Several years ago, we looked at some Hebrew words that are translated worm and determined that Yeshua called himself a specific type of worm, a Tolaʽ or Toleʽah worm [H8439]. The full essay on these discoveries can be found here:
The Tolaʽ or Toleʽah Worm [H8439]
The Tola ‘or Toleʽah worm is the female ‘Coccus Illicis’ worm which the Hebrews used to make the red dye used in the coverings of the Tabernacle and the clothes of the priests. It is known as the crimson worm because of this color.
Job 25:6 – “How much less man, that is a worm [H7415] and the son of man, which is a worm [H8439].”
Psalm 22 – “But I am a worm [H8439]and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. ‘He trusts in Yahweh,’ they say, ‘Let Yahweh rescue him. Let him deliver Him, since He delights in Him.'”
It was discovered that the Tola’ or Toleʽah worm, the Crimson Worm:
- climbs into a Hermes oak tree,
- attaches itself to the tree and forms a protective shell,
- lays her eggs and hatches her children, who feed off her body to stay alive,
- oozes a red stain for three days which stains the tree red, and which also permanently covers its children,
- pulls its tail up to its head, forming the shape of a heart,
- the heart-shaped Tola’ worm then turns into a snow white wax and flakes off.
1 Peter 2:24 – “Yeshua bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” Yeshua likened Himself with the Tola’ or Toleʽah Worm – a perfect picture of the Messiah.
- Like the Crimson Worm, Yeshua was also attached to a tree to die (1 Peter 2:24).
- He did so willingly and died to give birth to his family, the Bride of Yeshua (John 10:17-18).
- The beatings, tortures, and crucifixion turned his body red with the shed blood (Luke 18:33).
- Yeshua rose from the dead after three days, just as the baby worms leave the shell after three days (Matthew 12:40).
- His shed blood covers our sins and turns them white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
The Worm That Never Dies
Isaiah 66:23-24 – “Every month on Rosh-Hodesh and every week on Shabbat, everyone living will come to worship in my presence, says Yahweh. As they leave, they will look on the corpses of the people who rebelled against me. For their worm [H8438] will never die, and their fire will never be quenched; but they will be abhorrent to all humanity.”
Several verses in the Newer Covenant scriptures quote this saying, but oddly enough, the Hebrew word Tola ‘or Toleʽah is translated into the Greek word skolex [G4663], which is a completely different Hebrew word; rimmah [H7415]. The KJV HCSB, HNV, ISV, and YLT include Mark 9:44 – “Where the worm [G4663] does not die, and the fire is not quenched” and all Translations Mark 9:48 – “Where their worm [G4663] never dies and the fire is never quenched.”
The Typical Explanations
Isaiah 66:24 – “As they leave, they will look on the corpses of the people who rebelled against me. For their worm [H8438] will never die, and their fire will never be quenched; but they will be abhorrent to all humanity.”
Numerous explanations have been given for this verse, which basically say: “the worm refers to a man’s conscience, and their guilty conscience gnaws away at him with remorse that cannot be alleviated.” This, they claim, is Yeshua’s teaching that there is unending suffering in hell – the worm (conscience) never stops causing torment. The whole point, they say, is hell is the result of unrepentant sin and is absolute and permanent. Others replace the word conscience with soul. The “sins of the soul attack the mind and the senses of the guilty, and gnaw at the entrails of his conscience,” say several pontificators.
The typical explanations are also frequently linked to Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom, which is located outside Jerusalem. Trash, refuse, dead animals, and even dead bodies of criminals were thrown into Gehenna to be destroyed by the fires that constantly burned there. Any body that isn’t burned is devoured by maggots, they say. This, they claim, is Yeshua’s teaching that whatever was thrown into the valley never came out again; it was totally consumed, either by fire or by worms or maggots, and so will whatever or whoever is thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Yet others point out that maggots can’t exist in the presence of fire – thus, the meaning of the word worm is clearly symbolic.
The Biblical Explanation
Isaiah 66:23-24 – “As they (the living) leave, they will look on the corpses of the people who rebelled against me. For the worm [H8438] (of the people who rebelled) will never die, and their fire will never be quenched.”
Isaiah 66:24 clearly uses the Hebrew word Tola ‘[H8439], NOT the Hebrew word rimmah [H7415]! This is the same word that Yeshua uses to describe himself. Yeshua is the crimson worm that dies to give life to its children. This is stated many times in many different ways:
Deuteronomy 4:35 – “Yahweh is Elohim; besides him there is no other.”
Deuteronomy 4:39 – “Yahweh is Elohim in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.”
1 Kings 8:60 – “To you it was shown, that you might know that Yahweh is Elohim; there is no other besides him.”
Isaiah 43:11 – “I, even I, am Yahweh, and apart from me there is no savior.”
Isaiah 45:21 – “There is no Elohim apart from me, a righteous El and a Savior; there is none but me.”
John 14:6 – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”
Acts 4:12– “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
John 10:9 – “So all the peoples of the earth may know that Yahweh is Elohim and that there is no other.”
The unquenchable, eternal fire is also portrayed in several ways and was specifically created for the devil and his angels, in other words, to those little “g” gods, according to Matthew:
Matthew 25:41 – “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Matthew 25:46 – “These shall go away into everlasting punishment.”
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 – “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them… who will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”
Revelation 20:10 – “The devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Isaiah 66-24 clearly states that this tola’ worm does not die. The tola’ worm this verse references is the tola ‘of the rebellious, unbelieving, and unrepentant, in other words, all those little “g” gods in whom people have trusted and worshiped rather than Yeshua. The devil and those little “g” gods will be tormented day and night forever, for all eternity – their fire will never be quenched.
Yeshua likened Himself with the Tola’ or Toleʽah Worm – a perfect picture of the Messiah. Like the Crimson Worm, Yeshua was also attached to a tree to die (1 Peter 2:24). He did so willingly and died to give birth to his family, the Bride of Yeshua (John 10:17-18). The beatings, tortures, and crucifixion turned his body red with the shed blood (Luke 18:33). Yeshua rose from the dead after three days, just as the baby worms leave the shell after three days (Matthew 12:40). His shed blood covers our sins and turns them white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). How awesome is our God to provide us with such an example, with so many coinkydinks! Awesome indeed.
Yeshua is THE Tola ‘or Toleʽah worm who dies for the salvation of those who believe in him. There is no other. Scripture states that the tola’ worm, of the rebellious, unbelieving, and unrepentant, in other words, the little “g” gods that the rebellious believe in, will never die, nor will they die for their worshipers to give them any kind of salvation! Their fire will never be quenched.