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A Glimpse of Sheol and Abraham's Bosom

Luke 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: [20] And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which 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 hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth 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 thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. [26] And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. [27] Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: [28] For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. [29] Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. [30] And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. [31] And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (KJV) . . . This is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Many mock this very important portion of Scripture saying it cannot be true. I personally believe that this parable of Jesus is a true story. It actually happened! This is the only parable of Jesus where He names the man! This was before Jesus' death, so Abraham's Bosom (verse 22) was still part of Sheol.

Sheol (Hades) Is Beneath The Earth

The Jews believed that Sheol (Hades) was two compartments. One compartment they called Paradise . . . and this is where the believers went when they died. The second compartment was where non-believers (the ungodly) went when they died. Jews believed that both of these compartments were in the bowels of the Earth.
Ezekiel 31:15-17 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him. [16] I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. [17] They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen. (KJV)

Sheol gives ideas of the grave, the underworld and the state of death. God is the ruler of Sheol. Sheol is below the surface of the Earth (Eze. 31:15-17; Pro.15:24; Isa.14:9),fire (Deut.32:22), darkness (Job 10:21-22), silence (Ps. 94:17), deep (Job 11:8; Pro.9:18), sorrows (2 Sam.22:6; Ps.18:5; 116:3), death (Ps.55:15), all wicked there (Ps.9:17), naked before God (Job 26:6). Sometimes the distinctions of earthly life are pictured as continuing in Sheol (Isa. 14:9; Eze. 32:27), but it is always a place of no strength and no joy.

The word paradise (Greek, paradeisos) means a place of future happiness; and it occurs only three times in the New Testament (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:3; Rev. 2:7). In Luke 23:43 the word 'paradise' is used by Jesus for the place where souls go immediately after death. The same idea is also present in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31, above).

Hell in the New Testament is the Greek word translated 'Gehenna' many places (Mat. 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mk. 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6). The name is comes from a valley near Jerusalem (Josh. 15:8; 18:16), where children were sacrificed by fire to pagan gods (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 32:35). Gehenna came to mean the place of punishment for sinners and was pictured as a place of unquenchable fire . . . the symbol of fire is divine judgment is found in the OT (Deut. 32:22; 7:10).
The teaching of the New Testament supports this Old Testament belief. The fire of Hell is unquenchable (Mk. 9:43), eternal (Mt. 18:8), its punishment is the opposite of eternal life (Mat. 25:46). The New Testament teaches that Hell is God's holy wrath against sin that is forever. Rev. 20:10 indicates conscious, never-ending torment for the devil and his agents . . . be they demons or human.

I think Luke 16:19-31 gives proof that the two compartments were together in the same place. It also shows us that those on both sides could hear and know what was going on in the other compartment. Let's look at where Jesus said He would be after He died. Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (KJV)

So, what about this idea that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison? The Bible tells us that you only have this live on Earth, while you are alive, to make a decision to believe and follow God OR reject His offer of salvation. As you consider this fact, I think what Jesus did was explain to both those in Paradise and those awaiting punishment just what God's plan of salvation was. Remember . . . there were TWO compartments! When Jesus went to Paradise . . . BOTH compartments could HEAR Him preach!

In the Old testament, people had to place their faith in God, for they did not know WHO Jesus was going to be or HOW God was going to accomplish their salvation. Jesus' preaching would have been exciting news for those in Paradise . . . but very painful news to those in prison (Sheol) awaiting judgment.

Eph.4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (KJV) . . . This passage tells why people were in Hades (Sheol) and not in Heaven. One more Passage may help to explain.

Mat.27:50-51 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. [51] And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; (KJV) . . . At the very moment that Jesus gave up His Spirit (when He died) the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom. The curtain in the temple was what separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. The Holy of Holies was the place where the ark of the covenant was and on the ark of the covenant was the mercy seat. This is where it was said that God lived with man, He was enthroned between the Cherubim on the mercy seat. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and he could only enter once a year to make payment for the sins of the people. It is said that they even had to tie a rope around his leg so that they could pull him out if he died in there. I cannot find Scripture to prove this. I'll keep looking! It's a very interesting thought.

