Sheol: The Intermediate State of the Unsaved Dead

by Dirk Waren

What happens to the soul & spirit of unsaved people when they die? By “unsaved” I’m referring to anyone who has not experienced spiritual regeneration through the gospel (see John 3:3,6 and Titus 3:5), which includes Old Testament saints—holy people who were in covenant with God throughout the Old Testament. The Bible shows that the souls of these people go to (or went to) Sheol at the point of physical decease, which corresponds to Hades in the New Testament. These souls will be resurrected from Sheol/Hades one day (Revelation 20:11-15), which is why Sheol/Hades is described as the “intermediate state” since it refers to the condition of souls between physical death and later resurrection. So what’s the condition of souls in Sheol/Hades? Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus, if taken literal, suggests a conscious state where people either hang out in bliss with father Abraham or suffer constant fiery torment begging for less than a drop of water for relief.

Many  believers take this story literally rather than figuratively and so they feel the issue is a done deal—Sheol is a place of fiery torment for some souls and a place of bliss with father Abraham for others. However, they’re disregarding the incredible amount of data that God’s Word devotes to the10374851_524659260979818_8583611675093539939_n[1] topic—vital information of which they are either ignorant or intentionally disregard.

The purpose of SHEOL KNOW is to do an honest, balanced examination of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation to determine the precise nature of Sheol/Hades. After all, the rightly-divided Word of God is the blueprint for Christian doctrine and practice, not fallible religious tradition.

Since SHEOL KNOW is a thorough study on the nature of the intermediate state we’ll address all linking topics, including the believer’s intermediate state, the resurrection of the dead, Jesus’ Second Coming, the Tribulation, the Millennium and, in the Epilogue, the nature of eternal life.

Why is this book important? Because there’s wholesale ignorance in the body of Christ on the nature of Sheol/Hades and, in some cases, intentional misleading. Despite this, the truth about the intermediate state is blatantly revealed in the Scriptures; it’s not hidden whatsover. Once you see what God’s Word says on the subject—completely and not just a single tale that Jesus told—you’ll know the truth and, as the Lord said, “the truth shall set you free.”

This is the CONTENTS PAGE to SHEOL KNOW. Below you will find introductions and links to all 12 chapters. God Bless You on this amazing journey of discovery!


What Is Sheol?

Sheol is the Intermediate State To understand Sheol, let's start with the great white throne judgment. 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 20:13-15 The sea gave up the dead that were ...
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Sheol In 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 in the Old Testament. All three were godly men of the Old Testament era. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham, the father of faith, and ...
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Sheol In the Bible: Psalms Part 1

Let's discuss Sheol in the Bible. 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 ...
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Sheol in the Bible: Psalms Part 2

Continuing with our study of Sheol in the Bible, 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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Resurrections of the Dead: Firstfruits, Harvest & Gleanings

To tie everything up and see the bigger picture, we’ll focus on the resurrections of the dead in this chapter. Whether believers know it or not, the resurrections of the dead is one of the six basic doctrines of Christianity, as shown in Hebrews 6:1-2. Unfortunately, it’s rarely taught and ...
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Epilogue: The Nature of Eternal Life

I think it's only fitting that this two-part study on human damnation -- HELL KNOW and SHEOL KNOW -- should close on a positive note by looking at what the Bible says about eternal life in the new heavens and new earth, traditionally referred to as "heaven." Allow me to breach ...
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Conclusion on Sheol

The most amazing thing about Sheol (Hades) is how blatantly obvious God’s Word is on the topic. The truth about Sheol isn’t hidden whatsoever, but people have been hindered from seeing it due to the power of religious tradition and sectarian allegiance. To illustrate how “blatantly obvious” the Bible is ...
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A new revised version of SHEOL KNOW with additional sections is now available in book form; you can purchase a low-priced copy here (339 pages); or, if you prefer, you can get the eBook version here for only $2.99. Both links allow you to “Look inside” the book.

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