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   Where Are The Dead?

John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for ... they ... testify of me." --- Jesus

Travis Case, Pastor/Teacher          Northgate Baptist Church          F.E.A.S.T Ministries
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:"   (Prov. 17:22)
"... the joy of the LORD is your strength."   (Neh. 8:10)

Lesson Text

Mat 22:31-33, "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, {32} I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. {33} And when the multitude heard <this>, they were astonished at his doctrine."

Rom 14:7-9, "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. {8} For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. {9} For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living."


A. Man has a Soul (Spiritual Nature) --- at death the spiritual nature of man Separates or Departs From The Body.

B. These Departed Spirits (Ghost) do Not Roam about in space --- there is a Definite Abode For Them.

I. In Order To Get A Correct Understanding of The Subject --- It Is Necessary To Have A Proper Knowledge of The Words As They Are Used In The Original Hebrew And Greek Texts.

A. It would be impossible to arrive at an accurate understanding of Death, Heaven, Hell, and the Grave from the English translation.

1. Luke 16:22-23, "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; and in Hell (Hades) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

2. Matt. 23:33, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell (Ghenna)?"

3. 2 Peter 2:4, "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment."

4. "Hades" --- "Gehenna" --- "Tartarus" --- are three different words --- names of Three Different Places --- but are all translated by the One Word "Hell".

B. Now notice a similar situation in the Old Testament.

1. Gen. 37:35, "And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave (Sheol) unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him."

2. Psa. 16:10, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell (Sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

3. Num. 16:30, "But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit (Sheol); then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord."

4. Here you see the same original word (Sheol) translated three different ways: "Grave" --- "Hell" --- "Pit".

C. The Accurate Meaning of each of these Hebrew and Greek words is:

1. "Sheol" (Heb.) - The Unseen State, Hollow Subterranean place, Under World, Hades, etc.

a. "Sheol" is found 65 times in the Old Testament.

(1) 31 times --- "Hell"

(2) 31 times --- "Grave"

(3) 3 times --- "Pit"

b. "Sheol" is the Unseen State of The Departed Spirits --- It Is A Place --- of sorrow, 2 Sam. 22:6, "The sorrows of hell (Sheol) compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me."

c. A place into which the Wicked Are Turned, Psa. 9:17, "The wicked shall be turned into hell (sheol), and all the nations that forget God."

d. A place where they are Fully Conscious:

Isa. 14:9-11, "Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee." --- V. 15-17, "Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?"

Ezek. 32:21, "The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword."

2. "Hades" (Gk.): The Unseen World.

a. The word occurs 11 times in the New Testament:

(1) 1 time, "Grave"

(2) 10 times, "Hell"

b. "Hades" is the New Testament Equivalent of the Old Testament "Sheol".

Psa. 16:10, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Sheol);"

Acts 2:27, "Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Hades),"

c. The "Septuagint" version of the Old Testament, translated from Hebrew to Greek by seventy scholars in the year 275 B.C., invariably renders "Sheol" as "Hades".

d. Neither "Sheol" nor "Hades" denote the "Lake of Fire" or Final Punishment of the wicked.

3. "Geber" (Heb.): --- "Mnemeion" (Gk.): --- Grave

a. These Hebrew. & Greek. words are always used when the Grave in which the Body (Not Departed Spirit) is buried is referred to.

b. The word Sheol" is Never Used In The Plural for it is One Place (abode of spirits) --- words for "Grave" are used Many Times in the Plural.

4. "Tophet" (Heb.) --- "Gehenna" (Gk.) --- Place of Fire.

a. A place in the Valley of Hinnom where Sacrifices were offered and the dead bodies burned or consumed.

b. Referred to In the Old Testament:

2 Kings 23:10, "And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech."

Isa. 30:33, "For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it."

Jer. 7:31-32, "And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons, and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart." (Jer. 19:6; 11-14)

c. Referred to in the New Testament:

Matt. 10:28, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).

Matt. 18:9, "And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire (Gehenna)."

Matt. 23:15, "Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell (Gehenna) than yourselves." --- V. 33, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell (Gehenna)?"

Matt. 5:22, 29-30; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6

II. The Grave For The Body (Geber - Mnemeion) Is Clearly Distinguished From The Abode of The Departed Spirits (Sheol - Hades).

A. We never read of a person Having a "Sheol" or "Hades" but we often read of a person Having or Buying a "Grave."

1. The Body is Never said to be in "Sheol" or "Hades."

2. The Spirit is Never said to be in the "Grave."

3. No "Sheol" or "Hades" was ever dug by man or located on earth --- graves are...

B. In the final judgment, Both the Grave and "Sheol" or "Hades" will Deliver Up The Dead.

Rev. 20:13, "Death (the grave - abode of the body) and hell ("Hades" - abode of the spirit) delivered up the dead which were in them."

C. Christ Has The Keys To Both:

Rev. 1:18, "Behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell ("Hades" - abode of the spirits) and of death (grave - abode of bodies)."

D. Christ's soul was not left in "Hades" neither was his body left in the grave.

Acts 2:27, "Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

E. When Jacob's sons sold Joseph into Egyptian slavery, they deceived their father Jacob by bringing to him Joseph's blood-stained coat, making him think that a wild beast had devoured Joseph (Gen. 37:33).

1. Gen. 37:35, "And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, for I will go down into the Grave ("Sheol" not "Geber") unto my son mourning."

