Thursday, November 1, 2018

Hell is a Place of Memory

Last time, we looked at the purpose and the place of hell. Today we are going to look at one final point to see that hell is also a place of memory. 

I believe this is what our Lord was referring to in Mark 9:43-44 when he said, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched-- where their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'” 

What is up with this worm that doesn't die? Is this referring to a literal worm? I do not think so because of Isaiah 66:24 which says, "And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me.  For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched.  They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh." Of course, there are various views on what this worm is referring to, but most will agree that it is not a literal worm, but instead has to be metaphorical. The word in the original Greek refers to a grub or maggot. As such, some would say that it just speaks to the eternality of hell and our Lord using the dump, that continually burned outside of Jerusalem as an example. Its proper name was the Valley of Hinnom, but it was also known as Gehenna. It was a place in which trash, refuse, animal carcasses, and even the dead bodies of despised criminals were thrown to be destroyed by the fires that burned perpetually. Those who take this view see our Lord's point as being that whatever was thrown into it never came out again as that it was totally consumed either by fire or by maggots. In other words, just as nothing and no one exterminated the maggots or extinguished the flames there, so there would be no escape from the certain fate that God has decreed for all unrepentant sinners—death in the "lake of fire" (Revelation 20:14-15).

Others would say that the worm speaks more to the consciousness of hell's occupants who still have memories of opportunities lost. Opportunities in their past life in which they were given to repent and believe in the message of the gospel. In other words, they will remember every service they attended, every altar call they refused, every conversation they walked away from and yet still refused to submit their lives to Christ. These memories will knaw on them just like the maggots did to the refuse in the Valley of Hinnom.

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