Ezekiel 26:19 "For here is what Adonai ELOHIM says: 'When I make you a ruined city, like other uninhabited cities; when I bring the deep sea over you, and its mighty waters cover you; 20 then I will bring you down with those who descend to the pit, to the people of long ago, and make you live in underworld places like those who were ruined long ago, with those who descend to the pit, so that you will be uninhabited when I give glory to the land of the living. 21 I will make you horrible; you will cease to exist. People will seek you but never more find you,' says Adonai ELOHIM." (CJB)
So, the question is: Are there people already in sh'ol? The answer is: Until Judgment Day when all stand before YHWH to give an account of their life, we can't really know whether anybody besides Korach's group went down to Sh'ol (Numbers 16, after Korach caused a rebellion against YHWH):
Numbers 16:30 But if ADONAI does something new - if the ground opens up and swallows them with everything they own, and they go down alive to Sh'ol - then you will understand that these men have had contempt for ADONAI." 31 The moment he finished speaking, the ground under them split apart - 32 the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households, all the people who had sided with Korach and everything they owned. 33 So they and everything they owned went down alive into Sh'ol, the earth closed over them and their existence in the community ceased. (CJB)
What we DO know is that hell is a real place, prepared for the devil and his demons, and those who refuse God's gracious offer of salvation through faith in Yeshua haMaschiyach who was our Final Sin Sacrifice. The bottom line is, hell is a place of eternal separation from YHWH (Yahweh = the Father)!
Here's a kicker, though: While we've seen that people HAVE been sent down to sh'ol, according to the following scripture, nobody "goes to hell" until Judgment Day! It's confusing, to the say the least! Here's the sequence of events:
First, Yeshua returns, which kicks off the "rapture" of the dead and living Believers. Then, at the end of His thousand year reign, ALL will stand before YHWH to give an account of their lives - and some will go on to eternal life, while some will simply "be no more."
1 Thessalonians 4: 16. Because our Master (Y'shua) will himself descend from heaven with the mandate and with the voice of the chief Messenger and with the Qarna (trumpet/shofar) of Elohim; and the dead who are in the Mashiyach will first arise; 17. and then we who survive and are alive will be caught up together with them to the clouds to meet our Master (Y'shua) in the air; and so will we be ever with our Master.
Please note, this refers to only believers, both dead and alive, who will meet Yeshua in the air; not the unbelievers! They don't rise until the end of the millenium when we will ALL stand before YHWH on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:11-15).
Ironically, the above shows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the so-called "Pre-tribulation rapture" (which suggests "the church" will be zapped out of here before "the tribulation" comes, is a complete myth! Nobody is going to be "caught up" away from the Earth UNTIL Yeshua's Second Coming!
At judgment, "the day of YHWH" - a time of awe, judgment and gathering (see Isaiah 13:6,9; Jeremiah 46:10; Joel 1:15; 2:11; Amos 5:18; Obadiah 1:15) which happens after Yeshua's thousand year reign on Earth (Revelation 20:1-15), there is a resurrection of the righteous and of the wicked (Acts 24:15). The righteous go to eternal life; the wicked, to eternal destruction. Yeshua specifically says to fear his Father in heaven who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna (Luke 12:5).
Jude 1: 11. Woe to them; for they have gone in the way of Cain; and after the error of Balaam, they have lusted for gain; and in the rebellion of Korah, they have perished. 12. These are they who, in their feastings, riot while polluting themselves, feeding themselves without fear; clouds without rain, moved about by the winds; trees whose fruit has failed, and they are without fruit, twice dead, and uplifted from their root; 13. raging waves of the sea which, by their foam, manifest their confusion; shooting stars for which is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
14. And of them also prophesied Enoch who was the seventh from Adam when he said: Behold, Master YHWH comes with myriads of his Set Apart believers; 15 to execute judgment upon all and to convict all the wicked because of all the deeds they have wickedly committed; and because of all the hard speeches which they, sinners without Elohim, have uttered. 16. These are they who argue and complain of everything while they walk according to their lusts; and their mouth speaks shocking things; and they flatter people for the sake of gain.
17. But do you, my beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the Shlichim of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach; 18. because they told you that in the end of the times there would be scoffers going after wickedness according to their lusts. 19. These are they that separate (themselves), sensual persons, not having the Spirit. 20. But, my beloved, you be newly strengthened in your Set Apart faith through the Ruach haKodesh, while you pray. 21. And let us keep ourselves in the love of Elohim while we wait for the mercy of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach to our eternal life.
FOOTNOTE: We have witnessed an early influence of this Epistle, and we know that Jude was fully accepted on the Roman lists by the year 170, but an alleged problem shows itself when this Epistle is discussed. Specifically that Jude references two apocryphal books: "But Michael, the chief messenger, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him but said, "YHWH rebuke you" (Jude 1:9). "And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold YHWH came with many thousands of His Set Apart ones" (Jude 1:14).
