Chapter Four, Five, Six and Seven of
LIFE IN CHRIST
Subtitled: The Resurrection, Our Only Hope Of Life After Death
William Robert West
Author of “The Rapture And Israel”
Is "The Wages Of Sin Death"
"Eternal Life With Torment In Hell"
HELL: NEVER, FOREVER, OR JUST FOR AWHILE?
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Is "The Wages Of Sin Death"
"Eternal Life With Torment In Hell"
An Immortal Soul and the Doctrine of Hell
Is the wages of sin eternal life in Hell with torment?
Chapter Four: The four occasions Christ used Gehenna THE VANISHING HELL—THE CHANGING HELL –THE MANY HELLS
TWENTY-NINE PLUS VERSIONS OF HELL
THREE CATHOLIC VERSIONS OF HELL
(1) The Dark Age Catholic version of Hell
(2) The New Catholic version of Hell
(3) Nether World
SOME OF THE MANY DIVISIONS OF THE PROTESTANT VERSIONS OF HELL
(1) The Calvin version of Hell
(2) The Jonathan Edwards version
(3) The “revisionist” version of Hell
(4) The Graphic view of Hell
(5) The literal Hell
(6) Satan doing the tormenting
(7) God doing the tormenting
(8) The Metaphorical view of both Heaven and Hell
(9) Mental anguish only Hell–Billy Graham
(10) The eternal sinning version of Hell
(11) C. S Lewis–the almost pleasant Hell
(12) Protestant Traditionalist
(13) Many Protestant Premillennial versions
(14) Realized Eschatology–A. D. 70 version
(15) Dante’s cold Hell with nine levels of torment
(16) The “Sudden Realization” version of Hell
(17) Protestant Rephaim version
EIGHT OTHER VERSIONS OF HELL
(1) Church of Christ, Christian Church Abraham’s bosom after Judgment Hell, A newer version
(2) Edward Fudge version: The short Hell
(3) Christadelphians version
(4) Church of God and others
(5) Universalist version of Hell
(6) Seventh-Day Advent version
(7) Latter-day Saints version (Mormons)
(8) The Grave is Hell version (Jehovah's Witnesses)
(9) Christian Science Version of Hell
NO BIBLE HELL
Use of fire and torment in the New Testament
Chapter Five: Sheol, Hades, and Tartarus
Chapter Six: Sheol in the Old Testament
THE WAY SHEOL IS TRANSLATED IN THE KING JAME VERSION
(1) Down into a pit in the earth (in 3 passages)
(2) Nations in the grave (in 4 passages)
(3) Nations in Hell (in 14 passages)
(4) The good in the grave (in 10 passages)
(5) The bad in the grave (in 7 passages)
(6) The good and bad in the grave together (in 10 passages)
(7) The good and bad in Hell together (in 2 passages)
(8) The good in Hell (in 7 passages)
(9) The bad in Hell (In only 8 of the 65 passages)
HADES IS USED ELEVEN TIMES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
(1) That has reference to the death of Christ (3 passages)
(2) That has reference to death (1 passage)
(3) That has reference to the destruction of cities or countries (2 passages)
(4) The symbolical passages (5 passages)
Chapter Seven: A strange and unexplainable silence. The reinterpreting of life, death, torment, destruction, destroy, perish, die, and end
How did a real earthly valley near Jerusalem, which existed in the time of Christ and is still today called by the same name “Gehenna” become a place of eternal torment named “Hell,” which is a place that is not on this earth? The name “Hell” in the King James Version is translated from four different words (two are common nouns and two are proper nouns), three are in the Greek New Testament (Gehenna, hades and Tartarus), and one in the Hebrew Old Testament (sheol). Both sheol in the Old Testament, and hades in the New Testament are common nouns and both mean grave; Sheol is translated both (1) grave (2) and Hell in the King James Version, and Tartarus is translated Hell one time. Most other translations (American Standard Version, New American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, New International Version, and others) translate only one word (Gehenna) into Hell, and only in the New Testament, not four different words that have completely different meanings. The word Hell is not in the Old Testament in any of the above translations, or is not in most other translations. Although this valley is mentioned thirteen times (Joshua 15:8 two times, Joshua 18:16 two times; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Nehemiah 11:30; Jeremiah 7:31; 7:32; 19:2; 19:6; 32:35;) in the Old Testament it is called the valley of Hinnom, always a proper noun, the name of a particular place, the name of a well-known valley and was never changed to another proper noun, even the King James Version did not change the name of this valley to "Hell," another proper noun as they did in the New Testament.
Tophet, the name of a real place, is in the valley of Gehenna (just as Florida is in the U. S.), “which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom,” (2 Kings 23:10). Tophet is not in Hell. It is named 9 times; 2 Kings 23:10; Isaiah 30:33; Jeremiah 7:31; 7:32; 19:6; 19:11; 19:12; 19:13; 19:14 and it is always a proper noun, the name of a place that is on this earth, a place that is in the valley of Gehenna.
The valley of Hinnom (Gehenna in the New Testament) was a well-known valley south of Jerusalem long before it was made into a trash dump, and the valley exists and still has the name “Gehenna” to this day. Josiah might have made this valley into a rubbish dump (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:1-4). In the time of Christ this valley was the city dump. Most newer translations, and most all Bible students now admit sheol, hades, and Tartarus do not mean Hell, but some still believe Gehenna, a proper noun should be changed to Hell, another proper noun, the name of another place; the change of Gehenna into Hell makes a detailed look at this valley as it is used in both the Old and New Testament be necessary.
HOW DID ONE PLACE BECOME ANOTHER PLACE?
Gehenna is the name of a valley south of Jerusalem; it is a real location on this earth in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and it is still a real location today, and many tourists now take “tours of Hell” into it. The valley of Gehenna was used in the time of Christ as the city dump of Jerusalem. In the fifties I did some work at the dump of a city about the size of Jerusalem in the time of Christ. The refuse would be put in a large pile and set on fire, and all day rains could not put the fire out. There would have been no way for the people of Jerusalem to quench it (put out) before it burnt up all there was to burn. Back in the fifties and before, cities did not have landfills, but had garbage dumps where they would put the garbage in piles or in pits, and burn the garbage. Big city garbage dumps were always burning night and day, and the smoke could sometimes be seen for miles. The remains of animals were put in it, and the remains would be full of worms (Greek, Maggots–Young, page 1074) before the fire got to them. They were the same as Gehenna was in the time of Jesus, and were literally used for the destruction of the unwanted city garbage. Brimstone (sulfur) was added to Gehenna to keep the garbage burning; it was always burning night and day, and those near by could see the smoke always rising. Those Jesus was speaking to may have been able to see the smoke of Gehenna in the background while Jesus was speaking. The people of Jerusalem did not have a trash pickup as we do, and had to take their own trash to Gehenna; therefore, many of those Christ was speaking to would be very familiar with the never-ending fires and worms that were in Gehenna; they would see Gehenna as a place where they destroyed their trash and the bodies of dead criminals only after the criminals had been put to death, only after they were dead, but never would have understood Gehenna as a place of torment, it was a place of complete destruction, annihilation by fire of anything they cast into it. They used Gehenna as an incinerator or furnace for the purpose of destroying useless things.
(1). How did the name of a valley that is near Jerusalem that exists to this day, and it’s name is still called Gehenna today become “Hell” in the Bible. “HELL” IS A NAME THAT WAS UNKNOWN IN THE TIME OF CHRIST AND UNKNOWN TO ANYONE UNTO LONG AFTER THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS WRITTEN. In the time of Christ Gehenna was a place of destruction with no torment.
(2). How did the name that Christ used, “Gehenna” get changed into an English word “Hell” that means an eternal place of torment.
(3). Changed from Gehenna, a place that is on this earth to Hell, changed to a place that is not on this earth.
(4). Changed from a place of destruction to a place where there is no destruction as there was in Gehenna? The answer is simple; the translators were willing to change the Bible to put their pagan doctrine into the Bible.
(1). GEHENNA: A place of destruction with no torment, a place that is on this earth.
(2). HELL: A pace of torment with no destruction, a place that is not on this earth. The name “Hell” did not exist at the time the New Testament was written, did not exist unto the Dark Age.
ALEXANDER CAMPBELL: "In the time of our Savior, it (Gehenna) was the place to which all the filth, and the dead bodies of animals and criminals from the city of Jerusalem, were conveyed. Here worms were ever reveling on the carcasses of the dead, and fires were ever kept burning to consume the noxious matter and to purge the air from its pestilential stench." "Five Discourses On Hell," 1848.
MOSES STUART: “After these sacrifices had ceased, the place was desecrated, and made one of loathing and horror. The pious king Josiah caused it to be polluted, 2 Kings xxii. 10; i.e., he caused to carry there the filth of the city of Jerusalem. It would seem that the custom of desecrating this place, thus happily begun, was continued in after-ages down to the period when our Savior was on earth. Perpetual fires were kept up, in order to consume the offal, which was deposited there. And as the same offal would breed worms (for so all putrefying meat of course does), hence came the expression, ‘Where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.’” “Exegetical Essays On Several Words Relating To Future Punishment.” Presbyterian Publication Committee, pages 192-193, public domain.
JACOB BLAIN: “For Dr. George Campbell says, ‘Our Lord, we find from the evangelists, spoke to his countrymen in the dialect of their own Scriptures, and used those names to which the reading of the Law, and the prophets had familiarized them.’ Not observing this fact has been the great cause of the woeful mistake about future punishment. I affirm, then, that Hinnom, (Gehenna) is never used in the O. T. to mean a place of infernal punishment, or world of woe.” “Death Not Life: Or, The Theological Hell and Endless Misery Disproved,” page 49, public domain.
ALBERT BARNES: "Gehenna became extremely offensive; the sight was terrific; the air was pollute and pestilential; it was necessary to keep fires burning continually there. The extreme loathsomeness of the place, and filth and putrefaction, the corruption of the atmosphere, and the lurid fires blazing by day and by night, made it one of the most appalling and terrific objects with which a Jew was ever acquainted." Commentary on Matthew 5:22.
In the time of Jesus Gehenna was used as a place of destruction, but there was no torment in it; those who heard Jesus would understand the use of Gehenna as a place of complete destruction, but would not have been able to look at Gehenna, their city dump and understand how it could be used as a place of endless torment by God, for there was no torment in their city dump, and nothing alive was thrown into it after the valley was made into a dump; after it became a dump living persons were not tormented in the fire of Gehenna in the Old Testament or the New Testament. When most who use the King James Version read Hell they never understand that Christ was speaking of the city dump, for they cannot from the King James Version for the translators have completely hid this from their readers. The name Gehenna was changes into a name that did not exist in the time of Christ to make the readers understand Christ to be speaking of a place that is not on this earth where God will be forever tormenting immortal souls even after the earth is destroyed when Gehenna will have been destroyed with the earth.
A proper noun is the name of "a particular person, place, or thing." Gehenna is a proper noun, the name of a well-known particular place near Jerusalem, a place where many tourists now visit. To change Gehenna into Hell, another proper noun, the name of a completely different particular place, a place that did not exist when the New Testament was written is more than a bad translation; it is a deliberate changing. Bethlehem, Dead Sea, Gehenna, Rome, and Jericho are all proper nouns and should not be changed into another name. Proper nouns (names) are the same in most languages; therefore, they are not translated, but Gehenna was changed, not translated, changed into Hell, changed into another proper noun, the name of another particular place just because the King James translators needed to put the Hell they believed in into the Bible. Hell is not a translation of Gehenna in the same way that New York is not a translation of Jerusalem. GEHENNA AND HELL ARE TWO DIFFERENT PROPER NAMES OF TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PLACES. From where did the King James translators get this name, and why did they want to deliberately mislead all who read their translation? Changing Gehenna into Hell is not a translation; it is a complete change, an unjustifiable change; NO ONE CAN DENY THAT JUSUS USED “GEHENNA” AND THE TRANSLATORS DELIBERATELY CHANGE “GEHENNA,” TO “HELL;” THE NAME THAT JESUS USED CHANGED TO “HELL,” the name of one place on earth changed to the name of another place that is not on earth. GEHENNA IS NOT HELL, GEHENNA IS GEHENNA; no one can deny that Jesus NEVER used the name “Hell,” or used any Greek word that has the meaning that the English word Hell has today. The name of this valley is used in the New Testament only when speaking to the Jews for it was not a locality or a name that would not be known to most Gentiles that did not live near Jerusalem. Gehenna was a local particular place; Gehenna would be a name known and used only to those who lived in or near Jerusalem. The names of the city dumps of most cities are not well known to any but to some who live near the dump, and those not from that city would not know or use it. Christ and James spoke of Gehenna only to Jews; it was never used when speaking to Gentiles. Paul did not say anything about Gehenna in any of his letters to those not at Jerusalem; if Gehenna were Hell, a place of eternal torment for souls as many teach it to be, the silence of Paul and the other New Testament writers would be unexplainable. Paul speaks of (1) death, Romans 6:23; (2) perishing, 1 Corinthians 1:18; (3) destruction, Romans 9:22; “those who are destroyed, Hebrews 10:39, but never of Hell.
Mistranslating Gehenna into Hell is a deliberate mistranslation. There is no other literal place that the translators changed into another literal place as they did when they changed Gehenna (a literal real place) into Hell (another completely different literal place).
Changing Gehenna into Hell
1). Is the same as mistranslating New York into Jerusalem would be.
2). And the same as mistranslating Jericho into Florida would be.
The name of this valley that is on this earth was not changed into Hell that is not on this earth in the Septuagint, a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek that was used in the time of Christ; in it Gehenna was left untranslated the same as all other names. "Hell" is not a translation but a deliberate changing of one place for another completely different place. I believe it was deliberately changed to put "Hell" in the Bible. A place has been made up that is not in the Bible; and a name given to it that is not in the Bible, a name that did not exist at the time the New Testament was written; if this is not adding to the Bible then what would it take to add to the Bible? That Christ used the name of a valley, which was the city dump, is completely hid from the reader of the King James Version, whether intentional or not; and the readers are led to believe He spoke of a different place that men have named "Hell;" Gehenna was changed to Hell in the Dark Age long after the New Testament was written. The teachings of Christ have been deliberately changed. Gehenna is a real well known location on this earth, not somewhere under the earth or out in space; in the time of Christ Gehenna was a real place where real fires were constantly kept burning since it served as an incinerator for the useless refuse of the city. Gehenna cannot be changed into Hell, no one has the right to change what Christ said, and to do so is not translating but deliberately changing one place to another place, deliberately deceiving his or her readers. To say Gehenna, as used by Christ, is Hell, is to say it has no reference to the Gehenna (the city dump) near Jerusalem.
Fire destroys anything cast into it, maggots destroys only what is already dead, they do not eat or torment the living. In the time of Christ there was no torment, and no idol worshipped in Gehenna (the city dump). Christ was not alluding to idol worship or torment, but to the destruction of those who rejected him. Worms (maggots) do not eat living being, but dead ones, not to torment them, but to consume (eat up for food), neither do maggots eat “souls.” As long as there was something to burn or eat, the maggots would never die out, and the fire would not go out, but be consuming, not tormenting what was being cast in. In the time of Christ the valley of Gehenna was a place used to dispose of useless things, not to torment them. Many misuse this change of Gehenna into Hell to show that living being will be tormented forever, and make God be doing the tormenting. Living victims were not preserved alive and tormented in Gehenna (as we are told they are in Hell), but fire or worms completely devoured dead victims. To make Gehenna a place of eternal torment is without any base whatsoever. BEFORE THE NAME OF A PLACE CAN BE USED AS SYMBOLIC OF ANOTHER PLACE, THE PLACE AND IT’S NAME FOR WHICH THE EMBLEM IS USED MUST FIRST BE KNOWN TO EXIST; no such place as the Hell that is taught today; Hell or it’s name, was not known about in the Old Testament and was not known or used by anyone in the time of the New Testament. Also there must be a parallel between the two; there is no parallel between: (1) Gehenna, a place of destruction with no torment, (2) and Hell, a place of torment with no destruction.
