November 21, 2010

The Corner of Brimstone Ave. & Hellfire Rd.

Scary horned demons reeking of hellfire and brimstone (what is brimstone anyway?). They have smoky reptilian skin. Cloven hooves and glowing eyes of a snake. Maybe a pointed tail and a pitchfork for turning victims while roasting them over the fires of Hell? Human souls screaming in eternal torment while simultaneously taking a bath in the lake of fire?

We long ago resigned ourselves to a concept of Hell and its occupants. We see in our mind's eye the unfortunate souls that never accepted Christ and repented of their sins. All these fanciful and vivid descriptions are captivating and influential but they are a tad bit disconnected from reality and what is stated in the Bible. Unrepentant sinners will still end up there as will Satan and his cronies. It's an issue of timing. Hell is not currently where the evil jerk and his evil jerk friends take up residence right now. Jesus was very clear on the existence of Hell, He spoke on it more than any other subject other than the Kingdom of Heaven. God's justice, love, sovereignty and the cross of Christ demand, nah, scream for the need of a place called Hell. In Scripture Hell is referred to as a "wandering star, a waterless cloud, a perpetually burning dump, a bottomless pit and and everlasting prison". It is like being left outside in the darkness forever away from the presence of God. Unbeleivers will, sadly go directly to an eternal state of punishment after death. Their bodies will be resurrected for final judgement on the last day and judged by Christ Himself. Believers absent from from the world will be present with the Lord.

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. ~2 Corinthians 5:8

When reading the Bible it is clear people of Jesus' time believed in demons. Jesus believed in demons! He cast them out of people as did His disciples! Jesus came to trounce Satan's kingdom and it is clear in Hebrews and Ephesians that Hell was not what Jesus or Paul was talking about.

"Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." ~Hebrews 2:14-15

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." ~Ephesians 6:11-12

Lucifer and his acolytes are active here, now, on earth. Many infirmities and afflictions mental and physical are attributed to their work here. Jesus Christ was sent to release people from this subjugation and oppression.

"But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." ~Matthew 12:28

"You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him." ~Acts 10:37-38

Demons are where people are. Satan is referred to as the "prince of this world" and "prince of the power of the air"

"Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out." ~John 12:31

" which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience." ~Ephesians 2:2

In the Old Testament we begin to get an idea of where Satan is currently.

The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” ~Job 1:7

Peter makes a similar statement, where he admonishes:

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour". ~1 Peter 5:8

Satan is locked in a form of mortal combat that he is destined to loose with Christ's Kingdom and this is made clear in Jesus Christ's ministry and His power over the forces of evil in 1st century Israel when the Kingdom literally pays mankind a visit and then branches out like a vine throughout the entire world after Pentecost.

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves..." ~Colossians 1:13

We also know that demons can reside in people. It was Satan himself that entered Judas Iscariot in Luke 22:3-5. So where did the idea come from that these jerks current residence is a flame broiled red picket fenced house in Hell on the corner of Brimstone Drive and Hellfire Road? The New Testament is clear that the ultimate destination for Ole Nick and his cohorts would be squished...under the foot of the God of peace.

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." ~Romans 16:20

Jesus also informed of a rather warm and unpleasant destination also in the Gospel of Matthew. Hebrews also has a vivid explanation of a toasty end too.

“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." ~Matthew 25:41

"...but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." ~Hebrews 10:27

When we arrive at the Book of Revelation we see the Grand Finale of Hell references.

"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." ~Revelation 20:10

Satan will not be alone either. Humans that face the final judgement will be keeping Satan company.

"Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." ~Revelation 20:15

Who gets the dishonor of this final destination?

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

Revelation then goes on to tell of the glorious destination of the believer of Christ which is the New Jerusalem/Heaven (Revelation 21:9-27) and where "nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."

Final Score: God & The Saints - 1 (one), Satan/Slugs - 0 (zero)
Saints win, Satan looses.

But this score is in the future, in the meantime Satan and his cronies are on the prowl looking for those which they can devour. They are creating havoc and perpetrating mischief on the unfortunate residents of Terra Firma. Prepare accordingly. Please understand that Jesus gives all believers authority to rebuke demons and command them to depart.

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