October 20, 2017

Open Thread: Where does the Bible say Satan wants people to go to hell?

I was watching the documentary “Hell House” with my students in Advanced Bible, and one of the preachers kept saying that Satan wants to take as many “souls” as possible to hell with him, so the church is in a competition with the devil for souls.

I’ve heard this hundreds of times in my life, but it suddenly struck me:

Where in the Bible does it say Satan wants to take “souls” to hell?

It’s open mic here at the IM lounge on Halloween. Put on your costume and join the conversation.

Comments

  1. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Open mike night, huh? Here comes both feet…

    Where in the Bible does it say Satan wants to take “souls” to hell?

    The same place it says Fluffy Cloud Heaven replaced Resurrection of the Body and the New Heavens and New Earth as the Christian afterlife.

    It’s what amounts to a folk belief (probably originating with Victorian sentimentalism) that got grafted on. Like the one that says we become angels after death — harps, haloes, Peter Pan nightgowns, and all.

    And it’s closely related to the distortions of Heaven that you covered in that three-parter a few months ago.

    (One more day, and all the Hell Houses/Judgement Houses/Tribulation Trails will be over, packed up, and gone for another eleven months.)

  2. 1 Peter 5:8?

  3. Well, first you gotta define “hell.” Do you mean hades, the place where the dead go as they wait for resurrection, ’cause Satan seeks to kill, steal, and destroy?

    Or do you mean the burning lake of sulfur, the second death, where the devil and his angels will be tossed into?—’cause there’s no verse that says Satan plans for us to go there, and more than likely he’s still in denial about going there himself.

    Christians don’t know squat about what happens after we die; they mix up the afterlife with the new life all the time. I blame pop culture, and pastors who never correct the flawed ideas that people get from our culture—or who only talk about the new life ’cause the scriptures are vague about the afterlife.

  4. Jeremiah Lawson says:

    A youth pastor once posed the question of why Christians think Satan is actually in Hell. Satan will be judged, certainly, and has been judged, but to say for sure Satan is in Hell is a big step that requires actual explanation. The role of Hell in connection to people has a certain ambiguity to it. For instance Jesus warns of it as a judgment for unbelief and rebellion, which indicates that Hell is used to enact judgment from God against sinners and would therefore seem to have a positive, though terrifying, purgative role in the order of things. Yet James warns that the tongue is set on fire by it.

    And if Hades (rendered Hell in the KJV) is thrown into the lake of fire in Revelation then why and how have Christians equated the lake with Hell? I’m obviously not saying there’s no such thing as Hell or that there’s no lake of fire mentioned in Revelation but this is a topic where not much real explanation has been provided.

  5. I blame Catholicism.

  6. It’s just not really there, though some of it seems implied. Just like all the verses about Satan being a fallen worship leader angel. As with much of our theology of Satan, when you start digging for scripture references, you find half of them are from Milton.

  7. Jeremiah Lawson says:

    Milton appropriated them from several traditions but I can’t spend the time it would take to summarize all five of Jeffrey Burton Russell’s books on the history of the devil in the theology of Christianity and Judaism. 🙂 It would be more accurate to say a great deal of the explanations developed in the intertestamental period and that Jesus and the apostles, at the risk of great simpliciation, basically signed off on as being a reliable account. When Jude cites 1 Enoch we’ve got 1 Enoch to refer to and that gets into the hornet’s nest of a lot of what would now be considered funky theories about angelic/human hybrids and the Flood.

  8. I suspect it is a logical shorthand developed from ideas of spiritual warfare. Satan is probably largely indifferent to the particular fates of individual persons, but rather he is a rebel who, like any insurgent, seeks to weaken the number of those who gather under the banner of the King he opposes. If you start with “Satan wants people to go to Hell” you are on weak ground without strong biblical warrant and will likely make a number of errors practically. If you arrive at the conclusion “functionally, Satan wants people to go to Hell” from verses like Carlos mentioned and broader themes of kingship and rebellion, then you may be on track.

