The reality is that Jesus is speaking of another subject matter, as stated clearly in Matthew with this statement:
"Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent." (Matt. 11:20)This is evidenced by the statement that followed this, correlating with Jesus' statement in Luke above:
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." (Matt. 11:21-25)And in Matthew, Jesus finishes this discussion with a statement indicative of its meaning:
"At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what You were pleased to do." (Matt. 11:25-26)So we can see from this that the transcribers and translators of Luke attempted to join Luke 10:12-15 to Jesus' teaching instruction out of context, deriving a false interpretation from those instructions.
This doesn't mean that Jesus didn't say Luke 10:12-15 during the same discussion with his students. It just means that the translation and placement of the text - specifically the use of "on that day" - is obviously trying to force an interpretation that is not within Jesus' statement.
Jesus is not threatening the "end of the world"
Rather, the Greek word translated to "that day" is ἐκεῖνος (ekeinos). This word does refer to a specific event and time, but not the end of the world. Rather, Jesus is referring to the time of death - that time when each person individually will face judgment day.
We know that Jesus isn't referring to the end of the world because he compares those towns who reject his disciples to other towns such as Sodom. The end of the world didn't happen when Sodom was destroyed, right? So why would Jesus be talking about the end of the world now then?
Let's understand Jesus' statement more clearly. Jesus is speaking of different towns: Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum; and he makes reference to Sodom, Tyre and Sidon together with "the day of judgment."
Why is Jesus speaking of these various towns? Is he cursing these towns with future destruction?
First of all, some of these towns, such as Tyre and Sidon, still exist today. They are both seaside towns located in the ancient Mediterranean area referred to as Phoenicia - now located in Lebanon. Others like Bethsaida and Capernaum were small villages that were not destroyed, but do not exist today in their past form. Those locations continued to exist centuries after Jesus' statement, however. Chorazin, for example, continued as a Jewish town at least through the 1700s.
In other words, it is not as if all these towns faced cataclysms of destruction.
Now if Tyre and Sidon still exist and weren't destroyed, why is Jesus mentioning them? Why is he mentioning them with Sodom (which was destroyed with Gomorrah), and comparing them to towns such as Chorazin, Capernaum and Bethsaida, within which Jesus had preached and performed miracles?
Jesus is comparing them metaphorically with the two towns (Tyre and Sidon) spoken of by the Prophet Ezekiel: wherein he criticized and cursed the inhabitants of these two cities along with others - indicating the consequences of judgment day upon those inhabitants.
And we know that since those people that lived in any of these towns - Chorazin, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Tyre and Sidon - have long since passed away following the statements of both Ezekiel and Jesus - and the fact that the towns Tyre and Sidon still exist today - illustrate these statements were not necessarily prophesies against their later destruction as suggested by sectarian institutions and their teachers.
Neither Jesus nor Ezekiel are cursing towns in themselves. It is not like anyone who happens to be born in such a town is forever cursed or something. That would be pretty unfair wouldn't it?
Those people who lived in the towns that caused Jesus and Ezekiel to curse them - they have long passed away.
Yes, both Ezekiel and Jesus were condemning specific people who inhabited those towns who were offensive. And the fact that they would face their consequences on the day each of those people died.
Jesus also brings up "Hades" - from the Greek word ᾅδης (hadēs), which relates to either "hell" or the "abode of the wicked" according to the lexicon. Where is "Hades"?
Those people within those towns at that particular time offended Ezekiel and Jesus, respectively and specifically - and thus offended the Supreme Being. Those individuals who rejected Jesus' teachings, and Ezekiel's teachings - would receive the consequences of their choices and subsequent actions following the time of death - their particular "day of judgment."
Each of us has a "day of judgment:" This is the day each of us leaves our physical body at the end of its particular lifetime. We must each face the results of the culmination of our activities during our human lifetime at the time of death.
We must each face the consequences of our choices, and activities at the time of death of the physical body. This is what "day of judgment" refers to.
This fact has been missed by sectarian Biblical interpreters. Why has it been missed? Because sectarian institutions and their teachers do not know the meaning of these and many other statements made by Jesus and the prophets.
Why they misinterpret Jesus' statements
Because they have tried to use Jesus' teachings as means to increase their reputations, wealth and number of followers. Due to this, they have no entrance into the deeper meaning of Jesus' teachings. Thus they cannot teach the deeper meanings of Jesus' teachings - because they have offended Jesus and the prophets. Because they are trying to use them for self-centered purposes.
Jesus describes this scenario within one of his prayers to God:
"At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what You were pleased to do." (Matt. 11:25-26)By "wise and learned," Jesus is referring to those who position themselves as being ecclesiastical church leaders - trying to impress others with their supposed wisdom in order to collect followers and make their salaries. These hidden agendas are completely unrelated to serving the Supreme Being.
And by "little children," Jesus is not referring literally to children in the verse above. He is speaking of those who humbly place themselves at God's feet. The phrase "little children" in fact comes from the Greek word νήπιος (nēpios), which refers metaphorically to "untaught" and "unskilled" according to the lexicon.
