IS THERE a devil? Many people talk about the devil and Satan. Others scoff and say it's just superstition and imagination. But is there a devil? According to most Christians the Bible is supposed to teach that the devil is the god of this world. Indeed it does teach that! The Bible pictures the whole world under the sway of an invisible devil. Where did he come from? Did God create a devil to tempt us and to try to lead us astray? And then to punish us if we follow the devil?
God Is CREATOR of ALL!
So, let's look back to the very beginning. Open your Bible to Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning God." God was before all. The next word is "created." "God created." He created the heaven and the earth. But the very next verse says this: "The earth was without form and void." The Hebrew words for "without form and void" are tohu and bohu. Translated into English they mean chaotic, in confusion, waste, and empty. When God created the heaven and the earth, did He create this earth originally in a state of confusion? Did He create it all topsy-turvy and chaotic?
World NOT Created in Chaos
We read in I Corinthians 14:33 that God is NOT the author of confusion. God is the author of peace. God is the author of order and of law. Notice Job 38:4-9. God says there that the angels shouted for joy when He created the earth. It must then have been a perfect creation, not a creation that was in chaos and confusion! Why would He create it in disorder and then have to straighten it out? That doesn't make sense! Dr. Bullinger, the Hebrew authority, says that the Hebrew word for "created," used in Genesis 1:1 "implies that the creation was a perfect work." That very word "created" implies a perfect and a beautiful order and system, not chaos or confusion! Then how did it become chaotic? In Genesis 19:26, the same Hebrew word is used which is translated "was" in Gen. 1:2. And there it is translated into the English word "became." In the first three chapters of the Bible, and many other places where you find the word "was," in almost every case it is denoting a condition that was different from a former condition. In other words, it "BECAME" or "was made" that way. It had not always been that way.
The Earth BECAME Chaotic
Plainly the word "was" has the meaning of "became." The Rotherham translation of Gen. 1:2, out of the original Hebrew language, is this: "Now the earth HAD BECOME waste and empty." It hadn't always been that way. In Jeremiah 4:23, in Isaiah 24:10, in Isaiah 34:11, and in other places in the Bible, you find the same words, tohu and bohu, meaning chaotic and in confusion. In every case that condition is a result of sin.
No Chaos Originally
Notice Isaiah 45:18. "Thus saith the Eternal that created the heavens, God himself that formed the earth and made it, He hath established it, He created it not in vain." "In vain" is an incorrect translation. In your Bible, if you have the marginal references, you will find in the margin the proper translation "waste." The original Hebrew word there is TOHU. This Hebrew word is the identical word used in Gen. 1:2, meaning confusion, or emptiness, or waste — a result of disorder, a result of violation of law. In Isaiah 45:18 we have the plain statement that God created the earth not "tohu," that is, not in confusion, not in disorder. But in Genesis 1:2 the earth was, or the earth BECAME — as it ought to be translated — chaotic and in confusion' Then it became that way after it was created. Now, what could have caused that confusion? — that disorder? What sin could have wrecked the earth and brought it into the condition in which it was found in Gen. 1:2?
Life Before Adam?
Now, what was the sin then that caused this physical destruction to the earth? It was not a sin caused by humanity, because there had been no man on the earth until the sixth day of that re-creation or that re-making. So it was not a sin of man. Adam was the first man. We find over in I Corinthian-15:45 that Adam is called the first man on this earth. In Genesis Eve is called the mother of all living human beings. There was no other race prior to Adam and Eve. So the sin which brought chaos was not caused by man. And yet life must have populated the earth because a sin had occurred on the earth that brought it into a condition of chaos and confusion by breaking the laws of God. What kind of life could it have been? It wasn't human life. What was it that populated this earth prior to the second verse of Genesis, the first chapter? In Genesis 1:28, speaking to the man whom He had created, God said this: "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth." What does that word replenish mean? To plenish is to populate. To replenish means to repopulate — to populate all over again. Those very words imply that the earth had been populated before! Immediately after the flood in Genesis 9:1, God spoke to Noah. He blessed Noah and his sons and said unto them: "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth." Identically the same words that He spoke to Adam! In Noah's case we know He meant repopulate the earth. Then didn't He mean the same thing when He used the identical words to Adam: "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth?" Certainly here is indication that the earth had been populated, and that it was to be populated once again. Then what kind of life had populated the earth prior to Adam, prior to the week called "creation week"? Next, let's turn to II Peter 2:4: "For if God spared not the angels that sinned." Here is the sin of angels mentioned.
