Does the Hebrew word Sheol in the Old Testament and its Greek equivalent Hades refer to the realm of the souls of the dead, or does it merely refer to the grave? Some believe that the soul is inseparable from the body and therefore all consciousness ceases at death. If this were true, then these terms could not mean anything more than the grave.
There are two doctrinal camps today which argue that Sheol and Hades simply refer to the grave. The first is that of Annihilationists, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists, as well as a growing number of Evangelicals who argue that the dead remain in an unconscious state until the resurrection at which time the just are granted immortality and the unjust are annihilated. For a more in-depth consideration of the doctrine of Annihilation as opposed to that of Universal Restoration I recommend my book, “Extermination or Restoration, (a Restorationist’s Response to Annihilationism).”
The second group is a modern variation of syncretistic Universalists, who, in order to deny the reality of Hell, or any form of postmortem retribution, argue that Sheol and Hades only have reference to the grave. They also argue that Jesus’ references to Gehenna fire (Matt 5:22-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33) only had application to the Jews prior to 70 AD., and referred to the destruction of Jerusalem at that time 
Don Keathley presents their arguments in his recent book “Hell’s Illusion (Exposing the Myth of Hell).” He says that the only Hell that anyone will ever experience is the Hell we undergo in our own minds when we have been programmed by religion to believe in the myth of Hell. He claims that there is no need to receive Christ in order to be saved from sin, Hell and the wrath to come, because we were never separated from God to begin with. Our sins are not against God, according to him, but only against ourselves and therefore there is no divine retribution for the unrepentant in Hell. He says: “There is no such destination after we pass from the physical realm to a place called Hell, even if you didn’t pray the magic prayer!”  The “magic prayer” he refers to is the prayer of repentance and faith when we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. I consider their deconstruction of the biblical doctrines concerning sin, separation and salvation in my blog: “The Blurring of Biblical Distinctions.” I also consider in detail what the Scriptures have to say concerning Gehenna, often translated as “Hell,” and the Lake of Fire in my book “The Triumph of Mercy (The Reconciliation of All through Jesus Christ).” The objective of this blog is to respond to their claim that Sheol and Hades do not have reference to the conscious intermediate state of the souls of the dead, but simply refer to the grave or tomb.
Don Keathley makes the claim that the Early Church knew nothing of a place called Hell – that it was a later invention of Church leaders in order to control the people through fear. He claims that it originated with the Reformers. He says: “I will give you a little history on where this belief that Hell exists originated. It has roots in Calvinism and Arminianism, and they taught this to gain and keep people.”  Actually, he later attributes the origin of Hell to Augustine whom he also says invented other myths, such as the “myth” of inbred sin.  However, nowhere in his book does he substantiate this claim from Church history.
Most would agree that it was Augustine who first popularized the belief in unending torments in Hell, but the belief in a just postmortem retribution in some form of Hell was unanimously held by the Early Church, including the intermediate state of the dead in a place referred to as Hades, prior to Augustine. Actually, I was unable to find even one reference in the writings of the Early Church Fathers presenting Hades as the grave. I will here cite a few examples from the Fathers demonstrating that they believed that, while the bodies of the dead remain in the graves until the resurrection, their souls continue in a conscious state in Hades. Justin Martyr (100-165 AD.) says concerning those who had previously died in their sins:
“it is likely enough that they themselves are now lamenting in Hades, and repenting with a too late repentance; and if it were possible for them to show you thence what had befallen them after the termination of this life, ye would know from what fearful ills they desired to deliver you.” 
It is evident that Justin Martyr did not regard Hades as being the grave but rather the place where the souls of the dead went upon leaving their bodies. Irenaeus (130-202 AD.), referring to those who rose from the dead after Christ’s descent into Hades, makes a clear distinction between their souls in Hades and their bodies which were raised from the dead: “This event was also an indication of the fact that when the holy soul of Christ descended to Hades, many souls ascended and were seen in their bodies.”  Referring to Matthew 27:52-53, Irenaeus says that the soul of Christ descended into Hades after His death, and when He rose from the dead He brought many souls with Him who were afterwards seen in their bodies. Hippolytus (170-235 AD) explains the nature of Hades in the following manner:
“But now we must speak of Hades, in which the souls both of the righteous and the unrighteous are detained.
