What Happens after death
Where do souls go after death to wait for the resurrection and judgment?
Do they sleep in the grave or go to paradise with their friends?
Do the unrighteous go to a place of torment while they are waiting for judgment?
Where are Sheol or Hades, Paradise, the Grave, Pit, Abyss and Hell?
The King James Bible has caused confusion concerning what happens to people when they die. Most people believe that they will either go to heaven or hell when they die. But, no one goes to heaven until the first or second resurrection. The second resurrection is more than 1000 years in the future. Where are all the people who died over the last 6000 years? Where do the souls of people go when waiting for the resurrection and judgment?
Believers are taught that their soul sleeps and knows nothing until the resurrection because the English Bible uses that term. But the scriptures have examples of the souls of people going to a place in the underworld to wait for the resurrection very much alive to be with their friends. This place is called ‘sheol’ in Hebrew and ‘hades’ in Greek. This is clearly explained in the books of 1 Enoch 22 and 2 Esdras (Ezra) 7:75-101.
But the English KJV has caused confusion by using the same name, ‘hell’, for five different places: sheol, hades, gehenna, the abyss and tartaroo. Every one of the occurrences of the word hell in the KJV of the Old Testament is their translation of the word sheol. The NKJV uses the word sheol instead of hell without translating it. Both versions also translate sheol as ‘grave’ and ‘pit’. Actually, the places called grave, pit, tartaroo, gehenna and hell are separate regions within sheol or hades. There is also a pleasant resting place in sheol or hades for the righteous, called paradise. So it is very deceptive to use hell to describe all of sheol or hades. So souls can go to either paradise or hell within sheol or hades.
The truth is that, when people die, their body is buried or destroyed and returned to dust; and their spirit returns to Yahuah who gave it. However, their soul goes, very much alive to sheol or hades, prepared for them as a resting place, to wait for the resurrection and judgment.
Shaul (sheol) or hades is located in the underworld, or the nether parts of the earth, and is divided into four regions. The first is for the righteous, which is called paradise. The second is a place of torment for the unrighteous; and the third, called the pit, for the wicked; and the fourth is called gehenna, the abyss or hell fire, for the wicked, demons and fallen angels. Glorious stories are told, after modern near death experiences, of being in paradise with relatives, because they went to sheol/hades when they died.
The lowest part of sheol or hades is also named after the Valley of the son of Hinnom or Gahya Hanam (Gey Hinnom) in Hebrew, and Gehenna in Greek. This is a valley located south of Jerusalem where the pagans sacrificed their children in the fire. It was a garbage dump where the fire is never quenched and the worm never dies.
All of these places contain graves for people to sleep in. But they communicate with their friends. These places should not be confused with the lake of fire for eternal punishment. No one will ascend into heaven, nor will anyone go to the lake of fire, until after the resurrection and final judgment, more than 1000 years from now. However, there will be a resurrection of the righteous very soon, before the 1000 years begins.