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This study will list Jesus’ warnings according to the categories of the words that He used in the various warnings, then give discussion of the aspects of the words and their contexts.


Concerning the Valley of HINNOM (Greek: gehenna)


Matt. 5:22

22.  "However, I Myself am now saying to you people that everyone, who – from internal swelling or agitated emotions of his natural disposition, or from the fruition of his mental bent – is habitually being impulsive or intensely angry to his brother (= fellow member of the society) will be held within the decision (or: held under the control of the crisis or the judging of the local court).  Now whoever may at some point say to his brother, 'Raca (an Aramaic word of verbal abuse: contemptible imbecile; worthless good-for-nothing; senseless empty-head; brainless idiot; blockhead)!' will be held within (and thus: accountable to) the Sanhedrin (the ruling Jewish council).  Yet whoever may at some point say, 'Inept moron (Stupid scoundrel; Despicable fool; You perverse idiot)!' will be held within (and thus: accountable to) [placement] into the [part of] the Valley of Hinnom which pertains to the fire (i.e., the incinerator for refuse in the dump outside of Jerusalem).


Note that the contexts of each situation are 1st century Palestine: judgments here on earth, not something that is “after death.”  All of the offenses are relational, and are of similar severity, with each judgment context becoming more severe.  The last one (Gehenna) involved the death penalty (by the Romans) and the dishonor of not being buried, but being treated as a criminal and having the offender’s body simply cast into the dump.


Matt. 5:27-30

27.  "You folks hear (or: heard) that it was declared,

            'You will not commit adultery!' [Ex. 20:13]

28.  "Yet I, Myself, am now saying to you people that every man who is continuing in, or, repeatedly looking at and observing (constantly watching or leering at; = fantasizing over) a [married] woman, with a view toward the [situation, or, condition] to crave her (to experience strong passion for her, or, to desire to rush in a heat of emotion upon her), has already committed adultery with her, within his heart!

29.  "So if your right eye is habitually a bait-stick which entraps you, immediately tear it out and throw it away from you!  You see, it constantly brings things together for benefit and advantage in (for; to) you folks that one of your members should loose itself away (may destroy itself; could come to be lost), so that your whole body should not be thrown into the Valley of Hinnom (Greek: Gehenna – the city dump [= to dishonor you by giving no burial; to treat you as a criminal]).

30.  "Also, if your right hand is habitually a bait-stick which entraps you, at once cut it off and throw it away from you!  You see, it constantly brings things together for benefit and advantage in (for; to) you folks that one of your members should loose itself away (may destroy itself; could come to be lost), so that your whole body should not go off into the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna – the city dump outside Jerusalem).


Here, Jesus is addressing moral and behavioral issues, and the latter having the potential of resulting in being crucified and then the body being cast into the city dump.  Note the continual or habitual significance in the present tense of the Greek verbs.  He is warning against making such behaviors a way of life.


Matt. 10:28

28.  "Stop being (or: Do not continue being [other MSS: You should not be]) made to fear from the one normally killing the body, and yet continuing unable (with no power) to be killing the soul.  But rather, be habitually fearing the person being constantly able and continuing with power to loose-away and destroy (or: to cause to be lost) both soul (the interior life; [note: may refer to the person's reputation in regard to character and other personal qualities]) as well as body within the Valley of Hinnom.


We see that the result of judgment by the person who has the power to kill in such a manner that it effects the “soul” also has the power to throw the entire person into the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna), just like in the above examples.  Who had that power?  The Roman Prefect over Judea (at this time, Pilate).  He could not only kill you, but also ruin your reputation and the perception of your character (your “soul”), and also affect the lives of your family, as they might also be considered to be enemies of the Empire.  This person (Pilate) killed Jesus, and for many Jews this made it hard for them to accept a “crucified Messiah.”  For them His reputation (soul) was destroyed.  Remember, Jesus was speaking to an honor/shame-based society.  Honor, for oneself and for one’s family, was everything.  Being killed just meant that your life on earth was ended (which eventually happens to everyone); being killed as a criminal meant being considered as an outcast of society with people remembering you as being a shameful person who was without honor. Your life would come to be considered as having had no value.


