The Gehenna Controversy: Set On Fire Of Hell

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell (Gehenna). (James 3:6)

James was a Jew and wrote to believing Jews. Now, no place, to a Jew, conveyed an idea of more perfect wretchedness than the valley of Hinnom. Professor Stuart says, “We cannot wonder, then, at the severe terms in which the worship of Moloch is everywhere denounced in the Scriptures. Nor can we wonder that the place itself should have been called Tophet, that is, abomination, detestation (from tup, to vomit with loathing).” Such a place of perfect wretchedness was Gehenna, that he and others allege, it was made a source of imagery to designate hell or the world of woe. Hence he says, “What could be a more appropriate term than this, when we consider the horrid cruelties and diabolical rites which had been there performed?”

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Author: Walter Balfour

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Bible reference(s): James 3:6

Source: An Inquiry into the Scriptural Import of the words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna, translated Hell in the Common English Version. Revised, with essays and notes, by Otis A. Skinner (Boston: A. Tompkins, 1854).

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