Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.’
– Job 1:6-7
The devil isn’t in hell.
The cartoons we see where he stands at the door to the fire with his pitchfork are comical and corny.
Just what he’d like you to think.
It’s one of the two sides he likes to present to mankind. The other face is one of a fierce and frightening monster. In his effort to control his image, he likes to either convince you he’s just a cartoon character, or – if you believe he’s real – a terrifying superpower.
The Scriptures depict the devil as a fallen angel who inhabits three places: God’s heaven, outer space, and the Earth. In Job, we are given a very special glimpse into the throne room of God. Here Satan presents himself before God to report his whereabouts. He has been roaming the earth.
We are given another look into the spiritual realm in the book of Daniel. An angel appears to Daniel in response to his prayer and fasting. The angel tells Daniel he was delayed in his response by three weeks of battle with the kingdom of Persia, a battle so fierce the archangel Michael came to help him. It is believed that the “kings of Persia” mentioned there are spiritual forces of evil (Daniel 10:12-13).
God, we learn from the Bible, is omnipresent. He can be everywhere at once. Satan, on the other hand, is just one being, though still a powerful one. He can’t be everywhere at the same time. He is the brain behind the evil we endure, but many of his schemes are carried out by his legions of fallen angels, whom we call demons. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our battle isn’t against humans, but against “rulers” and “powers” and “world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The devil, we see, doesn’t live in hell. He doesn’t even own the rights to hell. He did once own the rights to the earth, forfeited to him by Adam and Eve, the reason he could offer all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:9).
These were the keys to the kingdom reclaimed by Christ at the cross and with His resurrection. Until then, Satan held the world in his clutches and kept it in chains. Jesus paid the ransom for His beloved creation and won its freedom. In Revelation 1:17-18, Jesus appears to the apostle and tells him, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”
Satan is a wandering spirit.
He has no place to call his. His only possession is the hearts of those who have given themselves over to him. Even then, they are only his until death. Then they are held in Hades until the day of judgment. He never knows when one of those he possesses will suddenly turn on him and run to God. Then they are lost to him forever.
Revelation 12:9-10 calls the devil the “accuser of our brethren,” who “accuses them before our God day and night.” This indicates that Satan still has access to heaven and God today.
That’s going to change.
Next week: Where Is the Devil Headed?