Slightly Obsessed #121: Where Is the Devil Headed?
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
– Revelation 20:10
Where does the devil go at Christ’s return?
The answer that springs to mind is, “Hell, of course.”
But Satan has never inhabited hell. Hades (in the Greek) and Sheol (in the Hebrew) are other words for hell, the place for the departed souls of those who have died in their sins.
The Bible teaches that before Christ’s coming and redemption of mankind, God had a place for the souls of the dead to dwell temporarily. This place had two sides, one for the souls of those who were not believers, and one who held the Old Testament believers. This second place was called Paradise, or Abraham’s Bosom. A vivid description of this place is given us by Jesus in Luke 16:19-31.
We know that Christ once went to Hades. 1 Peter 3:19-20 relates an account of Christ’s visit to the “Spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah.” During the three days after his death and before His resurrection, Jesus entered hell and proclaimed the gospel to those who died in unbelief. He also released the Old Testament believers from Paradise to join His Father, effectively moving Paradise to heaven (Matthew 27:53).
As we saw last week, Satan has no place to rest. He roams the earth “like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He also still has access to heaven, where he accuses believers before God “day and night” (Revelation 12:10).
Revelation, the last book of the Bible, reveals the future of our adversary.
In the last days, he is thrown out of heaven and comes to earth with “great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time” (Revelation 12:12). This period is known as the Great Tribulation, which will culminate in the glorious return of Jesus Christ. Jesus will stop the rebellion at Armageddon and set up His kingdom on earth for 1000 years. Revelation 20:1-3 tells us the devil will be bound into an abyss during Christ’s millennial reign.
Then Satan is released for a short time to again deceive the nations. This rebellion is short-lived, however, and ends with his banishment to a place called the “lake of fire.” He is joined there by the unrighteous dead of all ages and the demons. “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14).
Satan knows he is a vanquished adversary. His only possible goals now are to take as many people as he can with him and to wound the heart of God with the suffering he inflicts on His beautiful world.
It’s about revenge now for Satan.
The devil knows anything that hurts God’s people hurts God. So, he expends all his energy and hate to do as much damage as possible in the time he has left.
Though he roars like a lion, he’s still a snake who lost his legs in Eden. The angel once called the “star of the morning” now eats the dust of this world. He may wound God’s heel, but his head has already been crushed. He is an enemy on the run.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
– James 4:7