Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, “Those who worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, they will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and they will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Re 14:9–10.
Lots of metaphors here, as you would expect. I want to look at just two.
- Drink the wine of God’s wrath
- Tormented with fire and sulfur
Few will have a problem saying the first is symbolic, with the wine symbolizing something that is not wine.
But many who are serious about the Bible would have a difficult time saying the same about the second, that is, that the fire and sulfur symbolize something other than fire and sulfur.
Why is that?
I’ll say that they both are metaphors on equal footing. The fire is no more literal than the wine.