The books quoted from were in circulation during the First Century; therefore, Jude could have also written his letter during this time. The quotation lends credence to that time period as it would have preceded rabbinic rulings of the late First Century that fixed the Jewish canon. Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal a wide variety of books not officially canonized by Jews that nevertheless found strong adherents. Therefore, Jude was merely referring to stories he knew his audience would be familiar with. However, the final nail in the coffin comes with the help of Shaliach Paul: For in him it is we live and move and exist: as one of your own wise men has said: From him is our descent. (Acts 17:28). Be not deceived; "Evil stories corrupt well-disposed minds" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies" (Titus 1:12). Each of these passages quotes a Pagan poet! 1 Corinthians is drawing straight out of a play by Menander; Titus is a verbatim phrase lifted out of the poems of Epimenides, and the quote from Acts was so frequently used by Greek poets as to make a listing of them cumbersome and unnecessary! Has anyone then said Acts, Titus or 1 Corinthians should be excluded because they draw from sources that were not themselves ultimately canonized?
Certainly not! Obviously both Jude and Paul knew something about the contemporary culture of those whom they were addressing, and they simply used this knowledge to make a point. Perhaps this indicates why the writings of Jude were rejected by some communities, while simultaneously enjoying widespread acceptance and influence by others from a very early date.
2 Peter 2: 9. Master YHWH knows how to rescue from afflictions those who fear him, and he will reserve the wicked for the day of judgment to be tormented, 10. and especially them who go after the flesh in the lusts of pollution, and despise government. Daring and boasting without cause they do not quake with awe while they blaspheme; 11. as opposed to the Messengers, greater than they in might and valor, do not bring against them a reproachful judgment.
12. But these, like nasty beasts that by nature are for slaughter and corruption, while engaging in evil speech regarding things they don't know, will perish in their own corruption; 13. they being persons with whom iniquity is the reward of iniquity, and by them rioting in the daytime is accounted delightful; defiled and full of blemishes (are they), indulging themselves at their ease while they give themselves up to pleasure; 14. having eyes that are full of adultery and sins that never end; seducing unstable souls; and having a heart exercised in greed; children of cursing: 15. And, having left the correct path, they have wandered and gone in the way of Balaam the son of Beor who loved the wages of iniquity, 16. and who had for the corrector of his transgression a mute mule which, speaking with the speech of men, rebuked the madness of the prophet.
17. These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm, persons for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness. 18. For, while they utter astonishing vanity, they seduce with obscene lusts of the flesh, them who have almost abandoned these that walk in error. 19. And they promise them liberty while they themselves are the slaves of corruption: for, by whatever thing a man is vanquished, to that is he enslaved. 20. For if, when they have escaped the pollutions of the world by the knowledge of our Master and Redeemer Y'shua the Mashiyach, they become again involved in the same and are vanquished, their latter state is worse than the former. 21. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after having known (it), to turn back from the Set Apart Commandment that was delivered to them.
In Matthew 24 we begin to see that some believers will be translated (cease to exist here on Earth to suddenly find themselves in the Presence of Yeshua). No clear Scriptural criteria is given (other than being righteous) as to who among the believers are taken up and who are left behind upon Yeshua's Second Coming. It seems that, just because you are left behind, doesn't mean you are not righteous. You may have simply been chosen to minister to others left in the wake of the "rapture".....
It is important to note that the "rapture" is not something linked only to the end times, because it happened to Enoch and Elijah who, we are told, were taken BODILY up to heaven without dying (Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11). Once there, we can only make guesses as to what happened to their physical bodies because, as 1 Corinthians 15 above has shown, YHWH gives us a new spiritual body.
Where is Hell?
The truth is, no one can really say. Most likely it is in another dimension (as is heaven), but it could be in the depths of our own Earth. Here are some examples concerning hell:
Matthew 11:23 - 23. And you Capurnakhum which has been raised to heaven will be brought down to Sheol (grave, or pit)....
Luke 16:23 - 23. And while he was tormented in Sheol, he lifted up his eyes and gazed from afar upon Awraham and upon Lazar at his bosom....
Numbers 16:31-33 - ...the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened up and swallowed the men...So they went down alive into [the grave]....
The bottom line is: Hell is a real place, and all those who do not regard Yeshua as the Final SIN Sacrifice sent by YHWH (Yahweh) will end up there:
"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
"The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:41-42).
...unless you repent you will all likewise perish (Luke 13:3).
At this point it must be mentioned that Yeshua said BOTH BODY AND SOUL are destroyed and SOUL (nefesh) means "personality, memory"--the things that make us human in other words. Hell is place of eternal punishMENT NOT eternal punishING. The nefesh is DESTROYED like the proverbial tree Yochanan (John the Immerser) compares it to. Only Satan and the false prophet are tormented "day and night forever".
Yeshua always contrasted hell with LIFE and therefore existence. To go to "hell" is to LOSE YOUR LIFE, CONSCIOUSNESS and PERISH. Although many have a problem with that, the fact is that only the fire itself is eternal. The Aramaic word for SAVIOR is paroqa and means "LIFE GIVER".
By the way, YHWH doesn't "send" anyone to hell. It was created for Satan and his demons. We send ourselves to hell when we choose to ignore and/or refuse YHWH and His gracious
offer of salvation through eternal life through the belief in His Son who was our Final Sin Sacrifice:
John 3:16 - 16. Thus, for Elohim loved the world so as he would give His Only-Begotten Son, that whoever would believe in him would not perish, but would have life that is eternal. 17. For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to give life to the world through him. 18. He who does not believe in him is judged, and he who does not believe is already judged because he does not believe in his name, that of the Only-Begotten, the Son of Elohim.