Is Anyone in Hell Now?
Granted we are temporal beings bound by time, but from the description we are given in the Bible, the answer appears to be, “No one is in Hell at this time.” However, some clarification is necessary. The Old Testament describes a place known as “Sheol,” which is referred to in the New Testament by the word “Hades.” For the person who rejects God’s offer of forgiveness, there is nothing pleasant about this place. For the unbeliever, it is best described as a “holding place” until the final judgment takes place (the Great White Throne of Judgment described in the Book of Revelation). More will follow on Hades in the next section.
Sheol / Hades should not be thought of as Purgatory, a teaching held by some that further punishment / payment for your sins will be required before you can enter Heaven. This view is not supported by any passages of the Bible and has more to do with the history of the Catholic Church and the building of the Vatican City. Fortunately, there is reform going on within the Catholic Church with greater emphasis on obeying the teachings of the Bible, rather than the traditions of the church.