Jesus came to the lost sheep of Israel. He was never preaching to the gentiles!
All his preaching was done in stories and parables, and many of those were specifically directed at the Teachers of the Law. Everything to do with prophecy had to do with them, and the end of the age was when the temple was finally destroyed, and the Jewish Law passed away with it. You can't read scripture without first understanding who it was written to. Paul brought his message to the gentiles, who were never under the Jewish Law. And Jews kept going in behind him and trying to bring the converts under law. He also was writing his letters before the judgment came and the Parousia.
The second coming of the Lord was never going to be a literal flesh and body return...God is Spirit and those who worship him must do so in spirit. The symbolism of the clouds, represents the spirit, just as the fire represents purification. Once the Parousia came, The Holy Spirit became indwelling for all men, and the Kingdom of Heaven arrived. It has been here for all who would enter, ever since. There are so many deeper meanings within the scriptures when you understand them from the spiritual mentality instead of the flesh mentality.
You can see God's will for mankind all the way through the prophets to Revelation. We've been taught condemnation, and so that is what we see. In the garden of Eden, God told Adam, "the day you eat of this fruit, you will surely die." Yet the bible goes on to record him living many more years and bearing children. But THE DAY he ate of it, God came calling and ADAM WAS HIDING. That shame...THAT is what we are saved from through Christ.
Every single reference to hell in the OT...is to Sheol, the grave. Not hell. King James was stuck in their religion, and that doctrine by then was too ingrained. In the NT, they also translated Hades that way. But Hades is just the Greek word for Sheol. Then they translated Gehenna to hell. Gehenna is the fire pit where the garbage and those who couldn't afford burial were burned. It's also where the Israelites sacrificed their babies to other gods, and where the bodies were burned after the taking of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Today it looks alot more like this:
Today it looks alot more like this:
There was never any concept of eternal torment in the OT. It was just the grave, where they awaited the Messiah. Along about the first or second century BC the Pharisees started accepting the doctrine as it was understood by the Greeks, and they had already been exposed to it in Babylon and by the Assyrians. They had often taken the doctrines and gods of those who were their neighbors.
So it was with the backdrop of the Pharisees teaching that doctrine that Christ used his parables. And parables they were, because the scripture teaches us that he spoke everything in parables except to his closest disciples. I personally believe the Gospel of John was written with a manuscript of some of these more personal teachings, because there is a stark difference between the accounts of Mark and John in his public teaching. In John he is constantly proclaiming himself as Messiah. In Mark, he NEVER does so, only in private. To me, it is the only thing that makes sense for what Judah betrayed him with. They weren't paying him to show them the location of where he was at, he was available to them anytime and they could easily have had him followed. They needed information to charge him with, and guess what they charged him with? Proclaiming himself Messiah. THAT is what Judas betrayed him with, imo.
Anyway, I digress. The Lake of Fire. Fire. Strongs Exhaustive Concordance word #4442. 'pu'...to purify. Look it up for yourself, don't take my word for it.
Phil's blog: http://churchesneedreform.blogspot.com
by Phil Liszewski