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:
The 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 disembodied souls are kept in Hades until judgment day when, as you can see, they are resurrected for the purpose of divine judgment. What is the nature of these people’s condition in Hades during this intermediate period between physical death and resurrection? The traditional religious view is that they will be in a state of conscious torment the entire span or, if they’re righteous, they’ll hang out in bliss with father Abraham. Although this has been the common Evangelical position of the “intermediate state,” it’s rarely mentioned or elaborated on in Christian circles.
Is this what the Bible really teaches? That people who are spiritually dead will suffer hundreds or thousands of years of torment in captivity immediately after they die merely waiting for God to judge them? (As shown in HELL KNOW, the people who believe this also believe the damned will then spend all eternity in roasting torture in the lake of fire after they’re judged).
Our purpose in this study is to thoroughly search the Holy Scriptures to find out the truth about Sheol/Hades, the intermediate state. If Sheol/Hades is indeed a place and condition of conscious torment, then God’s Word will clearly support this from Genesis to Revelation. If the Scriptures don’t reinforce this then we need to expose it as a false doctrine, eliminate it from our belief system and proclaim what the Bible actually teaches on the subject. This is the only way “the truth will set us free.”
Seven Important Facts About Sheol/Hades
Before we turn to the God-breathed scriptures to discover the precise nature of the intermediate state of unredeemed people, let’s go over seven important facts about Sheol/Hades, some of which are obvious and some not.
1. Sheol and Hades are synonymous terms, that is, they refer to the same condition or place. Sheol is the Hebrew term and Hades is the Greek. For proof of this, note the following Psalm passage, which speaks of Sheol, then observe how the Hebrew sheol is supplanted by the Greek hades when the text is quoted in the New Testament:
PSALM 16:10 (NASB)
For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.
ACTS 2:27 (NASB)
Because Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.
We observe here that the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades are synonymous terms in the Bible.
Since using both words could be confusing and overly wordy we will simply use the term Sheol in reference to the intermediate state throughout the rest of this study. The main reason for this decision is that the Hebrew Sheol appears much more often in the Scriptures than the Greek Hades; the former appears 66 times in the Old Testament and the latter 10 times in the New Testament. A secondary reason is that the word Hades is apt to conjure fantastical images of Greek mythology rather than biblical truth; the Hebrew Sheol, by contrast, offers no such misleading images.
2. Since this is a study on Sheol, what precisely is it? Sheol is defined as “the world of the dead” by the popular Hebrew & Greek scholar James strong, which corresponds to the biblical description of it as “the assembly of the dead,” as observed in Proverbs 21:16 (NRSV & NASB). Sheol simply refers to the place and condition of dead souls after their physical decease and before their resurrection to face God’s judgment. In other words, if people are spiritually dead to God, that is, they’ve never experienced spiritual regeneration through Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5 & John 3:3), their disembodied souls will go straight to Sheol when they physically die to be held until judgment day, at which time they will be resurrected for the purpose of judgment. Since this time period in Sheol is after physical death and before resurrection it is commonly referred to as the “intermediate state” by theologians.
3. Where exactly is Sheol? In our study we shall see clear evidence that Sheol is located in the heart of the earth, not in the physical realm, but in the dark spiritual realm. You see, the Bible speaks of three existing worlds or realms: (1.) The earth and the physical universe, (2.) the underworld, which is the dark heavenly realm that parallels or underpins the earth and universe, and (3.) God’s heaven, called the “third heaven” in Scripture. For scriptural support go here.
It should be understood that Sheol is not the underworld itself, it is a compartment or pit in the underworld. This will become evident as our study progresses.
4. Sheol must be distinguished from the grave or tomb where dead bodies are put to rest. This must be emphasized because translations often render Sheol as “the grave,” for example Psalm 16:10 in the New International Version. Yet scholar W.E. Vine properly points out that Sheol never refers to the literal grave or tomb where the body is lain to rest (286). There’s a separate Hebrew term for the physical grave or tomb, the Hebrew word qeber (KEH-ber).