Gehenna that existed in the Old Testament and in the time of Christ is not symbolic of the Hell that is taught today. We are told that both Gehenna and the Lake of Fire are metaphors of Hell; there is no way anyone could know they are metaphors of Hell if they did not know about Hell, but there is not one passage in the Bible that tell us there is such a place, that there is a Hell; the name “Hell” did not exist unto the Dark Age, long after the New Testament was written.
Gehenna and the Lake of Fire are often thought by some to be the same metaphor.
o Gehenna was a place of destruction, but not of torment.
o A lake of fire would be a place that would destroy all life, as we know it, a place where no life could exist.
Both Gehenna and the Lake of Fire picture the total destruction of whatever was thrown into them; neither one is a symbol of an eternal life of torment; Gehenna was a place of destruction of trash, or destruction of what ever was cast into it, anything that was alive and cast into a lake of fire would be totally destroyed, no living thing can live in fire; neither Gehenna, nor the Lake of Fire are not a place of eternal life. Both picture complete destruction, not endless life.
STEVEN CLARK GOAD: On 11/1/2010 I found this on the web by Steven Clark Goad, Church of Christ Christian Ekklesia Podcast: “In summation, isn’t it strange indeed that false teachers have taken a “real place” (Gehenna) referred to by Jesus himself as a metaphor of destruction and have changed it into another made up/fabricated ‘real place’ (hell) where souls (spirits, living beings, whatever) will be tortured unendingly by a loving heavenly Father? If Gehenna is a metaphor of ‘hell’ as it is traditionally taught, isn’t it a poor one, for Gehenna (the Jerusalem city dump of Jesus’ era) was a real place of destruction and consummation with no torment and no torture involved, while ‘hell’ is a made up place of torment and torture with no destruction at all? Is this twisted thinking the height of misguided thinking?” “Thoughts on Punishment of the Wicked” at:
No longer on the web.
THOMAS WHITTEMORE: “The Sanhedrim of the Jews, for some offenses, sentenced the bodies of the offenders to lie unburied in that valley, to burn with the carrion cast there, which, among the Jews, was considered a great disgrace.” “The Doctrine Of Eternal Hell Torments,” page 15,1833.
An effect is now being made by some to disprove that the trash dump of Gehenna was what Christ was speaking of by saying there is no evidence that Gehenna was ever a trash dump. How can anyone that believes the Bible say that it was not in Gehenna where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched? Christ used the name Gehenna, which no one can deny was the name of the trash dump; they do not believe Christ used the right name of the right valley and have changed the name Gehenna that He did use into the name Hell that He did not use. A city the size that Jerusalem was would have had much trash, where do they think the fire that burnt it were; where do they think the maggots were that were as real as the fire? In A. D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed the valley stopped being used as a trash dump; after about 2,000 years there would be no trash to be found. Those that say Gehenna was not a trash dump because there is no sign of trash today have not found any other place near Jerusalem where there is any trash from before A. D. 70.
WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH
Both are used in the Old and New Testament
(1). Weeping for miseries and grief, both for personal miseries, and miseries and grief as a nation are used to often to list them, use any good concordance. It is used in the New Testament the same way it was in the Old Testament. See Matthew 2:18; Mark 5:28; Luke 7:38; 8:52: John 11:33; 20:11 Acts 9:39; 21:13; Philippians 3:18; James 5:1. The weeping is the Jews when they see Israel being cast out as God's chosen people, and Jerusalem and the Temple being destroyed, and the end of their national identity. See Matthew 24, Daniel 9, and 10. Two parables in Matthew 13 have the tares and the bad fish gathered out of the kingdom “at the end of the age,” there will be both weeping and gnashing of teeth. The “end of the age” was the end of the age that then was, the Jewish age. The weeping is never said to be eternal, never said to be immortal souls weeping.
(2). Gnashing of teeth shows anger and rage of the persons gnashing their teeth; it is not used to show that those that are gnashing their teeth are being tormented; Gnashing of teeth is used in both the Old and New Testament, but both weeping and gnashing of teeth are not used together in the Old Testament; in the New Testament “weeping and gnashing of teeth” are both used together only by Matthew and Luke, six times by Matthew (8:12; 13:42; 13:50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30) and one time by Luke (13:28). They are all in parables about the Jews weeping and gnashing their teeth because when they rejected Christ they were rejected as God’s chosen nation and the Gentiles became God’s chosen people.
o “All your enemies have opened their mouths wide against you; they hiss and gnash their teeth” (Lamentations 2:16).
o “Like godless jesters at a feast, they gnashed at me with their teeth” Psalm 35:15-16.
o “The wicked plots against the righteous, and gnashes at him with his teeth” Psalm 37:12.
o “His anger has torn me and hunted me down, he has gnashed at me with his teeth” Job 16:9.
This gnashing of their teeth is living persons gnashing their teeth on others living persons in barbarous anger; it is not souls in Hell. If this were speaking of souls in Hell, than souls that we are told have no substance will have teeth and will be gnashing on other immaterial souls while they themselves are being gnashed on by other immaterial, no substance souls that also have teeth that can bite other immaterial souls!
It is used the same way in the New Testament. "And they gnashed on him with their teeth" (Acts 7:54). Who gnashed on whom? Those who stoned Stephen were angry with him, they were not in pain; they were not dead, and they were not in Hell, they were alive and on this earth when they gnashed on Stephen who was also alive. If gnashing of teeth were in Hell, as many teach it is, whom are they going to gnash with their teeth in Hell, each other? Does anyone believe some in Hell will be angry with others in Hell, and will gnash on them with their teeth? The gnashing of teeth is the anger and rage of the Jews towards those doing the destroying (the Roman army), and maybe even toward God for letting the destroying be happening. Gnashing of teeth is living persons gnashing their teeth because of anger or rage. It is not because of the persons doing the gnashing of their teeth are being tormented in Hell. In the Bible in both the Old and the New Testament, gnashing of teeth is always because of anger of the person doing the gnashing. It is changed from “gnashing” to “gritting” and misused today to show souls being tormented in "Hell" are “gritting” their teeth because of their own pain. Does anyone that believes God will be tormenting souls in Hell believe that one soul that is being tormented by God will gnash it teeth on another soul that is also being tormented by God?
1). In the Old Testament: Gnashing of teeth is because of violent anger and rage on the part of the living person that is doing the gnashing on another living person (Job 16:9; Psalms 35:16; 3712; Lamentation 2:16).
2). In the New Testament gnashing of teeth is because of rage and anger on the part of the living person doing the gnashing on another living person (Acts 7:54).
Weeping and gnashing of teeth are two different things, which are sometimes both are found together, but most often they are not together.
1). Weeping is because of sorrow, not because of rage.
2). Gnashing of teeth is because of rage or anger, not because of sorrow.
That either one will be in Hell is an assumption that is preached over and over. Could an immaterial, invisible something that had been in a person gnash its teeth on another immaterial, invisible something that had been in another person? Do you thank an immaterial something could have material teeth?
Both weeping and gnashing of teeth are always by living persons on this earth. Of the many times both are use in the Bible, not once are souls weeping or gnashing their teeth after the Judgment Day because of being tormented by God.
PARABLES USED BY CHRIST
(1). The Centurion Gentile Matthew 8:5-13: The Gentile centurion ends with a parable about the rejection of Israel. Jesus marveled at the faith of this Gentile centurion. "And when he was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant is lying in the house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And he said unto him, I will come and heal him. And the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it. And when Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: (Israel shall be excluded from being the children of God by birth, cast into darkness of the world without the light of God’s word) there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go your way; as you have believed, so be it done unto you. And the servant was healed in that hour." Where Matthews says, “Sons of the kingdom” were cast forth Luke says, “And yourselves cast forth without” (Luke 13:24-30). At that time the Jews were the sons of the kingdom, but because to their rejection of Christ they were “cast forth without.” After seeing the faith of this Gentile, Jesus says the Gentiles will sit in the kingdom, and the sons (Jews) will be cast forth. The same as at the marriage feast (above), the Jews, because they rejected Christ as their king, they were cast out of the kingdom. The church, not Israel, is now God's kingdom. Those who teach Hell read the prophecies of Christ about the judgment of Israel in AD 70 and move the weeping and gnashing of teeth to be souls weeping in Hell after the Judgment Day is over. They have not found one passage that says anything about the lost after the judgment. Nothing can happen to nothing. After the second death there could be nothing said, for there will be nothing to say anything about. There is (1) this life (2) the first death, (3) a resurrection to life from the first death, (4) then the second death for the lost. But nothing is said about a third life for the lost after the second death. They need something to prove eternal life in their Hell, and try to make it look as if weeping and gnashing of teeth could only be because of God is eternally tormenting souls in Hell; although both weeping and gnashing of teeth are used throughout the Old Testament and those who believe in Hell do not believe weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Old Testament have any reference to a time of punishment after the Judgment Day, but they assume that in the New Testament both are used in reference to punishment in Hell after the Judgment Day. Weeping and gnashing of teeth has a reference to Hell only when they want or need them to. Even according to those who believe in Hell, no one is cast out of Heaven, but if this "weeping and the gnashing of teeth" is changed and made to be after the judgment in Hell, it is (1) "sons of the kingdom" that are cast out into the outer darkness (2) "sons of the kingdom" that are weeping and gnashing their teeth. In using this passage to prove the outer darkness is Hell it makes some be in Heaven, but it makes them be cast out of Heaven into Hell after the judgment. If "and yourselves cast forth without" is cast into Hell where those who believe in Hell say the "weeping and gnashing of tenth" will be, then this makes those from the east and west go to Heaven after the Judgment Day. If this “weeping and gnashing of teeth” were after the coming of Christ, it would have some going into Heaven, and some being cast out of Heaven after the kingdom has been delivered up to God; therefore, after the judgment. This is more than those trying to prove Hell want to prove, for they do not think any will be cast out of Heaven after the judgment, and no one who is in Heaven after the judgment will go to Hell, so why is this passage used in a way that makes it prove there will be some cast out of Heaven into Hell after the judgment?
(2 and 3). The parable of the tares (Matthew 13:36-42), and the parable of the net (Matthew 13:47-50). Matthew 13:18-50 contains seven parables about the end of the Jewish age (aion), not the end of the world. Both “at the end of this age.” “This age” the age that then was, was the Jewish age that ended at the death of Christ
(4). The parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-14) spoken to the Pharisees. The invited guest did not come to the marriage of the king’s son and killed the king’s servants. The king then sent his armies and destroyed them and burned their city; Jews were destroyed and their city burned in A. D. 70. All people of all nations were then bidden to the wedding.
(5 and 6). The parable of the wicked slave (Matthew 24:45-51), and the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Both of these parables are both part of a two chapter long discourse about the coming destruction of Jerusalem. See chapter eight, part two. The man with one talent (1) loses the one talent, (2) is cast out into the outer darkness, (3) where there is both weeping (because of his sadness) and gnashing of teeth (because of his anger); the outer darkness is away from the lights inside into the night outside, the weeping because of being excluded from the joy of being inside, not because of being tormented in “Hell.” Israel has been excluded from being the children of God by birth because they are descendants of Abraham; they were cast out as God’s chosen people into the darkness of the world.
(7). The parable of the narrow door (Luke 13:22-30). Those that Christ had eat and drink in their presence and taught in their streets shall not be known, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth by those that Christ taught in their streets; in Luke 13:28 “there” is from the Greek ekei which means “in that place’ not “there,” in the place where Christ had taught in their streets “in that place shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Those who are not Jews, those from all parts of the earth, the east, west, north and south, shall “sit down in the kingdom of God,” after yourselves are “cast forth without.”
o If this "weeping and the gnashing of teeth" is changed and made to be in Hell after the judgment, then it is the “sons of the kingdom” that are:
o Weeping and gnashing their teeth.
o Are cast into the outer darkness.
o If the "weeping and the gnashing of teeth" is because of being in Hell, then the “sons of the kingdom” that are doing the gnashing of teeth would have to be in Hell.
o Then after the judgment, which would be after the coming of Christ, and after the resurrection, “Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven,” which is the church.
o If this were after the judgment, where will they come from? From Hell or where?
o Whether this is (1) the Jews that rejected Christ and are cast out of the light of the word of God into the darkness of the world without God, (2) or Christians that become unfaithful, there is no way that any persons not with a white robes washed white by the blood of Christ could come from any place, not the east or the west, and set down in the kingdom after it has been delivered up to God in Heaven, therefore; this could only be speaking of coming into the kingdom (church) in the life time of persons while they are alive on earth, not anyone coming into the kingdom after their death, or after the resurrection.
J. W. McGARVEY on Matthew 8:12: "And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of Heaven (Jesus here predicts the conversion of the Gentiles, since that fact is suggested to him by the faith of this centurion. The east and the west represent the extreme points of the compass in the directions in which the world was most thickly inhabited…12 But The Sons Of The Kingdom (The child of anything in Hebrew phraseology expressed the idea of special property which one has in the thing specified, as, for instance, children of disobedience (Eph. ii. 2). Jesus here means, then, the Jews, to whom the kingdom belonged by hereditary descent–Rom. ix. 4) shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. (In this paragraph Christ's kingdom is set forth under the simile of a great feast, a familiar simile with Jesus (Matt. xxvi. 29; Luke xxii. 30). The Jews were accustomed to speak of the delights of the Messianic kingdom as a feast with the patriarchs (Luke xiv. 15), but lost sight of the fact that Gentiles should share in its cheer and fellowship (Isa. xxv. 6). Marriage feasts and other great feasts of the Jews were usually held in the evening. Inside, therefore, there would be joy and light and gladness, but outside there would be darkness and disappointment, tears and bitter self-reproach (Matt. xxv. 10–13). The despised outcasts should be brought in and placed at the festal board, while the long–invited guests–the natural and fleshly heirs of Abraham's invitation–would be excluded (Matt. xxi. 43)." “The Fourfold Gospel,” page 272, Standard Publishing Company, 1914, Church of Christ.
J. W. McGARVEY on Luke 13:28-30: "There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves cast forth without. 29 And they shall come from the east and west, and from the north and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold (little as you may think it), they are last who shall be first, and they are first who shall be last. (A familiar proverb of Christ's (Matt. xix. 30; xx. 10), to be interpreted by such passages as Matt. xxi. 31 and Rom. ix. 30, 31. The Jew who thought the Gentile had no hope at all, and that he himself was sure of salvation, would be surprised to find that his opinion was the very reverse of the real fact as time developed it)." “The Fourfold Gospel,” page 490, Standard Publishing Company, 1914, Church of Christ. The Jews were cast forth out of the kingdom, cast out as Gods chosen people; NOTHING IS SAID ABOUT CASTING ANYONE OUT OF HEAVEN INTO "HELL."
