How Many Sons did Father Abraham have?

Father Abraham had a Total of Eight Sons

The first time I read Genesis 25:1,2, I was surprised to learn Abraham had six more sons, with his second wife Keturah, after Sarah died.  That meant Abraham had a total of eight sons!

The Only Begotten Son

Only one of these eight sons was promised, as in Covenant, to Abraham and it was to be the son born miraculously through Sarah:  Genesis 21:2 Romans 9:9Galatians 4:23.

Genesis 17:19  Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

One thing we can be sure of is YHVH doesn’t show Favoritism, Deuteronomy 10:17.  He is Impartial and sets people apart for His purpose, not because they are so special or righteous but because He is doing something Special and Righteous through them.

Deuteronomy 9:6 “Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the YHVH your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people.

Along the way YHVH gives and takes away, disciplines those He loves, and fulfills the Covenant that was to come through the linage of Isaac.

YHVH is not human, He is Spirit, He is Truth and He is Love, John 4:241 John 4:8.   It’s our nature to see YHVH through human eyes and interpret Scripture with our own bent.  To see Spiritually we need to lie down our opinions and prejudice and humbly ask for Spiritual Wisdom.

By examining the tree below, we can trace back over 2,000 years and see the pattern of YHVH’s Covenant, through the only “begotten” son of the promise, Isaac.  His linage is shown in green, from that linage comes King David and finally Yahusha, the fulfillment of YHVH’s Covenant through Isaac.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I (Yahushua) came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.…

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the Babylon captivity are fourteen generations and from the captivity to the birth of Yahushua are fourteen generations.
(14 x 3 = 42)  or three segments of Jewish history, Matthew 1:17

Abraham-tree1

Advertisements

Eternal Hell Fire Mythology

Having Eyes to See The Myth of Eternal Hell Fire

When I heard there was no concept of eternal hell fire in the original Hebrew Scriptures, I googled the origin of this widely accepted theology.  Prior to Greek Hellenization, around 4 B.C., and the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, 3rd to 2nd B.C, the Hebrew word Sheol simply meant the Grave.  Its synonyms are the Pit and the Abyss.      

Image result for Image of Sheol Grave Pit

The Hebrew Word Sheol vs The Greek Word Hades

Hades was the only Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word Sheol.  Yet the Greek idea of  the afterlife came attached to the word Hades, the mythological god of the underworld. The abode of the dead was not the grave but the place where the immortal soul experience eternal, flesh burning, torment.  

The Origin of Our English Word Hell

Why does today’s Bible say, “Eternal Hell Fire?”  Our Old English Bibles routed through Greek, Roman Catholic Latin and German.  When English translators chose an equivalent word for Hades the Old English/German root was Hel, Helle, attaching Germanic, Teutonic and Scandinavian Norse mythology.  Like any translation, there was no other cognate word available in the English language to describe Hades

When St. Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate, in 380 A.D., from the Hebrew Scriptures, his Latin word choice for Sheol was Infernum, to fit the description of Hades.  This is where English derives its word Inferno, adding even more fuel to the Hell fire doctrine, and fear based converts.

Early Bible translators began substituting the word Hell for The Grave, Gehenna, Tartarus-The Pit, and The Lake of Fire, which is the Second Death.  An example can be seen by the number of times the word Hell is translated; 54 times in the KJV, 13 in the NIV yet not even once in the Complete Jewish Bible.  (www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_WordCount.htm)

Alexander The Great and The Greek Septuagint.

Moses, was called a Hebrew, like Abraham, (Hebrew means, Crossed Over).  He was given the Torah in Hebrew.  These five books along with the Prophets and Writings that line up with our Creator’s Torah were compiled into a book called TaNaK, (a Hebrew acronym for Torah, Prophets and Writings).

The first Greek translation of the TaNaK was called the Septuagint, meaning seventy, because it was translated into Koine Greek by seventy men from the twelve tribes of Israel, (See Septuagint-Wikipedia).

Same gods, Different Names.

Still, the philosophy of the immortal soul and the god of the underworld did not originate with the Greeks.  Their gods were known by Greek names but their origin can be traced back to ancient Egyptian mythology.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anubis)

Remember when God called His created/first-born nation, (Israel) out of Egypt, including its mythological gods?  His Perfect, Unchanging Word continues to call Israel, (meaning, those who struggle/contend with man and with God and prevail), out of the world and its false/mytology, Genesis 32:28; Exodus 4:22; 20:2John 15:19Matthew 10:22

“You shall have no other gods (anything we fear above Him) before Me,” Exodus 20:3

Is Gehenna Hell?

