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Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Yekcidmij, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Economist

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    One of the phrases Jesus uses to describe what it's like to be excluded from the Kingdom of God is that of 'weeping and gnashing of teeth'.

    Many people take the weeping and gnashing of teeth to be the experience of physical pain in the form of torment by fire for eternity. I want to suggest that there is a more viable alternative for understanding this phrase 'weeping and gnashing of teeth'. I would suggest that the gnasing of teeth is an idiom for raging hatred and opposition, not of someone experiencing physical pain. This is seen in several other places throughout the bible.

    For example, the opponents of Stephen (Acts 7:54) "gnash their teeth" at Stephen. This isn't because Stephen's opponents are in pain themselves, in fact, they are inflicting pain on Stephen (they kill him). Their gnashing of their teeth is a form of expressing their rage and hatred toward Stephen.

    In Psalm 35:16 the opponents of the Psalmist are are mocking him and his stumbling by gnashing their teeth at him. Their teeth gnashing is one of opposition and mockery, not of the opponents being in physical pain.

    In Psalm 37:12, it's the wicked who inhabit the land that are gnashing their teeth. It's not because they are in pain, it's because of staunch and violent opposition toward the Psamist and the people he represents.

    In Job 16:9, Job accusing God of "gnashing His teeth" toward Job. But it's not because Job thinks God is in physical pain, it's because Job thinks God is violently opposing him.

    In Psalm 112:10, it's not people in physical pain who are gnashing their teeth. It's people who are violently opposing God by not keeping His commands and opposing God's honoring of the needy and the vindication and honor of God's name.

    In Lamentations 2:16, it's the people who sack Jerusalem who gnash their teeth and the people they conquered. It's not because they are in pain, but because of hatred and violent opposition toward their enemies.


    I suggest that the only way to understand the "gnashin of teeth" in Jesus' descriptions is to understand it as hatred and opposition (even violent opposition) toward God. The people who are excluded from the Kingdom of God do not seem to be in physical pain in the form of eternal hellfire, they seem to be experiencing sorrow and shame (hence the weeping) yet they still oppose and even hate God (hence the gnashing of teeth).

    Further implications of this might be that those who are not in the Kingdom of God never cease to oppose Him even if they know they are wrong. Some people naturally think that upon entering 'hell' would want to repent, but maybe that's just not the case. Maybe part of being in hell is eternal opposition toward God. It's also important to note that Jesus' descriptions of exclusion from the Kingdom of God (the people who are weeping and gnashing their teeth) doesn't seem to me to necessitate that someone has to be physically dead (brain dead/stopping of the heart) in order to be weeping and gnashing their teeth, much less does it seem to me to necessitate that they be in some sort of eternal hellfire as envisioned by Dante. It simply indicates that whether in this life or in some eternal state, those who are not in God's Kingdom experience shame, sorrow and are in opposition and even hatred toward God.

    What do you think?
     
    visionary likes this.
  2. Benevolous

    Benevolous Guest

    I think you're exactly right. The damned have nothing but contempt and hatred for God and the Bible says that this is expressed in the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    It isn't an expression of grief, but of rage and anger and hatred.
     
  3. beforHim

    beforHim Apologetical

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    Sounds pretty cool. Something else I just thought about:

    You could also take the "weeping" part, and say:
    It's said that heaven will have no tears, in revelation and somewere else (He'll wipe away all our tears). I think it says in other places how there will be no more tears, or instead of tears there will be laughter/joy.

    So, Hell equals "weeping and gnashing of teeth". Heaven consists of no weeping. Pretty cool, huh? :)
     
    Yekcidmij likes this.
  4. brokensoul80

    brokensoul80 New Member

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    i think your point is pointless weeping and gnashing of teeth is the same as experiencing utter pain
     
  5. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Economist

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    In other words, you aren't going to address what I posted. Thanks.
     
  6. Hairy Tic

    Hairy Tic New Member

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    ## I'm impressed. Thanks for something to think about :)
     
  7. DrBubbaLove

    DrBubbaLove Senior Veteran

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    Agree that gnashing works for extreme hate, but weeping seems to express pain or at least regret. Either way I think it is a bit narrow to restrict the whole expression to either just pain or just hatred. I think it would be both, which makes it difficult in my mind to use this as a basis for saying eternal torment is a myth.
     