Sin of Angels!
Now read the next verse, "And spared not the old world," between Adam and Noah, "but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." There it mentions the sins from Adam to Noah, and it mentions the physical destruction to the earth as a result of the flood, a chaotic, physical condition brought about on the earth by the sins of those men. Was there a chaotic condition brought about on the earth as a result of the sins of angels? The sin of the angels is mentioned first, and it occurred first! There was a devil already there in existence by the time Adam was created. So the sin of the angels happened before the creation of man. Now read II Peter 2:6. "Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, [God] condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample to those that afterward should live ungodly." Universal sin was in those two Canaanite cities. Physical destruction came to the entire part of the surface of the earth which those people occupied as a result of that sin. Then didn't such a destruction come to the earth as a result of the sins of the angels which occurred before Adam? Now quickly turn over to Jude. In the sixth verse, you read this: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [they had a place where they lived, a habitation, an estate, and they left it)] God hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Notice! It is the sinning angels who are reserved in those chains under darkness, restrained from light, restrained from truth until the judgment of the great day.
Angels Possess the Earth!
How plain! They had an estate which they didn't keep. In Hebrews 2:5 we read this: "For unto the angels hath God not put in subjection the world to come of which we speak." In other words, The World Tomorrow, the Kingdom of God, will not be under subjection to angels. The present one is under subjection of fallen angels. The demons, and the devil who is their head, rule this present earth and sway its inhabitants. The Bible everywhere indicates and affirms that very fact. How did they obtain their dominion? How did they acquire their power? How did they maintain their control? Where did the devil get the power to control and to lead and to rule this world? The devil is the leader of fallen angels, as you will find in a number of places (John 12:31, John 14:30, John 16:11). In II Cor. 4:4 the devil is called the god of this world. He is the king or the prince of the evil world that we live in today. Let's see something about the origin of the devil. Turn to Isaiah 14, beginning with verse 4, "Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, 'How hath the oppressor ceased the golden city ceased!' Here is a king of Babylon. This account continues to tell how he had disrupted the earth. He was an invader, a conqueror. He was a warmonger, trying to take away from others and trying to acquire all he could. He had just the opposite philosophy from that of God. In other words, he had the philosophy of the devil. He represented the devil. The king of Babylon was the devil's instrument and tool. Now we find in verse 12 that this lesser human type lifts to the great antitype — the devil — whom he represented and whose tool and instrument he was.
Rebellion of Lucifer
Things are said about the great for. met cherub, the devil, that could not In said about a human being. God says "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer." Lucifer means shining one, °I shining star of the dawn. God name things or people, or beings what they are. Lucifer was originally a shining "star." Stars represent angels (Rev. 1:20). He was a great cherub whose duties were represented by the bright morning star. He was a light bringer. In other words, one who had great knowledge and truth and light, and who was to give it to those who were placed under him. He was placed in a certain rule and authority over angels. Continuing in Isaiah 14: "How art thou cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, 'I will ascend into heaven.' " Then he must have been BELOW heaven. He must have been ON THE EARTH. He said, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars [that is, the angels] of God." I want you to notice he had a throne, but he wasn't willing to be content with his jurisdiction. He was out to rule the universe. Now notice what else Lucifer said: "I will ascend above the heights of the CLOUDS. I will be like the most High." "I'm going to be god myself," he said.
