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Jehovah`s Witness/Jesus' parable of Hell and Paradise

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Question
Hello.

Jesus used parables. In a parable, the persons and stories related to them might be made up. The purpose is not to teach a historical event, but a truth that uneducated cant literally understand.

Jesus made a parable, using the existing jewish version of after death(punishment of the wicked in fire, reward of the believers in the paradise of Abraham - Abraham's Bossom). Josephus speaks about the jewish version of Hell and Paradise.

Why would he use a false, disgusting, evil, satanic(according to JWs) belief, for his parable? A JW would never use such a story to teach something. He would rather say how disguisting is the idea of God torturing people in fire. Why Jesus didnt say a word about how false and evil such a belief was, but instead he even used it as a background for his parable teaching?

Answer
First, the Jews did not believe in Christendom's version of eternal torment. The Hebrew Scriptures plainly state that the soul dies and that there is no consciousness after death. The Jews hoped in a resurrection from the dead. For example, when Jesus' good friend, Lazarus, died Jesus went to his home, intending to resurrect him. But before he did he spoke with Martha, Lazarus' sister, who explained the hope of the Jews when she told Jesus that she knew her brother would rise on the last day.

The Jews also understood that Hades was the grave. It was only during the Dark Ages that the English word "hell" was used to translate numerous Hebrew and Greek words as hell, with the connotation of eternal torment. For example, the Greek word "Gehenna" was mistranslated as hell. Whereas, the Jews would have understood Jesus to be referring to a literal place - a garbage dump outside the walls of Jerusalem. Jesus used Gehenna to symbolize eternal destruction - a place from which no one would be resurrected. It was used figuratively.

So, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus Jesus used Hades to symbolize a change. The rich man - symbolizing the Pharisees - died as to his previously held position of favor. But the poor beggar was exalted to the highest place. The change of status was tormenting for the abased rich man. The reality of the parable was played out when the Christianized Jews forsook their formerly subordinate position to the Pharisees, while the Pharisees became religiously irrrelavant and eventually ceased to exist entirely.

Here is a link to the Reasoning book on the topic

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Robert King

Expertise

I can answer general Bible questions or questions regarding the teachings of the Watchtower Society, and questions and issues among Jehovah's Witnesses. Special interest is in Bible prophecy and the return of Christ.

Experience

Have been a pioneer minister of Jehovah's Witnesses during the 80's and an appointed elder for about 10 years. Also, I was an approved "expert" on All Experts some years ago, but could not keep up with the questions. I was disfellowshipped for exposing the Watchtower's 10-year partnership with the United Nations and for publishing the book Jehovah Himself Has Become King.

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The Jerusalem above

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Self published a 500+ page book called Jehovah Himself Has Become King, which is an in-depth exploration of Bible prophecy.

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Always a pupil, always a teacher

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