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chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the Lord of hosts." See, also, Jeremiah, chapter 19. "Thus saith the Lord, Go, and get a potter's earthen bottle, and take of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests, and go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee; and say, Hear ye the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burnt incense in it to other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled the place with the blood of innocents; they have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind; therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives; and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss, because of all the plagues thereof. And I will cause them to eat of the flesh of their sons, and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one of the flesh of his friend, in the siege and straitness wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them. Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee, and shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Even so will I break this people, and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury them in TOPHET, till there be no place else to bury. Thus will I do unto this place, saith the Lord, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make their city as TOPHET: And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of TOPHET, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned
incense unto all the hosts of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods. Then came Jeremiah from TOPHET, whither the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lord's house, and said to all the people, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will bring upon this city, and upon all her towns, all the evil that I have pronounced against it; because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words." The prophet Isaiah has reference to the same thing in chapter 66: 24, "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."
Here we see the origin of the expression "undying worm." It was derived from the fact that worms were constantly preying upon the filth and putrefying flesh which were deposited in Gehenna. Here, also, we see the origin of the expression "unquenchable fire." It was derived from the fact that a fire was kept constantly burning in Gehenna, for purposes which have already been stated. We see, too, that fire and worms are spoken of, in the Old Testament, in connection with the valley of the son of Hinnom. This accounts for the fact that, in the New Testament, the same things are spoken of in connection with Gehenna. And hence the judgment which came upon the Jewish people is called the "damnation," or punishment, "of Gehenna," "Gehenna fire," or the fire of Gehenna. Hence, Gehenna is also spoken of as the place "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Rev. Mr. Parkhurst, in his Lexicon, referring to Matt. 5: 21, 22, says: "The phrase here translated hell-fire (literally Gehenna of fire), does, I apprehend, in the outward and primary sense, relate to that dreadful doom of being burnt alive in the valley of Hinnom."
No one can doubt that the predictions of Jeremiah and Isaiah, just quoted, were fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem. Then the valley of Hinnom became the valley of slaughter. Then Jerusalem became as Tophet. Then the Jews did eat the flesh of their sons and of their daughters. Then the land of Judea was made lesolate. Then the carcasses of the Jewish people became meat for the fowls of heaven, and the beasts of the field; for six hundred thousand of their dead bodies were carried into the valley of Hinnom, and were suffered to lie there unburied. Then the wrath of
God came on the Jewish people to the uttermost, and they experi enced “tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world, even to that same time, no, nor ever shall be." See Matt. 24: 21. Now, the fact which we have just stated, — that Gehenna is used in the Old Testament to represent punishment in this world, and nowhere else, being a fact which is indisputable, we demand, in the language of Mr. Balfour, "What meaning would the Jews, who were familiar with this word, and knew it to signify the valley of Hinnom, be likely to attach to it when they heard it used by our Lord? Would they, contrary to all former usage, transfer its meaning from a place with whose locality and history they had been familiar from their infancy, to a place of misery in another world? This conclusion is certainly inadmissible. By what rule of interpretation, then, can we arrive at the conclusion that this word means a place of misery after death?"
10. If Gehenna signifies a place of endless misery in another world, and if, in those passages where it occurs, it is set in contrast with heaven (as is supposed by those who attach this meaning to the word), it is certain that those who go there are to go bodily. See Matt. 5: 29. And it is equally certain that those who go to heaven are to go there bodily; and not only so, but are to go there "halt," and "maimed;"- some with only one eye, some with only one hand, and some with only one foot. See Mark 9: 43, 45, 47. But can any man believe all this?
11. Gehenna, in the New Testament, is set in contrast with the kingdom of God. Mark 9: 47, "It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell (Gehenna) fire." Now, if the reader will examine Chapter XV. of this book, on the phrases kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, he will see that the phrase kingdom of God signifies the gospel dispensation; and that this kingdom was to be established here on earth, at the time of Christ's coming to destroy Jerusalem, and scatter the power of the holy people. Hence the fact that Gehenna is contrasted with this phrase, proves that Christ used this word to signify the punishment which came on the Jews, and in which the disciples of Christ might be involved if they suffered anything whatever to draw them from their attachment to their Master.