Lucifer Becomes the Devil
So Lucifer became the devil. God changed his name when his character changed. He tried to make himself God. But we find HE WAS CAST DOWN TO THIS EARTH. Now, quickly turn over to Ezekiel 28, verse 1. "Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus...." The prince of Tyre, or Tyrus, was a very evil man. He was an aggressor, an invader, a conqueror. He was a tool of the devil. Now, as we come to the twelfth verse, just as in Isaiah 14, the lesser type lifts up to the great antitype. We find the devil himself pictured! Now we find one that is not human at all. For a few verses, it is talking about the devil himself, and not about a human being. Beginning at verse 12: "Son of man take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus." Here is the REAL king that ruled in and through the prince of Tyrus. "And say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty." Here was one who sealed up the sum total of perfection, of wisdom, and beauty. Could that be said about a man? Does God speak like that of any mortal man? Never! He is speaking of some being far greater than man. Notice, "Thou host been in Eden, the garden of God." On the earth! Then he said, "The workmanship of thy tabrets and thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast CREATED." This was not a human being, who was born. The prophet continues to say, "Thou art the anointed CHERUB that covereth." If you will refer to Exodus 25, verses 16-22, you will find the type of the throne of God described. Included in the earthly type — the tabernacle in the days of Moses — was the mercy seat which was a picture of the very throne of God. On it two cherubim were placed. They were made of metals, of course, but their wings stretched out and covered the very throne of God. They symbolized the two great cherubs whose wings cover the very throne of God. Through Ezekiel, God says: "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth." In other words, one of the two great cherubs ruling over millions of other angels! He was a created being. He sealed up the sum total of perfection, of wisdom, and of beauty. Then in verse 14, we read this: "I have set thee so," God said. God had set him in office. "Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God," — Palestine or Eden! "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day thou wast created." Here was a being that was created perfect UNTIL INIQUITY WAS FOUND IN HIM. That iniquity was described in Isaiah 14. He said, "I'm not satisfied with what I have. I'm going to become an invader. I'm going to take God's place and be the God of the universe." That was the devil's sin — INSUBORDINATION.
How the Earth Became Chaotic
A third of the angels united with Satan in the rebellion. That is what caused the chaos of this earth. The sin of angels reached into the heavens and brought chaos on earth. What the geologists and astronomers see is not an evolving universe, but the wreckage of a titanic battle waged by spirits throughout space — a battle fought before man's creation. The earth was created perfect and complete. Then it BECAME chaotic as a result of rebellion. And in six days, God re-made the earth, re-shaped, re-fashioned it, and created human beings upon it. He gave Adam a chance to take the place of Satan the devil. Remember, Lucifer had been placed in rulership. God placed the great cherub, Lucifer, to carry out His government on the earth; but Lucifer refused to carry out God's will, God's commands, God's government. He wanted to substitute his own. So he disqualified himself. Adam had the chance to supplant him. In the contest to see if Adam would conquer, if he would obey God, he failed. He obeyed the devil instead, and man became the property of the devil, and the whole human race was sold down the river to the devil ever since. Jesus Christ came 4000 years later and He entered the great contest — the contest of the temptation on the Mount. He REFUSED to obey the devil. He quoted scripture correctly. He obeyed God. Finally, He turned to the devil, and He gave Satan a command. He said, "Get away from me," and the devil obeyed! From that time on, the successor of Satan has been qualified to take over the rule of the earth. But Jesus went to heaven for 1900 years. He is soon coming again, and when He does, the devil will be DISPLACED. Christ will rule the earth; God's laws will be restored. Order and peace will come at last! So God did NOT create a devil. He created a cherub, Lucifer — perfect in his ways, but with the power of free choice — and Lucifer transformed himself into a devil by rebellion against the government of God! Today, YOU face the question: Will YOU obey the ways of Satan, or the LAWS of GOD?
SATAN'S FATE! by Garner Ted Armstrong
Here is the truth about Satan, and the startling Proof about his final judgment!