In other words, Jesus is referring to humility. Those who approach the Supreme Being with humility - not feeling they know so much or are deserving of any respect - these are those whom the Supreme Being reveals Himself to.
David also spoke of this in one of his Psalms:
Though the LORD is on high He looks upon the lowly but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalms 138:6)Jesus' statement reflects this understanding about how the Supreme Being sees from within, those who approach Him humbly versus those who wish to simply utilize His worship in order to gain the attention of others, and/or other compensation or reward for their supposed service.
This is also reflected in Jesus' statement regarding the making prayers for show:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matt. 6:5-6)This relates directly to Jesus' statement about "little children" because Jesus is talking about love and dedication - a relationship - not usury.
Just consider if a man were to discover after he married a woman that she didn't really love him, but rather, married him simply for his money. While most of us might think, 'so what - happens every day,' that's not what such a man will think. He will be devastated. He will be offended by the fact that the woman pretended to love him, and went through all the motions of a loving relationship - all in order to gain access to the man's wealth.
This can be compared to the Supreme Being and a religious faker, except that God is never surprised. He knows our hearts from within.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Being is still offended by a person who tries to use worshiping Him for the purposes of gaining prestige, followers and even just the acceptance of others.
God does not need us.
It is not as if God needs any of us. God is in complete control of everything.
But the Supreme Being indeed does have a soft, loving heart. He is a tender person. A loving person. He is attracted to those who humbly approach Him because God is precious. He has a precious heart.
As such, it is those who approach the Supreme Being in a heartfelt manner who gain His attention.
Understand that seeing God is not about us gaining the power to see Him. It is about Him showing Himself to us. And God doesn't bother showing Himself to those who just want to use Him for their own self-centered purposes. Those who want to be the big reverend, the big guy in the pulpit or whatever - these people do not attract the Supreme Being, and because of that, He does not care to show Himself to them.
Rather, those who put themselves at His feet, begging for mercy, feeling lost and alone without Him - those He will show Himself to because they are dedicated to Him. They want God for who He really is. Just as the wealthy man wants a woman who will love him for himself, not for his wealth - God wants to exchange a relationship with someone who wants the Supreme Being, not to prove to others they are the 'big religious guy.'
Jesus confirms that each of those who offend the Supreme Being by using religiousness to gain the respect of others will receive the consequences of their offensive activities:
"Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely." (Mark 12:38-40)The bottom line is that we must remember that the Supreme Being is a person. He is not a monolith or a burning bush or a vague force. He is a person with feelings and personality. He has likes and dislikes. He enjoys some things and doesn't like other things.
And it is not as if God will be punishing these people Jesus is mentioning with the intention of wrath.
No. Those who use the worship of the Supreme Being to gain the respect of others will suffer by the virtue of their own activities. They will simply receive the consequences. When someone offends God, God simply turns away and that person is simply left in the pit of their own choosing. They wanted to avoid a personal relationship with God and instead mix it up with fame - so they become devoured by their own desires and the consequences of those activities that stem from those desires. This is "Hades."
We have seen this over and over within charismatic evangelism. We have seen numerous charismatic evangelists who sought wealth and fame in the name of Jesus - and sooner or later they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar so to speak. And then everything falls apart for them. Consider this statement by Jesus:
"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt. 7:22-23)Notice that Jesus uses "that day" here as well - again referring to judgment day.
The bottom line is that neither Jesus nor Ezekiel was cursing the four towns mentioned in some kind of vague future prophecy about the end of the world: They were each condemning those individuals at a particular time and place for offending the Supreme Being by ignoring or abusing the teachings coming from the Supreme Being's loving servants.
Each of us is presented with a choice. We can accept the teachings of God's representative. Or we can ignore them. Worse, we can try to use them - and thus abuse them.
Whatever choice we make has a consequence. That is the nature of any relationship.
Our lost relationship with God
Say an old friend calls us on the phone and leaves a message that they want to get together with us. We now are faced with a choice. We can call them back and accept the invitation. Or we can ignore them. Or we can even call them back and start cursing at them or something. The choice is ours, and this choice is presented to us because we had a relationship with that person.
In the same way, we have a choice about the Supreme Being because each of us has a past unique relationship with the Supreme Being. We were each created to love Him and serve Him. But because love requires freedom, we had the choice to love Him and serve Him or not.
We rejected Him and were cast into this physical world and into a temporary physical body.
This is "Hades" - the physical world; full of greed, hatred, disease, suffering. Yes, we are in hell right now, although there are much worse regions of hell than the human form of life.
But it is not as if God doesn't give second chances. He does. And the human form of life presents us with that second chance. During this lifetime we can choose to return to Him. Or not.
God simply wants us to love Him and serve Him because this will make us happy - and He wants us to be happy. This is why Moses, Jesus and others taught the same important instruction:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt. 22:37-40)