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Hebraic Definition of Kingdom (2 of 4)

Shane Willard

Page 2 of 10
There were two words for hell that Jesus used; the first word was this, Gehenna. The second word was this, [unclear 00.05.07] and to teach hell properly you have to teach both. Jesus used the word hell 18 times; 15 was this one, three was this one. Of the three two were figures of speech. Only one time, once, did Jesus use this word in terms of a person and a place of fire, only once. Now Gehenna was an actual place in Jerusalem. It found its origins - here's what happened. Here's the history of Gehenna in a nutshell. There were some bad kings and they started sacrificing children in fire. You can read about this in the Book of Jeremiah. It says there was a place called Gehenna and it was called the place of Topheth. Topheth means place of burning and what they would do essentially is they would burn the children in fire to the god Molek okay. Don't quote me on this but I think it was the first born 10 year olds, so the picture of Gehenna is you have a bunch of reluctant first born 10 year olds being dragged to Gehenna to be thrown into the fires in order to appease Molek.

Along came a king named Josiah. Josiah decided we're not going to burn children in fire anymore. The reason is because he was eight okay, so it wasn't going to bode well for him alright, plus he has a bunch of second grade classmates going come on man, throw me a bone here, you're the king! [Laughter] So he changes this, which leaves the king in a bad place. What he did is he had the sages search the annals and they found Leviticus, and in Leviticus it says you shouldn't throw your children in fire so he says this is who we're going to go with. We're going with this god. Now the problem is if you're the king and you're responsible for how to use all the land, if you have a piece of property that has been used to sacrifice children what's the matter with that property? It's now useless. I mean can you imagine if you're here and you're in real estate, can you imagine trying to sell a house on a piece of property that was used to sacrifice children for three generations? It just wouldn't work. Can you imagine; hey, we're developing this new piece of land. It's called Poltergeist Acres. [Laughter] It's too spooky. It has this Children of the Corn feel to it doesn't it? [Laughter]

So they couldn't do anything with it, so what Josiah decided to do is he said well since we can't do anything else with it what we'll do is we'll make it the town garbage dump. We'll make it the town garbage dump. Now here's the thing; garbage stinks, so what they had to do in Gehenna was they had to keep the fire going all the time so that the smell of the garbage wouldn't reach the city. It wouldn't reach Jerusalem. So they kept the fire going all the time to drown out the smell. The other thing they used it for was for a tomb for people who could not afford it, so they would use it as a tomb so all the time there were funerals going on. You'd see people throwing people up into fire, so there were funerals and tears and things like this. The other thing was is all the stray animals - where do stray animals come to get food? Garbage dumps, so all the stray animals would come in and they'd scavenge for food so all night long you would hear them barking and biting one another, trying to stave off each other so they could eat.

So in Jerusalem Gehenna was called the Place Where the Fire Doesn't Die and There's Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth. So when Jesus says these things endanger your life of Gehenna, what's He saying? Is He talking about if you do these things you might go to hell one day? No. To Jesus hell, 15 of 18 instances of hell - I think that's like 86 per cent - 86 per cent of the time Jesus said the word hell it wasn't talking about hell one day, it was talking about hell now. Every time He uses the word Gehenna He's talking to Christians, so see to Christians what do we talk like - how do we talk about hell? Hell is for who? Them. When? Then, right? So hell is about other people in the future right, but to Jesus hell was about me now. It was mostly about me now. He says hey, here are some things that send your life to hell. Jesus said the word hell, Gehenna 15 times, hell on earth 15 times, and He said six different things will send your life there. Six different things will send your life there: one, holding anger in your heart; two, calling someone an idiot; three, fearing man instead of fearing God; four, unforgiveness; five, pride; six, greed.