Section 9: The End Times
Week 3: The Final Judgment
Day 4: The Judgment of Satan
The Bible depicts Satan as a powerful enemy who is at war against God and his people. It would be a mistake, however, to view this as a battle of equals. God, after all, is omnipotent. Satan is not. As a result, whether he knew it or not, Satan lost the war the moment he rebelled. God allows him to have a certain amount of power for now. But Satan will one day face judgment:
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time…When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth-Gog and Magog-and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:1-3, 7-10).
As we discussed in one of the Digging Deeper sections, theologians debate just what the 1000 years represents and whether Satan is currently bound or if that happens at a later point in time. But what is beyond dispute is that Satan will be punished. Some of us think of hell as the place where Satan rules. But that is not true. Hell is the place where Satan will be eternally punished for his rebellion.
The devil rules today, but only by divine decree… He stalks proudly about, but only as far as God will let him. He is unwilling to face the reality of his impending eternal humiliation and shame. He already knows what others might not: His present battles are but a charade on a cosmic stage. The outcome is certain and unavoidable.”[i]
Read Rev. 20:1-10.
Do you think the image of Satan ruling in hell is a prevalent one? If so, why do you think that has come about? How does that image compare to the reality of Satan’s fate?
[i] Erwin W. Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise: The Incredible Story of How Satan’s Rebellion Serves God’s Purposes, Chicago: Moody Press (1996), 191.