The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Mat. 10:28

Yet as someone who was experientially ‘if not actually’ ‘annihilated’ before I was born it hardly seems something to be feared - as Mark Twain remarked…

'Annihilation has no terrors for me, because I have already tried it before I was born --a hundred million years --and I have suffered more in an hour, in this life, than I remember to have suffered in the whole hundred million years put together. There was a peace, a serenity, an absence of all sense of responsibility, an absence of worry, an absence of care, grief, perplexity; and the presence of a deep content and unbroken satisfaction in that hundred million years of holiday which I look back upon with a tender longing and with a grateful desire to resume, when the opportunity comes. ’

The idea of being resurrected to be annihilated is a speculation that would find much more support in the NT if it were true. Instead we find Christ preaching to the dead from the flood - why would He do that if they were annihilated or about to be?

"All will be made alive in Christ’ I think the concept of annihilation so drastically changes the Gospel that it must be thrown out by the shear weight of scripture against it.

On another thread, we found this to be an irrevocable truth: “Every knee shall bow.” That’s the end game and it rules out annihilation. It’s not ‘every knee that’s left…’ - God is not at war with us that so great a salvation is measured by body count. We are not the enemy - death is, according to Paul. So why would Christ be siding with death, when the victor in annihilation is death itself? Do the speculators even care? With every wind of doctrine…

In a very real sense, the Gospel is about the victory over annihilation - postulating some state that is deader than dead seems, to me, a useless play on words.

Assuming this view is correct, yes - but even then, the situation is completely hypothetical, since (according to this view), Christ is not telling his disciples what God will do, or has any desire to do, but only what he has the power to do. But having continued to think it over, I’m having my doubts as to whether this most recent view I’ve been entertaining in my mind is correct. I’m actually thinking I’d like to revisit my original view, as I may have given up on it prematurely! While Jason made some good and thoughtful points in his response, I’m beginning to think something was amiss in his first 3 arguments, and that they may not prove to be as much of a challenge to my original view as I first thought. More on that later though. :wink:

It’s ultimately tied to who God is - the resurrection is a consequence of who He is. ‘Everyone will be made alive in Christ.’ Why are you asking the question if you believe that? What the hell else could it be tied to? Chopped liver?

Here is an Essay I wrote which gives a little different perspective:

Matthew 10:28 “Fear not him who can kill the body, but he who kills both body and soul in Gehenna.”

There is a dangerous practice and falsely taught, but precept upon precept, line upon line, is a folly. It is the practice of undiscerning teachers or those who want to be teachers but are not equipped or prepared for such a task. Isaiah 28 warns that there was none to qualified to teach, so the Word of the Lord came to them precept upon precept and line upon line so that they would be ensnared, trapped, fall and broken.

So, it is dangerous to take Matthew 10:28 at face value without understanding the entire letter of Matthew, or at least the entire chapter 10. Let us look at Matthew 10 to find out the audience Jesus was talking to and the reason he gave them these words.

Matthew 10 (The Commission of the Twelve Disciples)

*Summoning His 12 disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the 12 apostles: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Jesus sent out these 12 after giving them instructions: "Don’t take the road leading to other nations, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, announce this: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near. 'Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge. Don’t take along gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts. Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a walking stick, for the worker is worthy of his food.

"When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave. Greet a household when you enter it, and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it. But if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. I assure you: It will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

"Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves. Because people will hand you over to sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues, beware of them. You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations. But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will even rise up against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. When they persecute you in one town, escape to another. For I assure you: You will not have covered the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

"A disciple is not above his teacher, or a slave above his master. It is enough for a disciple to become like his teacher and a slave like his master. If they called the head of the house ’ Beelzebul,’ how much more the members of his household! “Therefore, don’t be afraid of them, since there is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light. What you hear in a whisper, proclaim on the housetops. Don’t fear him who can kill the body but is not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.”*

To have any understanding of Matthew 10 and the usage of Gehenna, we need to know the definition of Gehenna and its history. Depending on the audience, Gehenna represented something different. Then there are three interpretations concerning this Scripture, the first is that Jesus was speaking to everyone; the second is Jesus is speaking to the Pharisee; the third is Jesus is speaking to His Disciples. So what we must do is know what is Gehenna but also who was Jesus’s audience to discover the intention of those words.

