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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Scriptural Example of 'Eternal Fire' - Part Two

Part One

"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city." Matthew 10:14-15

In Jude 7, the Bible speaks of the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, and how the destruction of these cities is set forth as an example of God's wrath against sin and unrighteousness. What the Bible does not say, is that the inhabitants of these cities were punished by being tormented in hell for all eternity. The passage simply does not say that, nor will you find that concept anywhere in scripture.

But the Bible has much more to say about the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah; such as in the passage above where we read that 'It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city' (those cities in Judea which had rejected the preaching of Christ's disciples).

What are we to make of this? Immediately there are problems for the commonly held belief that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are currently burning in hell. The judgment spoken of here is clearly the future and final judgment of mankind. If the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are already burning in an eternal hell then this makes little sense. What good would it do to judge them in the future if they are already burning in hell?

Typical of the response given by most evangelical and fundamentalist Christians is the interpretation of the Dake's Annotated Study Bible":

"Teaching degrees of Punishment in hell"

Or the note from the Defender's Study Bible:

"This statement clearly sets forth the principle of degrees of punishment in hell..."

Will we ever begin to realize just how blind our preconceived ideas make us to what the Bible actually says? How can Matthew 10:14-15 be talking about 'degrees of punishment in hell', when once again, 'hell' is never mentioned in the passage? How is it that the passage clearly reads 'IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT' when our commentators boldly instruct us that this means 'in HELL'?

But furthermore, taking these commentators at their word, how can this passage possibly mean that it will more more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah 'in hell' than for the wicked Judean cities that rejected the Messiah? Does that make any sense at all? If hell is actually like what we're always told it is, then what could a statement like this possibly mean? Do the wicked inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah get a cooler corner of the lake of fire? Are their burning souls made less sensitive to the tormenting flames and the devouring worms? Does it matter much since this conscious punishment supposedly lasts for all eternity? What kind of nonsense is this that we're so quick to inject into the word of God?

But if we take the Bible for what it actually says rather that what we've been told it means we can ascertain a few facts:

1) The passage does not say that it will be more tolerable for Sodom 'in hell'; it says 'in the day of judgment'. Why are so many believers so quick to inject their preconceived ideas here while apparently losing their ability to read plain English? If this passage is speaking of 'degrees of punishment' then these punishments are meted out within the time frame specified in the passage; 'In the day of judgment'. The concept of punishment in 'hell' is entirely absent.

2) It says that it shall be more tolerable for 'THE LAND of Sodom and Gomorrah' in this 'Day of Judgment'. We can ascertain from this that 'in the day of judgment' there must be a 'land of Sodom and Gomorrah' to judge. Therefore these lands must be restored in order to be judged. If the concept of various 'lands' being judged in the 'day of judgment' is foreign to you, then perhaps you might consider whether or not your understanding of the 'day of judgment' is correct.

3) The passage says nothing about the eternal destinies of these lands following the judgment.

Little attempt is made by evangelical or fundamentalist commentators to explain these facts. Having already decreed that the lands of Sodom and Gomorrah have been destroyed forever, and that their inhabitants are already burning in an eternal hell, the best they can do is assert that these passages teach 'degrees of punishment in hell'. But none of this changes what this passage actually says. If we are going to be scriptural then we must conclude that the final judgment upon the lands of Sodom and Gomorrah has not yet taken place, and that these lands will once again exist when this judgment takes place.

I can already hear the howls of protest. Based on Jude 7, and the fact that it says that these cities were destroyed by an 'eternal fire', how can I be suggesting that these cities and their inhabitants have any future restoration in the 'day of judgment'? Simple. Because:

1) The 'eternal' destruction of these cities isn't what you think it is....

2) The 'day of judgment' isn't what you've been taught that it is, and...

3) The Bible says so.

But isn't this a contradiction? How can an 'eternal destruction' allow for any future restoration?

Fortunately the Bible answers this question for us. Examine carefully the following passage where the prophet Isaiah is warning the land of Judah of their coming destruction:

"Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; Yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: Because the palaces shall be forsaken; The multitude of the city shall be left; The forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, A joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, And the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field. " Isaiah 32:13-16

Now here's a passage you're not likely to hear preached on Sunday morning. Isaiah is warning the nation of Judah about their coming destruction and the perpetual desolation to follow. Notice carefully that 'the palaces shall be forsaken' and the 'forts and towers shall be for dens FOR EVER'. Well that sounds pretty final doesn't it? 'Forever' means 'for all eternity' doesn't it? Or does it? Notice what comes next...

