The Intermediate State of the Unsaved Dead
by Dirk Warren
Although Sheol definitely refers to the common grave where all un-regenerated souls go to and qeber refers to the physical grave/tomb where bodies are lain to rest, both terms are parallel and signify the same condition: DEATH, the cessation of life. Qeber signifies the utter absence of life in the physical realm and Sheol denotes the utter absence of life period.
Because Sheol and qeber are sometimes spoken of in the same breath some theologians have mistakenly theorized that Sheol refers to the physical grave, at least in that particular context. Yet, Sheol is repeatedly described in the scriptures as a place and condition where immaterial souls specifically go, not bodies. We’ve clearly seen this in our study. Hence, the idea that Sheol refers to the physical grave must be rejected.
Our conclusion is that Sheol and qeber are distinct yet parallel terms in the bible; they each have separate definitions but naturally go together. Being parallel terms they each signify the same thing—death, the absence of life. Is there any life in a physical grave? Of course not. Neither is there life in Sheol, the soulish grave. Is a grave meant for anything other than that which is dead? Of course not. The same goes for Sheol. Both terms, though distinct, denote the utter absence of life.
This presents a problem for the religious traditional view which teaches that Sheol/Hades is a nether realm where unredeemed souls exist in a state of conscious torment and Old Testament saints hanged out in paradise with father Abraham before the ascension of Christ. If this were so Sheol and qeber couldn’t possibly be sister terms. Why? Because qeber would signify the utter absence of life, whereas Sheol would refer to the express opposite—conscious life in a spiritual dimension, whether in misery or bliss. They wouldn’t be parallel terms if they both represent two completely opposite concepts.
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