Bible Q & A
Does the scripture “and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever” contradict the passage that reads "and the wicked shall be ashes under the soles of our feet”?
The Bible does NOT contradict itself! (John 10:35).
Malachi 4:3 proves that the wicked will DIE – they will be burned up
so that only ASHES remain! The soul is not immortal and there
will be no eternal tormenting for the wicked! The soul is MORTAL and subject to death! But – what is the meaning
of Revelation 14:11: “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever…”?
There is no contradiction here!
Notice that verse 8 gives the TIME SETTING of this passage. It is speaking
about the impending fall of “Babylon” – a great religious-political system which
is the RESURRECTED ROMAN EMPIRE led by the symbolic harlot “woman” – the great
apostate, paganized church falsely calling herself “Christian”.
Verses 9 and 10 say: “…If any man worship the beast (the coming United
States of Europe – the resurrected Roman Empire) and his image (the Papacy), and
receive his mark…he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…in
the presence of the Lamb” (that is, at Christ’s second coming)!
Those who have a part in this church-state system of “Babylon,” and
who receive this frightful punishment from Almighty God, have “no rest day or
night” as long as they remain in that land falling under God’s wrath! They
will either have to flee that area and seek God’s mercy or be tormented by
sulphurous fumes till they perish.
Notice that this passage does NOT say these individuals are being tormented
forever in an ever-burning hell. Verse 11 says: “…The SMOKE of their torment
ascendeth up for ever and ever…” It is the smoke that ascends forever. It does
not say the fire burns forever, but that the smoke that is already up there
continuously ascends. It happens even today whenever fires burn up, but smoke
is still in the air!
This fire is on the earth, not in some “hell” away off!
So the Bible plainly teaches that flesh and blood is subject to combustion and
death. Malachi 4:3 says the ashes of the wicked will finally be under the
feet of the righteous. And if the wicked are forever ashes after
the earth is burned, then their smoke (or ashes in the
air) will remain in the atmosphere “forever and ever.” So there is no
contradiction between these verses! The wicked will be DESTROYED and will die
that death – the second death –from which there is never to be a
resurrection Rev. 20:6, 14).