(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:
God’s eternal punishment for sins is described in our text as “torment” which is translated from the Greek word “basanizo”. In the KJV, the same Greek word is also translated “pain”, “toil”, “toss”, or “vex”. Based upon its meaning and usage, it is clear that “torment” is describing the great pain, misery, and sorrow that lost mankind will experience in the Lake of Fire.
To further explain the great agony of eternal damnation the phrase “with fire and brimstone” is added to the description. (see also Rev 19:20; 20:10, 21:8) Both fire and brimstone are earthly examples with which we are all familiar. They are given to us, to help explain sufferings that are yet to come and cannot be experienced, nor fully understood, in the here and now.
“Fire” – the eternal wrath of God involves excruciating pain…
We have all experienced the great pain that that we feel when we are burnt in a flame or touching a hot burner on the stove. This is a very faint, earthly picture of the great pain that awaits those who enter the Lake of Fire for an eternity.
“Brimstone” the eternal wrath of God is agonizing and, in every aspect of it, destructive to mankind…
Brimstone (aka burning sulfur) emits an extremely hot (500 degree) blue flame and a gas (SO2) that is poisonous to man. It is found in abundance during volcanic eruptions. When we think about the devastating heat and catastrophic effects of a volcanic eruption, we can see the great pain and continuing destruction that awaits lost individuals. From the perspective of the unsaved, there is absolutely no beneficial aspect to the eternal judgment that awaits them.
Christ, Himself, links fire and brimstone to the punishment for sin (Sodom and Gomorrah) in Luke 17:29…
“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.”
The relationship between fire and brimstone and the judgment of sin is clearly declared in Psalm 11:6…
“Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.”
May we never take the phrase “tormented with fire and brimstone” lightly.
It was given to us in the Word of the Lord to illustrate to lost mankind the horrible eternal judgment that awaits them. Likewise, it was given to the people of God, to help them understand and appreciate His gracious deliverance from this eternal judgment and to remind them of the need to share the gospel with the lost who are still facing this horrible torment.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: