“He himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. 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 ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:10, 11).
In the Bible, the term “forever,” means simply a period of time. It is used 56 times in the Bible in relation to incidents that have already ended. In Jonah 2:6, “forever” means “three days and nights” (Jonah 1:17). In Deuteronomy 23:3, this means “10 generations.” In the case of man, this means “as long as he lives” or “until death” (1 Samuel 1:22, 28; Exodus 21:6; Psalms 48:14).
So, the wicked will burn in the fire of hell as long as they live, or until their appointed death. This fiery punishment for sin will be different from person to person according to their sins (Luke 12:48), but after the punishment, the fire will go out. “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1 also Psalms 37:10, 20; Isaiah 47:14).
The wicked will be annihilated (Matt. 10:28; Rev. 20:14). The Bible says they will suffer “death” (Romans 6:23), destruction” (Job 21:30), “shall perish” (Psalms 37:20), will “burn” up (Malachi 4:1), “shall be destroyed together” (Psalms 37:38), will “consume away” (Psalms 37:20), “shall be cut off” (Psalms 37:9), “shall be slain” (Psalms 62:3). God will “destroy” them (Psalms 145:20), and “fire shall devour them” (Psalms 21:9). All these verses point to a complete end.
The teaching of eternal torment in hell is an insult to our loving Heavenly Father who gave His only begotten Son to die and redeem humanity (John 3:16). The work of destroying the wicked in hell is so foreign to God’s nature that the Bible calls it His “strange act” (Isaiah 28:21). The Lord declares, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” (Ezekiel 33:11).
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In His service,
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