Even though it’s true that Sheol does not refer to the physical grave or tomb, it should be pointed out that since it is defined as “the world of the dead” where souls enter after physical death, Sheol could be described as the graveyard of souls. In light of this, translations that render Sheol as “the grave” are not necessarily inaccurate, as long as the reader understands that the text is not referring to the physical grave or tomb where dead bodies are placed, but rather the soulish grave.
5. Another important fact, which I think is obvious, is that Sheol is a temporary condition, regardless of its nature. This is important to keep in mind – Sheol only applies to the intermediate state of the disembodied souls of spiritually dead people after their physical death and before their resurrection on judgment day. Why is this so significant to understand? Because, regardless of what anyone ultimately believes about Sheol, we can all agree that it’s a temporary state; it’s not something that lasts forever. Because of this, it’s obvious that the subject of Sheol is not as important as the subject of the second death, i.e. damnation in the lake of fire. Why? Simply because the second death is eternal whereas Sheol is not. As such, the nature of Sheol is without question a secondary issue on the topic of human damnation.
Consequently, even though the Bible is very clear on the issue of Sheol, which we’ll see in our thorough study of the Scriptures, no matter what conclusion we each personally come to, it has no bearing on the biblical truths established in HELL KNOW. This is important to keep in mind.
6. Sheol is not hell; the lake of fire is hell. We see in the Scriptures that Sheol and the lake of fire (i.e. Gehenna) are two separate places and states. Revelation 20:13-15, quoted at the beginning of this chapter, plainly shows this distinction: After people are resurrected from Sheol (“Hades”) to face judgment, Sheol itself will then be cast into the lake of fire. Since Sheol and the lake of fire are plainly shown to be two separate places/states in this passage, only one can rightly be designated as “hell”; and since “hell” commonly refers to a fiery, dark netherworld where people suffer eternal damnation then it is the lake of fire (or Gehenna) that should properly be labeled hell. In light of this, if a person refers to Sheol as hell, they’re simply not being scriptural; the lake of fire is the true hell.
Yet, those of us who understand this should extend grace toward those who mix-up the two terms because most of the confusion over this issue is simply the result of bad translating practices; for instance, the King James Version often renders both Sheol (Hades) and Gehenna as “hell,” giving the impression to English readers that they’re one-and-the-same. They’re not. Thankfully, more recent translations have helped correct this mistake.
It’s interesting to note, incidentally, that the word “hell” is derived from the Old English ‘helan,’ which means “to conceal or cover”; hence in Old English literature you may find references to the helling of potatoes — that is, putting them into pits in the ground — and the helling of a house, meaning to cover it with a thatched roof. “Hell” therefore was originally an accurate description of Sheol because it properly gave the image of souls concealed in a pit in the netherworld until their resurrection on judgment day. Of course, “hell” has taken on a radical change in meaning in the centuries since.
An alternative way of looking at the distinction between Sheol and the lake of fire is to simply regard Sheol as temporary hell and the lake of fire as eternal hell. This is good for those who, for whatever reason, insist on referring to both Sheol and the lake of fire as “hell.”
7. Righteous souls went to Sheol before the ascension of Christ. This significant fact about Sheol is not widely known amongst Christians even though it’s obvious in the Scriptures and Christian scholars readily acknowledge it. Before Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection from Sheol (Acts 2:27,31-32) the souls of Old Testament saints had to go to Sheol just as well as the souls of people not in covenant with God. Why? Because spiritual regeneration was not available in Old Testament times since Jesus had not yet spilled his blood for the forgiveness of our sins and was not subsequently raised to life for our justification. The blood of animals shed in Hebrew ceremonies only temporarily covered their sins; it was not able to wash them from sin. Only the blood of Christ can do this. As it is written: “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).
In our study we’ll observe that death and Sheol are often spoken of together; they go hand-in-hand and are in a sense one-in-the-same: death is Sheol and Sheol is death. With this in mind, what is the wages of sin? According to the Bible “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). My point is that the souls of Old Testament saints had to go to Sheol just as heathen people because in order for them to be redeemed from death a person innocent of sin would have to die in their place. The good news is that Jesus Christ did this very thing for all those who believe on him and accept him as Lord.