  9. There is lots of (uneven) secular scholarship on the subject of the Devil and Hell, but weirdly there just isn’t that much outside of folk faith and hellfire sermons to clarify it for the rest of us. I feel like a complete tool trying to explain Hell or Satan to people, and most of the people who want to badger on about it don’t care about Jesus, they just like to poke fun at the fact that we “need to believe” some people go to The Bad Place when we die. Satan is the most annoying thing in the universe to me. I hate that guy.

  10. Does the bible say anything about what Satan wants, anywhere?

  11. Well I think it is a logical argument. Satan does not want God’s desires to be fulfilled. God desires that all should be saved (1Ti 2:4), and come to the knowledge of the truth.

    Satan obviously does not want God to receive Glory, and would rather people distracted by false doctrine (1Ti 4:1) and is even called the father of lies (John 8:44). Thus he does NOT want them to come to the knowledge of the truth…the truth of their saviour. If he can NOT bring glory to God through men going to Hell I am sure he is pleased.

    In 1 Peter 5:8 he is called a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

    Now he is also pleased when regenerated Christians fail and bring shame on Christ’s name, but that is another topic.

    Ephesians 2:2 describes him as a spirit who works within the children of disobedience. Children of obedience would be (should be?) regenerate Christians.

  12. Fr. Terry Donahue, CC says:

    I think the belief that “the devil wants people to go to hell” can be concluded from the following:

    In the Parable of the Weeds (Matt 13:24-30) and its interpretation (Matt 13:36-43) the devil intentionally sows “sons of the evil one” who “cause sin” and “do evil” and are ultimately thrown into the fiery furnace.

    In the Parable of the Sower and its interpretation (Luke 8:1-15) “the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).

    The phrase “so that” links the action of the devil (taking away the word) to the intention of the devil: (that they may not believe and be saved).

    I can’t see how “the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9) is doing it without any intentionality.

  13. Fr. Terry Donahue, CC says:

    All that being said, I do agree that the way Hell is spoken about in Christian media (especially the way scriptural images are interpreted) leaves much to be desired.

    I think John Paul II’s take on it is helpful: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/1999/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_28071999_en.html

  14. As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. – Ephesians 2:1-2

    If Satan is said to be “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” what’s his ultimate end if he is merely indifferent to his own anticipated outcome? What is working towards? What is his goal if not to prevent souls from coming to God?

  15. John 10:10 comes to mind.

  16. Isn’t Satan supposed to be opposed to God and whatever God wants? Can’t it then be argued that Satan doesn’t want people to be with God in heaven but in hell.

  17. There is not a scripture that says Satan wants as many souls as possible to go to hell, because Satan does not believe that he himself is going to hell. Satan is not currently in hell at this time. He was cast from heaven TO EARTH, where he deceives and tempts mankind. I do believe Satan wants to deceive as many people as he can into beleiving that he and not God will be victorious in the final battle between the two of them. I believe the Bible teaches that Satan thinks he is going to win. He is raising an army, and if not an army, then he is definately still looking for admirerers, just like he was doing before his fall.

    We need to get the cartoon devil out of our mind, and stay rooted in scriptural teaching. Satan is not the keeper of hell, there to torture souls. He is not a big red guy with horns, a pointed tail, and a pitchfork. Lucifer was the most beautiful angel in heaven, and we are warned not to be surprised that he has “transformed himself into an angel of light.” We are also told “he walks the earth to and fro like a lion seeking whom he may devour.” He is here, and he makes sin look good, not ugly.

  18. It should be noted that Satan doesn’t steal any souls without God’s explicit allowance of each theft, as in the case of Job. It’s hardly the case of a war between God and the devil, and more a case of a wise master making efficient use of both wicked and faithful servants.

    If Satan does have an ultimate goal, I’d imagine it would be to cease to exist, but this is outside his power, just as it is for us. To come as close as possible to achieving this goal, he opposes good wherever he can, since evil tends towards non-existence. So he does seek the ruin of souls but not so much as a concrete goal of his own, but as reaction to God’s good plans.

