Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Biblical places you might not have known you can physically visit

Jerusalem is the Holy City of three religions and is in the news quite a bit.  You often hear Bethlehem mentioned around this time of year because it is the town that Jesus was famously born in.  There are many places mentioned in the Bible that can be physically visited today.

There are some places that are mentioned though that you might not have realized you could physically visit.  There are places only spirits can go, but sometimes those places were described by alluding to physical places on Earth.

Armageddon

When you hear the word "Armageddon," you probably think of the epic final battle between God and Satan.  What you might not know though, is Armageddon is actually a physical place on Earth.  Armageddon is the Greek word for the Hebrew "Har Megiddo," meaning "Mount of Megiddo."  Megiddo is a valley in Israel and the Mount of Megiddo is the hill overlooking the Valley.

Megiddo, Israel - a.k.a. "Armageddon"

Hell

When you think of Hell, you probably think of a place of eternal fire where damned souls go.  What you might not know though, is the description of Hell being a place of fire was actually an allusion to a  physical place, Gehenna.  Gehenna is the Greek name for the Hebrew "Ge Hinnom," meaning Valley of Hinnom.  The Valley of Hinnom is a place where ancient pagans and apostate Israelites once sacrificed children to Molech by fire, which is how the place originally became associated with fire.  It became a metaphor for a place where damned souls go because it was considered to be an accursed place due to the pagan child sacrifices that occurred there.  In Roman times, it is said the valley was used as a rubbish dump where fires continually burned.  The King James Version of the Bible translated this into the Anglo-Saxon word "Hell," meaning a nether world of the dead.  "Hell" may be the name of the nether world where damned souls go in the afterlife, but the description of it is a description of a real, physical place on Earth.

Valley of Hinnom - a.k.a. "Gehenna,"  which is the place used to describe the spiritual nether world of "Hell"

Heaven

Heaven may not be a physical place on Earth, but it is a place you can physically go.  The word has become associated with a spiritual paradise that is the dwelling place of God.  But the word "heaven" originally just meant the sky.  The idea was that God and his angels were "out there" somewhere in the sky.  And I'm not saying the ancients wrong...I'm not saying that at all.  I personally believe there is a spiritual paradise "out there" somewhere.  But paradise is paradise, and heaven is sky.  So if you've flown in a plane, you can say you've been to "heaven," in a manner of speaking.

The sky - a.k.a. "Heaven"
It would probably be wise to avoid the battlefield known as Armageddon (or any other battlefield for that matter).  We should all live lives that will not damn us to Hell, but grant us admission to Heaven instead.  But if you want to visit the physical representations of these places, you can get to them with a plane ticket!

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