Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The meaning of “their worm will never die” in Isaiah 66…


Isiah 66, verse 23-24 can you help me understand verse 24 please?  Verse 23 I can understand, but 24 sounds how can I put it, " scary, creepy, nauseating " it reads -- after worshiping ADONAI , as they leave, they will look on the corpses of the people who rebelled against me, for their worm will never die, and their fire will never be quenched; but they will be abhorrent to all humanity.


it's a little hard to follow but the reference in Isaiah 66 is to the "Valley of Hinnom", or "Gehenna" a place on the outside of Jerusalem used as a garbage dump where bodies were disposed of (2 Kings 23:10, Jeremiah 7:31-33).

So the imagery in the verse is of the most vile place in Jerusalem, where the bodies of the discarded rot and an analogy is made to a "worm" or grub or maggot that is forever consuming the corpse. The verse is thus describing hell, where the torment can be expected to last forever.

Yeshua makes mention of this same verse from Isaiah in Mark 9:45-48 when he says: "It is better for you to enter into life lame than though you have two feet to fall into Gehenna, where their worm does not die and their fire does not go out. And if your eye offends you, pluck it out! It is better for you that with one eye you enter into the Kingdom of Elohim than though you have two eyes to fall into the Gehenna of fire, where their worm does not die and their fire does not go out." Here Yeshua is literally saying it is better that you remove a body part which causes you to sin than to spend your eternity in Hell. This same message is repeated in Matthew 5:29-30.

This reference to a place known to the people drives home the horror that awaits those who (as stated in Isaiah, "rebelled against me") are sent to hell. Thus, Bible scholars see these verses in Isaiah and Matthew and Mark as referring to man's consciousness as a "worm". Those deposed to hell, being completely cut off from YHWH, exist continually with a nagging, guilty conscience that, like a persistent worm, gnaws away at its victim with a remorse that can never be mitigated.

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