THE ETERNAL TORMENT OF THE WICKED
And again they said Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for everRevelation 19:3.
The first thing to be enquired into in these words is, no are the persons who sing this remarkable
song? There are much people in heaven: verse 1, '1 heard a great voice of much people in heaven,
saying, Alleluia; salvation and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God.' They are
the same people that are spoken to in the 20th verse of the chapter before: 'Rejoice over her, thou
heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you on her.' Now, it is the same
people, who, in the beginning of the 19th chapter, are described as saying, 'Alleluia, salvation,
and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God'. It is 'thou heaven', that is, ye
inhabitants of heaven. They are, no doubt, the same people that John had previously seen, 'a great
multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues,
who stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their
hands' (Revelation 7:9). And they are described in another passage in this same book, as an
hundred and forty and four thousand that stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion singing the new
song (Revelation 14: 1). They learned it on earth, and now they sing it in heaven; so that, dear
brethren, the song we are now about to consider is the song of heaven the song that all the holy
apostles, and prophets, and saints sing.
There is a second thing to be considered, and that is, What is the matter of this song? 'And again
they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.' The word 'Alleluia' is composed of
two Hebrew words, which signify, 'Praise ye Jehovah'. Now it is often taken to express joy. It is
so in the Psalms, so no doubt it is in heaven. 'They have got songs and everlasting joy upon their
heads: sorrow and weeping are for ever fled away'(Isaiah 3 5: 10 ). It seems as if they would
never weary singing it, for, 'again, they said, Alleluia'. It has another meaning, it is that of
admiring praise, 'Praise ye the Lord'. It is when a person has got some glorious view of Christ
some new discovery of the character of God. Every new discovery of God's majesty bursting in
on the soul, calls forth another song of praise - 'Alleluia, praise ye the Lord.'
There is a third thing to be considered, and that is, What is the occasion of this song of the
redeemed? It is because 'her smoke rose up for ever and ever'. Observe, at the 20th verse of the
preceding chapter, it is said, 'Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets;
for God hath avenged you on her.'And accordingly, 'thou heaven', and 'ye holy apostles and
prophets', are described as singing 'Alleluia'. And why? Just because Antichrist is overthrown.
You will observe, brethren, if you compare the preceding chapter with this when you go home,
that it is the destruction of Babylon that they rejoice over. But see how the world mourned for
Babylon when she fell. 'The kings and the merchants, and the ship-masters stood afar off, and
would not come near for fear of her torment, but cried, alas! alas! that great city of Babylon, that
mighty city, for in one hour is this judgment come' (Revelation 18:9- 10). Oh! brethren, observe,
when Antichrist is destroyed, then the inhabitants of heaven will begin to sing and clap their
hands, 'For true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great whore, which did
corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand'
(Revelation 19:2). And when they see her smoke ascend to heaven, they will sing, 'Alleluia, for
God hath avenged you on her.'
From this very solemn passage I draw this doctrine: That the eternal torment of the wicked will
be matter of eternal song with the redeemed.
I tried to show you last Sabbath that it was perfectly consistent with the character of God to
punish sinners in an eternal hell, and now, this evening, I desire to show you, by the teaching of
the Holy Spirit for oh! brethren, it is an awful truth that the torment of the wicked will be
matter of eternal song to the redeemed.
- The eternal torment of the wicked will be matter of no grief to the redeemed.
However much the people of God weep over the wicked now, yet it can be shown that in
heaven the torment of the wicked will be no matter of grief to the redeemed. This will
appear evident if you consider the day of judgment:
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him,
then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all
nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his
sheep from the goats .... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but
the righteous into life eternal (Matthew 25:31-46).
Now, brethren, no reflecting mind can consider this remarkable passage, who will be
witness to the condemnation of the wicked without seeing the truth of what I have been
saying. There can be no doubt but that ministers and people will stand together, and be
witnesses to one another's acquittal or condemnation - that parents shall stand and be
witnesses to the acquittal or condemnation of their children -that children shall stand and
be witnesses to the acquittal or condemnation of their parents - that husbands shall stand
and be witnesses to the acquittal or condemnation of their wives, and that wives shall
stand and be witnesses to the acquittal or condemnation of their husbands. Then, dear
brethren, it follows immediately from this, that it will be no grief to the righteous to see
the wicked condemned. Their tears will be over, their sorrows will be past, and yet they
will see them condemned, they will hear their agonizing cry they will see their sad
countenances, and yet they will not shed a tear.
