Sunday, February 21, 2010

HELL - Part 2 - What is SHEOL?

Part 2 - HELL
What is Sheol?
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Is there a literal place called hell, and will it be an eternal place of punishment?

         There has been much debate over the years about what “hell” is and what it is not.  I have heard it all when it comes to hell;
o   I believe in heaven, but there is no hell.  Everyone goes to heaven.
o   There is no heaven or hell.
o   There is a hell, but it’s just the absence of God, so it’s like earth.
o   There is a hell, but it isn’t eternal, it destroys everything thrown in it.
o   There is a hell and a purgatory, but you can be prayed out of there.

Last week we discussed that;

         God created us in His likeness.
o   Therefore, we have 3 parts just as He does.
§  He is Father, son and Holy Spirit (But only 1 God)
§  We are Body (flesh), Soul (Mind/consciousness), and Spirit (God’s Spirit)
o   He created us to be everlasting from the time we were created. (Never Die)
         God created us and the world in perfection.
         God wants a relationship with us.
o   He loved us first, and wants us to love Him.  Love is an Action.
§  John 14:15"If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

The tree provided a means for us to be righteous and show our love
                                                              i.      He gives His word so that we have the option to “obey”
                                                           ii.      When we obey, we show our love to God.
                                                         iii.      Without the Word, there is nothing to “obey”
                                                         iv.      Without anything to obey, we cannot show our love to God.

Sin separated us from relationship, but not love
                                                            v.      Disobedience caused a wall between us and God.

b.     God’s love is at work today
                                                              i.      Through the sacrificial death of Christ to pay for our sin, and rebuild the relationship between us and God.

So, because we were created to be everlasting, there must be a place for those who love God, and those who do not.

Love is an action, and we love God through obedience to His Holy Word.

I.                   TRANSLATION CONFUSION
a.       A lot of confusion in scripture comes from poor translations.

EXAMPLE 1 - King James translated YHWH to Jehovah.

The Semitic language has no vowels, so YHWH was translated Jehovah.

In Acts 14:12 of the King James the mistranslation of “Zeus” and “Hermes” as “Jupiter” and “Mercurius”.

They chose Roman names of the Greek God’s.

EXAMPLE 2 - King James replaced ‘Passover’ with Easter

They even replace the Holy Day designated by God “Passover” with the Pagan holiday “Easter” in Acts 12:4.

“However, Pagan’s did not celebrate the resurrection of the Sun until the spring equinox, or Easter. This is because at the spring equinox, the Sun officially overpowers the evil darkness, as daytime thereafter becomes longer in duration than night, and the revitalizing conditions of spring emerge.” 

“‘...(The) infant Horus (Ra), who sank down into Hades as the suffering sun to die in the winter solstice and be transformed to rise again and return in all his glory and power in the equinox at Easter.’

EXAMPLE 3 - Many words for love in the Greek language

The word love in Greek has 15 variations, but 4 major uses.

Agape - True love (other than an affection for)
Eros - Passionate love (where we get our word erotic)
Philia - Brotherly love (how Philadelphia was named)
Storge - affection

John 21:15-17 Jesus asks Peter three times if he loved Him.

We saw the word love three times, but in English we have only one meaning, so it can confuse scripture.

We can;
            love a sunny day,
            love our children,
            love our brother,
            love pizza,
            love our wife or husband...

In English, confusion can come from the single word used in different situations.

Jesus asked Peter if he truly loved Him (Agape) twice, then Jesus asked if He loved Him like a brother.

But we miss that.

II.                WHAT IS SHEOL?

Sheol means, Place of departed spirits.

Bottom line, if you are not alive on earth (before the cross), good or bad, you went to Sheol, the place of departed spirits.

Sheol is a Hebrew word, and it was used 65 times in the Bible. 

In Greek they refer to it as Hades.

King James Version translates Sheol 31 times into hell. 

31 times they translated it into grave.
3 times it was translated into pit.

Before the cross, everyone who died went to Sheol.  Good and Bad.


We know from scripture that there were two places in Sheol for the dead.

One, which is called “Paradise” or Abraham’s bosom, and another across from it called ‘torment’.

How do we know this?  There are many scriptures that speak of righteous men dying, and going to Abraham’s bosom.

Jesus Himself tells us the parable that describes just what Sheol looks like!

Luke 16:19-31

The Rich Man and Lazarus
 19"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and 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 man also died and was buried. 23In hell (HADES), where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
 25"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
 27"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
 29"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
 30" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
 31"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "
  So we see from Jesus’ own words a glimpse of Sheol (or Hades), the place of departed spirits.

We see the following from Jesus’ words;

There is a side which is Paradise (Abraham’s bosom).

There is a side of torment and fire with no relief.

There is a great fixed chasm or gulf between them which you cannot cross.

 We also see, when the righteous die, they are carried by angels to paradise.

When the wicked die, they open their eyes in torment.


Unrighteous men and women go to Sheol, even today, right await the second resurrection and the second judgment where they will face the Great White Throne Judgment of God.

Because of the cross, those who die today who belong to the Lord go directly to be with Him.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

But before the cross and man had Jesus.

Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father.  So the righteous had to wait for Jesus so they too could be with the Father in heaven.

They awaited Jesus in Paradise.

David speaks of this in Psalms 16:9-10  Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
       my body also will rest secure (paradise is a place of rest),
 10 because you will not abandon(leave)  me to the grave (Sheol),  nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

David knew that as he rested in Sheol and awaited his savior to come, he knew God would not abandon, or leave him there in Sheol.

And He also knew that the savior, Jesus, would not see decay.  Which means, after Jesus came to Paradise to “set the captives free”, He would return to His body before it rotted.

This was a prophecy of the resurrection.


So we learned that translational errors can cause us confusion.
            Concordances, and study aids can help in that area when we read.

We learned that Sheol (Hades) was a place for all who died before the cross.
            Righteous (Abraham’s bosom), Unrighteous in torment.

And a great gulf was between them, and un-crossable.

Next week we will examine in more detail the three locations, and talk about where the bible says Sheol is.