The Bible declares that the dead are “conscious of nothing at all.” At death there is no torment in hellfire, no agonizing wait in Limbo, but simply a return to the dust. Therefore, God’s Word advises the living: “All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Genesis 3:19) “Sheol” is an unfamiliar term to many. It is a Hebrew word of uncertain derivation. Many religions teach that the dead are still alive, but as the inspired Word of God shows, those in Sheol are dead, without consciousness. Sheol is the common grave of mankind.
Jesus condemned the religious leaders of his day because they made each of their disciples “a subject for Gehenna.” (Matthew 23:15) Back at that time, people were familiar with the Valley of Hinnom, an area used as a garbage dump where bodies of executed criminals who were deemed unworthy of a proper burial were deposited. Earlier, Jesus himself had made mention of Gehenna in his Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:29, 30) Its symbolic meaning was clear to his listeners. Gehenna represented complete destruction without hope of a resurrection.