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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : With No OT Explanations How Did NT Jews Understand NT Descriptions of Hades, Gehenna & Tartarus? ...

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Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374

 With No OT Explanations How Did NT Jews Understand NT Descriptions of Hades, Gehenna & Tartarus? ...

From doing some research due to another thread i found that in the KJV (which i always use) for some reason it was decided that wherever the word Sheol was in the OT, or Hades and Gehenna in the NT they would all be called "hell" ... Not good ... Why? ... Because the two have different meanings ...

When it comes to what's known as "the underworld" here are the terms i can find in scripture;

1 - Sheol (Hebrew OT)
2 - Hades (NT Greek translation of Sheol)
3 - Gehenna (NT)
4 - the fiery furnace (NT)
5 - Tartarus (NT)
6 - the lake which burns with fire & brimstone (NT)
7 - the second death (NT)

In the YLT OT "Sheol" is found 62 times (with never any descriptions of it given), but you will not find "Gehenna" (Tho there are 11 references to the valley of Hinnom which Gehenna is derived from) nor "Tartarus", or any descriptions of such as Jesus spoke of when He began ministering...

In the YLT NT "Hades" is found 11 times ... "Gehenna" 12 times and "furnace of fire" 2 times are in the Gospel and spoken of by Jesus, and "Tartarus 1 time later spoken of by Peter ... "the lake of fire and brimstone" and "the second death" are both NT phrases in reference to eternal torment and found only in the Revelation ...

Because of translations like the KJV (regarding the broader usage of hell) many of us probably don't know when the differences apply as we read, but it became obvious to me in my research (using Young's Literal Interpretation of the Bible) that the Jews of Jesus day did without seeming explanation and description in the OT ... [b]If there are any OT explanations/descriptions you know of please post them![/b] ...

It's my understanding [b](if i'm wrong i'm looking for clarification and correction)[/b] that Sheol (OT Hebrew) and Hades (NT Greek) refer to the holding place(s) of the spirits/souls of mankind after death, which is no longer the case for saved folk after Christ resurrection - but still so for the unsaved ... i researched the whole OT and i couldn't find one instance where the description Jesus gave of it in Luke 16 is ever described in the OT ...

Gehenna (which is what i mean when i say Hell) in NT, derived in meaning from the valley of Hinnom (a ever burning fiery garbage dump), represents something far more horrible than Hades as a place of everlasting torment, synonymous with Jesus' "furnace of the fire" in Matt. 13 and Revelation's "lake burning with fire and brimstone" and "the second death" ...

Jesus said in ... Matt. 13:

[40] As, then, the darnel is gathered up, and is burned with fire, so shall it be in the full end of this age,
[41] the Son of Man shall send forth his messengers, and they shall gather up out of his kingdom all the stumbling-blocks, and those doing the unlawlessness,
[42] and shall cast them to the furnace of the fire; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth.
[49] so shall it be in the full end of the age, the messengers shall come forth and separate the evil out of the midst of the righteous,
[50] and shall cast them to the furnace of the fire, there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth.'
[51] Jesus saith to them, `Did ye understand all these?' They say to him, `Yes, sir.'

i couldn't find one instance of mention of description or explanation in the OT about what Jesus said here, yet when He asked the crowd if they understood all He'd said the answered "yes" ... How is this so? ... Seems to me there would have been all kinds of questions going off When Christ spoke about "Hades" or "Gehenna" but there weren't, they knew the difference ... When Christ called the Scribes, and the Pharisees "sons of Gehenna" they weren't baffled at all but knew it was a curse leveled at them worse than "sons of Hades" ... How did they know without any explanation of description from the OT? ...

Then there's Tartarus refering to the holding place of those fallen angels who left their first estate (2Pet. 2:4, Jude 5-7) and mated with the daughters of men back in Genesis ... This is only mentioned once in scripture, yet there's no mention of such a place in the OT ... How did Peter know of such a place? ...

 2006/12/18 11:01Profile

Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164

 Re: With No OT Explanations How Did NT Jews Understand NT Descriptions of Hades, Gehe

I wouldn't be surprised if they knew about it from the talmud. I honestly don't know enought about the talmud at the moment to comment much more.

Josh Parsley

 2006/12/18 13:58Profile

Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374

 Re: With No OT Explanations How Did NT Jews Understand NT Descriptions of Hades, Gehe

PreachParsly you wrote;
"I wouldn't be surprised if they knew about it from the talmud. I honestly don't know enought about the talmud at the moment to comment much more."

