Church of God, New World Ministries

Difficult Scriptures

Revelation 14:11 - Does this say the wicked burn forever in hell?
  1. This scripture does not say the wicked burn forever in hell. Notice the context. This is the time when God pours out His punishment upon those who worship the Beast (the coming United States of Europe the resurrected Roman Empire) and his image (the Papacy) (verses 9-10). This occurs in the presence of the Lamb that is, at the second coming of Christ.

  2. At that time the Beast and False Prophet will be cast into a lake of fire (Rev. 19:19-20). It does not say they burn for all eternity. Revelation 14:11 says the smoke of their torment ascends forever. Of course, as long as the fire is burning, the smoke will ascend.

  3. The term forever does not necessarily mean for eternity as we understand it. In Exodus 21:5-6 God says a servant in ancient Israel who loved his master was to serve that master forever. Obviously this did not mean for all eternity. Eventually both would die. It meant as long as they both lived as long as the conditions of the contract remained constant.

The same is true for the fire used by God to punish the wicked. So long as the fire burns smoke will ascend. When the fire stops burning the smoke will stop ascending. The smoke that is already in the air will rise until it becomes diffused into the atmosphere.

Until the fire is extinguished or stops burning, the sulphurous fumes and smoke will continuously ascend.

  1. We know the people can’t be burning up forever and ever because the wicked are to be ashes under the feet of the righteous (Mal. 4:1-3). They will be burned up! They will be consumed into smoke (Ps. 37:20) which will ascend up to the atmosphere.
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