So what is Gehenna?

Gehenna definition:
Gehenna is a word from Hebrew Gai-Ben-Hinnom or Gai-Hinnom meaning Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and is still called Gai Ben Hinnom in Modern Hebrew. It refers to a garbage dump in a deep valley outside the walls of Jerusalem where fires were kept burning with brimstone to consume the refuse and keep down the stench. It is was the location where garbage, refuse, bodies of executed criminals, or individuals denied a proper burial, and unfortunately where the children of ancient Jews (Hebrews) were sacrificed to pagan idols (notably Moloch)* were thrown.

It is mentioned in the Old Testament several places, notably* 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6; 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:2-6; 32:35. Jeremiah, 19:2-6,** speaks of the Jews worshipping pagan idols and committing abominations. Ancient Jews once sacrificed their children to pagan idols in the fires in Gehenna, and this was an abomination; in 2 Kings, 23:10, King Josiah forbade the sacrificing of children to Moloch at Gehenna.

Who was the audience Jesus was addressing?
a) Everyone
b) Pharisee
c) His 12 Disciples

The answer is C, His 12 Disciples. We know the audience from Matthew 10:1, “Summoning His 12 disciples…” We also know Jesus was addressing them from Matthew 10:5, “Jesus sent out these 12 after giving them instructions…” It is sound and free from speculation. There is no indication He was speaking to everyone, and no indication He was speaking to the Pharisee.

Now we have defined the term Gehenna, and we have established a true proposition concerning the audience. We now must address the other propositions, as who is the “him” who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. This will help us identify the true usage of term Gehenna, and solve the mystery concerning Matthew 10:28.

Jesus describes two groups of people. First, those who who will betray, capture and kill you; and second, those who call you names and bear false witness against you. One group of people Jesus said to beware of, the other group of people he said do not worry about. One group of people who betray their children to death, the other group of people will insult you. One group of people who you should fear, another group of people who you should not.

Jesus tells His Disciples plainly the people whom they should not worry about in Matthew 10:18-19,"…they called the head of the house ’ Beelzebul,’ how much more the members of his household! Therefore, don’t be afraid of them, since there is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known."

Jesus refers to this group earlier saying in his instruction in Matthew 10:11-14 “When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave. Greet a household when you enter it, and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it. But if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town.”

There is nothing to fear of the town that does not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. They may call you servant of “Beelzebul”, there is nothing hidden that won’t be made known because Jesus was not Beelzebul, and neither were the Disciples followers of Beelzebul.

Jesus tells His Disciples plainly the people whom they should beware of in Matthew 10:16 he says,* “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.”* Jesus told them they were going as prey to carnivorous animals! They needed to be shrewd as serpents concerning them and He speaks of these carnivorous animals specifically in Matthew 10:17,* “Because people will hand you over to sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues, beware of them.” So be fearful (beware) of those of the sanhedrin!*

What is a sanhedrin?

The Sanhedrin Definition:
A council or assembly of judges; a tribunal in which every Jewish town judged matters of lesser importance. It is a great council at Jerusalem, consisting of the seventy one members, viz. scribes, elders, prominent members of the high priestly families and the high priest, the president of the assembly which judged the most important causes, inasmuch as the Roman rulers of Judea had left to it the power of trying such cases, and also of pronouncing sentence of death, with the limitation that a capital sentence pronounced by the Sanhedrin was not valid unless it was confirmed by the Roman procurator. Now knowing Jesus said to beware of the sanhedrin, and knowing what the sanhedrin consists of; we can look at the definition of Gehenna and choose appropriately the definition Jesus was alluding to concerning it.

