48. where their worm is not dying, and the fire is not being quenched;
Mark 9:48 (YLT)
Then comes the question of... who is this worm? Earthworm Jim?
There are multiple theories that exist to the identity of this supposed undying worm. I think the strongest is that the worm and the fire represents Jesus. Since we know that God is a consuming fire. But we might also each have our own worm, our own soul, that will not be permanently destroyed nor endlessly tortured forever.
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's 4663: A gnawing worm; gnawing anguish. Of uncertain derivation; a grub, maggot or earth-worm.
Under Christian Universalism we know that the gnawing anguish will not last forever. As all people shall eventually believe in Christ and all people shall be saved.
We see that the image is not of "worms" but rather singular "worm"
So itís different imagery from like worms feeding off a corpse. Thereís just one worm by itself.
Theory 1: Jesus is the Worm.
Psalm 22:6 (YLT) 6. And I [am] a worm, and no man, A reproach of man, and despised of the people.
The worm of Jesus will never die and He will continue to love us and try to save us no matter what suffering we go through! Jesus = Love = Never Fails 1 Cor 13:8.
Theory 2: Jacob is the Worm.
Isaiah 41:14 (YLT) 14. Fear not, O worm Jacob, ye men of Israel, I helped thee, an affirmation of Jehovah, Even thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
We see that since the LORD helped Jacob, the worm, that all the other worms, each being their own person, will also be helped by the LORD. They will all eventually believe in Christ to be saved!
Theory 3: Idk just some random worm God sent
Jonah 4:7 YLT And God appointeth a worm at the going up of the dawn on the morrow, and it smiteth the gourd, and it drieth up.
We see that God can appoint a worm. Would God appoint any creature to be tortured or destroyed forever? No, because that means thereís a failure for correction, as Godís fireís, His very nature, is to correct. Think of it as a time limit. Even though God has all of forever in order to correct a person, will He use all of this time? No, of course not. Because eventually the worm, the person, each, will believe in Christ to be saved. But since God is a truly eternal being, with no beginning nor end, God is capable of helping a person for as long as they need help.
Hereís a list of al instances of worm in the Old Testament
Funnily enough is a strong argument against Annilhationism, since the personís soul is not destroyed. This makes sense, since to destroy their worm would mean that God gave up. But is God a quitter? No. Is God someone who leaves work unfinished? No. Is God someone who just abandons someone? No.
Noun - feminine singular construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's 8438: The crimson-grub, of the color, from it, cloths dyed therewith
Theory 4: The Worm is our Soul.
Isaiah 66:24 YLT And they have gone forth, And looked on the carcases of the men Who are transgressing against me, For their worm dieth not, And their fire is not quenched, And they have been an abhorrence to all flesh!
We see here that, with this in mind, our soul will not die in the fire, and we see that God is a consuming fire that does not quench itself. However, this does not mean that the person will be in the fire forever, just that, God is a fire that never goes out, but God can still remove people from the fire.
Itís like roasting marshmallows over an open flame. The fire itself might never go out, but the marshmallows, us the humans, can get out of there. So our suffering is not forever, but God still exists forever. Itís in His nature to correct, no matter how long it may take, but due to this, that means the final state in which the correction is reached must also eventually be achieved at some point.
Thus, all people will eventually become believers in Christ and go to Heaven. People will suffer in the fire, not forever, but rather, a time of limited duration until they become believers in Christ.