Thursday, March 10, 2011

The worm dieth not

What does the bible mean by “their worm dieth not…"  Your way of explaining is so clear that even a child can understand.  I look forward to your answer.


Your question about "their worm dieth not" is a great question, so I hope that my insight from scripture will help you.

In these passages, the Lord Jesus describes hell as "the fire that never shall be quenched," or "everlasting fire" in another passage which we will soon see.

Mark 9:43-44
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:45-46
And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:47-48
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the [earthly] kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

So we see that here in Mark chapter 9, the Lord Jesus mentions that it is better for those men of Israel to cut off a member of their body that causes them to offend against God's little ones, and to enter into life (defined as His earthly kingdom in verse 47) maimed, rather than to get thrown into hell fire.

This particular event will happen when He comes back to earth to judge the Nation of Israel first at His return.

1 Peter 4:17
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first began with us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

So depending on how faithful that Jew is to the commandments of Christ in that day, he will either get into the kingdom or not, and thus go into hell fire!

When they go to this hell fire that our Lord refers to, the fire of that hell shall never be quenched, and their worm dieth not.

(By the way, notice that the Lord mentions this three times in this passage for emphasis and ‘3’ is the number of complete witness in the bible. So this is very real!)

So now the question is: what is "their worm?"

Mark 9:47-48
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

First thing that I do when trying to interpret a passage is to see if I can find another passage that defines, interpret, or sheds light on it for me because that is the WAY that God the Holy Ghost teaches us to do it.

1 Corinthians 2:13
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

So when we allow God to give us light on this passage, we see that there are a few verses that also deal with this matter.

Let's first look at the parallel passage from the book of Matthew that deals with the same context that the Lord is speaking about in the book of Mark. In both passages the Lord is dealing with those who cause the "little ones" in Israel to stumble.

Matthew 18:6-9
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Notice here that there is no mention of "their worm," but the Lord does mention this "hell fire," and calls it "everlasting fire."

So we can see plainly from both passages that the hell fire is a real everlasting fire that will never be quenched. But, what about "their worm?”

For that, we have to go to another passage of God's Word. When we do that, we can see a very obvious reference by our Lord to a couple of different passages from the Old Testament. The first is Isaiah 66, and the second is Psalm 22.

Isaiah 66:23-24
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

This is a prophecy about the coming earthly kingdom of our Lord. The gentile nations will come up to Jerusalem to worship Him on the feast days (v. 23). We know that it is the Millennium because of a previous verse...

Isaiah 66:18
For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.

So it is clear that our Lord is quoting this passage from Isaiah 66 about what will happen when the nations come up to Jerusalem to worship Him.

Isaiah 66:23-24
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Here in verse 24, those who come to worship will be able to look upon the carcases of those who sinned against the Lord, and these men in the pit shall be abhorred! He goes on to say about those who have transgressed against them, that their worm will not die, neither will their fire be quenched.

Notice also that whatever their worm is, it has to do with their carcases.  A carcass has to do with "flesh." In this case it is human flesh. In the kingdom, the Lord, when He returns to earth, will open up a path, all the way down into hell, which is the center of the earth.

Deuteronomy 32:22
For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Micah 1:3-4
For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.  And the mountains shall be molten [as liquid] under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place [a path, all the way down into hell].

It will happen when His feet touch the Mount of Olives right where He left earth!

Zechariah 14:3-5
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

So at the Lord's return to the earth, His presence will open up the earth and hell will be exposed.

So what does that have to do with their carcases and their worm?

Well, unlike today when a man dies and his body is left up here on earth to be buried or cremated, when a man offends against the Lord in that day, not only will that man be judged to the condemnation of hell fire, but his whole sinful being is thrown into hell—except for his spirit....that belongs to, and goes back to God who gave it.

Job 14:10
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?

Ecclesiastes 12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Hebrews 12:9
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

The Lord makes that very clear...notice that this has to do with both the man's soul and body!

Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

So in His kingdom, the Lord will judge the unrighteous and will have the angels throw them alive right down into the pit of hell fire!

That is why those that come up to worship at Jerusalem will be able to see their carcasses, and their worms, which is their souls!

That is where Psalm 22 comes in...

Psalm 22:6
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

We know that this is a Messianic Psalm about what took place when our Lord was on the Cross because it starts off in verse 1.

Psalm 22:1
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

And this was quoted by our Lord on the Cross...

Matthew 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

While on the Cross, our Lord not only suffered physical death, He took the eternal spiritual death by having his soul become sin...that is why He says worm. His soul became a worm or literally a maggot while on the Cross.

Isaiah 53:10a
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,

So those who transgress against the Lord in that day will be thrown right into hell alive and be tormented in the fire!

The rich man in Luke 16 was in this hell fire...

Luke 16:24, 28
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

At the end of the 1,000 years (the first installment of the kingdom), during the Great White Throne Judgment, this place of torment called hell will be thrown into a even larger place of torment called the lake of fire and all those people's bodies and souls will be tormented forever and ever.

Revelation 20:10, 14
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are [they are still being tormented even after 1,000 years because they went into the fire 1,000 years earlier], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

In conclusion, their worm dieth not means that they will be tormented forever [‘…eth’ on the end of a word means continually] for sinning against God.

That's why our Lord ends that passage in the book of Mark this way...

Mark 9:49
For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.

Salt in the Lord's day served as a preservative, therefore He is saying that even though their flesh and soul will be in the fire, it will not burn up to nothing, but the fire will actually preserve them, thereby constantly tormenting them! And God can certainly place something in a fire, and yet not consume it!

Exodus 3:2
And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
                                                                                                   
Well brother, hopefully this study helps you. I always include plenty of verses on purpose so that you can study it out for yourself. This is just what I see from the verses!

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.


Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!

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