Gehenna is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew Ge Hinnom or Valley of Hinnom.  Along with Topheth, it is known in the TaNaK as the Valley of Slaughter, Jeremiah 19:6.  This is where people would burn their children to the god Molech, Jeremiah 7:31; 2 Kings 23:10; Isaiah 30:33

YHVH (He Is, Was and Always Will Be) called this a detestable place.  These pagan sacrifices also included immorality/temple prostitution to appease the angry god:  2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6Jeremiah 19:4, Leviticus 18:20-22;  Leviticus 20:1-32 ; 2 Kings 23:9-11;  Isaiah 30:33Jeremiah 32:34-36Isaiah 66:23-2; Joshua 15:8,  Matthew 5:22 & 29,30; 10;28; 18:9; 23:15 & 33; Mark 9:42-44 Luke 12:5; and James 3:6 all refer to the valley of Gehenna.

 Gehenna Later Became the Garbage Dump

Jesus/Yeshua spoke in parables, using the physical example of Gehanna, the Garbage Dump, to describe the coming destruction that would be “Like” the garbage when it is consumed by the fire and the worm/maggot, Matthew 13:34; Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:48-50.

Jerusalem’s Coming Destruction

In 27 A.D., when Y’shua began warning Jerusalem of its coming destruction that came to pass in 70 A.D.  Gehenna was the place where trash was burned and maggots thrive on dead flesh.

*(Jeremiah the prophet had also warned the people prior to the first Temple destruction in 586 B.C.)

In 70 A.D. Jerusalem lay waste and not one stone of the Temple was left on the other.  It literally perished in the fire of the Roman army’s destruction, Matthew 24:1-3.

Today the Hinnom Valley is no longer burning, nor is it a garbage dump, it looks like this:
hinnom-valleyIt has “eternally” perished.  It is not “eternally” burning.

Is Sodom and Gomorrah Eternally Burning?

In like manner, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, who indulged in sexual immorality and pursued strange flesh, are on display as an example of those who sustain the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 1:7Genesis 19:24

The answer is no.  Anyone who visits the desert of Sodom and Gomorrah will notice it perished forever in the fire.  Before it was destroyed the Bible says it was a well watered garden, Genesis 13:10.

*Remember the Hebrew word, Olam and the  Greek words, Aei and Aion, do not mean eternal but Spiritual, a period of time, age lasting, perpetual, from one point to the next or until death.  

Tartarus is a Dark, Deep Pit or Abyss With No Mention of Fire.

O YHVH, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the Pit.” Psalm 30:3   

The Hebrew word “Pit” is “Bor” and often used as a synonym for “Sheol, ” the Grave.

“For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into Hell…” 2 Peter 2:4

The original Greek word was Tartarus, an Egyptian word, borrowed by the Greeks, also referred to as the darkest, deepest abyss or bottomless pit.  Below are two other references of a Dark Abyss or Grave.

And the angels who did not stay within their own domain, but abandoned their proper dwelling,  He keeps under darkness, in eternal, (from aei #104) chains for judgment on that great day.  Jude 1:6.

“And the demons/evil spirits, (daimonion #1140) kept begging Jesus not to order them to go into the abyss. Luke 8:31

The Abyss/Bottomless Pit/ Sheol/Grave is also the place of the Destroyer Angel, Abaddon, the Beast, the Devil and his angels, Dragon, Serpent…all synonyms for satan.  Satan is God’s Adversary, (that describes the majority of mankind) and will be bound for 1,000 years, Matthew 25:41; Revelation 9:1Revelation 9:11Revelation 11:7; Revelation 20.

He seized the dragon, the ancient serpentwho is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:2

Translators have taken the liberty of adding their mythical bias to God’s spiritual metaphors.  Words like demon, dragon and devil do not exist in the original Hebrew.  The serpent represented satan, which is every corrupt way/sin leading to death.

Is The Outer Darkness Hell?

Yeshua uses the phrase, Outer Darkness, in His parables describing those outside of God’s Kingdom, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 8:12Matthew 22:13Matthew 25:30Luke 13:28; Psalm 112:10.

“Weeping and gnashing teeth” describe some very upset and angry people.  Not only are they cast outside the Kingdom, we see the same description linking the outer darkness to, “the blazing furnace.”

…”and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teethMatthew 13:42Matthew 13:50

Is The Blazing Furnace Hell?

