Are 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and Revelation 14:10 contradictory?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

“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(Revelation 14:10).

Paul writes in Thessalonians about unsaved people being punished from the presence of the Lord.” In stark contrast, John writes in Revelation about unsaved people being punished in the presence of the Lamb.” One punishment is apart from the Lord’s presence; the other punishment is in His presence. Contradiction? Not at all, provided that you respect the dispensational contexts!


The Bible says in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1: “[6] Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; [7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: [9] Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to Earth at His Second Coming, a flaming fire will precede Him. John the Baptist warned in Matthew chapter 3: “[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Jesus also made reference to this fire in Matthew 13:30-42.

Psalm 50:3-4 had said centuries earlier: “[3] Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. [4] He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.” And, Psalm 68:1-2: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.”

We can also read in Psalm 97:1-5: “[1] The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. [2] Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. [3] A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. [4] His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. [5] The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the LORD of the whole earth.”

And, Isaiah 29:6: “Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.”

Also, Isaiah 30:27-33: “[27] Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: [28] And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. [29] Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel. [30] And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. [31] For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. [32] And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.[33] For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.”

Finally, Isaiah 66:14-16: “[14] And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. [15] For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. [16] For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.”

You may also refer to Ezekiel 36:5, the first two chapters of Amos, Micah 1:3-7, Habakkuk 3:3-5, Zephaniah 1:18, Zechariah 13:9, and Malachi 4:1 for other descriptions of the fire of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. For brevity’s sake, we will not quote or expound them here.


Now, we analyze Revelation chapter 14: “[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, [10] 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: [11] 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.”

Moses said Jesus Christ’s Second Coming fire will burn to the lowest hell. Deuteronomy 32:22: “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” And, Isaiah 34:2,8-10: “[2] For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter…. [8] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. [10] It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.”

That fire will burn a shaft on Earth’s surface, in the Middle East and south of the Dead Sea, so as to expose the heart of the Earth. Jesus Christ will then establish His earthly kingdom. Via open pits, hell will be manifested throughout the duration of His earthly kingdom. Isaiah 66:22-24 explains: “[22] For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. [23] And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. [24] And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”

Jesus quoted Isaiah 66:24 in Mark chapter 9, referring to hell: “[42] And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. [43] And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: [44] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. [45] And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: [46] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. [47] And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: [48] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

In other words, those who are dwelling on the Earth during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, they will literally be able to peer into hell and see the souls of the people who transgressed against the Lord. They had transgressed against the Lord in that they followed the Antichrist during the (previous) seven-year Tribulation.


Revelation 14:10 is describing when Jesus Christ returns (Second Coming) to end the seven-year Tribulation, He will establish His literal, physical, visible, earthly kingdom. He will literally be present on the Earth. The souls in hell—in the heart of the Earth—will be tormented in His presence. Revelation 14:10 describes their punishment only during the Millennial Reign of Christ.

Second Thessalonians 1:9 is their punishment with respect to eternity. They are suffering the eternal judgment of God, being punished from the presence of the Lord—this is the Lake of Fire. After Jesus Christ reigns for 1000 years, Revelation 20:11-15 says those in Hell will be brought to and judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Then, God will place these unbelievers in the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire is the permanent address of all who have died apart from faith in God’s Word to them. Hell is the temporary holding jail-cell and the Lake of Fire is the maximum-security prison. The exact location of the Lake of Fire is unknown, but it stands to reason that if God lives above our universe (third heaven), the Lake of Fire would be at the bottom of our universe (the farthest point from God’s throne).

Just as there is Hell today but the Lake of Fire in the future, so there will be punishment in the presence of the Lord (Millennium) and punishment from the presence of the Lord (after the Millennium and onward into eternity future). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Unless you “rightly divide the word of truth,” you will never be able to understand why the Bible says one thing in one place but says the total opposite in another place. Once more, we see the necessity to study the Bible dispensationally!

Also see:
» How can a loving God send people to hell forever?
» Why do the wicked prosper?
» Can Jews who believe in God, the Father, but who reject Jesus, be saved from eternal damnation?