(this link focuses a bit too much on evil for my taste, but I like the picture)
“the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever” (Revelation 14:11)
A few years ago I had read something somewhere which talked about the contrasts in the Bible; the juxtaposition of opposites regarding good and evil, and light and darkness, etc. I've been wanting to explore that more, just one of those things that I have said I would get to someday...and then a few mornings ago, I couldn't stop thinking about that phrase about the smoke of their torment, which then got me thinking about it's opposite, the prayers of the saints.
Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
Rev 8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
The prayers of all the saints are rising from the fire on the golden altar before the throne of God. The angel takes some of that fire that the prayers are rising up from, puts it into a censer, and throws it into the earth! And these verses come just before the 7 angels with 7 trumpets are introduced.
That fire brings this to mind:
1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Again we see that contrasting of “us” and “them”. They speak evil of the name of Christ, but the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us and we glorify His name! The fiery trials that cause the world to curse, causes us to rejoice, because we can pray, and call upon His name, and He rescues us from our time of trouble, and this brings to mind another phrase regarding “them”:
“There but by the grace of God go I”
For anyone who has doubts about there being a hell, I would recommend reading this link.
This next link touches on opposites as contrasted in scripture, as well as some interesting thoughts on symbolism:
This next one comes with a huge disclaimer, in that, I appreciate the list of opposites from the book of Revelation that is given on this page, but the website promotes "Bible codes" which I have heard is not a good thing (and am inclined to think it probably isn't, but having not fully researched what this site has to say about it so I cannot truly say anything except to "test all things" and pray). Therefore, if you'd like to look at this list here is the link, please do so prayerfully:
Bible links to what is known about the traits of being saved vs. the unrighteous:
Contrasting the old and new covenants: