The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Revelation 9:5,6

It might be an unusual argument for universalism or at least a terminable punishment, but what do you think about?

Revelations 9:5-6:

They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes.

During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

This sounds like an extraordinary fierce punishment within the context, however if everlasting torment were true, this would be a joke against it. Do you think this is a valid argument for terminable punishment or am I overinterpreting or missinterpreting things?

Sven, as you know, there are many competing interpretations of Revelation, but my overriding NT filter is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16), with the John 10:10 corollary that it is the devil who kills, steals, and destroys, whereas God—who is unchanging, unipolar, and exactly represented by Jesus—is only about abundant LIFE.

(Furthermore, it should remembered that death is an enemy of God, and that the devil has the power of death, not God:

"Since THE CHILDREN have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might BREAK the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—" Hebrews 2:14.)

As a futurist, I think that the whole field of earth history is fast approaching harvest time (imperfectly described by John in Revelation, including his misattributions of killing to God). Satan will violently resist his coming eviction, but our gracious Father will MITIGATE the legalistic devil’s final destructive activities—as suggested by “NOT ALLOWED to kill them but only to torture them for FIVE months.”