  19. Let’s not forget The Screwtape Letters either. Lots of Christians have read that book so as to better understand temptation, but it, like Paradise Lost, also depicts a devil (whom Screwtape calls “Our Father Below”) who reigns over hell and is trying to take as many souls as possible with it.

    In the process of gleaning wheat from that book, I suspect a lot of Christians are also unconsciously picking up a few weeds. (Thanks, Fr. Terry, for reminding me of that parable.)

  20. I just want to point out that 1 Peter 5:8 may be a reference to a literal Satan figure, but more likely it is a reference to the martyrdom of Christians eaten by lions. This was a common form on entertainment in the ancient world.

  21. “If Satan is said to be “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” what’s his ultimate end if he is merely indifferent to his own anticipated outcome? What is working towards? What is his goal if not to prevent souls from coming to God?”

    Some of you guys sound so sure about Satan being “in” people. There’s no chance that’s a metaphor or anything, is there? Or is demon possession the real cause of evil?

    In all seriousness, I don’t know how serious some of you mean for people to take demons. Lewis warns us against getting worked up about them, but if I were an idiot (which I am), and I believed that demons were everything people try to make them out of Scripture, I don’t see how I wouldn’t go absolutely insane thinking everybody was possessed by something or other. I’m just being honest.

  22. Clavem Abyssi says:

    Patrick:
    As far as I understand, any rational agent (that is, angels/demons and humans) can commit evil if God permits it. Thus, you don’t need to be influenced at all by a devil to commit evil.

    Devils can influence by suggestion, by deception and also by domination of the will, which is called possession. A possessed person is said to have a devil “inside them” because the person has been corrupted in a tangible, physical way, much like how a person’s neurology is altered if one does drugs, watches porn, reads blogs, etc… If drugs were sentient, we might say that drugs possess a person, since they certainly leave a trail of destruction in their users. These are anthropomorphisms but not metaphors. We are not using supernatural imagery to explain a natural occurrence.

    So it’s real and a real danger. I’m pretty sure that deep in my will, I am possessed by a host of demons and I have been for years, and will likely carry them with me for years to come. My prayer is that God will “create in me a clean heart and restore a right spirit within my bowels” (and also that St.Michael will, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits, but that might open another kettle of fish!)

  23. Demons are quite real, but the believer is protected from possession. God does not share His temple with demons. We are sealed by the Holy Ghost 2cr1:22
    eph1:13 eph4:30.
    What is cleansed by
    God is sealed by Him until judgment. We can be hurt by others under demonic influence, but nothing above or below visible or invisible can take control of the adopted child of the Most High God.

  24. Matthew 25:41 – Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

    This indicates to me the following:
    – God prepared hell for the devil and his angels, not for human beings.
    – The devil does not (and will not) “rule” hell, nor is he present there now.
    – There is an actual hell where people are going, but to say that the devil “wants” them there is probably inaccurate. The devil’s purpose is to thwart God’s purpose in the hear and now.

  25. “here and now,” that is

  26. Well its open thread so here is my chance to ask something that has bugged me for along time.

    If satan knows the scriptures… then that means he knows revelation.. so he knows how he is going to end up.. then why doesn’t this knowledge affect he decision making process?

    I mean he knows he’s going to lose, why not call for a truce or something?

  27. Mike:
    My two cents.

    The angels are not capable of change. They are eternal beings. What is eternal cannot change. In how they interact with us, they sometimes appears to be “in time” and making decisions in the way that God does, but clearly God does not change and neither do the angels.

    It is true that the angels made a decision, but it is one eternal decision for or against God. Thus, Satan will never repent and Gabriel will never rebel, because past and future have no meaning for eternal beings.

  28. I seriously doubt that Satan believes he is going to hell. i think he is happy to have us participate in his rebellion, but who says he is convinced of the outcome?

