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Lesson # Matt. 11:23-24
Study Material - Matt. 11:23-24
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23 And [kai] thou [su] , Capernaum [Kapernaoum] , which [ho] art exalted [hupsoo] unto [heos] heaven [ouranos] , shalt be brought down [katabibazo] to [heos] hell [hades] : for [hoti] if [ei] the mighty works [dunamis] , which [ho] have been done [ginomai] in [en] thee [soi] , had been done [ginomai] in [en] Sodom [Sodoma] , it would have remained [an] [meno] until [mechri] this day [semeron] .
24 But [plen] I say [lego] unto you [humin] , That [hoti] it shall be [esomai] more tolerable [anektoteros] for the land [ge] of Sodom [Sodoma] in [en] the day [hemera] of judgment [krisis] , than [e] for thee [soi] . KJV-Interlinear
23 'And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 'Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.' NAS
Capernaum is compared with Sodom. Just as Sodom was the worst of the worst cities in the ancient world because of its intense wickedness, sodomy and homosexuality being the chief ingredients of that cities degeneracy. So too Capernaum is now represented as the worst of the worst cities of the more modern world due not to its intense sexual degeneracy, but due to its intense indifference to God.
God was present in Sodom. Two angels were sent there to destroy it and rescue Lot and his family. The residents tried as they may to sexually assault the angels. Even when they had been struck with blindness, they still pursued their prey for their sexual gratification rather than recognize that there may be something different about these two visitors. Perhaps something that they should be concerned about???
Jesus Christ himself was present in the flesh in Capernaum. Folks there could have very easily approached God (Jesus), and carried on a conversation of enlightenment with Him. Can you even imagine having a conversation with Christ, face to face? You and I would certainly have approached Him very differently than most of the residents of Capernaum.
But what was their crime? Indifference. Remember in some of our prior studies, the reaction of the residents of the city? They were awed. But not awed with respect to meeting God first hand. They were awed as you would be awed when you see a two headed snake at the circus. They were entertained and nothing more.
Hades is generally a reference to the underworld. The underworld has four compartments. Into two of these compartments go all people who die during the Old Testament times from Adam until the time of the Cross. Paradise was where believers went, and Torments is where all unbelievers went then and still do even in our current dispensation. The other two compartments, the Abyss and Tartarus, contain fallen angels. The Abyss containing the worst of the worst of the fallen angels.
Anyway, this reference to Hades is a reference to the compartment where unbelievers went at the time of Christ - Torments. The comparison between Heaven and Hades brings the focus onto the worst of the two locations. Since humans will go into only one of two places, then heaven is not for Capernaum, therefore Torments is the only other alternative.
Why is this going to be worse for Capernaum than for Sodom? Sodom's destruction was quick and then it was over. Those who go into the lake of fire will experience that misery forever. It will never end. Again why would God not have given miracles to Sodom? They did not need them. Those who were saved were already saved. Those who would never believe in God would never change their minds. God has all the facts. To perpetuate an evil society is like perpetuating the rot in food. If the rot is not discarded then it spoils all the food. Sodom was spoiled, therefore had to be thrown out.
Sodom is not the only city or culture that has been eliminated from history. God has eliminated many cultures and races of peoples. Sometimes they die off in a storm, or from disease, or perhaps an earthquake or volcano. Whatever the cause, Jesus Christ controls history and no one is born without a reason, and no one dies without a reason.
Capernaum had the greatest of all opportunities to see and hear Jesus Christ. He spent much of His time in or near that city, yet most people ignored Him.
Indifference, again, is not an option in life. We all have been born into this world. That we cannot change. We all have a destiny. That too we cannot change. So it is in our own best interest to secure for ourselves the best destiny available - heaven. The alternative is not a good one.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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