This locality has been destined to be as it were a guard-house for souls, at which the angels are stationed as guards, distributing according to each one's deeds the temporary punishments for (different) characters… But the righteous shall obtain the incorruptible and un-fading kingdom, who indeed are at present detained in Hades, but not in the same place with the unrighteous.” 
The belief that both the righteous and the wicked were kept in Sheol or Hades, awaiting the resurrection was common belief, both among the Christians and the Jews of that time. Later I will demonstrate that this belief is not mythical but rather was derived from the Scriptures themselves. However, my objective here is merely to show that it is not a recent belief, as Keathley affirms, but was universally held by the Early Church Fathers prior to Augustine and certainly before the influence of Calvinism and Arminianism much later in the 16th century.
There are too many references to Hades in the Church Fathers to quote in this short blog. I would just like to cite one more example from Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD.) where, making reference to 1Peter 3:18-20 and 4:6, he not only shows that the souls of both the righteous and those who were wicked in life are conscious in Hades, but that God’s postmortem punishments are saving and disciplinary, leading to conversion in their day of visitation when the gospel is preached to them:
“Do not the Scriptures show that the Lord preached the Gospel to those that perished in the flood…?’ And it has been shown also…that the apostles, following the Lord, preached the Gospel to those in Hades… If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the Gospel…then all who believe shall be saved…on making their profession there (ie. in Hades); since God's punishments are saving and disciplinary, leading to conversion…and especially since souls, although darkened by passions, when released from their bodies, are able to perceive more clearly, because of their being no longer obstructed by the paltry flesh.” 
While Clement, as with the majority of the Church Fathers prior to Augustine in the 5th century, clearly believed in the apocatastasis or the final restoration of all,  he, like all other Universalists of his day, believed that Hades was the place of departed souls and not the grave, and they also believed that the wicked undergo corrective punishments in Hades, eventually leading to their conversion.
Etymology of Sheol and Hades
The etymology of the Hebrew word “Sheol” has been debated. Some argue that its Assyro-Babylonian counterpart is “Shu'alu,” which meant, “the place where the dead are consulted or gathered.” Vine’s says that it is from the Hebrew word “sha’al,” which means “to ask, consult or enquire.”  Either way, the idea expressed implies that Sheol was considered to be a place where the dead were congregated and could be consulted. Consulting the dead on behalf of the living was a much more common practice in the Ancient Middle East than it is today, and it was a practice strictly forbidden by God (Deut 18:10-11). The Lord says to His people, “should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa 8:19). If indeed Sheol were nothing more than the grave and the dead lay unconscious, such a prohibition would have been superfluous.
The Hebrew word “Sheol” in the Old Testament was translated as “Hades” both in the Greek Old Testament LXX and also in the New Testament when it cites the Old Testament. The etymology of Hades is less obscure than that of Sheol. It is a composite word, made up of the negative particle a, meaning “no” and eido which means “to see.” Even outside of Scripture it refers to the invisible unseen realm of the dead.
Many object to the rendering “Hell” for Sheol or Hades. However, when Hades was originally translated as “Hell” in the Old English, it meant essentially the same thing as Hades. The old word hel or Helle simply meant “that which is covered or concealed,” i.e. the invisible realm of the dead.  It is unfortunate that Greek Mythology and Dante’s version of Hell has been read into the word, but, etymologically speaking, the word Hell is totally consistent with the meaning of Sheol or Hades which is the unseen or hidden realm of the dead.
Meaning of Sheol determined by Usage
Much of the confusion concerning the meaning of Sheol is the result of the inconsistency of the translators of the King James Version. Sheol appears 66 times in the King James Version. It is translated as “the grave” 32 times, as “the pit” 3 times and as “Hell” 31 times. Some more recent versions, such as the New American Standard Version, avoid these interpretive renderings of Sheol, rendering it literally as Sheol in every instance.
