Job Postscript.

DEATH / SHEOL / GRAVE / PIT / AFTER-LIFE / RESURRECTION
IN JOB AND ELSEWHERE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.

Key Notes: The righteous and unrighteous in Sheol. Resurrection. Where are they now?

The common view is that there is no well-developed doctrine of the afterlife in the Old Testament. Job's two affirmations of faith are considered "unusual" because they are bold and clear-cut.

"All the days of my service I would wait, until my release shall come. You would call and I would answer You; You would long for the work of Your hands." (Job 14:14) {Job looks forward to a day of accounting with God in the afterlife, one that God will enjoy.}
"I know that my Redeemer lives and at last He will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another." (Job.19:25)

On the other hand, consider Eccl.3:19: "The fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. Who knows if the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth?" {See Eccl.12:7 for the answer.}

How is the grave, or Sheol, described in Job and elsewhere in the Old Testament?

"There the weary are at rest. There the prisoners are at ease together; they do not hear the voice of the taskmaster." (Job.3:17)

"As the cloud fades and vanishes, so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up." (Job.7:9)

"For now I shall lie in the earth; Thou wilt seek me, but I shall not be." (Job 7:21–22)

"...the land of gloom and deep darkness...of chaos, where light is as darkness." (Job 10:21)

"Till the heavens are no more, he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep." (Job 14:12)

"There is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going." (Eccl.9:10). "For in death there is no remembrance of Thee. In Sheol who can give Thee praise?" (Psa.6:5)

"Do the shades rise up to praise Thee? Is Thy steadfast love declared in the grave...? Are Thy wonders known in the darkness or Thy saving help in the land of forgetfulness?" (Psa.88:10–12) "...the land of silence...." (Psa.94:17)

"Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Thy faithfulness." (Isa.38:18)

"...to the nether world, to those who have gone down to the pit." (Ezek.32:18)

"The mighty chiefs shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol." (Ezek.32:21)

"They have made her a bed among the slain with all her multitude." (Ezek.32:25)

"When Pharaoh sees them, he will comfort himself for all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, slain with the sword...." (Ezek.32:31) "...you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: is this the man who made the earth tremble?" (Isa.14:15)

Sheol, or the grave,is a quiet, dark and gloomy place where humans who have died are in a muted, shadowy existence, like sleep, a place of delirium and confusion. But we note that it is a place, and that the dead are not extinguished. Death is not the end of the story.

Sheol has special implications for the wicked.

"The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forgot God." (Psa.9:17)

"Let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol." (Psa.31:17)

"This is the fate of those who have foolish confidence ....Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol...straight to the grave they descend and their form shall waste away." (Psa.49:13–14)

"Let death come upon them. Let them go down to Sheol alive. Let them go away in terror into their graves." (Psa.55:15)

"A fire is kindled by my anger and it burns to the depths of Sheol." (Deut.32:22)

"On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. They shall be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they shall be shut up in a prison, and after many days they shall be punished...and before His elders He will manifest His glory." (Isa.24:21–23)

"...for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched." (Isa.66:24)

But what of the righteous?

"But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me." (Psa.49:15)

"Thou dost guide me with Thy counsel and afterward Thou wilt receive me to glory." (Psa.73:24)

"I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psa.23:6)

"For Thou dost not give me up to Sheol or let thy godly One see the pit." (Psa.16:10). The passage is cited twice of Jesus' resurrection. Acts.2:27; 13:35

"I shall behold Thy face in righteousness." (Psa.17:15)

"Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? I will redeem them from death. O Death, where are your plagues. O Sheol, where is your destruction?" (Hos.13:14)

"Thy dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy." (Isa.26:19)

"...when He makes himself an offering for sin, He shall see his offspring, He shall prolong his days. The will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." (Isa.53:10, a prophecy of Jesus' resurrection.)

"For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil." (Eccl.12:7, 14)

"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Dan.12:2)

Where are the Old Testament saints now?

Jesus "descended into the lower parts of the earth" (Eph.4:9), perhaps to move them from Sheol.
Jesus said "...have you not read what was said to you by God, 'I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.' He is not God of the dead, but of the living." (Matt.22:31).
Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus were very much alive (Matt.17:3). discoursing with Jesus about His coming "Exodus" in Jerusalem! Lk.9:31

Clearly the OT saints are living in the presence of God. Believers who have died since the Resurrection are "in the presence of the Lord" (IICor.5:8), though not yet resurrected.

Resurrection will bring us to heights of glory and power that we have never had on earth. ICor.15:35–50