Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tell me again…what Jesus said about Hell?

Jesus did speak out boldly against the teachings of the Pharisees.....Chan points that out...and I agree.  Jesus did not hesitate to go toe to toe with them.  He called them snakes and vipers...compared them to whitewashed tombs and cups that were clean on the outside but dirty on the inside. 

Matthew 16:6 And Jesus said to them, Take care to have nothing to do with the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (BBE)

Mark 8:15 And he said to them, Take care to be on the watch against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. (BBE)

Luke 12:1 At that time, when thousands of the people had come together, in such numbers that they were crushing one another, he said first to his disciples, Have nothing to do with the leaven of the Pharisees, which is deceit. (BBE)

Leaven equals teaching. 

 Matthew 16:12 Then they saw that it was not the leaven of bread which he had in mind, but the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (BBE)

So beware of their teachings....except, of course, they've got the hell part right?

No....he never said that. 

And I agree with Chan's assessment that most of the Pharisees did believe in hell.  They had several terms for it too….phrases that could mean nothing other than unending punishment....forever torture....with no hope of escape. 

There are words, in the original language of scripture, that truly mean eternal. The word aidios denotes a period of time that is truly never ending. The Pharisees believed in a doctrine of endless punishment. Jesus was well aware of this. The term was aidios timoria. They believed wicked spirits were kept in eternal imprisonment...eirgmon aidion. The Essenes also  believed in a place of never ceasing torment. Their phrase was timoria adialeipton. 

And these are the terms Jesus used when he warned his listeners about hell....right?  In Matthew 25:46 when he said 

"These shall go away into everlasting punishment "

he used one of these well known, oft repeated  phrases denoting forever and ever and ever in never ceasing torment?  Jesus used the phrase aionion kolasin, which is more accurately translated as “age abiding correction.”  As in remedial punishment...not vindictive vengeance. Punishment, perhaps.....but corrective punishment, meant to restore not to torture.

If Jesus was truly trying to warn his listeners about an eternal hell....if he meant to side with the Pharisees on at least this one point of doctrine, there WERE phrases he could have used. But he NEVER did. No where in the entire Bible.  And that was one of the key pieces of "evidence" that convinced me of the truth of Universalism.

Oh….and Paul never used the term either….except when he speaks about God’s eternal power and Godhead in Romans 1:20.  Just sayin’ ……

Some very good resources to learn more about this subject….

Bible Threatenings Explained

Universalism, the Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years

Both books are written by JW Hanson….

and about the term aonian, a word very important in universalist beliefs….

An Analytical Study of Words by Louis Abbott

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