--- Hmmmm ... It's been my experience whenever Holy Spirit draws my attention to something like this, He's about to teach me something that's gonna draw "stones" - especially if it has to do with "other" whatever apart from present Canon, tho perhaps theirs back then was comprised of something different than we have today ... It does seem to me that with no indicators pointing from the OT about my questions, something else had to be in play ...

Anyhow i thank Him for using you to my next clue ...

Now to research the Talmud to see where that leads ... Man i need a orthodox Rabbi ... :-P ---

 2006/12/18 16:14Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: With No OT Explanations How Did NT Jews Understand NT Descriptions of Hades, Gehe

How did they know without any explanation of description from the OT? ...

Much of the revelation of scripture is progressive. We find concepts in the Old Testament that are built upon to their fulness in the New Testament. The place to do some digging on hell is the place in the O.T. known as [i]Tophet[/i]. This was the place where the sons of Baal (as it were) would sacrifice their children in the fire. It is said that the word means 'drums'. This is because drums were beaten to drown the screams of the children as they were burned to death. this is one of the first things we learn about hell- it's reality and awefulness is constantly being challenged or 'drummed and drowned out' by those who would rather not 'hear'.

Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/18 16:33Profile

Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132

 Re: Brother Robert

I was reading a piece from a theologian (forget which one now, its been some time ago), who noted the sacrificial rites "music " to that which we see in some of the present day drum arrangements which were designed to "numb" the brains capacity to reason, Have you ever come across any of that in your studies?


 2006/12/18 17:44Profile

Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374

 Re: With No OT Explanations How Did NT Jews Understand NT Descriptions of Hades, Gehe

Brother Robert you wrote;
"Much of the revelation of scripture is progressive. We find concepts in the Old Testament that are built upon to their fulness in the New Testament."

--- Amen, this i know ... i don't have any trouble looking back across the OT Sheol in making the links to the NT Hades, tho like i said why didn't the Jews question Jesus about His description of Hades being
divided when there's no such mentioning anywhere in the OT ... And i can see the links NOW between Tophet (which i'd read about in research of the valley of Hinnom) and Gehenna but how was that link understood by them, and i can't make no link at all from the OT to NT Tartarus for there is no mention of the holding place of angels in the OT ...

i think most modern Christians take these subjects (if they think about them at all) from the NT solely on the basis that Jesus and the NT bible writers said it, but what i'd like to know is what other sources back then allowed such "progressive revelation" for those Jews to understand clearly what Christ was saying when there seem no clear explanations, descriptions or linkages in the OT? ... Same thing with the differences between Satan's minions, the seemed to have no trouble in understanding the differences between Satan and the angels that fell with him, those that were thrown into Tartarus for leaving their stations, and demons ... Like we do with "hell" today, they seemed to have not just lumped all of the bad spirits into one category ... How did they know the differences back then, when the latter two of the category aren't explained in the OT? ...

It seems to me that they had a better understanding of Hades, Gehenna, Tarturus and demons better than we do today, and we're supposed to be so enlightened ... We don't ask such questions because most of us don't really care ... They seemed to not ask such questions because they already understood ...

i find this most intriguing ---

 2006/12/18 17:44Profile

Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374

 THE TALMUD (Part 1) ...


i've done some research on the Talmud and have listed it below ...[b]Anyone noting any mistakes please make it clear as i'd like to be as correct as i can about this ... [/b]

[u][i][b]THE TALMUD[/b][/i][/u]
The Talmud is a collection of ancient Rabbinic ponderings on the Oral Torah which originally was meant to be transmitted by word of mouth only. It was transmitted from master to student in such a manner that if the student had any question, he would be able to ask, and thus avoid ambiguity. The reasoning being that a written text, no matter how perfect, is always subject to misinterpretation. It came to be written in a time of chaos during the Hadrian persecutions after the destruction of the second temple. The Rabbis were forced into hiding, though they managed to reconvene at Usha in 122 CE, and then in a time of quiet managed to re-establish again at Yavneh in 158 CE.The rabbis then decided that they must do the unprecendented and write down the Oral Law. The text is considered an authoritative record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends, and stories.

[u][i][b]WHAT IS THE ORAL TORAH?[/b][/i][/u]$.asp

The Talmud is two books run together. These are the Mishnah (Repetition) and the Gemara (Completion), a pair of very old classics of Jewish law, some 300 years apart in time, and constitute the basis of religious authority in Orthodox Judaism. The Mishnah is a report of the legal decisions of a line of analysts and judges, the Tanna’im, or Teachers stretching over some 400 years (200 B.C.E. to 200 C.E.).

