What are the “worms” and “the fires” Jesus spoke about?

  
Isaiah 66:24

“And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Do you recognize this verse?

Yes this was quoted by Jesus. 

Mark 9:47-48

And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where

“‘the worms that eat them do not die,

and the fire is not quenched.’

Traditional we paint ghastly ideas of hell by telling people about worms that will eat you and everlasting fire which torment you day and night. 

What I want you see here is Jesus is not talking about hell. Let’s read Isaiah 66 where Jesus quoted this from. 

Isaiah 66:3

But whoever sacrifices a bull

is like one who kills a person,

and whoever offers a lamb

is like one who breaks a dog’s neck;

whoever makes a grain offering

is like one who presents pig’s blood,

and whoever burns memorial incense

is like one who worships an idol.

They have chosen their own ways,

and they delight in their abominations;

Note how the Lord spoke about sacrifices. 

Now look at Hebrews 10. 
Hebrews 10:3-5

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,

but a body you prepared for me;

You would note Isaiah was referring to a time when bulls and goats will no longer be wanted by God. That is AD30 and the sacrifices ended in AD70. Back to Isaiah 66. 

Isaiah 66:6

Hear that uproar from the city,

hear that noise from the temple!

It is the sound of the Lord

repaying his enemies all they deserve.

Notice the mention of the “temple”. The temple ceased to exist in AD70. 

Isaiah 66:7
“Before she goes into labor,

she gives birth;

before the pains come upon her,

she delivers a son.

Now let’s look at Romans. 
Romans 8:19-21

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

Paul was speaking about his time. 
Again here. 

Galatians 4:27

For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman,

you who never bore a child;

shout for joy and cry aloud,

you who were never in labor;

because more are the children of the desolate woman

than of her who has a husband.”

Paul was speaking about the coming of the New Jerusalem. 

Galatians 4:25

Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.
Note however here, he was speaking about the Jerusalem before AD70.

You can see here how Isaiah talks about it. 

Isaiah 66:10

“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,

all you who love her;

rejoice greatly with her,

all you who mourn over her.
Isaiah 66:13

As a mother comforts her child,

so will I comfort you;

and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

Again you see this is about a post AD70 Jerusalem. 

Isaiah 66:15

See, the Lord is coming with fire,

and his chariots are like a whirlwind;

he will bring down his anger with fury,

and his rebuke with flames of fire.
Now you see the coming of the Lord being spoken. It happened at the same time the New Jerusalem gives birth to its sons. 

Isaiah 66:22
“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.

I have already explained to you all the new heaven and the earth is the new temple which is the body of believers. 

That leaves us with the last verse. 
Isaiah 66:24

“And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

So you can see when Jesus was quoting this, he was referring to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in AD70. 

It’s not in your future.

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