Watch out for Gehenna! (Lk 12:5-12:5)

“But I will warn you

Whom to fear.

Fear him who,

After he has killed you,

Has authority

To cast you

Into Gehenna!

Yes!

I tell you!

Fear him!”

 

ὑποδείξω δὲ ὑμῖν τίνα φοβηθῆτε· φοβήθητε τὸν μετὰ τὸ ἀποκτεῖναι ἔχοντα ἐξουσίαν ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν. ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν, τοῦτον φοβήθητε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he would show them whom they ought to fear (ὑποδείξω δὲ ὑμῖν τίνα φοβηθῆτε).  They were to fear those (φοβήθητε), who after killing them (τὸν μετὰ τὸ ἀποκτεῖναι), had the authority or power (ἔχοντα ἐξουσίαν) to cast them into hell or Gehenna (ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν).  Then with a solemn declaration (ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν), he said that those were the people they ought to fear (τοῦτον φοβήθητε).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:28, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, warned his followers that they should fear or be afraid (φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον) of the people who can destroy both their soul and their body (τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι) by sending them to hell or Gehenna (ἐν γεέννῃ).  Both Luke and Matthew used this Greek word for hell, “γεέννῃ,” or the English Gehenna that was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  However, only Matthew, not Luke, talked about the soul, ψυχὴν.  Are you worried about going to hell?

Clear the path (Lk 3:5-3:5)

“Every valley

Shall be filled.

Every mountain

Shall be made low.

Every hill

Shall be made low.

The crooked ways

Will be made straight.

The rough ways

Will be made smooth.”

 

πᾶσα φάραγξ πληρωθήσεται καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ βουνὸς ταπεινωθήσεται, καὶ ἔσται τὰ σκολιὰ εἰς εὐθείας καὶ αἱ τραχεῖαι εἰς ὁδοὺς λείας·

 

Only Luke has this continuation of the prophecy from Deutero-Isaiah.  As a further description on how to prepare the way for the Lord, Luke quoted Isaiah, chapter 40:4-5.  Every valley will be filled (πᾶσα φάραγξ πληρωθήσεται).  Every mountain and hill will be made low (καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ βουνὸς ταπεινωθήσεται).  The crooked ways will be made straight (καὶ ἔσται τὰ σκολιὰ εἰς εὐθείας).  The rough ways will be made smooth (καὶ αἱ τραχεῖαι εἰς ὁδοὺς λείας).  This would be a time of upheaval.  The valleys would rise as the mountains and hills would fall.  Also, the uneven and rough places would become level and plain so that all the people would then see the glory of God revealed.

Pluck out your eye (Mk 9:47-9:47)

“If your eye

Causes you

To stumble,

Tear it out!

It is better

For you

To enter

The kingdom of God

With one eye

Than to have

Two eyes

To be thrown into hell.”

 

καὶ ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε, ἔκβαλε αὐτόν· καλόν σέ ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν

 

This saying about it being better to be blind in one eye can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:9, almost word for word.  This warning was almost the same as the warning about the stumbling hand and foot.  Jesus then spoke about the problem of wandering eyes.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if your eye causes you to stumble or sin (καὶ ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε), cast it out, gouge it out, or pluck it out (ἔκβαλε αὐτόν).  It would be better for you to enter the kingdom of God (εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) blind in one eye or one eyed (καλόν σέ ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον) than to have two eyes (ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς) but thrown into Gehenna or hell (ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν).  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom.  That was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off with one eye than being in these hell fires with two eyes.  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block or snare was, get rid of it, even if it is your eye.  This message was clear.  One eyed, one foot, or one hand was better than eternal fire.

Cut off your foot (Mk 9:45-9:45)

“If your foot

Causes you

To stumble,

Cut it off!

It is better

For you

To enter life

Lame

Than to have

Two feet

To be thrown

Into hell.”

 

καὶ ἐὰν ὁ πούς σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε, ἀπόκοψον αὐτόν· καλόν ἐστίν σε εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν χωλὸν, ἢ τοὺς δύο πόδας ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν.