This huge curtain that separated the common man from God was torn in two. It being torn from top to bottom means God tore it, NOT man! It was torn because Jesus had made the 'once for all' Sacrifice . . . covering the sins which had separated man from God.

Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (KJV) . . . ONCE FOR ALL!!

Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (KJV) . . . BEFORE Jesus made the Perfect Sacrifice for our sins, we were still sinful and were prevented from entering into the Presence of our Holy God . . . this included the dead Old Testament Saints. That is WHY these souls were in Paradise and NOT in Heaven! The way directly into God's Presence (Heaven) had not yet been opened. Now . . . go back and look again at the Passage which says that when He (Jesus) ascended He took captives with Him . . . it will make sense. Today when a believer dies, they do NOT go to Paradise . . . they go straight to Heaven . . . because Jesus opened the way for us. 2 Cor. 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (KJV)

For those three days when Jesus Body was physically dead,I believe Jesus was preaching the Gospel to both the saved and the unsaved. One group would have been overjoyed and finally understand that salvation was theirs. Heaven would be their eternal Home! BUT . . . the other group would have been tormentedby the very idea that they had missed such a great and wondrous GIFT from God, because they had refused to serve and obey Him. And too, like the rich man in Luke 16:19-31, they had nagging, eternal memories of what COULD have been. PLEASE do NOT be like the rich man and end up in Hades!


There are some preachers today who teach some horrible falsehoods about our Precious Saviour and Lord, Jesus! I am perfectly willing to name them, because it's Biblical . . . Paul did it! (1 Tim.1:20; 2 Tim.2:17) So I do too.

Their Word-faith heresies are NOT true! Do NOT listen to these wolves in sheep's clothing! They will lead you straight to HELL! Jesus was NOT in Hell tormenting the demons, nor were the demons tormenting Him. There is NO one in Hell (the Lake of Fire) yet! NO demons there yet~!

Rev.19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (KJV) . . . The first two to be cast into Hell (the Lake of Fire) is the Antichrist and the False Prophet! Satan shall follow later (Rev..20:10) . . . then ALL the ungodly (Rev.20:15).

Another FALSE doctrine: God has NEVER lost the keys to the Earth, or to Hell or anything else! That is utterly ridiculous! God is the one who put the curse on all of creation, NOT Satan. Satan is only able to do what God allows him to do (Job). Jesus did NOT need to get the keys to anything back . . . BUT . . . IF He had needed to, He would NOT have had to steal them! JESUS IS GOD!!! Satan CANNOT resist GOD!

Jesus chaining demons??? There are some demons who are not free to torment man now but THAT was NOT done when Jesus died. We are not told what they did to get locked up, but that was a while ago! NOT when Jesus died.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; (KJV) . . . Some of these evil angels shall be released.

Rev. 9:14-15 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. [15] And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. (KJV) . . . These "angels" are BAD ones! But this must happen to show that everything is moving according to God's plan. Jesus did NOT have to fight these demons! I know there are people out there who preach that Jesus was beaten and tormented in Hell for those three days, but my friend . . . that is absolutely FALSE! There is NO Biblical basis whatsoever! IT is ridiculous!!!

There absolutely IS a literal HELL.
You do NOT want to go there!


How Can I Be Saved

Hell, Abraham's Bosom

Hell, Bottomless Pit

Hell, Hades

Hell, What is it Really Like

Hell, Who Goes There?

Is There a HELL?

The Lake of Fire

The Soul Is Eternal 

We Who Bring The Gospel

What Happens to Souls

What Is Hell Like?

Will God Judge Sin?

Poems on Hell

Would God Really Send Me to HELL?

My Personal Thoughts About Hell

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The BIBLE has the answer