THIS WORLD is totally deceived. In His very first words to His disciples in the Olivet Prophecy, Jesus sternly warned, "Take heed that no man deceive you, for MANY shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many! (Matt. 24:4-5). Most of you brethren are well aware of the false doctrines circulated about in modern "Churchianity" about Satan the Devil. The familiar tunes of the "preachy-toned" tent-camp evangelist shouting, "We're sure gonna twist ole Satan's tail tonight!" is just one of many examples. Some believe he is merely the embodiment of all that is evil, and therefore nor ii 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. Still others believe Satan is merely the lustful and evil part of human nature.
But What Is the Truth?
Surely most of you know, after having studied your Bibles, listening to The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast and reading the articles in The PLAIN TRUTH and GOOD NEWS that Satan is the god of this present world. Paul expressly calls him that! "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 you (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 4:5-6). 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).
How It Happened
God reveals how Satan became the god of this world — and why! Perhaps many have falsely assumed the Devil is the god of this world against the will of God! Many, perhaps, have unknowingly followed another deception of Satan by believing the false idea of this world of some kind of GREAT CONTROVERSY between God and Satan! This doctrine represents the Devil as being much more powerful than God! After all — the world is totally wrapped up in sin, isn't it? Such religious teachings represent just one more example of the thoroughness with which Satan has done his work of deception. Let's understand it! Your Bible reveals Satan as a CREATED being — created of God. In Ezekiel the 28th chapter, God uses the king of Tyre (a type of Babylon) as a type of Satan the Devil. The type blends into the antitype, which is Satan, in the middle of verse 12. "Thou sealest up the sum full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty." This could not be talking about any man! Reading on, "Thou has been in Eden the garden of God, every precious stone was thy covering... in the day that thou wast created!" (vs. 13). Again, in verse 15, God shows Satan as a created being. "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, TILL INIQUITY was found in thee." Another chief text about the origin and history of Satan is found in Isaiah the 14th chapter. Here, God uses the king of Babylon as a type of Satan. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O LUCIFER, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!" (vs. 12) Remember, Satan was cart down from heaven to this earth! (Rev. 12:4). Jesus saw it happen! "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke 10:18). Lucifer means shining star of the dawn, or light bringer! In his original office, Lucifer was assigned to this earth, as proved by Ezek. 28:13. While he was perfect in his ways from his creation, he became lustful for more power — more authority — from the standpoint of vanity! This, by the way, is a vital lesson for us to learn! Lucifer was a CREATED being. He was created perfect. But CHARACTER is that which cannot be instantaneously created — but must be developed through trial, testing and experience! Lucifer had not gained his perfection through years of earnest fighting against the self, of sacrifice, of humility and obedience! As a created spirit being, he visualized himself as exalted above God. He said, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds (clouds cover this earth!), I will be like the most High!" (Isa. 14:13-14).
Chaos and Confusion
As a result of this attempt at rebellion, the earth became empty, waste, and in total confusion! The word "was" in Genesis 1:2 should be rightly translated, "became." Notice! "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth [BECAME] without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (Gen 1:1-2). God is NOT the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33), and did not originally create the world in chaos and confusion! He tells you so! "... God Himself that formed the earth and made it, He hath established it, He created it NOT in VAIN [waste)" (Isa. 45:18). The Hebrew words used in Genesis 1 and in Isaiah 45 are the SAME: "tohu and bohu," which mean empty and in confusion. Lucifer's attempted usurpation of God's throne resulted in the ruin of the surface of this earth. When God created Adam on the earth, Satan was already here — pretending to be a "light bringer," but now an evil spirit, in rebellion against the government of God.
