Thursday, April 6, 2017

Revelation 14:9-11 - The Smoke of Their Torment

Revelation 14:9 Another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand, Revelation 14:10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger. He will be tormented (literally, touchstoned) with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. Revelation 14:11 The smoke of their torment (being touchstoned) goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. -- World English
The words translated tormented and torment above are in the Greek forms of the word that usually transliterated as Basanos, which literally means touchstone.

First, we note that this is the book of Revelation, a book that is full of symbolism. This is not speaking of a literal beast, nor of literal wine, nor of literal fire, nor of literal brimstone (sulfur), nor of literal smoke, nor a literal lamb, etc. Likewise, the touchstoning, rendered "tormented" in most translations is symbolic of a trial, a trying, which does result in an everlasting "smoke" that can be seen forever. Symbolically, such a symbolic touchstoning, which taking place, is certainly not pleasant, and thus, traditionally, the touchstoning has come to be viewed figuratively as representing a torment, or vexation.

All will at once concede that if a literal worshiping of a beast and his image are meant in verse 9, then few if any in civilized lands are liable to the penalty of verse 11; and if the beast and image, and worship, and wine, and cup are symbols, so also are the torments, and smoke, and fire, and brimstone.

Second, we need to note what is not spoken of here. There is nothing said here about the Bible hell (hades/sheol), nor of anyone suffering while allegedly being conscious while dead. Nor does it say that those being touchstoned have gone into the second death. There is nothing said about alleged immortal souls or spirits of any human being kept alive for eternity. All of such ideas have to imagined, assumed, added to, and read into what is stated. Indeed, the scriptures does not say that these being touchstoned by fire and sulphur are while in this experience, in a death condition as is traditionally thought of.

The touchstoning being spoken of takes place while these people are alive here in this age upon the earth; it is a trying of which continuously, from day to day, without letup, allows no rest to those undergoing this trial for the duration of the trial. Their having no "rest" could signify the lack of rest of faith in Christ (Hebrews 4:3,9,10), and their putting faith in that which is symbolized by the beast and its image. The trial is connected with their bowing down to the beast and image of the beast. Basically, this is a trial of worshipers who are worshiping in a manner unapproved by God. Included in these are the tares that Jesus spoke of, false Christians. Their trial will leave a symbolic smoke that will be seen forever and forever, attesting of the horrible results of this beast and its image. The deception and error of these systems will never be forgotten --as smoke, which continues to ascend after a destructive fire, is a testimony that the fire has done its work.

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