letters to surfers

Question:   I don't understand what you mean by sheol?
by Robert Brow  (www.brow.on.ca)

Before Jesus' resurrection people who died were described as going down into the abode of the dead (Hebrew sheol, Genesis 37:35, Greek Hades, "the grave"). During an earlier visit to Jerusalem Jesus had said "the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out" (John 5:28-29). And it seems that when he died his first concern was to free those who were lying imprisoned in sheol.. Peter explains he preached to them (1 Peter 3:18-19), and those who responded were resurrected with him. Even while his corpse was still hanging on the cross, Jesus had already brought up these faithful dead, and they appeared in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:52-53). Those who refused Jesus' invitation were freed to choose eternal death (Genesis 2:17, Matthew 4:16, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 4:4-6) or outer darkness (John 3:19-21, Colossians 1:13, see "conditional immortality" in Unbounded Love Chap. 8). This means that sheol (Hades) has been destroyed for ever, and at death we go straight to be with the Lord, as did the penitent thief (Luke 23:43). For Paul there is no period of cold storage to await a future resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:1-8, Philippians 1:23). That is why the resurrection trumpet is not after a long wait, but it welcomes us to heaven the moment we die (1 Corinthians 15:51-55).

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