'The forts and towers shall be for dens FOR EVER... UNTIL the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field.'

Notice what this passage does not say; it does not say that this desolation of Judah lasts until the 'spirit be poured out from on high'. It says that the desolation lasts FOR EVER, until the 'spirit be poured out from on high'.

How many people have ever taken the time to consider this - that scripturally a destruction which is to last 'for ever' only lasts 'until' God restores it by the pouring out of His spirit? This is not my interpretation or opinion, it is simply what the Bible says.

The inescapable conclusion in this passage is that 'for ever' is simply as long as God intends it to last - this is the only scriptural conclusion that we can come to. Even the most conservative commentators are here forced to admit this.

For example, the Bible Knowledge Commentary States:

"The desolation (whether by Assyria or Babylon) would come on the land forever (‘ôlām). This Hebrew word does not always carry the same force as the English word “forever.” From verse 15 it is obvious that Isaiah saw a day when the desolation would cease. So it is better to understand ‘ôlām here as meaning “for a long indeterminable time.” (emphasis mine)

The Pulpit Commentary admits:

"For ever. This expression must not be pressed. Hyperbole is a recognized feature of poetry written under strong excitement.... Until. The expression “until” modifies the previous “for ever,” showing that the desolation was not always to continue. "

I couldn't agree more with these conclusions, but the problem for them is this: Since they are forced here to admit that a destruction which is expressly stated to last 'for ever' will ultimately come to an end, then how can they say by the same logic that the perpetual destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah can never come to an end, particularly when we are explicitly told by Jesus that these cities must exist 'in the day of judgment'? If the desolation of Judah lasts 'for ever' until God restores it, then why is this not also true of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Do we believe what the Bible says? Are we willing to admit that we might have been mistaken?

Some might reason that while such a restoration is promised for the nation of Israel, such a restoration is never promised for the lands of Sodom and Gomorrah. But such reasoning is completely mistaken.

The comparison between the wickedness of Israel and that of cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is not unique to the New Testament, such as in Matthew 10:14-15, but is also found in the Old Testament:

"As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it." Ezekiel 16:48-50

Notice the comparison here. The sins of Jerusalem are being compared to the sins of Sodom. The Lord declares that in his eyes, Jerusalem had sinned far worse than Sodom which had been destroyed for their wickedness. Because of their guilt, Judah and Jerusalem were also to experience destruction and desolation. As shown above, this destruction was also foretold by the prophet Isaiah - destruction that was was to last 'for ever' until Judah and Jerusalem were restored by God's spirit.

Similarly, the book of Ezekiel also speaks of this future restoration of Judah and Jerusalem. But within the context describing that restoration we read an absolutely astonishing statement concerning the lands of Sodom and Gomorrah:

"I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in their midst, that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all that you have done, becoming a consolation to them. As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former state, and you and your daughters shall return to your former state." Ezekiel 16:53-55

Again, the restorations of Judah and Jerusalem are promised, but they are promised along with the restoration of Sodom! To be sure, Sodom was extremely sinful and their destruction served as an example of God's wrath against sin. But the nation of Israel, having been given so much more divine favor incurred more guilt than even Sodom. Both nations were destroyed, and both have suffered perpetual desolation. But just as God promised restoration to the nation of Israel, he also promised restoration to the land of Sodom. Because wicked Israel felt that they were so much more righteous than the surrounding nations, they will suffer great remorse in the judgment when they see the restoration of Sodom - a remorse which will be magnified by Sodom receiving a more 'tolerable' judgment.

So what have we learned from all this?

First, that the Bible never says that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were sent to hell, only that the destruction of their cities is set forth as an example of the vengeance of 'eternal fire'. Second, that this eternal destruction and desolation lasts only as long God ordains it to last. And lastly, that Sodom and Gomorrah are promised a future restoration along with the nation a Israel - a restoration which will occur 'in the day of judgment'. The concept that inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are currently suffering in an eternal hell is not only absent, but in direct contradiction to what the scriptures actually say.

I hope this this brief study on the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah will challenge all believers to reexamine their belief in the doctrine of eternal torment, and to ask once again if what they have been taught is really based on the scriptures alone.