The Mishna is the first section of the Talmud, being a collection of early oral interpretations of the scriptures as compiled about a.d. 200.

The Gemara is the second part of the Talmud, consisting primarily of commentary on the Mishnah.

[u][i][b]WHAT IS THE TALMUD?[/b][/i][/u]

i don't think the teachings of Talmud fit into what influenced Jewish thinking/beliefs regarding this thread's subject, first because i can't find any info on Talmudic teachings (not even under Aggadah) about this threads subject, and because it's written influence doesn't seem to occur until much after Christ death and the 2nd. Temple destruction ...

But two things led me in another direction ... First, this talk of the oral law, and this quote;

"In a time of chaos, the rabbis decide that they must do the unprecendented and write down the Oral Law."

i've heard of this "oral law" before, and wondered then if it was anything like how Africans used to pass our history ... African history wasn't written down, but was passed on by "griots", people chosen to learn all the past history, the history in their life time, and then to pass it on to another ... Needless to say a lot of African history is loss ...

But not so with the ancient Jew especially, who seemed to have an more acute understanding that they carried not only the history of the beginning of all mankind, but God's name, His religion, purpose, and whenever they felt in danger of destruction the first things many seemed to do is write down for posterity what was ok as oral when times were good, and along with sacred artifacts hide them ... This is what the Jews did during the Babylonian persecution/destruction/exhile ... The did it during the
Maccabean Revolt Period againt Syrian Antiochus Epiphanes (the anti-type of anti-Christ), and they did it
under Rome's persecution/destruction/diaspora - the Essenes being of prime example hiding the Dead Sea Scrolls, along with the subsequent Talmud being written ... It's the Maccabean Period, and it's subsequent Jewish literature penned under persecution that seems to have most influenced the Jews in Jesus day ...

 2006/12/19 15:10Profile

Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374


Everytime i type in anything related to "Jewish and Hades/Gehenna/Tartarus it seems to always point to "Jewish Eschatology" which in turn points to what's now called "Jewish Apochraphal" and "Jewish Pseudepigraphic" writings ... Amongst these latter the now much maligned books of Enoch and the derrivative Jubilees ... The reason i note these two especially is because it's suspected (by some Bible scholars) that these books give indication of OT Jewish thought regarding Sheol/Hades, Gehenna and Tartarus before the coming of Christ and the subsequent NT writings ... It's also understood that these books (dated as being written in the second century Maccabean Period before Christ) were not only read widely, but believed and in use during Christ time, and of which a portion of 1 Enoch is included in the short book of Jude ...

Apochraphal now means "spurious" and pseudepigrapha "false inscriptions"... It's important to note "historically" that prior to 96 AD when the Jewish Sanhedrin at Yavneh removed these books attributed to Enoch from its Scriptures, and later the books were discredited after the (Christian) Council of Laodicea in 364 AD, in Jesus day these writings held no such disdainful titles, and in reading it's very evident that it's descriptions of Hades coincides with Christ's at Luke 16, as it does His descriptions of Gehenna, why and who it's created for, and details Tartarus as the holding place of fallen angels ...

The following is from;

[u][i][b]What About The Book of Enoch?[/b][/i][/u]
By Bill Moore

"...there was hardly anyone who had not read 1 Enoch at the time of Christ. This alone should be reason enough to want to study it, even if we accept the classification that Christendom has seen fit to give it: Pseudepigrapha, a term used to describe a writing that claims to be written by someone other than its real author ...

... 1 Enoch includes ... narrative descriptions ... apocalyptic warnings ... related to the book’s dominant theme: the final judgment of the ungodly at the consummation of the age, at which time the righteous receive their reward ... John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude ... appear to have been quite familiar with 1 Enoch ... But regardless of what anyone might think about the canonicity of 1 Enoch, the fact remains that at least one New Testament writer (Jude) regarded it as Scripture. If he did not, we have to ask why he quoted an entire passage from it saying that “Enoch” said these things:

[b]And to these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have ungodly wrought, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 14-15)[/b]

Compare the above with the text from 1 Enoch 1.9:

[b]And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all, and to destroy all the ungodly; and to convict all flesh of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."[/b]

This article goes on to draw parallels between 1 Enoch and Jude 5-7 and 2 Pet. 2:4 in regards the description of Tartarus, as well as parallels drawn from 1 Enoch and the NT ...

Unlike some today i find intense value and spiritual comfort in these books as i'm sure many Jews in Jesus day did, because of it's explicit descriptions of heaven, sheol, the fiery fate of the ungodly, the future bliss of we favored, and it's continually pointing to the saving Messiah as "The Son of Man" ... i think it also interesting that the phrase "Son of Man" is also found nowhere in reference to Messiah in the OT, but does so many times in 1 Enoch, as it also points out that this "Son of Man" would be the Savior of the Gentiles ...

