The whole point of Jesus being saviour was to save us from sin and how it results in eternal damnation.  The doctrine that you go to Hell forever at death unless you repented and got God's mercy in time is implied in the Bible and is also explicit.  In the gospel of John, 15:6, Jesus says that if anybody does not abide in Jesus and live in his love and presence that man will be a branch that will be cut off such as those branches that men gather and burn in the fire.  Jesus does not say the man casts himself off. Jesus himself who is the the vine and his people who are the branches is the one who does the amputating.


Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 that we must not fear those who will kill us for they kill the body but they cannot touch our souls.  He warns that we must spend the fear on him who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.  Is this him Satan? In Matthew 10:25, 26 speaks of Satan and his demons and advises his disciples to place no fear in them.  God then is the one who kills body and soul in Gehenna and is to be feared.  With that picture of God, he might be capable of throwing you in prison forever.

Gehenna appears as Tophet in Jeremiah 7:31-32 and in 2 Kings 23:10. Whatever it means it means something unclean and to be shunned.

Does Gehenna refer to the cursed Valley outside Jerusalem which was considered an abomination because there were tombs there and it was a place of pagan worship where children were burned as sacrifices?  To a lesser extent it might have been a place where the carcasses of criminals were thrown into. But it is better to forget about that - it seems a minor detail and it is possible that no such dumping took place. It is being a place of graves and evil worship were what it was infamous for.

The first clue is that it is said to the apostles. There was no point in Jesus telling the apostles to avoid being cast into the cursed valley. They were unlikely to deserve it.

Jesus had accused the Jewish leaders whose decision it was if a person should be put to death of hypocrisy and cruelty beyond belief. If he meant Gehenna the Valley then he was speaking to the apostles as if that could happen to them and was warning them which would be telling them to stay on their right side at all costs. But the Jewish leaders hated them all anyway and Jesus openly wanted the people to look upon the leaders with disdain. He wanted the apostles on his side. The leaders thirsted for their blood. So his meaning was that it is better not to sin than to be thrown into Gehenna. This proves that God does the throwing in because only God knows if you have really sinned or not. Women and men cannot perceive the motives of others.

Worm is a symbol of revolting punishment for Jesus did not say their worms but their worm – liberal Bibles often omit this their out of prejudice and duplicity and substitute worms. He is suggesting that they are being tormented by one big worm – perhaps it eats them whole and they come out the other end alive and whole. This worm will never die, he says, so it may represent everlasting punishment symbolically or it may really be a monster from Hell which is more likely for there is no evidence that it is a symbol. He doesn’t mean that the worm dies not because it has plenty of meat for he would have said that if he did. The worm must be immortal. It is a monster in Hell. It is like it eats and excretes the people as wholes to grant them extra torment.
The worm image comes from Isaiah. Isaiah meant real worms. So did Jesus.

Jesus said everybody in Gehenna would be salted by fire and that is why the fire would not be quenched (v48, 49). When you salt something you put it all over it. Also salt implies that they are food for monsters. If everybody there burns then the worm must symbolise a gruesome and revolting punishment. It must be a monster for ordinary worms would die in the blaze.

Moreover, salt is preservative. If everyone in Hell is salted with fire then the fire preserves them. This means preserving the person. The Valley of Gehenna is for the living and not the dead unlike that of the Jerusalemites, the end of the world dump and the grave. Jesus then told us to have salt in ourselves. That is, we must preserve ourselves in the painful fires of goodness. There was no need for Jesus to stress the everlasting if it does not torment forever.

Jesus said it was better to lose a limb or an eye than to sin so as to be thrown into Gehenna. This would only be true if it were a place of far greater horror than the grave or the literal Valley of Gehenna.

That Jesus used Gehenna for the real Valley elsewhere does not mean that he had it in mind here in Mark. It was a place of horror and evil and that is why he called the state of eternal torment Gehenna.

Gehenna was not the cursed valley on this earth. The cursed valley for sinners made by God in Hell was called Gehenna for it was like it in many respects.
Jesus said that the flames of Gehenna are unquenchable. This means eternal. The view that the fires would burn themselves out is not in the Bible. Unquenchable stands for eternal because why even mention the unquenchable aspect otherwise? Jesus said that it was unquenchable to warn people about how invincible the fire was. The force of the warning would be destroyed if you assume it was unquenchable but would burn itself out. Jesus didn’t seriously think somebody throwing water on the fires was a possibility.

Nowhere, does the Bible say that there will be such a dump except a place of conscious eternal torment. The picture of the worm proves that the heap the wicked will end up on is not one of corpses but of living suffering beings.

Jesus was speaking of the punishment by worm and unquenchable fire (that will probably burn itself out which does not mean it is necessarily quenchable) and the prophet predicted this for the dead bodies of evildoers (Isaiah 66:24). The prophet said it would happen after the end of the world when everybody on earth would love God. The fact that Jesus said that the person who have this fate would live on there is reconcilable with Isaiah’s doctrine that they would be corpses for God can make them alive yet bound to a body that is a corpse to condemn them to a kind of living death. If body and soul are separate or if God can change the human constitution to make this possible then it is possible for God to unite a corpse and a soul in a macabre and nightmarish marriage of life and death. A living person can have dead arms and legs so God can make it happen to the whole body. And since Jesus said that it is better to have a miserable life on earth than to suffer in Gehenna it is clear that the people there can’t escape or change God’s mind. The prophet and Jesus then spoke of the same thing.
If they did not then how did Jesus come to so be influenced by the language of Isaiah if they did not mean the exact same thing? But Jesus was merely borrowing phrases from Isaiah and did hint that this was for aesthetic literary reasons when he differed from and added to it. But no such hint was made.

We must remember that the resurrection of the wicked does not imply that the wicked will have immortal bodies. Perhaps they will wage war against God when they arise and are destroyed on the earth and then raised again and again and again to suffer another worse dose of a permanent Gehenna.

The fires can be quenched in the Gehennas except the eternal punishing one where they are always needed. The city dump had no fires burning on the Sabbath when nobody worked. Jesus is speaking of a condition where people will never get out of the fire.

Gehenna could not have meant the cursed valley that existed then or that will exist in the future. It is the dreaded Hell of Christian dogma that has put many a poor soul in the mental ward.

It is significant that the earliest Gospel, Mark, makes it so clear albeit indirectly, that Jesus preached eternal torment. It means that it is likely that he really did so if he existed.
We must finish by recognising that Gehenna stands for evil worship and idolatry and horror. Jesus was suggesting that people can and do go there and suffer unquenchable fire and are devoured alive by worms that do not die. His teaching supports the Christian teaching that Hell is idolatry - people not wanting to adore God as he is.  The fires of Gehenna refer not to the fire for burning rubbish but to the fire of the holocaust.  Gehenna is a place of endless human sacrifice and decay.

The Old Testament rails against the worship of Moloch. Children were burnt to death in his honour.  It is virtually certain that this would have taken place at Gehenna.  So is it a case of where God creates people and they are children in a sense and they are burned there to false gods?

Those who die in sin will physically suffer somehow forever under false idolatrous religion and be tormented by monsters for all eternity.


No Copyright