  29. Thanks Clavem! I love that kind of talk 🙂

  30. I notice that the South Park devil shares your aesthetic for facial hair…

  31. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    We need to get the cartoon devil out of our mind, and stay rooted in scriptural teaching. Satan is not the keeper of hell, there to torture souls. He is not a big red guy with horns, a pointed tail, and a pitchfork. — Clark

    Back in my college days, one of my dorm roomies (the flaky Christian one) put it this way (after a lot of Tolkien immersion):

    “When you hear preaching about Satan, don’t think of ‘a big red guy with horns and a pitchfork.’ Think SAURON for real.”

    (Yes, I know it’s Morgoth, not Sauron, in the Ainulindale and Silmarillion; and that Sauron was originally Morgoth’s number 2 until he took over after the First Age. This was before the Silmarillion was published.)

    Lucifer was the most beautiful angel in heaven, and we are warned not to be surprised that he has “transformed himself into an angel of light.” — Clark

    Again with the Tolkien references, remember the Akallabeth, the story of the corruption and destruction of Lost Numenor? How they captured Sauron and took him captive to Numenor, at which point Sauron (in his pleasing form as Annatar, Bringer of Gifts, which he first used to con the Elves into forging the Rings) deceived them to their destruction and that of the Second Age?

  32. Mike (the commenter, not iMonk)

    Adam was told if he ate the fruit, he would die. The knowledge didn’t change his decision. He decided not to believe the information he was being given. Satan knows the scriptures, but does not believe the prophecy is true. He is aware of the prophetic scripture, but plans to beat God and prove the Bible wrong.

    Satan tempted Jesus, offering kingdoms of the earth in exchange for worship. Satan thought he could derail God’s plan of salvation. He knew what the prophecies were, but tried to prevent them from taking place.

  33. misery loves company.

  34. Satan still has some of the original qualities of Lucifer, and to the natural man this “light” is easily mistaken for The Light.

    Satan has lost the glory of the Presence.
    Never again will the Man of Sin abide in the Shekenah of the Adonai. Ever.

  35. “So it’s real and a real danger. I’m pretty sure that deep in my will, I am possessed by a host of demons and I have been for years, and will likely carry them with me for years to come.”

    This sounds totally hopeless to me. It sounds like more like Zoroaster than Christianity.

    Do you think it would hurt anything if I just believed demons were a myth or something? Ethics is hard enough without trying to introduce supernatural evil powers who can just talk into our thoughts whenever they want. I’d prefer to believe the world I actually live in is a sensible place.

    But isn’t it hard, if you believe demons are everywhere, to figure out the people around you? You never know if they’re possessed or diseased or mean – and even if you thought you were sure, how could you know that You weren’t being influenced by a demon? How do you behave in a universe shredded up with spiritual dimensions? How do you make friends? How do you not be schizophrenic?

  36. Jeremiah Lawson says:

    Clavem, Scripture doesn’t say that angels are eternal. They may live “forever” but that is not because they are inherently incapable of death. The basic problem with saying eternal beings cannot changes is that Genesis is clear that all the things God created were created good, therefore at some point in time creation chose to rebel against God. Now if Genesis 1-2 presents a cosmology in which “let us” refers not to the Trinity but to a heavenly court then it might be possible to explain rebellion among the angels as being possible. But everything that was created, including the serpent, was created good.
    If an eternal being cannot change an eternal being that is in rebellion against God was always in rebellion, thus Patrick Lynch’s salient counterpoint.

    Another signifcant consideration with the claim that an eternal being doesn’t change is hypostatic union and the Incarnation. If Jesus is fully God and fully man then when Luke says that Jesus grew in knowledge and stature among men does that mean it refers only to Jesus’ human nature? Perhaps we could say that Jesus’ divine nature never changed even after the Incarnation. That, I suppose, would be a consistent position regarding Jesus’ divine and human natures but it would help to spell that out.

    The bearing this has on the devil is that simply stating that eternal beings cannot change isn’t necessarily a claim that derives from a biblical text. If God is able to do new things no one has seen before or imagined that suggests that an eternal being is capable of doing new things at will within its nature. At another level it raises the question of whether or not we can meaningfully speak of eternal beings having actual freedom of will if they are incapable of change.