B. W. JOHNSON on Matthew 8:12: "But the children of the kingdom. The Jews, the natural children of Abraham, the 'Father of the faithful,' heirs of the promises made to him. Cast out because they rejected the Messiah, in whom all the promises center.” “The People's New Testament With Notes,” Gospel Light Publishing Company, 1889, Church of Christ.
H. LEO BOLES on Matthew 8:11-12: “The ‘sons of the kingdom’ were the Jews; they were heirs of the kingdom according to the promise; to them it was first offered, and it was because they rejected it that they were to ‘be cast forth into the outer darkness.’ While the Jews rejected Christ as their Messiah, the Gentiles would accept him as their Savior; this prophecy of Jesus has literally been fulfilled. These Jews were ‘sons of the kingdom’…while at the same time others, Gentiles, shall be enjoying a feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. ‘The weeping and the gnashing’…they shall weep because they have lost their favor with God, and shall gnash their teeth because others have obtained it.” “A Commentary On The Gospel According To Matthew,” 1954, Gospel Advocate Company, Church of Christ.
JAMES BURTON COFFMAN on Matthew 8:10-12: “The centurion’s faith contrasted sharply with the lack of it in the Jewish leaders who, although they should have been the first to recognize Christ and believe on him, were nevertheless his carping critics and sworn enemies. Jesus’ first comment was directed toward that shameful and tragic condition. It was, then and there, announced by Jesus that the Gentiles would be received into the kingdom of God and that many ‘sons of the kingdom,’ that is, Jews, would not enter.” “Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew,” Firm Foundation Publishing House, page 105, 1968, Church of Christ.
ADAM CLARKE on Matthew 8:12: “’I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.’–That is, I have not found so great an instance of confidence and faith in my power, even among the Jews, as this Roman, a Gentile, has shown himself to possess…’Many shall come from the east and west’–Men of every description, of all countries…The rabbins represent the blessedness of the kingdom of God under the notion of a banquet…”With Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob’–In the closest communion with the most eminent followers of God…’Shall be cast out into outer darkness’–As the enjoyment of that salvation which Jesus Christ calls the kingdom of heaven is here represented under the notion of a nuptial festival, at which the guests sat down in a reclining posture, with the master of the feast; so the state of those who were excluded from the banquet is represented as deep darkness; because the nuptial solemnities took place at night. Hence, at those suppers, the house of reception was filled with lights…so they who were admitted to the banquet had the benefit of the light; but they who were shut out were in darkness, called here outer darkness, i.e. the darkness on the outside of the house in which the guests were; which must appear more abundantly gloomy, when compared with the profusion of light within the guest-chamber.”
R. C. H. LENSKI on Matthew 8:12: “As the physical descendants of Abraham the Jews were, indeed, the first heirs of the Messianic covenant and kingdom. The only trouble was that they failed to inherit. John 8:37-41 states why. Although they were beyond question ‘the sons of the kingdom’ because they were ‘Abraham’s seed’ and thus the potential heirs, they forfeited their inheritance of the kingdom by unbelief.”
JOHN WESLEY on Matthew 8:12: “Many from the farthest parts of the earth shall embrace the terms and enjoy the rewards of the Gospel covenant established with Abraham. But the Jews, who have the first title to them, shall be shut out from the feast.” Notes on Luke xiii, 29.” Founder of Methodist Church.
Although many of the wisest preachers and writers (above) whose writings have stood the test of time say the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is speaking of the Jews being rejected as God's chosen people, and the Gentiles coming into the kingdom, the church. Some still misuse this as did Stephen Wiggins in the Firm Foundation, 2006, page 6. Gehenna is not in any of the passages with "weeping and gnashing of teeth." If he did any study it would be difficult to believe he did not know the weeping and gnashing of teeth has no reference to "Hell." The use of this passage is just a desperate attempt to find a passage that teaches eternal torment? Because of the desperate need for proof of the doctrine of Hell they try to make this have a hidden double meaning.
(1) The clear meaning: Israel will no longer be God’s chosen people.
(2) The assumed hidden meaning: God is going to forever torment most of mankind in Hell. There is absolutely no hidden meaning, nothing about Hell, eternal torment, or anything after the judgment in this passage.
UNQUENCHABLE FIRE AND WORMS OF GEHENNA
"Unquenchable fire" and "their worm dies not" as they are used in the Old and New Testaments: complete destruction. Unquenchable fire is commonly used in the Old Testament only when speaking of God’s earthly judgments on wicked nations (1) Jeremiah 17:27; (2) Isaiah 66:24); (3) Jeremiah 4:4; (4) Jeremiah 21:12; (5) Ezekiel 20:47-48; (6) Amos 5:6; (7) Isaiah 34:10; (8) Jeremiah 7:20: (9) Jeremiah 7:31-33; (10) Jeremiah 19:6-9; (11) Nehemiah 1:3; (12) also 2 Chronicles 34:25; (13) also in the New Testament Sodom is said to “suffering the punishment of eternal fire,” Jude 7; 2 Peter 2:6. Unquenchable fire never had any reference to Hell, or to judgment, or punishment after death.
In Jeremiah 17:27 God said He would burn the gates of Jerusalem, “And it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched.” Jeremiah 7:20, “Therefore thus says the Lord God ’Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out
(1) on this place,
(2) on man,
(3) and on beast,
(4) and on the trees of the field,
(5) and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched.’” No one thinks any of the above five but man will be tormented in Hell, but all five burn with the same unquenchable fire that men dose; the burning of all five is on this earth, not in Hell. This destruction of Israel was a destruction that took place on this earth, came too an end when the destruction was complete, when Israel went into captivity, no one could quench it, it did the work of destruction God sent it to do.
“And remove the foreskins of our heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My wrath go forth LIKE FIRE and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds” (Jeremiah 4:4); this is speaking of God’s wrath on Israel, on “Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,” if they did not keep His word then God’s wrath will completed consume them because of the evil of their deeds as fire consumes what it is burning, and none can stop His wrath before they are consumed; in this passage the unquenchable fire was not a literal fire but was symbolical of God’s unstoppable judgment on Israel.
The Jew in the time of Christ knew the Old Testament and would not have understood Christ to be speaking of God burning souls after the death of the persons the souls had been in.
John the Baptist used “unquenchable fire” on one occasion as a judgment on Israel just as it was used in the Old Testament as a warning of a coming judgment. He said Christ "will gather his wheat into the garner, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17). Will this unquenchable fire forever torment the chaff, which John said would “burn up?” John compared the unfruitful Jews to which he was speaking to unfruitful trees that will be cut down and burned up (Matthew 3:10); burned up trees do not live forever in torment; neither trees nor the chaff of wheat are preserved alive by fire in endless misery being torment by fire; fire is not a preserver, it utterly consumes what is cast into it, both trees and chaff are completely destroyed by fire. John could not have used any language that would show complete destruction (just as it was always used in the Old Testament) any clearly than what he did, yet this is changed to teach that fire cannot “burn up” the lost. “As therefore the tares are gathered up and burned with fire; so shall it be in the end of this age,” the Jewish age (Matthew 13:40).
Fire always consumes whatever it is burning, it never preserves alive; a fire that cannot be extinguished before it has done it work of consuming the chaff. The meaning of “burn up” cannot be reversed so that the chaff is preserved by the fire and is not “burn up.” The imagery is the complete destruction of what is worthless, whether it be Israel at the end of that age that ended at the death of Christ, or the lost persons after the judgment, it is not God endlessly burning souls that He cannot “consumed” or “burned up.”
Unquenchable fire is used on one occasion by Christ of the burning of trash in the city dump in Mark 9:43 where He repeats it a second time in verses 48 in the American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New International Version. "Unquenchable fire" is repeated four times in Mark 9:43, 44, 46 and 48 in the King James Version. In verses 44 and 46 the American Standard footnote says they, “Are omitted by the best ancient Authorities.” If on the only occasion Christ used "Unquenchable fire" was repeated two times or four times, what He was telling them was the same, what ever was cast into Gehenna was consumed by the fire, it was not tormented. “Shall never be quenched” King James Version, these four words are translated from the one word. The translators have added, “Shall never be”, then they changed “Gehenna” to “Hell” to make the Bible teach the Hell they believed in, but “Hell” is not in the Greek; they are willing to make you think Christ said something He did not say to make you believe in the pagan Hell. In many translations this one word is translated “unquenchable;” an unquenchable fire, not a fire that “Shall never be” quenched, it is a fire that cannot be put out unto there is nothing more to burn; the unquenchable fire in Isaiah 66:24 and Jeremiah 4:4 has long ago burned out. "Where their worm dies not, the fire is not quenched" in Mark 9:43 is a direct quotation of Isaiah 66:24, in Isaiah it is an earthly judgment of a nation, “I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation which did not call on My name, I have spread out My hands all day lone to a rebellious people, who walk in that which is not good, following their own thoughts, a people who continually provoke Me to My face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks; who sit among graves, and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things, and mice” (Isaiah 66:1-7). Living persons “shall go forth and look on the CORPSES of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched” (Isaiah 66:24). Even those that believe there are souls do not believe these unbelieving souls have corpses so why are they using this passage? Living persons on this earth were looking at lifeless corpses of dead persons that were literally being burn by a literal fire and literally being eaten by worms, living persons did not go out and look at corpses of lifeless souls; DEAD earthly bodies were being destroyed by fire and worm AFTER the Lord had killed the Assyrian army, there was no life in the dead bodies and no torment. Neither Isaiah, nor Christ did not say anything about these corpses, dead bodies that had been slain by the Lord being conscious and in torment, or about these bodies being alive; it would make no sense to the Jews in the days of Isaiah, nor to those Christ was speaking to say “corpses” (dead bodies) could suffer any kind of torment even though the literal dead bodies were literally being burn up and were literally being eaten by worms. Whatever was cast into the Gehenna fire was cast into it to be destroyed; should any flesh fall outside of the fire the worms would eat it; nothing escaped complete destruction. If the fire and worms were after the judgment, as some tell us they are, will there be dead bodies after the judgment that the saved will go out from Heaven to look at? After the judgment will these bodies and the worms be immortal, or will both have past away when the earth did? Both the chaff and trash are utterly destroyed by burning to get rid of something unwanted. The chaff or the trash was not tormented. Without changing Gehenna to Hell and then changing dead persons to living souls there is nothing about eternal torment of living souls by God, there is no way to find “Hell: in the Bible; it is real worms and real fire burning real things on this earth; NOTHING is said about any burning that is not on this earth. When dead bodies of Jews were cast into Gehenna, when many thousands of Jews were cast over the wall into Gehenna in A. D. 70, (1) there was nothing about anyone in Hell, (2) nothing about God endless tormenting living souls anyplace or at anytime. The fire and worms of Gehenna destroying all flesh that was cast into it is one of the strongest proofs in the Bible to disprove the theory of eternal life in torment, nothing was preserved in Gehenna. After A. D. 70 the material were no longer supplied to keep the fire going and the fire of Gehenna went out.
ADAM CLARKE: "He will burn up the chaff that is, the disobedient and rebellious Jews, with unquenchable fire that cannot be extinguished by man."
EDWARD WHITE: “It is difficult to believe that if John the Baptist had before his imagination the thought of the indestructibleness of the wicked in the fires of hell, he would have likened them to chaff which is proverbially the thing in creation least fitted to withstand the action of the flames. This is an image, which no orthodox preacher in modern times can be induced to employ…It is a fire, which thoroughly accomplishes its object and burns up the chaff.” His book is free on line at:
THOMAS BALDWIN THAYER: “Now, if the Savior used the same phraseology used by the prophets and the Jew, he would undoubtedly employ it in the same sense, if he wished or expected them to understand him. The prophets had employed these expressions, and the people were familiar with the use of them, a symbols of terrible judgments and punishment sent upon the guilty nations, falling on the transgressors in this life. Their Scriptures never use them in any other sense, and the significance of the language was in regard to the severity, and not the duration of the punishment.” “The Origin And History of Doctrine of Endless Punishment,” page 147, 1881.
You tell someone that a building caught on fire. They ask, “Was the fire put out? When you reply, “No we were unable to put it out;” it is not understand that the fire is still burning, but that it was unquenchable and did not cease to burn unto the building was utterly consumed by the fire; though the fire was unquenchable it was not an eternal fire. When a fire surpasses the ability of fire fighters, and they cannot put out a burning building they say it is an unquenchable fire, but it is not a fire that will burn forever; no one will be able to escape from it by putting it out, but it will go out when there is nothing more to burn; if a fire burned for six hours and the firefighters were unable to put it out and the building burned to the ground, they would say the fire was unquenchable. John the Baptist is not saying that God is going to literally burn all the rebellious Jews without an end, but that no one can stop His destruction of them before the destruction is complete; this happened in A. D. 70.
(1). The only occasion Christ used "unquenchable fire" is in Mark 9:43 and 9:48 (changed in King James Version), where He was quoting from Isaiah 66:24; and living persons looked upon the carcasses of the men, King James Version, “on the corpses of the men” New American Standard Version. Carcasses or corpses are dead persons that living persons was to look at; both fire and worms destroy dead bodies; they do not torment the dead persons that was being burnt or eaten; there is not even a hint of God endlessly tormenting souls that are in Hell. To understand His words, they must be understood in the way the Old Testament used them, just as much of Revelation is to be understood by the way the same symbols are used in the Old Testament. “Unquenchable fire” was a well-known expression in the Old Testament, and it would be understood by those hearing Christ. "And the strong man will become tinder, his work also a spark, thus, they shall both burn together, and there will be none to quench them" (Isaiah 1:31); it is both (1) the strong man that will burn (2) with his works and not be quenched, not the soul of the strong men. Jeremiah warned Jerusalem of the consequence of their sins, "But if YOU do not listen to Me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying a load and coming in through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and it shall not be quenched" (Jeremiah 17:27). Jeremiah’s warning was fulfilled in 2 Chronicles 36:19-21, and was the literal destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians when Jerusalem was destroyed with an "unquenchable fire" that no one could stop before God’s destruction of them was complete. God’s judgment consumed all, and was not quenched. Jerusalem is not literally burning today. The unquenchable fire in the Old Testament was always a judgment on a city or nation on this earth, a judgment that no one could stop. Jerusalem was destroyed as a nation by a judgment from God, but was later restored. In some of the uses of unquenchable fire in the Old Testament it was not a literal fire, but it was symbol of a destruction that could not be stopped by man.
Those who believe in Hell make two changes.
(1). Change dead bodies on this earth being burned up by the unquenchable fire in the Old Testament to deathless souls, which they say cannot be burned up.
(2). Then change "unquenchable" into "eternal," then move the unquenchable fire that destroyed Jerusalem from Jerusalem on this earth, and put this "eternal fire" in their "Hell," which they say is not on this earth. The Jews that knew the Old Testament and were hearing Christ would have never understood “unquenchable fire” to be eternal torment of a living soul after the person it had been in was dead; a soul that those that make this change tell us that a soul has no substance that fire can burn.
o First, the fire must be changed.
o Second, after the fire has been changed from a fire that burns up to a fire that burns noting up, then it must be moved from Jerusalem on this earth to Hell that is not on this earth.
