As I wrote the last blog (about Joseph) I was reminded of how many men in the Old Testament wish to be in Sheol. What follows is not meant to offend, just to offer a different view.
Genesis 42:38 from the KJV: "And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave."
So, the 'ultimate Word of God', the KJV, the only translation that gives every word God breathed, including punctuation (did you know that the Greek of the New Testament had no punctuation? It was added to make it more readable.), uses the word "grave". Is that what Jacob really meant, that he would be brought down to the grave because of stress? Yes! That is exactly what he meant!
Well then, let me point out that the word "grave" in this verse is actually the Hebrew word "Sheol". Now I do not wish to confuse anyone but it seems that this is exactly what the KJV has done. How? It has translated the word Sheol as "hell" in other places.
Job 11:8 from the KJV: It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
So in Job we see the word Sheol translated as "hell" in the KJV. How is this possible? Is Sheol the grave or is it hell?
Psalms 16:9, 10 from the KJV: Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
We again have the same confusion though multiplied! In this Psalm of David does he claim that his soul will, at some point in time, be in hell? Yes! This is exactly what David is claiming, if, you believe that the KJV is the ONLY true word of God! Did we just agree that David is in hell, or was in hell, or will be in hell? David has been gone for a long time (thousands of years), perhaps God allowed him to suffer the fires of hell for his evil works, which David did have as we all know. Yet the apostle Paul said that David was still with us in the grave, at least to the day Paul said it.
David never went to a burning hell (Sheol), David died and is still, yes even today, in the grave (Sheol). David awaits a resurrection.
Psalm 30:3 from the KJV: O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
In this last example David is again in "hell", oh no, I mean the "grave", or is it "Sheol"? The "grave" in Psalm 30:3 is the same word as "hell" in Psalm 16:10. Sheol.
So then what is Sheol and how can it best be described? Sheol is quite literally, the grave. However ancient people did not always see a grave we we modern folks do. Both the ancient Hebrews (Sheol) and Greeks (Hades) referenced the grave as a place unseen; once you went in the ground buried, you were unseen. There is more depth to this yet it is also that simple. Do some "digging" yourself, free your mind from the bondage of man made tradition. Google it, read up on it.
How often did Jesus talk about hell? More than he spoke of heaven? That is the claim anyway. More next time...
A good starter reference: http://what-the-hell-is-hell.com/