  37. “If satan knows the scriptures… then that means he knows revelation.. so he knows how he is going to end up.. then why doesn’t this knowledge affect he decision making process?”

    Questions like this make me think that, with the wrong ontological presumption, (I say this in like, every thread I post in lately…) the Bible is self-refuting: depending on what you suppose our existence is, the questions in your teeth spoil the milk before it gets in you.

    Does it make sense to ask if the Devil makes decisions? Does it make sense to even ask if God makes decisions? Decisions presume deliberation, which is when an intelligence convenes an account of the known and the unknown and the contingency and discerns an action for the occasion. Scriptures say God makes decisions – but he’s omniscient. What occasions God to consult Himself? Decisions are for situations and contexts. We make decisions because we have problems. Does the Devil have problems? Does God? Do they BOTH know our problems? Are we their only problems?

    Those are CCD questions. I don’t know if they’re legitimate, but a heavily “spiritual” read of the Bible will reply to any philosophical dialectic with spiritism or worse.

    I read this and asked myself, “Jesus didn’t even have the New Testament. Does the Devil know that part, now that Jesus is gone? Is the Devil everywhere at once in time, like the Holy Spirit? Can the Devil hear our prayers? If the Devil were in the minds of the people who put the Bible together, either the copiers or the printers) could he introduce error into it? If the Devil has read the Bible, and he can pervert my thoughts, how do I know my sustained learning of Scripture is reliable? Am I informing myself sinfully? How could I know for sure? How could I trust somebody else’s answer to this? They’re just as bad, right? Maybe -I- don’t know what Revelations is. I can’t trust myself, can I?”

    If I thought that the Devil were everywhere and capable of getting me to get myself damned, I couldn’t answer any of those questions to any satisfaction. I’d make myself crazy, throttling between desperate prayer and total paranoia anytime anything happened to me or I had to make a decision. I’d never be able to enjoy anything. I’d feel besieged.

    If I couldn’t assume my thoughts were free of devils, I don’t think I could believe that God loves me.

    I have no idea if a poster in this thread is possessed by multiple demons or not. But if I lean towards an ontology that might allow it, I lose the ability to make sense of the rest of my life, and I have no way of finding out for sure about him either.

  38. I’m really not trying to be a smart-guy here. Those of you who are not unsure on Satan have me at a disadvantage. I just really have no idea how to make sense of Satan or devils or demons, no matter how many Scripture references I read. And the more people I read or meet that are CERTAIN, the more conflicted the whole thing seems to me.