  8. RND

    RND Senior Veteran

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    I think you did well.
     
  9. RND

    RND Senior Veteran

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    I thought hell was equated with death not eternal life. How do dead people "feel" pain? For example, if hell consists of people being tortured forever how do they gain access to the tree of life?
     
  10. Angelsword777

    Angelsword777 Regular Member

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    Sometimes the best way to learn about a being is to look at the supreme beings exact opposite archrival. I think you have to look at the Demonic aspect of it. The opposite of Holy Angels would be the fallen angels, this is basically what you are going to deal with if you are in Hell. It is hard to explain what hell really is, but I do know this. The thought of it probably doesn't hold true to what it really is. I think Hell is far worse then anyone can imagine. Basically a holding cell for negative energy and evil.

    Fire, gnashing of teeth and weeping. Pain and suffering, most likely amusement for Satans Squad. Azazel is another nasty force here. Take the polar opposite of Jesus and you will get an idea of what hell is.

    However I still believe God has power over it of course. Is it really an "eternity" or basically a "prison sentence" depending on how disrespecting you were to God throughout your judgment time...I doubt it because wouldn't that mean Heaven would have a "time of stay" as well??? Who knows how the system works.
     
  11. visionary

    visionary Your God is my God... Ruth said, so say I. Supporter

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    The merchants wept when they couldn't get anyone to buy in their absolute controlled world..
     
  12. DrBubbaLove

    DrBubbaLove Senior Veteran

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    a resurrected body that never dies would do the trick, just sayin
     
  13. RND

    RND Senior Veteran

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    That explains a state or condition not how thewicked gain access to the tree of life.
     
  14. Socratic Spelunker

    Socratic Spelunker Newbie

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    this is interesting. I'd never looked at it this way.
     
  15. DrBubbaLove

    DrBubbaLove Senior Veteran

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    It does if one believes all of us, both the good and the wicked, are resurrected body and soul to one Judgement. One to eternal glory (with a glorified body), the other to eternal damnation.

    Both sets of resurrected human bodies in this construct are now immortal. In this view the access mentioned and reference in the creation story(whatever that really means) no longer applies as everyone is resurrected with immortal bodies to stand in Judgement for their lives here. It is a creation made new again and part of that is a restoration of the human race.

    In this view the reference in Genesis is specifically directed at the result and implication of man's Fall, and whatever one makes of a Tree of Life, the effect of the Fall (and that resulting restricted access) would not apply to the world made new. It did not originally apply to Adam before the fall and could not apply to a restored human race.

    And I do not wish to debate that, I get that others do not see the end of this life (or the Garden) this same way. That is ok with me, I just do not see it that way.
     
  16. RND

    RND Senior Veteran

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    Yeah, I believe that. What I don't believe is that the wicked are tortured forever.

    Then what's the second death?

    I don't really understand what you are trying to say here.

    Um, before the fall Adam had access to the tree of life after the fall he didn't. My question is how do the wicked dead gain access to this tree and live forever so they can be tortured forever.

    Well in that there is only one truth (2 + 2 = 4, not 5 or 3) then it would be interesting to gain insight into the truth. How does your view of eternal torment and torture square with Malachi 4 for instance?
     
  17. EveryTongueConfess

    EveryTongueConfess Newbie

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    "Yeah, I believe that. What I don't believe is that the wicked are tortured forever."

    Perhaps the wicked aren't tortured, but rather are simply just in pain.
     
  18. Steffenfield

    Steffenfield Active Member

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    There was a nun who posted what hell was like because she went there in a dream or some sort of strange, God experience of this.

    It was like 8 things she mentioned or something.

    Anyone have a clue what I'm talking about?

    If so, could you post a link. :)
     
  19. Steffenfield

    Steffenfield Active Member

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    She rifled off the smell of hell and everything else in between. The worst of what I read, was of how everyone was cursing God for being there.

    I've never once cursed God and would hate to spend an eternity near to such language.

    I'd really like for someone to find her post.

    It actually became quite popular, so I hope it's not too hard to find.

    Thank you. :)
     
  20. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Have you read The Great Divorce - particularly how Lewis depicts "hell"?
     
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