What Is Sheol?

What Is Sheol?

      The Intermediate State   The great white throne judgment is when God will resurrect every un-regenerated soul from Hades (HAY-deez) to be judged as shown in this passage: REVELATION 20:13-15The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. We see plain evidence here that unredeemed people are held in a place called Hades after their physical death. This place is called Sheol (she-OHL) in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament. These...

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Sheol In the Bible: The Old Testament

Sheol In the Bible: The Old Testament

      Jacob, Job, and Solomon’s View of Sheol, the Intermediate State   We’ll begin our scriptural study on the intermediate state by observing how Jacob, Job and Solomon viewed Sheol. All three were godly men of the Old Testament era. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham, the father of faith, and the patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel. In fact, his name was changed to “Israel.” Job was regarded so highly by God that He boasted there was no one on earth as great as him (Job 1:8). As for Solomon, the Bible says “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom that God had put in his heart” (1 Kings 10:23-24). These scriptural facts...

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Sheol In the Bible: Psalms Part 1

Sheol In the Bible: Psalms Part 1

          The book of Psalms consists of 150 songs called psalms. Half of the psalms were written by Solomon’s father, King David, and some anonymous ones were likely written by him as well. Other psalmists include Moses, Solomon, Asaph, Ethan and Heman. Regardless of who wrote each psalm, one fact is certain: All the psalms are “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) since all the psalmists “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). For more proof of this, notice what Jesus said about David in a discussion with the Pharisees: [Jesus] said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, (44) “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies...

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What is Conditional Immortality?

What is Conditional Immortality?

A growing number of well-known Christian leaders, such as Dr. David R. Reagan, John R. Stott, Greg Boyd, Roger Forster (co-founder of the March for Jesus events), Philip Hughes, Michael Green, Stephen Travis, and Clark Pinnock have declared support for part, or all, of the biblical doctrine of Conditional Immortality. Even the British Bible translator, William Tyndale, defended Conditional Immortality during his lifetime. Also, the very well respected scholar F.F. Bruce states, “Eternal conscious torment is incompatible with the revealed character of God” so he chose to write the forward to an excellent evangelical book on this topic called, The Fire that Consumes by Edward Fudge. While some call it Annihilationism, simply stated, Conditional...

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Sheol in the Bible: Psalms Part 2

Sheol in the Bible: Psalms Part 2

  Continuing with our study of Sheol in the Psalms, let’s consider this important question…   Did David Pray for His Ex-Friend to Go to a Hellish Torture Chamber?   Notice David’s statement in this passage: PSALM 55:15 (KJV) Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell (Sheol): for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. David is obviously referring to his enemies in this text, yet it’s interesting to note that one of these enemies was once a very close friend of his. This is revealed in the preceding lines, verses 12-14 (as well as verses 20-21). At one time David had shared “sweet fellowship” with this person, but by the time of the writing of this psalm it appears that this one-time close friend had...

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Sheol in Proverbs

Sheol in Proverbs

          Of the 31 chapters of the book of Proverbs, the first 29 were written by Solomon, the wisest person who’s ever lived outside of Jesus Christ (1 Kings 3:12). In Chapter Two of this study we saw how Solomon described the nature of Sheol in very clear language. He said that those who die “know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) because they’ve gone to Sheol, where “there is no work, or thought, or knowledge or wisdom” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Everything Solomon says about Sheol in the book of Proverbs is in complete harmony with this unmistakable description.   Sheol and Death: Synonymous   The following texts, for instance, reveal that Sheol is essentially synonymous with death because they go hand-in-hand. These first two verses...

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The Meaning of Sheol According to the Prophets

The Meaning of Sheol According to the Prophets

          Let’s now observe what the Old Testament prophets had to say about the nature of Sheol.   “Sheol Has Enlarged Its Appetite”   We’ll start with Sheol as used in the book of Isaiah: ISAIAH 5:11-14 (NRSV) Ah, you who rise early in the morning in pursuit of strong drink, who linger in the evening to be inflamed by wine, (12) whose feasts consist of lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine, but who do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands! (13) Therefore my people go into exile without knowledge; their nobles are dying of hunger and their multitude is parched with thirst. (14) Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure; the nobility of Jerusalem and her...

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Sheol Definition & Descriptions in the Bible

Sheol Definition & Descriptions in the Bible

        Let’s now look at various biblical descriptions and insights about Sheol not yet addressed or, at least, not fully addressed.   Sheol is Contrasted with “the Land of the Living”   The reality that Sheol is the realm where dead souls are held awaiting their resurrection can be derived from the fact that Sheol is often spoken of in contrast to “the land of the living.” In the previous chapter we witnessed evidence of this in Hezekiah’s statements from Isaiah 38:9-12. Let’s look at some other biblical examples: PSALM 116:8-9 (NASB) For thou hast rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. (9) I shall walk before the LORD in the land of the living. We see in this passage that the LORD delivered...

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The Rich Man and Lazarus

The Rich Man and Lazarus

              Let’s now look at the sole reason why Christians have traditionally believed that Sheol is a state of conscious existence where bad people suffer constant fiery torment hoping for a tiny bit of water for relief and Old Testament saints are comforted in paradise at Abraham’s side. I’m, of course, referring to Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus:  LUKE 16:19-31 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich...

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Sheol in the New Testament

Sheol in the New Testament

          In this chapter we will examine New Testament references to Sheol (Hades) other than Jesus’ Parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus, which we addressed in the previous chapter. We’ll look at direct and indirect references to Hades and also every passage that people cite to argue Sheol is a state of conscious existence for human souls.   “The Gates of Hades will Not Overcome It”   Let’s start with an interesting statement Jesus made in response to Peter’s confession that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God”: Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. (18) And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and...

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