Q. Is it true that in the days of the Old Testament the believers and nonbelievers who died before Christ went to a place called Sheol? If this is true what happened to them after the resurrection? During the three days that Christ earthly body lay in the tomb did he go to this place called Sheol and release their souls to heaven?
A. We get our only glimpse of Sheol, called Paradise and Abraham’s Bosom by the Jews and Hades by the Greeks, from the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). There we learn that the abode of the dead had two areas, a place of comfort for those who died in faith of a coming redeemer, and a place of torment for those who didn’t.
When Jesus went there he released the faithful to accompany Him to Heaven, and since then all believers who die go straight to heaven. (Phil. 1:23-24) His death had now paid the penalty that had previously only been set aside. The unbelievers are still there and will remain so until the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium. (Rev. 20 :11-15)