Hebrew Nuggets, Lesson 33: Gehenna

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The prophet Jeremiah railed against the practice of offering children to the god Molech to be burnt in fire, and he foretold that the Hinnom Valley would become a place of judgement (Jer. 7:31-32; 19:6). The concept of ge·hi·NOM as a place of fiery judgment, a development of these ideas, arose in the Second Temple period. … The modern view of hell as the dwelling place of the devil where the demons torment the damned is a conglomeration of biblical and non-biblical ideas that were not part of the imagery associated with Gehenna. In rabbinic literature ge·hi·NOM is a fiery furnace where the wicked are burned up and obliterated at the final judgement. ge·hi·NOM is not the dwelling place of the devil, nor do demons inflict punishments there. … Not only is gan ‘E·den the place where, according to Genesis, the first man and the first woman lived at the beginning of creation, it is also, according to some rabbinic sources, the future reward of the righteous.

On “Blood” in the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:19-20)

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The second reference is to the offerings eaten by the Jewish people in Leviticus 7:26-27, “Moreover you shall not eat any blood in any of your dwellings whither of bird or beast. … “Therefore I said to the children of Israel, No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.” Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust, for it is the life of all flesh. … You shall therefore keep my statues and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled) lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

The Teaching of Balaam

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And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: “The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword: ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; you hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. … Whenever a Jew would pass by in the market place…a girl would come out in her adornments and her perfume and seduce him by saying, “Why is it that we love you and you hate us—here, take this piece of merchandise for free—after all, we are both descended from a single ancestor, Terah, the father of Abraham.

The Surprise of Finding Anti-Semitism in the Heart of the Early Church Fathers

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The other disease which my tongue is called to cure is the most difficult… And what is the disease? The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews which are soon approaching.

— Saint John Chrysostom (349-407)

The worldwide Church, individually and corporately, needs to consider apologizing to the Jewish people as a result of anti-Semitic remarks by the Early Church Fathers as evidenced in the fourth century works of Saint John Chrysostom called Λόγοι Κατὰ Ἰουδαίων (Discourse Against the Jews).Joannis Chrysostomi, ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ, ΤΟΥ ΧΡΥΣΟΣΤΟΜΟΥ, ΤΑ ΕΥΡΙΣΚΟΜΕΝΑ ΠΑΝΤΑ (ed.

Remember Shiloh!

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The temple, which was intended to be a place where all peoples could worship, had degenerated into a place of profiteering. …

Reading the larger context of Jeremiah 7:11, one encounters the following:

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place…. … But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel…I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, as I did in Shiloh.”

Treasures in Heaven

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The image above shows Jonah being swallowed by the great fish as illustrated in the Kennicott Bible of 1476. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. In the Gospel of Luke we find an interesting sequence of verses: .

The men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

One God and Lord

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If in any way Jesus as the Son is outside the sphere of God’s echad—whether as a godly man “adopted” by God and elevated to the highest place; or as a supernatural, “divine agent,” maybe even the first-born of all creation, come down from heaven as a man—in either case, Yeshua the Son remains outside the echad of God and compromises his uniqueness, exclusiveness and indivisible unity.

Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple

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Matthew places the Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple pericope during Jesus’ time in the Galilee, on the heels of Healing Shimon’s Mother-in-law (Matt. 8:14-15) and Sick Healed at Evening (Matt. 8:16-17), whereas Luke places the Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple pericope during the early stage of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem at a point when Jesus had already left the Galilee. … We have therefore placed Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple early in the section of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua entitled “Calling and Training Disciples.”… The non-canonical Gospel of Thomas (logion 86) also preserves a version of Jesus’ “foxes have dens” saying:

Jesus said: the and the birds nest, but (δέ) the Son of Man has no place to lay his head and to rest.

The Jewish Cultural Nature of Galilee in the First Century

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The issue is discussed by scholars of Jewish history and of the history of the Oral Torah for subsequently, during the second to fourth centuries and even later, Galilee was the living center of the Jewish people and its leadership, and the place in which the Oral Torah was collected and in large degree created. … They will show that, contrary to the views outlined above, Galilee was a place where Jewish cultural life and a firm attachment to Judaism flourished well before the destruction of the Second Temple. …

There is no hint in the sources of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai having come to Arav from another place, such as Jerusalem, or that he was sent there as the New Testament relates regarding certain scribesMatt. 15:1;

“Prophets and Kings”: The Evangelist Luke’s Curious Doublet

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As the parallel of “prophets,” the REB inserted “messengers” in place of the text’s “those who have been sent.” …

The LORD God of their fathers had sent word to them through His messengers  daily without fail, for He had pity on His people and His dwellingplace.

Like Lightning from Heaven (Luke 10:18): Jesus’ Apocalyptic Vision of the Fall of Satan

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12:7Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein!

Romans 11: The Olive Tree’s Root

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even the other families who dwell on the earth are not blessed except for Israel’s sake….” … Rejecting carnal Israel, God gave her place of distinction to another.

Myth of the Pagan Origins of Christianity

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That Christianity developed from Jewish roots is a well-known fact. Early Christian literature cannot be viewed as a phenomenon parallel to and separate from Judaism, or as derived from Greek thought.

Persistent Widow Parable

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By placing the Persistent Widow parable immediately following the Days of the Son of Man discourse (Luke 17:22-37), the author of Luke attempted to draw a lesson from the dire warnings about the days of the Son of Man, when some will be taken to a place of punishment to be feasted upon by vultures. … One clue we have already discovered is that although the theme of prayer is out of place in the Son of Man discourse, the author of Luke was unable or unwilling to completely erase the parable’s connection to prayer.