There are many false doctrines circulating in modern “Churchianity” about Satan the devil. Some believe he is merely the embodiment of all that is evil, and therefore not a real being, but just a bad “idea” in the minds of men. Others believe Satan appears as a red, dancing monster with wings like a bat, horns, a tail and a pitchfork.
But What Is the Truth?
The Bible reveals that Satan is the god of this present world. Paul expressly says: “In whom the god of this world (Greek “aion”, or “age”) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4).
In trying to overthrow Christ, Satan boasted, “All this power will I give thee (all the kingdoms of the world), and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6).
Had Satan made this statement falsely, Christ would certainly have refuted it! And yet, Christ said not one word to contradict Satan’s presumptuous remarks about the kingdoms of this world. Jesus did, however, rebuke the devil for tempting Him by means of the kingdoms of this world.
Jesus warned His disciples that the majority would be deceived, and going in the broad, wide, easy way — the way of following that which seems right to a man — to destruction! (Matt. 7:13.)
The deceiver is called the “prince of the power of the air” in Eph. 2:2. John’s vision plainly showed Satan as the deceiver of the whole world, who was cast down with his angels, who are now called demons (Rev. 12:9).
Scripture shows that fully one third of all the multiplied millions of the angels followed Lucifer in his rebellion, and were cast down to the earth with him! (Compare Rev. 12:4 with Rev. 1:20.) These fallen angels, remember, are spirit beings! To accomplish his work of deception, with the ultimate goal of destroying human beings, Satan utilizes these millions of disobedient spirits! He is called the princes of demons (Matt. 12:24).
Satan began — by trying to destroy Adam and Eve — the very first humans on the earth. Again, when God sent His own Son, Satan tried to have Him killed — to thwart His every purpose! Finally, when it was time according to God purpose to allow Christ to be killed, Satan the devil was a direct instrument in executing Christ. He entered personally into Judas! (John 13:27.)
What About the Everlasting Fire?
At this present time, God is directly allowing Satan to be used as His instrument in blinding the world, so the lesson of mankind will be so firmly and completely etched in its own blood that there will never again be a society existing in total rebellion against God’s government! God is the One who has “concluded (shut up) them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom. 11:32). He says He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should finally come to repentance! (II Peter 3:9.)
At the beginning of Christ’s millennial rule over the nations, Satan is to be bound, and cast into an abyss (Rev. 20:1-3). This condition of restraint will last during the thousand years, and then the devil will be momentarily allowed freedom to deceive the nations again (verse 3)! But consider what occurs next!
Jesus said He is going to cast unrepentant, carnal-minded humans into “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). This parable of the sheep and the goats is another example of a parable of Christ that makes no special reference to the time element, but is showing a spiritual lesson and principle to be learned! The separation described in verse 32 takes place over a period of 1,100 years! — to the end of the 100-year period after the Millennium.
This everlasting fire is not the conventional hell preached about by mainstream Christianity. Fire is a physical, chemical thing! It is the combustion of physical objects with oxygen which changes the physical objects into ashes and gaseous vapour!
Notice that the wicked (the same ones Christ referred to) are to be ashes under the feet of the righteous! (Mal. 4:3.) Therefore, this fire Christ spoke of in Matthew 25 is a fire that consumes human beings! But Satan is a SPIRIT being not affected by fire!
The “Age-Lasting” Fire
Next, let’s notice carefully some significant facts about the fire Christ will use to destroy His enemies! When Jesus returns to this earth as KING, His first act will be to destroy, not all the wicked, but that “wicked ONE.”
Next, turn to Revelation 20:10. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet (were).” There is no verb “are” in the original Greek, as the King James revisers have added in italics! See an interlinear or any concordance!
Notice that the devil will be cast into the (not just “a,” but the definite article “the” is in the Greek) lake of fire where the Beast and the False Prophet were cast!
This is the same fire. It was burning at the precise beginning of the millennium when the Beast and False Prophet were thrown into its flames; it will be burning at the end of the millennium, when Satan is thrown into the same fire! That’s why it is called an age lasting fire in Matthew 25:41 because it does, literally, last for an age — the millennial age!
What About the Demons?
Christ said the fire was being prepared for the devil and his angels! So they, too, are to be thrown into the lake of fire!
A commonly misunderstood explanation of this is found in I Peter 3:19-20. People have assumed, because they base their religious philosophies on the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, that Christ was busy preaching to some supposed “souls” of men in hell!
Your Bible plainly states the time element in these verses. Christ did the preaching, not during the three days and nights when He was dead in the tomb (I Cor. 15:3 and 20) but “WHEN once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing …” (I Peter 3:20).
But notice to whom Christ witnessed about the flood. “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison”! (Verse 19.) Who were these “spirits”? Certainly not men — nor the “souls” of men, since men do not have immortal souls!