A careful examination of each occurrence of Sheol in context makes it clear that it is referring to the unseen realm of the souls of the dead and not the grave. The substantive for grave, qeber, and its cognates qeburah and qabar “to bury” appear 215 times in the Old Testament, and in every instance, they clearly refer to the grave or graves where the bodies of the dead are laid to rest. On the other hand, Sheol consistently refers to a singular region where all souls are gathered at death.
There are several contrasts between Sheol and qeber which make it clear that Sheol does not refer to the grave. The following contrasts can be seen:
1) The living are said “to bury” (qabar) the body of their dead in a grave or graves (qeber) 132 times. In contrast, there is no verb form for Sheol which could be defined as, “to bury,” and no one is said to bury (qabar) their dead in Sheol.
2) Qeber appears 29 times in the plural, referring to more than one grave. In contrast, Sheol is only used in the singular form, referring to one region.
3) Man is said to have dug or made a qeber 6 times. Man is never said to have dug or made Sheol.
4) One’s body is said to be laid in a qeber 37 times. No one’s body is ever said to be in Sheol.
5) It is never said that one “goes down into” a qeber. Men are said to “go down into” Sheol 11 times. A soul may go somewhere after death, but a dead body cannot “go” anywhere.
6) Man is said to be able to touch a qeber 5 times. Man is never said to have touched Sheol.
7) Reference is made to an individual’s qeber 5 times. There is no reference whatsoever to someone’s Sheol.
Each of these seven contrasts taken together demonstrate that “grave” is not the correct meaning of Sheol. Also, in determining the meaning of words we should take into consideration a law of hermeneutics referred to as the law of first mention. The law of first mention states that the meaning of a word can normally be determined by what it meant in its first occurrence in Scripture.
The first occurrence of the word Sheol is when Joseph’s brothers told their father Jacob that they had found Joseph’s bloodstained coat. Jacob concluded that Joseph had been devoured by a wild beast and he refused to be comforted. He said: “I will go down to Sheol to my son mourning.” (Gen 37:35 ASV). While the King James Version reads, “I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning,” a careful consideration of the passage makes it clear that Jacob wasn’t referring to the grave.
In the first place, he says “I will go down.” As pointed out previously, a dead body could not literally be said to go into a qeber or grave. Whenever someone dies, they are taken to their grave (qeber) and buried (qabar) there – they don’t go there. It is the soul which goes to Sheol or Hades upon leaving the body (Luke 16:22-23).
In the second place, Jacob said that he would go down “unto his son” in Sheol. He couldn’t have been thinking of being buried with his son, since he thought that Joseph had been devoured by wild beasts, making it impossible to be buried with him. This expectation of being reunited with departed loved ones in Sheol is common throughout Scripture.
An expression we see repeated numerous times in the Old Testament is to say of the deceased that one breathed his last and was “gathered unto his people,” or instead of telling someone they will die they said: “you will go unto your fathers.” (Gen 15:15; 25:8; 25:18; 35:29; 49:33; Nu 20:26; Deut 32:49-50; 34:5-6). Obviously, it is not the cadaver that is being referred to, since a dead body cannot go anywhere. That these expectations were real and not simply empty euphemisms can be seen in David’s response when his baby son died. He said: “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam 12: 23).
Also, it says that when Jacob died that he “breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” (Gen 49:33). After being gathered to his people Joseph’s servants embalmed his body for forty days and the Egyptians mourned for him for seventy days. Only after the time of mourning had ended, did they begin the journey back to the land of Canaan where they finally buried his body. He was gathered to his people in Sheol upon breathing his last, but it was not until some three months had passed that his body was finally buried in his “burial place” (qeber) (50:13). So, upon breathing his last he was gathered to paradise or Abraham’s bosom in Sheol (even as was the case with the beggar Lazarus as well as the thief upon the cross), even though Jacob’s body had not yet been buried (Luke 16:22-23; 23:43).
