WORMS – WHAT ARE THEY?
BY: ANTHONY IDEMUDIA ASAKPA
NOVEMBER 14, 2006
We’re going to look at this issue of worms. These worms are spiritual representations of what happens to a physical body at death – maggots eating the body up.
Texts are Mark 9:43-49, Matt 5:29-30, Matt 18:7-10, and Isa 66:20-24
Mark 9 from verse 34, the context is: offences in the kingdom; against children and others.
Matt 5 from verse 18, the context is: exceeding the righteousness of the Pharisees.
Matt 18 from verse 1, the context is: offences in the kingdom; against children and others (Parallels Mark 9).
Isa 66 from verse 20, the context is: the new heaven and new earth (Rev 21). The preceding verses (Isa 66:15-19) talk about Rev 20: 8-10, the battle after the millennial age.
43 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 [gehenna], into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 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 [gehenna], into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 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 [gehenna] fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell [gehenna]. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell [gehenna].
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 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. 24 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.
I just laid out the verses to make it a little easier to follow.
The Greek word for ‘offend’ is ‘scandalizo’. It means entrap, scandalize. Used in Matt 13:21 (he is offended); Matt 13:57; Matt 26:31; John 16:1. It bears the thought of being ‘tripped up’.
The Greek word for ‘perish’ is ‘apollumi’. It means lose, render useless, kill, put out of the way entirely.
Used in Matt 2:13 (young child to destroy him); Matt10:6 (lost sheep); Matt 10:28; Matt 10:39 (lose his life); Luke 4:34 (are you come to destroy us); Luke 19:10 (save that which was lost); Luke 20:16; John 3:16; 2Cor 4:3 (them that are lost); 2Thess 2:10; 2John 1:8. This word bears the thought of ‘get out of the way’.
The greek word for ‘worm’ is ‘skolex’. It means maggot, grub.
The Hebrew word for ‘worm’ is ‘toleah’. It is used in Ps 22:6 (But I am a worm and no man); Isa 41:14 (fear not, thou worm Jacob). It bears the thought of being ‘a reproach, a disgrace’.
The Greek word for ‘unquenchable’(not quenchable) is ‘asbestos’. Used in Matt 3:12; Mark 9:43,45; Luke 3:17. It means not extinguished. The word ‘quench’ is ‘abenummi’. Used in Matt 12:20 (bruised reed shall He not quench) Mark 9:48; 1Thess 5:19 (quench not the Spirit); Heb 11:34(quenched the violence). So ‘never quenched’ means ‘never be put out’; ‘never be stopped’; unstoppable.
Okay so we see two contrasts here, an earthly judgment and a divine one.
For the earthly judgment, the scenario we get is: ‘When you don’t straighten up, you’re going to end up in prison.’
Your ‘eyes’: your ‘vision’, your ‘ideas’.
Your feet: your walk.
Your hands: your work.
The whole body being cast into Gehenna, means your whole reputation/what you represent being subject to the judge’s fire – judged in the court of law. So you are then thrown into prison for not ‘cleaning up’ your act.
So in effect it is saying here: If your work is a scandal, stop doing it!
If your ideas are scandalous: stop thinking like that.
It is better that you lose your ideas, your work, your walk; than for you to go to prison.
The fire is unquenchable – it can’t be stopped. The judge’s fire must take effect. It won’t be revoked once passed. You are there till you have paid the last mite! (Luke 12:59). There is no impartiality.
Mark 9:44 ‘ Where their worm dieth not…’
Notice it is their worm. Why not your worm?
It is the worm of the two hands; the worm of the two feet; the worm of the two eyes.
When someone is put in prison, those on the outside only remember him by the sentence he was put in there for. So if he raped, he is known as a rapist. If he stole, he is known as a thief etc… The worm does not die. The reproach and disgrace continues for that person while in prison. In our society there is no removal of that reproach, even once someone has really reformed themselves. People always see them as a disgrace. Only God truly clears us of all guilt! That is grace when we receive His Life.
You’ll notice in Isa 66:24, that in the new heavens and earth, everyone continues to see the reproach of these ones. This is the same as ‘outside the city are dogs [abominable], and sorcerers, and whoremongers…’ Rev 22:15. This is also the same as ‘But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers…, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death’ Rev 21:8
Do you notice that this is all in the NEW heavens and NEW earth? (Rev 21:1, Isa 66:22).
Rev 21:3-4 Says the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people…there shall be no more death.
What is the Tabernacle of God? It is the Holy City, New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ (Rev 21:9)! These ‘men’ are not the Bride of Christ, they are the people alive on earth that receive God’s rule once the New heaven and earth is created.
Did you see Rev 21:24-25?
And the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour to it. And the gates of it shall not be shut…
Then it say in verse 27,’ and there shall in no wise enter into it… defileth… abomination…’
Why is that? The gates are open, what’s preventing them?
The Lake of fire is! Gehenna’s fire blocks their way. They must pay the very last mite.
It says, there shall be no more death.. (Rev21:4), yet the lake of fire is the 2nd death (Rev 20:6, Rev20:14, Rev 21:8, Rev2:11). The last enemy to be destroyed is also death (1Cor15:25-26).
What does all this mean?
It seems the promises only apply to those walking in the Light of the City. They are however not the only people in the world!
I think if they receive of His Light they will enter in. There is no restriction against this. Am I thinking controversially? Read the text yourself.
Dan 12:2 says that many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt – their worm (reproach) not dying! The sentence must be completed and a heart confession must be made. God alone knows the timing of all this.
I have talked about olam/aion (concealed/age translated ‘ever’) before in ‘Suffering and time’. I won’t belabor the point.
There are ages after the millennial reign, the timing is known only to God (concealed from creation), and He alone knows when and how He will make all things right.
May the Lord give us understanding, that we may clearly see.
Stay blessed in Him,
WORMS – WHAT ARE THEY? [Anthony Idemudia Asakpa] 11-14-06 1