Do you believe Satan is tormented for ever?

Question:  Do yoeternal tormentu believe Satan is tormented for ever?

“Revelation says that the beast and the false prophet and Satan will be tormented forever and ever. This is evident in the Greek. Any other translation is inaccurate with the Greek. Do you believe what it says?”



Yes, I most certainly believe what this and every text says. (Matthew 4:4) The verse you are referring to says, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

I believe that a correct understanding of this text must include a consideration of other texts on this subject. Let us notice a few:

Referring to the devil’s companions in the previous verse we read, “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Revelation 20:9) Here we learn that Satan’s companions will be “devoured” by “fire [that will come] down from God out of heaven.” The Greek word katesqiw that was translated “devoured” in this verse means, “by fire, to devour i.e. to utterly consume, destroy.”  (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) According to this verse, Satan’s companions will be completely destroyed by fire. Yet the following verse seems to indicate that Satan’s life will be prolonged to be tormented without end, when it says, “the devil… shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Does this mean continued existence in torment with no end? Let us see.

In Ezekiel chapter 28 we read a graphic testimony and prophecy about Satan. God said,

Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God;… Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee… thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (Ezekiel 28:12-19)

Here we learn that God has promised to make a complete end of Satan. He will be devoured by flames, turned into ashes, and never be any more. Very similar language is used regarding the final destruction of the wicked. They too will be “ashes” (Malachi 4:3) and “be as though they had not been.” (Obadiah 16) David wrote, “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be… But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” (Psalm 37:10, 20)

This language cannot be mistaken. According to the Bible, the wicked will be completely annihilated, along with Satan himself. Yet, if this is true, there must be some explanation for the text that says, “the devil… shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Fortunately the Bible does not leave us in the dark on this subject.

There is no question that there will be torment in the lake of fire, but will this torment continue for eternity without end? Zechariah chapter 14 describes it in this way: “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” (Zechariah 14:12) That is a very unpleasant picture, but it is exactly what will happen. From the context of Zechariah 14 you can see that it is speaking of the same time-period that we find in Revelation 20, when fire comes down from heaven and burns up the wicked. This is also the time when “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

Regarding the “everlasting fire,” or “eternal fire,” Jude says, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7) Here, the fire that consumed Sodom and Gomorrha is said to be “eternal.” Yet we know that the fire is not still burning, for Peter said that God turned “the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes [and] condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:6) The fire had eternal consequences, and that is why it was called “eternal fire.” It is this eternal fire that the wicked will be tormented with. This eternal fire will just as thoroughly do its work as the eternal fire did its work on Sodom and Gomorrha. It will burn up the wicked, and Satan, and turn them into ashes. “Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.” (Isaiah 47:14)

But, the question still remains, why is Satan said to be “tormented day and night for ever and ever”? We have already seen from the abundant testimony of Scripture that he will be tormented until he is burned up and turned to ashes. Could the term “for ever and ever” in this case really mean, “until it is finished”?

The term “for ever” is used quite often in the Bible, and I would like to share just a couple of places where it means, “until it is finished.”

In Exodus 21:6 we read, “Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.” This verse is talking about a servant who decides to serve his master for the rest of his life. The way the term “for ever” is used here, certainly does not mean that there will be no end to it, but it does mean that the servant will serve his earthly master for the rest of the days of his life on this earth.

Here is another example of this usage of the term “for ever:” “But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.” (1 Samuel 1:22) Here Hannah committed her son, Samuel, to abide in the temple in Shiloh for ever. Yet, a few verses later she explains her words. She said, “I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” (1 Samuel 1:28) Here the term “for ever” is used to mean “as long as he liveth.”

So when the Bible says the devil will be tormented for ever, he will be tormented as long as he lives, until he is consumed. This is how the term “for ever” is used in the Bible; it does not always mean “without end.” (For other examples of this usage of the term for ever read Joshua 4:7; 1 Samuel 27:12; and Jonah 2:6.) The Bible never contradicts itself. Many times it may seem to contradict itself, but the Scriptures can be harmonized if they are searched diligently, without overlooking any portion on the subject, and if you have the guidance of God’s Spirit.

I hope this helps to answer your question.