Destroy Soul And Body In Hell

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell. Matt. 10: 28. "But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into Hell: yea, I say unto you, fear him!' Luke 12: 5. The reader of these verses and the accompanying language, will observe that Jesus is exhorting his disciples to have entire faith in God. The most that men can do is to destroy the body, but God "is able," "hath power" to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. It is not said that God has any disposition or purpose of doing so. He is able to do it, as it is said (Matt. 3: 9) he is "able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." He never did and never will raise up children to Abraham of the stones of the street, but he is able to, just as he is able to destroy soul and body in Gehenna, while men could only destroy the body there. Fear the might power of God who could if he chose, annihilate man while the worst that men could do would be to destroy the mere animal life. It is a forcible exhortation to trust in God, and has no reference to torment after death. Fear not those who can only torture you-man-but fear God who can annihilate (apokteino.)

1. This language was addressed by Christ to his disciples, and not to sinners.

2. It proves God's ability to annihilate (destroy) and not his purpose to torment. Donnegan defines apollumi, "to destroy utterly."

Says a writer in the Universalist Expositor, (Vol. 4): "That it was the design of Christ, to lead his disciples to reverence the surpassing power of God, which he thus illustrated, and not to make them fear an actual destruction of their souls and bodies in Gehenna, seems evident from the words that immediately follow. For he proceeds to show words that immediately follow. For he proceeds to show them that that power was constantly exerted in their behalf- not against them. See the following verses."

The word rendered soul is psuche, life, same as in verse 39, "He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Also, John 13: 37, "I will lay down my life for thy sake." The word psuche is translated "mind," "soul," "life," "hear," "minds," and "souls." "And made their minds (psuche)evil affected against the brethren." Acts 14: 2: "Doing the will of God from the heart" (psuche). Eph. 6:6: "Learn of me. . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (psuche). Matt. 11: 29: "Let every soul (psuche) be subject unto the higher powers." Rom. 13: 1. The immortal soul is not meant, but the life. As though Jesus had said: "Fear Not those who can only kill the body, but rather him, who if he chose could annihilate the whole being." Fear not man but God. "So much may suffice to show the admitted fact, that the destruction of soul and body was a proverbial phrase, indicating utter extinction or complete destruction." Paige.

Dr. W. E. Manley observes that the condition threatened "Is one wherein the body can be killed. And no one has imagined any such place, outside the present state of being. Nor can there be the least doubt about the nature of this killing of the body; for the passage is so constructed as to settle this question beyond all controversy. It is taking away the natural life as was done by the persecutors of the apostles. The Jews were in a condition of depravity properly represented by Gehenna. The apostles had been in that condition, but had been delivered from it. They were in danger, however, of apostasy which would bring them again into the same condition in which they would lose their natural lives and suffer moral death besides. By supposing the term Hell to denote a condition now in the present life, there is no absurdity involved. Sinful men may here suffer both natural death and moral death; but in the future life natural death cannot be suffered; whatever may be said of moral death. Add to this that the Jews used Gehenna as an emblem of a temporal condition, at the time of Christ; but there is no evidence that they used it to represent future punishment.

That they did has many times been asserted but never proved. In conclusion, the meaning of this passage may be stated in few words. Fear not men, your persecutors, who can inflict on you only bodily suffering. But rather fear him who is able to inflict both bodily suffering, and what is worse, mental and moral suffering, in that condition of depravity represented by the foulest and most revolting locality known to the Jewish people."

Dr. Parkhurst observes Hell-fire, literally Gehenna of fire, does "in its outward and primary sense, relate to that dreadful doom of being burnt alive in the valley of Hinnom." Schleusner: "Any severe punishment, especially a shameful kind of death was denominated Gehenna."

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