Old Testament saints were possibly released from Sheol when Jesus ascended (Ephesians 4:7-10); but more likely they’ll be resurrected at the time of their bodily resurrection when Jesus Christ returns to the earth, which takes place at the end of the Tribulation period and before Jesus’ millennial reign (Daniel 12:1-2 & Matthew 19:28-30). We’ll look at this further in the chapter on Resurrections: Firstfruits, Harvest & Gleanings.
Whatever the case, now that Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought eternal life and immortality to light through his death and resurrection (2 Timothy 1:10), no soul that is spiritually born-again and blessed with God’s gift of eternal life has to go to Sheol. Now, when a spiritually-regenerated believer physically dies, his or her soul goes straight to heaven, not Sheol. This is plainly evident in such clear passages as Revelation 6:9-11 and 7:9-17, as well as Philippians 1:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:8.
There are, incidentally, many adherents of everlasting destruction who reject this notion that spiritually-rebirthed believers go to heaven when they die; they rather believe that both heathen and Christian souls alike go to Sheol. I have open-mindedly and thoroughly researched their position but am persuaded by Scripture to embrace the above view. This topic is covered in detail here where arguments for and against are honestly addressed; you are welcome to draw your own conclusion. Regardless, even though this is an important issue it’s a detail matter in the grand scheme of things and actually has no bearing on the nature of Sheol, which is the subject of this study. Hence, whatever your conclusion after an honest appraisal of the biblical facts, let’s strive for unity and loathe division. Amen?
The above notion that death and Sheol are parallel terms and essentially synonymous may sound strange to those of a religiously-indoctrinated mindset; yet, if such a person patiently and honestly seeks the scriptural truth, it will all make sense as we examine the Holy Scriptures on the subject. God’s Word is perfectly able to wash our minds of false religious indoctrination.
One last point regarding this seventh fact of Sheol: If Sheol is a condition of conscious torment as religious traditionalists advocate, how do they explain the biblical fact that righteous people went to Sheol in Old Testament times? Their answer is that there was a separate chamber in Sheol for righteous souls with a chasm separating the two sections, which they base on a literal reading of Jesus’ s tale of The Rich Man and Lazarus from Luke 16:19-31. We will honestly analyze this passage in the Chapter Eight The Rich Man and Lazarus to find out if this is true.
Confusion Due to Inconsistent Translating of Sheol
Centuries ago many theologians evidently did not believe there was a separate compartment in Sheol for righteous souls during the Old Testament period; they simply believed that Sheol was a place of fiery torment for the damned in the heart of the earth. This caused some obvious problems: If Sheol is a condition of conscious torment, how does one explain the many passages which plainly show that righteous souls as well as heathen souls went to Sheol in Old Testament times?
The solution for the translators of the 1611 King James Version, believe it or not, was to translate sheol as “hell” when it applied to unrighteous people and as “the grave” when applied to the righteous. In other words, they did not uniformly translate sheol; in fact, their definition was determined purely by whether the passage referred to the wicked or the righteous. The translators of the King James Bible—also known as the Authorized Version—embraced this as a general rule. As such, anyone reading this translation would understandably come to the conclusion that heathen people went to a horrible netherworld of torments when they died while righteous people, like Job and David, merely went to “the grave.”
Let’s observe evidence of this:
PSALM 9:17 (KJV)
The wicked shall be turned into hell (Sheol), and all the nations that forget God.
Since the passage is referring to “the wicked” the King James translators chose to translate Sheol as “hell;” yet notice how they render Sheol when the scriptural passage applies to righteous King Hezekiah:
ISAIAH 38:10 (KJV)
I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave (Sheol): I am deprived of the residue of my years.
Hezekiah, a godly king of Judah, is speaking in this passage; he has a fatal illness and clearly doesn’t want to die. Unfortunately, the King James rendering isn’t very clear to modern readers so let’s read the same passage from the New International Version:
I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death (Sheol) and be robbed of the rest of my years?”
It’s obvious here that Hezekiah expected to go to Sheol when he died. Since this passage is plainly referring to a righteous man of God, the King James translators decided not to translate Sheol as “hell” as that would give the impression to any English reader that godly King Hezekiah would go to a place of conscious torment when he died. This contradicted their theology so they simply rendered Sheol as “the grave.”
