GEHENNA... AND WORMS: THE LAST WEAK GRASP FOR THE IMMORTAL THEORY
"Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." [ MARK 9:43-48 ]
Is this trying to say something about a worm that doesn't die and a fire that
somehow doesn't die either? No. You need to read the passage after the
Some feel that these words of Jesus prove that the dead face eternal torment.
We just explained "unquenchable fire" on the previous page, but what about the
WORM that "dieth not?"
First: "Their worm" doe NOT refer to a man's soul. Scripture never calls a
man's soul a WORM -- this worm is a common MAGGOT, that which feeds upon dead
bodies, not living bodies. Proof: Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 66:24 which
says the redeemed "shall go forth, and look upon the carcases (dead bodies) of
the men that have transgressed against me: for THEIR WORM SHALL NOT DIE,
neither shall their fire be quenched." The pictures is MAGGOTS PREYING ON DEAD
See, the Valley of Hinnom (translated as Gehenna) was a RAVINE south of
Jerusalem, just outside the city wall -- it was used as a REFUSE PIT -- all
types of trash, animal carcasses, and even the corpses of wicked criminals that
didn't deserve burial were disposed of there. This place was CONSTANTLY
BURNING, and smoke could be seen rising up into the sky above Jerusalem...
This fire burned day and night, day and night.... And any part of piece of
any BODY that fell out of the flames, the worms would devour it.
Everyone knew about the fire of Gehenna, so this was why Jesus used it as an
illustrative example of the final destruction of the wicked, to ACHIEVE INSTANT
COMMUNICATION -- but in doing this he IN NO WAY offered support for the doctrin
of eternal torment.
"Gehenna of fire or 'hell' -- The severest punishment inflicted by the Jews
upon any criminal. The corpse (after the man had been stoned to death) was
thrown into the Valley of Hinnom and was devoured by the worm or the flame."
[ R.F. Weymouth, Greek scholar, New Testament in Modern Speech, 1902 ]