Another characteristic of Sheol which is not true of the grave is that its inhabitants can communicate with each other. In Isaiah 14 it begins speaking of the death of the king of Babylon and it says that the inhabitants of Sheol would rise to meet him and taunt him as he descended into Sheol:
“Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. 10 ‘They will all respond and say to you, ‘Even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us. 11 ‘Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you and worms are your covering… All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb. 19 But you have been cast out of your tomb (qeber) like a rejected branch, clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit like a trampled corpse. 20 You will not be united with them in burial (qeburah)… “(Isa 14:9-11, 18-20 NASU).
Here we see the leaders and kings of the nations who had previously died, coming up to meet the great king of Babylon – the most powerful empire of ancient times, as he descends into Sheol after having died in shame and dishonor. They said to him: “We were all buried with honor in our own tombs, but your corpse was thrown in a pit or mass grave and left to the maggots, buried under the corpses of all those slain with the sword.” Here, we see a clear distinction between the souls in Sheol and the body buried in a mass grave without an honorable burial in his royal tomb.
Another passage which makes a clear distinction between Sheol and the grave is when Saul sought out a medium to call up Samuel who had previously died, in order to consult him concerning an impending battle with the Philistines. The Lord sent Samuel up to inform Saul that he and his sons would be killed and would be with him on the following day:
“Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’ And Saul answered, ‘I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and no longer answers me, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do.’ 16 Samuel said, ‘Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary? 17 ‘The Lord has done accordingly as He spoke through me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. 18 ‘As you did not obey the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 ‘Moreover the Lord will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the Lord will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!” (1Sam 28:15-19)
Here we see Samuel coming up to talk to Saul – something that would not be possible if he were unconscious in the grave. God forbids the practice of consulting the dead. Such a prohibition would not make sense if it were impossible to do so. Samuel told Saul that he and his sons would be with him the next day and on that day they were killed in battle just as Samuel had said. But he could not have been referring to being with him in the grave on the next day since they were not buried the next day. It wasn’t until two days later that the Philistines found their bodies. They beheaded Saul and their bodies were hung from the city wall where they remained for another night before finally being taken down and buried, but not in the place where Samuel was buried. So, clearly, the reference is to the souls of Saul and his sons which would be with Samuel in Sheol the very next day, rather than their bodies which were only later placed in their graves.
Hades in the New Testament
Hades appears 10 times in the Greek New Testament and in every instance it was translated as “Hell” by the King James translators with the exception of 1Corinthians 15:55 which they rendered “grave.” We have already seen that Hell has essentially the same literal meaning as Hades. As stated earlier, the translators of the LXX Greek Old Testament, which was in use in Jesus’ day, consistently rendered Sheol as Hades, which literally means “the invisible or unseen” and therefore, “the invisible realm of the souls of the dead.” Just as we have seen with Sheol, both the just and the unjust remain in Hades until the resurrection.
In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 we see that Lazarus died and was carried by the angels – not to his tomb, but to Abraham’s bosom or Paradise. The rich man also died and his body was buried in the grave (v.22). However, the next thing we see is the rich man in torments in Hades, calling out to Abraham and Lazarus and conversing back and forth with them.
Some argue that this is simply a parable and therefore should not be taken literally. In some ways I would agree. Lazarus was not literally in Abraham’s bosom, and being tormented (basinos, lit. “tested with a touchstone”) in fire in Scripture normally refers to fiery trials meant to purify and therefore should not be understood as literal flames either (see my blog “Sulfur, Salt and the Refiner’s Fire”). However, while Jesus often made use of parables, hyperboles and figures of speech in His teachings, He never used falsehood to illustrate truth. In the light of this parable, to say that Hades is nothing more than the grave and that the souls of the dead cannot communicate with each other is tantamount to calling Jesus a false teacher. It would also make Him out to be delusional, since He spoke with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17:3).
Death and Hades
There is a distinction drawn in Scripture between death, in which the flesh is given over to decay, and Hades, which is the habitation of the souls of the dead. Psalm 16:10 is prophetic of Christ’s burial and His descent into Hades: “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” On the Day of Pentecost, Peter quoted this Psalm and then applied it to Christ, saying that, “His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:31). Here there is a contrast between the soul, which goes to Hades, and the flesh or body which decays in the grave.