The Hebrew word Sheol appears 66 times in the Old Testament and is translated in the King James Version 32 times as “hell,” 31 times as “the grave” and 3 times as “the Pit.” How the King James translators translated Sheol was determined purely by whether the passage referred to the wicked or the righteous. We see evidence of this above and we’ll see much more evidence as our study progresses. Scholars agree that there is simply no justification for this lack of uniformity in translating Sheol.
Before I say anything more, I’d like to stress that I’m not a hater of the King James bible; I have at least three editions of this fine version in my household and enjoy them greatly. Overall, it’s been a great blessing to English speaking people for many centuries now (although to most modern readers the language is decidedly archaic and hard-to-understand and understandably so). However, its translation error on this specific issue cannot be condoned.
Needless to say, due to the King James Version’s extreme popularity in the English world in the centuries following its publication in 1611, it’s lack of uniformity in translating Sheol has not helped the cause of truth regarding the nature of the intermediate state.
Today, the King James is no longer the most popular English version of the Bible and more recent translations have, thankfully, corrected this translation error. For instance, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and The New American Standard Bible (NASB) adhere to the policy of not translating either Sheol or Hades. It is for this reason that we shall regularly use these translations in our study on Sheol.
As for the popular New International Version, Sheol and Hades are rendered variously as “grave,” “death,” “depths,” and once as “hell.” Yet, regardless of how this version translates Sheol and Hades, it very conveniently reveals the original Hebrew or Greek term in the footnotes, which is a commendable.
Understanding the Two Views of Sheol
Before we begin our scriptural study on the nature of Sheol, let’s look at the two possible views. Although there are variations, they all fall within the parameters of the following two definitions:
1. Sheol is a place where unrighteous souls go to immediately after death where they suffer constant flaming torment hoping for less than a drop of water for relief until their resurrection on Judgment Day. Sheol also contains (or contained) a separate compartment for righteous souls from periods preceding the ascension of Christ where they are (or were) comforted and enjoy father Abraham’s company. According to this view, the disembodied souls of pagans who died hundreds or thousands of years ago have been in a constant state of fiery torture ever since even though they haven’t even been judged yet. The only legitimate proof text for this position is Jesus’ story about the rich man and Lazarus from Luke 16:19-31. This tale is about a wealthy man and poor beggar who die and go to Sheol (Hades) where they experience highly contrasting conscious states—the rich man suffers constant torment while Lazarus enjoys comfort in “Abraham’s bosom.” Adherents of this position insist that the story should be taken literally and, in some cases, that the rich man and beggar are actual historical figures. In short, they believe it’s a literal accounting of what souls experience in Sheol. They further insist that the numerous other references to Sheol in the Bible must be interpreted or ignored in light of this literal interpretation of Jesus’ story.
2. Sheol is the graveyard of dead souls, a vast pit in the underworld where dead souls are laid to rest “awaiting” their resurrection to be judged.
Initially I adhered to the first view above solely due to Jesus’ story of The Rich Man and Lazarus, which was the only passage I ever seriously considered on the topic. This is the case with the majority of believers as well. I have since come to accept the second position after much thorough and honest biblical research — prayerfully analyzing literally hundreds of passages on the subject.
The scriptural evidence for the second position, believe it or not, is overwhelming. Jesus is the living Word of God, so it’s hardly likely that he would disagree with the written Word of God; hence his story of the rich man and Lazarus is likely a parable, a symbolic story intended to convey important truths, not a literal account. This is supported by three facts: 1. The Bible teaches that Jesus “did not say anything to them without using a parable” (Matthew 13:34), 2. Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus is contained within a string of parables (beginning with the exact same words as the previous parable), and 3. Jesus clearly implemented fantastical elements in the story, such as the roasting rich man crying out for Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and touch his tongue, like that’s going to offer any significant amount of relief! And then there’s the reference to Lazarus going to “Abraham’s bosom,” literally his chest cavity, which obviously turned to dust centuries earlier, not to mention there would hardly be enough room in his chest cavity to contain Lazarus. Such fantastical and symbolic imagery points to a fantastical, symbolic story, not a literal accounting of life after death during the Old Testament period.