Despite how they are considered by others, did Jesus classify the Disciples as:
a) Garbage
b) Criminals
c) Children of God

The answer is C, Children of God. Jesus gives a clue to the usage of Gehenna in Matthew 10:21, “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child…” Who were the brothers of the Children of God? Jesus gave us a clue to this in Matthew 10:5-6,* “…Don’t take the road leading to other nations, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”*

What is Gehenna?
a) A garbage pit outside Jerusalem
b) A place for dead criminals and dead dishonored men
c) A place where apostate Jews murdered their children and sacrificed them to false gods
d) All the above.

The Disciples were sent out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, they were sent out to their brothers. So the answer is C, Jesus was using the definition of Gehenna, as “A place where apostate Jews murdered their children and sacrificed them to false gods.”

So now in conclusion:

Proposition statement #1: The audience Jesus was addressing was His Disciples.
Proposition statement #2: Do not fear them who insult you or not welcome you.
Proposition statement #3: Beware of the council or assembly, or tribunal of consisting of Jews.
Proposition statement #4: The Disciples are called brothers and children.
Proposition statement #5: Gehenna was the place where apostate Jews murdered their children and sacrificed them to false gods.

Propositional Conclusion:
When Jesus said, “fear not him who can kill the body, but him who kills both body and soul in Gehenna”. He was saying, do not fear the fact you can die on this journey but beware of the apostate Jews who are going to betray you and murder you just like they did in the ancient days where brother betrayed brother to death and fathers sacrificed their children to false gods."

Jeremiah 32:33-35
And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: and though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction. But they set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom [Gehenna], to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

I guess I’m still missing out on what you mean by ‘soul’. Are you implying that these ‘apostate Jews’ are the ones that can kill both body and soul? While death in any form can kill the body, just what in this instance constitutes the killing of the soul? The passing through of fires of Gehenna? How?

I am not implying, I am saying that is what Jesus was talking about. The question of how comes by understanding what Gehenna actually is, what Gehenna was, and the judgment of Gehenna.

Chronological History of Gehenna:
As the Valley of Ben Hinnom and Tophet - Beautiful and bountiful valley

  1. Apostate Israel built alters to Baal and fires to sacrifice their children.
  2. Apostate Israel built alters to Molech and fires to sacrifice their children.
  3. Prophets of God warned Apostate Israel but were killed and thrown into the fires along with the children.
  4. Jeremiah and the prophets pronounce judgment against Israel for allowing the death of prophets and innocents.
    • The judgment is of Israel’s destruction and
  5. King Josia descrates the valley with corpses of dead animals to remind Israel of what happened.
  6. Valley of Ben Hinnom becomes a fire pit for burning refuge, garbage, and bury criminal bodies to remind Israel of the crime which occurred there,

So knowing the audience, you will know what he is referring to.

Matthew 23:29-34
*Wo to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and adorn the tombs of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. So that ye testify to yourselves, that ye are sons of them who did murder the prophets; and ye -- ye fill up the measure of your fathers.Serpents! brood of vipers! how may ye escape from the judgment of the Gehenna? *

Here Jesus is speaking of the sin of Israel (which was the death of innocents and the prophets in Gehenna), and the judgment of Gehenna which God pronounced upon those who participated in this sin.

Do understanding the history of Gehenna, and knowing exactly what the judgment of Gehenna was there is NO passing through the fires of Gehenna, the fires of Gehenna were fires made to Molech and Baal and the Apostates were sacrificed innocents and killed the prophets throwing them into the fires. Jesus was warning that those whom this judgment was pronounced against, still are sacrificing innocents and killing the prophets. So beware of them and the schemes. Do not be afraid of the one who destroy Israel beware of those who will destroy Israel and murder the prophets in the fires of Gehenna.

2 Kings 23:10 He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech (Gehenna).

Jeremiah 19:2-6 Go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you, and say, 'Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.

Jeremiah 19:11-16
Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the LORD. I will make this city like Topheth. The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth—all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts and poured out drink offerings to other gods.’ "

Jeremiah then returned from Topheth, where the LORD had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court of the LORD’s temple and said to all the people, "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.’ "

So in context, Jesus was in Matthew 10, addressing His Disciples. He was warning them of the Pharisee and Scribe who were sacrificing innocents and killing the prophets.