The following are just my own personal opinion and holds no weight of proof, and i fully understand the right of anyone's elses opinion to label me nonsensical[/b][/i] ... But i think such books may have been always around, and the reason they've come to be designated to such dates is because they were the ones found centuries later as The Dead Sea Scrolls ... It seems to me that if Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD and the Jewish religious authority didn't ban them until 63 years after Christ death (probably assuring their discontinuation of being copied) there must have still been a few copies circulating ... i also believe that perhaps down thru generations there maybe was some adding and subtraction, and i can see this as a good reason for missing the Canon ...

But in comparison with what's written in the NT about Sheol, Gehenna, Tartarus, etc., i find it hard to believe that someone in the 2nd. century BC could just came up with these same descriptions in Enoch, out of complete imaginative fiction with a beginning that states the writing is "not for my generation, but a remote one far to come" ... And to anyone reading these books and attributing it to the devil, then i'd say satan has went way out of his way to paint himself most ugly ... This would surely be to me "a house divided" tactic ...

[u][i][b]ABOUT THE BOOK OF ENOCH[/b][/i][/u]

[u][i][b][color=FF0000]In ending i recognize Enoch to not be part of our Canon,[/color][/b][/i][/u] [color=FF0000]it's a now rejected apocalyptic writing of another era ... In fact we don't need an old apocalypse, we've got our own in the Revelation of Jesus Christ ... Wouldn't it be grand if we knew what was in ours like the Jews in Jesus time did back then ... Our Revelation itself was debated as to whether to be included in the Canon, to severe some thought ... Thank God He made sure it was included, even tho we avoid it ... [/color]

[i][b]i think Holy Spirit is schooling me here in preparation for "controversial" interviews about this subject, as well as the subject matter ... i pray so ... Something needs to be done in waking folks up ... saved and unsaved!!! [/b][/i]

[i][b]Here is a list of some of the books read by Jews in Jesus Time ...[/b][/i]

[u][i][b]JEWISH APOCHRAPHA[/b][/i][/u]



The Additions to the Book of Esther

Wisdom of Solomon

Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Joshua ben Sira


The Letter of Jeremiah

The Additions to the Book of Daniel

The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews


Bel and the Dragon

1 Maccabees

2 Maccabees

1 Esdras

2 Esdras

Prayer of Manasseh


Books of Adam and Eve: A number of closely related versions of a writing dealing with the story of the protoplasts. All of these might derive from a Jewish source document, the language and date of which are unknown.

Book of Enoch: A compendium of five Jewish apocalypses all of which were composed before the destruction of the Second Temple. These come from diverse periods and social sects, the oldest being the first and third parts. the whole book is found only in Ethiopic, but parts of it have been discovered in Greek and in the original Aramaic from Qumran.

Book of the Secrets of Enoch: (2 Enoch or Slavonic Enoch). A Jewish apocalypse from the time before the destruction of the Temple, relating Enoch's ascent to the heavens and the revelations received by him there, as well as the history of the antediluvian generations.

Books of Giants: A writing associated with the Enoch cycle, relating the deeds of the giants who were born of the union of the "sons of God and human women" (Genesis 6:1-4). It is known from fragments found at Qumran and was written before 100 B.C.E.

Book of Jubilees: A retelling and expansion of the biblical history from the Creation to Moses. It was originally written in Hebrew early in the second century B.C.E.

Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: A work listing the last wills and testaments of the twelve sons of Jacob. It survives in Greek in a Christian form but clearly contains many older, Jewish sectarian sources. It is important for the study of Jewish ethical and eschatological teaching.

3 Maccabees

4 Maccabees

[i][b][color=FF0000]PS - i'm otta here! ... and won't be back online till 1/2/07 (God willing) ... [/color][/b][/i] [i][b][color=006633]Have a Christ Filled Christmas and a Holy Ghost Empowered 2007!!! ...[/color][/b][/i] :-D

 2006/12/19 15:14Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri


to that which we see in some of the present day drum arrangements which were designed to "numb" the brains capacity to reason, Have you ever come across any of that in your studies?

I'm not familiar with that specifically. Maybe its a similar thought that it seems we are allowing the 'music' to drive the worship service in many settings. I am afraid that folk are loosing touch with the difference between the 'feelings' associated with well arranged a played music and the unction of God.

Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/19 15:17Profile

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