FEEDBACK: WHAT DOES MATTHEW 10:28 TEACH?
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Below IS A QUESTION ABOUT MATTHEW 10:28.
THE READER’S QUESTION IS IN ITALICS. OUR RESPONSE FOLLOWS.
Do u have a study on Matt 10:28 ???
I have studied Matthew 10:28, but have not posted a study on it yet. Maybe I should because this verse is sometimes misunderstood.
We read there:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Some people read this verse and conclude that it teaches that the unsaved will be annihilated. This is because in people’s minds they think “destruction = annihilation”. People think of a child who destroys his toy.
However, we have to remember the Biblical rule that God defines words and phrases by how He uses them in the Bible.
When we just read the word “destruction” we cannot tell if God is indicating a destruction of annihilation, or if God is talking about an on-going destroying of conscious affliction.
We get help in understanding the Biblical definition of the destruction of the unsaved by examining Deuteronomy 28:15-68. It is a long passage of Scripture. God has many things to say in it.
In Deuteronomy 28:15-68 God talks about His punishment for the unsaved. Verse 15 applies the passage to anyone who sins, which includes all of the unsaved. In that passage, God uses a common Hebrew word for “destruction” 7 times. We read:
Deuteronomy 28:20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed <08045>, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
Deuteronomy 28:24 The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed <08045>.
Deuteronomy 28:45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed <08045>; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:
Deuteronomy 28:48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed <08045> thee.
Deuteronomy 28:51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed <08045>: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.
Deuteronomy 28:61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed <08045>.
Deuteronomy 28:63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought <08045>; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Each of these 7 verses has a Hebrew word that is commonly translated “destroyed”. This is a common Hebrew word for “destroy” in the Old Testament.
This is an important point: In each of these 7 verses, the tense or spelling of this Hebrew word translated “destroy” is not in the past tense. According to the tense, these verses describe an on-going “destroying”. These verses are not describing a completed action. That is why the translators put “be destroyed” as if to indicate a state of on-going action. However, a better translation is “until thou are being destroyed”.
In Deuteronomy 28:15-68, there are many words and phrases that signify conscious affliction. Also, verse 15 directs the passage to all of the unsaved throughout time. In Deuteronomy 28:15-68, God is describing the “destruction” that He plans for the unsaved. According to Deuteronomy 28:15-68, it is a “destroying” of on-going conscious affliction.
We have prepared a more detailed study on Deuteronomy 28:15-68. It shows that there are many verses and phrases in that passage that indicate conscious affliction. The study is found at this link:
Search for the phrase “Deuteronomy 28” to find the study.
We have a study that examines how God uses the words “destruction”, “perish”, etc. in the Bible. It is at this link:
God gives more help to understand that the Greek word translated “destroy” in Matthew 10:28 does not indicate annihilation.
We find this same Greek word in the following verses:
But go rather to the lost <622> sheep of the house
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost <622> sheep of the house
Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost <622>.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost <622>.
2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost <622>:
In our Bible we read the word “lost”. However, it is the same Greek word translated “destroy” in Matthew 10:28 or “perish” in John 3:16.
Also, the above verses are in the past tense, so they should be translated “destroyed”. The translators have put the word “lost” which hides the important truth that God says that the unsaved are already “destroyed”.
According to the Bible, unsaved man in this world is already “destroyed” using the same Greek word found in Matthew 10:28.
A more Biblical way to translate Matthew 10:6 would be:
But go rather to the
destroyed <622> sheep of the house of
According to the Bible, unsaved man in this world is already “destroyed”. However, he has not been annihilated in anyway. He still has a body and a spirit.
We could not translate Matthew 10:6 in this way:
But go rather to the
annihilated <622> sheep of the house of
God says that the unsaved are already “destroyed”.
Unsaved man is already “destroyed” in the sense that he is separated from God, in whose image he has been made. Unsaved man in this world is not annihilated. Rather, he is separated from God. That is why God says that the unsaved are already destroyed.
This material and what it means to “kill” mankind is covered in more detail in the studies at these links:
Below are links to some email discussions concerning this subject matter:
A study that examines other words similar to “destruction” can be found at this link:
We read the word “hell” in Matthew 10:28 and some people say that hell is simply the grave. However, God has more things to say about hell. There is more information on that subject in the study at this link:
Thank you for dialoging with me. It helps me to know what careful Bible students are thinking on this subject. If you have any more comments, please let me know.