Jesus Preached on Hell more than anyone else


When ministers are dismissing UR, one of the most common statements used is “There is certainly a Hell for Jesus preached on Hell more than anyone else in the Bible.” This statement irritates me because it is so wrong and it comes from ministers who should know better, from men and women who know how to study the text in Greek, and know that Jesus was actually warning of Gehenna, the valley of Hinnnom.

And it is significant to note that it is actually “Matthew” who preaches on Gehenna, quoting Jesus, more than anyone else. Matthew uses the word Gehenna 7 times of the 10 times it is mentioned in the Gospels. Mark uses the word 2 times in 1 passage, and Luke only uses the word 1 time. So 7 out of 10 times in the Gospels of the actualy few uses of Gehenna are used by Matthew, in 8 out of 10 passages. Mark and Luke only quote Jesus speaking of Gehenna in one passage each. And John, the evangelist, doesn’t even quote Jesus warning of Gehenna. So even Gehenna was not a predominant them of Jesus’ ministry.

Matthew, writting to Jews, and writting with a clear theme of opposition to the Pharisees, quotes Jesus using Gehenna to warn the Pharisees of their unrighteousness. And Gehenna was a theological metaphor that the Pharisees used to speak of the judgment of God against unrighteousness. So it seems that the Pharisees’ assumptions and use of Gehenna would be significant, for it seems that Jesus used Gehenna to warn them for they had likely used Gehenna to instill fear in others, in people they wished to influence to submit to them and their leadership.


Also, if Gehenna, which Jesus warns against, is a place of eternal conscious torment, why did Paul not warn against it in any of his 12 letters recorded in the New Testament? Paul gave plenty of warnings to the wicked, but does not mention Gehenna even once.


Good points, gents! Just goes to show that what we think we see in the Bible depends much on the tint of our lenses… :unamused:


Checkout Paul’s sermon in the Areopagus in Acts 17… he never mentions hell.

How different from your average street corner preacher breathing threats of ECT to the crowds.


Sherman, I (and my paper on hell) very much resonate with your reaction to this subject!


I enjoyed that paper :slight_smile: I really like your conclusion…

"Conclusion: Jesus appears to follow Jeremiah’s plain description of Gehenna as death and destruction for unrepentant rebels in history. Other Scriptures might teach some kind of punishment after death (e.g. a cleansing in Hades), or after judgment day in Revelation’s symbolic “lake” of burning sulfur. Perhaps, Jesus saw Hinnom Valley as a symbol of a fiery place in the afterlife (similar to later Jewish speculation of a place that purified souls for paradise). But, as one who opposed the leading Jewish teachers, calling them sons of Gehenna (Mt. 23:15), we’d expect that Jesus’ view would be based on being familiar with the O.T.

“Dante’s Inferno” dramatized a place beyond death, where in spiritual bodies, all unbelievers will be tortured in flames forever. Many think this view of ‘hell’ was invented & emphasized most by Jesus.
But the Bible’s warnings of Gehenna regularly refer to judgments in this world. So, when Jesus uses Jeremiah’s words to again warn Israel of fire and death in Hinnom Valley, we’d expect that he means another slaughter by enemies, which casts bodies into that valley of shame. Thus, it seems doubtful that Jesus’ references to Gehenna were about a final punishment after death, that we think of as ‘hell.’

An irony may be that we haven’t let Scripture (Jeremiah) interpret Scripture (Jesus’ words on Gehenna). Thus, it seems that when the church under Constantine got power & sought to control by way of fear, the valley where God was furious about burning children, got made into a picture of God’s own plan to burn people in a literal and endless retribution. We seek to warn that, in hell, hope of God’s enduring love will end. We say: He’ll no longer pursue peoples’ purifying redemption. But, do we then make God into Molek?" :smiling_imp:


If you scroll down the page a bit on this Google preview, Rob Bell goes through every time Jesus used the word “hell”

My husband has a masters degree in theology and he read that and immediately looked it up in the concordance (thinking to prove the traditional view I assume). He is one who wouldn’t hesitate to use the “Jesus preached on hell more than anyone else” and he was very surprised by how few times Jesus uses the word and how repetitive the theme “If your __________ causes you to sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter heaven without it than to suffer the fires of HELL”

I think Jesus is talking about earthly discipline in all those cases. It’s not bye and bye torment in the sky and Christians do NOT get a free pass from it! You don’t have to look far to see the suffering endured and caused by those who didn’t cut off their __________.


You think! :confused: That’s exactly what its all about :astonished: Good post Gem :smiley:


Good points! But when they say “Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone else” I don’t think people are only referring to direct use of words like Gehenna and Hades. They are also assuming that every time Jesus speaks of judgement or punishment or paying a penalty etc - what he has in mind is ECT. Brian McLaren has a great chapter on this in “The Last Word and the Word After That”, tabulating all the evidence in the gospels.


Yes, once I started studying what scripture actually says concerning judgment, the punishment of sin, and “Hell”, I was very amazed that what scripture actually indicates is not what the traditional doctrine of ECT proposes. ECT is read “into many” passages, but ECT is not actually found “in any” passages, I believe.

Also, it’s significant to me that it is primarily Matthew that quotes Jesus warning of judgment, the punishment of sin, and Gehenna. One of Matthew’s primary focus is opposing the Pharisees - the “moral majority” of his day. Matthew highlight that Jesus’ warnings of judgment and punishment were primarily aimed at them. So Matthew warned of judgment and Gehenna more than any other biblical author.