The fact that the first position remains in the doctrinal books despite the incredible scriptural support for the latter is potent testimony to the formidable force of religious tradition and sectarian bias.
If you find my words hard to believe and doubt the colossal evidence for the second position, judge for yourself as we now journey through the God-breathed Scriptures to discover the truth about the nature of Sheol. God’s Word speaks for itself.
SHEOL KNOW is available in book form with additional sections; you can purchase a low-priced copy here (339 pages); or you can get the ebook version for only $2.99. Both links allow you to “Look inside” the book.
A freshly-edited Condensed Version of SHEOL KNOW is now available here for only $6.72 (153 pages) or you can get the ebook version for only 99¢!
Jerry S Jones
Very informative, however I will need to study it in depth to know all the truths identified, then I will buy the books to confirm my conclusions.
It is the best in depth study I have been searching for. Thank you. Jerry
So are the unrighteous souls in Sheol awake or asleep. Like are they conscious? While the righteous souls are in Heaven where God dwells. Are they also awake or asleep?
Dead souls are held in Sheol until their resurrection on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:11-15). They are not conscious in Sheol because they’re dead. The spirit of life that animates an unregenerated soul returns to God who gave it when that person physically dies (Ecclesiastes 12:7 & Psalm 146:4). Souls don’t literally sleep in Sheol, although the Bible describes them as “sleeping” in a figurative sense. Why? Because all unregenerate souls will be “awoken” from the first death — that is, resurrected from Sheol — to face divine judgment but no human is ever resurrected from the second death because it’s an “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9 & Matthew 10:28).
For clear scriptural details on the nature of Sheol start with Chapter Two of SHEOL KNOW and proceed forward.
God Bless You, Brother.
The detailed account of the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable. No parable ever had proper names in scripture. And your interpretation of bosom is outlandish. It is symbolic. It could be his lap, a garment to carry things or even a bay. All pulled together means a safe haven to carry people imo. In Rev we see souls under the altar alert awake and some crying out to God. Clearly not sleeping. No usage of the word sheol would have to be ignored. It’s not right to say bold generic statements like this without clear examples but once you are off, then your incorrect view becomes the foundation for the next.
Hi Todd. Thanks for the feedback.
Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus is covered in detail in Chapter Eight. As that chapter details, the story is clearly a parable — a symbolic tale — seeing as how it comes in a long line of parables: The whole first half of Luke 16 is a parable that starts with the same exact words as Jesus’ tale of the rich man and Lazarus; and Luke 15 consists of three other parables.
Furthermore, as that chapter points out, Jesus’ story contains fantastical elements and obvious symbolism.
Concerning what you say about parables and the use of proper names, where does the Bible ever say that a parable cannot use a proper name? No where. This particular parable does use a proper name for one of the characters because it reveals who Lazarus represents — the gentiles. You’ll observe, however, that the rich man is not given a name. The rich man is symbolic of a group of people, as the article elaborates. This shatters the argument that Jesus’ tale is a historical account on the grounds that he uses the proper name of ‘Lazarus’ because the rich man is the sole character in supposedly proving the conscious roasting of the damned in Sheol and yet he’s not given a name!
If you want further proof that the story of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable simply consider the differences between the fictitious Lazarus of this parable as opposed to the real-life Lazarus of John 11:11-15 as detailed in the section titled The Parabolic ‘Lazarus’ vs. the Real-Life Lazarus (scroll down to it here).
Who said they were sleeping? Certainly not me. “Context is King” and that particular passage in Revelation 6 is referring to Christian martyrs who died during the Tribulation. Believers are born of the imperishable seed (sperma) of Christ and hence are spiritually regenerated, thus possessing eternal life inwardly (1 Peter 1:23 & Titus 3:5). You can read loads of biblical verification of this here.
You are correct and this is why SHEOL KNOW addresses every key passage in Scripture that comments on Sheol/Hades and their synonyms, e.g. “the Pit”. There are hundreds of such passages and they’re clear as day, but adherents of eternal roasting torture either totally ignore them or try to write them off.