The Torah and Prophets reveal the meanings of these ancient Hebrew metaphors and idioms.  What does fire do?  It cleanses away combustible material.  God is referred to as an All Consuming Fire, Hebrews 12:29, and a Blazing Torch/Furnace; Exodus 15:7; 24:17; Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3; 2 Samuel 22:9; Psalm 97:3; Geneses 15:17…

“…for you will heap burning coals on his head,” Proverbs 25:22; Romans 12:20

When we repay an insult with God’s Merciful Loving Kindness it is said to heap burning coals on our enemies head.  The burning coals are obviously figurative, our enemies will not be physically burned but spiritually convicted.

Isaiah describes his vision of standing in God’s presence as a house full of smoke with an alter of live (burning) coals.  When a coal touches his unclean lips it makes them clean, Isaiah 6:7

“For everyone will be salted with fire, salt is good…” Mark 9:49, 50

Is The Lake of Fire HeThe Lake of Fire is The Second Death,”  Revelation 20:14Revelation 21:8

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. The one who is Victorious, (prevails, overcomes) will not be harmed by the Second death.” Revelation 2:11  

The last enemy to be destroyed is death” .1 Corinthians 15:26

The Lake of Fire means The Second Death, and Death is the last enemy to be destroyed.

Death means separation from our Spiritual Creator, but death was never eternal.  Death will be no more, it will pass away, it will be swallowed up, Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 21:4.

The Example of The Rich Man and Lazarus.

If we re-read the story of Luke 16:19-31, without the eternal Hell-fire mythology and view the physical examples as metaphors, we see an example of the Second Death.

Observe the rich man reversing roles with Lazarus, the poor, tormented beggar who longed for the food that fell from the rich man’s table.

They both die but Lazarus is carried by angels to “Abraham bosom,” (an idiom meaning the place of honor at a banquet).  While the rich man was buried, and in the Grave, not Hell, where he is in torment, like the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  In the story he sees Abraham and Lazarus from afar and begs Abraham to have mercy and let Lazarus dip his finger in water and give him a drop to cool his tongue, he says, “I am suffering in this flame.”

Torah and Living Water are used as similes in Hebrew and Firey trials produce repentance.

Abraham addresses the rich man as Child and explains their reversal of roles and the chasm/gulf/wide space that cannot be crossed.  The rich man refers to Abraham as Father and asks him to send Lazarus to his father’s house where he has 5 brothers, (I only have a speculation about who these represent.)

Abraham replies, they have Moses/Torah and the Prophets, let them hear.

The rich man’s final plea is if someone from the dead would go they will repent, but Abraham said, “if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets they will not be persuaded if someone would rise from the dead.”

Many people believe this story supports their eternal Hell Fire doctrine but I believe we must view God’s Word with eyes and ears that can perceive these parables, metaphors, similes, idioms and spiritual symbolism.

For Those Who Have Eyes to See, Let Them See The Metaphors.

The dead are not tormented eternally in a flesh burning fire.  There is a Second Death but death is not eternal, it is a second, age lasting/spiritual, separation from our Spiritual Creator.

“Where oh death is your victory, where oh death is your sting?”  Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55

Our Creator is greater than death!  The word Hell, along with the man-made, mythological concept of eternal, flesh burning fire and the god of the underworld, does not match up to the plum-line of the Original, Perfect, Unchanging Word of Truth, Psalm 18:30; Deuteronomy 4:24Isaiah 33:14

hell-1

The All Consuming Fire

Our Creator is Called An All Consuming Fire
Fire heart

What is the Ancient Hebrew Concept of Fire?

In the introduction of, His Name is One, Jeff A. Benner states, “In order to fully comprehend the original writers understanding of the texts he created, we must first immerse ourselves in his culture and language, training our minds to read the texts through his eyes and mind.”

Ancient Hebrew was originally written in pictographic script.  Each picture letter conveyed a very literal, concrete meaning.

Learning the difference between concrete and abstract thinking is helpful in understanding of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures.  Referring to YHVH, (He Is, Was and Will Be) as an All Consuming Fire, for instance, means that He is Awesome, Good and Life-giving.

Ancient Hebrew has No Concept of Eternal Burning Torment

Ancient Hebrew seems to be the opposite of today’s abstract ideas of eternal and fire.  The word Olam is translated eternal but originally it meant, “to the distant horizon and beyond.”  Beyond the horizon was unknown, just as Sheol meant grave, before it was translated into Greek.

These Ancient Hebrew Scriptures were the same Scriptures read in Jesus’/Y’shua’s day.  Every 1st Century author of the New Testament referred only to the Torah, Prophets and Writings as God’s Word.

The noble-minded Berean’s, Acts 17:11, searched the Ancient Hebrew Scriptures daily.  They tested what Paul and Peter were teaching about the Messiah to see if it was true.

