Friday, March 1, 2013

Struggling With a Verse

And the devil, who deceived them, was throne into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:10, NIV

Jacob wrestled all night with an angel. I have wrestled for many years with the above verse. Many people speculate and say, "Is this the action of a loving God?"

My approach is much simpler. I want to know, does the Bible really say this? I guess another way to say it is, it does not ring true.

Obviously whatever God does is righteous. But I was very troubled by the many passages that speak of the destruction of the wicked. They contradicted this passage about the wicked living forever. It came down to this: are the unrighteous alive forever, or will they die? Simple as that.

I knew God does not contradict Himself. Could it be that some expositors do? Even translators? But I wanted to find out what the Bible says, nothing more.

I looked at Isaiah chapter 66:24. And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. Is this a parallel to Revelation?

I looked around and the evidence added up. Jude says that Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengence of eternal fire (Jude verse 7). Yet they are not burning today. A commentator explained it this way: eternal fire is fire that cannot be quenched until its work is complete.

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