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Revelation 14:11 (ESV)

And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

  • In what sense do they have no rest, day or night? What kind of rest is the passage talking about?
  • When do they have no rest? At the same time that they are tormented? Prior to the torment? Is the experience of the torment what makes them have no rest, day or night?

Related: Does Revelation 20:10,14-15 teach eternal conscious torment (ECT) of the wicked?

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  • 1
    Can't see a reason for a down-vote. Cancelled with my own up-vote.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 28 at 18:19
  • 1
    Agreed - I added another up-vote
    – Dottard
    Feb 28 at 23:43
  • 2
    Ditto. This is a valid, and an important question.
    – Anne
    Mar 2 at 10:17

2 Answers 2

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'If any man worship the beast' ... 'he shall be tormented in fire and brimstone' ... 'before the holy angels and before the Lamb' ... 'And the smoke of their torment ascends up to ages of ages' ... 'and they have no respite day nor night, who worship the beast' ...

This is taken from the literal translation of the Englishman's Greek New Testament (Stephanus Text 1550).


He shall be tormented : and during that torment, as a result of that torment, smoke is produced - which ascends.

If the smoke ascend 'to ages of ages' then logic cries out that the torment is also 'to ages of ages'.

Else would the smoke cease.

Smoke is a product of combustion. If the fire is quenched, the smoke ceases. The graphic image is that burning (sulphur and flame) causes burning ; and that the smoke of the combustion signifies the torment of those who are afflicted with the conditions. The smoke is not from the sulphur or the flame : the smoke is carbonaceous material from the thing being burnt.

It is fuel that smokes : not flame.

If the thing that smokes is taken out of the flame, or is wholly consumed, then the smoke ceases even if the flame continues.

But 'their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched' so the thing being burnt is like a worm that can be cut in pieces and still - it lives.

Ghastly as this is (and it is very ghastly) this is what is on the page of holy scripture.

And they (all such individuals previously called 'he') have no respite (anapausin - anapauo : 'rest' or 'take ease') day nor night.

The continuing context is of torment which is 'to ages of ages' with smoke that ascends in accompaniment . . . and they have no respite.

The respite (or rest) is clearly respite or rest from the torment.

The passage is very simple, very clear, very plain.

It lends itself to no other construction than the way it reads on face value.

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  • if i could upvote this answer again i would do it, powerful stuff Mar 10 at 13:39
  • Your comment appreciated @collenndhlovu Thank you.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 10 at 15:39
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Note carefully the tenses of the verbs here in Rev 14:9-11 -

  • V9 - worships = present indicative active
  • V9 - receives = present indicative active
  • V10 - will drink = future indicative middle
  • V10 - will be tormented = future indicative passive
  • V11 - worshiping = present participle active
  • V11 - [smoke] goes up = present indicative active
  • V11 - have [no rest] = present indicative active

The difference is these tenses is significant:

  • The present tense applies to people's love in the present age - what we do in this life. That is, people who worship, receive the mark of the beast, rising smoke (= effect), have no rest - all apply in the present age
  • The future tense applies at the future eschatological judgement - these sinners will drink (middle voice = do it to themselves), and be tormented "day and night" = continuously (compare Mark 5:5, Jer 33:20, Gen 7:4, etc).

There is no suggestion here about how long the torment lasts - only the smoke rises forever, ie, its effect.

Lastly, note that the smoke of the torment and lack of rest are in the present, ie, in this life. The lack of rest is a direct reference to the rest on God that the people of God have as described in Heb 3 & 4.

Heb 4:1-3 - Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be deemed to have fallen short of it. For we also received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, since they did not share the faith of those who comprehended it. Now we who have believed enter that rest. As for the others, it is just as God has said: “So I swore on oath in My anger, ‘They shall never enter My rest.

Thus we understand that those who worship the beast and his image do not enter God's rest, and by contrast, the righteous do enter that rest.

Thus, there no mention here of eternal conscious torment.

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  • It seems you are missing out the first part of the statement : and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever and they have no rest day nor night. To suggest that the second part (no rest) is 'in this present life' just does not agree with the words on the page. Linking it to another (totally unrelated) passage is also unjustifiable.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 1 at 16:15
  • @NigelJ - I am mystified by you comment - I specifically included the verb "tormented" in the analysis above. What part am I missing. "Will be tormented" is in the future tense and apart from "drink" the rest are in the present tense. What is the problem apart from the truth of the text itself?
    – Dottard
    Mar 1 at 18:42
  • @NigelJ - how is the fact that two significant passages that discuss the important topic of rest make them unrelated? Is it because it does not fit with your theology?
    – Dottard
    Mar 1 at 18:44
  • I have answered the question myself, in plain and simple terms.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 1 at 19:43

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