Hell Gehenna And The Grave

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Hi M_____,

Thank you for your question. The scripture you refer to is:

Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Mat 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Mat 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

You are so right, these verses ARE referring to chastening in the lake of fire, not the grave. The Greek word translated ‘hell’ here in these verses is not ‘hades,’ but ‘gehenna.’ Gehenna is a valley just south of the old city of Jerusalem. It was used as the city dump in the days of Christ, and as such was the perfect type for describing the place where all men would be cast who have died, still a slave to their worthless debris called human flesh.

Christ is not talking about the grave here. But neither is He in any way teaching an eternal hell fire. The fires of Gehenna have long since burned out and it is today a city park, I am told. I have written much on this subject. The scriptures know nothing of an eternal hell fire, but this does not mean that we are not judged for our sins. I have never failed to be faithful to this truth, and yet I am constantly accused of teaching that we don’t need to change because we are all going to be saved anyway. On the other hand, when I point out that “faith without works is dead,” I am accused of teaching that we earn our own salvation. I am reminded of what the religious leaders of Christ’s day said about Him:

Mat 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. Mat 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

Pleasing people is not the goal of any man of God.

All who are referred to here in Mat 5 in regards to Gehenna, are included in those who we are told are “cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone”

Rev 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [ the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

This is the “Gehenna fire” referred to by Christ in Mat 5. I discuss this ‘lake of fire in ‘After The Counsel of His Own Will.’ Be sure to read that paper for a much clearer explanation for the purpose of this ‘lake of fire.’ Here is a segment from that paper:

The ‘Fire’ of the Lake of Fire

“I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood [ hay and stubble], and it [ Gods word] shall devour them” (Jer 5:14). It is a tormenting experience to have the spirit of God to burn out all of our sins and shortcomings, but it is not an eternal experience. It is the goal and purpose of the lake of fire. The lake of fire is a chastening and scourging experience.

There, that is the fire that devours the wood, the hay and the stubble which are all the evil deeds of all mankind of all time. It is the Word of God. And the Word of God is Christ (Joh 1:1), the “One Seed” of Gal 3:16. Therefore the ‘fire’ that ‘devours the wood’ is also those who are in the One Seed, those who are in Christ. Do you doubt this? Read Isa 33:14 and 15: “… Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”

The answer is not what any of the churches teach; not the eternal death crowd, and not the eternal torment crowd. Both camps refuse to give up the idols of their heart, ‘their’ stumbling blocks of iniquity (Eze 14:7). The answer is not Satan and his angels nor the wicked dead. The answer is “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly…”(Isa 33:15). The lake of fire IS those who are in Christ for we will be like him (1Jn 3:2) and He “is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29), which will purge all wickedness including “the devil and his angels (Mat 25:41).

For a much deeper understanding of this subject read ‘The Lake of Fire In Genesis’ in our letters section.

I hope this has answered your question.

Mike

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