So beware of them and the schemes. Do not be afraid of the one who destroy Israel beware of those who will destroy Israel and murder the prophets in the fires of Gehenna.

Matthew 23:37
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

They have destroyed their nation and murdered their soul.

Let us look at Luke 12:5

Luke 12:5
"But I will warn you whom to :be weary them who, after they have killed, has authority to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be weary of them!

Who is the one who casts anyone into Gehenna? It wouldn’t be God, it neither entered his mind, nor a command. The only ones who ever threw anyone into the fires of Gehenna was Apostate Israelites who did not listen to God.

Now the judgment of Gehenna? That Jerusalem would be destroyed and like Gehenna, it will be defiled. Which came to pass in 70AD.

Earlier in this thread I offered what I thought to be a possible interpretation of Matthew 10:28. According to this interpretation, “Gehenna” was used by Christ as a figure or emblem for the national judgment that was soon to befall the nation of Israel before that generation passed away (Matt 23:32-38; cf. Jer 19). From the larger context of Matthew 10:16-23, it was deduced that the expression “kill the body” (soma) refers to the flogging that Christ declared some would suffer as a result of their faith in him (v. 17), while killing “the soul” (psuche) refers to the complete taking of one’s life (v. 21). To be destroyed “both soul and body in Gehenna” means to be killed amidst the overthrow of the Jewish nation. This latter scenario was to be feared above all others (hence Christ’s words, “Do not fear…rather fear…”), which is why, during the Olivet Discourse, Christ gave specific instructions to his disciples on how to avoid it (Matt 24:15-20; cf. Luke 21:20-21), that they might thereby be “saved” and “gain [their] souls” (Matt 24:13; Luke 21:19).

Now, the most forceful objection that I think was raised against this particular interpretation of Matthew 10:28 (and by implication Luke 12:4-5, which I understand to be a parallel account) is that this interpretation seems to require that the word “kill” (apokteino) be understood in a limited sense. Such a usage of apokteino would thus make it an exception to how the word is used throughout the rest of the NT, and consequently less likely to be correct. However, I believe such an objection is invalid for the following reasons:

First, it is evident that the word soma (“body”) is being used in a limited sense in Matt 6:25, which is, notably, the only other verse where Christ distinguishes between * soma* and psuche. If Christ was employing soma in Matt 6:25 to embrace every aspect of a person’s self from a physical, biological standpoint, then that aspect of us which Christ says is sustained by food and drink (the psuche) would necessarily be included in this general, inclusive meaning - for food and drink is necessary to keep our bodies (in the fullest sense of the word) alive. That is, soma, when used in a general sense, necessarily includes that aspect of us which Christ implies is sustained by food and drink, as well as that aspect of us which may be clothed or stripped naked. But because Christ distinguishes between the words soma and psuche by limiting soma to that which may be clothed and stripped naked, and excludes from the meaning of the word that aspect of us which is sustained by food and drink, soma must be understood in a limited sense. Thus, it is not so much apokteino (“kill”) that is to be understood as denoting less than its usual meaning, but soma (“body”). Or, to put it another way, if the meaning of apokteino in these verses is to be understood in a limited sense, it is only because soma is being used in a limited sense.

Second, the very fact that soma and psuche are distinguished by Christ in Matt 10:28 (and by implication, in Luke 12:4-5, which is undoubtedly a parallel account) makes it an exception to how the words are used throughout Scripture. The only other place in the NT where * psuche* is distinguished from *soma * is in 1 Thess 5:23. But here, * pnuema * (“spirit”) is distinguished from both words - a fact which weakens, or at least renders problematic, any argument that psuche (when distinguished from soma) denotes some aspect of man’s nature that continues to exist in a disembodied state after death. And Matthew 10:28 (and again, Luke 12:4-5 by implication) is also the only example in the NT where soma is spoken of as being able to be killed or destroyed apart from psuche, or life, necessarily being killed or destroyed as well. This, too, forces us to understand Christ’s use of psuche and apokteino in Matt 10:28 as being exceptions to how the terms are used throughout the NT.