  39. While prophecy may be figuratively or symbolically revealed, we can expect it to be literally fulfilled. Messiah who was to come was portrayed as the bronze serpent, which was lifted up on a pole (Numbers 21:8; John 3:14, Whether in symbol, in figure, or in direct statement, the prophecies of the Old Testament which have already been fulfilled were fulfilled literally. We should therefore expect that the prophecies which remain unfulfilled, those which pertain to the second coming of our Lord, “will be literally fulfilled.”
    Numbers 21:8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
    John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:( On the cross. So let us look to the cross where Jesus died.)
    The promise that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem in Micah 5:2 is an example of a direct prophecy. Even the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders of Jerusalem recognized this in Matthew 2:1-6. See below
    1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
    But Matthew’s other “prophecies” in the first chapters of his Gospel are far from direct. Who would have ever read Hosea 11:1 When Israel (JESUS) was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
    Who would have ever read and thought that this was a prophecy that Jesus would be brought by His parents out of Egypt and back to the land of Israel after Herod was dead.
    (Matthew 2:14-15 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
    And yet Matthew tells his readers this fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea 11:1. Some prophecies were recognized as such only after their fulfillment. We would call these >“indirect prophecies. Micah 5:3> “Jumps” two thousand years to their return to the land and is prophecied by paul in Romans 11:25… Micah 5:3>Therefore will he give them up, (The Jewish people) until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: (This is the Church and Isreal at the coming of Jesus) then the remnant of his (Jesus) brethren (Jewish return to Isreal 1914 – 1948 and onward) shall return unto the children of Israel. “Note” from all over the world.) (Let us keep this in mind as we read Isaiah 14 about O LUCIFER.)= A Latin Word for Son of the light.
    A direct prophecy by a PROVERB “KJV”to the king of Babylon. ( Only in KJV. Not in NIV ?.
    “HOW ART THOU FALLEN FROM HEAVEN, (Out of Favor) O LUCIFER,
    The name “Lucifer is found only once in the Scriptures, as quoted above, from Isaiah 14:12, and the popular belief held by many is that this is a reference ONLY APPLICABLE TO THE DEVIL. Over many centuries, people have been taught that this mysterious personage was once in heaven, but was cast out because of rebellion against God. Why such a belief should be held, is hard to understand, as will be seen from the following. Here is the complete verse.
    Isaiah 14:12-13 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: KJV
    Isaiah 14:4 That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! KJV
    “Josephs dream tells us who the stars of heaven are.”
    Genesis 37:8-10 8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars (His brothers) made obeisance to me.10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I ( Jacob) and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? They did in Egypt. It took years to come to pass.
    Another one like Joseph
    Notice what was going on in heaven in the Revelation of what God gave to Jesus. Not John.
    Revelation 12:1-5 1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman (Israel) clothed with the sun, (JESUS) and the moon under her feet, (Old Prophets) and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: = (Jesus apostles. abt, 2000 years ago) 2 And she being with child (JESUS and his Church) cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; = (Where the people of God were on earth in this heavenly place.) and behold a great red dragon, = (Civil powers over Israel in Jesus day {Rome} having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.= (This was the kingdoms over the world from Babylon to Rome over time.) 606 BC to 1798 AD = 2520 years. (This was a double punishment to Isreal) The next will be the Kingdom of God, the goverment will be upon his shoulders.I have much more, Dillard Munsell dillmunsell@yahoo.com

  40. There are lots of opinions stated here with only a few using scripture references to back them up. Remember, the title of this post starts with “Where does it say in the Bible…”

  41. Jeremiah Lawson says:

    Joe, that’s because a lot of what Christians accept about the devil is not directly, exegetically evident. The light-bearer and lucifer passages now refer to Satan but they originally had a more political and “earthly” referent. Per my earlier posts, there was a LOT Of intertestamental literature that dealt with demonology and diabology that Jesus and the apostles take up in the NT books.

  42. There is no place in the bible that says Satan wants any one to go to hell. You must know what hell is first. It is not a lake of fire. It is the place called the grave. There is another enemy worse than Satan and the Devil, its called “Death”. Its the last enemy that God will destory.
    “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:11
    “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” Revelation 20:6 In his efforts to misrepresent the character of God to the human race, Satan has succeeded to a startling extent. Introduced into the minds of men and women by the “father of lies”, many of the misconceptions about God have become encased in human philosophy and passed on from generation to generation. They have penetrated all levels of human life, and have often been fostered even by the “Christian Church”. Two of these false theories have had an especially strong hold on the human imagination. One is the idea that God is a god of anger and wrath, a cruel tyrant who has no reservations about subjecting His creatures to an eternally burning hell for failure to give perfect obedience to His arbitrary commands. But this is not the character of God.
    Here is what happens to Hell and Death ?
    There will be a day of judgement for those who continue in rebellion against the principles of God’s government. And there will be a punishment as a result of that judgement. The Bible calls that punishment the “Second Death.”
    “And DEATH” and “HELL” were cast into “THE LAKE OF FIRE”. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the BOOK OF LIFE was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14,15.
    1 Corinthians 15:25-27 25 For he must reign, TILL he hath put ALL ENEMIES under his feet. 26 The LAST enemy that shall be destroyed is DEATH. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
    I think this should be simple to see what the bible says about the last enemy and Satan and the Devil. (For he hath put all things under his feet.) Also “DEATH”
    Dillard Munsell dillmunsell@yahoo.com

  43. Dillard, none of what you said made any sense to me. I looked up your verses and read your words a couple times, and I didn’t make the same connections you did.

