Isa. 9:18-21,

"18 For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.

19 Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.

20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:

21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." (KJV)

This speaks of wicked actions of living people. The people are the fuel for the fire while they are living wicked lives on earth. Devouring their brothers depicts the actions of thieves and murderers, the ones who steal what another has to convert it to their own use.

Today, we call these people parasites and zombies, who feed off the productive sector of society. This wicked activity goes on during life, and the fire is God's anger.

Lam. 2:4, "...He hath poured out as fire His fury." (KJV)

The wicked are bringing forth the column of smoke before the Lord during their lifetime because of their actions. Their wicked actions... their torment of the people...are the fuel of the fire of God's wrath.

Not that the wicked are being tormented, but that they are tormenting the people. And, their wickedness comes up as a smoke before God, and causes His anger and fury.

Therefore, in Rev. 14:9-11,

"9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

"10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." (KJV)

isn't this the same language as Isa. 9:18-21? The smoke of their wicked acts... their torment of the people...rises up before God. This is not something that happens after they die.

Isn't the action of worshiping the "beast" an action during life on earth? The beast is a ruler or authority that preys upon the weak and the young, that devours those whom they should be protecting (Isa. 56:11; Jer. 25:34; 50:6-7, 17; Ezek. 34:2, 8, 10, etc.).

Since these actions of the wicked who worship the beast, and who receive the mark of slavery/ ownership occur during their mortal lifetimes, then they have not yet died. And, isn't this the same burning torment of those living wicked people spoken of in Isa. c.9?

Therefore, isn't the wrath of God (the fire) being poured into the cup of His indignation while they yet live, continuing to fill it until it overflows?

I am wondering if this highly figurative passage of a prophetic image in Rev. c.14 is not speaking of eternal torment after death, but of the torment they cause while they yet live on earth?

  • 'Ascendeth up for ever and ever' seems conclusive to me that this is an unending state, not a matter of this present life, in time. – Nigel J Nov 30 '17 at 13:18
  • Nigel, I rephrased it to better understand "their torment" as the torment that the wicked cause against others. See if you see what I see now? – Gina Nov 30 '17 at 16:30
  • Nigel, we also have the problem of the English translation.."for ever and ever".. is in the Greek "to ages of ages", and we make too many assumptions. Ages have time elements, a beginning and an end. – Gina Nov 30 '17 at 16:47
  • Aeons of aeons is unimaginable. Each aeon is multiplied by an aeon. And they are tormented throughout all of it. – Nigel J Dec 1 '17 at 8:31
  • Isaiah 34 seems to be the background of the image: biblehub.com/niv/isaiah/34.htm – Ruminator Dec 1 '17 at 15:05

Man is born mortal, not immortal. However, the Revelation describes the plight of those who will seek to die but will find it impossible:

Revelation 9: 1The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. 6During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

During "those days" these without God's mark will be tormented for five months:

NIV Ezekiel 9: 3Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” 5As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. 6Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.

NIV Revelation 7: 3“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

Revelation 14: 1Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

The Revelation features many opposites:

Christ vs Antichrist God's witnesses vs the false prophet (Rev 16:13) New Jerusalem vs Babylon Etc.

There are those with God's mark who obtain everlasting life and those with the mark of the beast who obtain everlasting death:

NIV Revelation 14: 9A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”

The brilliant Rob Skiba (who is also, he will admit, prone to great folly) has pondered this passage and has theorized that the promise of Satan that people will "be like God" might lead to blending humans and demons in the promise of everlasting life:


This, he suggests could be "the mark of the beast" which will cause people to seek death and never to find it. It will be some impartation of the life/death of the Devil into humans.

Alternatively, or additionally we see the everlasting punishment of angels described in the scrolls of Enoch:

11 that each one of them will live five hundred years.' And the Lord said unto Michael: 'Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves 12 with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is 13 for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and 14 to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. And whosoever shall be condemned and destroyed will from thenceforth be bound together with them to the end of all 15 generations. And destroy all the spirits of the reprobate and the children of the Watchers, because 16 they have wronged mankind. Destroy all wrong from the face of the earth and let every evil work come to an end: and let the plant of righteousness and truth appear: and it shall prove a blessing; the works of righteousness and truth' shall be planted in truth and joy for evermore. Scrolls chapter 10 http://reluctant-messenger.com/book_of_enoch.htm

In the above passage the prison of angels (Tartarus) houses not only the disobedient angels but also the disobedient men. You can readily see that the Revelation draws a lot on the images in Enoch. But we also see the same in Matthew 25:

NIV Matthew 25: 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

This dismal view of the severity of God is difficult to ponder, as we see in Enoch:

Chapter 21 1,2 And I proceeded to where things were chaotic. And I saw there something horrible: I saw neither 3 a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible. And there I saw 4 seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. Then 5 I said: 'For what sin are they bound, and on what account have they been cast in hither?' Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me, and was chief over them, and said: 'Enoch, why 6 dost thou ask, and why art thou eager for the truth? These are of the number of the stars of heaven, which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, 7 the time entailed by their sins, are consummated.' And from thence I went to another place, which was still more horrible than the former, and I saw a horrible thing: a great fire there which burnt and blazed, and the place was cleft as far as the abyss, being full of great descending columns of 8 fire: neither its extent or magnitude could I see, nor could I conjecture. Then I said: 'How 9 fearful is the place and how terrible to look upon!' Then Uriel answered me, one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto me: 'Enoch, why hast thou such fear and affright?' And 10 I answered: 'Because of this fearful place, and because of the spectacle of the pain.' And he said unto me: 'This place is the prison of the angels, and here they will be imprisoned for ever.'

  • Rob Skiba seems to be a nice guy. I enjoy listening to him. But I wouldn't call him or anyone else "brilliant". Like many, he teaches an eschatology that is not scriptural, and does frequently quote the fraudulent book of Enoch. I have read that book, and have researched the errors enough to know it is not scriptural, and is a huge deception played upon unsuspecting people. Moreover, the subject of the question is directly inspecting the assumption everyone makes that the figurative eternal torment is not of the person after death. Revelation was a judgment pronounced upon Jerusalem.... – Gina Nov 30 '17 at 22:58
  • Revelation is not about the end of time, or the end of the world. The five months you have referenced was the five months of the siege of Jerusalem. I have tied these references to much of the OT prophesy at my site. You may also want to read the info there on that forgery called the Book of Enoch. Go to shreddingtheveil.org. – Gina Nov 30 '17 at 23:00
  • In the siege, didn't the Jews successfully kill themselves/each other at Masada? And don't Jude, Peter, John and Matthew all quote or allude to Enoch? It is good to have confidence and hutzpa but the apostle says that if anyone is certain they know something they certainly don't understand it as they should. – Ruminator Nov 30 '17 at 23:06
  • Jude does certainly call out Enoch's name. Does that meant that there was book of Enoch? No, it only means that Enoch was a prophet that spoke of the judgment of the latter days when Christ walked on this earth. Knowledge, research and study brings confidence in the subject matter. I don't claim any hutzpa, and will always be willing to look again if the information is soundly based upon the scriptures. – Gina Nov 30 '17 at 23:08
  • You have good reason to have a certain amount of confidence but we all know only in part and peer through a blurry, dark reflection. A modicum of modesty protects of from having to eat a distasteful hat in the future (and I speak from experience here). Peter certainly seems to consider Enoch's report of the horrors of Tartarus very real (2 Peter 2:4) and certainly not related to Masada. I've been all over the map with understanding the subject and am at this point uncertain that all of the authors had the same view. But, I'm still learning. And I learn many things from you. Peace. – Ruminator Nov 30 '17 at 23:19

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