The first century writings had not yet been compiled into a book called the New Testament.  The 27 letters were selected because they matched Torah.

The original Hebrew Scriptures remain our gauge to check for false teachings; “the word of YHVH (He Exists) endures for ever. And this is the word which is preached to you.” 1 Peter 1:25Psalm 119:89Isaiah 40:8.

When Did the Concept of Eternal Fire Evolve?

Greek translations of the Torah and Prophets began in Alexandria circa 300-200 B.C.

Plato, 428-347 B.C., a famous Greek philosopher had long since been teaching his abstract, Ancient, Greek Mythology.   The eternal burning punishment of the soul was not a new idea.  Thousands of years earlier this was already a common belief among Ancient Babylonian’s and Ancient Egyptians.

At the time of the Greek Septuagint translation, the Hebrew word “Sheol,” (grave) was translated into Greek as “Hades.”  By then Plato’s abstract thinking had become so widely accepted that Hades, the mythical god of the underworld, was synonymous with the place of the dead.

Hades was the place of Eternal tormenting Fire and its mythology carried over into early 2nd- 3rd Century church doctrine.

The 7th Century, Eastern religion of Islam was also influenced by this false doctrine.

By the 8th Century the German equivalent was Holle, (See Norse and Tuetonic Mythology).  It was later transliterated into Old English as Hel the word we all know today as Hell.

With all the man-made doctrine exposed and stripped away the original Hebrew word Sheol, only means, “grave.”

Beginning with a clean slate lets take a look at the Biblical teachings about Fire.

The Original Concept of Fire

Using physical examples to describe the unknown, what is fire and what does it do?  YHVH is described as the All Consuming Fire, the Creator, Life Giver…  As the oxygen from our breath revives a fire, His breath revives us.

Fire Only Burns Combustible Things.

Isaiah 9:18 Surely wickedness burns like a fire.”  

Psalm 37:20 “But the wicked (those who do bad) shall perish… they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.”

Obadiah 1:16 It will be as if the evil had never been.

Mal 4:1 “All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.”

Isa. 1:28, 30–31 “rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together, and those who forsake the YHVH shall be consumed.”

Wickedness, arrogance, evil/corrupt/crooked/adverse/rebellion burn like fire and will be consumed, into smoke that dissipates, perishes, in other words, everything bad will cease to exist.

Like Physical Fire, Spiritual Fire Purifies

In 755 B.C. the prophet Isaiah writes about his vision in the presence of God; With “it” he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”  What was this thing that had the power to take away Isaiah’s sin?  It was a spiritual “burning coal,” Isaiah 6:6.  We see the same symbolism of “burning coals” on the physical alter in 1445 b.c., Numbers 16:46.

John the Baptist announced that he was baptizing with Water but One was coming who would baptize with fire, Matthew 3:11.  Y’shua did not literally submerge anyone in physical fire, His Spirit is referred to as fire.

“I have come to ignite a fire on the earth and how I wish it were already kindled,” Luke 12:49

Spiritual Fire, Light, Life, Truth

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20.

Obviously those burning coals have a spiritual meaning.  It is our kindness that convicts our enemy of their wrong behavior not our retaliation.

The Ancient Hebrew imagery of Fire was Life sustaining, giving warmth in cold, light in darkness, cooking food, burning away waste, garbage and unwanted, useless, combustible material.  Fire was used for molding metal, refining, purifying gold and silver. Job 33:30

The Lake of Fire is Called the Second Death

Like the other Metaphors about Fire, we are told the Lake of Fire is the Second Death.  The eternal flesh burning fire is added, man-made, mythology.  Revelation chapters, 19, 20 and 21. [1]

Ancient Hebrew, like most languages, is full of idioms, parables, metaphors, word puns and rhymes that do not translate.  The physical examples revealing spiritual Truth are often lost or misunderstood.

The Second Death Occurs on Judgement Day.

Our physical, flesh and blood, bodies are actually born into the first death.  We will have already experienced the first Physical death when we all appear before God’s Spiritual presence on Judgement Day.

But who can endure the day of his coming?  Who can stand when he appears?  He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.”  Malachi 3:2

The prophet Jeremiah proclaims that God’s Word is fire, Jeremiah 23:29.  The Apostle Peter says water cleansed the earth in Noah’s day and the final cleansing of the un-godly will be fire,  2 Peter 3:11-132 Peter 3:6-8.

On the day of His coming, Judgment day, when the Messiah will reveal His Spirit, John 5:22.   Everything physical will perish, leaving behind a glorious revealing, something purified, radiant and beautiful.  Revelation 19:19-21Isaiah 30:33Romans 8:18.

