It should be noted that the ultimate punishment for an Israelite back in those days was to be executed and then have his body thrown into Gehenna, where it would be forever denied proper burial and funeral rites.

Why is this important? Because no living beings were ever thrown into the fires of Gehenna. Thus, the metaphor of Gehenna as Hell, supposedly a place of eternal torment, does not hold. Gehenna was often used as a literary symbol for oblivion, as anything thrown there was considered to be totaly destroyed, but it was never used to symbolize torture.

There is one other word commonly translated to Hell, namely Sheol (this one is more common in the Old Testament than then the New Testament, but it appears in both). This Hebrew word means, simply put, death. That's it. It implies nothing about what lies beyond, and is itself just a metaphor (the "place" of Sheol = the state of death). So again, the metaphor doesn't hold.

The point of all this? Nothing really, except that there is no Biblical basis for the existence of Hell or anything analogous to it. Just something to think about.