Many of you have heard how Satan began his deception by introducing the doctrine of the "immortality of the soul" to Eve in the Garden of Eden. He told her, "Thou shalt not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). Since that time, the Devil has succeeded in palming off his own aspirations and his ultimate destination on gullible human beings as their chief religious doctrines — which are NOT found in the Bible! Listen! Satan (Lucifer) wanted to go to heaven! The churches teach n doctrine of going some day to heaven! Lucifer is a spirit, and is therefore immortal! The churches believe man has an immortal spirit! Christ said an everlasting fire awaits Satan and his angels. The churches teach an everlasting fire awaits all "sinners." Satan FELL from his attempt to overthrow God. The pagan misconception is that man FELL! These are only a few of the more prevalent doctrines that Satan has palmed off as truth to this gullible world.
God 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! (Rev. 12:4 with Rev. 1:20). These fallen angels, remember, are SPIRITS, not human 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 PRINCE of demons (Matt. 12:24). Contrary to the belief of some, Satan the Devil does not have some kind of spiritual essence which is a counterpart of God's Holy Spirit! Satan cannot be everywhere present, as can God through His Spirit. Satan cannot act directly upon nations through a spirit! Instead, he utilizes the natural pulls of human nature, and his demons! Satan himself is always concerned with the top level jobs in his attempt to destroy Gods plan. Notice how he began — by trying to destroy Adam and Eve — the very FIRST (and therefore a primary aim) humans on the earth. Again, when God sent His own Son, Satan tried by many clever subtleties to cause Christ to SIN against the law of God. All through Christ's ministry, Satan tried to have Him killed — to thwart His every purpose! Finally, when it was time according to God's 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). It is not at all inconceivable that Satan could personally, individually tempt one of God's people! However, many people attribute many insignificant things to the Devil — not realizing that he is concerned with the top level jobs in his evil plan! Many of these things are nothing more than the pulls of their own human nature! But make no mistake about it! Peter warns us that Satan is as a "roaring lion. walking about, SEEKING whom he may devour!" (I Peter 5:8). Perhaps more often than any of us realize, a demon is attempting to influence us — either directly, or through another person. Since the Devil is concerned directly with the primary targets in trying to upset God's plan, it also follows that the MOST IMPORTANT TARGET ON EARTH IS COD'S TRUE CHURCH! God thunders a warning at every one of us that the Devil is yet to come down to this earth in GREAT WRATH — knowing he has but a short time left — to PERSECUTE God's Church, OUR Church! "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ! " (Rev. 12:17). Paul said he was not IGNORANT of Satan's devices (II Cor. 2:11). Are you?
What About the Everlasting Fire?
The time is rapidly drawing nearer when Satan the Devil will no longer be permitted to deceive the nations! 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 on all" (Rom. 11:32). He says He is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should finally come to repentance! (II Pet. 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! (vs. 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 reparation described in verse 32 takes place over a period of 1,100 years! — to the end of the 100 year period after the millennium. Notice, however, that these wicked HUMAN BEINGS are cast into an everlasting five prepared for the Devil and his angels. Fire is a physical, chemical thing! Fire is the combustion of physical objects with oxygen which changes the physical objects into ashes and gaseous vapors! 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! And spirit beings are not affected by fire! They are not material. Yes — it may be possible that Almighty God could create a fire that would perhaps consume a spirit — since ALL THINGS are possible with God! (Matt. 19:26). But it is not a question of what God CAN do — it is a question of what has God WILLED to do! Let's continue! The word "everlasting" in Matthew 25:41 is "aonian" in the Greek language. "Aonian" comes from the root "aion" which means age! The correct translation into the English language should be "AGE-LASTING fire." Does the Bible bear this up? Yes, it does!
