Difficult Texts
"The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall 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 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."

The words "for ever" do not necessarily mean "without end." In fact, the Bible uses this term 56 times* in connection with things which have already ended. In Exodus 21:1-6, the Hebrew servant was to serve his master "for ever," but it was obviously only as long as he lived. Hannah took her son Samuel to God's house to abide "for ever" (1 Samuel 1:22), but she plainly limited that time to "as long as he liveth." Verse 28.

The term is clearly defined m Psalm 48:14. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death·"

The desolation of Edom was to continue "for ever and ever." Isaiah 34:10. Christ is called "a priest for ever" in Hebrews 5:6; yet after sin is blotted out, Christ's work as a priest will end.

According to these definitions of the term"for ever," the wicked will suffer as long as they continue to live in the fire. Then, as the Bible states, "The wicked ... shall be destroyed for ever." Psalm 92:7. (See also Malachi 4:1-3.)

* If looking for these texts in a concordance, look under the word "ever."