Isaiah says, "For behold, the Lord will come in fire and His chariots like the whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with the flames of fire. For the Lord will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh, and those slain by the Lord will be many...Then they shall go forth and look on the corpses (“dead bodies” in American Standard Version) of the men who have transgressed against me. For their (the corpses, dead people killed by the sword of the Lord) worm shall not die, and their (the corpses) fire shall not be quenched; and they (the corpses) shall be an abhorrence to all mankind" (Isaiah 66:15-24); “carcasses” in King James Version, “dead bodies” New International Version. The worms consumed the corpses, dead bodies, and the fires were not quenched unto there was no more flesh to consume or burn. It was corpses, carcasses, dead bodies, which were on the earth that were being consumed by the unquenchable fire and undying maggots, it was “those slain by the Lord” slain “by His sword,” dead bodies that was being burn up by fire and eaten by maggots (Isaiah 66:16), not “those tormented by the Lord,” not deathless immortal souls in Hell that we are told cannot be slain, not deathless souls that are screaming in anguish and pain because God is tormenting them. Isaiah 66:16; 66:24 describes the aftermath of a battle with the bodies of the dead unburied people; there is no suggestion of unending torment, or of any torment of the dead bodies that were being eaten by the worms. Those people back in the time of Isaiah did not look from Heaven down into Hell, and see living souls being eaten by maggots; it was the living people on this earth that went out to the battle field, and saw real dead bodies on this earth being eaten and burned, not immortal souls in Heaven that "shall go forth and look on the corpses" and see living souls that are that are being tormented by God in Hell as worms and fire are consuming, but never consume them. How can fire or worms eternally torment a dead body? Dead bodies cannot suffer, cannot be tormented. After the resurrection there will be no dead bodies of flesh to look upon. This unquenchable fire was a judgment on Babylon, not on individuals. It is difficult to conceive how those that believes a soul is an immaterial, no substance something, that it can be eat by maggots, and made more difficult by the fact that maggots eat only dead flesh, not anything that is alive. It is the fire that is unquenchable, and both Isaiah and Christ speak only of the maggots being alive, not that the corpses were alive while they were being burnt up or eaten, but today’s theology changes the dead bodies to living souls and says the souls are both alive and are being forever tormented by fire. There is not even a hint that the corpses that were in the unquenchable fire were aware of anything. For this to prove a soul is immortal they would have to be viewing disembodied immortal souls that had been "slain by the Lord" (Isaiah 66:16), but were still living and being tormented by the Lord after the Lord had killed these souls, and it must be proved that they were not viewing dead bodies that were on this earth, but deathless souls that were in Heaven were viewing souls in “Hell.” Without doubt, this unquenchable fire was burning dead bodies of those that had been slain by the Lord, it was a judgment and punishment on this earth, a judgment on the nation of Babylon; both Babylon and the judgment on it ended lone ago.
o There is no mention of torment. The ungodly had been killed; it says nothing about the Lord tormenting them after He killed them, but many add to the Bible by adding torment where there is none.
o There is no mention of living immortal souls that are being eaten by maggots, and being consumed by fire. The witnesses are living people that see the result of this destruction (slaying); they see real corpses, carcasses, dead bodies that are laying on this earth being consumed by real fire and maggots; neither the worms or the fire causes any suffering to the dead bodies, it was not a living, immaterial, invisible something that had been in a person that was being eaten by maggots after the person it had been in was dead.
o They do not see these dead bodies in pain and anguish, they do not see God endlessly torturing souls in Hell that He will never let die. To teach eternal torment in Hell the dead bodies that were being eaten by maggots on this earth have been changed to living souls suffering eternal torture by God in an endless Hell after the persons these souls were in are dead. There is nothing about souls, nothing about eternal torment by God, or nothing about Hell in this passage, but all three are added.
o Some believers in Hell change the Bible by changing the worms into undying souls. Maggots being changed into souls in torment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to prove something that there is no proof of. If the maggots were souls what would these souls (the maggots) be eating, other souls?
o “Their worm” is worms that are in dead bodies. If “their worm” shall not die proves immortality then it would be proving the immortality of the carcasses, and prove the immortality of the worms that were eating the immortal carcasses. How can anyone find anything about a deathless “soul” in dead bodies being eaten by maggots?
o When the fire and maggots have done their work there is no body; could a better picture of the complete destruction of the lost be found?
ALBERT BARNES, “A scene where a people whose lands have been desolated by mighty armies, are permitted to go forth after a decisive battle, and to walk over the field of the slain, and to see the dead and putrefying bodies of their once formidable enemies.”
Changes that must be made to make this prove the doctrine of Hell
1) Dead bodies that were lying on this earth, and were visible to living people must be changed to living souls that are not visible; those that went out to see them could not have seen immaterial, invisible souls.
2) Maggots and fire that devour must be changed to immortal maggots and fire that cannot devour.
3) The word fire is used throughout the Old Testament as a symbol of complete destruction. Fire always kills any living thing that is cast into it; it is never a preservative, but the theology of today must change fire into something that preserves alive and cannot kill or destroy. Just as death must be changed to eternal life, fire must be changed into something that cannot destroy but keeps alive in endless torment.
4) The Gehenna of the New Testament that is on this earth must be changed into Hell that we are told is not on this earth.
(2). "Therefore thus says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, mine anger and my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, upon man and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched" (Jeremiah 7:20). If this was the Lord’s anger being poured out in Hell, it would make beasts, trees, fields, and the fruit of the ground be in unquenchable fire in Hell. In Jeremiah 17:27 it is “the palaces of Jerusalem” that would be destroyed by an unquenchable fire; are “the palaces of Jerusalem” now burning in Hell or any other place?
(3). Ezekiel also speaks of the destruction of Judah using the imagery of a forest burning. "And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, son of man, set your face toward the south, and drop your word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest to the field in the South; and say to the forest of the South, Hear the word of Jehovah: Thus says the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall consume every green tree in you, and it shall devour ever green tree in you, and ever dry tree; the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burnt thereby. And all flesh shall see that I, Jehovah, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched" (Ezekiel 20:47-48).
ADAM CLARKE, "The forest of the south field is the city of Jerusalem; which was as full of inhabitants as the forest is of trees. I will kindle a fire, i. e., I will send war; and it shall devour ever green tree, i. e., the most eminent and substantial of the inhabitants; and every dry tree, i. e., the lowest and meanest also; it shall not be quenched, i. e., till the land be utterly ruined."
This “unquenchable fire” was God using Babylonian to destroy Israel (Ezekiel 21:19; Nehemiah 1:3), not a literal fire. God’s judgment on Israel was unquenchable, no one could stop it, but it ended when Israel was utterly ruined and in captivity.
(4). Isaiah describes the desolation of Edom, "For my sword has drunk its fill in heaven; behold, it shall come down upon Edom, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment...For Jehovah has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion. And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land there of shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; and the smoke thereof shall go up forever; from generation to generation it shall lay waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever. But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it; and the owl and the raven shall dwell therein" (Isaiah 34:6-15). If this fire that, "Shall not be quenched night nor day," is the Hell that is taught today, how is it that "None shall pass through it forever and ever;" is there no one that shall be in Hell but pelican, porcupine, owl, and ravens shall dwell therein? This is clearly an earthly judgment on Edom that has long passed, not an unquenchable fire in Hell after the Judgment Day. Sodom was literally destroyed by fire, but there was no literal fire and smoke in Edom nor is it burning today; the fire, smoke, streams turned into pitch and the earth into brimstone was symbolical of God’s judgment and the total destruction of the nation of Edom; many tourist now go to the land that was Edom and there is no sign of fire; travelers tell us that the land is mostly sand and no one dwells in it. After the destruction of Edom the land that was Edom became a desert that is inhabited by pelicans, porcupines, owls and ravens. After Edom’s destruction Isaiah description of the land that had been Edom is nothing like the Hell that is taught today, yet, because there is nothing about Hell in the Bible this passage is changed from the destruction of a nation on earth to God tormenting souls in Hell that will never have an end to God’s tormenting them even thought there is nothing about torment, souls, or Hell in this passage. “From generation to generation it will be desolate; none will pass through it forever and ever. But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, and owl and raven will dwell in it; and He will stretch over it the line of desolation and the plumb line of emptiness. Its nobles–there is no one there whom they may proclaim king–and all its princes will be nothing. Thorns will come up in its fortified towers, nettles, and thistles in its fortified cities; it will also be a haunt of jackals, and an abode of ostriches. The desert creatures will meet with the wolves, the hairy goat also will cry to its kind; yes, the night monster will settle there and will find herself a resting place. The tree snake will make its nest and lay eggs there, and it will hatch and gather them under its protection. Yes, the hawks will be gathered there, every one with its kind” (Isaiah 34:10-15). If this were a description of Hell, would those that love deserts find Hell to be a wonderful place? Edom did not literally burn up, the once rich land became a desert; the land is now uninhabitable to mankind with no way to grow food and very little water to drink; Edom is not a burning Hell that is not on this earth where God torments souls.
(5). For more examples of God's judgments in this world being spoken of as an unquenchable fire see Isaiah 1:31; (6) Jeremiah 17:27; (7) Jeremiah 21:12; (8) Amos 5:6; (9) 2 Kings 22:16-17; (10) 2 Chronicles 34:24-25. These passages and many others show that the writers of the Old Testament used "unquenchable fire" as a symbol of judgment by war and famine both on Israel and wicked nations when they sinned; a judgment that no one could stop before God’s purpose was accomplished. When Jesus was speaking of the fire and worms of Gehenna, he was giving a description of the finality of the coming destruction of Israel who rejected Him. His audience would know the way “unquenchable fire” was used in the Old Testament even when there was no literal eternal fire, and they would understand His use of them. They would have known the Gehenna that Christ was speaking of was a foul place of destruction where worthless things were disposed of, and would have known He was saying the destruction He was speaking of would be like the destruction of the garbage in Gehenna, like the destruction of Jerusalem by unquenchable fire in the Old Testament. They knew they were being threatened with complete destruction just as the trash in the city dump was destroyed. Jerusalem was burnt and completed destroyed in A. D. 70, and historian's say many dead bodies were burned and many were left unburied for the maggots.
CURTIS DICKINSON: “There are some 70 cases in scripture where fire is used as judgment upon wickedness…never was it used for the purpose of torture.” “A Place Called Gehenna.” Free on line at: http://kenfortier.com/site/cdickinsonarticles
Summary: The worm that dies not, and the unquenchable fire, as used in the Old Testament and by Christ, proves utter destruction, not everlasting torment. Gehenna is believed by those who teach everlasting torment to be their strong hold, but maggots eating dead bodies on this earth, and fire consuming everything that was cast into it is a picture of complete destruction, not symbols of torment. Many think this is the strongest proof of everlasting torment in the Bible, but it is the other way around, it is a strong proof that the lost will be everlasting destroyed. It does not prove that a sadistic God will forever torment anyone or any soul.
If, as most Protestant and Catholic believe, that a soul is immaterial and has no substance, it would not be possible for fire or worms to hurt or torment it in any way.
THE OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY OF THE VALLEY OF GEHENNA
Gehenna was first mentioned in Joshua 15:8; 18:16 although it was never called "Gehenna" in the Old Testament. Ahaz "burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire" (2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Kings 16:3). Manasseh also burnt his children in the fire in this valley (2 Chronicles 33:6).
Jeremiah 7:31-32: Children of Judah burned their sons and daughters in the fire in this valley, and Jehovah said, "And they have built the high places of Topheth (Gehenna), which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind. It shall no more be called Topheth, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Topheth (Gehenna), till there be no place to bury. And the dead bodies of this people shall be food for the birds of the heavens, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall frighten them away." Those who teach "Hell fire" are saying to God, "O yes it came into Your mind; You have said You are going to burn most of Your children in an endless fire much hotter than the fire in which they burnt their children."
Jeremiah 19:1-15 "Thus says the Lord, Go and buy a potter's earthenware jar, and take some to the elders of the people and some of the senior priests. Then go out to the valley of Ben-hinnom (later was changed to valley of Gehenna), which is by the entrance of the potsherd gate; (A gate to Jerusalem) and proclaim there the words that I shall tell you, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle. Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded nor spoke of, nor did it enter My mind; therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter. And I shall make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I shall cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their life; and I shall give over their carcasses as food for the birds of the sky and the beast of the earth. I shall also make this city a desolation and an object of hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss because of the disasters. And I shall make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them. Then you are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you and say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts, Just so shall I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter's vessel, which cannot again be repaired; and they will bury in Topheth (Gehenna) because there is no other place for burial. This is how I shall treat this place and its inhabitants, declares the Lord so as to make this city like Topheth (Gehenna). And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled like the place Topheth (Gehenna), because of all the houses on whose rooftops they burned sacrifices to all the heavenly host and poured out libations to other gods. Then Jeremiah came from Topheth (Gehenna), where the Lord has sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lord's house and said to all the people; thus says the Lord of host, the God of Israel, Behold, I am about to bring on this city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against it, because they have stiffened their necks so as not to heed My words." Jeremiah used the valley of Gehenna to warn Israel of their destruction as a nation. Christ also used the valley of Gehenna to warn Israel of their destruction as a nation. It was outside the gate of Jerusalem named the “potsherd gate” in the time of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 19:1-15). Dead bodies are buried, but deathless “souls” cannot be buried on this earth in the valley of Topheth.
Many believe the angel of the Lord killed the 185,000 Assyrians in this valley when they were laying siege to Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:36). They were killed near Jerusalem, and it could have been in this valley, but I can find no proof that it was. See Isaiah 30:31-33. Anyone can see that a “valley of slaughter” where the slaughtered are often not buried is not a place of endless torment.
Josiah "defiled Topheth (Gehenna), which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech" (2 Kings 23:10). When he defiled Gehenna maybe when it became the trash dump that it was in the New Testament.
It is also mentioned in Nehemiah 11:30; Jeremiah 19:2: Because of their worshiping other gods in it, God made it a place of destruction, not torment. Topheth (Gehenna in the New Testament) literally means a place of burning, "The valley of slaughter" (Jeremiah 7:31).
Every reference to Gehenna in the Old Testament was to a place on this earth; not one of them says anything about eternal torment after the judgment. It is admitted by all that Gehenna in the Old Testament was not a place of eternal torment, and it was not changed to "Hell" in any Old Testament passage, not even in the King James Version which is sometimes called "Hell's Bible."
HENRY THAYER: "Gehenna, the name of a valley on the S. and E. of Jerusalem...The Jews so abolished the place after these horrible sacrifices had been abolished by king Josiah (2 k.xxiii, 10) that they cast into it not only all manner of refuses, but even the dead bodies of animals and unburied criminals who had been executed. And since fires were always needed to consume the dead bodies, that the air might not become tainted by the putrefaction, it came to pass that the place was called (Gehenna)." "A Greek–English Lexicon Of the New Testament," page 111. He also said in "Theology," "Our inquiry shows that it is employed in the Old Testament in its literal or geographical sense only, as the name of the valley lying on the south of Jerusalem–that the Septuagint proves it retained this meaning as late as B. C. 150–that it is not found at all in the Apocrypha; neither of Philo, nor in Josephus, whose writings cover the very times of the Savior and the New Testament, thus leaving us without a single example of contemporary usage to determine its meaning at this period–that from A. D. 150–159, we find in two Greek authors, Justin and Clement of Alexandria, the first resident in Italy and the last in Egypt that Gehenna began to be used to designate a place of punishment after death, but not endless punishment since Clement was a believer in universal restoration–that the first time we find Gehenna used in this sense in any Jewish writing is near the beginning of the third century, in the Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel, two hundred years too late to be of any service in the argument…it was also employed in the time of Christ…as a figure of terrible judgments of God on the rebellious and sinful nation of the Jews." Henry Thayer, "Theology," author of “A Greek–English Lexicon Of the New Testament.”
