1067 GE'ENNA (12): usually translated, "hell"; however, the word "hell" is not a translation of any Greek word in God's First Century Revelation (FCR) but is an arbitrary ecclesiastical word lacking legitimacy. Ge'enna represents Aramaic or Chaldean "gee'nna", (Hebrew gehinnom, Valley of Tophet or Hinnom, which was used in the First Century as a city dump by Jerusalem). Instead of translating ge'enna some bibles simply transliterate it, "Gehenna" or "gehenna." But gehenna is a meaningless word in English. Godspeed translates it as "the pit," and Phillips as "the fires of destruction." Limited bible usage, and perhaps conflicting understanding of the text seem to be logical reasons for not clearly defining or translating gehenna. Existing theological explanations and other preconceptions wander too far from scripture to really be useful. Although some translations use the word "hell" in God's Ancient Revelation (AR) to represent the Hebrew word "sheol," this word means the same thing as does hades in the FCR. (See "unseen place" 0086 hades). Accordingly, there does not appear to be a Hebrew word in the AR which corresponds to gehenna in the FCR.
A humble attempt will be made herein to provide an "Every-day English" translation of ge’enna and explain its relationship to concepts such as "soul, sensory-being" (5590 psuche), "unseen place" (0086 hadfs) and "death" (2288 thanatos), using only the text of God's FCR as a basis.
Although ge'enna is very real, it is not a place which is discernible with any of the five human senses; nor does any "scientific" equipment exist (or any other source) which can provide information concerning the ge’enna described in the FCR. All that is available is the twelve passages in the FCR which use the word ge'enna. But in order to understand a concept such as ge'enna which is beyond human experience and physical evidence, it is necessary to have some kind of literal physical reference. (For example, in Jn.10.7 Yesu said, "I am the door..." But with-out descriptive or physical evidence concerning a "door," how could his hearers understand this metaphor?) Similarly, Mt.5.22 and 5.29-30 assign literal, physical characteristics to ge'enna, and can thus prepare the human mind to understand the figurative meaning of ge'enna. Note that the passages containing the word ge'enna begin in Mt.5.22 and sequentially proceed through Matthew, Mark and Luke, providing additional explanatory information about ge'enna, culminating with a different figurative use in Jas.3.6. (Notice that the Pure Spirit apparently arranged for Matthew to use the word ge'enna seven times, in a sequence which provides increasing comprehension of its meaning!")
In the twelve passages in which ge'enna occurs, it is described as:
DISCUSSION: In Mt.5.22,29 and 30, ge'enna is described as a literal fiery place where body of a condemned person could be thrown. (In the First Century A.D. the Valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem included such a burning dump.) Additionally, Mt.10.28, Mk.9.43,45,47 and Lk.12.5 show that the "death" (2288 thanatos) of a condemned human is involved. So then, ge'enna figuratively represents the initial disposition of those who are condemned, the destruction of their "body" - but not their "spirit". (c.f., The body without the spirit is dead, Jas 2.26.) This is the FIRST death, the ending of physical life for condemned people. See "death" (2288 thanatos) for discussion of "First and Second Death." (Ge’enna never refers to the death or body-disposal of upright, uncondemned people.)
So, what is this figurative place called ge'enna where condemned ones go at death? The answer is in Lk.16.22-23. (Lk.16.19-31 is about a "REAL EVENT". See "unseen place," 0086 hades, for discussion.) The rich man's "body" had been buried. All that was left of him was his "spirit," which was conscious but no longer among living humans, but in a place called hades. Now the text does not state that the rich man's "body" was thrown into ge'enna, but simply states that he "...also died and was buried," and that he was in anguish; that is, his body was one place and his spirit in another place. (see 0086 hades for discussion). Someone will say that the text nowhere says that the rich man was condemned, but note that HE was the one in anguish, not Lazarus.
Note that hades and ge'enna are not synonyms. In Mt.10.28 Yesu adds another figurative element to the preceding description of ge'enna. A person should fear the one (i.e., God) "...who is able to ruinously slay both body and soul in ge'enna." Yesu refers to the slaying of both body AND soul in ge'enna." But it was noted above that the spirit (read "soul" in this context) of a condemned person in still conscious in ge'enna; so how can it be slain and at the same time be in ge'enna? The answer is that in Mt.10.28, the spirit is slain "prospectively;" that is, its ultimate destiny is to be "ruinously slain" in the Second Death (see 2288 thanatos). (Note: Prospectively, as used here means "in the future." John the Immerser (Mk.1.4) and Yesu (Lk.3.3) "prospectively" proclaimed "...a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins." That is, sins would not be forgiven at the time these words were spoken, but "in the future," when Yesu died on the cross for them.) Similarly, slaying of the soul (read "spirit") does not occur at the same time the body is slain, but at the Second Death. And this is a reasonable conclusion, because when a person dies, his fate is set for eternity; after death no one can change it (Heb.9.27).
Mt.18.8-9 adds the concept of "Final-age" or "age-long" fire; that is, "the fire of ge'enna" lasts as long as does ge'enna" (or hades). Mt.23.15 shows further that it is "a son of ge'enna," who goes to ge'enna; and "the condemnation of ge'enna" in Mt.23.33 shows that being sent to ge'enna is a judgement of condemnation.
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