Matt. 23:15

15.  "It will be a tragic fate for you, scribes and Pharisees – perverse scholars who live by separation and have all the answers!  Because you habitually go around the sea and dry [land] to make one convert (proselyte), and whenever he may become (should be birthed) [one], you proceed making him a son of the valley of Hinnom (= a person having the character and qualities of a city dump, or a part of a refuse depository [Greek: Gehenna]) twice as much as yourselves.


The tragic fate of which Jesus spoke here was a figurative reference to the coming judgment upon Jerusalem, to which He gave more detail in chapter 24.  This happened in AD 70, and the whole city became as the city dump (the valley of Hinnom, just outside the city) when the Romans destroyed it.  Not only that, their old religion with its temple cultus was buried, so converting someone to Judaism would only lead them into death, along with the Jews.  But the good news is that when Jesus, as the Messiah, was buried, He as Israel’s representative took all Israel to the grave and then raised them all up in the new creation [2 Cor. 5:14, “One Person (or: Man) died over [the situation of] all mankind (or: for the sake of all); consequently all people died (or: accordingly, then, all humanity died);” 2 Cor. 5:17, “Consequently, since someone {is} within Christ (or: So that if anyone {is} in union with {the} Anointed One; or: And as since a Certain One {was} in Christ), {there is} a new creation.”]


Matt. 23:33-35

33.  "[You] snakes!  [You] offspring (brood) of vipers (poisonous serpents)!  How can you flee and escape from the judgment which has the qualities, character and significance of the valley of Hinnom (= the sentence to the city dump [Greek: Gehenna]; the decision which pertains to the waste depository of the city)?

34.  "Because of this – look and consider! – I, Myself, am continuing in commissioning and sending off to you people prophets, wise people and scholars (scribes; theologians of the Law).  Of them, [some] you folks will be killing, and [some] you will crucify (put to death on stakes).  Further, of them [some] you people will severely whip (scourge; lash) within your synagogues, and then you, yourselves, will be pursuing and persecuting [them] from city to city (or: town to town),

35.  "so that upon you, yourselves, can (or: should) come all [the] just (equitable; rightwised) blood being continuously poured out (or: spilled) upon the Land from the blood of rightwised (just; fair; in-right-relationship) Abel, until the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah (or: Baruch), whom you people murdered between the Temple and the altar.


Jesus here amplifies what he had said, above, in vs. 15.  Once again, the judgment would happen in their time and in a way that would look like the dishonor of their city dump, the valley of Hinnom.  It happened in AD 70.  It was the final effect of the termination of the age of the Law of Moses, in conjunction with the new age of the Messiah.  Note the plural pronouns in this verse that decidedly indicated to whom these warnings applied: “you folks,” the people at that time that were listening to Him and resisting Him.  The “you people” of vs. 35 referred to the Jews, as a nation, but specifically to their leadership.  God’s habit, in the OT, was to judge the people in accord with the behavior of their leaders.  He primarily deals corporately.


Mark 9:43-49

43.  "Further, if ever your hand should at some point be entrapping you (be giving cause for stumbling or becoming captured, trapped, held in bondage or enslaved), at once cut it off!  It is ideal [for] you, yourself, to enter into the Life maimed, than, having the two hands, to go off into the Valley of Hinnom (or: Gehenna; [note: this is a ravine south of Jerusalem where fires were kept burning to consume the dead bodies of animals, criminals and refuse]) into the fire which is not extinguished.

[note: Nestle-Aland, Westcott & Hort, Tasker, and Panin texts, following the oldest MSS, omit vss. 44 and 46, which are the same as vs. 48; MSS A D and others contain them:

            "'where their maggot (or: worm) continues not coming to the end [of its food], and the fire             continues not being extinguished.']