CANON FARRAR: "In the Old Testament it is merely the pleasant valley of Hinnom (GeHinnom), subsequently desecrated by idolatry, and especially by Moloch worship, and defiled by Josiah on this account. (See 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 7:31; 19:10-14; Isa. 30:33; Tophet). Used according to Jewish tradition, as the common sewage of the city, the corpses of the worst criminals were flung into it unburied, and fires were lit to purify the contaminated air. It then became a word, which secondarily implied (1) the severest judgment, which a Jewish court could pass upon a criminal–the casting forth of his unburied corpse amid the fire and worms of this polluted valley; and (2) a punishment–which to the Jews as a body never meant an end-less punishment beyond the grave. Whatever may be the meaning of the entire passages in which the word occurs, 'Hell' must be a complete mistranslation, since it attributes to the term used by Christ a sense entirely differently from that in which it was understood by our Lord's hearers, and therefore, entirely different from the sense in which He could have used it." From the preface to "Eternal Hope." "Gehenna, the Greek word translated hell in the common version, occurs twelve times. It is the Grecian mode of spelling the Hebrew words, which are translated, 'The Valley of Hinnom.' This valley was also called Tophet, a detestation, and an abomination. Into this place were cast all kinds of filth, with the carcasses of beasts and unburied bodies of criminals, who had been executed. Continual fires were kept to consume these. Sennacherib's army of 185,000 men was slain there in one night. Here, children were burnt to death in sacrifice to Moloch. Gehenna, then, as occurring in the New Testament, symbolizes death and utter destruction, but in no place symbolizes a place of eternal torment." From the “Emphatic Diaglot.”
GEORGE LEMASTERS said Gehenna is said to have been a receptacle of bones, bodies of beasts and criminals, and all unclean things. Florida College Annual Lectures, page 265, 1975.
RON HALBROOK said Gehenna became a common refuse dump for the dead bodies of criminals, animal carcasses, and other kind of filth. Florida College Annual Lectures, page 123, 1986.
“Hell” From Iron Chariots Wiki, “The accurate use of the word ‘Hell’ as a translation of Gehenna is open to interpretation. The subjects about which Jesus speaks, when referring to Gehenna, have no less significance when referring to that literal valley of the damned (as opposed to the eternal concept of punishment and torture interpreted after the fact). There is no suggestion that Gehenna need to be translated to ‘Hell’ any more than any other proper noun for a place or region. Similarly there is no reason to believe that Hell as a concept even occurred to the Jewish prophet or his followers.” At: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Hell.
Whatever was cast into Gehenna (the city dump), if it were trash or the bodies of criminals that were cast into the trash dump to be destroyed, both the trash and the dead bodies were destroyed, not tormented; trash or dead bodies cannot be tormented. The fire and worms soon consumed whatever was cast into Gehenna, nothing was cast into Gehenna to be preserved, and no Jew hearing Jesus could not have understand it in any way but a place of total destruction. Gehenna was a real place they could walk out and look at, and literally see the smoke ascending out of it. If Christ had used their trash dump in a way that was different from what would have been understood by those hearing Him without any explanation of the new way He used it, they could not have known what He was saying to them. The fate of Israel is compared to trash and dead bodies that were cast into the city dump to be disposed of.
We are often told Christ used the name “Hell” eleven times, which is wrong two ways; (1) He never used “Hell,” (2) He used “Gehenna,” but not eleven times. The same use of Gehenna is quoted in two of the Gospels (as in Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:5) and they count it as two times when it is only one time. Both Christ and James used the name of the city dump (Gehenna). Although the translators have changed Gehenna to Hell in most translations and have James using the word Hell, but when James wrote the English word “Hell,” did not exist, nor was there a Greek word with the meaning that "Hell" has today. Christ never used the word Hell, He used Gehenna, and He never said one thing about Hell.
Š The name “Hell” did not exist in the time of Christ.
Š Todays concept of a place where God will forever torment souls that were in the lost persons did not exist unto the Dark Age church.
Š Even in Old English where the word Hell was first used, Hell did not have the meaning it has in today’s English, did not have a meaning that is even close to the meaning Hell now has in today’s Protestant theology.
THE USE OF GEHENNA BY CHRIST
Gehenna, not Hell, was used on four occasions by Christ, and was used one time by James, the brother of the Lord (James 3:6). The name Gehenna is in three of the gospels eleven times, but as the three gospels repeat the same discourses, Jesus really used it in only four occasions (four sermons). None of the four occasions mentions the duration of Gehenna, none mentions endless torment. Ever time Christ used “Gehenna” He was speaking to the Jews.
(1). First occasion, in the Sermon on the Mount. "Shall be in danger of Gehenna...your whole body be cast into Gehenna...and not your whole body go into Gehenna" Matthew 5:22, 29, 30.
(2). Second occasion, in a lesson to the twelve disciples. "Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna" Matthew 10:28. Also in the parallel account, "Fear him, who after he has killed has power to cast into Gehenna" Luke 12:5.
(3). Third occasion, in another lesson to his disciples. "Rather than having two eyes to be cast into Gehenna" Matthew 18:9. Also three times in the parallel account in Mark 9:43, 45, 47.
(4). Fourth occasion, to the Scribes and Pharisees. "You make him twofold more a son of Gehenna than yourselves " Matthew 23:15, 33.
And one time by James, to the twelve tribes. "The tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna" James 3:6.
(1). THE FIRST OCCASION IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Gehenna is used 3 times in Christ’s sermon in Matthew 5. Christ is teaching those who that at that time were under the Law.
Judgments the disciples had heard that the Law said. Judgment of the Old Testament Law, Matthew 5:21-26, "You have heard that the ancients were told, (1) 'You shall not commit murder,' and 'whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; (2) and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the Supreme Court; (3) and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell (Greek–Gehenna of fire changed to “Hell”)" New American Standard Bible. Gehenna, the city dump of Jerusalem was always burning, day and night, 24/7.
The three crimes that were judged by the courts under the Old Testament Law: All three have to do with the way a person felt toward his or her brother, all three were living persons, not souls, that was being judged according to the Law by an earthly court; the Sermon on the Mount is not information about the fate of the unrighteous after death. "Murder shall be liable to the court," the murder was a living person that was being judged and punished by other living persons.
The first you have heard
Everyone who is "Angry with his brother" guilty before THE COURT (New American Standard Version): An earthly judgment by man under the Old Testament Law. “You have heard that the ancients were told,” what death sentence were they told would be given to a murder? A judgment for death passed by an earthly court according to the Old Testament Law, not a judgment after the resurrection.
J. W. McGARVEY: “Not the final judgment of the world, but the tribunal established by the Law of Moses in each city for the trial of murders and other criminals. (See Deut. xvi. 18.) Every man slayer was tried before this tribunal, and either put to death or confined in the city of refuge.” “The New Testament Commentary.” page 53, The Standard Publishing Company, 1875.
The second you have heard
Whoever "Shall say to his brother, 'Raca'" guilty before the SUPREME COURT (New American Standard Version). A judgment made by man according to the Old Testament Law. “Shall be in danger of the judgment,” (American Standard Version) shall be in danger of being taken before the court and judged just as we are if we run a red light are in danger of judgment only if seen by a police. Being in danger of judgment is not a certainly of judgment, but all will be before the judgment of God after the resurrection is a certainly, not just be in danger of being there.
B. W. JOHNSON: "An epithet of contempt; 'empty head'" “The People's New Testament,” Gospel Light Publishing, 1889.
J. W. McGARVEY: “The council mentioned is the Supreme Court provided for by the Law of Moses (Deut. xvii. 8-13), and represented in the days of Jesus by the Sanhedrim." “The New Testament Commentary,” page 54, Standard Publishing Company, 1875.
The third you have heard
Whoever "Shall say, 'You fool'" guilty enough to go into the fiery Gehenna: Like the first two, this is a Jewish judgment where the bodies of criminals that were thought to be unworthy of a burial were cast into the city dump to be burned.
o To whom will they say, "You fool"? Could it be anyone other than "His brother," just as the first two were? Could the difference in the sinfulness of saying to your brother "raca" (empty headed), and saying to him, "You fool" be enough difference to jump from a judgment of the Jewish court to the judgment of God at the coming of Christ?
o How could anyone know if Christ changed from judgments of individuals under the Law to a judgment of all after the resurrection when there is no indication that He changed? According to the teaching of some, a person can be angry with his brother and have contempt for him and not go to Hell, but if you say, "You fool" to your brother, them you will go to Hell.
o Only one, the last of these sins, is said to be judged and cast into the fire of Gehenna, which if it were to be understood as some would have it, it will follow that the others of these sins did not deserve eternal torment by God in Hell, and they shall not be punished there, which is contrary to those that teach that the least unforgiven sin deserves eternal Hell; it is taught by most that believe in Hell that any sin no matter how big a sin it was or how many sins can be forgiven, even to say, “you fool,” can be forgiven, and all these sins will not send a soul that was in the person that sinned to Hell, but any unforgiven sin, even just one small sin will send a soul that is in you to Hell. If this were not judgments by the Jews, judgments under the Law, if this were saying that only this third sin, this one sin would send a soul to Hell (it is the only one of the three that Jesus said is judged worthy of Gehenna) then the teaching of today makes this teaching of Christ be compliantly wrong.
o All three of these judgments are each a judgments on a living person by other living persons. It is not one soul that will say to another soul “you fool,” it is a living person that will say to another living person, “you fool” and the body of a person that will be cast into the fiery Gehenna. Not one soul that "shall say to his brother, 'Raca.' In any of these three “judgments" nothing, not one thing is said about a soul being judged by God, not before or after the death of the person. Nothing is said about the second coming of Christ, and nothing said about the judgment of everyone at His coming. To the Jews having their corpse cast into Gehenna unburied was a dishonorable thing. Those that were buried were thought to be honorably; those that were judged not fit to be buried and were thrown into Gehenna to be burned were considered to be disgraceful.
DR. R. F. WEYMOUTH: “Gehenna of Fire Or ‘Hell,’ the severest punishment inflicted by the Jews upon any criminal. The corpse (after the man had been stoned to death) was thrown out into the Valley of Hennom (Ge Hinnom) and was devoured by the worm or the flame.” “New Testament in Modern Speech,” Mark 3:29, page 10.
ALEXANDER CAMPBELL: “The fact is, that the allusions in this verse are all to human institutions or customs among the Jews; and the Judges, the Sanhedrim, and the hell-fire here introduced, and all human punishments.” “The Campbell Debate On Everlasting Punishment,” page 123, College Press, 1840.
THOMAS WHITTEMORE: “Fourthly, because the last, only, of the three sins is said to be judged to the fire of Gehenna, which if it were to be understood as some would have it, it will follow that some sins deserve not hell eternal, and shall not be punished there, which is contrary to themselves, who teach that the least sin deserves hell eternal. Fifthly, Mat. 5:22 shows the severity of the Jews and Pharisees in punishing anger without a cause. Racha is a word of disgrace, which signifies a crafty fellow, or wicked wretch. To apply it to any one was as great a fault as to say fool, if not greater, yet it was punished less: Thus,
1. He who was guilty of rash anger was in danger of the judgment;
2. He who contemptuously said racha, was in danger of the council;
3. But if he said fool, he was in danger of hell–fire, i. e. in the true sense, to burn in the valley of the son of Hinmom.”
“The Doctrine Of Eternal Hell Torments Overthrown,” page 16, 1833.
J. M. DENNISTON: “Thus we have in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. v. 21,22), a striking view of divine judgment in regard to transgressions against the sixth commandment. This matter, as our Lord intimates, the scribes were in the habit of settling with great ease. For, according to them, the whole amounted to this, that the outward act of ‘murder’ entailed the punishment of natural death by the sentence of the court called the ‘judgment.’ Starting from this circumstance, He states three forms of anger–each more guilty than the preceding one–but all of which He represents as virtually murder, in the sight of God, and punishable as such by His judgment. Then, as answering to these three degrees of guilt, He mentions as many degrees of punishment. Now here is the important circumstance. All these are figuratively stated in language borrowed from the three modes of capital punishment in use among the Jews. Thus the ‘Judgment’ employed one mode; the ‘Council’ (Sanhedrim) a severer; while the sentence might be further aggravated by consigning the carcass to the fire in the valley of the Son of Hinnom. ‘The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is no distinction of kind between these punishments, only of degree. In the thing compared the judgment inflicted death by the sword, the (council) death by stoning, and the disgrace of the Gehenna of fire (hell–fire, K.J.V.) followed as an intensification of the horrors of death; but the punishment is one and the same–death.’ Alford on the passage.” “The Perishing Soul According To Scripture,” pages 126–127, Longmans, Green, And Co., 1874.
o These five judgments are all judgments of the Law.
o They all have sentences that are carried out in this lifetime.
o They are all judgment that are made by living people on other people while both are living on this earth, or on their body being cast unburied into Gehenna after they are dead.
o Not one of the five judgments are on a soul, not on a soul that some believe to be in a person while the person is living, and not on this soul after the person it had been in is dead.
1) The first judgment: Matthew 5:23-26
A lesson on how to make their offering acceptable to God. "Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him in the way; lest haply the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you are cast into prison. Verily I say unto you, you shall by no means come out till you have paid the last farthing" (Matthew 5:25-26). "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law" New American Standard Version. When it is paid, then the person in prison shall come out. This is speaking of a judgment and punishment under the Law, not at the resurrection.
2) The second judgment
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'" Matthew 5:27-30. "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into Hell (Greek–Gehenna was changed to the Hell of the Dark Age). And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you: for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, then for your whole body go into Hell (Greek–Gehenna changed to “Hell’ by the translators)" New American Standard Version. Jesus is saying to them that they had heard that it was said (in the Law), “You shall not commit adultery” for which they would be put to death under the Law of Moses (Leviticus 20:10), and their body thrown into the valley of Gehenna. “Eye,” “hand,” “one of the parts of your body,” or “your whole body to be thrown into Gehenna,” a cut off part of a body, a cut off hand would have been literally thrown into Gehenna to get it out of the city, thrown into a real valley is changed to, “your soul will be thrown into Hell” even though nothing is said about a soul or Hell in this passage; how could the “hand” of a immaterial, no substance, thoughts only soul be cut of and be thrown into Hell? Ever time Christ used Gehenna He was speaking only to Jews; those that Christ was speaking to would understand Gehenna just as it was used in the Old Testament, a real valley on this earth, that their bodies being thrown into Gehenna was their actual dead bodies that would be thrown into Gehenna, they would not have understood it as it has now been changed by theology to be a soul thrown into Hell after the death of the “whole body” it had been in; they would not have understood it to be bodiless souls thrown into Hell neither before or after the resurrection.
The lesson to them, based on what they knew of the use of Gehenna from the Old Testament, was that if there is a danger that they may look on a woman to lust after her, if their eye causes them to stumble, pluck it out and cast it away. If taken literal a disfigurement of their body would have been unlawful by the Old Testament Law they were under. The lesson to them was not that they were literally to cut their hand off, but that they were to remove anything from their lives that would cause them to be judged unworthy to be buried, and cause their bodies to be cast into Gehenna. Under the Law adultery had a death penalty, and could cause their whole bodies after their death to be cast into the fire and maggots in Gehenna (Leviticus 20:10-16). Those that use this to prove Hell do not believe that to "cut off" any part of the body of a living person will keep a soul that they believe to be in a person out of Hell after the death of the person; to them the hand and the eye are a literal hand or eye, but according to their teaching "the whole body" is not a body at all, but a formless, no substance, invisible, deathless something in a person that has no body, no hand to cut off.
