Berean Call

During his missionary journeys, Paul often faced fierce opposition and was run out of many towns. When he came to Berea, however, Paul encountered Jews who were willing not only to hear his message but also to take the time to investigate it in light of the Hebrew Scriptures (). What a blessing this must have been! Joy undoubtedly filled Paul’s heart as scrolls were unrolled in search of the truth. And heaven surely rejoiced over the evangelistic victory that followed: “Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” ().

The eagerness of the Bereans to consider Paul’s claims regarding Jesus and his resurrection in light of God’s word is celebrated in Scripture as a noble endeavor. To this day, to be known as a “Berean believer” is a huge compliment. It speaks of valuing Scripture above tradition and personalities, especially with regard to controversial subjects. It refers to one who opens his or her Bible and carefully examines the details of the text.

Do you stand ready to take a fresh look at the Scriptures to see for yourself what they actually say? Those of us in the evangelical conditionalist movement hope so. And we encourage you to join us in testing the common claim that divine justice requires suffering throughout all of eternity.

For those wondering about the need to investigate what the Bible says about final punishment, or who might be looking for help getting started, here are some questions for your consideration:

  1. Are “few stripes” () and eternal suffering compatible concepts?
  2. Does it seem reasonable that a holy God would eternally sustain sinfulness that he absolutely abhors?
  3. In light of and the great importance God places on providing warning, if unending anguish were a possibility for Adam and Eve, should they not have been made aware of this?
  4. The essence of the traditional view of hell is that every human being exists eternally either in God’s presence or separated from him. Did God say to Adam in the Garden of Eden, “If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will live forever, but you will do so without the benefit of My fellowship?”
  5. Traditionalism explicitly holds that the penalty for sin is to eternally suffer in the lake of fire. Did Adam hear God say, “Adam, if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will experience pain and suffering that will never end?”
  6. The earliest Scripture typically cited by traditionalists in support of their position is . Therefore, if traditionalism is true, not only were Adam and Eve uninformed as to the price of rebellion, but for more than half of human history, God kept silent about the penalty of ECT that loomed over one generation after the next. Does such silence seem reasonable?
  7. What punishment for transgression did God declare to Adam?
  8. In , we learn that from the beginning people knew God through the things that he had made. Rather than glorify him as God, however, many became idol-worshipers. Though these did not like to think about God, Paul assures us that they were well aware of the Creator’s penalty for sin. According to , what punishment did their sinful ways merit? Was God’s warning to Adam and the understanding of the ancient idol-worshipers, one and the same?
  9. Given the gravity of the penalty, wouldn’t ECT merit straightforward declaration: crystal-clear warning in Scripture? Further, if ECT were true, would it not be plainly declared throughout the Bible? What are we to conclude, then, if this is not the case?
  10. Of the some 23,000 verses in the Old Testament, there are two that traditionalists typically cite in support of their view: and . In , do the corpses of those slain by the Lord picture ongoing suffering or bodily death? In , it appears that the righteous will have fixed contempt for the evil of the ungodly that rise to condemnation, but is the shame that the unsaved experience said to be everlasting?
  11. Does say anything about ECT when the unsaved are cast into the lake of fire? Do we find the words eternal conscious punishing in or simply eternal punishment? In , what is the actual setting of the story of the rich man and Lazarus? Isn’t it Hades, the intermediate state which precedes final judgment?
  12. Is plain as day or a rather complex passage? Are specific and unique conditions required to come under this judgment? Could “the wine of the wrath of God” refer to the trumpet and bowl judgments?1 Inasmuch as holy angels sound the trumpets and pour out the bowls of God’s wrath on the earth, isn’t it clear and undeniable that the wrath of the trumpet and bowl judgments, which include torment by fire and brimstone, takes place in the presence of holy angels? If the burning of the city of Babylon (), produces smoke that is said to ascend “forever and ever” (), smoke that surely won’t cloud the skies of the renewed earth during the millennial reign of Christ (), nor pollute the new earth (), wouldn’t it be possible for smoke to rise “forever and ever” from fire and brimstone judgments that torment beast-worshipers during the Great Tribulation?2 Couldn’t the “no rest day or night” of the passage be accounted for by the relentless tribulation of the trumpets and bowls?
  13. Does have human beings in view or is it a passage concerning the devil and a beast that ascends out of the abyss (), a place of confinement for fallen angels (; ; ), and a false prophet that is another like the beast ()?
  14. By their own admission, is the best support traditionalists have, yet the verse is of limited detail. It is a generic warning that does not explicitly tell us what happens to the impenitent in hell. Indeed, those who believe in conditional immortality are just as comfortable with the phrase “eternal punishment” as traditionalists are. When a government carries out the death penalty, we certainly do not conclude that the lawbreaker escaped punishment. Through the death penalty, the government punishes the lawbreaker by denying him all that might have been in his flesh and blood life on this present earth. Conditionalists believe God’s justice works the same way. Through the termination of body and soul, God will deny unbelievers the privilege of having a place in his eternal universe and the blessings thereof. Moreover, if every day believers enjoy throughout eternity is a day denied to the unsaved (by virtue of their annihilation), wouldn’t the punishment of the unsaved be precisely as long as the life of the redeemed?
  15. In Matthew’s Gospel, there are a number of passages that address the final judgment of unbelievers. Wouldn’t God expect us to notice these texts and keep them in mind when interpreting eternal punishment in ?
  16. In , John the Baptist tells us that by means of unquenchable fire the chaff (the unsaved) will katakaiō. Is the dictionary definition of katakaiō “endlessly smolder” or “burn up, consume?”
  17. In , to what end does the broad way lead?
  18. In , Jesus says that God can destroy both soul and body in hell. This is in contrast to what man can do, which is to kill the body only. God alone is able to kill both body and soul. Not only is the verse structured to lead us to this conclusion, but also when used in similar New Testament contexts (where action is taken or proposed by an authority against those deemed deserving of punishment), destroy always means to kill. See , , and . If body and soul are put to death by God, wouldn’t life, biological and conscious, come to an end? Isn’t this what verses such as and , taken at face value, have been saying all along?
  19. In , Jesus likens the fate of the impenitent to tares of the field that are gathered and burned up (katakaiō). Whether in the first century or in your own backyard, what happens to weeds thrown into a blazing fire? Is this not exactly what was predicted in ?
  20. After saying that the angels will cast the tares into the furnace of fire, Jesus adds that there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Wailing and gnashing of teeth is found seven times in the Gospels: , and . Do any of these passages state that wailing and gnashing of teeth lasts eternally? If you were being cast into a fire where not only your hopes and dreams but your very life would end, might you wail and gnash your teeth?
  21. In , the dragnet collects both good and bad out of the sea. The traditionalist view would eternally preserve the bad catch, yet the thought of preserving the bad is utterly foreign to the parable. The bad are thrown away. When corrupted things are thrown away into a furnace of fire, is it not expected that the fire will consume what is discarded?
  22. In , there is a parallel between eternal fire and hell. Does the fact that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah came under the judgment of eternal fire and yet are not burning today but rather were obliterated (; ; ) help or hinder the traditionalist position?
  23. In , does the warning of the stone falling in judgment upon the impenitent and grinding them to powder paint a picture of endless suffering or annihilation?
  24. In , we see a man without a wedding garment cast into outer darkness. The distinction between fire and darkness may indicate that both are figurative with regard to final judgment. If final-judgment fire is figurative, would not the reality it represents still accomplish the same purpose, namely, the utter destruction of the chaff? If it didn’t, how would we know what God is saying? Because final-judgment fire and final-judgment darkness represent the same end, would not final-judgment darkness also indicate cessation of life?
  25. In Matthew, the unsaved are destined for incineration (3:12), broad is the way that leads to destruction (7:13), God can kill soul and body in hell (10:28), tares are burned up, consumed, in God’s judgment fire (13:30, 40), the bad catch is not preserved but rather is thrown away into a furnace of fire (13:47-50), and the stone grinds unbelievers to powder (21:44-45). What do these texts plainly declare the end of the impenitent to be?

