The Destiny Of Angels And Demons

Angels and Demons: Part IV

THE DESTINY OF ANGELS AND DEMONS

Revelation 20:1-2; 7-10 (ESV)

1  Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2  And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

7  And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison
8  and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
9  And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,
10  and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

In the book written by Rev. Billy Graham about angels, he narrated this inspiring story about an incident in the life of John Paton, a great missionary to the New Hebrides Islands. Just a little background about the inhabitants of New Hebrides Islands, when the Lord sent John and his wife Mary to go there in 1958, the tribal people who lived there were known to be very violent and were cannibals. In other words, they enjoyed serving human beings for a buffet dinner.

According to the story of Billy Graham, the arrival of John Paton and his wife immediately attracted the attention of the local cannibal tribe. One night the warriors of this tribe surrounded the vicinity of Paton’s nipa hut, planning to burn them and kill them. As you can imagine, John Paton and his wife were terrified and prayed all through the night that God would save them. When daylight came they were astonished to see the warriors leave without attacking them. A year later the chief of the tribe became a Christian. In one of their conversations, John Paton asked the chief about that night, “What had kept the warriors from burning down the house and killing them?” The chief asked, “Who were all those men who were there with you guarding your house?” John being curious replied, “There was no one other than my wife and I” With this, the tribal chief told him that he and his warriors had seen hundreds of men standing guard around their house. Those men wore shining clothes and were holding drawn swords.

I love this story because it certainly gives us the confirmation about God’s commitment to provide us the protection we need in this life. Let’s be honest. How many of you have been worried about your safety knowing that you live in a dangerous world? Well, if you have been following our sermon series this month, your safety should be the least of your worries because we have learned that God has given us angels to protect us 24/7. In fact, last Sunday, Pastor Steve did a great job explaining the four major characteristics of the angels who are faithfully working in order to accomplish God’s agenda in this world. He emphasized that besides protecting us, these faithful angels are also agents of God for providing our needs, proclaiming His messages, and for punishing His enemies. I hope and pray that we will not take these studies for granted because all these truths would certainly give us tremendous confidence as we live our Christian lives. Just remember, every time you’re facing with some challenges, you’re not facing them alone. There are angels whom God has organized to minister to you and help you out.

This morning, we will conclude our studies talking about the ultimate destiny of these angelic beings. Of course, we need to make a distinction between the good and evil angels. For those good angels who have chosen to remain loyal to God, we have every good reason to believe that they will continue to enjoy serving the Lord all throughout eternity. This is explicitly seen in John’s vision of the New Jerusalem. This is the special place that God has prepared to co-exist with the new heaven and the new earth, which is the eternal dwelling place of the believers in Christ. Let me pick out some precious verses from Revelation 21 to establish this truth:

Revelation 21:1-4; 9-12 (ESV)
1  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
2  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

9  Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
10  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
11  having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
12  It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—

As I mentioned earlier, Revelation 21 reveals to us the eternal dwelling place of everyone who have believed in Jesus Christ starting from the time of Adam. Notice how grand and beautiful this place will be. I especially love verse 4 – “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Imagine, believers will be in a place where there will be no more crying, death, sorrows, and pain. And this will be forever! Included in these descriptions, verses 9 and 12 mention the presence of angels fulfilling certain tasks for God. If there are mentions of angels here, there is no reason why we should not believe that all the good angels will be able to continually exist carrying out God’s purposes. So, for those of us who are anticipating being in the New Heaven and New Earth, we will have the opportunity to have a close fellowship with good angels for eternity.