The loss of a hand or eye is contrasted with the lost of the whole body, of which the hand was a part, by either the hand or the whole body being cast into the same place, both cast into Gehenna, not the loss of a hand being contrasted with a soul, of which the hand was not a part of, the hand that was cut of hand of a person was not the hand of a soul being cast into Hell. The "eye" and the "right hand" are a part of the "whole body." No one can cut off the hand of a soul, which they say has no substance, a soul that no one can see or touch, and Christ does not change from parts of the earthly body to something that most who believe in "it" says "it" has no body. No one that I know of that believes Hell is an eternal place of torment believes the human body or any part of a human body will be cast into Hell, or God will eternally torment a cut off hand. In the same sentence, did Christ change from a literal physical hand to a hand of a "soul" that no one can cut off?
In Matthew 5:21-47 Christ is giving a lesson on how a living person was to live in this lifetime.
o “You shall not kill” (Matthew 5:21) is one living person killing another person, not one soul killing another soul.
o Being angry with your brother (Matthew 5:22) is also a living person being angry with another living person, not one soul angry at anther soul.
o Committing adultery (Matthew 5:27) is a living person committing adultery. Can souls commit adultery, either before or after the death of the person it was in?
o Putting away your wife (Matthew 5:31) is also done only by a living person. Do souls have wives?
o Swearing (Matthew 5:34) is a living person swearing.
o An eye for an eye (Matthew 5:38) is by living persons only in this lifetime.
o Love your neighbor (Matthew 5:43); one living person is to love another living persons.
If the "whole body" were a formless no substance soul, then the "hand," which was cut off this body is a part of the "whole body," and would also be a formless no substance something that we could not cut off, and if we could cut the hand of a soul off, then the cut off hand of an immortal soul would be as immortal as the rest of the no substance, formless, thoughts only soul from which it was cut off. In today's theology no one believes you can cut off the hand of a soul and cast it into Hell so that the rest of that soul will not go to Hell. No one that I know of believes the "soul" shall "enter into life," which he or she says is Heaven with a cut off hand in Hell. The "soul" in Heaven, but its "hand" in Hell! They don't believe that a disfigurement of the earthly body, whether it is a self inflicted disfigurement, or any other disfigurement, will be passed unto the immaterial, invisible soul, which they believe is to be something that is now in a person and that only this “it” will be in Heaven. Neither do they believe any person has the power to cut of any part of his immaterial soul. Gehenna must be changed to Hell and be literal, but the cut off the hand that is cast into Hell cannot be literal.
"Perish" must be changed to mean, "preserve." God's word says He will destroy a soul, but many change this and make it say God will not let a soul perish, but will preserve it forever. There seems to be no end to the changes they are willing to make. "Destroy the body and soul" must be changed to "preserve a soul after the body (person) is destroyed."
A dead body part, or a whole dead person being cast into the city dump (Gehenna) to be destroyed by fire or worms is not a picture of a living immortal soul being tormented forever in some place other then the valley of Gehenna. There is no suggestion of eternal torment in this. There is nothing, not one word about an immortal soul or an immortal spirit in this passage. It was their "whole body" that would be literally cast into the valley of Gehenna. Instead of saying that immortal souls will burn forever in the valley of Gehenna, it says the body of a person will be cast into Gehenna and be destroyed in Gehenna. Nothing is said about an immaterial something that is in a person in Matthew 5:22, 29 or 30. "Soul" is not in Matthew 5; it has been added, and is preached today that the "soul" will be cast into "Hell;" changed from the “hand,” “foot,” “eye,” or the “whole body” being be cast into the Gehenna that those hearing Christ would know about. Christ’s disciples were very familiar with the valley of Gehenna where the garbage of the city and bodies was cast, but they knew nothing of the Hell that is taught today. This passage is one of the most used passages to prove a person has an immaterial something that has no body that is in them, and whatever this bodiless something is it will be in an eternal place of torment after the death of the person it is in. Neither (1) an immaterial, deathless something that is now in a person, but leaves the person at their death, (2) or a place where God will eternal torment is not in Matthew 18:8-9. Everything that Christ said is changed, and that by those that say they do not change the Bible. (1) “Whole body” must be changed to a bodiless “soul,” (2) Gehenna, a place on this earth where there was no torment changed into Hell, a place that is not on this earth (3) then is added a god that endlessly will be tormenting many millions of bodiless souls without ever a drop of mercy.
In Matthew 18:8-9:
o Being “Cast into the everlasting (aionios–age lasting) fire” (18:8) and
o Being “Cast into the Gehenna fire” (18:9) are used interchangeable.
It is the fire that is said to be age lasting, not one thing is said about how long a person or how long a soul that had been in a person unto the death of the person would or would not last in the fire although it is repeatedly used to teach that a soul that is now in you will be tormented in Hell after you are dead if you do not save “it,” whatever “it” is. The aionios (age lasting) fire of Gehenna went out in A. D. 70; today there is no fire in Gehenna and no dead bodies are being cast into it; Gehenna is now a place for tourist.
3) The third judgment
"You have heard you shall not forswear yourself…but I say unto YOU" (Matthew 5:33).
4) The fourth judgment
"You have heard…an eye for an eye…but I say unto YOU” (Matthew 5:38).
5) The fifth judgment
"You have heard…love your neighbor…but I say unto YOU” (Matthew 5:43).
Summary: All five of the "you have heard" are about judgments of the Old Testament Law that had punishment of persons only in this life, not anything about any punishment of souls after the resurrection and judgment. Being cast into Gehenna is an earthly judgment that is in the same context with other earthly judgments. This is the first occasion Christ used the term Gehenna; if He had used it to teach endless torment, He said nothing that those hearing Him, or those who read His words today could know He was speaking of any judgment other than the judgments in the Law given through Moses; there is absolutely no indication He was speaking of eternal torment of a “soul.”
All five are judgments of the Law
o They all have sentences that are carried out in this lifetime.
o They are all judgment of the Law of Moses that are made by living people on other living people while both are living on this earth (whether a person is guilty of murder or not guilty), or on the body of the murderer being cast unburied into Gehenna after the person is dead.
o Not one of the five judgments are on a soul, not on a soul that some believe to be in a person while the person is living, and not on a soul after the person it had been in is dead.
(2). THE SECOND OCCASION
A LESSON TO THE TWELVE DISCIPLES
Three views on who is doing the casting into Gehenna.
o View one: Gehenna is a real place on this earth where dead “killed” bodies were cast into it, and the dead bodies were burned up or were eaten up by worms.
o View two: This is speaking of God destroying the life (psukee) of the lost after the Judgment Day; bringing the lost to a complete end.
o View three: This view is speaking of a place not on this earth, not Gehenna, a place that has been given the name “Hell” where immortal deathless souls that were in the lost persons before their death will forever be tormented by God.
GEHENNA IS A REAL WELL KNOWN PLACE THAT IS ON THIS EARTH. This was spoken to the twelve apostles when they were sent forth to preach, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 10:1-28). He was persecuted, and they would be, but they were to "Fear them not." "But I will warn you whom YOU shall fear: fear him, who after he has killed YOU, (after he has killed the apostles Christ sent out) has power to cast YOU (cast the killed, dead apostles) INTO GEHENNA" (Luke 12:4-5); most of the apostles that Christ was speaking to were killed by men, none of the twelve were killed by God, “Has the authority to cast into Gehenna,” New American Standard Version. “Those who kill the body” (12:4), and “after he has killed” (the body) (12:5) are both speaking of killing the body. “Fear him who is able to destroy (Apollumi) both soul (life–psukee) and body IN GEHENNA.” Matthew 10:28 “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom you shall fear: Fear him, who after he had killed has the power to cast into Gehenna” (Luke 12:4-5). The destroying is the body after it has been killed being “cast into Gehenna;” the killing of a person comes before their dead body being cast into the valley of Gehenna, not, as this is changed to be killing a deathless soul that cannot be killed before that killed soul is cast into Hell. Fear him who has the authority to cast the killed earthly bodies (of the apostles) into Gehenna, the trash dump where the bodies of those who were not thought to be worthy to be buried were cast into Gehenna to be destroyed. “Destroy both…in Gehenna” in Matthew 10:28, and “killed” and then cast into Gehenna in the parallel account in Luke 12:4-5 does not mean a soul that cannot be “killed” or “destroyed” and will always be alive and torment in a completely difference place then Gehenna, a difference place called “Hell;” the fate of the one being cast into Gehenna is destruction, “able to destroy,” nothing is said about any kind of torment of a living soul or living person at any time.
If being cast into Gehenna means endless torment there is no way to say both body and soul will be endless tormented in Hell, both are killed, destroyed by the same person and both are cast into the same place (Gehenna). IF A SOUL CAN BE “KILLED” (Luke 12:4-5) THE “KILLED” SOUL CANNOT BE IMMORTAL.
o “Fear him, WHO AFTER HE HAS KILLED has power to cast into Gehenna” (Luke 12:4). The killing and the casting into Gehenna are both did by the same person. The killing is done before being cast into Gehenna; it is the same thing that was killed that is cast into Gehenna after it is dead (killed). How could whatever “he has killed” and cast into Gehenna be alive in Hell after it has been killed?
o “Fear Him WHO IS ABLE TO DESTROY both soul (psukee-life) and body in Gehenna” (Matthew 10:28). Dose anyone believe a deathless soul that is taught by today’s theology can be killed or destroyed in Hell or any other place? Both psukee and body are destroyed in Gehenna; who believes a dead body will be destroyed in Hell?
o Whatever you believe “psukee” to be, it can be destroyed in Gehenna just as a body can be destroyed in Gehenna after it has been “killed.” Unless you believe a dead physical body will be destroyed in Hell, then neither will whatever a psukee is be destroyed in Hell.
“Destroy” in Matthew and “killed” in the parallel passage in Luke, and then cast into Gehenna after the killing is not Plato’s pagan soul that is “alive” in Hell and is being tormented by God. Christ was speaking to the twelve apostles, He was not telling His apostles to fear for souls that was in them being tormented in Hell by God after God had killed their bodies; He was telling the apostles to fear him who after he has killed their bodies has the power to “destroy” their bodies in Gehenna
If this were changed to a soul being tormented in Hell, them it would also make the body be tormented in Hell. (1) First being killed (2) and then the dead person cast into Gehenna is not being alive and tormented in Hell. This passage speaks only of persons that have already been “killed,” persons that are already dead being cast into Gehenna only after they were dead.
The only place spoken of in this passage is Gehenna
o Nothing is said about a place called “Hell.”
o Nothing is said about torment after death, not in Gehenna or Hell.
o Nothing is said about any kind of life after death in this passage, not life in Gehenna, not life in Hell, or life in Heaven.
o Nothing is said about any torment in Gehenna, or anyone being cast into Gehenna before being killed or destroyed. Only dead bodies, no living person were cast into Gehenna.
o But when Gehenna is changed to Hell, then Hell is said to be a place of endless torment for a living soul that cannot be killed or destroyed.
Explain this change!
o The killing is done BEFORE being cast into Gehenna. Only dead bodes are cast into Gehenna.
o When Gehenna is changed to Hell and the “killed” is changed to an eternal life of torment for a soul that cannot be killed, this passage would then makes the torment (killing) be before being cast into Hell, not torment that is after being cast into Hell. But this seems to be no problem for those that change, after they have changed the “killed” to eternal life in torment for souls that cannot be killed, and changed Gehenna to Hell, they just make another change and CHANGE THE TIME OF THE TO AFTER BEING CAST INTO HELL.
Christ speaks of being destroyed in Gehenna, but never says anything about Gehenna being eternal, or about torment in Gehenna, but those who change Gehenna into Hell add both eternal life and torment to Gehenna.
To have the "Hell" that is taught today:
(1). Gehenna must be changed from a place of desertion to a place of torment with no desertion.
(2). Then the changed place must be moved.
(3). Them after the place that have been changed and moved, it must then be given a new name (Hell), a name that is not in the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament; there is no revelation that there is such a place or such a name; both the place called Hell and it’s name did not exist unto long after the last word of the New Testament was written.
There is no ground for the traditional view of an immortal soul that cannot be killed or destroyed in this passage, or any other passage. Jesus used both kill and destroy, but said nothing about torment. Theology must be used to change “killed” and “destroy” to life in torment, for if the words killed and destroy are not changed to mean life, there would be no living "souls" to be tormented in Hell; therefore, no Hell.
A DOUBLE CHANGE
To make Matthew 10:28 teach an immortal soul that will go to Hell the translators had to make two major changes.
ONE CHANGE: Psukee in the New Testament, nehphesh in Old Testament) that is applied to all living being, both living and dead being, (see chapter one) changed to be an immaterial, deathless, invisible, no substance, thoughts only something that lives after the death of the person it had been in, but this deathless soul is “killed” before it is cast into the nonexistent Hell. Neither psukee nor nehphesh means a deathless immortal soul.
SECOND CHANGE: Gehenna, a real place on this earth, changed to “Hell,” a place that is not on this earth, a place that does not exist. The name Gehenna changed to a name that did not exist when the Old Testament or the New Testament was written; a name that is in the Bible
By translating (1) life into soul and (2) destroy into lose, what Christ said was changed from:
(1). Changed from the person that loves the world will destroy his or her life.
(2). Changed it to be the person that loves the world will lose a soul that is in them, but not destroy it for it is deathless and when the person that lost it is dead, a soul will go on living without the person that lost it. Will God endlessly torment a soul because of the sins of a person?
Luke makes it clear that it is the person that will be destroyed, not an immortal something in a person, “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses (apollumi–destroys) or forfeits himself” (Luke 9:25)? The translators were not able to change Luke 9:25 from the person being lost to an immortal something being lost that no person knows what that something really is. If whatever a “soul” is, if it were being tormented in “Hell” “it” would know where it was, only the person that lost it would not know where it was, or would not know anything that was happening to whatever “it” is.
If a soul is something in a person, that soul will be alive after the person is dead, would that not make it be a soul that had lost the person it was in, not as it is taught that a person that sins loses a soul that was in them? All this is to show how completely foolish they made Christ by trying to put Plato’s immortal soul into the mouth of Christ.
Apollumi (destroy) is used 95 times in the New Testament. Matthew 10:28 and 10:39 (with the parallel accounts in Luke, Mark, and John) is the only time it is used with psukee–life, and it says fear him who is able to destroy (apollumi) a soul (psukee–life).
o What ever happens to a soul (psukee–life) also happens to the body.
o What ever happens to the body also happens to a soul (psukee–life).
o If one is “destroyed” in Gehenna, both are destroyed in Gehenna.
o If one is never destroyed, but it is tormented in Hell then both are never destroyed and both are tormented in Hell.
Those who believe this “psukee” is a deathless soul that cannot die must deny this plain statement made by Christ that this psukee–life (not a deathless soul) could be destroyed.