Third, our interpretation of this verse must be governed by the Scriptural meaning of the Hebrew nephash (of which psuche is being employed by Christ as the Greek equivalent - see Isaiah 10:18). When we allow Scripture to define this word, the idea that Christ is talking about some ethereal part of us that consciously exists after death in a “disembodied state” is shown to be completely invalid and without divine sanction. For according to the OT it is the “soul” (nephash) that is said to go to sheol, the domain of death (Job 33:18, 22; Ps. 16:10; 30:3; 49:15; 86:13; 89:48; cf. Acts 2:27), and in Ecclesiastes 9:10 we read that “there is no activity or thought or knowledge or wisdom in sheol" (cf. Eccl 9:5-6; Ps. 6:5; 88:10-12; 115:17; Isa. 38:18-19).

Fourth, the fact that there is only one other example in all of Scripture in which “body and soul” are spoken of as being “destroyed” (Isaiah 10:16-18), is reason enough for this example to be taken into consideration when seeking to interpret Matthew 10:28 and its parallel in Luke 12. And when we do that, it becomes clear that for body and soul to be “destroyed” is equivalent to what happens when “a sick man wastes away.” There is no indication in these verses that Isaiah had in mind the pagan idea that the “soul” is some aspect of a person which continues to exist after death in a disembodied state.

Thus, any objection to the word “kill” being understood in a limited sense in Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:4-5 on the grounds that it would be an exception to the rule overlooks the following facts: 1) that soma is clearly being used in a limited sense in Matthew just four chapters back; 2) that Christ’s distinguishing between soma and psuche is itself an exception to how the words are used throughout Scripture; 3) that psuche is being used by Christ as the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew nephash, which nowhere denotes that which is popularly thought of as the “immortal soul”; and 4) that the only other example in Scripture where “body and soul” are said to be “destroyed” is in Isaiah 10:16-18, which provides no support for (and is in fact against) the traditional understanding of Matt 10:28.

I’m going to disagree based on what we read in the parallel passage in Luke’s gospel:

“In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” - Luke 12:1

The term ‘first of all’ gives the connotation that the teachings that Jesus presents in the following verses are given pre-eminent to the Twelve. However it also implies that though the Twelve are the primary recepients, it doesn’t preclude the ‘imnnumerable multitude of people’ from receiving it at the same time, doubtless pressed upon each other to hear what the Master is saying. The lesson is for anyone with ears to hear.

I’m going to attack this from a different angle.

As a preliminary to my proposal, I’m going to assume that the ‘soul’ is the ego, or personality, or self. And from that definition, I’m also going to assume that there is a certain ‘quality of being’ within every person that is indicative of the health of the soul. And I will go further to say that often, but not always, one’s physical condition can be an indicator of the state of one’s soul.

For example, if you see a strung out, heroin addict stretched out on the sidewalk in ragged condition begging for money, one can assume that the state of that person’s soul is rather unhealthy. From outward appearances we can only speculate what the person might have gone through to get to this point in his life. Maybe he was a crack baby. Maybe his parents were addicts. Maybe he started well in life, had a good job, maybe some family, a wife, but gone off the wrong track and spiraled down. Or maybe he was simply born into poverty and started selling drugs to support himself and that led to his usage. In various run ins with the law. Any myriad of reasons or circumstances could have led him to this point. The point I’m making is that what ever it was, there was a progression.

On the other hand, if you see a man with a nice suit driving away from a modest house and car, after kissing his wife and kids, going to work, one can assume that this person’s soul is healthy, because he seems to be in a healthy environment and physically well off. And he is taking responsibility to his family by going to work and showing affection with his wife and kids. Again, there was a progression to get to this point in his life.