Therefore, now, we can focus our attention on the ultimate destiny of the Devil and his demons. If we go back to the text we read earlier in Revelation 20:7-10, this is the passage that reveals the future that God has ordained for them. But before we discuss these verses, there are other passages I want to highlight before you. In order to have a bigger picture of their judgments, I would like to break it down to you using three stages. Here are they:

I CURSED AFTER THE FALL (Gen. 3: 15)

It is important to start at the first appearance of the Devil in the Bible, which is in the garden of Eden. As we all know, in here, Satan took the physical form of a serpent to tempt Adam and Eve and disobey the Lord. I’m sure many of us have blamed the Devil for tempting our first parents to sin and for all the direct consequences of sin in us and in all the world. But, the reality is that Adam and Even were as culpable for freely choosing to disobey the Lord. Thus, we have suffered the consequences of sin in our lives. But, the Devil had also been cursed right there and then:

Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
15  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

This verse is known among theologians as the first Gospel because it predicts the ultimate defeat of Satan through “her offspring” who is Jesus Christ. Let’s back tract and examine this verse carefully. If you divide the verse, you will see the following statements:

  1. “I will put enmity between you and the woman” – There is going to be an ongoing struggle between the offspring of Satan and the offspring of the woman.

  2. “between your offspring and her offspring” – Satan’s offspring are the demons and everyone who is serving the kingdom of darkness. While the woman’s offspring is represented by all mankind.

  3. “he shall bruise your head” – The pronoun “he” refers to the Messiah who is Jesus Christ. He would be able to inflict a fatal blow to Satan’s head. This was fulfilled during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  

  4. “and you shall bruise his heel.” – Satan would be able to inflict a minor blow to the Messiah. This was also fulfilled at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Please take note that the seeming victory of Satan over God in the fall of humanity in sin was immediately written off by God when the curses were pronounced and predicted against Satan and his offspring. This truth was corroborated by Paul’s declaration to the Colossian believers:

Colossians 2:15 (ESV)
15  He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

If you take the context of this verse, Paul was directly referencing the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. When Jesus triumphed on the cross, He literally did two things against “the rulers and authorities:”

  1. “He disarmed them” – Jesus stripped them of whatever weapons and authorities they held against believers.

  2. “put them to open shame” – He let them marched naked on the streets. During the ancient times, conquerors usually led their captives to parade the streets naked to publicly humiliate them.

For all of us who are in Jesus today, this verse in Colossians should instill confidence in us. The thought of Satan and demons should not scare us at all. I’m sure you already have heard me say this in the past, but I will repeat it again, “We are no longer fighting for victory, but from victory. Jesus has already won the war against Satan and his demons. He has already destroyed them, so we should no longer let them intimidate us.”

II CONFINED AT THE BOTTOMLESS PIT (Rev. 20:1-2)

The second stage of the judgment on the Devil and his demons will happen after the seven years Tribulation period and at the beginning of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Revelation 20:1-2 plainly states this:

1  Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2  And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

As we have seen on the first stage, Satan has already been defeated by Jesus on the cross. However, he and his demons would continue to roam around the earth because God would like to see the finished work of salvation accomplished by Jesus on the cross to be applied by as many human beings as possible. Remember this verse:

Matthew 24:14 (ESV)
14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.   

There is an over-all plan that God has ordained on how the future will take place. Right now, we are living on the Church Age when God has commanded the church to spread the Gospel into all the world (Matthew 28:19-20). Once the Gospel has been heard by all people groups and all places, Christ will rapture the church. Then, there will be seven years of tribulation on earth, when God will show His anger towards sin and sinners by pouring on earth three sets of seven judgments:

  • Seven Seals (Rev. 6:1-17; 8:1-5)

  • Seven Trumpets (Rev. 8:6-9:21; 11:15-19)

  • Seven Bowls (Rev. 16:1-21)

When you examine these judgments, they will increase in intensity as the end times move closer and closer to the actual return of Jesus Christ on earth to establish His Kingdom. Before this millennial (1000 years) kingdom begins, Satan and his demons will be captured and imprisoned in the “bottomless pit.”  This phrase comes from the Greek word “abussos,” which is translated literally as the “abyss.” Where is this place? We don’t know exactly where it is found, but the Bible consistently refers to it as a place where some demonic spirits are incarcerated (Jude 1:6-7).

