THE Word of God teaches us that man is a tri-unity. He consists of a material part called the body, and immaterial parts called spirit and soul. With the spirit man has God consciousness. By death is meant the separation of these component parts. In the Word of God life is always union, and death is always separation. In death the spirit and soul are separated from the body. We know where the body goes. It is placed in the ground awaiting the resurrection.
Where do the spirit and soul go? In the Old Testament we are told they go to Sheol.¹ This word is used sixty-five times. It is translated [in the A.V.] "hell" thirty-one times, the "grave" thirty-one times, and the "pit" three times. In the New Testament the soul goes to Hades, which is the same place as Sheol. Hades is used eleven times and is translated "hell" ten times and "grave" once. Proper nouns should never be translated in going from one language to another. So in the American Revised Version you will find Sheol sixty-five times in the Old Testament and Hades eleven times in the New Testament. Seventy-six times we are told where disembodied souls go at death. They go to Sheol or Hades, the place of disembodied souls.
But where is Sheol or Hades? Death and Sheol are linked together thirty-three times. Decomposition gets the body. Sheol or Hades gets the soul. But where is Sheol or Hades? "But those that seek my soul to destroy it shall go into the lower parts of the earth" (Psalm 63: 9). Here we are told that Sheol or Hades is in the lower parts of the earth. We know where the earth is, for we are living on it. When folks died in Old Testament times, they did not go up; they went down. In the Old Testament we are told twenty-two times that when folks died they went down into Sheol. Psalm 55: 1
"Let death seize upon them and let them go down quick into Sheol" Now we want to know - do the godly and ungodly mingle with each other in Sheol as they mingle on earth? Jesus answers this question when He unveils the unseen for us in Luke 16: 19-31. This is not a parable. It is an unveiling. A rich man dies and goes to Sheol. A poor man, Lazarus by name, dies and also goes to Sheol, but Jesus tells us that Lazarus was in a place called Abraham's bosom and that he was in conscious bliss. The rich man was in torment. Between Abraham's bosom where Lazarus was and the place of torments where the rich man was, a gulf was fixed. The Greek calls this gulf a chasm.
Two ungodly men were crucified with Jesus. The one became penitent and prayed the Lord to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Jesus replied, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Now we have two names for the compartment in Sheol where Lazarus was, Abraham's bosom and the Old Testament paradise. When Jesus and the penitent thief died, where did they go? They went to Sheol, to Abraham's bosom, to the Old Testament paradise Jesus was there three days.
- Tabernacle Bulletin.
The conviction (shared by Dr. Beiber) that all Paradise has now been emptied, and the saved taken to Heaven, is upset by the fact that both saved and unsaved come up out of the tombs (none from Heaven) in a resurrection yet to come: "they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done ill, unto the resurrection of judgment" (John 5: 29). The ‘Paradise of God' (Rev. 2 : 7), to which Paul was caught up (2 Cor. 12 : 4), is in heaven but the 'Paradise' in which our Lord met the Thief (Luke 23: 43) is in the underworld, for our Lord never ascended into Heaven before the ASCENSION. –
- (D. M. PANTON.)