Jesus was in Hell between death and resurrection? Hell no.

I read recently from a few Christians who have this alarming idea that Jesus was in Hell between his death and resurrection.

Today I decided to do some research of how people come to this conclusion.

I read this site today:- http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-go-to-hell.html

Seem a lot of this error boils down to mistranslation in this passage here:-

Psalm 16 : 10
American Standard Version
For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; nor wilt then give thy holy one to see corruption.

Darby Bible Translation
For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol, neither wilt thou allow thy Holy One to see corruption.

English Revised Version
For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.

Webster’s Bible Translation
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.

World English Bible
For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption.

Young’s Literal Translation
For Thou dost not leave my soul to Sheol, Nor givest thy saintly one to see corruption.

King James
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

New International version
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

Its interesting how in this case that the NIV is better than the KJV here!

sheol

From the scant bit of Hebrew learning I did, I remember that Nefesh is soul and Sheoul is the word for ‘Hades’

I looked this up n Hebrew wikipedia, which originally just copying שאול shows a listing for Shaul of Tarsius.  A bit more searching found this article http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/ שאול_(מיתולוגיה)  which you can easily read in Google translator or the Chrome browser, bit didn’t tell me anything that useful.    But its fascinating that God’s decision to rename Shaul to Paul considering his transformation from a well educated Jewish Roman tent maker but someone who was a murderer and against the gospel to one who was the most well known missionary and author of the largest amount of the New Testament.

As a kid, I remember reading somewhere that our death and judgement is like going through a large airport security area where you then are evaluated whether you have a passport, ticket, boarding card and luggage are acceptable to the airline and jurisdiction of the country you are travelling to, but with the only requirement is being a follower of Christ and therefore in the big salvation database of every human who ever lived, the Lamb’s book of life.    

Further on, it seems in Revelation, Hell and Hades are described as two different places.

Revelation 20:11–15
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Here its interesting it describes ‘the second death’ here.  Hell isn’t mentioned in Revelation in my NIV, but it does mention the lake of fire.

My conclusion is Jesus didn’t go to hell for the 3 days he was not on earth, but actually visited the inbetween place Shaul or Hades, to set up the process of how people are judged if they are fit for eternal life.   Jesus’s friends didn’t immediately recognise him as he would of had a shave, shower, hair cut and looked much better then when he was arrested I think.

This just makes me more conscious of how I need to live and to repent of the regular bad things I constantly fall into.

Common pitfalls that can catch believers volunteering or studying in Israel

For believers, Jewish or Gentile volunteering or studying in Israel, I thought I would offer a list of pitfalls that can trip up followers of Yeshua who are staying in the holy land for any length of time.

Cultural sensitivity

Try and avoid wearing Tshirts with religious or political message.  Making sure you the right attire for religious sites which means arms and legs must be covered, and the Orthodox Jews don’t like women in trousers, you need a long skirt in you are a female and wish to go through religious communities.

Staying in your flat all weekend

Theres lots to see if you are in Jerusalem, when Shabbat is over its fun to get into the centre of town and meet with friends at a coffee shop or ice cream joint.  Usually there is people playing music in the streets in Ben Yehuda Street and the place starts to become alive Saturday evening.

I’ve noticed what I would describe is a habit that some people never go out.   I had two housemates like this.   This has happened to me too often.   I think its a spiritual thing that can cause people to hide away sometimes.

Not praying over yourself

Pray for the armour of protection.  THIS IS A MUST.  Before you leave the house.   This place is a spiritually volatile as it is politically volatile.   No need for alarm or panic, but be aware any worries, negative thoughts can intensifying and depression can creep in while you are in Israel.

Ephesians 6 : 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

This passage is saying about praying protection on yourself like the pieces of protective equipment worn for a war.   This is a quite a good metaphorical statement needed.

If you don’t understand this passage, then get familiar with it.   If you don’t want to understand this passage or would rather ignore this, don’t come to Israel.