Now, I know that the bible says that man looketh to the outside, by God looketh on the heart. But the fact is, we will often judge by appearances. That in itself is not necessarily bad, but we would have to observe more closely the person to determine if, in fact, the person’s soul matches that with what we observe. It could very well be that the heroin addict is a normal guy playing the part to elicit more funds than his regular 9-5 job is affording in order to paying his 2010 Audi. It could very well be that the man with the nice family is actual an alcohol and wife-beater behind closed doors. But generally, what we see is usually what we get.

Much of the time, and this is key, the condition of one’s soul is directly related to desires and decisions that we make. We choose poorly, we are going to go through life poorly. We chose well, we are more apt to go through life well, barring uncontrollable disasters.

Keeping all this in mind, and please bear with me, let’s look at the passage in question (along with the parallel passage in Luke):

“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.” – Matthew 10:28

It would be very instructive is we can identify the pronouns in context with the passage. The instructions have an implied ‘you’ which points back to the Twelve, as in ‘(You) fear not’. But in light of Luke’s passage, Jesus could very well be addressing the ‘innumerable multitude of people’ milling around the Lord, listening in on His teaching with the disciples, and by extension, us who have had these words passed down to us and are reading them today.

‘…fear not them’. Who is this speaking of? Well, in the context of Matthew 10, it seems to be pointing to those who persecute the subject of the phrase. Luke seems to indicate the same, and although the Pharisees are mentioned, I don’t think it is necessarily directed at them. It seems to be a general statement that there are those that can physically kill the body, and we ought not to fear them, for even though they might kill the body, they have no control over the soul.

‘…but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ Now here is where I’m going to diverge from the common thinking. And I may be wrong, but I think it is worth consideration.

What if the ‘him’ in this segment of the passage is not speaking of God? But rather of ourselves?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but consider that in the oldest Greek manuscripts were in all in upper case lettering, including pronouns, which makes it sometimes hard to determine proper pronouns for God, seeing are they are normally capitalized. Some English translations will capitalize He, Him, His, when referring to God as a matter of style. But others, like the KJV, one has to read the context to determine whether the pronoun refers to Deity.

God is in the saving business, not destroying. Jesus (who incidentally holds the keys to death and hell) said, “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Luke 9:56). So to insert God into Matt 1:28 makes no sense. There is not indication in the previous verses that the pronoun refers to God, nor in Luke 12:5 for that matter. In fact, the very next few verses in both passages instructs *‘fear ye not therefore’ *because the Father knows when the sparrow falls and how many hair are on your head. So are we to fear God or not?

What if the pronoun ‘he’ in this case is self-referential? That is, in turning the pronoun around on ourselves we could read it this way:

“And (you) fear not them (anyone who can physically kill) which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him (you) which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28

Luke differs from Matthew in that it reads, *‘Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell’ *as opposed to ‘destroy both body and soul in hell’. And so one would naturally appeal to I Peter 2:4, ‘For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment’, as evidence of identification in Luke. However, what action is performed in the related passage in Jude 6?

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

Who moved? Seems the angels made a choice, they left their habitation (with God) and that cast them into hell. In their sin, like Adam and Eve, they fell.

In the matter of Adam and Eve, a choice was made. That choice was detrimental in that it brought death. What is interesting is that physical death did not happen right away, even though God said ‘in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’. Adam lived some 800 years after Seth and presumably longer after the births of Cain and Abel. But the process of death happened on the day Adam and Eve ate of the tree, both body and soul. The body in that it will no longer live forever, though 930 years is certainly a long time. And there body felt the stress of death in that the woman would suffer in childbirth and the man would toil in work. But the soul also started the process of death too. They were ashamed and tried to hide. There was a fundamental change in relationship. A decay of the soul as well as the body. A process toward the soul’s death.

And by the way, this ‘soul’s death’ the reason that the Tree was banned from Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:22. They could not be permitted to live forever with a dying soul.

You know when you’ve sinned. You know when you’ve done wrong. Your gut turns inside out. You feel guilty and ashamed. And it causes great stress on the body, because there is an imbalance between the soul and body. I found it interesting that Jason used the phrase ‘you are dying in your sins’ in his explanation of this verse. Yes, dying in our life, our soul, because of the choices we make. It is a progression.

