In this audio file, I describe what the Old Testament saints believed about sheol: the intermediate state between death and resurrection.
Sheol in the ground
The vast majority of biblical references to the intermediate state are in the Old Testament. This makes sense because it was the saints in the Old Testament who first started asking questions about the intermediate state. By the time the Old Testament was completed, a theological consensus was clearly revealed. This Old Testament consensus reveals that Sheol is a much different place than that imagined by modern theologians.
When Jacob was told that his son Joseph was dead, he assumed that Joseph was down underneath the earth somewhere. Jacob was so upset that he thought he would die of grief. He tells his children who are trying to comfort him “No, I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” So, the intermediate state was not a mystery to Jacob. These Old Testament saints knew Sheol is not heaven. It is the exact opposite. Yet they knew Sheol is the state that all souls enter at death.
Also, in the Old Testament, the sky and the land are places where God is praised continually. But in Sheol that praise stops abruptly. David prays for God to “let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.” The deaths of his enemies would not only silence them upon earth, it would silence them in the underworld as well. Sheol is a place where the once mighty now lie still. It is the land of silence, where the dead go down to silence.
The full transcript can be found on Jefferson’s site: Read More