Thursday, March 04, 2010

Proper Fear

Luke 12:4-5
(4)  "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.
(5)  But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

(4)  Λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν τοῖς φίλοις μου, μὴ φοβηθῆτε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεινόντων τὸ σῶμα καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα μὴ ἐχόντων περισσότερόν τι ποιῆσαι. 
(5)  ὑποδείξω δὲ ὑμῖν τίνα φοβηθῆτε· φοβήθητε τὸν μετὰ τὸ ἀποκτεῖναι ἔχοντα ἐξουσίαν ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν· ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν, τοῦτον φοβήθητε.

We have had some debate on this blog as to what it means to be "cast into hell."  What is γέενναν?  We can go to history and archaeology for clues, but if the text makes it clear why do we need to bother?  Here Jesus is making a pretty bold claim.  At least it would appear bold to our ecumenical universalist friends who think that Jesus came so that no one would have to endure the wrath of God.  He is telling people to fear the one who "has authority to cast into hell."  

This tells me that γέενναν must refer to something.  We cannot tell from this passage if it refers to a place of real eternal torment or if it refers to separation from God.  What we can tell is that it refers to something that happens τὸν μετὰ τὸ ἀποκτεῖναι.  In this sentence τὸ ἀποκτεῖναι is an aorist active infinitive and serves as a subject of this clause.  The word μετὰ in this case means "after."  The articles τὸν and τὸ show us that the ESV has this phrase right.  It refers to someone who can do something "after he has killed."

This tells me that there is definitely life after death.  Many will suffer hell.  Some will escape to paradise.  My prayer is that if you are reading this you would be one who would accept Jesus as your Lord and enjoy eternity with Him forever.

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