Men did kill the bodies of many disciples, and Christ warned His disciples that they would be killed, but this has no effect on their ultimate existence. Death is but a brief sleep, which will be as if it were only a moment from death unto the resurrection. (Deuteronomy 31:16; 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 1:21; Job 7:21; 14:12; Psalm 13:31 Jeremiah 51:39, 57; 1 Kings 2:10; 11:21, 43; 14:20, 31; 15:8, 24; 16:6, 28; 22:40, 50; 2 Kings 8:24; 10:35; 13:9, 13; 14:16, 22, 29; 15:7, 22, 38; 16:20; 20:21; 21:18; 24:6; 2 Chronicles 9:31; 12:16; 14:1; 16:13; 21:1; 26:2, 23; 27:9; 28:27; 32:33; 33:20; Job 3:13; Isaiah 26:19; Matthew 9:24; 25:5; 27:52; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52; John 11:11-14; Acts 7:60; 13:36; 1 Corinthians 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15; 5:10; 2 Peter 3:4). While there is nothing about a resurrection in Luke 22:4-5 or Matthew 10:28, there will be a resurrection, and in the ultimate eternal sense man cannot kill the psukee (life). God can destroy and make our memory to perish (Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; Ecclesiastes 9:4-6; Psalm 31:12; 88:5; Isaiah 26:14; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:5; Romans 6:23). If death does not indicate unconsciousness, then the analogy of sleep, which is used throughout the Bible, is meaningless for the dead are not asleep. It is more than just meaningless, saying the dead are asleep when they are awake in Heaven or Hell would be an outright lie that is repeated frequently. The second death is never called a sleep because there will be no waking up or resurrection from it.
If the words "immortal soul" were substituted for "soul" and "life," it would be absurd. "But are not able to kill the immortal soul (life–psukee): but fear him who is able to destroy both the immortal soul (life–psukee) and body in Hell (Gehenna)...He that finds his immortal soul (life–psukee) shall lose his immortal soul (life–psukee); and he that loses his immortal soul for my sake shall find his immortal soul" (Matthew 10:28-39). When this is used to prove that a person has an immortal soul in them, which cannot be destroyed, it proves that an immortal soul can be destroyed (killed, Luke 12:5); whatever is cast into Gehenna, or whatever is cast in the mistranslated “Hell” IS DEAD, “KILLED,” BEFORE IT IS CAST INTO EITHER GEHENNA OR “HELL.” If psukee were an immortal soul, then God would be able to destroy (kill) this immortal soul. There is no stronger way in which to say God can and will destroy it (psukee–life). He is to be feared by those of the world because He will. I find it strange that one of the most used passages to prove there is an "immaterial, invisible part of man" (Vine) that cannot be destroyed says the psukee (life) can be destroy, the very thing that some are trying to prove cannot be destroyed can be destroyed; but no stranger then the use of death to mean an eternal life of torment with God doing the tormenting. By saying black is white you can prove anything. The point some are trying to make from being "able to destroy" is that there is life after death, and this life can only be an immortal soul, a soul which is unable to be destroyed, which Matthew 10:28-39 does not prove.
At the resurrection there will be life that God can destroy, not that there is an immortal soul that God cannot destroy. It says nothing about an "immaterial, invisible part of man" that is alive before the resurrection that cannot be destroyed. It does not say there will be any life from death unto the resurrection. That there will be a resurrection is taught throughout the New Testament, but if all are alive when Christ comes, there cannot be a resurrection of those that are not dead. God can destroy both the life (psukee) that now is, and the life (psukee) that will be after the resurrection. He is to be feared by the lost because He will destroy the life they will have after the resurrection.
Would prove more than the advocate's of an immortal soul want to prove. If Matthew 10:28 were changed to be speaking of torment in Hell it would prove more than they believe and more them they want to prove, for most that believe God will endless torment souls do not believe that God will endless torment this earthly body in "Hell," or that the "immaterial, invisible part of man" will be destroyed. But, to prove Hell, they change destroy be just a loss of well being, but still alive and being tormented in Hell. If the immaterial, invisible part of a person is not destroyed, but just lost its well-being, then the earthly body is not destroyed, but has just lost its well-being. The same thing would happen to both the body and “the immaterial, invisible part of a person;” therefore, if destroy means one is tormented, not destroyed, then destroy means the earthly body will be tormented in Hell just as we are told that a soul will be tormented in Hell. Most who believes in Hell do not believe the flesh and blood "body" will be tormented, but it is clear that whatever happens to the "body" also happens to the "soul" (psukee–life), both are destroyed. If one is killed, both are killed, if one is tormented, both are tormented. If God is able to kill or destroy both the body and soul (psukee–life), neither one could now be immortal.
Psukee as it is translated in Luke 12, New International Version.
o “Fear him who after the killing of the body, has power to throw YOU (psukee) into hell” (Greek–Gehenna, throw your body he has killed it into Gehenna) (Luke 12:5).
o “And I’ll say to MYSELF (psukee), ‘YOU (psukee) have plenty of good things lain up for many years’”(Luke 12:18).
o “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your LIFE (psukee) will be demanded from you’” (Luke 12:20).
o “LIFE (psukee) is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:23).
In summary: There is absolutely nothing in this passage about an immortal deathless soul that cannot be killed being endlessly tormented in Hell by God. Those that believe there is an immortal soul do not believe that a deathless soul can be killed. The name “Gehenna” designates a known location that is on this earth, a location that is known even to this day; every use of Gehenna in the Bible is to a real place that is on this earth, not once is the name Gehenna applied to any place after death, not once did God say anything about a place called Hell; only by a mistranslation can Gehenna be changed to Hell. Hell is 100% a man made up place, a place that does not exist in the Bible.
(3). THE THIRD OCCASION
IN ANOTHER LESSON TO HIS DISCIPLES
This was a different discourse than Matthew 5:29-30 above, but He was teaching the same thing. See the notes on the first occasion above. Matthew 18:9 "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into Hell (Greek–Gehenna).” “Whole bodies” were cast into Gehenna, but I know of no one that believes in Hell that believes the “whole body” (the whole earthly body) will be cast into Hell, most believe that only a soul that had been in the “whole body” will be cast into Hell, cast into Hell without the whole body, but only after that immaterial soul leaves the “whole body”. Mark 9:43, 45, 47 "And if your hand cause you to stumble, cut it off: it is good for you to enter into life maimed, rather then having your two hands to go into Hell (Greek–Gehenna), into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot cause you to stumble, cut it off; it is good for you to enter into life halt, (enter into life on earth crippled without a hand or foot, not a crippled soul with a cut off hand in Heaven) rather then having your two feet to be cast into Hell (Greek–Gehenna–not a soul with two feet in Hell). And if your eye cause you to stumble, cast it out; (what person can literally or figuratively cast out an eye of a no substance, immaterial soul) it is good for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into Hell (Greek–Gehenna) where their worm dies not, the fire is not quenched" "Where their worm dies not, the fire is not quenched" in Mark 9:44 is a direct quotation of Isaiah 66:24. Mark 66:46 and 48 are in some translations but not in others because they are not in many of the Greek manuscripts are also a direct quotation of Isaiah 66:24. Not many believes the human body is going to be cast in “Hell” and be tormented, yet this passage about the human body, a person, being cast into the valley of Gehenna is often used to prove an immaterial “soul” will be eternally tormented by God, not in the valley of Gehenna, but in Hell; the “hand,” “eye,” and “body” are parts of a live person, not parts of an immaterial soul that has no earthy parts; the “whole body” is the same body that the “eye” is to be pluck out of; the “foot” that is literally cut off and cast into Gehenna is a part of the earthy body, not a foot of a soul that is somehow cut off of a soul and then cast into Hell to keep the rest of a soul from being cast into Hell. A body or parts of a body could have been cast into Gehenna; a body or no part of a body cannot be cut off and cast into the Hell that is taught today. The foot that is cut off and cast into Gehenna is a part of the “whole body” that is alive on earth at the time the foot is cut off; it was a living person that were to cut off their foot and cast it into the earthly Gehenna. If there were a Hell no person could cast their foot into it.
o “It would be better for HIM if…HE had been CAST INTO THE SEA” (Mark 9:42).
o “It is better for YOU to enter life crippled…then having two hands, to be CAST INTO GEHENNA” (Mark 9:43).
o “It is better for YOU to enter life lame …then having two feet, to be CAST INTO GEHENNA” (Mark 9:45).
o “It is better for YOU to enter the kingdom of God…than having two eyes, to be CAST INTO GEHENNA,” (Mark 9:47).
o Throughout Mark the kingdom of God is always the earthly kingdom, always the church; it is not saying “it is better for a soul to enter Heaven with only one eye.” Will a soul in Heaven be maimed or have only one eye? If this was either a soul while it is still in a person, or a soul after the resurrection, what could possibility have the meaning of cutting off a hand of a soul?
o Both the sea and Gehenna are places on this earth. It is a person, not a soul that is “cast into the sea,” and a person, not a soul, that is “cast into Gehenna.”
"Where their worm dies not, the fire is not quenched" is a direct quotation from Isaiah 66:23-24 where it is speaking of dead bodies on this earth being literally burned with fire and dead bodies being literally eaten by worms just as anything that was cast into Gehenna was literally burned with fire or literally eaten by worms; if, as we are repeatedly told, an immaterial soul has no body, then how could it be eaten by worms? Gehenna, a real place on this earth, has been changed to Hell, a place not on this earth that there is not one word about it in the Bible that says such a place exist, and bodies has been changed to souls that have no body and these souls are tormented in a place that not one Bible passage tells of. “It is better for YOU to enter life crippled” (Mark 9:43), what “life” is Christ speaking of, this life “crippled,” or life in Heaven “crippled”? If Christ were speaking of Heaven, unless it is possible to be crippled with only one foot and one eye in Heaven, this passage would make no sense. Do unconditional immoralists believe Christ is saying it is better for an immortal soul to enter life in Heaven a “crippled” soul; “it is good for YOU to enter into life halt, rather then having YOUR two feet to be cast into Hell (Greek–Gehenna)”? If Christ were speaking of immortal souls entering life in Heaven or being cast into Hell, would there be any way to say there will not be crippled souls in Heaven? This is teaching that if there is anything in our lives that would be in the way of entering into the kingdom of Heaven we need to remove it; a person who uses drugs needs to repent, a person who is a thief needs to repent–to remove (cut off) the things from their lives that would prevent him or her from entering into the kingdom.
(4). THE FOURTH OCCASION
IN A SERMON TO THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES
Gehenna is used two times in a sermon to the Scribes and Pharisees warning them of God's rejection of Israel. In Matthew 23 and 24 Christ speaks of the destruction of Israel. "All these things shall come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:36). The context of these two uses of Gehenna are clearly an in time judgment of Israel, a judgment that came in A. D. 70 and has now passed, not of anything that will be after the judgment at the coming of Christ. THEY HAVE NO REFERENCE TO "HELL." The judgment and destruction of Israel did come on that "generation," but "damnation of Hell" as it is preached today did not come on that "generation." Damnation" is from krisis which means judgment, not damnation as it is mistranslated in the King James Version, the Greek says, "judgment of Gehenna," not the "damnation of Hell," as it was changed to in the King James Version. These two uses of Gehenna are in a context of a rebuke toward the Pharisees and religious leaders of that time, and not about anything after the Judgment Day or about souls. Added to this is that it is fallowed by the lamentation of Jesus over the doomed city of Jerusalem, “Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem that kills the prophet’s and stones them that are sent unto her! How often would I have gathered your children together even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38). Matthew 24 is about the coming judgment and destruction of Jerusalem,
Israel the wicked husbandmen Matthew 21:33-46
Before looking at this use of Gehenna it may help understand it to first look at the parable of the wicked husbandman that comes just before it, and it is a part of the same sermon spoken to the Scribes and Pharisees. "When; therefore, the lord of the vineyard shall come, what will he do unto these husbandman? They say unto him, He will miserably DESTROY these miserable men, and will let out the vineyard unto other husbandmen, who will render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus said unto them, did you never read in the scriptures, the stone, which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner; this was from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto YOU, the kingdom of God shall be taken away from YOU, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. And when the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parables, they understood that He was speaking about them." How is it that today most do not understand this parable to be about Israel, do not understand “that He was speaking about them”? Many parables deal with the rejection of Christ by Israel and Israel’s destruction. See chapter 8, part 1, and part 2.
1. Son of Gehenna: Matthew 23:15
"Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is become so, you make him twofold more a son of Hell (Greek–Gehenna) then yourselves." In speaking to the Pharisees, Christ said, "For you are like unto whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead man's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matthew 23:27). The Scribes and Pharisees made their proselytes’ twofold more a son of Gehenna than them selves (Matthew 23:15). A place cannot give birth to a person. No one, not even those who believe in Hell believe Hell is literally the father or mother of anyone. To call a person a son of a place is not to say that place is literally the person’s mother, but is to say a part of his or her character is similar to the place. Gehenna was a place of filth and uncleanness. To use the metaphors "son of Gehenna" is to say they were unclean like the filthy city dump. To be a "son of Gehenna" means to be like Gehenna and the things in it: to be filthy and contemptible, fit only to be destroyed. The proselytes were made twofold more unclean then the Pharisees, this is speaking of them being sons of Gehenna (unclean) while they were alive, not speaking of souls in the proselytes being twofold more unclean in Hell then the souls that were in the Scribes and Pharisees. When “Gehenna” is mistranslated “Hell,” does being “twofold more” mean they will have double the torment that the Pharisees will have? No. It means that are double as unclean, double as wrong in what they believed as were the Pharisees. Because Gehenna does not literally have sons, this is a figure of speech, and is not intended to be taken literally, not in this life, or after death. James and John are called "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17). Thunder did not give birth to them, but a part of their character is similar to thunder, "And if a son of peace be there" (Luke 10:6), "Son of exhortation" (Acts 4:36), "Sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2), "The son of destruction" (2 Thessalonians 2:3). These “sons of Gehenna,” were people that were living on this earth at the time Christ said this, it was not souls in Hell that was “sons of Gehenna.”
J. W. McGARVEY, Matthew 8:11: "The child of anything in Hebrew phraseology expressed the idea of special property which one has in the thing specified, as, for instance, children of disobedience (Eph. ii. 2)." “The Fourfold Gospel,” Standard Publishing Company, 1914.
ROBERT W. YARBROUGH: “In biblical usage ‘son of’ normally means physical descendent. But it also has a metaphorical use. It can mean ‘to share the characteristics’ of someone or something. ‘Sons of thunder’ are boisterous and impulsive young men (Mark 3:17; cf. Luke 9:54). “Sons of light and sons of the day’ (1 Thess. 5:5) are people whose lives reflect God’s moral brilliance.” “Hell Under Fire,” page 73, Zondervan printers 2004.
This metaphor is taken from the filth and uncleanness of Gehenna. Although this passage is repeatedly used to prove eternal torment of a soul after the death of the person that soul had been in, (1) there is nothing about “souls” in it, (2) there is nothing about any torment of souls in it, not torment in this lifetime, not torment of souls after death, not torment of souls after the judgment. Many believe God predestined massive billions of souls to the "damnation of Hell" before the persons these souls were in were born to be endless tormented by God in the Hell that they put into the Bible by mistranslating, and there is not one thing that anyone can do to save one of these souls that are predestined to be tormented by God.
In the same address to the Scribes and Pharisees, Christ gives two more examples of their uncleanness.
(1). The Pharisees washed the outside of the cup to make it clean, "For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full or robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also" (Matthew 23:25-26).
(2). The Pharisees were like whitewashed graves, "Which appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead man's bones, and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity" (Matthew 23:27-28).