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Robert Taylor is the author of the book, Rescue from Death.
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  1. In , pressure from the satanic trinity to worship the beast is immediate and intense to life and livelihood. The beast with two horns () is granted power to kill those that refuse to bow to the image of the beast whose death wound was healed (). He also denies the right to engage in commerce to any refusing to receive the mark of the beast (). In , the everlasting gospel is preached to the world (14:6). Thus, leading up to , two distinct paths emerge: Worship the beast or “worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water” (). Is this choice to be made in the face of intense tangible pressure from one side only? Is it not contextually fitting that the third angel of should warn of relentless wrath and suffering on earth for those that worship the beast and take his mark? []
  2. W. E. Vine states that the various “forever and ever” phrases, formed in conjunction with aion, an age, are “idiomatic expressions betokening undefined periods” (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, vol. 2 [Revell, 1966], 47). Gregory K. Beale, in Hell Under Fire (considered the best modern defense of traditionalism), acknowledges that the duration of “forever and ever” depends on the “context of the passage and of the book” ([Zondervan, 2004], 128). While the smoke of may not rise eternally, we can expect it to rise continually as Babylon burns to the ground. Similarly, regarding the smoke that anabainō (ascends) “forever and ever” in , Fritz Rienecker notes: “to go up, to ascend. The pres. tense connected w. the temporal designation ‘forever’ indicates a continual unbroken action” (A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament [Zondervan, 1976], 844). []

11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

33:1 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

16:1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

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.”

13:1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.

17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

14:1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

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.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.

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 he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

14:1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

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.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.

And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

“Alas! Alas! You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon!
For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.

14 “The fruit for which your soul longed
has gone from you,
and all your delicacies and your splendors
are lost to you,
never to be found again!”

15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,

16 “Alas, alas, for the great city
that was clothed in fine linen,
in purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold,
with jewels, and with pearls!
17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”

And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,

“What city was like the great city?”

Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up 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.”

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 when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,

Revelation 17:8

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

Revelation 16:13

13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”

Matthew 21:41

41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

Matthew 22:7

The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

Matthew 27:20

20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.

The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him,

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 13:42

42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:50

50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 22:13

13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Matthew 24:51

51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:30

30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

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.

if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.

13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’