Surprised by Hell: The Devil and His Angels

This is just a note to comment on the fact that, although lost humans will die in the Lake of Fire, the devil and his angels will suffer perpetual, unending torment.

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

(Rev 20:10) 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.

Many commentators find in Rev 20:10 justification for the idea that lost humans will be tormented for ever and ever, but the passage simply doesn’t say that. In fact, the clear implication is that the devil’s human followers will be killed.

Evidently, as Jesus says, the Lake of Fire was prepared for the devil, not for humans. I make no claim to know the history of the devil, but it’s hardly surprising that the fate of the devil and the fate of those humans who follow him would be different. After all, the devil and his angels are an entirely different kind of being, created for quite different purposes, in rebellion with very different knowledge of God.

And if the fire was designed for spiritual beings, it only makes sense that the resurrected bodies of the lost would be destroyed, whereas the devil and his angels, being made of different stuff, aren’t.

Of course, I understand that there’s a large amount of metaphor in all this. These are pictures to give us a glimpse of something far beyond our experience or understanding. Nonetheless, the scriptures are in remarkable accord, and the pictures the Spirit paints for us through the inspired scriptures merit study. But we have no business expecting a complete understanding. That will come later.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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10 Responses to Surprised by Hell: The Devil and His Angels

  1. Alan says:

    But we have no business expecting a complete understanding. That will come later.

    Amen!

  2. Alan S. says:

    Jay, I'm appreciating your messages on hell and they are definitely making me think, but I've noticed what appears to be an inconsistency that I'd like you to address.

    You say that the devil and his angels will be punished eternally, but that humans will not. However, one of your earlier arguments against humans being punished eternally is that would mean that humans are (by nature) immortal, and only God is immortal.

    But if the devil and his angels are punished eternally, that must mean that they are immortal as well. So, which is it? Is God alone immortal, or are the angels immortal as well? If God "bestows" immortality on the angels so that they can be punished, what would prohibit him from "bestowing" immortality on humans for the same purpose?

  3. Jay Guin says:

    Interesting question …

    1 Tim 6:16 plainly states that only God is immortal (deathless). 1 Cor 15:53-54 say that God will clothe the saved with immortality (deathlessness, same root). Rom 2:7 is similar.

    This certainly contradicts the Platonic notion that our souls are created immortal. The clothing with immortality doesn't happen until the Eschaton.

    So how is the devil to suffer "for ever and ever" (Rev 20:10)? How can he be immortal if only God is immortal?

    Well, although God is alone innately immortal, he gives immortality to others. He could certainly give the devil and his angels immortality if it suits his purposes.

    Christ holds the keys of death and Hades —

    (Rev 1:17-18 ) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

    Therefore, it's the Godhead who decides who lives and dies and only the Godhead that is innately immortal. Of course, the Christ surrendered his deathlessness in order to die on the cross (Phil 2:6-8).

    If the Godhead holds the keys of death, then the Godhead decides whether the devil dies. And the Godhead has decided he'll live for ever and ever in torment.

  4. joshua says:

    i had a dream of god telling me the beast is among us bleding in and he asked me to worn people that he said t tell allof his chlidren that the devil is among us please my children hurry time is running out then something wierd happened something woke me up by saying lies he is tellingu a lie ithink it was the devil but he was right be ready all of u please god bless

  5. R.J. says:

    Actually it’s not only the Dragon(Satan) but also the beast and false prophet who will be tormented forever and ever. However, The Beast stands for the Roman Empire and the False Prophet it’s evil religion. Thus the phrase “forever and ever” should be understood as a metaphor for the mother of all punishments.

    Back then apocalyptic literature abounded with this type of imagery among the Jews. So keep that in mind.

  6. Jay Guin says:

    RJ,

    Wow, this is an old post, and yes, I agree.

  7. Jay Guin says:

    PS — Thanks for reading and commenting on my old materials.

  8. R.J. says:

    The Roman Empire and ultimately Satan’s fate will be remembered throughout eternity for what became of them. The idolatrous Empire has fallen(as prophesied) and has not returned. But you don’t see them burning perpetually in magma to this day.

    So why should we think Satan and his minions will be in everlasting torment rather then eventually die after their massive indictment.

  9. R.J. says:

    no problem;)

  10. Jeff says:

    R.J., I’ve been searching for many years for an approach to this section that makes more sense than McGuiggan’s, and I have yet to find it. Your assessment is very similar. John is seeing pictures intended to convey a profound truth–No one comes out of the lake of fire to do anything. The imagery is likely set forth to demonstrate the finality of Satan’s agents that were persecuting the church of John’s day…The civil/military/false-religious powers of the Roman Empire. The prophetic expression “forever and ever” was used of Edom in Isaiah 34 as well. The imagery of perpetually rising smoke, as an enduring testimony to the decisiveness, and irreversible finality of God’s righteous judgment is used of other fires, such as Sodom, that are not “still burning.”

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