45.  "And if your foot should begin repeatedly entrapping you in some snare, at once cut it off!  It is ideal [for] you, yourself, to enter into the Life lame and crippled, than, having the two feet, to be thrown into the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna: the city dump).

47.  "And if your eye should begin repeatedly entrapping you in some snare, throw (or: cast) it out!  It is ideal [for] you, yourself, to enter into God's kingdom (reign, activities and influence) one-eyed, than, having two eyes, to be thrown into Hinnom's ravine (Greek: Gehenna; = the city dump outside Jerusalem),

48.        "'where their maggot (or: worm) continues not coming to the end [of its food], and the fire continues not being extinguished.' [Isa. 66:24]

49.  "Indeed, everyone (all humanity) will be salted (seasoned and preserved) in (with; by) fire! [some MSS add: – even every sacrifice is to be salted with salt]


This is mostly a parallel to Matt. 5:27-30, above.  Now consider the graphic quote of Isa. 66:24, here in vs. 48.  There, in Isa. 66:1-14, it speaks of blessings and comfort to Jerusalem.  Then vss. 15-17 tell of Yahweh's coming with fire, in judgment.  But vss. 18-23 describe the coming of His glory (Christ) and of the worship of Yahweh, with the final verse (24) being the one that Jesus quotes here in Mark 9,

"And they will go forth [out of Jerusalem] and see the corpses of the mortals who transgressed against Me, for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they will become a repulsion to all flesh." (Isa. 66:24)

Take note that this is speaking of “the corpses” – i.e., “dead bodies.”  It is not speaking of some “afterlife” situation.  All of this happens in this life, upon the earth – not in "eternity" nor in some other place or sphere.


Lu. 12:4-5 is a variation of Matt. 10:28.  And James 3:6 is the final use of the term Gehenna in the NT,

6.  Well the tongue [is] a fire; [its fuel is] the System of injustice (or: the ordered and decorated but dominating world of secular culture, religion, politics and government which is unjust; or: The tongue, also, [is] fire: the world of disregard for what is right).

The tongue is placed down within our members, continuously spotting (staining; = defiling) the whole body, and repeatedly setting on fire the wheel of birth (= the cycle of the origin [of life], or of generation; the wheel of genesis), as well as being continuously set on fire by (or: under) the garbage dump (the depository of refuse; Greek: Gehenna – the Valley of Hinnom).


Here James (literally, Jacob) is using the word Gehenna metaphorically, but he is using in in reference to behavior of people in this life here on earth.


Concerning Hades (the Unseen; Hebrew: sheol; = the grave)


Matt. 11:23-24 (Lu. 10:15)

23.  "And as for you, Capernaum!  Will you be

            'exalted as far as heaven (or: the sky)'?


          'You will brought down and "mounted" as far as the Unseen

          (Hades; = Sheol; the grave; the abode of the dead)!' [Isa. 14:13, 15] 

Because if the powers and abilities, being birthed and happening within you, had taken place in Sodom, it would have remained in place unto today.

24.  "What is more, I now say to you folks, that it will consequently be more endurable in, and for, [the] land of Sodom, in [the] day of separation and decision, than for you folks!"


This is a metaphor for a city being brought to ruin and being buried.


Matt. 16:18-19

18.  "And now I, Myself, am saying to you that you are Peter (or: that you continue being an isolated stone).  And you see, [it is] upon this: the rock mass (or: bedrock) [that] I am going to construct and build up My house – the called-out community.  And even gates of [the] unseen (or: gates of an unseen place; [= boulders on the entrances of graves; = {the prison} gates of the 'house of death'; or: the bars enclosing the realm of the dead]) will not bring strength down against it (or: will not come to their full strength in relation to it; or: will not overpower it; will not prevail in resisting it).

19.  "I am going to give to you the keys [note: = means of locking or unlocking] which have their origin and source in the reign and activities of the heavens

            (or: which pertain to and have the characteristics of the kingdom of the heavens; or:        which belong to the sovereignty from the atmospheres; or, as a genitive of apposition: the keys which are the sovereign reign of the heavens).  And so, whatever you can (or: may; should) bind upon the earth will be [something] having been bound, and still remaining bound, within the midst of the heavens (or: in the atmospheres).  Also, whatever you can (or: may; should) loose upon the earth will be [something] having been loosed (unbound; untied), and remaining free of bonds, within the midst of the heavens (or: in the atmospheres)."