Just as the Early Church Fathers repeatedly state, during the three days in which His body lay in the tomb, Christ’s soul was in Hades or the invisible world of the dead where He preached the gospel to those who were formerly disobedient in order that, having been judged in the flesh, they might live with Him in the spirit (1Peter 3:18-20; 4:6). His body was laid in the tomb and preserved from decay until the resurrection, but His soul descended deep down into “the heart of the earth” (Matt 12:40). The reference to “the heart of the earth” is not referring to the grave, but to the deepest pit of Sheol, also referred to as Tartarus (2Peter 2:4), reserved for the most wicked (cf. Ezek. 31:16). It is referred to as “the bottomless pit” or “the abyss” seven times in the book of Revelation.
Jesus didn’t merely descend into the region of Hades where Paradise or Abraham’s bosom was located, but He went way down into the lowest parts of Hades, preaching the gospel even to those who had perished in the flood. In Ephesians 4:8-10 Paul says the following concerning His descent:
“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ 9 (Now this, ‘He ascended’ — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)” (Eph 4:8-10).
I understand this to be telling us that, when Christ descended into the lower parts of the earth, He released those who were in captivity and ascended with them on high, that He might fill all things. This is the idea expressed in Today’s English Version: “When he went up to the very heights, he took many captives with him; he gave gifts to mankind." (Eph 4:8 TEV). (cf. Luke 4:18 “to proclaim [kerusso] freedom to the captives” cf. 1Peter 3:19-20 “preached” gr. kerusso). He took the keys of Hades from Satan, preached the good news to those who were in captivity, and took them with Him when He ascended. Paul here is quoting from Psalms 68:18 where we see that He not only took with Him those who were in Paradise who had lived saintly lives, but also those who were once disobedient:
“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” (Ps 68:18 KJV)
Before Christ’s resurrection and ascension, Paradise was not in the presence of the Lord as it is now. Both Jesus and the thief on the cross descended into Sheol when they breathed their last and Jesus remained in Hades, the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. Yet, as promised, the thief was with Him in Paradise the same day they died. Jesus said to him: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43).
On the third day He arose from the dead, having made propitiation for the sins of the world, including all the sins previously committed (Rom 3:25-26). When He arose, He ascended unto the throne of God and took Paradise with Him, including all the repentant who responded to His preaching of the Gospel in Hades as far down as the lowest parts of the earth. That is why, when Paul was caught up into the third heaven Paradise was there (2Cor 12:2-4). Now, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2Cor 5:8). The very moment our soul leaves our body we are with Him in Paradise, just like the thief on the cross, except that now Paradise is in the very presence of the Lord in the third heaven!
If we die before Christ returns, our souls remain in the presence of the Lord until His Second Coming, at which time we will accompany Him to be reunited to our bodies, which have remained “sleeping in the dust,” but will be raised unto immortality:
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will BRING WITH HIM those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1Thess 4:13-17)
Some have been confused by the reference to the dead as having “fallen asleep” or “sleeping,” concluding from this that the dead are in an unconscious state. I consider this with more detail in my book “Extermination or Restoration),” but these are demonstrably euphemisms, intended to soften the blow when a loved one dies, much as we would say today that the dead person “departed,” “is at rest,” “is at peace,” “has passed away,” “is deceased,” “went to be with the Lord,” etc. It is considered very insensitive to simply say: “he is dead,” so we have developed a vocabulary of euphemisms which are not always meant to be taken in a strictly literal sense, but rather are intended to soften the blow. Some, ignoring the many evidences in Scripture to the contrary, insist that the souls of the dead are unconscious until the resurrection, rather than being present with the Lord and coming with Him when He returns.
The first resurrection is the resurrection unto life when Christ returns. The second resurrection takes place 1,000 years later and is a resurrection unto judgment (Jn 5:29; Rev 20:5-6). At that time Death and Hades will deliver up all their inhabitants to appear before the White Throne Judgment:
“The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:13-15)
The reference to “Death and Hades” means that all the bodies of the dead (Death), will be reunited with their souls in Hades in order to be judged according to the deeds done in their bodies while they were alive. The reference to the sea giving up the dead emphasizes that even those whose bodies have been consumed and dispersed in the sea will have to face judgment.
