“Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulphur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Revelation 20:10 NLT
The armies of the earth have been destroyed by fire. A sad end to man’s rebellion. They will of course be present at the second resurrection, and the consequences of this we will see, in a future blog, that it will not end well for them. Fire will be with them for all eternity, not just for the brief moment when they, and their fellow soldiers, were incinerated. But in today’s verse we see that the devil is seized once again. He seems impervious to his own limitations, and his inability to avoid God’s judgement, even though he must have known it would come to this. Look at the sequence of events. He was thrown out of Heaven. He was defeated at Calvary. He was incarcerated in the bottomless pit. And now he has been assigned to his final home – the fiery lake of burning sulphur. And in his vision John saw that the devil would be tormented, along with the beast and his false prophet, forever. Without any rest or parole. But he can never claim he didn’t know what would happen to him.
The devil overreached himself. He thought, in his arrogance, that he could take God on and win. Have we pilgrims ever met anyone who is so full of themselves, apparently impervious to their own limitations? They think that they are someone when, in reality, they aren’t? But isn’t it strange – we can see this character trait in others but not ourselves. The Apostle Paul reminded the Romans of this in Romans 12:3, “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us”. Paul said we should assess ourselves honestly, but how do we do that? One piece of Scripture that has helped me greatly on my pilgrimage through life is Ephesians 4:22-23,“throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes”. Personal deception is part of our old sinful lives. Through the renewing that comes through the Holy Spirit, we get the help we need to evaluate ourselves honestly.
Jesus described hell as being dark, and full of wailing and gnashing of teeth. At the marriage feast He found that there was someone not wearing the right wedding clothes, and he was removed from the banquet. We read in Matthew 22:13, “Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Jesus gave a graphic description of the eternal regret that an unrepentant person will experience – in darkness and deep sorrow. But in John’s vision in Revelation 20, as we will see in a future blog, those whose names are not recorded in the Book of Life will be joining the devil, the beast and the false prophet in the lake of fire. Either way, though, eternal separation from God in a place of torment, shows how seriously God views sin and wickedness. We must view it the same way, particularly in our own lives. And pray for our loved ones, that they too will take advantage of God’s love in this season of His grace.
Dear Lord. In humble gratitude we thank You for your grace and love. Amen.