Mark 9:43 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, 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, 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 fire:
48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
I was asked to comment on the phrase “where their worm dieth not”. That phrase is found three times in these verses. There are some who believe that this is talking about a literal worm. Some teach that there are certain worms on earth today that come straight from hell. They try to scare the unlearned and untaught that they need to fear these worms and they need to run to those false teachers who teach these lies, for safety.
We do know that when a body dies, the worms are quick to begin their work of devouring that body. They will gather in large numbers and they will eat and eat and eat. It is interesting to note that those worms never seem to get fat as they are eating. They never seem to back off and say: ‘I have had enough’. They have voracious appetites and they just keep eating until there is nothing more left to eat.
It seems that Jesus was referring to an Old Testament verse as He was teaching this.
Isaiah 66:24 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.
In this verse the Lord is warning of those who rejected the truth. The time frame here is at the end of the Millennium. It is speaking of those who fought against the Lord Jesus Christ at that final battle. They will not succeed and they will be killed and they will be in torment for all eternity in the lake of fire. The lake of fire will be a literal fire. It will burn those who are there for all eternity. It will never consume them.
In this passage, the “worm” is connected to “their fire”. The fire is connected to the word “their”. It is in relation to something the wicked will own. Fire is sometimes used to speak of the conscience and the inner workings of man.
The Bible warns that the person who is involved in lust will never be satisfied. The person who is involved in murder will never have enough. The greedy person will never be satisfied. The list goes on and on.
In this wicked world those who lust after sin can find some “satisfaction” in going after other people. We read recently of the man who kidnapped a woman in the U.S. as she was out on her early morning run. That man murdered her. It has now been reported that he also kidnapped another woman not long before he kidnapped this one. Apparently he did not kill her but he did rape her. Some years back he had kidnapped a lawyer and drove him around in the trunk of his car for a time before getting him to withdraw money from his bank account.
That man had an evil heart and he thought he could “satisfy” that evil heart by finding individuals he could prey upon. As we know, his evil heart was never satisfied. He continued to act upon his evil ways until he was caught. It will be interesting to see how the justice system will deal with this matter.
Unless that man gets saved, his evil heart will have no avenue or release in hell. His wicked desires will be there but he will never be able to act upon them. Even though hell is full of many others like him and there will also be many women in hell, yet he will not have access to any of them to try to satisfy his lusts.
This appears to be what the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking of in Mark’s Gospel account. The torment of hell seems to take on many different things. There will the torment of the fire, and also the torment of the wicked thoughts which will never stop. There will be the guilt of sin that can never be silenced. There will be no liquor or other drugs there to quench or even ease the agony of that place. There will be no noise of ungodly music to distract. There will be the noise of the agonizing cries of the ungodly, that will never stop.
Jesus was warning of the disaster that was awaiting those who would not turn to Him in repentance and be saved. It is sad to even hear of what evil people think and do. We do not know all that is going on in their minds and hearts. We do not need to know that either. We need to understand that the solution to this is for the person to be saved.
That is what Jesus was emphasizing in the opening verses. He was warning of the danger of pursuing a wicked mindset, rather than repenting toward God and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
Hell is a real place. It is a place of eternal torment. The Lord Jesus Christ does not want anyone to go to hell. That is why He had so much to teach about hell while He was on this earth. He knows fully what that place is like. He knows the absolute misery and torment that those in that place are in. Luke 16 gives us a very vivid description of the torment that the rich man was in. He knew he had five brothers who were still alive. He knew they were not saved. He knew they were headed for the same place he was at. This reality brought torment to him. He did not want them to end up in that awful place. He could not do anything about it, but he hoped that Abraham might help him.
What a tragedy that man faced. Abraham could not help him. No one will be able to help those who die in their sin.
Those who are alive need to consider very carefully which road they are on. The wide road offers many options now. All of them are evil. All of them are designed to keep people from the truth. Jesus warned of the importance of entering in at the “straight gate”. That gate is difficult to enter into due to the pride of life. Except a man be born again, he cannot see nor enter into the kingdom of God. Pride is a powerful evil. Pride is something the devil uses to keep people from hearing and responding properly to the truth. Pride puts blockers up against the truth.
I Corinthians 1 warns of the danger of pride. Proud people think they are the elite. They compare others to themselves. They assume they are just a notch above others. They cannot allow for the uniqueness of each human being. They might tolerate some people, but they try to make others clones of themselves. God warns of the danger of pride. Humility is necessary in order to hear God’s voice in a person’s heart. God is working to bring humility to bear upon all people. Sadly, there are those who are enablers and they prop up the pride of others with their ungodly counsel.
For those who are reading this, take Jesus’ warnings seriously. He is not a sensationalist. His Word is true. There is no exaggeration in anything that the Bible states. There are no “maybes” there either. It is all true. The solution is to know the true God and Saviour and Lord and to grow in Him and seek to help others to know Him as well.