Working on Shabbat

Don’t do it, stick to the biblical week, and shut down normal week friday evening.   I’m not saying when you return to your original country you have to change away from your traditional working patterns, just while you are in Israel, observe the Sabbath and get a nice meal and invite some friends over, or get together with family, its good to invite someone outside of your usual group of friends who might otherwise be on their own that evening.

Because of spending all the time working, making every day the same, I’ve sadly seen some believers here and in my own country fall away this way.

Some ministries are working to a very tight deadline to make a complex project happen, and I’ve done it a few times only to find the project I was working on went wrong.  Seriously friends, if you are doing ministry in Israel, don’t work Shabbat, its meant to be special for a reason.

Not going to a congregation of believers

Sadly some Christians have this idea if you work in a ministry, do a bit of private bible study or a visit an Orthodox synagogue you don’t need to go to a congregation, this is not true!! As well as get teaching and participate in worship, you need to have fellowship with believers, its also great to meet other foreign Christians, Jewish believers and sometimes Arab believers this way, take part in Jewish holidays, Torah portion (both Tanakh and Brit Hadasha, ie: Old Testament and New Testament)

Hebrews 10 : 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Once you build some good friendships in your congregation (this took quite a while for me)  its a great way to get mentored or be a mentor.   If you find your life is completely peachy and never have any worries or struggles (you must be an extreme rarity!)  use your experience of overcoming struggles to help others.   Ok, realistically, if you have overcome many struggles you might also be called to look out for those who are on their own or going through a tough time.

 Not drinking enough water

This happens a lot, it seems that a human being’s thirst doesn’t quite get calibrated right, and you may stick to usual pattern of fluid intake in a cooler country, don’t rely on this, you often need to drink about 2-3 times as much as you are used to especially if you are outside a lot.

If someone you are with doesn’t pack water on a trip and after you remind them they say ‘no I am alright’ don’t accept this and keep reminding them in making sure they are taking enough.   A hike for some hours in the desert necessitates 3-4 litres of water at least.   I find it best to get into a pattern of drinking some at least every half an hour.   Dehydration takes places quickly and can really spoil your day or at the very worst make you very ill.

Don’t bash regular Christianity

If your brothers and sisters in Christ don’t show the same interest in the Holy Land, don’t get into a them-and-us mentality.  There’s nothing worse than religious arrogance.

We are meant to be ambassadors for Jesus whilst we are away from our places of origin.   It gives a bad impression if we show there is division among our fellow Christians.

When churches go with the world of plans to redefine marriage and family structure to appease a twisted society, people get angry and blame the whole church system as going down the tubes.   I think the institutional church is not what it was but its crucially important we give a good impression of us as servants of the Lord.

When I see Hebrew roots movements telling people ‘listen to our theology, not pagan Christianity’  this makes me very cross.   Don’t listen to any arrogant person who attacks the wider body of church, but do pray for the body of believers in our own respective countries.

My observation is that many Christians simply don’t know a lot of the bible, and don’t know the importance of Israel and the Jewishness of Jesus, but don’t know many other aspects of their faith, just because (particularly me) getting familiar with all aspects of the scriptures in the entirety is hard work.

Don’t try and be something you are not

If you are a gentile Christian with an interest in Hebrew Roots or Jewish foundations of Christianity, please don’t put on a kippur or tzi-zit.   Don’t try and be something you are not.   This causes so many problems.

Here’s a classic anti-replacement theology passage:- Romans 11 : 11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.

The bible tells us (regular gentile Christians) that we are to make the Jews jealous from our salvation from the Jewish Messiah.

Some overly enthusiastic Christians get their theology back to front and try and wear clothing used by observant Jews.   This can be interpreted as Replacement Theology, that Christians are the ‘new Jews’  and the almost certainly the reaction from other Christians as they are being just being plain daft.

Studying Hebrew roots can be great, but its not meant to be a religious dressing up game.

Be aware of unusual teachings and having discernment

Which way round do the events in end times event happen?  Is the New Testament written originally in Greek, Aramaic or something else?  Jesus’s birthday is 25th December?

Often people come up with some ideas that seem different from the norm, so be careful and research everything thoroughly yourself.