This removal of Satan and his demons on earth will radically impact life on earth. Literally, the earth will be an absolute utopia (Paradise). During the entire 1,000 years that Jesus is reigning, there will be total peace and order – no crimes, no drugs, no abuses, and even the wild animals will be domesticated. Listen to how the Bible describes this time:

Isaiah 11:6-9 (ESV)
6  The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
7  The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8  The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9  They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

The Millennial Kingdom will be incredible, and the earth’s condition would be a great preview of what the New Heaven and the New Earth would be like. This is only possible because there is the complete absence of the Devil and his demons.

IV CAST INTO HELL (Rev. 20:10)

Lastly, after the 1,000 years of imprisonment of Satan and his demons, they will be released again for a short time on earth in order to mobilize some human beings who will join them for their final battle against God.

Revelation 20:7-10

7  And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison
8  and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
9  And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,
10  and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

You might be wondering, why would God allow them to be released? The explanation of The Bible Knowledge Commentary from Dallas Theological Seminary faculty makes a lot of sense:

“Who are these who will follow Satan? Those who survive the Tribulation will enter the Millennium in their natural bodies, and they will bear children and repopulate the earth (Isa. 65:18-25). Under ideal circumstances in which all know about Jesus Christ (cf. Jer. 31:33-34), many will outwardly profess faith in Christ without actually placing faith in Him for salvation. The shallowness of their professions will become apparent when Satan is released. The multitudes who follow Satan are evidently those who have never been born again in the millennial kingdom.”

Therefore, the Devil and his army will wage their final battle against God. This battle is called the God and Magog battle. Why is it called God and Magog? We don’t really have an explanation from the text. But if you read Ezekiel 38- 39, you will be able to get some hints, although they are not the same. It’s because in Ezekiel, the Gog and Magog was referencing armies from the north of Israel, while the Gog and Magog in Revelation 20 signifies an army coming from all over the world (“the nations that are at the four corners of the earth”). However, the spirit of the battle is the same. It is coming from nations who are rebelling and hostile against God and His people. According to our passage, this battle will also take place in the beloved city (v. 8), which is obviously the city of Jerusalem.

What is really significant for us to see is how everything will ultimately end. Satan and his army will fight a futile battle because God and His army don’t even have to lift a finger to fight. Verse 9 ends by saying, “but fire came down from heaven and consumed them.”

After Satan and his army lose their battle, they will ultimately be cast into hell where they will suffer eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. I know that recently, there have been many popular theologians who have denied the existence of a literal hell, arguing that a loving God will not punish sinners in this way. However, the Bible is quite clear about hell (Rev. 20:10). Jesus Himself referred to it:

Matthew 25:41 (ESV)
41  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Don’t miss these words from this verse, “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”  Clearly, hell was created for the eternal judgment of Satan and his demons. The problem is that Satan was well aware of it. Since he cannot change his destiny, he and his demons are just doing their best to bring as many people as possible to populate hell. If any of you have the tendency to deny hell’s existence, allow me to warn you that you are simply buying into Satan’s deception about it. I hope you do the opposite and believe the Bible—and surrender your life to Jesus Christ to secure your eternal life.

For our conclusion, I want to quote a statement from Dr. Emery Bancroft about Satan and his demons. He said:

“The career of Satan since his rebellion has been downward, ever downward. The point of descent began with the point of attempted ascent. When he said, “I will ascend,” then he began to descend. When he began to exalt himself, God began to abase him. That abasement will continue until he has been stripped of the last vestige of authority and power and cast in abject impotence as the arch-criminal of the universe into the eternal burnings.” (Emery H. Bancroft)   

Knowing how he and his demons will end, you and I should be wise enough not to choose their side. I hope we will recognize that the greatest mistake you and I can make today is to waste our lives by consuming it in advancing the kingdom that will only end up being totally destroyed by God. Jesus and His Kingdom is still the Kingdom that will last for eternity. It should remain as our greatest pursuit in life.  

Jeremiah Lepasana