o you know where you are going after this life? The Bible says that after this life we will go to places such as Abaddon, Hades, heaven, hell, Paradise, Sheol, and Tartarus. The vast majority of people believe that there is a life after this one. What are these places? The Old Testament talks about Sheol, the recesses of Sheol, Abaddon, and heaven, while the New Testament uses the terms Hades, hell or Gehenna, the abyss or Tartarus, and the lake of fire, Paradise, and heaven. This study is designed to explain these terms and help you understand what the Bible is saying.
Old Testament. In the Old Testament the terms for death and our life after this world are vivid and serious reminders that each person will die someday. Those who reject God will not be going to a vacation spot or a place where they can talk with their friends and have a party. The Bible makes it clear there is no fun experienced in hell.
Sheol - The Grave. The King James Version uses the word Hell in the Old Testament rather than Sheol. SHEOL is the English form of the Hebrew word. Most other Bible translations use Sheol. It occurs 65 times in the Old Testament. It refers to both the grave and the temporary home of the wicked.
The next verse reveals that Sheol includes the grave or the place where our bodies are buried after the spirit has departed and where they return to dust.
Though they dig into Sheol, from there shall My hand take them . . . (NASB) Amos 9:2
Will it go down with me to Sheol? Shall we together go down into the dust?” (NASB) Job 17:1
The grave is a dark place of silence.
If I look for Sheol as my home, I make my bed in the darkness. (NASB) Job 17:13
The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence. (NASB) Ps. 115:17
There the once incredible and brilliant mind will remember nothing and the body does not return to life.
No-one remembers you when he is dead.
Who praises you from his grave? (NASB) Ps. 6:5
. . . he who goes down to Sheol does not come up. (NASB) Job 7:9
Since Sheol is synonymous with the grave, both the righteous and the wicked (unrighteous) will go there. The prophet Jonah was a righteous man even though he was a poor prophet. Yet, Jonah asks God to rescue him from Sheol, - which is characterized as the belly of the fish.
I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice. (NKJV) Jonah 2:2
Both the patriarch Jacob (Gen. 37:35) and King David (Ps. 88:3) expected to go to Sheol. It was the dusty resting place to which our fleshly bodies go after death. Scripture makes it clear that even the wicked go.
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak
to the congregation, saying, ‘Get back from around the dwellings
of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’” But if the LORD brings
about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows
them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol,
then you will understand that these men have spurned the LORD.” Then
it came about as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground
that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and
swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged
to Korah, with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to
them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and
they perished from the midst of the assembly. (NASB) Numbers 16:23,24,
Both the righteous and the wicked go to Sheol (Gen. 42:38) upon
death. Sheol is the grave.
Sheol - The Pit. Sheol is also the
place where the spirits of the wicked dead now exist. That is the
message of the next verse which says that there is no hope for Thy
faithfulness. That is not true for Christians.
Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you
when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the
leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from
their thrones. (NIV) Isa. 14:9
For Sheol cannot thank Thee, Death cannot praise
Thee; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Thy faithfulness.
(NIV) Isa. 38:18
The Old Testament predicted that Jesus Christ’s
body would not decay, and He was not left in the pit. The New Testament
teaches that he did visit the spirits in a portion of Sheol which
is apparently called the Pit (1 Pet. 3:18-20; 2 Pet. 2:4-5). Sheol
and the pit refer to the same place.
. . . you will not abandon me to the grave, nor
will you let your Holy One see decay. (NIV) Ps. 16:10
O LORD, Thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol;
Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. (NIV)
Abaddon. Abaddon is another horrible
place. The Old Testament refers to both Sheol and Abaddon as separate
places (Job 26:6; 28:22; Proverbs 15:11; 27:20).
Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the
eyes of man ever satisfied. (NASB) Prov. 27:20
Abaddon is not Sheol. It is an abyss according to Revelation 9:11.
The passage tells us that there is an angel - Satan - who is the
king over the abyss.
They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss;
his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.
(NASB) Rev. 9:11
Later in Revelation we discover that Satan will go there some day.