The same thing is evident if you will consider the expression in the Bible that hell is to be
within sight of heaven. And, as this idea may be new to some of you, I crave your
attention, while I try to prove it. Turn to Luke 13:28:
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and
Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of heaven, and you yourself
Then look at Luke 16:22:
The rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in
torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And then look at Isaiah 66:24:
And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses 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.
There you are told quite plainly, 'They shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the
men that have transgressed against God, whose worm shall not die, neither shall their fire
Look also at Revelation 14: 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 Lamb.
Now, in this passage, it is quite plain, although we cannot tell how it is, that hell will be
within sight of heaven, they will be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of
the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. But, brethren, you know quite well that
if the eternal misery of the damned was to be an occasion of sorrow to the redeemed, it
would not be; for we are told, in one of the Psalms, 'In thy presence is fulness of joy, and
at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore' (Psalm 16:11).
And we are told in Revelation 21:4 that 'God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any
more pain; for the former things are passed away'. You will observe' brethren, that there is
to be no more pain, neither sorrow, nor crying, and yet they are to be within sight of the
lost. Oh! brethren, how does this express the doctrine I stated, that the condemnation of
the wicked will be matter of no grief to the redeemed. Yea, we shall give our vote that
you be condemned; and not only so, but when you are condemned and cast into the lake
of fire, we shall give our amen to it. Brethren, the redeemed will have no manner of grief
at all for your torment.
- The torment of the wicked will be matter of joy to the redeemed.
It will not only be no grief, but will be matter of praise. We will sing, 'Hallelujah' when
the smoke of their torment as ascends up for ever and ever. Now, simply to prove this,
turn with me to Exodus 14:30, 31:
Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hands of the Egyptians; and Israel
saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which
the Lord did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and believed the
Lord, and his servant Moses.
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake,
saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and
his rider hath he thrown into the sea (Exodus 15: 1).
Brethren, this is a very full passage, and it has a deeper meaning than you would think.
When Israel stood upon the shore, and saw the dead bodies of the Egyptians washed upon
it, they burst forth in a song of praise to God. And in like manner, when the redeemed
will stand upon the sea of glass, they will sing the same song the song of Moses, the
servant of God, and of the Lamb. And what occasioned the song of Moses? It was
because the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea. So, in like manner, it will be with
the redeemed when they see the wicked cast upon the shores of the burning lake. They
will sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb (Revelation
See also Psalm 91:7, 8:
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not
come nigh thee; only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the
Here it is as plain as words can make it: 'Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, and see
the reward of the wicked'. See Revelation 16:4:
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters;
and they became blood. And I heard the angel of waters say, Thou art righteous, O
Lord, which art, and was, and shall be, because thou hast judged thus.
Here you will observe that the holy angels praise God for pouring out his vial upon the
wicked. The same thing is taught in the 18th chapter, 20th verse: 'Rejoice over her, thou
heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.' Compare
this with the text: 'And again they said Alleluia, and her smoke rose up for ever and ever.'
My dear brethren, from all these passages it is put beyond a doubt, that the condemnation
of the wicked will be matter of joy to the redeemed, and not only at the first, but
throughout eternity; for, 'Again, they said Alleluia, and her smoke rose up for ever and
- The reason why the redeemed will rejoice at the condemnation of the wicked. And I
would show you first what it is not, and then what it is.
- It is not because they love to see human pain. I showed you last Sabbath, that God
has no pleasure in the pain of his creatures; yea, he has no pleasure even in the
pain of a worm. And so it is with the redeemed. It is not because of the pain the
wicked are enduring that the redeemed rejoice. You remember when Paul stood
bound before Agrippa, he said, 'I would to God that not only thou, but also all that
hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether, such as I am, except these
bonds' (Acts 26:29). 1 would not reckon that man my friend, who would take
pleasure in the pain of a worm. Then this is not the reason why the redeemed will
rejoice at the condemnation of the wicked.
