your descendants will stay

August 2015 (13)Isaiah 66:22 – 24

22 Because like the new sky and the new land, which I am making, will stay in my presence, says Yahveh; so your descendants and your name will stay. 23 At it will happen consistently, from one new moon to the next new moon, and from one Sabbath to the next Sabbath, all flesh will come to worship in my presence, says Yahveh. 24 And they will exit and look at the dead bodies of the men who had rebelled against me; because their worm will not die, their fire will not be quenched, and they will be a repugnance to all flesh.

your descendants will stay

Isaiah’s last words are not a description of heaven and hell. He had predicted that Yahveh would come in judgment, destroying his enemies and those Jews who rebelled against his covenant. He had promised to recreate his holy land, making a new sky and a new, refreshed land. In that land, worship would be true and spiritual, and consistent. But as the worshippers departed the temple courts, they would walk past the valley of Hinnom, and see the dead bodies of all the rebellious Jews who has transgressed the Law. Those bodies would be a repugnance because they would be dead and rotting and stinking. They would not be disembodied asbestos spirits, forever being tortured. The worm would not die until it devoured all. The fire would not be quenched until it destroyed all.

Jesus picks up on this same imagery to describe final punishment. He warns people that the final punishment will be just as total as the fires Isaiah had mentioned. So, people should do everything they can to avoid Gehenna, even if it mean cutting off body parts.

43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to Gehenna, to the unquenchable fire. 44 [1] 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into Gehenna. 46 [2] 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into Gehenna, 48 where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. (Mark 9:43-48).

But neither text suggests that those thrown into Gehenna will last for eternity. In fact, Isaiah’s point is that they will not. Look back at verse 22. It is the redeemed, righteous ones who will stay. They are the ones with eternal life. Likewise, Jesus’ point is for us to do whatever we can so that we are not destroyed completely in Gehenna. That is because Gehenna does not contain life. Entering the kingdom of God is entering life. Entering Gehenna is exiting life, and entering eternal death.

LORD, make us a righteous people who stay in your presence for eternity.

 

 

 
 

{Whew! Thanks for stopping by. If you have followed with me on this 205 day journey through Isaiah, you have just read a 135 page translation and devotional commentary on the book. Tomorrow I start the next project: the Gospel of Mark – Jefferson Vann.}


[1] some manuscripts add οπου ο σκωληξ αυτων ου τελευτα και το πυρ ου σβεννυται. The text is found in verse 48, and it refers to the promise in Isaiah 66:24 that the dead bodies of God’s enemies will suffer complete disintegration and destruction.

[2] some manuscripts add οπου ο σκωληξ αυτων ου τελευτα και το πυρ ου σβεννυται. The text is found in verse 48, and it refers to the promise in Isaiah 66:24 that the dead bodies of God’s enemies will suffer complete disintegration and destruction.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jeff is a Christian missionary and church elder.
This entry was posted in destruction in hell, eternal life, faithfulness, restoration and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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