Understanding Rev. 14:9-11

Q. In Rev. 14:9-11 what exactly does the third angel mean when saying, “He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb”? It almost sounds as if he is describing someone viewing a public execution. Am I interpreting this correctly?

A. Rev. 14:9-11 is a preview of the eternal suffering that awaits all who take the mark of the beast. It’s worse than an execution because their torment never ends. Isaiah 66:24 contains a similar description. These verses stand in opposition to the view held by some that suffering in “hell” will only last for a set time. This view is an application of 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.

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