Do Revelation 20:14 and Revelation 22:15 contradict each other?:

Rev 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Rev 22:15 Outside are dogs, sorcerers, immoral people, murderers, idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

On the one hand John seems to say that the naughty people are annihilated in the lake of fire but on the other hand he seems to suggest that they live on outside of the Promised Land in subservience.

Related: Who are the "kings of the earth"?


3 Answers 3


They don't contradict each other.

It's written in Isaiah 9:18-19 that wickedness burns as a fire. A sea and a lake are labels that denote multitudes of sons of men among whom wicked spirit entities carry out wicked activities; 1 Kings 22:22, Hosea 5:4 etc illustrate this scenario. Psalm 74:14, Psalm 104 etc depict as seas the infested multitudes by the wicked levianthan.

Rev 20:14 signified identifying all the wicked and confining them to a setting of their own signified as a 'lake of fire', the fire that depicts evil or wickedness as 'burning the wicked' in Isaiah 9. Waters denote spirit/s including men as explained in Revelation 17:15. In Psalm 23:2 the Psalmist prophesies a peculiar walk of those that are led by the spirit of God depicting the holy spirit as ‘quiet waters’ that lead him in life.

The sea wasn’t a sea until men became multitudes. So it is with the formation of the ‘lake’ which was started by a few angels that Jude 1:6 refers to, but by the time of Rev 20 when all realms give up their ‘dead’ even men have become wicked, and that in their multitudes, and many already in the infernal abode of only the wicked in Sheol. Spiritual things aren’t easy to illustrate since most basic aspects of them flesh cannot relate to. But precept upon precept, a little here and there and the dots come together. The grievously evil nature of the inhabitants of that setting is the punishment of the wicked, that is the fire that burns, but such evil as it isn’t possible to describe, also the fact that it’s the very punishment of even the devil who is spirit affirms it.
So at the point in time of Rev 22:15 the ultimate setting of only wicked entities in all creation including men(then fiends), would have been appointed somewhere in His creation, the place denoted as 'outside' of the City. New Jerusalem are the saints, Hebrews 12:22-23. The symbol of being on the 'outside' signifies a coming short in holiness by those on the 'outside'. It's what Rev 11:2 refers to, and to that ultimate setting of only the wicked is what Matthew 8:12 refers, that 'outside' is also what Isaiah 30:33 masks in his dark speeches.

  • Hello and welcome to the list. So are you saying that the Revelation is to be taken as metaphor for holy/unholy living, etc?
    – user10231
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:07
  • Revelation 1:1 says the angel was sent to signify all that John was about to be shown. This is my compass when looking at it. Yourself might have found out that nearly half of the book is absolute nonsense if taken literally.
    – Witness
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:13
  • Yes, but it does say that that it was given "to shew unto his [God's] servants things which must shortly come to pass". There is a lot of allegory as well as metaphor. But more importantly I don't think that you "made your case" very strong for the particular readings you offered. I mean, they seem to be hastily gathered. Can you show more work as to why you take them to be what you think they are? People have been banging their head against this particular wall for a long time and have come to different conclusions.
    – user10231
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:27
  • You got a point about my being 'half convincing,blame it on the nature of these platforms. However I would like to know where you find that 'weakness' being especially the case.
    – Witness
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:43
  • For example, the wicked are thrown into the lake of fire, so you have people being thrown into people... you don't address the difficulties in your view which gives the impression you just found the first piece of wood/hay/stubble that you found lying around instead of carefully considering the pros and cons of the proposition. A wise man's words are like gold repeatedly purified. I don't see the purification step.
    – user10231
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 16:12

12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. -Revelation 22:12-15 (NKJV)

Notice that Jesus says in v12 that He is coming quickly, and that in v14 the righteous have not entered into the city yet. The visions of the future New Jerusalem ceased at v6 and present time has resumed. Verses 14-15 are saying that only the righteous will be permitted to enter through the gates, with the wicked being left outside. The wicked are not cast into the lake of fire until after the righteous have entered into the city.

Jesus compares this to a harvest where the righteous and wicked are gathered into two separate groups, with the wicked being burned up:

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! -Matthew 13:36-43 (NKJV)


No, there is no contradiction. The Greek says:

καὶ εἴ τις οὐχ εὑρέθη ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ τῆς ζωῆς γεγραμμένος, ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν λίμνην τοῦ πυρός

And if a certain one not was found in the book of the life having been written he was cast into the lake of the fire

First, John doesn't even say it's necessary that anybody be thrown into the lake of fire.

Then (with a modified KJV):

ἔξω οἱ κύνες καὶ οἱ φάρμακοι καὶ οἱ πόρνοι καὶ οἱ φονεῖς καὶ οἱ εἰδωλολάτραι καὶ πᾶς φιλῶν καὶ ποιῶν ψεῦδος

"[For] without [are] the dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Revelation 22:15

So I don't understand this as saying the "dogs" and such "are outside", but that those within the gate are without such wickedness.

As Witness said, everything in Revelation was "signified", so your guess is as good as mine. As far as comparing it to the parables in Matthew 8:12, 22:13 and 25:30, I think it's better to compare it to passages when Yeshua was being very literal:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:43

Is loving our enemies crucial for becoming perfect? Yes.

Does God possess this perfection? Yes.

Is burning our enemies in an eternal torture chamber forever and ever (whatever that means) an act of love? No, not in any circumstance whatsoever.

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