O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
The beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies = Annas, the chief priests and the elders
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Beast = Annas
False Prophet = Sanhedrin
Image of the Beast = Caiaphas
Annas's death is unrecorded, but his son Annas the Younger, also known as Ananus the son of Ananus was assassinated in 66 CE for advocating peace with Rome.
After ben Hanan was deposed as high priest, he continued to exercise leadership. "Under the guidance of former high priest Ananus ben Ananus, they (the Sanhedrin) exhorted the populace for support against the radical priestly Zealots, as these 'persuaded those who officiated in the Temple sacrifices to accept no gift or services from a foreigner' (BJ II, 409-414)." Later, he marshaled recruits to fight the Zealots, resulting in the Zealot Temple Siege. While commanding the Jews during the siege, Ananus was killed by the Edomites when they were let into Jerusalem by the Zealots.
That night a thunderstorm blew over Jerusalem, and the Zealots sneaked from the Temple to the gates, and cut the bars of the gates with saws, the sound masked by the sound of the wind and thunder. They opened the gates of Jerusalem to the Edomites, who fell upon the guards and made their way to the Temple. They slaughtered Ananus' forces there, killing him as well. After freeing the Zealots from the Temple, they massacred the common people. Eventually, after learning that Vespasian had never been contacted by Ananus ben Ananus, the Edomites repented and left the city.
In the Gospel of Matthew 26:57-67, Caiaphas and other chief priests who dominated the Sanhedrin of the time are depicted interrogating Jesus. They are looking for false evidence with which to frame Jesus, but are unable to find any. Jesus remains silent throughout the proceedings until Caiaphas demands that Jesus say whether he is the Christ. Jesus replies "You have said so" (Σὺ εἶπας) 26:64, and "I am: and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." 14:62 Caiaphas and the other men charge him with blasphemy and order him beaten.
The concept of Gehinnom
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
The oldest historical reference to the valley is found in Joshua 15:8, 18:16 which describe tribal boundaries. The next chronological reference to the valley is at the time of King Ahaz of Judah who sacrificed his sons there according to 2 Chron. 28:3. Since his legitimate son by the daughter of the High Priest Hezekiah succeeded him as king, this, if literal, is assumed to mean children by unrecorded pagan wives or concubines. The same is recorded of Ahaz' grandson Manasseh in 33:6. There remains debate about whether the phrase "cause his children to pass through the fire" meant a religious ceremony or literally child sacrifice.
The Book of Isaiah does not mention Gehenna by name, but the "burning place" 30:33 in which the Assyrian army is to be destroyed, may be read "Topheth", and the final verse of Isaiah which concerns of those that have rebelled against God, Isaiah 66:24.
In the reign of Josiah a call came from Jeremiah to destroy the shrines in Topheth and to end the practice Jeremiah 7:31-32, 32:35. It is recorded that King Josiah destroyed the shrine of Molech on Topheth, to prevent anyone sacrificing children there in 2 Kings 23:10. Despite Josiah's ending of the practice, Jeremiah also included a prophecy that Jerusalem itself would be made like Gehenna and Topheth (19:2-6, 19:11-14).
A final purely geographical reference is found in Neh. 11:30 to the exiles returning from Babylon camping from Beersheba to Hinnom.
The ancient Aramaic paraphrase-translations of the Hebrew Bible known as Targums supply the term "Gehinnom" frequently to verses touching upon resurrection, judgment, and the fate of the wicked. This may also include addition of the phrase "second death", as in the final chapter of the Book of Isaiah, where the Hebrew version does not mention either Gehinnom or the Second Death, whereas the Targums add both. In this the Targums are parallel to the Gospel of Mark addition of "Gehenna" to the quotation of the Isaiah verses describing the corpses "where their worm does not die".
Aside from the Targums, there is a lack of direct references to Gehenna in the Apocrypha, Dead Sea Scrolls, Pseudepigrapha and Philo. However, there seems to be an allusion to Gehenna ("shall send worms and fire ... feel pain and weep forever") in the deuterocanonical Book of Judith 16:17, especially when considering the addition of Gehinnom to "fire and worms" in Isaiah 66:24 in the targums. One ought not assume a unanimous acceptance of this kind of figurative concept of the Valley of Hinnom since it exceeds or even contradicts the semantic used in the Books of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Josephus does not deal with this aspect of the history of the Hinnom Valley in his descriptions of Jerusalem for a Roman audience. Nor does Josephus make any mention of the tradition commonly reported in older Christian commentaries that in Roman times fires were kept burning and the valley became the rubbish dump of the city, where the dead bodies of criminals, and the carcasses of animals were thrown.
The southwestern gate of Jerusalem, overlooking the valley, came to be known as "The Gate of the Valley" (Hebrew: שער הגיא).
The traditional explanation that a burning rubbish heap in the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem gave rise to the idea of a fiery Gehenna of judgment is attributed to Rabbi David Kimhi's commentary on Psalm 27:13 (ca. 1200 AD). He maintained that in this loathsome valley fires were kept burning perpetually to consume the filth and cadavers thrown into it. However, Hermann Strack and Paul Billerbeck state that there is neither archaeological nor literary evidence in support of this claim, in either the earlier intertestamental or the later rabbinic sources. Also, Lloyd R. Bailey's "Gehenna: The Topography of Hell" from 1986 holds a similar view.
There is evidence however that the southwest shoulder of this valley (Ketef Hinnom) was a burial location with numerous burial chambers that were reused by generations of families from as early as the seventh until the fifth century BC. The use of this area for tombs continued into the first centuries BC and AD. By 70 AD, the area was not only a burial site but also a place for cremation of the dead with the arrival of the Tenth Roman Legion, who were the only group known to practice cremation in this region.
The Valley of Hinnom was used as a place for worshipers in Judah to burn their own children alive as sacrifices to the gods Moloch and Baal. One section of the Hinnom Valley was called Topheth (also spelled Tophet or Topeth), where the children were slaughtered (2 Kings 23:10). The name Topheth is derived from either, or both, the Hebrew word toph, meaning a drum, because the cries of children being sacrificed by the priests of Moloch were masked by the sound of the beating on drums or tambourines; or from taph or toph, meaning to burn.
The term is spelled Topheth in most English bibles. However, it appears in versions such as the King James and New King James as "Tophet".
The following references are made in the Hebrew Bible. In Jeremiah 7:31-34 Yahweh states his contempt for child sacrifices.
They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I didn't command, nor did it come into my mind. Therefore, behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that it shall no more be called Topheth, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of Slaughter: for they shall bury in Topheth, until there be no place [to bury]. The dead bodies of this people shall be food for the birds of the sky, and for the animals of the earth; and none shall frighten them away. Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land shall become a waste.
The practice of burning children in Topheth was ended by Josiah, King of Judah, who “defiled Topheth” as part of his great religious reforms (2Kings 23:10). Topheth is mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament:Jeremiah 7:31-32 Jeremiah 19:6, Jeremiah 19:11-14, and Isaiah 30:33.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
The remnant = the chief priests and the elders