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Gehenna to Hell

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  • Gehenna to Hell

    I vaguely understand the evolution of ancient perceptions of the underworld to current Christian conceptions of Hell. But what specifically caused the Jews of Jesus' time to accept seemingly without question that the central rubbish fire where dead criminals were also incinerated was also a symbol (or literal representation) of the place designed for Satan, demons, and non-Christians to be tormented?

  • #2
    Originally posted by whag View Post
    I vaguely understand the evolution of ancient perceptions of the underworld to current Christian conceptions of Hell. But what specifically caused the Jews of Jesus' time to accept seemingly without question that the central rubbish fire where dead criminals were also incinerated was also a symbol (or literal representation) of the place designed for Satan, demons, and non-Christians to be tormented?
    Not only symbolic, but also the literal fate of criminals, and other undesirables. Proper burial was the hope of faithful for the future afterlife.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    • #3
      Jesus used it as an analogy for hell so the people could understand that hell was not a nice place.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
        Jesus used it as an analogy for hell so the people could understand that hell was not a nice place.
        Did they think it was a nice place before he clarified?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by whag View Post
          Did they think it was a nice place before he clarified?
          Jesus used a lot of analogies in his parables and teachings. Like "the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field" or "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field." - It doesn't mean that they believed that heaven was literally a farm field.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
            Jesus used a lot of analogies in his parables and teachings. Like "the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field" or "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field." - It doesn't mean that they believed that heaven was literally a farm field.
            That doesn't really answer my question. Were the Jews under the impression hell was a doddle before Jesus compared it to Gehenna?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by whag View Post
              That doesn't really answer my question. Were the Jews under the impression hell was a doddle before Jesus compared it to Gehenna?
              No. That's a stupid question. Are you just trolling again?

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              • #8
                Although it persists as "popular knowledge", there is no firm evidence prior to the Middle Ages that Gehenna actually was a rubbish dump.

                Source - Edward Fudge - The Fire that Consumes
                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                  Although it persists as "popular knowledge", there is no firm evidence prior to the Middle Ages that Gehenna actually was a rubbish dump.

                  Source - Edward Fudge - The Fire that Consumes
                  Is there any consensus as to what Jesus was referring to if not a local inferno?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                    No. That's a stupid question. Are you just trolling again?
                    It was a response to your post that said Jesus' Gehenna reference meant to convey that hell "wasn't a nice place." Why would they think it pleasant or even tolerable?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by whag View Post
                      It was a response to your post that said Jesus' Gehenna reference meant to convey that hell "wasn't a nice place." Why would they think it pleasant or even tolerable?


                      I was merely saying that Jesus used analogies to show that hell was someplace to avoid. Not that anyone thought it was a picnic. Jesus was telling them not to sin and things like "If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."

                      The same thing evangalists do today. How many people do you know think that hell is a pleasant place today? Not many, but evangelists still preach on how bad hell is and how it should be avoided.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by whag View Post
                        Is there any consensus as to what Jesus was referring to if not a local inferno?
                        Not that I know of. For all I know, it might have been a garbage dump... I just can't be dogmatic about it. Incidentally, I find it interesting that Jeremiah 7:32-33 predicts it would become a place to burn corpses.
                        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                        • #13
                          http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gehenna

                          The word derives from the Hebrew: גי(א)-הינום Gêhinnôm (also Guy ben-Hinnom (גיא בן הינום) meaning the Valley of Hinnom's son. The valley forms the southwest border of ancient Jerusalem that stretches from the foot of Mt. Zion to the Kidron Valley. It is first mentioned in Joshua 15:8. Originally it referred to a garbage dump in a deep narrow valley right outside the walls of Jerusalem where fires were kept burning to consume the refuse and keep down the stench. It is also the location where bodies of executed criminals, or individuals denied a proper burial, would be dumped. In addition, this valley was frequently not controlled by the Jewish authority within the city walls; it is traditionally held that this valley was used as a place of religious child-sacrifice to Moloch by the Canaanites outside the city (comp. Jer. 2: 23).
                          It was a place that the very "best" of the Jews thought they were safe from. The Pharisees and Sadducees were not criminals in their own minds, and would certainly be allowed proper burial when they died.

                          Jesus was pointing out to the religious hypocrites of the day that they were destined for that place because of their unbelief. And because of their distortion of their own religion. But mostly for their unbelief.


                          Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                            http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gehenna



                            It was a place that the very "best" of the Jews thought they were safe from. The Pharisees and Sadducees were not criminals in their own minds, and would certainly be allowed proper burial when they died.

                            Jesus was pointing out to the religious hypocrites of the day that they were destined for that place because of their unbelief. And because of their distortion of their own religion. But mostly for their unbelief.
                            That would seem to be evidence enough that trash and corpse disintegration was Gehenna's function. It's a much more fine-grained answer than was previously provided. Thanks, mossrose.

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                            • #15
                              I must clarify that Jesus WAS also using Gehenna as an analogy of eternal torment. He was not pointing out that the religious leaders would actually be tossed upon the trash heap when they died, as they very likely were offered proper burial according to their custom.

                              So, when I say "that place", I meant the eternal torment.


                              Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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