Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"fear him who has authority to throw you into hell" : Who's "him"?

(HT to Richard Beck)

Spent some time on this passage, and context,  before you scroll to down to discover and consider N.T.Wright's interpretation.

Key question: Who does Jesus mean us to understand is the "him" who has authority to throw you into hell?

Start with these three translations (lifted from
It's clear from The Message and The NASB that they read it as God, The Message takes 'him" as God, NASB styles it as "The One" (nice Neo touch, btw).

Who do you say "him" is?

Related: Who is the one who can "kill the body"?

Note: click the drop-down box to compare other translations


Luke 12:4-7

New International Version (NIV)
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
The MESSAGE 4-5 “I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
6-7 “What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries

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Luke 12:4-7

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will [a]warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into [b]hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two [c]cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

-- N.T. weighs in:

 Some have seen 'the one who can cast into Gehenna' as YHWH; but this is unrealistic. Jesus did not, to be sure, perceive Israel's god as a kindly liberal godfather who would never hurt a fly, let alone send anyone to Gehenna. But again and again--not least in the very next verse of this paragraph--Israel's god is portrayed as the creator and sustainer, one who can be lovingly trusted in all circumstance, not one who waits with a large stick to beat anyone who steps out of line. Rather, here we have a redefinition of the battle in terms of the identification of the real enemy. The one who can kill the body is the imagined enemy, Rome. Who then is the real enemy? Surely not Israel's own god. The real enemy is the accuser, the satan. ---N.T. Wright,  Jesus and the Victory of Godpp. 454-455   

Again , thanks to Richard Beck for posting this, click here to read comments.

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