Monday, 19 May 2008

Images of Hell

By divine coincidence, I came across this description of God's terrible judgement as I was working my way through Tim McMahon's excellent studies on the book of Zechariah, which I'm editing at the moment:

And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

That's Zechariah 14:12.

When I read passages like this, I wonder if our preaching of hell and judgement is somewhat weak and flaccid. I've never once heard the reality of hell preached in such terrible terms as this, and it makes me wonder if we shouldn't do it more. To the suggestion that it is excessive, the answer surely has to be that it's right there, in the Bible. And anyway, anyone who's read Lord of the Rings or played a Playstation video game would be able to connect to this imagery immediately.

(This coincidence relates to my blog post over on The Sola Panel.)


Grosey's Messages said...

Or a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark...
sooo.. how do you reconcile Zechariah 14 with an amil position?

Gordon Cheng said...

My (amillenial) reading is that it's a vision of final judgement depicted using the language of earthly (and future) history. But not straightforwardly so, in that final judgement actually begins at the cross. The Zech 14:4-5 prophecy about the Mount of Olives, for example, is referred to in Mark 11:23 and fulfilled at the cross.

If you want a clear, simple commentary on Zechariah that takes this position, you wouldn't go past Barry Webb.