snares and offenders than for the whole body of Israel to suffer the curses of the law. Those curses where things like destruction at the hands of their enemies, loss of the promised land, and exile among the nations. This is what the whole body of Israel experienced in 70Ad when the Romans destroyed their nation.
Moses told Israel that any Israelite who tried to entice(snare) his brethren into idolatry should be cut off from among the people so that the entire nation should not suffer the curses of the law. Jesus is saying the exact same thing with respect to how the Pharisees and scribes were trying to keep Israel from believing in Him. Read Matthew 23 in this light. “And you! Fill full the measure of your fathers! Serpents! Progeny of vipers! How may you be fleeing from the judging of Gehenna?….All these things will be arriving on this generation…Lo! left is your house desolate…”(Matt 23:32-24:2)
The problem with “hell” is the two issues the orthodox Christian church have attached to this. Firstly it being a place of punishment, and added to that, they claim it to be by fire. The second issue is the claim that it is eternal in nature.
Taking the last point first, the concept of a loving Father is inconsistent with this idea of eternal punishment. What you can find in the Bible is that after Jesus’ death he went to “hell”. If hell is indeed eternal, why would he go there? And indeed hell is not a permanent location. In arriving at this doctrine the Christian theologians have confused a number of things. They have confused these things because they do not understand the structure of the spirit realms we all go to after death, nor do they know where the “Kingdom of God” might be, that Jesus said we needed to be reborn (of spirit) to enter. These spirit realms we go to are not the eternal realm where God dwells.
To stick with hell, the first point is simply stupid. After death we are not affected by flames. If there is an unpleasant place, it is not caused by fire.
Now I can tell you there is a hell, and its caused by the Law of Attraction. In other words, take the worst people you can find, and put them together with others who are just exactly as bad, and you will have hell. But I don’t think I can prove this to you from the scriptures. But you will find Spiritualists can attest to this. There is more than enough detail to convince an open-minded person of this. But its outside scripture.
I can go one step further and make the claim that the “Lower Heavens” (of which the NT does speak – 3rd Heaven) are also caused by the Law of Attraction, so this one spiritual law causes both the heavens and the hells, and yes they are almost infinitely graduated. And none of this has anything to do with “salvation”, because this is not the Kingdom of God. It is the Kingdom of Spirit. Now the Kingdom of Spirit is a place of progression, in other words spirits do get out of the hells, and spirits low in the scheme of things do progress further.
I will answer in respect of demons. Almost all “demons” are nothing more than dead humans who are very dark and evil – inhabitants of the hells. There are some rare other creations, which is merely a diversion to this discussion, but I like to be accurate with my statements. There are no longer any devils at all where that meaning of devil is an evil creature more powerful than us, or the good angels who help us. On the other hand, these dark entities that exist today do cause grief, and while they should not be feared, extreme caution is advised. I have interacted with them, so I do know from personal experience.