Eternal Punishment, Follow Up

Q. I was surprised to see you state the following and this is the first time I’ve ever come across this perspective.

“This is why Jesus told His disciples not to fear those who can only kill the body, but rather fear him who can kill both body and soul (Matt. 10:28). He was talking about Satan of course, but those who reject the Lord’s pardon for their sins turn themselves over to Satan for his disposition”.

Did you understand the word in this verse to be Hades? The word for ‘Hell’ here is not Hades but Gehenna, where Satan will be tormented for ever as its his final destination. If the word for Hell was Hades, then your point would stick, but then again, maybe I’m missing something here. Please let me know. My understanding has been that once Satan is tossed into that Hell he is suffering himself, and will be too busy to be involved in anyone else’s torment. The Word says many times we are to “Fear the Lord” but not Satan. Surely “Him” in this verse refers to the Lord Himself? Am open, but can’t see what you see – please show me.

A. I really think we’re splitting hairs here. God is the Author of life and doesn’t want any to perish but for all to come to repentance. Satan, on the other hand, introduced death into the world.

When man rejects God’s truth, it means that he accepts Satan’s lies. He believes Satan, follows him, and shares his destiny. When he spends eternity in the place prepared for the devil and his angels is it because God made him go there, or is it because Satan lied to him and caused him to wind up there? You may argue that it’s the man’s own fault, and I would agree with you. But who started him down the path that led to his spiritual death? Certainly it wasn’t God.

By the way, while confirming that the Greek word translated hell in Matt. 10:28 is indeed Gehenna, I also discovered that the personal pronoun for who ever it is we should fear is implied, not actual. Although it appears as “the one” in some translations and “him” in others, and some capitalize it while others don’t, it literally means “this” or “that” and is most often translated “which”. I believe the translators inserted the personal pronoun to show that our destiny is impacted by someone or something else, but it’s not at all clear that God should be the one.

Personally I would have translated it “fear that which can kill both body and soul” implying that we should fear making the wrong choice about God.

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