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" who is going to be working miracles and deceiving the world! (II Thess. 2:8). Together with this great false prophet, Christ will lay hold of the Beast who is yet to arise, and throw them both into a lake of fire, burning with brimstone! (Rev. 19:20). These two are human beings — physical, breathing men, who are alive and drawing breath at this instant! The fire will CONSUME them. This lake of fire is going to be burning all during the millennium! (Isaiah 66:23-24), During Christ's time, the Valley of Hinnom, just outside of Jerusalem, was the place where refuse and the bodies of criminals were thrown — into fires that were kept constantly burning. God uses this as a type of the coming lake of fire! My father, mother and brother saw this valley, called "Gehenna" in the Bible — and thus were actually looking into HELL, believe it or not! During the millennial reign of Christ and His saints, this valley will once more be kept perpetually burning — and the incorrigibly wicked ones who WILL to continue in rebellion against God's laws will be THROWN INTO this "lake of fire" as a stern witness to all the rest of the world! 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 CAST." There is no verb "are," in the original Greek, as the King James revisers have added in italics! See the Companion Bible, Diaglott, 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 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! What folly! Let's understand what really happened! Your Bible plainly states the TIME element in these verses. Christ did the preaching, NOT during the three days and nights of His tomb when He was DEAD (I Cor. 15:3 and 20) but "WHEN once the longsuffering 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!" (vs. 19). Who were these "spirits?" Certainly not MEN — nor the "souls" of men, since men do not have immortal souls! Turn to II Peter 2:4 for the answer! "For if God spared not the angels [spirits] that sinned, but cast them down to 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 final enemy of Christians is death itself. When the plan of God is finally completed, even death is to be completely destroyed! (I Cor. 15:26). Just before the establishment of the new heavens and new earth, all that is corrupt, all that is physically combustible, will be consumed in a vast, WORLD-WIDE lake of fire!
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 fervor 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 Pet. 3:10-11). Christ shows this time occurs after the final Great White Throne Judgment when God's plan is complete — and all who have been added to His family are already born of Him. 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, and is so intense it even melts the rocks and elements of the earth until they are liquefied. But Satan and his angels are spirit beings! Fire is PHYSICAL, and cannot BURN spiritual beings! Spirit IS NOT COMBUSTIBLE! Now notice an important verse!
The New Heavens and New Earth
In the glorious picture of the new heavens and new earth, John wrote a description of the temple, and the beauty of Gods new creation. A key scripture is Revelation 21:27! God expressly shows Satan and his angels will not BE in the new heavens and the new earth! "And there shall IN NO WISE ENTER INTO IT anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." Satan will not be there! And the fire will BURN UP the wicked, and the works of the earth (Rev. 20:14, 21:8). Peter tells us we can look forward to the new heavens and new earth wherein dwells righteousness! (II Pet. 3:13). It is evident from God's word that Satan and his angels will not be anywhere in the new heaven and new earth! Then where are they to be? Let's go on — and see what your Bible actually reveals! Since fire cannot consume spirits then how can they be punished? Many people fail to realize that mental torment is far worse than physical torment!
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! Mothers recognize the truth of this immediately. The thought of seeing their children suffer — having to stand the mental agonies of seeing their own children being tortured — would be far worse than having to suffer physical pain themselves. 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 ac count 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 demons besought him, saying, send us into the swine, that we may enter into them" (vs. 12). When Philip was performing miracles at Samaria, he cast out many demons, who came out of people "crying with load voice" (Acts 8:7) showing their frustration and anger at being deprived of their dwelling place! (Luke 8:25.) 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! (vs. 31). James said, "Thou believest that there is one God? Thou doest well, the demons also believe, and TREMBLE! " (James 2:19). They FEAR the awesome judgment awaiting them, and are therefore in TORMENT! "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because FEAR HATH TORMENT" (I John 4:18). When Satan comes down to the earth in great wrath, it is because he knows he has but a SHORT TIME left! (Rev. 12:12). His punishment will plainly be mental, spiritual, NOT PHYSICAL! Many have misunderstood verse 16 of Ezekiel 28. Notice that God is speaking of the beginning of the creation in this account of Satan's original rebellion. But, just as the Bible so often uses DUAL meanings, so THIS is history and prophecy at the same time! God refers to the "stones of fire" in verse 13. Notice how these same stones are used in the description of the Holy City! Compare with Revelation 21:18-21. Remember, the "mountain" (nation, or government) of God is ultimately going to be ON THIS EARTH! God CAST LUCIFER OUT of that mountain, throwing him DOWN from his attempt to be above God's throne! God's throne is then to be ON THIS EARTH! God will again cast Satan out of His presence! "... therefore I WILL (both past and future) cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God, and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, FROM the midst of the stones of fire" (Ezek. 28:16). The word destroy is explained by the word FROM! God does NOT say Satan is to be DESTROYED! He DOES say Satan is to be DESTROYED FROM a certain place — the midst of the stones of fire, or the location of God's seat of authority.
