Tag Archives: hell

Is. 66:23-24

7/7/13 V. 23, In the re-created heavens and earth there will be consistent reason for all to come before God in worship. There will be monthly reasons and a weekly reason to come. The monthly reason is reminiscent of the ceremonial sacrifices of Old Testament Israel. This does not indicate that the sacrifices will be restored. Jesus died and therefore the prophetic symbols are no longer necessary. Could it be, however, that God has plans for new kinds of celebration? That’s not at all beyond the realm of possibility.

The weekly reason to come before God will be the seventh-day Sabbath. The Sabbath was originally instituted in the Garden of Eden. God created the Sabbath to be the culmination and eternal celebration of God’s perfect creation. For that reason alone it would make sense that the Sabbath will continue in the new earth.

In addition, at the exodus of Israel from Egypt, God deepened the meaning of the Sabbath so as to memorialize their redemption from slavery. This is no way negated the original significance of Sabbath, but it did add even more significance to it. It would follow that the Sabbath would also continue in the new earth as a reminder of our redemption from slavery to sin.

This brings to a close this devotional study. Find devotional commentaries on other books of the Bible at Also find information about my book on Revelation.

On these celebrations of worship all “flesh” will be come and bow before the Lord (Rev 15:4). Some translate this as all mankind, but flesh may easily include other beings like angels and inhabitants of other worlds as well.

V. 24, Rev 14:10-11 speaks of the punishment of the wicked in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. Several other instances in Revelation including Rev 19:17-21; 20:10-15; 21:8 also tell of this final destruction by fire. This is a description of hell.

Often, people understand the second half of this verse to mean that hell will burn forever. However, that’s not what it says. The first part of the verse says that they will be dead bodies, corpses. The wages of sin really is death, not eternal life of torment.

So what does it mean that their worm will not die? The word worm is singular not plural. It is “their worm.” Each dead corpse doesn’t have a worm there is one collective worm for all. In each instance, (here and Mark 9:48) the worm that doesn’t die is parallel to the fire that cannot be quenched. Therefore, this worm must be regarded as a means of destruction similar to the fire, as it was in Gehenna.

Gehenna comes from the Hebrew word Hinnom, which was a valley south of Jerusalem (see Jer 7:32-34) where trash and even corpses of criminals were thrown and burnt. Worms and constantly burning fire were both a part of the destruction there. Gehenna is most likely in the background of the statement, which is a warning to us of the consequences of the final judgment, which will end in the destruction of evil.

In Isaiah worm is a term that relates to judgment (cf Is 14:11). There’s no biblical reason in this context or any other context to equate the worm with a disembodied soul or that it’s a part of a human that lives forever.

The fire is unquenchable in the sense that nobody can quench it until it has done its work. For example, in Jer 17:27 Jerusalem was destroyed by fire. That fire could not be quenched, but Jerusalem isn’t burning today. It burned until it had consumed everything burnable.

The dead corpses that are being affected by worm and fire are consumed (compare Isaiah 9:18; 10:17; 24:6; 26:11; 30:27, 30; 33:11, 14; Ezekiel 15:7, 22:31, 28:18; Nahum 1:10; Zephaniah 1:8, 3:8; Hebrews 10:27; Revelation 18:8). Thus, neither the fire nor the worm are eternal.

According to 1Tim 6:14-16 God alone is immortal. He bestows immortality as a gift on those raised in the first resurrection (1 Cor 15:51-54).

The Bible clearly teaches that the soul can and will die (Eze 18:4; James 5:20; Rev 20:4; Ps 89:48; Job 36:14; Lev 19:8; 21:1, 11. These texts all contain the term soul.

See also comments on Isaiah 32:15.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is. 65:11-14

6/27/13 V. 11, But some will not accept the rest that God offers. Some forsake the Lord and forget his holy mountain, which is a figure of speech for the dwelling place of God. Is it possible, too, that there could be an allusion to Mt. Sinai and, therefore, the Ten Commandments? The idea of forsaking the Lord by being disobedient to his commands is entirely consistent with the rest of Scripture.

Those who rebel against God are also pictured here as setting a table for “Gad” and serving wine to “Meni.” YLT keeps the Hebrew usage in translation, KJV translates the words as troop and number, while the NKJV has reverted to the original Hebrew words. Others like NIV, ESV, NASB, and NET translate them as Fortune and Destiny. The Septuagint uses devil and Fortune.

The meaning is clear enough. Those who forsake the Lord are relying on chance.

V. 12, But chance will have nothing to do with the outcome of their lives. Just as God has predestined everyone to be conformed to the image of God and be saved (Rom 8:29-30), those who choose not to avail themselves of so great a salvation will receive a new destiny. God will destine them for death and destruction.

And everyone who comes to this point will be without excuse for God has called but they refused to answer. They refused to listen to him and instead chose to do evil and live in ways displeasing to God.

V. 13-14, God makes a distinction between those who remain loyal to him and those are disloyal. In the end God’s faithful people will eat, drink, rejoice, and shout with joy, while the unfaithful will hunger, thirst, be shamed, and wail. Even when things are difficult and physical food and water and joy are in short supply for God’s people, spiritually speaking we will be filled with “food that you know not of” and filled with joy in the Lord.

Physically speaking, too, God always cares for his people. That doesn’t mean we don’t have wants. Jesus himself experienced hunger and thirst. But ultimately God will take care of our needs.

At the end of time, Revelation presents the scenario of apostate Christianity, in league with the nations of the world, attempting to force its system of worship upon everyone. God’s people resist and they are persecuted and killed for their trouble. They experience hunger and thirst and suffering and mourning. But then the plagues are poured out by God and the tables are reversed. Then it is the wicked who “gnaw their tongues in agony” (Rev 16:10), and who will mourn and cry “Woe!” (Rev 18).

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is. 65:5-6

6/25/13 V. 5, Then we have the arrogance to say to others and perhaps even to God himself to keep away because I am holier than you. Even paganism has its “holy” men whom others fear because of their witch-doctor powers. Evidently, having gone through some pagan rites, they felt themselves holy.

The LXX renders this, “Depart from me, draw not nigh to me, for I am pure.” This changes the tone to more of a rejection of God himself, saying essentially, “I don’t need you for purification. I’m good enough on my own.”

Young’s Literal Translation renders it, “For I have declared thee unholy,” which sounds more like they are declaring God or someone else unholy. Other translations use the word qedashti correctly, but YLT still captures the essence of the situation because to tell someone else that I am holier than you at the same time declares them unholy.

Those who do and say such things, God says, are like a fire that burns all day sending smoke into his nose. That’s an apt description. God’s reaction to such people is immediate and searing to his holy character. He must distance himself from them just as someone standing in smoke has to get out of the smoke in order to breathe.

The high priest of Israel has written on his forehead “Holiness to God.” In Revelation 17 the woman riding the scarlet beast is acting the part of a priest and on her forehead is written “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” It becomes clear in the story that this woman is claiming holiness and is pitting herself against God himself. In the end, she will be burned and the smoke of her torment will rise forever.

Also connect is Rev 2:20 where the woman Jezebel calls herself a prophetess, yet leads God’s people into sexual immorality and eating unclean foods. This ties in with the next verse.

V. 6, All these things are written before God in the books of heaven (Rev 20:12). And God promises that he will not keep silent about this situation. He will repay this people for the evil deeds they are committing. This is the same promise made to Jezebel and everyone who joins with her in Rev 2:23.

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is. 64:1-4

6/21/13 V. 1, Isaiah gives voice to all of God’s people who want this time of sin to be finished and for God to come to redeem his people. Even though Messiah had not come yet, Isaiah was clearly speaking of the Second Coming because the tearing apart of the heavens and the mountains quaking are associated with the parousia (Rev 6:14, 16:20, 20:11).

V. 2, The LXX also says that the mountains will melt as wax melts before fire and the fire will burn up the enemies, which is consistent with the picture even though it’s not in the Hebrew (Rev 14:11, 18; 19:3; 20:9, 14).

Just as fire kindles and grows so the name of the Lord will become known to God’s enemies. In other words, they will acknowledge him and will tremble in his presence (Rev 3:9, 11:11-13).

V. 3, Any time that God works his awesome deeds it is beyond anything that we are prepared for or expect. In the presence of God even the mountains tremble and quake before him (Rev 16:18).

V. 4, There never has been another God besides the living God of heaven. Nothing else that anyone has ever worshiped has been anything close to a god. And his enemies will see the way that he acts on behalf of those who trust and wait loyally for our God (Rev 3:9).

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is. 63:4-6

6/15/13 V. 4, This day of vengeance is in God’s heart. That is not to say that because it’s in his heart that it’s something he enjoys, but rather it’s in his plans. And the reason is because of his people who are being persecuted and killed due to their loyalty to him. In Rev 6:9-10 they cry out to him for justice, asking how long he is going to wait before he avenges their blood. That judgment is promised to his people in Rev 18:20 and one of several examples of God’s vengeance is found in Rev 11:13.

In Isaiah’s poetic parallelism the day of vengeance is also the year of God’s redemption. Judgment happens at the same time as salvation. On a side note, we can see the day for a year principle at work here.

V. 5, This reminds us of Rev 5 where a search was made for someone worthy to open the scroll of judgment. That there was no one to help and support is shocking to God. That God can be shocked is, of course, a figure of speech. And because no one was found with the authority to exact judgment upon the wicked, God himself does it.

V. 6, The harvest as judgment is a common theme in biblical eschatology. The reason for the comparison, evidently, is because of the redness of the grapes compared to the redness of blood.

The symbolism involved in the wine presses, sickles, grapes, and wine is, at least for me, difficult to get to the bottom of. Not that the idea is unclear. It’s quite clear. But there’s a depth to the imagery that merits deeper study.

In Rev 14:10 God causes the wicked to drink of the wine of his wrath, which turns out to be judgment by fire. Because they poured out the blood of the saints God will give the wicked blood to drink (Rev 16:6-19). And because of their insistence upon their wickedness, symbolized by drinking the wine of immorality in Rev 18:3, God gives them his wine of judgment.

It sounds like what God is doing is allowing them to experience the full, unmitigated results of their choices. If we give the grapes of wrath to others that’s what we will receive ourselves.

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is. 63:1-3

6/15/13 V. 1, Rev 19:13-15 relies heavily on this chapter of Isaiah. If we want to understand why Jesus is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, here we find the explanation. This is a conversation, of sorts, with Jesus. Not that it’s to be a literal conversation, but it’s an effective literary device.

The question is asked, somewhat rhetorically, who it is that’s coming from Bozrah, the capital of Edom. Edom means red, which is likely Isaiah used for that reason. The picture is of Christ returning from judgment on the wicked and salvation of the righteous (Rev 11:17-18).

He is returning as a conquerer, dressed in majesty, marching in his strength. And he answers the question that it is he, the one who speaks in righteousness and is mighty to save. His purpose for what he has done, which will be explained, is to set things back to right again and to save his faithful people.

V. 2, The next question asked of Jesus is why he is dressed in red. He looks like he just came out of a wine press where he has been tramping down grapes.

V. 3, He replies that yes that is exactly what he was doing and he did it alone. No one has the authority to exact vengeance except him. But he does have that authority and so in his wrath he punished the wicked (Rev 14:19-20). In so doing he stained his clothes with their blood. In other words, this strange act (Is 28:21) is something that will reflect upon him.

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is. 57:7-10

5/18/13 V. 6, The language of adultery and prostitution in prophecy is always a metaphor for what we are doing to God in our unfaithfulness to him. And the metaphor is often graphic. Here the picture is of a woman who plies her trade at a high place, where sacrifices were made.

V. 7, In Deut 6:9 God had commanded his people to write his commandments on their doors and doorposts to help them remember. Instead, they had put cultic symbols to remember.

In separating from God it is as though we are undressing. Adam and Eve discovered the same thing when they ate the forbidden fruit and discovered that they were naked. Laodicea, in Rev 3:17 thought that they were rich and in need of nothing, when in reality they were pitful, poor, blind, and naked.

God’s people can become so blatant in their unfaithfulness to God by following other gods that we become bold in our adultery, throwing open wide our bed, so to speak, making agreements with godless people, and loving our intimate relationship with them.

V. 9, We actually go far out of our way in order to cultivate more godlessness, searching far and wide for new ways to sin and meanwhile bring others down to hell along with us.

V. 10, We will even go through difficulties and hardship in our pursuit of ungodly pleasure. If we were to go through such trials in pursuit of spiritual things we would be full of complaints against God, but in quest of other gods we don’t complain. We find strength and go forward in our misguided ways.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,