5

2 Thessalonians 1:9 describes the eternal fate of those who know not God and do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

At first glance it seems simple enough - those who are judged and condemned to everlasting destruction can never be in the presence of God. They suffer eternal separation from a holy and righteous God.

How to reconcile that with Revelation 14:10-11?

and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb"

What does it mean to be cast out from the presence of God, and what does it mean to be in the presence of the holy angel and the Lamb? How can I explain the difference to someone who thinks Revelation 14:10 contradicts 2 Thessalonians 1:9?

I’m sure there is a simple explanation but I am struggling to reconcile the two concepts.

1
  • 2
    It has to be considered that the destruction (itself) comes from the Lord's presence. For he is present during the torment. 'From the presence' has ambiguity in English : it could mean 'coming out of his presence' (originating from his presence) or it could mean 'away from his presence'. I am hoping than an answer will clear up that ambiguity from the original language. (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    Jul 23 at 8:19
2

οιτινες δικην τισουσιν ολεθρον αιωνιον απο προσωπου του κυριου και απο της δοξης της ισχυος αυτου [2 Thessalonians 1:9 - TR (undisputed) Beza, Stephens, Elzevir and Scrivener all identical.]

απο προσωπου - 'from presence' (KJV) :

There is no article thus I suggest that this is a concept and is not being located, since Deity is being seen - 'of the Lord' . Deity, in this place, is not being located : the presence is not being viewed in a location, it is being viewed conceptually.

Later, in Revelation, the location is viewed and then the writer says 'before the holy angels' and 'before the Lord' thus locating persons and the place of torment.

As to the preposition, Daniel B Wallace states of απο (Beyond the Basics p 368) that, with the genitive (and here it is genitive) the following may apply :

  • Separation - from place or person away from

  • Source - from, out of

  • Cause - because of

  • Partitive - substituting for a partitive genitive

  • Agency (rare) by, from

So we have three uses of the preposition (Source, Cause and Agency) which would suggest that the torment proceeds from the Lord's presence.

And we have one use which suggests Separation.

I would say that the two texts together indicate (without ambiguity) that the torment proceeds from the Lord (in the person of the Lamb) and that the two texts are not contradictory but they are complementary.


βασανισθησεται εν πυρι και θειω ενωπιον των αγιων αγγελων και ενωπιον του αρνιου [TR - Revelation 14:10 - Beza, Stephens, Elzevir and Scrivener all identical]

... tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: [Revelation 14:10 KJV]

The Englishman's Greek New Testament - literal interlinear - is more precise (in my opinion) than the KJV and gives :

... before the holy angels and before the lamb

ενωπιον του αρνιου 'before the Lamb' :

The preposition ενωπιον has been translated (see Liddell & Scott) 'before' or 'face to face' and the KJV usually uses 'before' (63 times) 'in the sight of' (18 times) and 'in the presence of' (9 times) : details from Robert Young's Analytical Concordance.

Thayer See Biblehub - Strong 1799 defines the word further in its primary usage :

of occupied place : in that place which is before, or over against, opposite anyone, and towards which another turns his eyes

To myself, I get the distinct impression that what is being conveyed in the Revelation text is a distance, but a place which is viewable, by those capable of viewing it.

'Presence' is incorrect, I would say, it is a matter of viewing from a vantage point, possibly a vantage point of privilege.

Again, I see the two texts as complementary, both being necessary to build up a full picture of what is being described.


As to the viewing of the torment, yet not being part of it as a participant, I would see Psalm 91 : 7 and 8 to be relevant :

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. [KJV]

3
  1. 2 Thess 1:9 "away from the presence of the Lord". They are cast out of heaven.

  2. Proverbs 15:11. "Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord".

    Psalm 139:8 "if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there".KJB. God's presence appears to be in hell not as Saviour, or in relationship with the occupants. Maybe more as "Jailkeeper"?

Note on 2 Thess 1:9 "the righteous judgement" v5 will fall on "those [people] that afflict you" v6. on "those that do not know God" v8. "when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven v7. They are sent away after judgement. "For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God", Romans 14:10.

6
  • The 2 texts in question seem to be speaking of humans, in which case they never were in heaven in the first place. Only satan and the angels that followed him were in heaven and they were cast down to earth as detailed in Rev. 12:7-10, after Christ returned to heaven. But +1 for a good answer invoking those two excellent verses.
    – Anne
    Jul 23 at 14:15
  • 1
    @Anne I have added to my answer in response to your comment.
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 23 at 21:17
  • @C.Stroud - how do account for the clear statement in Rev 20:14 - Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. ??? This appears to suggest that Hades itself will be destroyed.
    – Dottard
    Jul 24 at 2:09
  • 1
    @Dottard Is this relevant? Hades being thrown into the lake of fire is to its destruction, but eternal destruction Isaiah 66:24:"their fire shall not be quenched". "their worm shall not die" is a continuing state of pain and destruction.
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 25 at 12:50
  • 1
    @Dottard If destruction is proving over and over that evil is never good for its own sake, then could not this be explored eternally. How do we define "destruction"? It is legal for God to do what is illegal for man to do because "The earth is the Lord's". re: Jude 7 Sodom and G. burnt for a time but the people that practised sexual immorality in them suffer "the vengeance of eternal fire". As long as evil is evil there is fuel.
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 26 at 14:36
1

There are several features of Rev 14:9-11 that are sometimes missed:

  • The torment is not described as eternal - only that smoke from the torment rises eternally
  • The torment is in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. IF this torment is understood as in hell (location actually not mentioned) then the holy angels and the Lamb are also in hell for the duration of the torment.
  • The destruction described and predicted/prophesied in the third angel's message of Rev 14:9-11 is an anticipation of that actually occurs in Rev 20:9 -

And they marched across the broad expanse of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them.