It is God’s Revealing Fire that will Test the quality of each Person’s Work  1 Corinthians 3:13.  Everyone will be judged by what they have done, Matthew 7:2.

Everyone goes through the fire, for some it will be a glorious revealing, but others will suffer loss being saved as one who has gone through fire, 1 Corinthians 3:15.

Everything corrupt must go through the Fire.  Everyone is salted with Fire;  purified by trials and testing.  Mark 9:49

Anything we have placed above the One Who Created all things is combustible;  like wood, chaff, stubble, hay and thorns perish in the fire.

Lasting/Spiritual attributes will not be harmed in the fire; Hebrew word like; Tsdekah, Hesed, Chanah.  These Hebrew words are difficult to translate adequately into English but they mean; Mercy, Favor or grace, Compassion, Justice, acts of loving kindness and righteousness or doing right/good.  These are described as the precious stones, non-combustible in YHVH’s presence.[2]

Asbestos is a Greek Word Meaning, Non-combustible

Way back before 500 B.C. there were stories of wealthy Persians who amazed their guests by throwing dirty napkins and cloths made of asbestos into the fire to clean them.

Even Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor (800–814), was said to have had a tablecloth made of asbestos.  As well as Marco Polo writing about a cloth he had seen that did not burn in the fire.

his workmanship will be evident, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man’s work.” 1 Corinthians 3:13

Our acts of Loving Kindness will come through the fire shining radiantly, like gold, silver or a cloth made of asbestos, after the fire has removed the dross and every impurity. Revelation 2:11

Judgement Day is said to be a Glorious Day!

Judgement Day is said to be a glorious day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess the Merciful Loving Kindness of our Creator, Romans 14:11Isaiah 45:23Philippians 2:10.

We can trust Him in the testing of our faith and we count these “fiery trials” with joy because we know they are perfecting us to spiritual maturity and wholeness.  James 1:3

The Second Death is A Repeat Death

The Greek word for second is Deuteros, where we get the name Deuteronomy in the fifth book of Moses.   Deuteronomy means a repeat or copy of the law/Torah.  This repeat death, “which is the lake of fire,” is prepared for the Beast, the False Prophet,  Satan and all those who are his, including everyone whose names were not found in the Book of Life, Revelation 20:10Revelation 20:15Matthew 25:41.

The day Adam and Eve rebelled, God protected them by making sure they could not eat from the Tree of Life and live in their fallen state forever,  Genesis 3:22.  He gave Adam and Eve a promise in Genesis 3:15, and the prophesied Seed of the woman did conquer the serpent/death.

Yet, nobody eats from the Tree of Life until they conquer, Revelation 2:7;  Revelation 22:2.

Those who are victorious during their time one earth will enter through the narrow gate, Revelation 22:2 ; Psalm 118:20, but there will be few who discover or enter by that gate, ,Matthew 7:14.

So what about the nations, the majority of peoples?  There is a wide gate that leads to destruction, (the lake of fire, the second death).  The Hebrew word Abad means to perish or utterly destroy.  Abaddon is the Destroyer who destroys everything bad.

For some reason the majority do not humbly listen, learn or obey The Way of Life during this first death, Matthew 7:13.

Blessed and Holy/Set Apart are those in the 1st Resurrection.  The will reign with Messiah a thousand years, Revelation 20:5, 6.  Who knows if a thousand years is like a day spiritually, 2 Peter 3:8Psalm 90:4?  This is also the same time period that Satan will be bound, Revelation 20:2.

Good News For the Victorious

The Victorious will not be hurt by the repeat death, Revelation 2:11;  because it has no power to destroy them, Revelation 20:6.

At the appointed time YHVH sent Yehoshua (YHVH’s Salvation) to reveal the Good News: The curse of death is the last enemy to be abolished/perish, 1 Corinthians 15:262 Timothy 1:10.

After the Repeat Death, there will be No more death! 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4 Isaiah 25:8

As the prophet Isaiah prophesied,
“Woe to you, destroyer, you who have not been destroyed! Woe to you, betrayer, you who have not been betrayed!  When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed,”  Isaiah 33:1.

In Short

Knowing the Truth about Judgement Day turns it into a hopeful expectation of YHVH’s glorious revealing.

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy, both soul and body in Gehenna, (a place where everything bad is perishes in the fire),  Matthew 10:28.

see; Love Reveals; the Truth about Eternity.

[1] Revelation 20:14

[2] Isaiah 33:15