One of the most key passages used to defend the traditional view of hell is .

Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment 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. (NASB)

Although we have a number of articles on interpreting the book of Revelation and on related matters, and although the passage has been addressed in the Rethinking Hell podcast as well as in free resources outside of Rethinking Hell, a nice primer article addressing this passage was long past due.
Now, compared to , explaining how this passage is compatible with evangelical conditionalism (if not evidence in favor of the doctrine) will be fairly simple. Once the Old Testament background of the language and imagery of the passage is made clear, any reasonable observer should see why a conditionalist interpretation is at least reasonable. The reason this article is something of a primer is because whether or not a conditionalist interpretation is  reasonable, there is still some substantial debate about whether the traditionalist or conditionalist interpretation is best.1 Such discussion takes us much deeper into the weeds, and additional resources for a deeper look will be in the notes below.2
Conditionalists also have different approaches as to explaining why the conditionalist interpretation is best, so perhaps in future articles here at Rethinking Hell you might see different takes on the passage from among Rethinking Hell contributors.
For the time being, let me explain why this passage is not nearly as clear-cut in teaching eternal torment as it may seem at first glance.

What This Passage Does and Does Not Say

Why is this passage pointed to as teaching eternal torment in the first place? After all, it never literally says that anyone will be tormented for ever and ever the way that – and only – literally states. What the passage says, when taken literally, is that a group of people will be tormented in fire and sulfur, and that the smoke will rise for ever and ever.
The reason eternal torment is read from this passage is from the following line of reasoning:

  1. The burning alive of the worshippers of the beast creates smoke that rises.
  2. The smoke rises for ever and ever.
  3. If the smoke rises for ever and ever, then the source, the burning, continues for ever and ever.
  4. The burning causes torment.
  5. Therefore, the unsaved are tormented in fire for ever and ever.

Of course, I should point out that many traditionalists today who appeal to this passage don’t believe there is literal fire in hell (which causes its own set of problems).3 Some don’t even believe there is any actual physical pain or other externally imposed misery placed on the unsaved by God in his wrath (which causes even more problems).4
It seems rather odd to base your doctrine of hell on the fact that this passage seemingly speaks of people burning and being tortured forever when you don’t actually believe that people in hell burn or are tortured, doesn’t it? But that aside, it does make sense that one would see this and infer that it teaches eternal burning (and therefore eternal torment) – that is, if the language is meant literally and is not referencing any sort of Old Testament idiom that referred to destruction.

The Old Testament Background Changes Everything

However, the image of rising smoke, and even the claim of smoke rising forever, is in fact an Old Testament idiom that describes destruction, not ongoing burning (let alone ongoing torment).
It really is that simple. We have precedent from elsewhere in scripture to see smoke rising forever as figurative of destruction, not ongoing burning. And we must allow scripture to interpret scripture. This does not prove that it was meant the same way in . It does, however, make such a conclusion reasonable.
The key passage is , a prophecy against the kingdom of Edom:

Its streams will be turned into pitch, And its loose earth into brimstone, And its land will become burning pitch. It will not be quenched night or day; Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; None will pass through it forever and ever. (Emphasis added)

You can see some key parallels to the destruction of Edom and the fate of the beast worshippers in Revelation. For example, both warnings include a declaration that the harmful, violent activity against those in view will not be stopped “night or day.”
Of most significance, however, is Isaiah’s declaration that after Edom is burned and destroyed, “its smoke will go up forever.” Wait a minute; following the traditionalist logic applied to (and it is reasonable logic on its own), if the smoke rises forever, the fire must continue burning forever. And yet, that is not the case in Isaiah!
Isaiah is speaking of a kingdom that was to be destroyed. We know from history that Edom was destroyed, as Isaiah (and Obadiah) predicted. We also are all pretty sure that there is not some pit in the Middle East that is still burning to this day. How then could Isaiah be correct when he says that the smoke will rise forever?
The simplest explanation is that Isaiah, probably the most poetic and hyperbolic of all the Old Testament prophets, was being figurative, perhaps relying even on an idiom that may have existed at the time. The smoke would not actually rise forever. It wouldn’t even rise for such an extended period of time that one would reasonably call if “forever” (more on that below). Nevertheless, the smoke rising was figurative of the destruction of what had been burned, so Isaiah was being really emphatic by saying the smoke would not only rise, but would rise forever.

