Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Never Forget that the LORD God Rules the Sheol Below as well as the Heavens Above

 All the well-watered trees of Eden, the choicest and best of Lebanon, were comforted in the Earth beneath. 
- Ezekiel 31:16

A certain Christian theologian (Andrew) has argued recently on his website called P.OST, an Evangelical Theology, that the Bible indicates: 'There is no relationship with God in Sheol.' Reading this from a somewhat prominent, published Protestant Christian author seemed a bit too much to swallow, so here is a suitable response to such a claim-

ANDREW:  There is no relationship with God in Sheol.
JUDEO/CHRISTIAN TRADITION: Yes, there is a 'relationship with God in Sheol' and the Bible describes the presence of God in the Sheol, repeatedly and vividly. The following Scriptural passages are just a brief sampling of this reality:

THE LORD IS EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING THE SHEOL: Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. (Psalm 139:7-8)

THE LORD SEES AND OBSERVES THE SOULS OF THE DEAD IN THE SHEOL: The departed spirits tremble under the waters and their inhabitants. Naked is Sheol before Him, and Abaddon has no covering. (Job 26:5-6)

Though they dig into Sheol, from there will My hand take them; And though they ascend to heaven, From there will I bring them down. (Amos 9:2)

THE LORD EASILY RULES OVER THE SHEOL FROM HEAVEN: Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD, How much more the hearts of men! (Proverbs 15:11)

THE LORD PUNISHES SOME AND COMFORTS OTHERS THAT HE HAS SENT DOWN INTO THE SHEOL: I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall when I made it go down to Sheol with those who go down to the pit; and all the well-watered trees of Eden, the choicest and best of Lebanon, were comforted in the earth beneath. (Ezekiel 31:15-16)

THE LORD WILL LISTEN TO THOSE WHO CRY OUT FOR HIM FROM THE SHEOL: I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice. (Jonah 2:2)

THE LORD CAN REDEEM THE DEAD FROM THE SHEOL AND MAKE THEM ALIVE AGAIN IN HEAVEN: Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight. (Hosea 13:14)

THE LORD EVENTUALLY REDEEMS THE RIGHTEOUS FROM THE SHEOL: O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol. (Psalm 30:2-3)

AVOIDING SIN IN LIFE LEADS TO FASTER REDEMPTION FROM THE SHEOL AFTER DEATH: You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol. (Proverbs 23:14)

As it is written in the Bible, the LORD God is an active and constant presence in the Sheol among the souls of the dead who are treated differently depending upon their sins when they were still alive. The LORD God rules the Sheol with justice and mercy as He has always done since the beginning of time. 

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