Mark 9:46 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

KJV Verse: 

Mark 9:46 Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Greek Verse: 

This verse does not exist in the Greek sources that we use today. Below is Mark 9:48, which is translated the same.

MAPKON 9:48 ὅπου σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ καὶ” “τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται:”

Literal Alternative: 

Somewhere that worm of theirs doesn't die and the fire doesn't go out.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is the second of three repetitions of this phrase at the end of this chapter, but only the last of these verses exists in the Greek source that we use today. We repeat this post under all three verse for completeness.

This is a quote from Isaiah 66:24  using the same vocabulary as the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. (linked  verse  Greek here). The fact that this is a quote from the Old Testament explains why so many unique and uncommon terms are used in it. Since this verse exists in both the Greek and Hebrew it allows us to understand how Jesus meant the words, but since these words are not commonly used, it does not provide a key to many other verses.

KJV Analysis: 

Where -- "Where" is a conjuction that means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

their -- The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English. This word follows the noun and therefore means "of them."

untranslated -- The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

worm -- "Worm" is a noun Jesus only uses here. It means "worm," specifically, "earthworm", "grub", "larvae," and "worms in dung, decaying matter and trees and wood."

dies -- "Dies" is another uncommon word that  means "to bring to pass", "to accomplish", "to finish", "to die", "to end a life," and "to make an end to life." From OT Hebrew word,  muwth, which means "to die" and "to kill."

not, -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

the -- The word translated as "the"  is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

fire -- "Fire" is a noun that means "fire", "sacrificial fire", "funeral fire", and so on, but Christ only uses this word to describe the fire of a trash dump. He usually uses it with the word that is translated as "hell" but which was the name of the burning trash dump outside of Jerusalem.

is -- This is from the passive form of the verb.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea.

quenched. -- "Quenched" is the final uncommon word for Jesus that means "quench", "put out", "dry up", "run dry," and "go out."

Greek Vocabulary: 

This verse does not exist in the Greek sources that we use today. Below is Mark 9:48, which is translated the same and provided for easy reference.

ὅπου (adv/conj) "Where" is hopou, which means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

(article sg masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

σκώληξ [unique]( noun sg masc nom ) "Worm" is from skolex, which means "worm," specifically, "earthworm", "grub", "larvae," and "worms in dung, decaying matter and trees and wood."

αὐτῶν (adj pl masc gen) "Their" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

οὐ (partic) "Not" is ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

τελευτᾷ [uncommon]( verb 3rd sg pres ind act ) "Dies" is from teleutao, which means "to bring to pass", "to accomplish", "to finish", "to die", "to end a life," and "to make an end to life." From OT Hebew word,  muwth, which means "to die" and "to kill."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

τὸ (article sg neut nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

πῦρ ( noun sg neut nom ) "Fire" is pyr (pur), which means "fire", "sacrificial fire", "funeral fire", "hearth-fire", "lightning", "the light of torches," and "heat of fever."

οὐ "Not" is ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

σβέννυται:” [uncommon]( verb 3rd sg pres ind mp ) "Quenched" is from sbennymi, which means "quench", "put out", "dry up", "run dry," and "go out."

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Our discussion of the first is here. As we said there, when Christ does three repetitions, his metaphors cover the three aspects of temporal life (physical, emotional, and intellectual, see here for more). In this case, the three symbols used in these series of repeating verses are the hand, foot, and eye, representing the emotional (our relationships with others), physical (our physical bodies), and intellectual (our mind).

This second iteration refers to the physical part of our lives. Christ doesn't preach the dichotomy of the flesh being evil and the spirit being good. In Christ's view, all the temporal aspects of life are a path to spiritual understanding. All can also be barriers if we get "stuck" in them. Being physical handicapped is only a problem if it traps us. The point of life is not physical. The point is always that everything in this life, good or bad, has meaning and purpose. Everything can help us in our spiritual quest if we see it as a help.

We lose Christ's meaning if we get caught up in our modern concepts of hell and hell fire in thinking about what he actually mean talking about the trash heap at Gehenna, which is the word he used. At that trash heap, material was constantly rotting, filled with worms and fire was used to destroy the rotten material. The fire was not punishment but purification.

The difference between this world and the spiritual world is that, in our world, conditions are temporary, but in the spiritual world, they are eternal. Here, fire destroy the worm, purifying the world, but states are preserved in the spiritual world only to be changed in this world. So, if we do not change in this world, we are preserved with all our faults in the spiritual world. If we put our lives on the trash heap here, the worm never dies in the spiritual world even though the fires never stop burning them. We are frozen in that state. Until the next age, which may be our next reincarnation.

Sep 23 2019