Ever-rising Smoke Actually Makes Sense as a Symbol of Destruction

The association between destruction and rising smoke was not new to Isaiah. In , after Sodom and Gomorrah is destroyed with burning sulfur from the heavens, Abraham looked out the next morning and saw that “the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace” (). In the Bible’s most infamous instance of divine judgment by means of fiery death and destruction, the inspired author made sure to take note of the rising smoke ascending from the smoldering ruins.
With that in mind, it makes sense that Isaiah would use the imagery of rising smoke to show the destruction of Edom. Rising smoke is a picture of a city having just been destroyed with fire. In ancient times, it would have been much more familiar imagery to the reader. And while technically, smoldering and spot fires that cause smoke are still an example of burning, that would not have been the point. The point would be to call attention to what it looks like right after the conquering hordes have left. The smoke rising emphasizes destruction, not the burning process. The smoke rising forever makes the point that Edom will never be rebuilt. It will (figuratively) always be in that state of smoldering ruins.

The Significance of Isaiah’s Reference to Smoke Rising Forever

Whatever the case, Isaiah was not saying that Edom would be burning forever because, again, there is no continually smoking pit in the middle east from where the smoke could have been rising forever. Therefore, we have an example in the Bible of smoke that rises forever that does not speak of continual burning, but of the destruction of what was burned.
Considering the fact that the Bible has zero examples of smoke rising forever that unambiguously uses the image to show continual burning, it is hardly unreasonable to think that Revelation may be borrowing from the language of (and the imagery of that verse and ) to make the point that the unsaved will be destroyed.
A conditionalist interpretation of becomes all the more reasonable when you take into account just heavily the book of Revelation relies on Old Testament imagery. Everything from the temple incense representing prayers of the saints () to the infamous beast of Revelation (based on Daniel’s vision in ) to the four living creatures in (which are based on the vision if ) comes from the Old Testament. Old Testament allusions and references are abundant in the book of Revelation.5
Revelation was not written in a vacuum. Therefore, we must accept that the use of Old Testament language and idioms in Revelation at least could reasonably be there to allude to the meaning of the original passage being referenced.

A Few Basic Objections

As with many matters of theology and Bible interpretation, there is a lot that could be written for and against the explanation I have put forth. Two key objections deserve our attention here.

1. Revelation Says Smoke “of Their Torment” So It Is Different

One might counter that the difference between and is that the Revelation passage mentions torment. Not just the smoke rises for ever and ever, but specifically, the smoke of their torment rises forever. Therefore, it is speaking of ongoing conscious punishment and not destruction.
The problem with this rebuttal is that this specification, the reference to torment, has nothing to do with duration. It doesn’t really even address my argument from Isaiah. The whole point of me pointing to Isaiah is to challenge the very assumption that a reference to ever-rising smoke means that there will be everlasting burning. That underlying assumption is necessary to the eternal torment argument from . If we have reason to believe that a “smoke rising forever” reference is not meant to indicate everlasting burning, then the reference to torment is moot.
And we do have reason to challenge this assumption, because the one time we see smoke rising forever outside of the book of Revelation, it is symbolic of swift destruction.
Imagine if Isaiah had said not just “its smoke will rise forever” but rather “the smoke of its burning will rise forever.” This would change nothing. In fact, Isaiah does say “the smoke of their burning,” just not in so many words. It is implied because smoke is the result of burning – just as the smoke in Revelation is the result of the torment (i.e. the burning that causes torment because torment itself doesn’t actually make smoke). Isaiah is speaking of an ongoing action, i.e. burning. Taken literally, his words would indicate that the ongoing action continues forever.
But we don’t take what he says literally. We know it is symbolic of destruction and not continual burning because the kingdom in question was destroyed and there is no burning hole in the Middle East where the smoke of Edom rises forever…
Of course, when you already believe in eternal torment, any reference to “torment” will understandably make your ears shoot up and incline you to read your already developed view of hell into the text. Similar things can be said about any number of doctrines. But we must be able to overcome that kind of inclination if we want to see what the Bible actually teaches.
The two passages are very similar. If the reasoning applied to were applied to , it would make Isaiah’s words mean something that would frankly be unreasonable in the context. The mention of “torment” is not material enough to change this. And if the passages are not materially different, then the way one passage uses language is a legitimate factor to consider when interpreting the other.

