Go to Introduction 2.1

#2. The UNSAVED DEAD go to 'SHEOL' or 'HADES' at DEATH

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Scriptures for שְׁאוֹל meaning 'Sheol' or the 'Grave' Strong's 7585
Scriptures for ᾅδης meaning 'hades' or 'the Grave' Strong's 86

Introduction 2.1

Usually when people die there is a desire to comfort the bereaved. A number of churches therefore teach that dead people do not know or suffer anything, but just rest waiting for the jugment. However the truth from scripture is that when a person dies the soul or spirit separates from the body and goes somewhere. Concerning unsaved people, or those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, their spirit or soul goes to an unpleasant place to await their resurrection and judgment. This bible study teaches that the unsaved dead go to 'Sheol' in the Old Testament and 'Hades' in the New Testament.


PSALM 55:15
15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down alive into Sheol1: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

PSALM 116:3
3 The cords of death surrounded me, and the distresses of Sheol1 found me: I found trouble and sorrow.

12 Let us swallow them up alive as Sheol1; and whole, as those who go down into the pit:

6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as Sheol1: its coals are coals of fire, a most vehement flame.

ISAIAH 14:9-10
9 Sheol1 from beneath is excited about you to meet you at your coming: it stirs up the dead for you, even all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
10 They shall all speak and say to you, Have you also become weak as we have? Have you become like us?

21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of Sheol1 with those who help him: they have gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

Note: The Hebrew word translated Sheol1 in these scriptures is שְׁאוֹל Strong's 7585. The word occurs 65 times in the Old Testament, and KJV translates it 'grave' (31x), 'hell' (31x), and 'pit' (3x). It depends as to how you see it in the context. If physically referring to the body then 'grave' is OK, but if spiritually, referring to the place of departed spirits of unsaved people then 'Sheol' would be better than 'hell'. Here we see Sheol described as a place which is cruel with a vehement flame (Song of Solomon 8:6), where there are pains or distresses (Psalm 116:3), where people go down alive (Psalm 55:15; Proverbs 1:12), and where they still speak (Isaiah 14:10; Ezekiel 32:21). These scriptures show that the spirits or souls of the unsaved dead are not asleep or cease to exist as some teach, but are suffering for their wickedness in this life.


LUKE 16:19-31 (Jesus)
19 There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in Hades2, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and you tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that those who would pass from here to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from there.
27 Then he said, I pray you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brothers; that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham says to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said to him, If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Note: The Greek word translated Hades2 in this scriptures is ᾅδης Strong's 86. The word occurs 11 times in the New Testament, and KJV translates it 'grave' (1x), and 'hell' (10x). The emphasis is more on the spiritual in the New Testament, but Hades would be a better translation than 'hell'. The NKJV translates Hades. Some may ignore the truth of this scripture by saying that it is a parable, but it is certainly not a parable even though some of the words may be figurative. This is telling us the same as we saw in the Old Testament, that when unsaved people die they are in some kind of torment described as being in a flame. They can still speak and still see, and feel, and they can still remember their former life (v25, 28).

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