    I get the feeling I’m not the only one here, either.

    You did mention something I could respond to, though. If Christians have been teaching each other error, and your answer about demons seems like an exegetical invention – and you imply that the reason most people don’t see it your way is because Satan can teach Christians about the nature of God..

    ..couldn’t they say the same thing about your view?

    I’m not attacking it exactly, I just don’t know how these beliefs work for you.

  44. Jeremiah Lawson says:

    Patrick, there’s a few books about the devil by Russell I’ve alluded to earlier if the topic interests you. He’s a Catholic scholar whose works are considered standard historical overviews of Christian and Jewish teaching and how it developed.

    Within Protestantism Susan Garrett has written a couple of books I have found useful, The Demise of the Devil in the writings of Luke, and the Temptation of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. She and Russell do a good job of explaining how part of the challenge of interpreting biblical passages about demons and the devil comes from the tacit acceptance of intertestamental literature and how Christians can approach that.

    A lot of the trouble in this field is that it is a secondary subject to Jesus and as Russell dryly noted, the only real difference between Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation era was that they disagreed on who the Antichrist was (either the Pope or Luther or some other Protestant depending on who you talked to!).

    While it is certainly possible for demons to both exist and make suggestions James writes that our own evil desires spur us on. Most of us don’t need demonic help to be at our worst. Thanks to the twin paths of rationalism and fundamentalism people tend to reflexively go one way or the other. If Christians profess belief in God at all then denying the possibility of the existence of the devil or the relevance of the devil presents problems. As Russell put it, the Christian faith represents a form of modified dualism in terms of its moral universe, which has been found necessary so that God Himself is not considered the author of evil, a necessity in a purely monistic understanding of how morality may exist in the universe.

    That gets you back to Baudilair (sic) and “if there is a God he is the devil” stuff or toward pantheism. So for Christians we cannot make light of the existence of the devil if we build our faith on a man rising from the dead as has been said about Jesus for years. After all, the only thing that would be more absurd to assert than the existence of a devil is that Jesus is Lord and Savior and has defeated the devil that some aren’t sure exists.

  45. Jeremiah, thanks. Can’t turn down a thoughtful book recommend. And when you put it that way, I suppose demanding that demons all lie down and become myths for me is asking too much. I’m forever wary of the constant demon-possession rumors of Christianity’s hysterical frontier of churches, but even finding a sensible alternative – how do you evangelize THAT? I’d love to know how you convince someone that demons are only -almost- everywhere…

  46. Patrick,

    I think we should be well aware that demons do exist, but we should not be afraid, because God is much more powerful!

    Demons can’t just like that possess us without anyone noticing! As far as I have read up on this, possession is a very-very rare state that normally has clear signs like hysterical hatred of crosses and crucifixes, pain when getting in touch with holy water, talking in ancient languages like Aramaeic without having learned it, corporal powers that are far above normal etc. Not all these symptoms occur in all cases, but normally there are clear signs that something is the matter. In the Catholic Church, ritual exorcisms are carried out only very rarely, with permission of the local bishop, and after careful medical and psychiatric investigation.

    But all this shouldn’t concern you, as I am sure you’re ok. You know, I guess the devil likes “possession hysteria” and stuff like that because he likes to get attention…. Just laugh at him! If you think you can’t, read funny stuff about him like the Temptation narratives, where the devil is so stupid he offers the world to Jesus, if he would fall down before him and adore him – to Jesus, God the Son, by Whom all things were created, Who is the King of Kings of Heaven and Earth!