Friday, July 20, 2007

A Scriptural Example of 'Eternal Fire' - Part One

"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Jude 7

In a previous post I attempted to demonstrate very briefly that the doctrine of eternal torment is simply not a scriptural teaching, but is based on various assumptions already present in the mind of the reader which are injected into the scriptures. The popular ideas about hell are completely absent from the very scriptures that are too often quoted to prove that hell is a reality. Christians need to examine their hearts and ask themselves if they're interested in what the Bible really teaches, or if they're more interested in defending long held and cherished beliefs no matter what.

The only sure guide for determining what a passage means is to let the Bible define its own terms and language. So many Christians insist that they do just that, but their doctrines betray them. For example, why do so many Christians regularly preach that the 'Gehenna Fire' (often translated 'hell fire') of the New Testament is an eternal place of conscious torment for human souls, when scripturally the only thing it is ever said to burn are human corpses?

The passage quoted at the top of this posting is just one more place in the scriptures where people think they find scriptural 'proof' of hell. But again, when we let the scriptures define their own language, this passage becomes fatal to that concept. How so?

We read that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha are set forth as an EXAMPLE of 'eternal fire'. If this verse is supposed to offer 'proof' for the existence of some fabled hell-hole of eternal torment then this is surely strange. Most people are familiar with the Old Testament story about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha. The wickedness of those cities was so great that God destroyed them by raining down fire and brimstone from heaven. But friends, that's where the story ends concerning God's wrath against them. You cannot find anywhere in your Bible where it says that these wicked people landed in hell after their cities were destroyed.

Now let's think about this. Sodom and Gomorrha are supposed to be an EXAMPLE of vengeance by 'eternal fire'. Even more than that, they are SET FORTH as an example of such a fire. If this is 'proof' of an eternal hell, then what evidence, scriptural or otherwise, are you going to SET FORTH AS AN EXAMPLE to prove it? You have no scriptural proof, and certainly not one shred of physical evidence to prove this. What happened to these cities is an example of what an 'eternal fire' is and does. Immortal souls burning in hell are never set forth as an example of anything.

The meaning of this passage ought to be crystal clear if not for the 'theological blinders' which obscure the minds of so many professing Christians. The wrath of God against these cities utterly destroyed them and wiped them off the face of the earth, and they were never rebuilt. The fact of their destruction and perpetual desolation to this day is the true example of what God's eternal fire is. This is a provable, visible, and tangible fact which can be set forth as an example of God's wrath against unrighteousness and sin. Why do so many feel the need to cloud such a clear example by trying to use this passage as proof for an unscriptural myth?

The total and perpetual destruction of these cites can be set forth as a clear example of God's wrath. On the other hand, no one has ever presented one soul burning in hell as an example of anything.

But the scriptural facts about the people who suffered this fate do not end here. I know that most Christians want to confine the people of Sodom to hell for all eternity, but is that what the Bible really says? Oh, I hear you now; 'The fire is eternal' you say. But, scripturally speaking, are you sure you even know what an 'eternal fire' is?

The truth might surprise you...

To be continued...


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Eternal Torment In Hell - A Scriptural Teaching?

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We are assured by nearly every Christian denomination, as well as every obscure Christian sect, that what they believe is based ‘solely on scripture’. Usually, if we were to ask any of these various groups why their particular interpretation of the scriptures should be favored against an opposing viewpoint we would likely be told that the others must surely be influenced by some extra-biblical authority, while ‘our interpretation is based solely on the scriptures.’

Sola Scriptura – or, scripture alone – has become the ‘stamp of authority’ for an innumerable myriad of conflicting and altogether contrary doctrines. Surely to a neutral outside observer these words must seem totally meaningless. Apparently anything can be proven ‘by scripture alone’.

Or can it?

To test this, let’s examine for a moment a doctrine that is believed by millions of Christians, taught in hundreds of Bible Colleges and Seminaries, and proclaimed in countless churches every Sunday: namely, that Hell is a place of eternal torment.

This thought, that the wicked will spend eternity in a hell of eternal torment, is one of the most basic and fundamental beliefs of Christianity and has been for centuries. We are assured by many of its adherents that this doctrine is based on ‘scripture alone’.

But is it? Let’s confine ourselves to the ‘scriptures alone’ and see what we come up with.

The word ‘hell’ as it appears in our English Bible is actually translated from one Hebrew word (Sheol), and three different Greek words (Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna). Any honest Pastor, Scholar or Bible teacher will tell you that three of these words have little or nothing to do with our modern conception of hell as a place of everlasting torment. Don’t believe me? Ask them.