We should compare this with Rev. 1:18 where keys and “death/the unseen” are again associated,

18.  "even The Living One (or: the One continuously living), I also brought Myself to be (or: birthed Myself) [to be] a dead one (or: I also came by Myself to be dead), and now, Look and consider!  I am living on into the ages of the ages (or: the unspecified and indefinite time periods of the eons), and I constantly hold (or: have; possess) the keys of Death and of the Unseen (Greek: hades)."


Christ shares His keys (means of unlocking the prisons that hold folks in death, with regard to their relationships with God, with themselves and with one another – cf Eph. 2:1) with His followers so that we can do what we see our Father doing: restoring folks to life by imparting His Spirit into them.  The resurrection life of Christ (Jn. 11:25) restores life and shines His Light into their darkness (Jn. 1:5; 9) where – until the coming of the Light – everything is “unseen.”


We see the association of "death and the unseen" in Rev. 20:13-14.  First, these two "deliver up the dead," so we can see "hades" associated with the grave.  The context is a situation of the dead being evaluated and decided about (or: judged), in vs. 12.  It is a judgment that is based upon their works (not their beliefs).  Next, in vss. 14-15, "death and the unseen (or: the grave)" are cast into the lake of the Fire.  Those not "found written in the book of the Life" are also cast there.


We will look at "the lake of the Fire" and "the book of the Life" in another study.  But we should note that in vs. 14 this "pond of the Fire" is described as the second death, and ch. 21:8 says that this lake/pond burns with "Fire and Deity (or: the Devine Nature – theion).  And so both death and the unseen have a new location: within God – Who is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29).  The picture is of the negative aspects of creation, and the judgment upon humanity that was made in Eden, are being returned into God, and thus, we can conclude, are being transformed.  Those listed in this verse needing purification and transformation also have "their part" here – for they are the ones whose names are not yet written in the book of the Life of Christ.  So their supposed "free will" is taken away by God's decision to purge them of all these negative qualities.  Those yet "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1) are cast into an immersion (baptism) of Holy Spirit and Fire (Matt. 3:11) to experience His dealings upon and within them.


The only place that Rev. mentions "hades" is in 6:8, where it is again associated with "death," and where the pale horse rider is given authority to kill with sword, hunger, death and little animals of the land (or: earth).  Once again, the context is here in this life, on this earth.


The book of Acts uses "hades" to refer to where Christ went, but where His soul (= Him) was not left (Acts 2:27; 31).  The obvious reference is to His death and burial.


Next we will look at 1 Cor. 15:55b, where the KJV, following the RT (Received, or Majority Text), renders "hades" as "grave."  If those translators had been consistent, it would read "O hell, where is your victory?"  However, all modern texts read "death" a second time.  But this is a quote of Hos. 13:14, where the Heb. text reads "sheol" in the second line, and the LXX reads "hades."  Young, following the RT reads "hades" here in 55b.


The last place to investigate "hades" in the NT is Lu. 16:22-24, in Jesus' parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  This is the only place where "hades" is associated with a flame and testing.  It is also associated with his being buried.  If we see the Rich Man as a figure of the Jewish leadership (in vs. 14 we see that Jesus began this discourse in response to them), then this is a metaphorical use of the "grave" for the Jewish religion dying and being buried when the Romans burned Jerusalem in AD 70.