    Patrick, you’re a temple of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ loves you! He is the one you should be thinking about! And whenever you feel fear of the devil or of possession, just ask Christ into your heart – you know that all devils flee before him. You know: “Perfect love casteth out fear”…

  47. Patrick:
    I’m not overly worried about devils. I’m like St. Paul in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, who complained about a thorn in his side, a devil. As for myself, I rejoice in these troubles and in my weaknesses and scars. All are my own fault, anyways (but these too are a cause for joy). Someone said we ought to laugh at the devil and this is very true, because the more he troubles us, yes, the more he succeeds at hurting us (so long as we do not despair), the more glory there is for our Saviour whose power is made perfect in our weakness. It really consoles me to think of how good He will look when He cleanses me of these things. Were sin not evil in itself, I would wish to be an even greater sinner, if only the name of Jesus be magnified yet more.

  48. This might be of interest to Patrick Lynch and others as it explains at least one Jewish view of Satan as a rabbi interprets the old testament.
    http://www.outreachjudaism.org/satan.html
    I agree with Patrick that the idea of demons lurking everywhere does not help me in my Christian walk. We have enough evil inclinations without outside temptations, but it’s oh so easy to blame — something, someone, anyone! “The snake made me do it,” “she made me do it,” “Satan made me do it!”

  49. Thanks for all your replies, guys. sal, your link is fascinating. I suggest everybody read it. Making sense of Jewish views on the subject give ours some context, to be sure. When I’m a little wiser, this will be an interesting study topic to return to.

  50. Demonology is just one of the subjects of Biblical curiosity that have little actual substance and a lot of supposition.

    Directly from the Bible (Young’s Literal Translation), here are some facts:

    1.Demon or Demons do NOT refer to THE devil or Satan except for 2 times; and, writes “a” devil and just infers to THE Diabolos.
    2.Demon is mentioned 18 times
    3.Demons are mentioned 41 times
    4.Devil always referred to THE devil, the Diabolos and is mentioned 33 times.
    5.Devils(Satans army, fallen angels) are mentioned 48 times.
    5.b Satan is mentioned 49 times: 34 in the New and 15 in the old.

    So,….
    6.) Satan cannot do what he wants to do. He must have the permission of God to molest the children of God, His regenerated, born again, believer in Jesus Messiah, children. Much of this comes from Job, however the principles are shown throughout the scripture.
    7.Now the unregenerated or those who say they are saved, but not, are free game to Satan and his demons. This is where demonic activity occurs from and in. From false religions like the “warm and fuzzy” New Age or Eckankar to murderous cults, Satan can freely hold in bondage and attract those who refuse the truth of Jesus; those who are “self” oriented.
    8.Satan does not wear red pajamas, carry a pitch fork and have a pointed tail or horns.
    9.Supposedly he cannot know what we think, but many times I have wondered about that and have done a lot of study to find out were it says that. I don’t think he can, but so far, I don’t have evidence to that fact.
    10.One third the population of the Angels in Heaven fell to Pride and allegiance to Satan. WOW, that could be billions times billions. The questions is, we don’t know, can’t know and any answer would only be supposition. So, there are 5.49Quadrillion square ft. of surface area, both sea and dry land, on planet earth. Thats 61Trillion Sq.Yrds. There’s only 30% land area out of the 61Trillion Sq Yrds., So that means there’s 183Billion Sq yrds of land area on planet earth.
    11.A sq. Yrd. is an easy arms length in either direction. If you can believe there is 549 Billion Angels in Heaven, then 183Billion were cast down upon. That a lot of demons all around. When regenerates deny access to certain areas, the demons must squeeze into smaller areas. It could be, but nothing with evidence, that demons can change their size. But needless to say, there are a lot of demons on earth.
    12. They only tempt people, regenerated or not. They can’t make us do anything we don’t inherently want to do.

    The deeds of the evil one(s) are through unregenerated and at time regenerated people, or making happen supernatural events through idols.

    They can inflict people with many diseases and mental afflictions, cause supernatural strength in chained up maniacs.

    Therefore, demons throughout the ages have been glorified by writings that tell of exploits by made up stories….. the whole gambit. Emperor Constatines State religion called the Roman Universal Church made up all sorts of stories and down right lies about devils and demons. Stick to the Bible and leave all the other stuff by the wayside.