- It is not because they will see the destruction of their enemies. It is not because
they will then see vengeance executed on their enemies. This is a devilish feeling;
this is not the reason. The character of the redeemed is that they forgive their
enemies. You remember the parable that our Lord told about the man who owed
his master an hundred talents, and when he was unable to pay, frankly forgave
him all. This is not the reason, then, why we will rejoice when we see the torment
of the damned.
What is the reason, then, why the redeemed rejoice at the condemnation of the
wicked? And, in one, word, it is because the redeemed will have no mind but
God's. They will have no joy but what the Lord has. I showed you last Sabbath
that God must rain snares, fire, and brimstone, upon the wicked; not because he
loves pain, but because 'The righteous Lord loveth righteousness' (Psalm 11:7).
Now, the redeemed will be of the same mind with God when they get to heaven.
And God must change his nature before he can quench the fire of hell. So must it
be with the redeemed they enter into God's mind. O brethren, it is a solemn
truth, and I know hardly how to speak of it; but as sure as there is a God in
heaven, and as sure as there is a hell for the wicked, so surely will the redeemed
rejoice over the eternal damnation of the wicked. And this is the reason: we will
enter into the same mind with God. 'True and righteous are his judgments.'And
when we see their torment we will rejoice and sing, Hallelujah.
From this awful subject I would have you to learn a little improvement.
Learn, how little comfort you will have in hell. O brethren, you will have little pity shown
you in hell: Satan cannot pity you, your companions in hell will not pity you, you will
only torment one another there will be none in hell to pity you. But oh! more than this,
there will be none in heaven to pity you. God will not pity; his righteous nature demands
that he rain snares, fire and brimstone upon you. If he would cease to do this he would
cease to be a righteous God. Now, he would far rather that you would all come to Christ
and be saved; but if you go to hell he will have no pity on you.
Christ will have no pity on you. He knocked at your door, but you would not open. He
stood till his head was filled with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night. Yet,
brethren, it is true, he will pity you no more. He will 'laugh at your calamities and mock
when your fear cometh' (Proverbs 1: 26).
Oh! brethren, not only will God and Christ have no pity, but your redeemed brothers and
sisters will have no pity. Now they weep over you; but when that day comes, they will
pity you no more. Not a tear will be shed; but on the contrary they will sing, 'Alleluia', for
the smoke of your torment will ascend for ever and ever. Oh! brethren, this is no fancy,
you will see it, and some of you will feel it too. Oh, consider! Some of you have godly
parents, a godly father or mother; consider what it will be when their loved voice which
you have so often heard at evening tide, address the throne of grace on your behalf
when that very voice shall say, 'Alleluia' when the smoke of your torments will ascend
up for ever and ever. Consider you that have sat under a godly ministry, that very minister
will give the word that you should be condemned. Oh! the very voice you have heard in
this place, beseeching you, and if spared will beseech you in accents of love to my dying
breath that very voice will sing, 'Alleluia', when the smoke of your torments shall
ascend up for ever and ever.
Consider, I beseech you, what a precious time you have got. It is the duty of all God's
children to seek your conversion; nay, God himself beseeches you to be reconciled. Jesus,
who died for sinners, is waiting to wash you in his blood. The Holy Spirit is waiting to
lead you to Jesus, and to sanctify you. The angels are waiting to rejoice over you, and
ministers are beseeching you. Oh! what a time is this: this is the day of grace. But in a
little while the redeemed will let go your hand; in a little while God will give over calling
upon you to repent. Soon Jesus will laugh at your calamity; soon the Spirit will cease to
strive with you, and angels will let go their hold of you. Oh! brethren, do think then 'Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord' (Isaiah 1: 18). Oh! consider; for, if
you do not, we shall sing 'Alleluia', when we see the smoke of your torment rise up for
ever and ever.
May the Lord bless his own Word. Amen.