When it says that Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of fire, some, in an attempt to eliminate all postmortem judgment, claim that it is only Death and Hades as entities which are cast into the Lake of Fire, ceasing to exist at that time. However, what it is saying is that every individual who inhabited Death and Hades will be judged according to their works and then they (i.e. all the inhabitants of Death and Hades) will be cast into the Lake of Fire to undergo the second death (Rev 2:11). The last enemy – death, is not destroyed until all have been made alive, when every knee will have finally bowed in voluntary submission to Jesus Christ as Lord, at which time He will subject Himself to the Father and God will be all in all (1Cor 15:22,25-28; cf. Php 2:10-11).
So, in conclusion, clearly Sheol or Hades is the unseen realm of disembodied souls and not the qeber or grave, as some have sought to argue. Hades, by its very definition is the invisible realm of the souls of the dead. The just are gathered unto their people in Paradise and the unjust go each to their own respective place, awaiting judgment before the Great White Throne (cf. Acts 1:25). While the doctrine of Hell was greatly distorted entering into the Dark Ages, it is nevertheless real and not an illusion. Even though the Lake of Fire is a purifying fire and therefore not eternal, it is nevertheless an age during reality which should be avoided at all cost. Jesus said that it would be better to pluck out an eye or cut off a hand if it causes one to sin, rather than to be cast into Gehenna fire.
There is no condemnation awaiting those who are in Christ Jesus, but he who does not believe will be condemned at the White Throne Judgment, receiving “their part” in the Lake of Fire, not getting out of there “until” they have paid in full (Rom 8:1; Mark 16:16; Jn 3:18; Rev 20:15; Rev 21:8; Matt 5:26). There are some Inclusivists (those who say that everyone is already saved) who would tell the unrepentant that they are already in Christ without ever having received Him.
False teachers like Don Keathley would have us believe that it is not necessary to believe on Christ in order to be saved. He says: “Believing has nothing to do with being saved, Christ is the Savior of ALL men, everyone is saved…”  He says this in spite of the fact that Jesus clearly stated, “he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). While it is true that He died for all, and all will be made alive in Christ – each in his own order, it is necessary to personally receive Him, being born again as a new creation in order to be in Christ and be found free from all condemnation in the day of Jesus Christ (Jn 1:12; Php 3:8-9; 2Cor 5:17; Jn 3:3).
 Keathley, Don. Hell's Illusion (p. 41). Don Keathley. Kindle Edition.
 Keathley, Don. Hell's Illusion (p. 46). Don Keathley. Kindle Edition.
 Keathley, Don. Hell's Illusion (p. 22). Don Keathley. Kindle Edition.
 Keathley, Don. Hell's Illusion (p. 59). Don Keathley. Kindle Edition.
 Justin Martyr Chapter 35 - Appeal to the Greeks
 Irenaeus, fragments, XXVIII.
 Hippolytus, Against Plato on the cause of the universe, §1
 Clement of Alexandria, Book 6, Chapter 6 - The Gospel Was Preached to Jews and Gentiles in Hades
 The great Church historian, Philip Schaff, although not a Universalist, said: “In the first five or six centuries of Christianity there were six known theological schools, of which four (Alexandria… Antioch, Caesarea, and Edessa or Nisibis) were Universalist, one (Ephesus) accepted conditional immortality; one (Carthage or Rome) taught endless punishment of the wicked. Other theological schools are mentioned as founded by Universalists, but their actual doctrine on this subject is unknown.”
“Under the instruction of these great teachers [Clement, Origen, Gregory, and Theodore of Mopsuestia] many other theologians believed in universal salvation; and indeed the whole Eastern Church until after AD 500 was inclined to it.”
 Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, OT:7585 she°ol OT:7585, "place of the dead." Sha°al (ask, consult, inquire) seems to be the basis for an important noun in the Old Testament, she°ol.
 Keathley, Don. Hell's Illusion (p. 100). Don Keathley. Kindle Edition.