Thursday, May 5, 2011

Question #59

#59 Referring to Lk 12:4-5, what would be left of a person after they were killed that could be thrown into Gehenna?

What is left of a person is whether they are retained in God’s memory or not. Gehenna was a garbage dump outside the walls of Jerusalem. Large chunks of sulfur were thrown into the open pit to feed fires that consumed the refuse. Hence, the everlasting fire of Gehenna, wrongly translated as hell fire. 

The carcasses of dead animals were thrown into Gehenna, as well as the dead bodies of criminals the Jews judged to be unworthy of a proper burial and unfit for a resurrection. So, Jesus used Gehenna as a symbol of everlasting destruction. Jesus was contrasting temporary death with permanent death by explaining that men may kill us but they cannot send us into Gehenna. Jehovah can also kill, but only he determines who will and who will not receive a resurrection. Better to die because of faithfulness to God rather than compromise and displease God only to face the judgment of Gehenna.

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