II Peter 2:4 says: “For if God spared not the angels (spirits) that sinned, but cast them down to hell (prison — “hell” is a mistranslation from the Greek “tartaroo” which means a “condition or position of restraint,” as an “imprisonment”), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”
The “spirits in prison” are the sinning angels, or the demons that have perverted their ways and followed Satan, and are bound to the earth — imprisoned here by the power of God until their day of judgment.
The Lake of Fire
This tremendous conflagration will be so intense, so white-hot, that the surface of the whole earth will literally melt with the fervour of the flames! Peter describes this awesome time as a melting of the very elements, a time when all the works on the earth are burned up — dissolved! (II Peter 3:10-11.)
Christ shows this time occurs after the final Great White Throne Judgment when God’s plan is complete. After this final judgment, even death and the grave are destroyed (Rev. 20:13-15). The surface of the earth will become for a time just as if it were the blazing surface of the sun! This is the great Gehenna fire that Christ talked of, that will destroy the wicked. It is into this vast, seething lake of fire that Satan and his angels will have been cast.
But remember! This fire is physical! It consumes the bodies of the wicked, but spirit is not combustible!
How a Spirit Can Suffer
God created our bodies with a type of “safety device” against too much pain! When the physical human body is subjected to extreme pain, it will reach a certain point and then lapse into unconsciousness! The mind does not continue to register the pain — even though the body continues to suffer!
A disembodied spirit — one that cannot any longer physically manifest itself — is an uncomfortable, miserable spirit! Jesus described this condition of mental torment when He said, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out”. (Luke 11:24).
This is further illustrated by the account of Christ’s experience with the many demons who had entered the man in the country of the Gadarenes. Jesus commanded the spirits to come out of the man, and they “besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country” (Mark 5:10). “And all the devils (demons) besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them” (verse 12).
When Philip was performing miracles at Samaria, he cast out many demons, who came out of people “crying with loud voice” (Acts 8:7) showing their frustration and anger at being deprived of their dwelling place! (Luke 8:28.)
God says the demons know of His power — they are aware of the great authority of God! We are told that willful sinners are going to be left with a certain fearful looking for of judgment (Heb. 10:26-27) and that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! (Verse 31.)
James said, “Thou believest that there is one God? Thou doest well: the devils (demons) also believe, and tremble”! (James 2:19.)
Satan Will Not Be Destroyed!
Satan is NOT ultimately destroyed. Turn again to Revelation 20, and verse 10. Notice that the devil is cast into the lake of fire where the Beast and False Prophet were cast, And Satan and his demons shall be tormented day and night forever and ever!
This expressly states Satan will be tormented for the ages of the ages! (See “International Critical Commentary”, an interlinear or other such Bible helps. ) This expression in the Greek means for all eternity — for time everlasting!
But notice carefully the verse states Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and tormented forever! It does not say that he will remain in the fire forever! The fire is on this earth! The fire is an age-lasting fire, which will not be burning after God’s new heaven and new earth are established! Since Satan is to be tormented forever, and the fire is to finally consume the physical objects it is burning until it burns out, Satan does not remain in this lake of fire forever! Satan is a spirit! Fire cannot consume spirit — and a spirit cannot die! Jesus Christ said so!
For a clinching proof, turn to Luke 20:34, Christ begins to explain to the hypocritical Sadducees about the resurrection.
“… The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (age), and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die anymore, for they are equal unto the angels …” (verses 34-36).
Jesus tells us the angels cannot die! Satan is a fallen angel! Therefore Satan cannot die! So what happens to him and the angels?
The lake of fire will end when the new heavens and new earth are established, and Satan is to be tormented unto the ages of the ages! It also shows his torment while in that fire is going to be mental, at seeing all he has strived toward, worked for, plotted for, burned up.
Christ preached to the spirits on this earth during the time of the flood as a witness to them! The flood was a type of the yet future destruction of the earth — this time by fire! Christ was warning them of the impending destruction of all their works — and their everlasting banishment from this earth! The exact nature of their punishment is yet to be decided!
Jude gave a slight indication of the possibility of the nature of that punishment when he used the demons as a type in warning Christians about false teachers who had crept in unawares.
Verse 11 shows these errors are exactly that of the sinning angels in that they too tried to usurp authority! This, as shown in the example of Korah (Numbers 16), does not sit well with God.
Jude continues, “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars (see Rev. 1:20, where stars are symbols of angels) to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever! (Verse 13.)
Which blackness of darkness is this? Rev. 20:1-2 describes a bottomless pit in which Satan and His demons are thrown for a thousand years, only to be loosed again at the end of the Millennium for a short while to try man a final time. It is no great stretch of the imagination to believe that this will then also be his final place of abode after this time, never to again bother man. It is the ultimate bottomless pit – dark, empty and void of anything except these creatures. Now they can never again interact with anyone – for eternity.