The worm does not die (Mk 9:46-9:46)

“Where their worm

Never dies.

The fire

Is never quenched.”

 

ὅπου ὁ σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται.

 

This verse is a further explanation about Gehenna or hell.  It was in verse 9:44 and will be in 9:48.  Thus, in many manuscripts, verses 44 and 46 are omitted as repetitions, so that only verse 48 is listed with just empty space between these other verses.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that hell was where their gnawing or anguishing worm would never die (ὅπου ὁ σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ) because the fire was never extinguished or quenched (καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται).  They would have eternal discomfort and anguish with a gnawing worm and a fire that never went out.

The worm does not die (Mk 9:44-9:44)

“Where their worm

Never dies.

The fire

Is never quenched.”

 

ὅπου ὁ σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται.

 

This verse is a further explanation about Gehenna or hell.  It will be repeated in 9:46 and 9:48. Thus, in many manuscripts, verses 44 and 46 are omitted as repetitions, so that only verse 48 is listed with just empty space between these other verses.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that hell was where their gnawing or anguishing worm would never die (ὅπου ὁ σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ) because the fire was never extinguished or quenched (καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται).  They would have eternal discomfort and anguish with a gnawing worm and a fire that never went out.

The history of this young man (Mk 9:21-9:22)

“Jesus asked

This father.

‘How long has this

Been happening

To him?’

The father said.

‘From childhood.

It has often cast him

Into a fire

And into water,

To destroy him.

But if you able

To do anything,

Have pity on us!

Help us!’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ Πόσος χρόνος ἐστὶν ὡς τοῦτο γέγονεν αὐτῷ; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐκ παιδιόθεν

καὶ πολλάκις καὶ εἰς πῦρ αὐτὸν ἔβαλεν καὶ εἰς ὕδατα ἵνα ἀπολέσῃ αὐτόν· ἀλλ’ εἴ τι δύνῃ, βοήθησον ἡμῖν σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς.

 

This is unique to Mark.  Jesus asked the father of this boy (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ Πόσος) how long a time had these convulsions been happening to him (χρόνος ἐστὶν ὡς τοῦτο γέγονεν αὐτῷ)?  The father said that it had been happening since his childhood (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐκ παιδιόθεν).  This evil spirit would often cast him both into fire (καὶ πολλάκις καὶ εἰς πῦρ αὐτὸν ἔβαλεν) and water (καὶ εἰς ὕδατα), as Matthew had mentioned, in order to destroy him (ἵνα ἀπολέσῃ αὐτόν).  Then the father asked Jesus, if he was able to do anything to help him and his son (ἀλλ’ εἴ τι δύνῃ βοήθησον ἡμῖν)?  He wanted Jesus to have pity and compassion on him and his son (σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς).

A description of his illness (Mk 9:18-9:18)

“Whenever it seizes him,

It dashes him down.

He foams.

He grinds his teeth.

He becomes rigid,

Wasting away.”

 

καὶ ὅπου ἐὰν αὐτὸν καταλάβῃ, ῥήσσει αὐτόν, καὶ ἀφρίζει καὶ τρίζει τοὺς ὀδόντας καὶ ξηραίνεται·

 

The story of the man with the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Luke, chapter 9:39, and here in Mark, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Apparently, this son was an epileptic, who was often considered to be possessed by the devil.  Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures.  This description of the young man’s suffering differed from Matthew who had the child suffer very badly, falling into fire and water.  Luke had a description similar to Mark.  However, this was a very descriptive narrative of what was happening to this young man.  Mark said that whenever the spirit seized him (καὶ ὅπου ἐὰν αὐτὸν καταλάβῃ), it dashed or threw him down (ῥήσσει αὐτόν).  This young boy would foam (καὶ ἀφρίζει) at the mouth.  He would grind or gnash his teeth (αὶ τρίζει τοὺς ὀδόντας).  He would become rigid as he was wasting or withering away (καὶ ξηραίνεται).

The baptism of water and the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:8-1:8)

“I have baptized you

With water.

But he will baptize you

With the Holy Spirit.”

 

ἐγὼ ἐβάπτισα ὑμᾶς ὕδατι, αὐτὸς δὲ βαπτίσει ὑμᾶς Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ.

 

Mark and Matthew, chapter 3:11, are very similar in their description of John the Baptist speaking about baptism.  Mark said that John proclaimed that he was baptizing them with water (ἐγὼ ἐβάπτισα ὑμᾶς ὕδατι).  However, the one to come would baptize them (αὐτὸς δὲ βαπτίσει ὑμᾶς) with or in the Holy Spirit (Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ).  Matthew added that the one to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (πυρί).  Even though there is no mention of fire here in Mark, Luke, chapter 3:16, said that the one to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire also.  The role of the Holy Spirit seemed important.  There was a clear difference between the baptism of John and that of the later Christians with or in the Holy Spirit, as if there was some doubt among the earlier followers of Jesus.