1 Timothy 1 : 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

Sometimes there’s aspects of the bible that have several plausible explanations that we will have different interpretations, they often aren’t significant enough to argue about.    I admire my friend Judah’s earlier blog post about tolerance of different ideas from our brothers and sisters in Christ, but robustly challenging anything false.

Not so kosher Rummikub game

Rummikub is a game I played as a child, which I found recently was invented in Israel.

I like it as its fast moving and you can rearrange sets of tiles to dispose of the ones on your rack, best played with at least 4 people.

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This game is called ‘digital’ (I think)  this game and the tiles looks exactly like the real one.    This picture I saw was in either Tel Aviv or Jaffa in a Arabic bookshop.   I guess imitation is flattery.

The box, shape of the counters and fonts all look an exact copy of the real thing, apart from the name of the game.

Bells on horses and taxi signs

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I was reading this passage the other day:-

Zechariah 14 : 20 On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite[c] in the house of the Lord Almighty.

I was wondering about bells on horses, this must be symbolic right?  I mean not many people have horses these days, its a bit hard to feed them with not a lot of grass for them, and they aren’t really used for work much except the odd Bedouin camp.   I don’t know of any culture in the last hundred years has bells on horses.

So, in recent times some clever Israeli hi tech company have started putting large coloured LCD displays on taxis, so must be a nice money spinner for the drivers and owners of the equipment.   I saw these type of screens on Las Vegas taxis when I was there in 2001.   This looks like a new venture, as I don’t see any regular ads apart from them trying to sell spaces on them.

A car is a modern day horse for work, a bell gets people’s attention, so, whats the chances of the name of the Messiah could be broadcast on one of these one day?

 

 

Sneak preview of Christian television in Bethlehem

Well, last year I was ready to fly home and see family for Christmas.   I am trying to pack in getting lots of things done before going, in particular, getting someone to check my mailbox and pay any bills, buy presents, host a party at my house with some of my other single friends for shabbat.

In addition to that, I wanted to meet up with my friend Peter Friedlander who is a photographer and video producer, he was at my church which runs a training school for students looking to enhance the work of the Christian ministry they work for by producing video content.    Once qualified, Peter has used his skills to do video work for a Arab ministry to witness to people in Bethlehem, Jesus’s birth town which today is a bustling Arabic city which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

As tourism is probably the life blood of the economy of Bethlehem, of course you will see more Christmas decorations out in the street than anywhere else in this part of the world, however just like commercialised western Christmas there maybe little in common with celebrating the birth of the Jewish Messiah, regardless of what time of the year he may of arrived, and more like a giant Woolworths in the middle east. :)

http://peterfriedlander.org/no-room-for-christ-in-bethlehem/

Small pacific states vote no for Hamas/Fatah Palestine terror state

This is something I wrote last year and forgot about until this week

Exactly this time last year, I was thinking today about the UN decision to partially recognise Palestine as a nation, but I had been busy last couple of days (of December 2012) and have not really properly followed the news.

For countries that don’t want to give recognition to a new extreme Islamic state that fires rockets into its neighbours and radicalizes its youth with hate, I was surprised to see apart from US, Israel and the Czech Republic, some tiny little known countries out in the Pacific Ocean:-

small countries support israelSeveral of these countries are some of the smallest in the world.

I did some research on Wikipedia from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population

Makes me think of this passage in Luke 9 : 46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and made him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.’

Maybe some of these little countries prefer to go with the not so population opinion, and as the above mentions the least being the greatest.

I’d like to learn more about the church in these tiny countries and how they support Israel.

War preparation for Hannukah

(From this time last year I wrote this, when war broke out with Gaza in November 2012)

Here in Jerusalem people are getting ready for Hannukah which is the end of November this year and buying doughnuts.

As well as this I got a few packages from work this week – gas masks.

We have to keep them in the sealed bags until there is a need to use them.    The reason being is the news has spoken quite a bit about more threats, this time not so much from Gaza (although there has been more rumours of shipments of FAJA-5 rockets from Iran sent to north Africa)     but this time from Syria.

