Gehenna

While nearly all "orthodox" authorities of eminence concede that Sheol and Hadees do not denote a place of torment in the future world, most of those who accept the doctrine of endless torment claim that Gehenna does convey that meaning.

Campbell, in his "Four Gospels," says: "That Gehenna is employed in the New Testament, to denote the place of future punishment, prepared for the devil and his angels, is indisputable. This is the sense, if I mistake not, in which Gehenna is always to be understood in the New Testament, where it occurs just twelve times. It is a word peculiar to the Jews, and was employed by them some time before the coming of Christ, to denote that part of Sheol which was the habitation of the wicked after death. This is proved by the fact of its familiar use in the New Testament, and by the fact of its being found in the Apocrypha books and Jewish Targunis, some of which were written before the time of our Savior."

But no such force resides in the word, nor is there a scintilla of evidence that it ever conveyed such an idea until many years after Christ. It is not found in the Apocrypha, Campbell mistakes.

Stuart says (Exeg. Ess.); "It is admitted that the Jews of a later date used the word Gehenna to denote Tartarus, that is, the place of infernal punishment."

In the second century Clemens Alexandrinus says: "Does not Plato acknowledge both the rivers of fire, and that profound depth of the earth which the barbarians call Gehenna? Does he not mention prophetically, Tartarus, Cocytus, Acheron, the Phlegethon of fire, and certain other places of punishment, which lead to correction and discipline?" Univ. Ex.

But an examination of the Bible use of the term will show us that the popular view is obtained by injecting the word with pagan superstition. Its origin and the first references to it in the Old Testament, are well stated by eminent critics and exegetes.

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