Are Sinners Tormented Forever?
Welcome to Bible Question and Answer, our bi-weekly series where we provide Bible verses, answers and advice to the questions and concerns you have. During the course of the last two weeks readers have submitted their questions and today we are going to answer one of them.
Question: Dear Brandon,
Thanks again for this forum and your dedication to Our Father. Could you help me to understand why the Bible says the sinners that don’t make it will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Is this a figure of speech? I thought they would be blotted out. Thank You and may God continue to Bless you…. Dorothy
Name: Brandon T. Ward
Answer: Thank you for the question Dorothy.
It is a figure of speech, sinners are not tormented forever, let us document that.
In Luke 16:19-31 Christ gives us the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man and this is where we will start our study. Please turn your Bible with me to,
23 “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
We are talking about the Rich Man and notice it says he is in hell and sees Abraham.
Does this mean Abraham is in hell as well?
No, they are both in Heaven.
“Hell” simply means the “grave” in most places of the Bible and also means or defines a state of degradation.
24 “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
The Rich Man cried out to Abraham. He explained how he is “burning“.
Was he really on fire?
Of course not, our Father is not cruel.
This is simply a figure of speech and a way to communicate to us how upsetting the situation must have been for the Rich Man.
Have you ever been put on the spot or embarrassed and felt the heat in your body rise as you turn red?
Many of us have and this is only a small taste of what the Rich Man was feeling.
26 “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
Abraham is explaining to the Rich Man there is a great divide between the side Abraham is on and the side the Rich Man is on. We can think of this as a holding place for those who our Father did not approve of, for those who refused our Father. Notice, neither side can pass onto the other. This is hell my friends, seeing our Father and the righteous on one side and knowing you are not a part of it.
We are now going to turn our Bible to Revelation 14:11 (read verses 8-11) and note we are discussing the Millennium here, not the Eternity.
11 “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
Now, remember what we just read about concerning Lazarus and the Rich Man. This verse we just read in Revelation is also a figure of speech.
Let me ask you, what happens to the smoke from a fire?
Does it burn and exist forever and ever?
It puffs into the air and dissipates into nothingness and that is exactly what our Father is trying to convey to us here. This is also why they have no rest, they did not find Jesus Christ in the flesh and without Him there is no rest. Nor would it be easy to obtain rest when you know you are on the wrong side of the gulf in Heaven.
Let us be clear, this is not Judgement Day, that does not occur until after the Millennium. But during the Millennium those who did not overcome are going to be on the same side of the gulf as the Rich Man, those who are spiritually dead.
We are going to turn our Bibles to Revelation 20, but before we do let us identify where we are on our Father’s time clock. Our time element here is at the very end of the Millennium, the one thousand year reign of Jesus Christ which is after the Tribulation of Satan.
At the very end of this one thousand year period, Satan will be released from the pit that he will be placed into at the end of the Tribulation. Yes, Satan will be locked into the bottomless pit for that one thousand year period, but at the end he is released for a short season.
Let us continue.
9 “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”
Satan will once again lead the rebellion against our Father. Remember “our God is a consuming fire,” (Hebrews 12:29).
10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Our Father will step in at that moment in time and finish Satan once and for all sending him to the lake of fire which is an instant and very permanent death of the soul, not just the body, there is no coming back from this.
Ezekiel 28:15-19 provides a great description of what will happen to Satan at the end of the Millennium.
11 “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.”
This my friends is Judgment Day and note the White Throne Judgement is final.
12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
This is also a figure of speech, there are no dead bodies standing around God. He is “not a God of the dead, but of the living,” and we should understand ‘to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord’ in our true bodies which are our spiritual bodies that never get sick, old or die (1 Corinthians 15:35-55, 2 Corinthians 5:8, Luke 20:38).
The dead spoken of in Revelation 20:12 are the dead in Christ, those on the same side of the gulf as the Rich Man we read of earlier.
Let me ask, how is everyone judged?
By their works (Revelation 22:12).
13 “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”
What is this sea?
Revelation 17:15 documents the sea are the people of the earth.
14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the first is of the flesh.”
15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
These last two verses are not only grim, but they are an outstanding promise! Not only are all the wicked done away with forever, meaning their souls are extinguished, but death itself is destroyed. This will fulfill the scripture “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
We are going to turn our Bibles one more time to,
1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
We have now entered the Eternity, our Father’s Paradise of Peace where Satan, his angles and death itself no longer exist or are remembered. The word “first” (Strong’s: 4413) here would have been better translated as “former“.
2 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
This will be the very instant that our Father dwells with mankind once again.
4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Our Father’s Word does not contradict itself.
If there is no more death than we know people will not be in a fire cooking screaming for their lives. Neither would that cause our tears to be wiped from our eyes. The enemies of God will, in fact, be blotted out of the Book of Life (Psalms 59:28, Revelation 3:5).
5 “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
Our Father’s Word is precious and true, let us ensure we are rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)!
6 “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”
7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”
Our Father’s promise is not of death and misery, but a promise of Eternal life in our Father’s Kingdom for those who love Him.