The Bible letter, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, is God’s last message to a dying planet. In Revelation 14:6-12, three angels shout a warning to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.
A year ago, we went to Florida. It was a nice trip but wherever we went we were waiting forever and ever. We would go to the Golden Corral for supper and we had to stand in a line waiting forever and ever. We went to Universal Studios and just to get in we had to wait forever and ever. After we were in the park, guess what – we were in more lines waiting forever and ever.
So let me ask you a question: if we were waiting forever and ever – how can can I be back home and writing this blog today?
In Revelation 14:11 we read that those who have aligned mind and body with the Beast will come to an end “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever…” How long? Forever and ever.
Take a look at Isaiah 34:8-10. From what we can tell, John lifted this phrase about the smoke ascending forever and from Isaiah and used it to describe what he was seeing in God-given vision. In this case, the place being discussed is Edom, modern Jordan. If you were to go there would you find places still burning? No.
In my last post, I asked you to consider Genesis 19, the destruction of Sodom by fire and sulphur. In verse 28, Abraham sees smoke rising up from where Sodom was. What does this tell him? That the destruction has happened. Sodom isn’t burning or smoking today. It only burned as long as it took to consume it (see verse 15).
Remember that in the Bible, fire is never intended to preserve, prolong or maintain something; it’s always to cleanse and consume. Smoke is the sign that the consuming fire has completed it’s task.
Forever and ever is expression that we don’t take literally; we say it for things that might even just be seconds or minutes. In a sense, what we are talking about is the quality of the experience rather than actual time.
How does that perspective impact how you see God?