In the Old Testament “Sheol” was the place of the dead.
“Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, for in Sheol, where you are going, there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 9:10
“O LORD, You pulled me up from Sheol. You spared me from descending into the Pit. Sing to the LORD, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.. ..I was dismayed. To You, O LORD, I called and I begged my Lord for mercy: ‘What gain is in the shedding of my blood, in my descent to the Pit? Will the DUST praise You? Will it proclaim Your faithfulness? Hear me, O LORD, and have mercy; O LORD, be my helper.'” Psalm 30:3,8-10
The rest of the Psalm:
“You turned my mourning into dancing. You turned my sackcloth and mourning into joy, that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks forever.” Psalm 30:11-12
From what was the Psalmist saved?
“..The soul that sins shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4
As time passed, even the Hebrews began to absorb the ideas of the (other) nations. Especially the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. In all likelihood, Jesus spoke Aramaic, the language of Israel, but later Sheol, had become “Hades” which originally was “the place of the dead“. But over time legend became attached to the word.
Now, when we read that Jesus descended to the lower part of the Earth, we no longer believe that to be into the dust of the grave.. And when we read He went via the Spirit to preach to the souls of Noah’s day, “who were disobedient while the ark was being prepared/built” – which building took one hundred years – we are used to assuming He went to ‘hell’ and preached to the dead, rather than went via the Spirit to them while the ark was being built. (Ephesians 4:9; 1 Peter 3:20)
Speaking of the ancient city of Tyre, now its stones covered by the sea, Ezekiel 26:19-21 says “For thus says the Lord GOD, When I make you a desolate city, like the cities which are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you and the great waters cover you, then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you dwell in the lower parts of the earth, like the ancient waste places, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set glory in the land of the living. I will bring terrors on you and you will be no more; though you will be sought, you will never be found again,’ declares the Lord GOD“.
“O LORD, You pulled me up from Sheol! You spared me from descending into the Pit. Sing to the LORD, O you His saints!”
Translated to read ‘hell’ – sheol, pit, hades, Gehenna, and tartarus. Gehenna is the valley where the fiery Armageddon is prophesied to occur. (A lake of fire tares gather to?) And the Greek word tartarus, like hades, the original likely became corrupted by legend and myth, but likely meant “deepest darkness” (the abyss/bottomless pit of Revelation 9:1-3? The pit of potential which disobedience and imperfection is? Translated as “sin” which is from a Greek word meaning “missing the mark” – since God is life (itself, surely?) and He “is perfect“, it makes sense that “the soul that sins shall die” and “the wages of sin is death”.
So how did all get to be imperfect? And indeed we were all born that way. Perhaps in lieu of programming us all like robots, He is programming us, writing His law – which ultimately is love – upon our hearts and minds, via this journey through the “valley of the shadow of death“. It being an unavoidable lesson. Unavoidable, unless we are to be mechanically programmed at birth, with no reasoning and choice ability whatsoever?
Therefor I have always been a little puzzled by the Lord’s parable about “Lazarus and the rich man” where Lazarus dies and is carried by angels to heaven, and the rich man dies and goes to a hell like region. It finally dawned on me to specifically pray and ask the Lord about it.
What I realized is He had been directing the parable towards the Pharisees. (Luke 16:14-31)
And dig this! He concluded with, verses 30-31, the rich man said, “if someone is sent to them from the dead, they will repent.” But Father Abraham said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead”!