Does Revelation 9:6 mean people won't die in Hell?
I was asked this question over email so I've published my response below:
During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
There are some who will argue that because of this verse, it must mean Hell will be a place filled with pain and people won't ever 'die'. Now obviously if you read a single sentence you are able to read all sort of assumptions in to it. When you read the full context however the two most obvious things that will stand out is that it is in a passage filled with symbolism (and weirdness if you aren't used to Revelation) and it isn't about Hell/final judgement but located on the earth (vs 1).
Revelation is filled with symbolism and sadly modern Christianity has made a business out of guessing (read prophesying) what the symbols mean in relation to in the modern world. Many of the symbols relate to Rome as Babylon but along with that Death and Hades are personified as part of the visions John is given. This happens to the city of Babylon which is seen as a "harlot". The city doesn't literally ride a dragon (ch. 17) but the imagery shows what Babylon does to God's people, how evil it is, and its ultimate demise (ch. 18 and 19).
So when we read "death flees from them", 1) it is a momentary idea. We know this because later in Rev 20:11-15, Death and Hades (the place of the dead) are emptied - this is the resurrection to life and judgement - and then destroyed in the lake of fire. 2) "Death flees from them" is an emphasis on those particular people preferring death over the pain but them not being killed. 3) Rev 9:6 isn't talking about hell but things that happen on the earth as already stated.
As a final note, the lake of fire is called "the second death" in Rev 20:14. This destroys death and hades and those not in the book of life. We can conclude that it destroys as an event (rather than an ongoing place of pain and torment) because "the wages of sin is death" and Rev 21 says there will no longer be any death beyond that point.
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