Eternal Punishment in John’s Revelation

Trevor C. Craigen | August 25, 2009

Church history has witnessed many challenges to the traditional doctrine of eternal punishment, but John’s Revelation-particular chapters 14 and 20-emphasizes the effect of this life’s belief or unbelief on afterlife consequences. The angelic warning in Revelation 14 speaks of the eternal penalty resulting from the wrath of God in concert with Revelation 20 and its apostolic announcement that describes the same in terms of the lake of fire and the second death. The two passages specifically contradict recent claims that future punishment is remedial, not retributive. They also point out that God’s righteousness and holiness will prevail over His love, mercy, and grace in dealings with the lost after this life ends. Neither do they allow for the idea that the punishment is not conscious torment. They teach that the unsaved will experience the same fate as Satan, the beast, the false prophet, and demons. These chapters in John’s Revelation do not constitute an empty threat that God will not implement. They instill a fear that is justified in light of the irreversible consequences of divine judgment.

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