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Psalm 49:14,15 – Decay in Sheol; Redeemed From Sheol


Psalm 49:14 – They are appointed as a flock for Sheol. Death shall be their shepherd. The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning. Their beauty shall decay in Sheol, Far from their mansion. — World English

The New King James Version reads: “Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.” This describes the wicked as going to sheol, gravedom, the realm of death. (Ecclesiastes 9:10) The words translated “beauty” literally means “rock image”. It appears to be speaking of the physical body, that their bodies will be decay in sheol; this corresponds with the known facts that our bodies do decay after death, and whatever beauty that was once seen in that body decays also. Young renders this as: “their form is for consumption.” Fausset tells us that these words mean: “literally, “form” or shape.*
————— *Fausset, A. R., A.M. “Commentary on Psalms 49”. “Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible”. 1871.

The Psalmist here also describes the time when these wicked are released from sheol. This corresponds to Revelation 20:12,13. The Psalmist says that in that millennial morning the “upright”, the just, will have dominion over them. This agrees with other prophecies, such as Daniel 7:22,27; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 2:26,27 and Revelation 20:4.

What we do not find is any thought that the dead in the Bible hell are in a condition of eternal torture.

Psalm 49:15 – But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For he will receive me. Selah. — World English

This connects with verse 14. The Psalmist tells us that God will redeem his soul from the power of Sheol. The word translated “power” literally means “hand”. In this sense, it reflects the grasp that sheol had on its victims. No one under condemnation through Adam (Romans 5:12-19) can escape the wages of sin (Romans 6:23) at hand of Sheol (Psalm 89:48), except that God redeem or deliver them from the hand of Sheol.

Again the Psalmist does not give us reason to believe that he expected to be in an alleged compartment of sheol called paradise. Why would one need to be redeemed from the hand of paradise? But the Psalmist points for to the deliverance from sheol, that sheol will not have an eternal grasp on his soul. We also need to note that the writer expected that his soul would be in the hand of sheol, and that it would be his soul that would be delivered from its grasp. This agrees with other scriptures that show that is is the soul that sins, thus it is the soul that is condemned to death in sheol. (Ezekiel 18:4,20) The wages of sin is death, not eternal torture. (Romans 6:23) Thus, Jesus died for our sins, his soul is not suffering eternal torture for our sins. “Christ died for the ungodly”(Romans 5:6), he is not suffering an eternity of torture for the ungodly. Jesus “poured out his [human] soul [sentient existence] to death” for our sins, he did not give his soul over to eternal torture for our sins. (Isaiah 53:12) Thus, the days of his flesh are spoken of as past in Hebrews 5:7.

Yahweh provides the means of deliverance by means of the ransom sacrifice of his Son. Our Redeemer made His soul [being] an “offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10,12); and it was the soul of Adam (and his posterity) that He thus bought with His precious blood – by making His soul (being) an offering for sin. Since all were condemned in one man who sinned, only one righteous man would be needed to pay the wages of sin for all who were condemned in the one man. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 2:9) Consequently souls were are to be delivered from sheol/hades; souls are to be awakened, resurrected, in the last day, because of the salvation of the world provided through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. — John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; 12:47,48; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:6,13

Some commentators claim that the Psalmist meant here that his body would be in the hand, or grasp of sheol, but that his soul, being immortal, would be delivered from its power in order to be received into glory. Some have claimed that sheol has no power over the soul at all since the human soul is immortal.* This would make void the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, for if the human soul is already immortal, and cannot die, what need is there for Jesus give his human soul as a ransom? (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45) Additionally this view would make void the scripture written by David: “You will not leave my soul in Sheol,” (Psalm 16:10), which Peter quotes as applicable to the soul of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 2:27,31) As the scriptures show, Jesus gave not only his body, but his soul, his entire being, as an offering for sin. — Isaiah 53:10,12; Matthew 20:28.
*Henry, Matthew. “Commentary on Psalms 49”. “Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible”. 1706.

It is the human soul that has been condemned, dying, and thus enters into the oblivious condition of sheol, and it is the human soul that needs to be delivered from sheol. Many suppose that the bodies buried are to be restored atom for atom, but, on the contrary, the apostle declares, “you don’t sow the body that will be…. But God gives it a body even as it pleased him.” In the resurrection God gives to each person (to each soul or sentient being) such a body as His infinite Wisdom has been pleased to provide; to the joint-heirs, selected during the Gospel Age, spirit bodies; to others, human bodies, but not the same exact bodies lost in death. — 1 Corinthians 15:37,38.

Again, we do not find any thought of eternal suffering in sheol, nor do we find any thought of various compartments in sheol.

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