12. If Gehenna signifies a place of punishment in another world,
and if God inflicts Gehenna punishment on any of his creatures in that world, it is certain this punishment will consist in entire destruction, and absolute annihilation, and not in endless misery. See Matt. 10: 28, "Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna)." Now, to "destroy the soul, intimates as certainly the death of the soul, as to destroy the body intimates the extinction of the life of the body. If, then, by the word soul we understand the spirit, or immortal part, of man, and if God will do what he is here said to be able to do,—that is, destroy both soul and body, — the doctrine of annihilation is clearly established." And the doctrine of endless misery is overthrown by the very passage which is frequently introduced to prove it. But if we understand Gehenna here to signify the valley of Hinnom, and the word soul to signify the animal life of man (as is its meaning generally in the Bible), then all is plain. God might destroy the lives and bodies of the disciples in that awful calamity which came on the Jewish nation, and which is represented under the figure of Gehenna, or he might cast them into Gehenna by numbering them with the six hundred thousand unbelieving Jews, whose dead bodies were carried into the valley of Hinnom, and left there unburied.
13. Whenever our Lord said anything about Gehenna, the persons whom he addressed are evidently supposed by him to be acquainted with the meaning of the word. Hence no explanation. whatever is given of it. But, in what other sense, pray, could they understand it, except in the sense in which it was employed in the Old Testament?
14. If Gehenna means future punishment in the New Testament, it is certain the apostles never preached it to Jews or Gentiles. They did not mention the word in a single instance in all their preaching, of which we have any account. How can this be accounted for, if they understood by it a place of endless misery.?
15. If Gehenna means a place of misery, in a future world called hell, it is certain this hell is a material hell; and that punishment in hell consists of torment in literal fire. We know that a material hell has been contended for; but, in these days of refinement, improvement, and light, and knowledge, this idea is pretty generally abandoned. But if any class of people must have a hell, we insist upon it that they abide by the conclusions which are to be legitimately drawn from their premises. If they will have it that
Gehenna means a place of punishment in a future world, then let them be contented with the hell of the Bible, and not undertake to manufacture a new one, nor to improve on the old one. Let them, then, cease to preach about a “spiritual hell,” and a “hell of conscience;" and let them go to preaching up the good old Orthodox hell of our fathers. If they will do this, we will at least give them the credit of consistency.
To the views which we have advanced on the meaning of Gehenna, we know of but one plausible objection. state, and reply to.
That objection we will now
It is objected, that, "although Gehenna originally denoted the valley of Hinnom, yet it had lost that signification in our Saviour's time, and was used to signify a place of torment in another world." To this objection we reply as follows:
1. This is a barefaced assertion, unsupported by any positive or direct proof whatever.
2. The translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was commenced about two hundred and seventy or two hundred and eighty years before Christ, when the five books of Moses were translated. The translation of the rest of the books was not undertaken until within one hundred and seventy years of Christ's birth, and was not finished till some time after it was commenced, say twenty years. See Prideaux's Connections, vol. 3, pp. 356, 357; Horne's Introduction, vol. 2, pp. 168, 169. Now, as when this translation was made, no such change as is alleged had taken place in the meaning of Gehenna; hence, one hundred and fifty years before the date of the New Testament this word retained its original meaning. The only Jewish books which were written between the completion of the Septuagint Version and the public ministry of Christ, which have come down to us, are some of the later books of the Apocrypha, and the writings of Philo. Two of the Apocryphal books allude to punishment after death, but do not speak of it as punishment in Gehenna. Indeed, the word does not occur in any of the Apocryphal books, nor in any of the writings of Philo. How, then, can it be proved that any such change as is supposed had taken place in the meaning of Gehenna?
3. Josephus wrote his works shortly after the New Testament was written. He was a believer in punishment after death, and frequently alludes to it in his writings; yet he never calls it pun