Remember, brother, Sheol/Hades and Gehenna/the Lake of Fire are two separate places and therefore two separate subjects. The unredeemed do NOT possess immortality and eternal life. Several passages make this abundantly clear, like 2 Timothy 1:10, Romans 2:7 and Genesis 3:22-24. The souls of the unsaved who die are stored in Sheol/Hades until their resurrection on Judgment Day; THEN whoever’s name is not found written in the book of life is cast into the Lake of Fire, “which is the second death.” There they will be destroyed as “raging fire consumes the enemies of God” (Matthew 10:28 & Hebrews 10:26-27,31). They will burn up JUST LIKE weeds thrown into fire, as Christ taught (Matthew 13:40) (What happens to weeds thrown into fire? They burn for a little bit and ultimately BURN UP). They will be executed like a king’s enemies brought before him, as the Messiah taught (Luke 19:27).
If you want to study all the passages that address the intermediate state of Sheol/Hades please read SHEOL KNOW; here’s the CONTENTS page, which provides access to all the chapters. This particular page is simply the opening chapter of a long and detailed book; it’s merely the set-up. It’s in the following chapters that we examine hundreds of passages straight from God’s Word in order to verify the nature of Sheol/Hades, the intermediate state of the unsaved.
If you want to read about the nature of the “second death” – that is, damnation in the Lake of Fire – please read HELL KNOW; here’s the CONTENTS page.
Please resist a knee-jerk response, my good friend. Prayerfully study the materials and draw your own conclusions based on what God’s Word clearly and consistently says. If you still have questions/comments/rebukes by all means write me at email@example.com
God Bless You, Brother!
Couldn’t it be possible for a third way? For example, admitting it’s a parable doesn’t mean it doesn’t say “something” about the intermediate state. I think that’s a hurdle for lots of traditionalists. Let’s admit that it does. Well, there’s figurative language here that can correspond to at least some Old Testament and Intertestamental ideas. For example, the Old Testatment thinks of the dead as “shades” or shadows in Sheol. This to me means that if a soul is in Sheol, it has some level of consciousness, likened to that of our sense of consciousness when we sleep (hence, “soul sleep.”) Some of us sleep soundly without as much as a peep, some of us wake up every now and then, some of us have pleasant dreams, some have violent nightmares. Is it therefore that far fetched to expect that some souls in Hades/Sheol experience a nightmarish soul sleep?
I believe a better translation of “tormented IN this flame” is “tormented BY this flame” as the preposition is the same word in the Greek. This meaning, the soul was “aware of” his impending doom via the flames of Gehenna for which he was tormented in this nightmarish condition until judgment. In fact, there is proof that some Jewish people believed that the fires of Gehenna would be used as a kind of taunt to the damned souls in Hades, but that they were not actually “in” the flames. This makes sense to me b/c they are souls after all, and our soul is simply our conscious awareness of self, but we cannot actually sense any pain or feeling through the body’s physical senses. Hence, the figurative language of the soul’s torment in Hades.
Thanks for the feedback, Bradley.
The Hebrew word for “shades” is rapha (raw-FAW), which the Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon defines as “the dead in Sheol.” The word is associated with the Hebrew word for death in Scripture (muwth) and is elaborated on in the unabridged book version of SHEOL KNOW, which is advertised above. An eBook version is also available, which is the more updated version.
The biblical evidence shows that souls stored in Sheol are not conscious, but rather dead and ‘awaiting’ their resurrection on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:11-15); Old Testament saints are resurrected at the beginning of the Millennial reign of Christ (Matthew 19:28-30).
For scriptural proof that souls confined in Sheol are dead and not conscious please breeze through the evidence featured in SHEOL KNOW, starting with this chapter and progressing through the subsequent ones. If you just want the main facts without the excessive details you can read this online abridged version.
The problem is that many believers think that Jesus’ tale of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a literal account, but it’s not; it’s a parable, a symbolic story, which you can read about here.
