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Tophet is a very prophetic place in Jerusalem and plays a significant role

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Q. Jer 19.6 mentions a place called "Tophet" or the valley of Ben-hinnom. Where is this and what does it mean?

A. This is a very prophetic place in Jerusalem and it plays a very significant role in the Tribulation and the judgment that follows.

The word "tophet" means "spitting" and it is a burial place of the ashes of the children killed in the worship of Molech. The place is at the south end of Jerusalem and at the base of the Hebrew letter "Shin" where the three valleys meet.

It was a valley known for idolatry and it will be the place where idolatry will be judged. The Hinnom valley is on the west of Jerusalem and it winds around the southern end of Jerusalem. Now, "valley of Hinnom" in Hebrew is "gay Hinnom" and it is where the word "Gehenna" comes from.

This word became synonymous with "hell" because it was the opposite of heaven, or paradise and it was also called the "valley of the shadow of death" for obvious reasons. It was also known as the "valley of Jehoshaphat" in the book of Joel.

After the idolatry stopped and the images and carnage ended, this area became a burial place for unbelievers, who were not buried with Jewish believers. This is a picture of the judgment that falls on people who have rejected the Lord (Rev 19.21, Ezek 32.2, 17-34, Rev 14.14,Isa 14.9-22, Joel 3.9-16. Lk 19.27, Mt 24. 29-31, Jer 7.27-34, Lk 17 33.37). This place was associated with Ba’al and considered unclean (Jer 32.35).

In the first century it was the garbage dump of the city of Jerusalem and the smoke of the trash burning was constant and the Lord used it as an example of Hell in several of his teachings. It is not possible to give an in-depth teaching on this but this area was the setting for the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man found in Lk 16 and in Matt 25 with the judgment of the sheep and goats.

He says to the righteous on his right to enter into the kingdom. The holiest site of earth was the Temple. Then he sends the wicked on his left into "eternal fire" (tophet) and their bodies are thrown into Tophet or the valley of Hinnom for all mankind to see (Isa 66.23-24) and considered the most cursed place on earth.

If the righteous are on his right (the Temple) and the wicked to his left (valley of Tophet) then Yeshua is sitting on the Mount of Olives during this judgment.

Also, Yeshua’s betrayal was directly related to this area in one of the most ironical stories of the Bible. We know that Judas was paid 30 pieces of silver for his work, and after he repented for what he had done, he threw the money into the Temple.

Judas hung himself and the priests took the money and bought a burial place south of the city, in the valley of Hinnom (gehenna) and called it "akel-dama" which means field of blood (Acts 1.19). It was cheap land and it was a place where the poor, the transient and those considered "cursed" were buried.

Later, this field came up for sale and the family of Annas and Caiphas bought it. Recent excavations have found their actual tombs in the valley of Tophet. The two High Priests who presided over the murder of the Messiah were buried in Tophet, the most cursed place on earth. So, this area has a very dark history and symbolic but it is also prophetic and it will play a role in the future and is directly related to the judgment of the nations.


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