What does the Bible say?
By Earlene Davis
Where Are the dead?
Of course we are mostly concerned about our day in time, but we must see what the Old Testament has to say on this. In the original Hebrew text, the word to express the abode of the dead is “Sheol” from the root word meaning “to make hollow.” It is incorrectly translated “grave” in 3 citations, but correctly translated “hell” in Job 11:8; Ps. 9:17; 139:8; Prov. 23:14; Amos 9:2. Sheol comprised of two compartments upper and lower Sheol in the heart of the earth. Upper Sheol, the abode of the righteous dead was called “Abraham’s Bosom” in Lk. 16:23. Christ also called it “Paradise” in Lk. 23:43. Lowest Sheol is the abode of the wicked dead as to their soul and spirit. It is called “lowest hell” in Deut. 32:22 and “the depths of hell” in Ps. 86:13; Prov. 9:18. Prov. 15:24 has it, “hell beneath” and Isa. 14:9 – “Hell from beneath,” saying it holds the mighty men of the earth, kings, etc. In the New Testament the Greek text has “pit of the abyss” for lowest Sheol. When Jesus cast out the legion of evil spirits out of that man of Gadarenes, they besought Jesus not to send them into the deep. II Pet. 2:4 tells of the angels that sinned were cast into hell (Tararus in the Greek) meaning “”pit of darkness.” Other words translated hell in the New Testament are “hades” and “Gehenna.” In the book of Revelation, the term used for lowest hell is “”the bottomless pit” (Rev. 9:1-2,11-17; 17:8; 20:1). What we learn from those citations is that Satan is king of the evil spirits. Also when the beast (the Antichrist) is killed and raised again by Satan, he ascends out of the bottomless pit.
I Pet. 3:19 tells that when Jesus died, of course His body was in the tomb, but His Spirit went and preached to the spirits in upper Sheol. Rom. 10:7 says He descended into the lower (not the lowest) part of the earth. What did he preach? No doubt “It is finished,” His work on the cross. He brought up those prisoners and took them to heaven – Eph. 4:8-10. At that time we read in Mt. 27:52-53 many bodies of the saints arose from their graves and appeared in Jerusalem when Christ arose. Paradise is NOW in the heavens – II Cor. 5:6-8. Praise God! Through Christ’s resurrection “Abraham‘s Boson,” “Paradise” was taken to Christ’s bosom. Phil. 1:23 - to depart this life, the righteous are with the Lord as to their spirits. Their bodies will be raised when Christ comes for His own (I Thess. 4:14). Then the spirits of the saints will be clothed upon with their glorified bodies (II Cor. 5:1-2). We shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed (I Cor. 15:52).
The spirits of the wicked in lower Sheol will be brought up and joined with their resurrected bodies and punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and cast into their eternal abode - II Thess. 1:7-9. Rev. 20:11-15 says, “death and hell” meaning body and spirit. Jesus said, the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels, but men insist on going there by rejecting Jesus - Mt. 25:41. E. J. D.