Another issue is that many believers’ position on the nature of Sheol/Hades stems solely from a literal reading of this parable. They’ve never studied the hundreds of passages that tell us everything we need to know about the nature of Sheol. That’s why I wrote SHEOL KNOW — to educate people on what God’s Word says on the subject, not just a single symbolic tale, but what the Bible plainly says about Sheol from Genesis to Revelation, including the unmistakable descriptions by the LORD Himself.
Once it’s understood what the Holy Scriptures clearly & repeatedly say on the topic we no longer have to speculate.
God Bless You in Your Studies, Brother.
how can you believe in the disembodiment of the soul and it be separate from the body. Our whole body and mind is the soul of man. And God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul. Then that would make the soul immortal or a state of consciousness so as to live on after death.
Thanks for the feedback, David.
To address your question: You are interpreting ‘soul’ in its broadest sense and are correct that the Hebrew & Greek words for ‘soul’ (nephesh & psuche) refer to the entire human being in various scriptural contexts (e.g. Genesis 46:26 & 1 Peter 3:20). But you are neglecting the passages where these words — nephesh & psuche — refer to a specific part of human nature in certain contexts, such as the body (Leviticus 21:11), the mind (1 Chronicles 28:9 & Acts 14:2) and the sprit/mind in unison (1 Kings 17:21, Psalm 31:9, Revelation 6:9-10 & Revelation 20:4).
Because of this, the topic of human nature can be confusing to Bible readers, which is why HELL KNOW contains an entire appendix addressing this important topic, complete with easy-to-understand diagrams, which you can study at this link: Understanding Human Nature: Spirit, Mind & Body.
God Bless You, Brother, as You Seek & Serve. Amen.
What are your thoughts about luke 23:30?
Doesent it sound like they are tormented in some underground hellish place?
No, because Luke 23:30 isn’t talking about the condition of souls in Sheol whatsoever. The context of the verse is when Christ is hauled off to be crucified and he speaks to the “daughters of Jerusalem” (who likely weren’t disciples of Christ, but rather obligatory professional mourners). Here’s the full passage:
The end quote is from Hosea 10:8, which is a prophecy concerning the northern kingdom of Israel and the imminent threat of the invasion of Assyria and the ensuing captivity. ‘They’ in Hosea 10:8 refers to Israel: With Israel’s altars destroyed and overgrown with wild plants, the people will call out to the mountains and hills to hide them, even to crush them, rather than face God’s wrath through His instrument Assyria.
Like many Old Testament prophecies the Law of Double Reference is at play in Hosea 10:8, which simply means that prophecies have an immediate application as well as a far-flung one, whether past or future. The “far-flung” application of Hosea 10:8 is Luke 23:30 where Christ applies the prophecy to 1st century Jews: He saw first-century Jerusalem as deserving punishment in a similar manner to that of the idolatrous ancient Israel. However, the context in Luke doesn’t indicate the punishment was for idolatry. Rather, it was because Jerusalem played a part in the unjust crucifixion of Jesus. The prophecy came to pass with the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem by Titus’ army wherein the city was sacked and the Second Temple destroyed.
Of course, Christ was Himself a prophet — in fact, He’s The Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18) — and his prophecy in Luke 23:30 also has a double application. It’s “far-flung” application applies to the future Tribulation on earth (Revelation 6:16-17 & Revelation 9:6), which takes place on earth and thus is not a reference to dead souls in Sheol (i.e. Hades). Hades (Sheol) is not mentioned in the passage or even insinuated.
For more about the “law of double reference” breeze through this chapter (actually appendix) of HELL KNOW.
Thank you for your feedback, Rickard, and God Bless You in your studies! 🙂
Thanks Alot for all your help!
and God Bless YOU!
What are your thoughts about this verse:
For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
I couldnt find anything on your site about that verse .
The word “destroy” in Hebrews 2:14 is katargeo, which means “to render neutral or idle, nullify, sever or abolish” and is not used in reference to human damnation. Here’s how the NASB renders verses 14-15:
As you can see, Christ’s death and resurrection provided justification for believers and thus rendered the devil powerless in their lives in that believers are freed from both death and the fear of death. As 2 Timothy 1:10 says:
So Hebrews 2:14 doesn’t say that the devil was or will be literally destroyed.