2. Jacob did not believe that Joseph was in the grave, for he believed that a "wild beast" had devoured him. (Gen. 37:33).

3. It would have been impossible for Jacob to go to the grave to meet Joseph if a wild beast had devoured him, but where he really intended to meet him was the abode of the departed spirits.

F. Though his body was not buried with the bodies of his ancestors till Months Afterward, Jacob is said to have been gathered unto his people At The Moment of Death.

1. Gen. 49:33, "And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people."

2. Jacob died in the land of Goshen in Egypt but was buried in Canaan.

3. They were forty days, embalming the body, and the mourning in Egypt continued thirty days longer.

4. Joseph then obtained permission of Pharoah to go and bury his father. How long they were in going is not stated, but they mourned seven days more at the threshing floor of Atad (Gen. 50:3-10). ----- So that At Least Eighty Days elapsed Between the Gathering Unto His People, and the Burial of The Body in the cave of Machpelah in Canaan.

5. Therefore, his gathering to his people was not to their bodies in the grave but to the place where they were in their Disembodied State.

III. What Is Revealed About This Place Called "Sheol" or "Hades"?

A. Where is the abode of the Departed Spirits?

1. In the Old Testament - "Sheol" - is located Downward.

a. Gen. 37:35, "For I will go down into the grave (Sheol) unto my son mourning."

b. Psa. 55:15, "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell (Sheol): for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them."

2. In the New Testament - "Hades" - is located Downward.

a. Matt. 11:23, "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell (Hades)."

b. Luke 10:15, "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell (Hades)."

3. Never do we find the Scriptures locating "Sheol" or "Hades" on the earth or above the earth, but Always Downward.

B. In "Sheol" or "Hades" --- Is there a Distinction between the Righteous and the Unrighteous.

1. The Old Testament makes No Distinction between abodes for the Saved and the Unsaved --- All the dead departed to "Sheol".

a. The Righteous go to "sheol".

Samuel --- 1 Sam. 28:13-15, "... ascending ... cometh up ... And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?"

Jesus --- Psa. 16:10, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

b. The Wicked go to "sheol".

Saul --- 1 Sam. 23:19, Samuel is speaking to Saul and says: "...tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me..."

The Wicked --- Psa. 9:17, "The wicked shall be turned into hell (Sheol), and all the nations that forget Gods."

2. The Old Testament Sheds Very Little Light On This Subject.

C. Why is the Old Testament almost Silent on the Future State?

1. The Bible clearly answers this question --- the Time For The Revealing of Life Beyond The Grave Had Not Yet Come.

2. It was Reserved For --- "our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," (2 Tim. 1:9-10).

3. 2 Tim. 1:10, does not say that Christ brought life and immortality Into Existence, but that He brought it To Light, --- He Revealed It.

D. What was Christ's Teaching regarding "Hades" --- the place of Departed Spirits of Both Saved and Lost.

1. Luke 16:19-28, "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 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; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, 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. 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. 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. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

2. This give us a description of the Abode of The Departed Spirits as it was in Old Testament days and in the days of Christ's Earthly Ministry.

IV. "Hades" Is No Longer The Abode of The Spirits of The Righteous Dead.

A. Following Christ's Resurrection and ascension, "Hades" is Never Mentioned As The Abode of Redeemed Spirits.

B. After the ascension of Christ, the Spirits of The Righteous instead of "Descending" are spoken of as "Going Up".

1. Paul relates his experience. 2 Cor. 12:2, "Caught up to the third Heaven." --- V. 4, "Caught up into paradise,"

2. According to this account, "Paradise" and the "Third Heaven" have the Same Location.

C. This change took place at the Ascension of Christ.

1. Before Christ Ascended He first Descended:

Eph. 4:9, "(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?"

1 Peter 3:19, "by whom also He went and preached (proclaimed) to the spirits in prison."

Heb. 2:14, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;"

Col. 2:14-15, " Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

2. After Christ Descended He then Ascended --- and brought a Multitude With Him.

Eph. 4:10, "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)" --- V. 8, "Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive."

Heb. 12:23, "...to the spirits of just men made perfect."

Matt. 27:52-53, "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many."

3. Could this have been what Isaiah was talking about?

Isa 5:14, "Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure:"

4. The Righteous dead are No Longer In "Hades" --- they are With Christ, where He is.

Phil. 1:23, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better."

2 Cor. 5:6-8, "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: ... We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

5. Now, where is Christ?

Mark 16:19, "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."

D. Why did the Old Testament saints go to "Sheol" - "Hades" --- Because Their Sins Were Not Yet "Put Away".

1. Heb. 10:4, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."

2. Heb. 9:26, "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."

3. When the Sins of the Old Testament saints were "Put Away" by Christ's sacrifice on Calvary, they could enter into the very presence of God as do the departed spirits of the righteous of this age.

4. The Old Testament Saints were saved The Same as we are today but they Could Not Be Truly Righteous Until Christ died and "put away" their sins. --- Until the death of Christ, they were merely "Counted" Righteous.

Acts 10:43, "To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."

Rom. 4:3, "For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."

Gal. 3:6, "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

E. However, today, we are not merely counted righteous!

Heb. 12:23, "...to the spirits of just men made perfect."

F. The Abode of the Unrighteous is Unchanged and will remain so until the "Great White Throne Judgment".

Rev. 20:13, "...and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."

If You Are Not Saved, Nothing Else Matters
There Is No Second Chance After Death!


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