2. “Forever” Vs. “For Ever and Ever”

The second objection I will address here is that while Isaiah mentioned smoke rising “forever” (Hebrew l’olam), speaks of smoke rising for ever and ever (Greek eis aionios aionion).
The rebuttal would be that Isaiah could be speaking literally, as derivations of olam do not always mean for eternity, but sometimes only for a long, usually undetermined period of time. Therefore Isaiah would not be using ever-rising smoke as an idiom for destruction., He would be speaking literally about smoke rising for a long time. Therefore, we would have no reason to think that the smoke rising in is anything but smoke literally rising for ever and ever (and thus, the fiery torture continuing for ever and ever).6
For our purposes, it is not necessary to get into the intricacies of the Greek of vs. the Hebrew of . Let us grant that the “forever” of Isaiah is not as strong as the “for ever and ever” of Isaiah. It is still not reasonable to think Isaiah was being literal. It is still not reasonable to say that Isaiah was speaking of continual burning “forever” as opposed to using the image of smoke rising “forever” as symbolic of destruction.
This is because, even if olam is not intended here to convey eternal endlessness, it still does mean a very long time. The word olam denotes the idea of the time being long and indefinite. Strong defines it as “generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity.”7 One analogy is one looking out over the horizon. The horizon is the furthest point a person can see, and if you could see time, olam would indicate time going past the horizon.8 Whatever the specifics of ‘s use of l’olam, it is not speaking of a short, definite time period.
A kingdom being destroyed by fire, however, would take place within a short, definite time period. While one would not know exactly how long it would last, it would be definite in that you know it would be over in a matter of hours or days, not generations.
Even if Isaiah does not mean the smoke rises for eternity, he at least speaks of it rising beyond  the foreseeable future, which could not be literal. It still is figurative, using a figure of destruction that people of the time would understand well (especially in light of ). In this case, the distinction between “forever” and “for ever and ever” is a distinction without a difference.

Conclusion

To sum all of that up, the point is that seems like it teaches eternal torment on its face – until you dig deeper. Once the Old Testament background is understood, once you look at the only reference to perpetually rising smoke outside of the book of Revelation, there is, at the very least, a reasonable alternative to the traditionalist understanding of this passage.
One could further argue that this passage is in fact evidence for conditionalism. After all, in a book that is saturated with Old Testament imagery and language, the fate of the lost is described using the same language as the fiery and permanent destruction of a godless empire. This phenomenon of a passage used to prove the doctrine of eternal torment actually lending some weight to the doctrine of evangelical conditionalism is something you will likely see in many other instances if you keep studying the topic.
 

  1. I’ll be frank: in my experience, most traditionalist works that cite don’t address the stronger conditionalist rebuttals, like the one below, if they acknowledge any rebuttals at all. They simply take it for granted that this passage teaches eternal torment. One notable exception is Gregory K. Beale’s contribution to Hell under Fire, edited by Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan. []
  2. Additional (free!) resources on include:
    Rethinking Hell podcast, Episode 7.
    – “A Conditionalist Reading of the Book of Revelation” by William Tanksley, Jr. and Chris Date, presented at the 2015 Rethinking Hell Conference.
    The Bible Teaches Annihilationism by Joseph Dear (see Section XV).
    Does Revelation 14:11 Teach Eternal Torment? by Ralph Bowles. []
  3. For more on this, see here. []
  4. See our three part series of articles on how the tortureless, fireless version of hell that may traditionalists advocate today is foreign to church history – nullifying the strongest argument the traditional view has. – Part 1Part 2Part 3. []
  5. For more on the ubiquity of Old Testament imagery in the book of Revelation, see “Annihilation in Revelation, Part 2: In With the Old – in the New” by Chris Date. []
  6. Again, never mind the fact that many traditionalists who appeal to this passage deny the fiery and some even deny the torture… []
  7. James Strong, Greek and Hebrew Dictionary of the Bible, (Miklal, 2011), Kindle Edition, location 25510. []
  8. Jeff Benner, Ancient Hebrew Dictionary: 1000 Verbs and Nouns of the Hebrew Bible (Virtual Book Worm, 2009), 128. []

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.

11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. 13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

30 Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” 33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

34 The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.

28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

“As I looked,

thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.

11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
26 But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

1:1 In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.

As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot. And they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. 12 And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of a flash of lightning.

15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. 16 As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. 18 And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. 19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. 20 Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22 Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads. 23 And under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another. And each creature had two wings covering its body. 24 And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army. When they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings.

26 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27 And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.

Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.

11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.

11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.

10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.

28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”