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THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD

January 22

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January 22

UNDERSTANDING GEHENNA

-Matthew 18:8,9 states, … Wherefore if your hand or your foot offend you, cut them off, and cast them from you: for it is better for you to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if your eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire ... After studying the words "everlasting" and "hell" in the original Greek, this passage of scripture ceases to mean what many have tried to make it mean. For example, it does not mean that God is going to send people to a literal place called hell, and burn them there for ever and ever in literal fire. According to the King James “VERSION” this appears to be the case, but it is not so. LET US STUDY TO SHOW OURSELVES APPROVED!

-The word "everlasting" in this passage comes from the Greek word "AIONIOS", which means age-lasting, or OF THE AGES. Instead of everlasting fire, it should be translated as THE FIRE OF THE AGES ( Refer to the New Testament in Modern Speech ). It means a period of time that BELONGS TO THE AGES, BUT IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT MEAN FOREVER OR EVERLASTING IN THE SENSE THAT WE THINK OF FOREVER AND EVERLASTING. To be blunt, IT IS A BAD TRANSLATION! The word "hell" in this passage comes from the Greek word "GEHENNA", which refers to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom ( Ge - Hinnom ) in the Old Testament. Jesus referred to this valley ( the dump outside the city where garbage was burned day and night … because of the continual garbage being dumped into Gehenna, there was a continual fire burning to consume the garbage, and there were continual worms in the garbage ) in His day to teach us something spiritual about God. He used Gehenna in a metaphoric way to describe what the fire of God was like. As well, when Jesus referred to cutting off our hands and feet and plucking out our eyes, He was OBVIOUSLY speaking in metaphoric and symbolic language, for He did not mean for us to literally do these things ( Have you cut off any hands or feet, or plucked out any eyes lately? ). This valley ( Gehenna ) that Jesus referred to symbolically spoke of the things in our lives that are fit for the spiritual garbage dump, such as wood, hay, and stubble ( our carnality ). Remember … GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE. This statement is speaking of a SPIRITUAL FIRE, a fire that GOD IS, and a spiritual fire that does consume everything in us that is not pleasing to Him. As well, Gehenna was to be a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. This prophecy concerned the destruction of Jerusalem, which did take place in 70 A.D. - 73 A.D. This can be easily researched by studying the following scriptures: Jeremiah 7:30-34, Jeremiah 19:5-6, Jeremiah 32:35, Leviticus 18:21, Leviticus 20:2, Deuteronomy 18:10, 2nd Kings 16:1-3, 2nd Kings 21:6, 2nd Kings 23:10, Psalm 106:36-39, Matthew 23:33-36.

-We now turn our attention to an in-depth explanation of Gehenna from: Hope For All Generations And Nations, by Gary Amirault … "Israel, during one part of its history began to mix the worship of Yahweh with some of the customs of the pagan nations around them. They molded a statue which was half man and half bull. They called this god MLK ( The original Hebrew had no vowels ). Molech meant King in Hebrew. Israel had made an image of Yahweh ( their King ) in the image of being half man and half animal. They felt this new practice was harmonious with the other religious traditions of the Hebrew faith. The Israelites took their own babies and placed them in the hands of this statue. Beneath the hands was a pot under which was a hot fire. The child would fall out of the hands of Molech into the burning pot. As the child screamed with pain, the adults would go into a sexual frenzy as the sounds of the burning children mixed with the beating of drums. Molech was a fertility god. These things were done in the VALLEY OF THE SON OF HINNOM ( Referred to as Gehenna in the Greek ). The Lord spoke through Jeremiah that He did not command Israel to do this, NOR DID IT COME INTO HIS MIND THAT THEY SHOULD DO THIS ABOMINATION, TO CAUSE ISRAEL TO SIN ( Jeremiah 32:35 ). IT HAS NEVER EVEN ENTERED THE LORD’S MIND TO BURN PEOPLE IN LITERAL FIRE FOR THE PURPOSE OF TORMENTING THEM. THAT IS AN ABOMINATION TO HIM ( Think about it! )! IF GOD PREPARED A PLACE IN WHICH HE WAS GOING TO TORTURE BILLIONS OF THE HUMAN BEINGS HE CREATED, HOW COULD HE SAY IT NEVER ENTERED HIS MIND? When Jesus used the word Gehenna, the place He was referring to was this valley in which Israel burned their own children, not God. The place called Gehenna ( Translated hell ) was the Greek form of the Hebrew Ge - Hinnom. This valley became a disgraceful reminder to Israel of what their forefathers did. It became the city dump. Jesus warned the very generation in which He lived ( Matthew 23:33-36 ), that if they did not repent, they would find themselves thrown into this valley of garbage which burned day and night. To tell a Jew something like this was the absolute worst of insult. It meant that their lives were worthless. A Jew’s honor was very important to him especially at his death. It was not uncommon to hire professional mourners at one’s funeral. Imagine paying someone to cry tears at your funeral. This is an example of how vain God’s people were during Jesus’ physical presence on earth. Jesus told some of the most religious people of His day, their lives were only fit to be thrown in the city dump! WHAT AN INSULT! AND WHAT A PROPHECY! The very people who heard these words would find their bodies thrown over the Southwest wall of Jerusalem during the siege against the city in 70 A.D. Because they did not follow Christ and participated in His crucifixion, THEIR LIVES TRULY DID BECOME WORTHLESS!" (Gary Amirault)

-Although Gehenna did refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, and does symbolically represent the fire of God burning the wood, hay, and stubble ( our carnal minds ) in our lives, IT SURELY DOES NOT MEAN OR SPEAK OF ETERNAL TORTURE. Gehenna is a place located ON THIS EARTH ( The Valley of the Son of Hinnom ). It is extremely important that we understand and teach its true literal and spiritual meaning, for in doing so we will be found rightly dividing the Word of truth. Having a proper understanding of Gehenna will set one free from the FALSE TEACHING of eternal torture. What a joy it is to know …

-THE TRUTH ABOUT GEHENNA!-

 

JANUARY 22

And now abides faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.