"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."— Rev. 14:11.
The two chapters preceding this, and also this, treat of the church in this world, and its enemies. The pagan power is the "red dragon," and the Roman Empire is "the beast." The Lamb is Christ. The 144,000 denotes the Jewish converts, etc. The wrath of God on the worshippers of the beast and his image indicates the judgment of God on those who rejected Christ. "Fire and brimstone" and smoking torment is the imagery that the Revela-tor uses to describe such calamities as befell the wicked people of those times. All the scenery is on earth, as the careful reader will see.
This torment was to continue "forever and ever," not literally without end, but as the smoke of Idumea, Isa. 34:10, went up "forever and ever," though it has long ceased; so that of the worshippers of the beast would be forever and ever. This language is applied to length of days. Ps. 21:4, to the duration of a book, Isa. 30:8, to the sojourn of the Jews in Canaan, Jer. 7:7; 25:5, etc. All these have ceased.
The language refers to scenes and events occurring in this world. The smoke and fire and torment are all of temporary duration.
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