Matthew 23:13-39 is a list of seven woes to the Scribes and Pharisees. "Twofold more a son of Gehenna." Matthew 23:15 is the second of the seven woes on the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-39).
(1). The Pharisees shut the kingdom of Heaven against men, and enter not in (Matthew 23:13-14).
(2). The Pharisees made their proselytes’ twofold more a son of Gehenna than them selves (Matthew 23:15).
(3). The Pharisees said to swear by the temple is nothing (Matthew 23:16-22).
(4). The Pharisees left undone the weightier matters (Matthew 23: 23-24).
(5). The Pharisees were full of hypocrisy and iniquity; they cleaned only the outside of the cup (Matthew 23:25-26).
(6). The Pharisees are like whitewashed tombs, full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness (Matthew 23:17-28).
(7). The Pharisees are sons and partakers with their fathers that slew the prophets. "How shall YOU escape the judgment of Gehenna"? (Matthew 23:29-39).
2. Judgment of Gehenna: Matthew 23:33-39
"Fill you up then the measure of YOUR fathers. YOU serpents, YOU offspring of vipers, how shall YOU escape the judgment of Hell (Greek–Gehenna)? Therefore, behold, I send unto YOU prophets, and wise men, and Scribes: some of them shall YOU kill and crucify; and some of them shall YOU scourge in YOUR synagogues, and persecute from city to city: that upon YOU may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel the righteous unto the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom YOU slew between the sanctuary and the altar. Verily I say unto YOU, all these things shall come upon this generation." All the “you” are those Christ was speaking to; Christ had just told the Scribes and Pharisees they made their proselytes more a "SON of Gehenna," more unclean than themselves; then He calls them "offspring (SONS of) vipers," and "all these things (all the righteous blood from Abel to Zechariah) shall come upon this generation." Matthew 23 is a discourse to the Scribes and the Pharisees, and they knew that Jesus was speaking to them; the “you” is the Pharisees that Christ was speaking to, a judgment that “shall come upon this generation,” a judgment that did come in A. D. 70, it is not about things that are happening today, or about things that will happen after the Judgment Day; many take one word of this discourse out of it context, and then changed this one noun (Gehenna) to another noun (Hell) that is not in the Bible.
The Scribes and Pharisees knew the law, but did not keep it. Outwardly they were as beautiful as white sepulchers, but inwardly were full of dead man's bones. They would not escape the judgment to come. "Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:36). Matthew 24 is a discourse to His disciples about the destruction of Israel of which He had just spoken of to the Pharisees in the chapter twenty-three. That generation would not escape the judgment of Gehenna. It came in A. D. 70 when historians say Gehenna had many dead bodies of Jews from the destruction of Jerusalem (See Jeremiah 19). To the Jews, to be judged as not being fit to be buried were the worse of all insult. It was the most severe judgment of contempt upon a criminal known to the Jews. In the judgment soon to come upon them Josephus said six hundred thousand dead bodies of the Jews were carried out of Jerusalem and lift unburied.
CONDEMNATION, DAMNATION, AND DAMNED of the King James Version. In Matthew 23 the seventh woe of this lecture and warning to the Scribes and Pharisees and Matthew 24 are about the judgment coming to them and on Israel. Why did the King James translators change, “The judgment (krisis) of Gehenna” into, “The damnation of Hell” (Matthew 23:33)?
“Judgment of Gehenna” for Israel that “shall come upon this generation” (Matthew 23:36) is changed to: “Damnation of Hell;” it took a double change to make it say what the translators wanted, “judgment (krisis)” changed to “damnation,” and “Gehenna” changed to “Hell.” That generation is long pasted and there has been no “damnation of Hell” yet, but the judgment of Gehenna did come on that generation in A. D. 70 when Israel was destroyed. How did the translators think they had the right to change this warning to the Scribes and Pharisees about a judgment of Gehenna that was coming on that generation to the Hell they believed in, especially when neither the word “damnation” nor “Hell” is in the Greek from which they translated it; they deliberately changed the words of Christ and put their pagan Hell in His mouth, deliberately changed His teaching of the judgment coming to Israel to eternal torment of souls in Hell.
Krisis is used in the New Testament 48 times and in the King James Version it is translated “judgment” 41 times, “damnation” 3 times, “condemnation” 2 times, “accusation” 2 times. The translators must have thought that if they put damnation with Hell that it would make the threat of Hell stronger? Krisis should have never been translated damnation or condemnation. In the American Standard Version Krisis is translated "judgment" 47 times, and "sin" 1 time in Mark 3:29. In Matthew 23:33 American Standard Version it is, “judgment of Hell” with the foot note saying the Greek word Christ used is “Gehenna” not “Hell.
THE RESURRECTION OF
DAMNATION (krisis) (KJV), JUDGMENT (krisis) (ASV), "The resurrection of judgment
(krisis)" (John 5:29) says nothing about an eternal life of torment in
Hell after the second coming of Christ although this passage is continually
used to prove eternal torment. The
verdict of the judgment, if it were death, or eternal life with torment is not in this passage. In an attempt
to put Hell in the Bible, the translators of the King James Version (1) changed
the judgment and made it be the verdict of the judgment, (2) and then made the
verdict be what they needed it to be, namely eternal torment by God. This
probably deliberate mistranslation is based on the translator’s belief of the
doctrine of an endless life in Hell being tormented by God.
means "damnation," then we are all in trouble for. "It is appointed unto men once to die,
and after this comes
damnation judgment (krisis)" (Hebrews
9:27), judgment will come to all, both the saved and the lost, but not
damnation. When it is applied only to the lost the King James translators
translated "krisis" condemnation or damnation, but when it is applied
to all (Hebrews 9:27) they translated "krisis" judgment. Just one
more example of how they were willing to mistranslate to put "Hell"
into the Bible. The American Standard Version and most others do not translate
"krisis" into condemnation or damnation. Two words had to be changed in Matthew 23:33 to put today's Hell in the
Bible. "Judgment" had to be changed to "damnation," and
"Gehenna" had to be changed to "Hell."
FOY E. WALLACE Jr.: NO ROOT, NO BRANCH, NO HOPE OF LIFE FOR ISRAEL. "The prophet declares that 'the day shall burn as an oven' and 'it shall burn them up'–a pronouncement against the Jewish nation and governments that rejected and condemned the Christ, and persecuted his saints." "God's Prophetic Word," page 545.
Krino is translated judge, judged, 86 times in the King James Version, damned 1 time, condemn 1 time, condemned 2 times, condemneth 1 time in the King James Version.
God sent not his Son into the world to
(krino) the world; but that the world through him
might be save. He that believeth on him is not condemned (krino): but he that believeth
not is condemned (krino) already” King James Version.
o “For God sent not the Son into the world to judge (krino) the world: but that the world should be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not judged (krino): he that believeth not has been judged (krino) already” American Standard Version.
o “Happy is he that
(krino) not himself” King James Version.
o “Happy is he that judgeth (krino) not himself” American Standard Version.
2 Thessalonians 2:12
o “That they all might be
King James Version.
o “That they all might be judged (krino)” American Standard Version.
There is a vast different in “damned” and “judged,” both cannot be a true translation of the same word. Condemnation, damnation, and damned were all taken out of the American Standard Version and most others. How many millions have been made to believe a lie by this deliberate changing of the Bible?
The Jews would have been acquainted with the language of judgment on nations in the Old Testament. Malachi's pronouncement is against the Jewish nation. "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root not branch" (Malachi 4:1). Malachi likens the wicked to stubble that is burnt up and reduced to ashes. Old Testament illustrations are not consistent with eternal torment, but depicts complete destruction. Job says when a tree is cut down there is hope that the root will sprout (Job 14:8); there is hope of life. In the last chapter in the Old Testament of our English Bible Malachi says Israel will not be left a root to sprout a branch or a branch to sprout roots; therefore, there will be no hope for life.
Summary: Just as every reference to Gehenna in the Old Testament are to a place on this earth, to the valley south of Jerusalem, and it is never translated "Hell." Every reference to Gehenna by Christ is also to the same place on this earth, to the same valley. In the four occasions that Gehenna is used, (1) not in a one is Gehenna said to be eternal or everlasting, (2) not once is there any torment of living persons in it, (3) and not once is it used in connection with the resurrection, but today preachers most always add everlasting and say it will never end. How do they know this? None of the apostles ever preach anything about Gehenna. If it were a place of torment where God shall torment all of the lost, why did they never say anything about it? They used death, destroy, destroyed, perish, die, and end; but never "Hell."
(5). AND ONE TIME BY JAMES TO THE
TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL: “SET ON FIRE BY GEHENNA.”
"And the tongue is a fire; the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by Hell (Greek–Gehenna)." James used the same proper noun (the name of a particular place that is now on this earth) that Christ used in Matthew 23:15 as a metaphor of uncleanness. The tongue is a fire and is set on fire by Gehenna, the filthy, contemptible garbage dump. Most who are given to gossip look for some filthy rotten garbage on someone, and then cannot wait to tell it. James did not use Gehenna to teach the Jews about what was going to happen to them after death if they rejected Christ; those that believe in Hell do not believe what James said, he used Gehenna to tell them that the tongue, a part of the earthly body, is now while the person is living is set on fire. To say, "The tongue of a living person is set on fire by the place of eternal torment after the judgment," which is what many teach, makes no sense. This metaphor is not taken from the destruction by the fire and maggots in Gehenna, but is a metaphor taken from the filth and uncleanness of Gehenna just as Christ used the filth and uncleanness of Gehenna in the fourth occasion He used Gehenna in Matthew 23. The tongue that is set on fire is in living people before their death; it speaks of what is happening to people in this lifetime, there is nothing in it about what will happen to persons or souls after the judgment. There is nothing about being killed and then cast into Gehenna, nothing about torment or destruction in it, and nothing about anything after death. The tongue is a fire now in this lifetime. When Gehenna is changed to Hell that is believed to be a literal place that is not on this earth and this Hell sets on fire a literal tongue that is in a living person on this earth it would somehow make that person's tongue be in contact with a place that is not on this earth while the person was alive. James used Gehenna as a place of uncleanness, which he figuratively applied to a vile unclean tongue of a living person. This passage says nothing about any kind of punishment before or after death, or nothing about the fate of the unrighteous after death although it is often used to prove both.
Dose a PLACE torment? “Set on fire” James 3:6. According to those that believe in Hell, Hell is a PLACE where God will be doing the tormenting. Both when Gehenna is not changed to Hell, and when Gehenna is changed to Hell, if there were any tormenting in James 3:6 it would be undeniable that it is either a PLACE on this earth, or a PLACE that is not on this earth even thought a PLACE has no thoughts, not God, but a PLACE that will be doing the setting on fire (tormenting). When this passage is made literal as most that believe in Hell do, then a PLACE that is on this earth, Gehenna, is changed to a PLACE that is not on this earth; this PLACE goes far beyond its own border to literally set on fire a tongue that is still in a living person that is on earth, not set on fire (torment) a soul that had been in a living person on earth but has gone to the PLACE called Hell. Why would James use the name of a real PLACE that is on this earth if he was speaking of a PLACE that is not on this earth? To use Gehenna as a metaphor of uncleanness makes sense, but to change the name to a PLACE where God torments souls and say this PLACE that most that believe in Hell believe it to be a very far distance from this earth, but it sets the tongues of living people on fire makes no sense.
Gehenna was not used in the rest of the New Testament, and neither is unquenchable fire. Most that believes in Hell make the maggots they say will be in Hell figurative maggots, not real maggots in Hell, but make the fire they say will be in Hell be literal fire. If this was true, how could they know which one was literal and which one was figurative? Are they saying literal worms cannot eat a soul that is “immaterial, invisible,” and has no earthly substance that literal worms can eat, but literal fire can burn this immaterial soul that has no earthly substance that literal worms could not eat? If Gehenna’s "unquenchable fire" and "their worm dies not" are a description of the endless punishment of the wicked in "Hell," the silence of the New Testament writers would be unexplainable. (1) Acts, a history of the preaching and church for about thirty years does not mention Gehenna, unquenchable fire, or immortal maggots. (2) In none of Paul's fourteen letters, he never mentioned them. (3) Peter, John, and Jude are also as silent as Paul. (4) Neither can they be found in the Book of Revelation.
TOURS OF HELL
Today many travelers to Israel are offered “a tour of Hell,” they are taken to the valley of Gehenna, but they find no fire there. After A. D. 70 the fire went out and all signs of the fire has now disappeared completely.
THE MISTRANSLATION OF GEHENNA
| KJV | ASV NASV RSV NRSV* | Others**
Matthew 5:22, 29, 30_| Hell | Hell Footnote-Greek Gehenna| Gehenna
Matthew 10:28 | Hell | Hell Footnote-Greek Gehenna| Gehenna
Mt 18:9 Mk 9:43,44,45| Hell | Hell Footnote-Greek Gehenna| Gehenna
Matthew 23:15, 33 | Hell | Hell Footnote-Greek Gehenna| Gehenna
Luke 12:5 | Hell | Hell Footnote-Greek Gehenna| Gehenna
James 3:6 | Hell | Hell Footnote-Greek Gehenna| Gehenna
The American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, and others have a footnote "Gr. Gehenna."
**New American Bible (Catholic), World English Bible, Young's Literal New Testament (author of "Young's Analytical Concordance"), Wesley's New Testament (founder of Methodist Church), Christian Bible 1991, and many more translations have "Gehenna" in the text as it should be as it is a Proper Noun (the name of a particular place). The Amplified Bible has it as an insert in the text: "Hell (Gehenna) of fire."
THE TRANSLATION OF GEHENNA IN SEVEN TRANSLATIONS
(1) Young's Literal Bible (1891) Author of "Young's Analytical Concordance To The Bible"
First occasion, in the Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:22–“Gehenna Of The Fire”: Matthew 5:29–“Gehenna”: Matthew 5:30–“Gehenna”
Second occasion, in a lesson to the twelve disciples
Matthew 10:28–“Destroy in Gehenna”: Luke 12:5–“Gehenna”
Third occasion, in another lesson to his disciples
Matthew 18:9–“Gehenna of the fire”; Mark 9:43–“Gehenna”; Mark 9:44 and Mark 9:45—“Gehenna”
Fourth occasion, to the Scribes and Pharisees
Matthew 23:15–“Son of Gehenna”; Matthew 23:33–“Gehenna”
And one time by James, to the Twelve Tribes–James 3:6–“Set of fire by the Gehenna”
(2) Wesley's New Testament (1755) the original edition by Wesley, the founder of Methodist Church, not the updated editions that have been changed by others.
First occasion, in the Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:22 “Gehenna”; Matthew 5:29–“Gehenna”; Matthew 5:30–“Gehenna”
Second occasion, in a lesson to the twelve disciples
Matthew 10:28–“Gehenna”; Luke 12:5–“Gehenna”
Third occasion, in another lesson to his disciples
Matthew 18:9–“Gehenna”; Mark 9:43–“Gehenna;” Mark 9:44 and Mark 9:45–“Gehenna”
Fourth occasion, to the Scribes and Pharisees
Matthew 23:15–“Gehenna”; Matthew 23:33–“Gehenna”
And one time by James, to the Twelve Tribes–James 3:6–“Gehenna”
(3) Weymouth New Testament (1903)
First occasion, in the Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:22–“Gehenna of Fire”; Matthew 5:29–“Gehenna”;