But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Note 11 at Mt 5:22: The Jewish council was called the Sanhedrin and apparently originated during the years after the Babylonian exile. The Maccabees wrote of this governing body, which was then called the senate (1 Maccabees 12:6, Catholic and Orthodox Bibles). The well-known historian, Josephus, also mentioned it in his writings (The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 12, Chapter 3, Section 3). It was composed of seventy-one members of which the high priest was the official president of the group. The number on the council may have corresponded to Moses and the seventy men who were chosen to assist him in governing the Jewish nation (Nu 11:16-17 and 24-25).
The Roman government allowed the Sanhedrin extensive powers, but apparently the Sanhedrin did not have the authority to put someone to death (Joh 18:31). It had officers at its command and authority to make arrests on its own (Joh 7:32 and 45-48). Jesus (Mt 26:59 and Lu 22:66), Peter and John (Ac 4:5 and 13), Stephen (Ac 6:12), and Paul (Ac 22:30, 23:15, and 24:20) were all tried before this council.
Note 12 at Mt 5:22: In this verse, Jesus was showing that the New Covenant He was beginning deals with the heart and the motives, whereas the Old Mosaic Covenant dealt with outward acts. 1Jo 3:15 clearly states that "whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." This is exactly what Jesus was saying here and compares with Mt 5:27-28.
Note 13 at Mt 5:22: The Greek word used here for "hell" is "GEENA" (equals "GE-HENNA") (Strong's Concordance), and it represents the Hebrew word "GE-HINNOM," which means "the valley of Tophet" (Vine's Expository Dictionary) (Isa 30:33; Jer 7:31, and 19:6-14). This is a valley just outside Jerusalem where fires burned refuse continually. Israelite kings also reared up altars in this valley and burned their children to the pagan god Molech. This received harsh rebukes and prophecies of judgment (Jer 7:31-33 and 19:6-14), and therefore the valley of Hinnom began to symbolize eternal judgment and damnation, or hell. GEENA is used twelve times in the New Testament (Mt 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mr 9:43, 45, 47; Lu 12:5; and Jas 3:6). Jesus used the term eleven times, and ten of those times were in reference to eternal punishment of the wicked. Jesus referred to it being a place of fire (Mt 18:9, Mr 9:43-48, and Lu 16:24), and where the worm would not die (Mr 9:44, 46, and 48), and a place of torment (Lu 16:24-25). Jesus also taught in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus that there is no escape from hell once a person has been placed there (Lu 16:26). The Greek word used for "hell" in that parable, as well as nine other times in the New Testament (Mt 11:23, 16:18; Lu 10:15, 16:23; Ac 2:27, 31; Re 1:18, 6:8, and 20:13-14), is "HADES," and it means "the region of departed spirits of the lost" (Vine's Expository Dictionary). It corresponds directly with the Old Testament Hebrew word "SH@'OWL" (or Sheol) (Vine's Expository Dictionary) that has been translated "hell" (Ps 9:17), "the grave" (Ge 37:35), and "the pit" (Nu 16:30 and 33).
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