Besides "Tartarus" in 2 Pet. 2:4, these are the only references to "hell" in the NT,

4.  For since (or: if) God did (or: does) not spare agents (or: folks having a, or, the message) – but who at one point were (or: are) straying from the goal (or: when failing to hit the mark; at missing the target; upon committing error) but rather gave (or: gives) them over into an act of judging – of being repeatedly pruned (cut back for correction), while being constantly watched over, kept, maintained and protected – giving [them] the experience of Tartarus [Hellenistic mythological term and concept: the subterranean world; cf LXX, Job 40:15 (the marshlands and wild areas around the Jordan River) and 41:23 (the caverns and lower parts of deep waters and the abyss)] in dark, gloomy pits (caves; caverns) [other MSS: in ropes (or: chains; bands; cords); = in bondage].

Observe the use of “tartarus” in the LXX.  There it referred to marshlands and wild areas around the Jordan, and to caverns and lower parts of deep waters, in these verses from the book of Job.  I now quote from my yet unpublished commentary on 2 Per. 2:4:

“From this we can see that the word Tartarus had been domesticated by the Jews and had come to have a “this world” application, even if its use was figurative in nature.  The different MS traditions of the noun (pits versus ropes) in the last phrase have good witnesses for each reading – and it is only a slight difference in spelling that distinguishes these words – and while one describes wild living conditions, as for outcasts, the other implies imprisonment.  As to the word pits, Barclay instructs us that the word,

[S]iros or seiros which originally meant a great earthenware jar for storing of grain.  Then it came to mean the great underground pits in which grain was stored and which served as granaries.  Siros has come into English via Provencal in the form of silo, which still describes the towers in which grain is stored.  Still later the word went on to mean a pit in which a wolf or other wild animal was trapped….  But there is a very similar word seira, which means a chain…. The Greek MSS of Second Peter vary between seiroi, pits, and seirai, chains” (ibid p 321; emphasis original; brackets added).’”


Concerning "Outer Darkness"


Those cast out of the feasting in the reign of the heavens, Matt. 8:12

12.  "Yet the 'sons of the kingdom (or: reign; = those who were in line to inherit the kingdom; or: = those who were supposed to manifest its reign)' will be thrown out into the external darkness (external obscurity of the shadows).  There [= outside the banqueting building] it will be 'weeping and grinding of teeth' (or: The crying and the gnashing of teeth will be in that [outdoor] place, or situation)."


Here, from vs. 10 of this text, it would seem that Jesus is referring to the leadership in Israel that lacked faith, while those "from the east and the west" (vs. 11; perhaps referring to other religions, but definitely speaking of the Gentiles) would be included.  Verse 12 speaks of a loss of position and inclusion in kingdom functions.  Jesus told the person without appropriate clothing at the wedding feast, Matt. 22:13,

13.        "At that point, the king said to the servants, 'Upon binding his feet and hands, you    

             men throw him out into the darkness (dim obscurity) which is farther outside.  In  that

             place there will continue being the weeping (or: lamenting) and the grinding of the



Here, the point is exclusion from the wedding party, which is another figure for participation in kingdom functions.  We should not “read into” this some kind of “eternal punishment.”  It primarily refers to the Jewish leadership that did not accept Jesus so as to be clothed with kingdom celebration garments (Christ, Himself), and from this union with Christ become part of the agents sent forth in the book of Acts  Jesus had said to the ranking priests and scribes, in Matt. 21:43,

God's reign (or: the kingdom of God; the influence and activity of God's sovereignty) will be progressively lifted up away from you folks, and it (or: she) will proceed being given to an ethnic multitude (or: nation; people group; swarm of people) consistently producing its (or: her) fruit!

We see that this happened, following His resurrection.


The slave who buried the talent, Matt. 25:30

30.  "'And now, you men at once throw the useless slave out into the darkness (dim obscurity and gloominess) which is farther outside.  In that place there will continue being the weeping (or: lamenting) and the grinding of the teeth.'


Here the useless slave loses his job – another figurative reference to what would happen to the Jewish leadership, in regard to the sovereign activity of God through people.


The "weeping and grinding of teeth" is a picture of sadness and regret for the various losses.  These were all prophetic pictures of the Jews as a religion and a nation losing their position in His reign and what He was doing in the earth.  They were being broken out of their olive tree, and others were being grafted in (Rom. 11:17).


All His goodness is with you,





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