Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment’: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment : and whosoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be in danger of the council : but whoever shall say, ‘Thou fool,’ shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21-22)
Raca : a derogatory term in Aramaic (literally, “I spit on you”) conveying extreme contempt.
Raça Negra : Portuguese for “Black Race”
Seems possible that in Jesus’ time Raca was a racial slur against black peoples.. could it have been equivalent to the N-word at the time?
Jesus spoke out against injustices, this verse is one clear example. He ministered to the sick and outcasted and to prostitutes and forgotten ones.. legends of him going to India say he spoke out against the caste system there and was met with fury by the ruling priestly elites..
“Jesus makes another point in these verses : Words are very potent vibratory actions, affecting favorably or adversely the one who uttered them and also the one to whom they are directed. To express contempt to any individual (“say to his brother, ‘Raca’”) is spiritually libelous against that individual’s soul, which is ever perfect regardless of how loathsome his egoistic expression. By scorning a fellow being, one demeans his own soul’s forbearing nature and subjects himself to the scrutiny of the tribunal of his conscience and its records of his many regrettable failings. It would be a humbling, if not horrific, experience if one had to face an archival reading of the shames in all of his past incarnations. The merciful God has forgiven so much in every man who is consciously struggling toward the light of wisdom; it is the awakening nobility of the soul that likewise feels patience rather than contempt for others whose actions show no such awakening.
Further, anyone who calls another a “fool” shall himself suffer from the fire of ignorance. Ignorance is hell, as it engenders all manner of evil and burns away wisdom. True knowledge and wisdom are the source of salvation from the miseries of the human condition. To inhibit the potential unfoldment of anyone’s soul wisdom by a strong suggestion of ineptness is to do them a great wrong. Negating anyone’s will and branding the subconscious mind with defeatist thoughts of inferior abilities is reprehensible. To foster in anyone an attitude of surrender to ignorance sets in motion the lawful principle that to pull down another human being is a sin that puts oneself “in danger of hell fire” – the fire of ignorance that consumes one’s own spiritual merit in the act of willfully demoralizing, humiliating, or denigrating another person.
It is plain that Jesus spoke figuratively in his reference to hellfire*. He did not mean that the omnipresent God of love has created leaping tongues of fire in a hell at some point of space to burn the disembodied souls of sinners, rife with bad karma. The Heavenly Spirit who is the Father of all human children could not possibly roast them alive forever because they made some temporary mistakes during their sojourn on earth.”
-Paramhansa Yogananda (The Second Coming of Christ)
*The concept of eternal damnation in hellfire, as in orthodox interpretations, is not supported in this verse or elsewhere in the New Testament. The word used for “hell” in the original Greek of the Gospel is : Gehenna, from Hebrew : Ge Hinnom, the valley of Hinnom southwest of Jerusalem, where children were formally burned as living sacrifices to the Ammonite god Moloch (2 Chronicles 28:3; Jeremiah 7:31-21). In Jesus’ time, according to Biblical historians, the valley was used as a dump for the filth of the city, where continual fires were kept to consume it – “a place,” according to commentator John Gill, “whose fire was never quenched; and in which they burned the bones of any thing that was unclean, and dead carcasses, and other pollutions.” The name was thus commonly used by the Jews to denote the after-death realm of punishment. Encyclopedia Britannica states about Gehenna : “Mentioned several times in the New Testament (e.g., Matthew, Mark, Luke, and James) as a place in which fire will destroy the wicked, it also is noted in the Talmud, a compendium of Jewish law, lore, and commentary, as a place of purification, after which one is released from further torture.”
Note that the valley of Gehenna/Hinnom, where these fires were perpetuating burning in Jesus’ time sound very similar to the burning ghats of India, where dead bodies are burned ceremonially, as a spiritual purification and their souls are thus freed from bodily consciousness.
Also note that the valley of Gehenna/Hinnom was previously the place where children were offered as living sacrifices to the god Moloch. Thus, the place was defiled and came to be known as a symbolic ‘hell’.
Today, there still exists a Satanic cult to Moloch that sacrifices children and operates in elite levels of politics, government, Vatican, Hollywood, ect.. notice how these same corrupt people, corporations and special interest groups use racism to continually & systematically downpress and suppress the people of God. Especially the black peoples of the earth. Jesus was black, maybe the Jewish and Roman elites even called him ‘Raca’??