In the Psalms, people are encouraged to worship God, but the threat to those who do not comply is not unending torment in hell, but that they will not enter into God’s “rest.”
The city of Jerusalem is one of the most prominent of all places mentioned in scripture, and in the New Testament, Jerusalem is the name of the church, and its location is heaven, not upon the earth. The various locations and landforms associated with the promised land are the setting for the revelations of God in scripture. These revelations include the gospel, and the promise and hope of the future resurrection.
In the prophecy of Zechariah 14, all nations gather against Jerusalem to battle.
Isaiah said, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be established in the top of the mountains, and will be exalted above the hills. [Isaiah 2:1-3] Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled, and Jerusalem was raised up, when Jesus ascended to heaven, after he rose from the grave. Since then, the Jerusalem of prophecy is the heavenly city, rather than the earthly one.
In a prophecy about Jerusalem, Isaiah said: “What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?” [Isaiah 22:1]
Isaiah 22 is titled “The burden of the valley of vision.” A curious feature of this chapter is that while it is a prophecy about the valley of vision, it describes the desolation of Jerusalem, which naturally leads us to wonder what might the significance of a “valley” might be. Why is it called “the valley of vision“? Most commentators agree that the prophecy in this chapter is about Jerusalem. In Isaiah 2:1-3, the prophet identifies Jerusalem, and the hill of Zion, with “the mountain of the Lord’s house,” which he says will be established in the tops of the mountains. Paradoxically, in chapter 22 he refers to Jerusalem as a valley. How can it be both a valley, and a mountain?
Interpretations of Gehenna that appeal to events of 70 AD miss the significance of the prophecies of Jeremiah about the future of the valley of Hinnom, which say that it will become “holy unto the Lord.” This is easily understood, when Jesus’ references to Gehenna are seen in the context of a judgment, which those who are accounted unworthy to enter the kingdom of heaven and the holy city must endure.
Jerusalem and Gehenna are two key geographical locations in the promised land, crucial for understanding the Gospel, and the mysteries of present and future judgment. In a post on Gehenna and Eschatology, part of a series on Questioning Hell, Randy Olds wrote: