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 www.scoggins.biz. 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.