For example, the Hebrew word Sheol simply means ‘the unseen’. In the Old Testament Sheol received both the good and the wicked; it is often synonymous with the grave. Put simply, Sheol means ‘the death state’ and is never connected with the concepts of hell and eternal torment as taught today[1].

Likewise, the Greek word ‘Hades’, which appears eleven times in the New Testament, is used in precisely the same way as the Hebrew ‘Sheol’[2]. At 1 Corinthians 15:55 the King James Version renders this word as ‘grave’. Revelation 20:13[3] makes it clear that Hades must be emptied prior to the final judgment. Once again, our widely held conceptions of hell and eternal torment are not to be found in those Bible verses that use the Greek word Hades.

Thirdly, the Greek word Tartarus is used only once in the New Testament (2 Peter 2:4), and refers only to the punishment of fallen angels. Tartarus is never used in reference to human punishment either now or in the future, and so also has nothing to do with our modern conceptions of eternal punishment in hell.

This leaves us with one Greek word - Gehenna. Concerning this word we are assured that it certainly does teach this doctrine of eternal torment.

But does it?

This word Gehenna appears only 12 times in the entire New Testament, and is almost always translated ‘hell’ by modern translators. I ask the reader to carefully consider the following verses:

"But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matthew 5:22

"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." Matthew 5:29

"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." Matthew 5:30

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28

"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire." Matthew 18:9

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." Matthew 23:15

"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Matthew 23:33

"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:" Mark 9:43

"And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:" Mark 9:45

"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:" Mark 9:47

"But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him." Luke 12:5

"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." James 3:6

It should be obvious from the above that ‘Hell’, whatever it may be, is to be avoided at all costs, and the seriousness of the judgment mentioned in these verses should never be diminished. But for the sake of this discussion, that’s not what we’re trying to prove.

Remember , the proposition that we are attempting to prove using ‘scripture alone’ is that ‘hell is a place of eternal torment’. Confining ourselves to ‘scripture alone’ and examining the four original language words which are variously translated into the English ‘hell’, this is the whole of the evidence. [4] Three of these original language words; the Hebrew Sheol, and the Greek Hades and Tatarus, have nothing to do with the teaching of an eternal torment in hell, and the remaining word, Gehenna, appears only in the 12 verses listed above.

So what’s the problem? One might think ‘Well see, the Bible DOES talk about HELL, at least in those 12 verses you listed.’


Even if we allow that the Greek word Gehenna has been properly translated into English as ‘HELL’[5], none of the 12 places in which this word occurs describes hell as a place of eternal torment as taught by so many today. Look at the list of verses above; none of them mention torment.

Put another way, the Bible never says that anyone is tormented in hell.[6]

I’m not sure that the average Christian who believes in eternal torment fully appreciates this problem. He or she is usually so conditioned by what they already believe about hell, that they cannot see that these concepts ARE TOTALLY ABSENT FROM EVERY VERSE IN WHICH THE WORD ‘HELL’ APPEARS.

To appreciate what this means, let’s say that I asked the average Christian to show me from their Bible one verse that states that hell is a place of eternal torment. This can never be done. Why? Because the entirety of the evidence, so far as the actual words which have been translated ‘hell’, has been given above – not one of them speaks of torment.

But if we really want to base what we believe ‘solely on the scriptures’ then the evidence above presents an even bigger problem for those who teach eternal torment in hell.

Let’s carefully look at our Bible and see what we can learn about the ‘hell’ presented in the 12 verses listed above.

We see that ‘hell’ is a place of ‘unquenchable fire’. But scripturally (since scripture is our SOLE guide) what does this mean? What is an ‘unquenchable fire’? Is it a fire that never goes out? Isn’t that what we’ve been taught to believe about the ‘unquenchable fire’ of hell?

Careful examination shows that the scriptures make many references to ‘unquenchable fires’. But what may surprise you is that many of these ‘unquenchable fires’ are no longer burning. For example:

"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." Jeremiah 7:20[8]

Here the prophet Jeremiah is warning the Jewish nation about their impending invasion and destruction by Babylonian armies. But did the fury and the fires spoken of here last for all eternity? Absolutely not. As the New American commentary states:

‘In this case God’s anger was going to be poured out on the land like burning pitch that would not be quenched until it had consumed everything it touched’[9] (emphasis mine)

So, scripturally speaking, an ‘unquenchable fire’ is not one that burns FOREVER - it is simply one that burns until it has accomplished its purpose. Therefore, using scripture alone one cannot prove that ‘hell’ is a fire that never goes out. That idea is simply not scriptural. To be sure, like the unquenchable fires of old, the fire of ‘hell’ will burn until it accomplishes its purpose. This, however, is no proof that its fires will never burn out.[10]

What else can we learn from the 12 ‘hell’ verses listed above?