We cast ourselves into hell. We destroy our body and soul with our sin. We have that power. It is we ourselves that we have to fear.

Or it said, He began to say unto his disciples, “First of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” :slight_smile:

There is no indication of punctuation but this is a far stretch since even if it said he was speaking to his disciples first of all, who was he speaking to first of all? His disciples. So either way, your disagreement using this point is rather moot. It is for anyone with ears to hear, but Jesus spoke in parables so that with ears the could not hear. The secrets of the Kingdom were only for His disciples, those with ears to hear. So, who was Jesus talk intended for? His disciples, there is no way around this.

Many of the teachings in Matthew 10 parallel those found in Luke 10, where Jesus commissioned the Seventy for the same kind of mission. ‘Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.’, ‘And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.’, ‘And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.’, and so forth. So it seems that His teachings aren’t as inclusive as you claim, as least insofar as the Twelve are concerned. Later in Luke 10:21 we have this:

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

It’s obvious from the context that the ‘babes’ include the Seventy. And it is not out of the realm of possibility that at least some of the Seventy were present two chapters later at the beginning of Luke 12, among the ‘innumerable multitude’, as Jesus had people close to him follow Him around that were outside the circle of the Twelve.

Furthermore, as the verse above indicates, the things hidden are hidden to the ‘wise and prudent’, which means those who aren’t seeking answers. Obviously, those who thronged around Jesus were looking for answers and had attentive ears. It was only in the encounters with the Pharisee and scribes that cause the things to be hid for they did not have a receptive ear (Although, there was occasion when Jesus spoke derogatory things in parables and the scribes and Pharisees correctly suspected He was talking about them).

Inasfar as parables go, even His disciples didn’t always understand the parables, until He explained them. But I don’t believe that parables were meant to be a deterrent to teaching. Rather the purpose was twofold: 1) teach the people aspects of the Kingdom of God in context to what they can relate to (i.e. talk about labor and harvesting, mustards seeds, things common to what people experienced in everyday life). 2) Convey aspects of the Kingdom of God that would counter the ‘status quo’ of the ruling class and religious leaders in such a way as to not bring a direct accusation as it would had it been spoken freely. Jesus had to tread lightly at times in order for things to play out according to the will of God. To speak openly about overturning the existing kingdom would hasten His demise (as no doubt it did the Zealots). We even see Jesus reluctant to perform many miracles, such as the water into wine, as ‘mine hour is not yet come’. Parables allowed enough secrecy (to the wise and prudent) to prevent things from forming too quickly.

Just a thought here… I certainly am not educated in theology so this is strictly “thinking out loud” so to speak. Somehow I want to think that Jesus could have been talking about physical life being killed literally in judgment(Isaiah’s valley of Hinnom) v 66 I think). And, in my reading I have seen where people consider the soul to be the mind, will, and emotions of a person. In this light, could this mean that Jesus was talking to people who should be helping Him to present God to the world and were being warned that they, not only could be killed, but also be overcome with shame and regret(having their “choice” taken away in accomplishing what God had in mind for them to do, as His chosen people).

Gehenna would have killed them and shamed them and removed any hope of their doing what they were supposed to do for the Kingdom. Daniel taked about the ones who would be raised to shame as opposed to the ones raised to life. Gehenna, being the garbage dump, would indicate their uselessness. Same with outer darkness…they would be “outside” or not “in on” what God was doing.
Any thoughts?


Matthew 10:1
“He called his twelve disciples to him…”

Who was Jesus addressing in Matthew 10?

Answer the question , it is foolish to continue when the answer is obvious who Jesus was addressing.

It matters not if there is a parallel, in Luke 10 he was addressing the 70 but in Matthew 10 He was addressing…WHO? His Disciples.

They are told explicitly not to fear God in Matthew 10:29, so who would Jesus be telling His Disciples to fear?

Matthew 10:24-25
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!

Jesus again was talking about the Apsostate Jew, the Pharisee and Saducee and Lawyer of the Sanhidrin who killed the prophets and laid Israel to waste and it’s eventual destruction.