Jesus explains the burning of the weeds (Mt 13:40-13:40)

The weeds are gathered.

They are burned up

With fire.

Thus,

It will be

At the end of the age.”

 

ὥσπερ οὖν συλλέγεται τὰ ζιζάνια καὶ πυρὶ κατακαίεται, οὕτως ἔσται ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος.

 

Only Matthew has this explanation about the parable of the weeds that was earlier in this chapter, 13:24-30.  Jesus, via Matthew, has the conclusion to his explanation about the burning of the weeds.  Just as the weeds are gathered up (ὥσπερ οὖν συλλέγεται τὰ ζιζάνια), they will be burned up with fire (καὶ πυρὶ κατακαίεται).  Thus, this burning fire will be at the end times (οὕτως ἔσται ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος) for all the sons of the evil devil.

The powerful one to come (Mt 3:11-3:11)

“I baptize you

With water

For repentance.

But one,

Who is more powerful

Than I,

Is coming after me.

I am not worthy

To carry his sandals.

He will baptize you

With the Holy Spirit,

And with fire.”

 

ἐγὼ μὲν ὑμᾶς βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι εἰς μετάνοιαν· ὁ δὲ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἰσχυρότερός μού ἐστιν, οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς τὰ ὑποδήματα βαστάσαι· αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί·

 

The wording here is the same as in Mark, chapter 1:7-8 and Luke, chapter 3:16-17, indicating a common source. However, in Luke, John the Baptist was responding to questions about whether he was the Messiah. Instead, John said that he was anticipating a messianic figure greater than himself. He was the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, so that sometimes he was also identified with the prophet Elijah. John the Baptist was clear in this utterance (ἐγὼ μὲν). He baptized in water for repentance (βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι εἰς μετάνοιαν). However, after him (ὁ δὲ ὀπίσω μου), there would be a messianic one more powerful than him (ἐρχόμενος ἰσχυρότερός μού ἐστιν,). He felt that he was not fit or worthy to carry his sandals (οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς τὰ ὑποδήματα βαστάσαι). This one to come was going to baptize them (αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει) in the Holy Spirit (ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ) and fire (καὶ πυρί). Mark, chapter 1:8, also said that the one to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit, did not mention any fire. This is the second mention of the Holy Spirit in Matthew since he was also the originator of Jesus in the womb of Mary. Now he was going to use purifying fire in the baptismal washing.

Kill the shepherd (Zech 13:7-13:9)

“‘Awake!

O sword!

Against my shepherd!

Against the man

Who is my associate!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Strike the shepherd,

That the sheep

May be scattered.

I will turn my hand

Against the little ones.’

Says Yahweh.

‘In the whole land,

Two thirds shall be cut off.

They shall perish,

One third shall be left alive.

I will put this third

Into the fire.

I will refine them

As one refines silver.

I will test them

As gold is tested.

They will call

On my name.

I will answer them.

I will say.

‘They are my people.’

They will say.

‘Yahweh is my God.’”

Yahweh of hosts wanted to take away the current leaders.  The sword should rise up against them, even if they are associated with Yahweh.  The shepherd leaders should be killed, so that the flock would be scattered.  Yahweh would destroy 2/3rd of this flock of people.  The remaining 1/3rd would have to be refined by fire, just like gold and silver were tested in a furnace.  This remaining 1/3rd remnant would be Yahweh’s people.  They would have Yahweh as their God.  Yahweh would have them as his people.

The siege of Nineveh (Nah 3:12-3:14)

“You also will be drunken.

You will go into hiding.

You will seek

A refuge

From the enemy.

All your fortresses are

Like fig trees

With first-ripe figs.

If shaken,

They fall

Into the mouth

Of the eater.

Look at your troops!

They are women

In your midst.

The gates

Of your land

Are wide open

To your foes.

Fire has devoured

The bars of your gates.

Draw water

For the siege!

Strengthen your forts!

Trample the clay!

Tread the mortar!

Take hold

Of the brick mold!”

So too, the people of Nineveh would be drunk and go into hiding, as they would seek to get away from their enemies.  All their strong fortresses would be like ripe fig trees.  If they would be touched or shaken, these strongholds would fall like ripe fruit right into the mouths of their enemies.  Women had become their troops.  The gates of the city were wide open to their enemies because fire had consumed the bars on their gates.  They had to get water during the siege.  They would have to strengthen their fortresses with clay, mortar, and bricks.