Sheol: The Old Testament Consensus

There were 400 silent years – a gap between the closing of the Old Testament prophets and the writing of the New Testament. During this time the doctrine of the intermediate state (that state between death and the resurrection) underwent a sort of evolution. Jews became immersed in pagan communities which held to the doctrine made popular by Greek philosophy: the immortality of the soul.

The Judaism that emerged from this period was not consistent on the issue of the intermediate state. Some Jews adapted the Greek concept almost whole cloth. They conceded that all human souls are immortal, and understood “that the souls of the righteous proceeded immediately to heaven at their deaths, there to await the resurrection of their bodies, while the souls of the wicked remained in Sheol.”¹ For them, Sheol became a place entirely associated with the punishment of the wicked, although their own scriptures insist that Sheol contains the righteous as well.²

Other Jews were not willing to concede that Sheol was exclusively for the wicked. Instead, they imagined “that there was a spatial separation in the underworld between the godly and the ungodly.”³ These retained the Old Testament idea that all souls go to Sheol at death, adding only the Greek concept that these souls are immortal, and conscious of being in Sheol – or as the Greeks called it — Hades.

To continue reading this Bible article, click here.

Author: Jefferson Vann

Keywords: After death, After life, Afterlife, Cast to hell, Cast down to hell, Chains of darkness, conditional immortality, conditionalist, conditionalism, Damned go to hell, Death, Death state, Departing soul, Departing spirit, Destroyed in hell, Dieing, Dominion of the grave, Do the wicked go to hell, Eternal fire, Eternal judgment, Eternal judgement, Eternal punishment, Eternal torment, Eternal hell, Eternal pit, Everlasting fire, Everlasting judgment, Everlasting judgement, Everlasting hell, Everlasting hellfire, Everlasting hell fire, Everlasting pit, Everlasting punishment, Everlasting torment, Everlasting torture, Ever lasting fire, Ever lasting judgment, Ever lasting judgement, Ever lasting hell, Ever lasting hellfire, Ever lasting hell fire, Ever lasting pit, Ever lasting punishment, Ever lasting torment, Ever lasting torture, Eternal hellfire, Eternal hell fire, Eternal torture, Eternal soul, Fable hell, Fabled hell, Fiery hell, Fire not quenched, Fire unquenched, Gehenna, Gehena, Gehenna fire, Gehena fire, Go to hell, Going to heaven, Grave, Gravedom, Hell, Hele, Hellfire, Hell fire, Hell forever, Hell invention of the church, Hell real, Hades, Hinnom, Immortal spirit, Immortal soul, Immortality of the soul, Immortality of the spirit, Kill the soul, Life in hell, Lost souls in hell, Never ending fire, Never ending hell, Pit, Placed in hell, Punished in hell, Punished for eternity, Punished in hell for eternity, Reserved in hell, Rich man Lazarus, Rich man Lazaras, Roasting in hell, Send to hell, Send people to hell, Sent to hell, Sheol, Sleeping in hell, Soul's immortality, Soul in hell, Soul punished in hell, Soul sleep, Soulsleep, Spirit in hell, Tartarus, There is no hell, Torment in hell, Tormented in hell, Underworld, Under world, Undieing worm, Undying worm, Unquenchable, Unquenchable fire, Waiting in hell, Wicked punished in hell, What happens when I die, What happens when we die, When the roll is called up yonder, Where is hell, Where do the lost go when they die, Where do the wicked go when they die, Where do we go when we die, Wicked hell, Worm does not die, Worm won't die, Worm will not die, Worm dieth not, Worm do not die, pearly gates, eternal reward, reward in heaven, heavenly reward

Bible reference(s): Genesis 37:35, Genesis 42:38, Genesis 44:29, Genesis 44:31, Numbers 16:30, Numbers 16:33, Deuteronomy 32:22, 1 Samuel 2:6, 2 Samuel 22:6, 1 Kings 2:6, 1 Kings 2:9, Job 7:9, Job 11:8, Job 14:13, Job 17:13, Job 17:16, Job 21:13, Job 24:19, Job 26:6, Psalms 6:5, Psalms 9:17, Psalms 16:10, Psalms 18:5, Psalms 30:3, Psalms 31:17, Psalms 49:14, Psalms 49:15, Psalms 55:15, Psalms 86:13, Psalms 88:3, Psalms 89:48, Psalms 116:3, Psalms 139:8, Psalms 141:7, Proverbs 1:12, Proverbs 5:5, Proverbs 7:27, Proverbs 9:18, Proverbs 15:11, Proverbs 15:24, Proverbs 23:14, Proverbs 27:20, Proverbs 30:16, Ecclesiastes 9:10, Isaiah 5:14, Isaiah 7:11, Isaiah 14:9, Isaiah 14:11, Isaiah 14:15, Isaiah 28:15, Isaiah 28:18, Isaiah 38:10, Isaiah 38:18, Isaiah 57:9, Ezekiel 31:15, Ezekiel 31:16, Ezekiel 31:17, Ezekiel 32:21, Ezekiel 32:27, Hosea 13:14, Amos 9:2, Jonah 2:2, Habakkuk 2:5

Source: Takanini Community Church in Auckland, New Zealand.

Page indexed by: inWORD Bible Software.