 

This saying about better to be lame than sin can also be found in Matthew chapter 18:8, with some minor changes, since he united the hand and foot together.  In a rather harsh statement, Mark indicated that Jesus said that if your foot (καὶ ἐὰν ὁ πούς σου) causes you to stumble or sin (σκανδαλίζῃ σε), cut it off (ἀπόκοψον αὐτόν).  It would be better for you to enter life lame (καλόν ἐστίν σε εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν χωλόν) than to have two feet (ἢ τοὺς δύο πόδας) but thrown into Gehenna or hell (ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν).  The Greek word for hell was “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna, based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom.  That was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block, or snare was, get rid of it, even if it was one of your own feet.

Cut off your hand (Mk 9:43-9:43)

“If your hand

Causes you

To stumble,

Cut it off!

It is better

For you

To enter life

Maimed

Than with two hands

And go to hell,

To the unquenchable fire.”

 

Καὶ ἐὰν σκανδαλίσῃ σε ἡ χείρ σου, ἀπόκοψον αὐτήν· καλόν ἐστίν σε κυλλὸν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν, ἢ τὰς δύο χεῖρας ἔχοντα ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν, εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἄσβεστον

 

This saying about better to be maimed than sin can also be found in Matthew chapter 18:8, with some minor changes since he united the hand and foot together.    In a rather harsh statement, Mark indicated that Jesus said that if your hand caused you to stumble, sin, or scandalize others (Καὶ ἐὰν σκανδαλίσῃ σε ἡ χείρ σου), cut it off (ἀπόκοψον αὐτήν).  It would be better for you to enter life maimed or crippled (καλόν ἐστιν σε κυλλὸν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν) than to have two hands (ἢ δύο χεῖρας).  Then you would go away into Gehenna (ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν), the unquenchable fire (εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἄσβεστον).  The Greek word for hell was “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna, based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom.  That was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off maimed with one hand than being in these everlasting hell fires.  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block, or snare, get rid of it, even if it is one of your own hands.

The serpents (Mt 23:33-23:33)

“You snakes!

You brood of vipers!

How can you

Escape

Being sentenced

To Gehenna?”

 

ὄφεις, γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, πῶς φύγητε ἀπὸ τῆς κρίσεως τῆς γεέννης;

 

This attack on the Pharisees and Scribes is somewhat similar to the attack that John the Baptist had against the Pharisees and Sadducees earlier in Matthew, chapter 3:7.  When they came to be baptized by John, he was critical of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  He told them that they were like a group of vipers or poisonous snakes (Γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν), who would kill young people.  Here there is no mention of the Sadducees.  But the Pharisees and Scribes are called snakes (ὄφεις) and a brood of vipers or a group of poisonous snakes (γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν).  Jesus wanted to know how they could escape (πῶς φύγητε) being sentenced to Gehenna or hell (ἀπὸ τῆς κρίσεως τῆς γεέννης).  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.

Better blind than eternal fire (Mt 18:9-18:9)

“If your eye

Causes you

To sin

Or stumble,

Take it out!

Throw it away!

It is better for you

To enter life

With one eye

Than with two eyes

To be thrown into

The fire of hell.”

 

καὶ εἰ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔξελε αὐτὸν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ· καλόν σοί ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰς τὴν ζωὴν εἰσελθεῖν, ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός.

 

This saying about it being better to be blind in one eye can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:47, word for word.  This warning is almost the same as the warning about the stumbling hand and foot.  Jesus then spoke about the problem of wandering eyes.  If your eye causes you to stumble or sin (καὶ εἰ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζει σε), take it out, gouge it out, or pluck it out (ἔξελε αὐτὸν)!  Throw it away (καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ·)!  It would be better for you to enter life blind in one eye or one eyed (καλόν σοί ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰς τὴν ζωὴν εἰσελθεῖν) than to have two eyes (ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς) but thrown into the eternal fire (ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός).  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block or snare was, get rid of it, even if it is your eye.  Notice that here they are not sent to the eternal fires as in the preceding verses, but to the fires of Gehenna “γέενναν.”  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off with one eye and a whole body than being in these hell fires.