Satan Will Not Be Destroyed!
Now, let's notice further proof that Satan is NOT to be destroyed. Turn to Revelation 20, and verse 10. I did not explain this verse sooner for a definite purpose, as you will see. Notice that the Devil is cast into the lake of fire where the Beast and False Prophet were cast, AND he and his demons shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever! This expressly states Satan will be tormented for the AGES OF THE AGES! (See Critical Commentary, Ivan Panin N.T., and Diaglott.) 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 oat, 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 the twentieth chapter. In verse 34, Christ begins to explain to the hypocritical Sadducees about the resurrection. "... The children of the 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 ANY MORE, for they are equal unto the angels..." (vs. 34-36). Jesus tells us the angels cannot die! Satan is a fallen angel! Therefore Satan cannot die!
"Reserved unto Judgment!"
Remember, Peter and Jude both attest to the fact that the sinning demons are reserved unto a time of JUDGMENT! Without realizing it, many people have assumed the "judgment" is a final SENTENCING that is passed in one instant at Christ's coming! Such is not the case! A judge must investigate the merits of each case and ARRIVE at a decision based on the facts! God is calling out His children to become Kings and PRIESTS with Christ — and to RULE THIS EARTH! A vital part of the job of each of God's children will be JUDGMENT! Believe it or not, the Creator of all that exists is actually permitting us to have an opportunity to become judges of this world! Many have not understood the scriptures already mentioned in I Peter 3:19-20 and II Peter 2:4, simply because they have not understood an important phase of that judgment! The Apostle Paul gives us the amazing answer in I Corinthians 6:2-3! "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? KNOW YE NOT THAT There it is! We shall judge angels! Remember, the wicked spirits, including Satan, arc presently being reserved, being kept in restraint, unto judgment! That judging is yet to be done! WE SHALL JUDGE ANGELS?" Now do you see? The Bible plainly reveals Satan will be cast into the lake of fire, but 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 ETERNAL punishment is YET to BE DECIDED! YOUR BIBLE REVEALS YOU MAY BE INSTRUMENTAL IN DECIDING THAT PUNISHMENT! 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. In reading through the book of Jude, you come to verse 6, where the demons are mentioned, to the next few verses, where these "filthy dreamers" are described. Notice how their error is EXACTLY that of the sinning angels in that they too tried to usurp authority! "They ... ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core..." (verse 11). See Numbers 16, where Korah tried to usurp the position of God's chosen servants. Jude continues to describe, "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 FOR EVER! " (verse 13). Notice, in Enoch's prophecy, he spoke of coming judgment, "... Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all ..." (verses 14-15). As has already been proved — the angels (demons) are definitely included among those to be judged by the saints! Could this be an indication of their final fate? They are miserable when disembodied — wandering through "dry places, seeking rest!" Could this statement in Jude give us a picture of their punishment? "... wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever!" (Jude 13).
Part of our awesome responsibility is going to be the judging of angels! Satan's ultimate destination apparently is yet to be decided — by the saints! Are you preparing yourself for such a job? Such an overwhelming responsibility demands a tremendous amount of wisdom and knowledge! God Almighty has called you and me to much more than just some inactive, "fluff-fluff' eternity of laziness and ease! We are going to have the responsibility to rule the universe with Christ — to do what the fallen angels were unwilling to accomplish. So great is that responsibility that God says it has not entered into the heart of man the things He has prepared for us! (I Cor. 2:9).