Q. Re: Understanding Rev. 14:9-11. I am one of those that hopes/believes in the “punishment fits the crime” principle where a non-believer’s time in hell will be determined by the “goodness” of their life, after which the person will be destroyed and will cease to exist in any form. Why should a “good” person receive the same punishment as Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Saddam Hussein? Also, Jesus talked of the “Second death” in the Bible. If non-believers suffer for all eternity, then Jesus is a liar and there is no second death.
A. The reason a “good” person should receive the same punishment as Hitler and the others do is that the basis for the punishment is not behavior, it’s belief. In John 3:16-18 Jesus said everyone who believes in Him will not be condemned but everyone who doesn’t believe in Him will be condemned. It has nothing to do with how “good” or “bad” we are otherwise.
It’s true that Rev. 20:13 says unbelievers will be judged according to their works, but in John 6:28-29 Jesus said the only work God requires of us is that we believe in the Son. If that’s all God requires then that’s all He can judge us on. Everything else is irrelevant.
In Rev. 20:11-15 we see that the second death is to be thrown into the lake of fire. Rev. 19:20 called it a fiery lake of burning sulfur, just like Rev. 14:9-11, which also said their torment lasts for ever and ever.