Syria has had plenty of involvement with chemical weapons for sometime now, including Anthrax and different types of toxic gas including Sarin (stuff used by the Nazis)

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Stuff on my dining table: 6 pack of 2 litre water which we would have to grab and take to the bomb shelter, thing in bag  is a gas mask, bible, mug of tea, room mate’s camera bag.   When the siren goes off, I have to have my keys, phone, bottles of water handy.   Or the other type of siren means stay in and put on gas mask.

For folks reading this in the UK or some other western country, you may find it hard to understand why I am still here in a country threatened by war from multiple enemies.    Some people I work with include New Zealanders living in cities shaken by earthquakes that have knocked their houses down so many times they have given up rebuilding them.    People in different nations have to learn to live with and be prepared for different threats.

A few dozen reasons Christians living in Israel is great

I could of called this list 20… or 101 reasons……   I didn’t want to stick to a particular number, here is many blessings I’ve experienced in the 52 months I spent volunteering in Jerusalem:-

Things I’ve discovered:-

  • Bus drivers don’t let you sit down before the start driving off
  • Using rep training means I can better represent this country to those not aware of Israel’s background
  • The Shuk is the most fun way of shopping
  • Understanding different types of anti semitism in other ways, some more discreet, not just from the Nazis and Islamic world
  • Seeing Barry and Batya Segal play Hebrew worship music live at my church
  • Finding that cooking chicken is dead easy when you have a slow cooker.
  • Sitting in garden during lunch break observing blackbirds, green parrots, woodpeckers and jays, and also an elderly bad tempered black Persian cat known as Mr Fluffy
  • Going on a Zealous young adults group around different parts of the country
  • Visiting Nazareth and Capernaum and imagining Jesus spent 17 years of his life in mostly secular work and bible study before doing ministry at 30
  • Going hiking in the Galilee, Golan, Mount Hermon or the desert.
  • Fixing an iPhone with a smashed screen with $15 worth of parts from ebay and watching instructions on Youtube from some else who did it
  • Hebrew worship music
  • Praying at the Kotel, aka the Western Wall
  • Watching how firemen use special tools on opening the doors of a rental car in the Galilee when someone locked the keys inside
  • Having my elbow healed from a tibular break after falling over onto snow in the UK
  • Floating in the Dead Sea
  • Seeing local Israeli live bands, then they recognise you as you have been to 3 of their gigs
  • Teaching friends how not to get ripped off by crooked taxi drivers
  • Sitting by the edge of the Kinneret
  • Learning Hebrew, mostly only enough to know how to buy stuff in shops, and read the signs in the bus station
  • Hanging out with friends drinking wine on my balcony
  • Sitting on Ben Yehuda with an Arab believer friend who loves Jewish people
  • Cycling to work past famous places
  • Watching Jerusalem’s first formula F1 race
  • Independence day parties
  • Got to know an Iranian believer who loves Israel on Facebook, and now praying him for to be released from prison, his crime is being a believer
  • Learning how to build a whole email infrastructure from scratch with a free certification from Google
  • Spying on Google, yep I saw the outside of their offices in Haifa from a train
  • Seeing flowers in the ponds and waterfalls of the Golan
  • Listening to street musicians
  • Sliding down the snow at Mount Hermon
  • Falafel, nuff said
  • Giving away an old laptop computer refurbished out of bits of two broken ones, to an Ethiopian community centre
  • Playing chess in coffee shops with friends
  • Visiting a friend in Switzerland who I met at my church here in Jerusalem
  • Watching the view from the Tayelet of most of Jerusalem
  • Then also watching the view from the Mount of Olives
  • Observing Yom Kippur and then getting something to eat to break the fast
  • Crossing over into Jordan and visiting Petra with the Indiana Jones music on my ipod
  • Inviting a American Messianic Jewish friend to sleep on my couch who I only knew from his writings in the internet
  • Seeing exotic coloured fish through a glass window into the Red Sea
  • Humous, the chilli or lemon stuff is the best
  • And of course, Shabbat, hosting or being hosted by others.