We learn that hell is a place where ‘the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched’. Well, that sounds rather ominous, but scripturally, what does it really mean?

Here Jesus is quoting the sixty-sixth chapter of the book of Isaiah which reads:

"And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." Isaiah 66:24

Sticking to the scriptures ALONE, what do we learn from this passage? What is this ‘fire’ burning, and what are these ‘worms’ feeding upon?

CARCASSES – or dead bodies![11] Once again, the modern concept of souls being tormented after death is entirely absent!

How in the world did the picture of fire and worms consuming dead carcasses get turned into the modern teaching of immortal souls being tormented for all eternity? Certainly not by following scripture alone!

So what have we learned using scripture alone?

1) That four different words are generally translated into the English word ‘hell’, but of these only Gehenna is believed to refer to the eternal hell of common Christian thought.

2) None of the verses containing the word Gehenna speak of physical torment.

3) Scripturally, an ‘unquenchable fire’ is not one that never goes out, but one that burn until it accomplished its purpose.

4) Even if an ‘unquenchable fire’ is ‘eternal’ the only thing it is said to burn are carcasses, and certainly not conscious immortal souls.

This brief study isn’t meant to address every scripture which is usually offered in order to ‘prove’ that there is a hell in which the lost will be eternally tormented. However, I hope that the reader will be compelled by this evidence to study this topic further. Are you really sure that what you’ve been taught about hell is based ‘solely upon the scriptures’?

So let me ask the average Christian today:

Since your belief in hell as a place of eternal torment is supposedly based ‘solely on scripture’, and since none of the verses that contain the word ‘hell’ actually teach it, which verses in the Bible really teach what you believe about hell?



[1] I invite the reader to verify this for themselves. The Hebrew word sheol occurs 65 times in the Old Testament. A careful reading of these verses will easily prove that the modern concept of torment in hell cannot be established from any of these.

[2] In the LXX translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, sheol is rendered by the Greek hades.

[3] "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hades delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." Revelation 20:13

[4] I understand that other scriptures are cited in defense of this doctrine, but we should expect to find this doctrine at least once among the actual Greek words which supposedly reference this place of eternal torment.

[5] The proper translation of gehenna is itself a matter of much debate and its widespread translation into the English ‘hell’, a word which carries so much preconceived theological baggage, is simply begging the question.

[6] Among common passages cited in opposition to this are Luke 16:24 (‘I am tormented in this flame’ ) and Rev 14:11 (‘The smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever’). The ‘torment’ of Luke 16 (which many admit to be of a symbolic rather than a literal nature) is clearly in reference to ‘hades’ and is to be distinguished from the supposed ‘final hell’ of gehenna. Even ‘conservative’ scholars admit that hades does not represent the absolute and final state of the wicked. The word ‘hell’ does not appear in the context of Revelation 14. While the imagery of that verse is usually connected with the concept of an ‘eternal hell’, the association is an imaginary one in the mind of the reader and not based on a careful reading of scripture. The imagery is taken directly from Isaiah 34 in which the judgments take place upon the earth and are poured out upon the living. Only to those who have been conditioned to believe in an eternal hell of torment after death do these verses become descriptive of that condition.

[7] The Anchor Bible Dictionary admits this: ‘Although not describing the torments of Gehenna, Jesus warned his disciples to take all precautions not to fall victim to it.’ Freedman, D. N. (1996, c1992). The Anchor Bible Dictionary (2:927). New York: Doubleday.

[8] See also Jeremiah 17:27, Jeremiah 21:12, Ezekiel 20:47, Ezekiel 20:48, Amos 5:6

[9]Huey, F. (2001, c1993). Vol. 16: Jeremiah, Lamentations ; The New American Commentary (108). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[10] Other verses such as Matt 18:8 describe this fire using the Greek word Aionios which is often translated ‘eternal’. However, a careful examination of all ways in which this word is used proves that it need not mean, and indeed often cannot mean ‘unending’.

[11] The Hebrew word Peger appears 24 times in the Old Testament and never means anything other than a corpse.