Hell on Earth: Part 2
In my last post, I explained how we are living in a literal Hell on Earth. Satan was thrown out of the heavenly realms and now he has set up the earth as his empire, with humans as the ones whom he controls. And he does his job well, but not nearly well enough, because Jesus came and took this world back. And one day soon, God will take his people back and punish the rest, with Satan receiving the harshest punishment.
And this terrifies him like nothing else.
We see again and again throughout the Scriptures that Satan and his angels tremble with fear at the very mention of the name of Jesus. One of my favorite verses comes from James 2:19: "You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." And I love this verse because it speaks twofold about the life of a Christian. First, it tells us that believing in God alone is not enough to save us, because true faith doesn't stop there but goes beyond so as to change our whole being. But secondly, and what I want to focus on, is the fact that the demons also know there is only one God. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5-6). We cannot get to heaven except through Jesus, and all who do not put their trust in Jesus as their savior will not get to Heaven, but will live in death for all eternity in Hell. And the demons tried to overthrow the throne of Christ, they cannot trust him as their savior because they hate him. But they also know that they will one day be punished by Jesus, and even in this time they are still subject to the power of Jesus. He is so much more powerful than anything in this world, having the power to control the demons that are the rulers of this world.
We see a perfect example of this playing out in the first half of Mark 5. There was a man who was being controlled by demons, thousands of demons. They had so much power over his physical body that they forced the man to live in the tombs, to cut himself with sharp stones, and break iron chains with his bare hands. This man was the picture of demonic possession that we all fear, and rightfully so. Demons are fallen angels, and angels are spirits, so they love to enter men and subdue their soul and live as humans themselves. But demons live to make a mockery of man, of God's most prized creation, and they torment men at every chance, such as what they do to the man in this story.
So when Jesus approaches this man, even from a distance the demons know that they are done; they know who Jesus is and they know what he came to do, but they hate this. And so the demon "ran and fell on his knees in front of [Jesus]. He shouted at the top of his voice, 'what do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God's name, don't torture me!' For Jesus had said to him, 'Come out of this man, you impure spirit!' " The demons know what is coming to them, they know they will be tortured for all eternity in Hell, and they just want to live as long away from this place as they can, while they still can.
But I also think it is really interesting how they demons call on the name of God to be saved in the last minute. My first thought upon reading this line was, "the demons can do that?" Well, apparently they can, because their request is so empty. They are not calling on the name of the Lord because they want him to be their lord, they simply fear death and want to be spared the punishment. But our God is a good judge, and he knows the hearts of men and demons, and the sacrifice of Jesus is offered only to those who trust in him, not those who just want to be spared the pain on Hell.
But I think a much more powerful passage comes from Luke 4, where Jesus goes into the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray before he begins his ministry. It says that Jesus was hungry by the end of the 40 days, and at this time, when Jesus was at his weakest, Satan tries to attack him. Verse 3: "The devil said to [Jesus], 'If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.' " First, Satan is trying to make Jesus question whether he is the Son of God, and then he tries to make Jesus be filled with enough pride in that fact to give into the devil's request. But such pride is sinful, and if Jesus were to give in to this, if he were to turn the stone to bread to prove something to Satan, then Satan wins because the requirement for absolution from our sins is a sinless sacrifice.
But seeing that pride could not break Jesus, even when he is at his weakest, Satan gets desperate. As I explained in the last post, Satan is the ruler of this world, it is all his. "The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, 'I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.' " Satan is prepared to give literally everything he has to keep Jesus from saving the world, just to say that he has won. And think of what the world would be is Jesus ruled it instead of Satan. I think it would be perfect, there would be no bad thing, even if Jesus couldn't save us. Jesus was given the opportunity to save this world and restore it to nearly what it was created to be, a place where Satan has absolutely no power. But Jesus knew that you could live a great life, in absolute perfection and bliss, but in the end we would still be dead and cut off from God. Jesus came not to save our bodies in this world, but to save our souls for the next.
And there isn't a thing the devil or his angels can do to stop this. They can make this world we live in absolute hell, but in the end they still have lost the war, because our God is so much more powerful. And this terrifies him like nothing else.