Mark 9:38-50

Bob Utley:

  • ““‘to stumble’” This is literally used of a baited animal trap.” – pg. 114.
  • “This is a hyperbole (cf. Matt. 5:29,30,38-46; 6:2-4; 7:3-5; 23:23-24; 10:24-25). Jesus is speaking in metaphorical language of eternal judgment. These Oriental overstatements have confused western believers for generations. Our love for the Bible and our desire to follow Jesus have caused western believers to miss the eastern genres and metaphors of the Bible.” – pg. 114.
  • 9:43-47: “These verses are a good example of Hebrew poetic, synonymous parallelism, so common in the OT (cf. Mark 2:21-22; 3:4,24-25,28; 4:22,30; 8:17,18; 9:43-47; 10:38,43-44; 13:24-25).” – pg. 114.
  • ““‘hell’” This is Gehenna (cf. Jer. 7:31). This was the location of the worship of the Phoenician fertility fire god, Molech, in the valley of the sons of Hinnom, just south of Jerusalem. This was where the firstborn children were sacrificed to the Canaanite fertility god (cf. Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut. 12:31; 18:10; II Kgs. 21:6; II Chr. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 2:23; 7:32; 32:35). The Jews were so ashamed of their ancestors’ idolatry that they turned this area into the landfill, or garbage dump of Jerusalem. Jesus’ metaphors for eternal separation from the Father’s love (fire, worm, stench) are drawn from this garbage dump.” – pg. 114.
  • “It became the place of fiery, eternal judgment in I Enoch 90:26-27 and Sib. 1:103.” – pg. 115.
  • “the concept of Gehenna is parallel to the second death (cf. Rev. 2:11; 20:6,14) or the lake of fire (cf. Matt. 13:42,50; Rev. 19:20; 20:10,14-15; 21:8). It is possible the lake of fire becomes the permanent dwelling place of humans (from Sheol) and evil angels (from Tartarus, II Pet. 2:4; Jude v. 6 or the abyss, cf. Luke 8:31; Rev.
    9:1-11; 20:1,3).” – pg. 115.
  • “the only NT text to mention torment before Judgment is the parable of Luke 16:19-31 (Lazarus and the Rich Man). Sheol is also described as a place of punishment now (cf. Deut. 32:22; Ps. 18:1-5). However, one cannot establish
    a doctrine on a parable.” – pg. 116.
  • “9:48 “‘where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED’” This is a quote from Isa. 66:24. The Jews were so shocked that their ancestors burned their children (II Kgs. 21:6) that they turned this location into the garbage dump of Jerusalem. It is from this site that Jesus draws His metaphorical language about eternal separation from God—Hell. The same
    term, eternal, used of heaven in Matt. 25:46, is also used in the same verse of judgment.” – pg. 116.
  • “The terms salt and fire are synonymous in this context for purification.” – pg. 116.


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