This appears to be a direct, verbatim quote from 2 Kings 1: 10, 12, "And fire came down from heaven and consumed [them]".

This is consistent with the description in 2 Thess 2:9, "[the wicked are] punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" and with the comments in Jude 7 -

In like manner, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, who indulged in sexual immorality and pursued strange flesh, are on display as an example of those who sustain the punishment of eternal fire.

Eternal Smoke

This leaves the problem of eternal smoke as mentioned in Rev 14:11, "And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever." I think that if John wanted to say that the wicked are punished for ever with the Lamb and the Holy angels with them, watching, then it might have been a simple matter to have said just that. However, it is the result of the fire, smoke, that rises forever - the result is eternal and the lessons never forgotten. See Nah 1:9.

1
  • 1
    Although I don't agree with everything you have said here, I do agree that "the result is eternal and the lessons never forgotten." Thanks for your input.
    – Lesley
    Jul 23 at 16:06
1

Revelation 14:

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.

The Lamb and the holy angels are in charge of the torment, not Satan and evil angels.

Until when?

11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever.

As Dottard pointed out, the smoke but not necessarily the torment will last for 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.

Perhaps, the torment lasts as long as day and night last.

Revelation 22:

1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

1

How to reconcile 2 Thessalonians 1:9 with Revelation 14:10

Revelation 14:10-11 NASB

10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed [a]in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and [b]brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”can never be in the presence of God. They suffer eternal separation from a holy and righteous God.

There is no contradiction between the two verses, the language in Rev. 14:10-11 is symbolic.We will look into a similar prophecy, the prophet Isaiah prophesied against Edom because of their animosity towards Israel. God warns Edom through his prophet Isaiah and says :

Isaiah 34:9-10 NASB

9 Its streams will be turned into pitch, And its loose earth into brimstone And its land will become burning pitch. 10 It will not be extinguished night or day; Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; None will pass through it forever and ever.

Was Edom turned into pitch that will not be extinguished night or day,is its smoke ascending forever? No, the punishment was not everlasting torment but “emptiness -the porcupine will possess it-- there will be nothing. ” Isaiah prophesied:

Was Edom turned into pitch that will not be extinguished night or day,is its smoke ascending forever? No, the punishment was not everlasting torment but “emptiness -the porcupine will possess it-- there will be nothing. ” Isaiah prophesied:

Thus , Edom was punished with everlasting destruction, uninhabited for all time, and the smoke ascending forever means that the judgment is final and that Edom will never be rebuilt again. Also a lesson for us today.

1

What does it mean to be cast out from the presence of God, and what does it mean to be in the presence of the holy angel and the Lamb?

How can I explain the difference to someone who thinks Revelation 14:10 contradicts 2 Thessalonians 1:9?

In light of your question why one is cast out from the presence of the Lord and another one is in His presence Being tortured has to do with different judgments.

Throughout Scripture one can see God Gods judgments are different depending on how much light has been revealed to a people, nation or just one person.

Here are a few examples.

Luke 10:23- Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.

Here's a little more information on the people who were eventually banned from the Lord's presence.

Acts 17:1-14 Talks about these people who will eventually have their judgment.

They were causing much suffering to the believers in Thessalonica as well as other places Paul went. According to Scripture Jews wanted to be in the kingdom when their Messiah comes.

But because they were persecuting the true believers of the Messiah this is what the verdict was.

2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall suffer justice — destruction age-during — from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength, when He may come to be glorified in his saints,

The saints who suffered In Thessalonica will be glorified and those who persecuted them will see the truth and will they will shut out from the presence of the Lord.

The other judgment in Revelation 14:10 Is very severe because of all the supernatural things that will be taking place at that time. Even another gospel will be proclaimed by an angel just for the people on the earth at that time… It will be given to all tribes, people and languages.

Revelation 14:6-7 And I saw another messenger flying in mid-heaven, having good news age-during to proclaim to those dwelling upon the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, saying in a great voice, ‘Fear ye God, and give to Him glory, because come did the hour of His judgment, and bow ye before Him who did make the heaven, and the land, and sea, and fountains of waters.

God always warn's people before he brings a specific judgmenton at that time.

So here's the judgment that follows those who do not obey the angels message and in turn end up bowing down to the beast.

n a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives its mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he too will drink the wine of God’s anger, poured undiluted into the cup of His wrath. And he will be tormented in fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. Day and night there is no rest for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”

That is the context that has Verse 10 in it.

And he will be tormented in fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.

One group is being banished from the Lord's presence and the other one is being tortured in front of the Lamb.

It's also interesting they are being tortured in front of the Lamb instead of the Lord. Two different titles.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.