Q & A With Sister Swaggart - IX
Where exactly is Satan?
After learning that Satan does have access to heaven, a dear sister in the Lord who had recently lost her husband called, worried over whether Satan could trouble her husband in heaven. “I thought Satan was cast out of heaven thousands of years ago,” she said. “Just where exactly is he?”
Many people think that Satan resides in hell, but that’s not true. Scriptures show that Satan now occupies the earth, the heavenlies and, at times, heaven itself. Something believers should also keep in mind is that Satan can only be in one place at one time. There are other demonic spirits subject to him that are all over the earth, but Satan can only be in one place at one time. Let’s look at the places the Bible says that Satan was, is, and will be.
Satan In Heaven
“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!” (Isa. 14:12).
When Lucifer (Satan) fell, he led a revolution against God, and it is thought that one-third of the angels threw in their lot with him. At that point, Jesus said Lucifer lost his place and position in heaven. In this manner, he was “cut down to the ground” and “did weaken the nations.” Therefore, all the pain, suffering, misery, heartache, death, and deception that have ruled the nations from the very beginning until now have been caused by Satan.
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6).
It’s difficult for most believers to understand that Satan does, at times, have access to heaven, to the very throne of God, but we see in this passage that he does. He appears there regularly for a variety of reasons, primarily to accuse the saints. Revelation 12:10 says, “…for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
Satan In The Garden
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made” (Gen. 3:1).
Although not mentioned by name, it is obvious that Satan is the one using the serpent in this verse as a tool. Of course, the question must be asked, was Satan there personally? Actually, it seems he was using an evil spirit.
But why were Satan or demon spirits even allowed in the garden, or on the earth at all?
There seems to be two reasons, both related to cause and effect:
1. The mystery of God. The reason why God allowed Lucifer to continue in a state of freedom after his rebellion, which evidently took place before the world was brought back to a habitable state, and before Adam and Eve were created, has to come under the term “the mystery of God”, mentioned in Revelation 10:7. We do not know why the Lord allowed this nor has He seen fit to reveal His reasons.
2. God does use Satan. Man had to be tested, and though there were other ways that God could have used, He carried out this testing by allowing Satan certain latitude in the garden. As we know from Scripture, this testing did not turn out too well and resulted in the fall of man.
Satan In The Earth
“And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7).
Charles Spurgeon preached on this verse saying: “An extraordinary conversation took place between these two beings. When called to account for his doings, the evil one boasted that he had gone to and fro throughout the earth, insinuating that he had met with no hindrance to his will, and found no one to oppose his freely moving and acting at his own pleasure. He had marched everywhere like a king in his own dominions, unhindered and unchallenged. When the great God reminded him that there was at least one place among men where he had no foothold, and where his power was unrecognized, namely, in the heart of Job….
“When Satan looks at the Christian and finds him faithful to God and to His truth, he considers him as we should consider a phenomenon—perhaps despising him for his folly, but yet marveling at him, and wondering how he can act thus. “I,” he seems to say, “a prince, a peer of God’s parliament, would not submit my will to Jehovah. I thought it better to reign in hell than serve in heaven: I kept not my first estate but fell from my throne. How is it that these stand? What grace is it which keeps these? I was a vessel of gold, and yet I was broken; these are earthen vessels, but I cannot break them!”
From then until now, Satan continues walking about the earth. Peter warns believers: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).
Satan In The Wilderness
“And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him” (Mark 1:13)
Jesus met Satan exactly as the first Adam had met him, although in much worse circumstances. Satan’s attack against Christ was much more powerful than it was against Adam in the garden of Eden.
Although he had no chance against Christ as God, in Jesus the man, Satan was offered his greatest opportunity. In the wilderness, he attempted to get Jesus to step outside the perfect will of God. Had Satan been able to do this, he would have won the conflict. Thank God, where the first Adam failed, the last Adam—the Lord Jesus Christ—did not!
Satan At The Cross
When Jesus poured out His life on the cross by the shedding of His own precious blood, He atoned for all sin because the sacrifice of Himself, being a perfect sacrifice, God could accept it in payment, which He did. This is what defeated Satan and all his powers of darkness.
“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).
Bible scholar Albert Barnes said this triumph was done “openly,” meaning in the face of the whole universe. He said it was, “a grand victory; a glorious triumph over all the powers of hell. It does not refer to any public procession or display on the earth; but to the grand victory as achieved in view of the universe, by which Christ, as a conqueror, dragged Satan and his legions at his triumphal car.”
Satan In The Church
“I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is … where Satan dwelleth” (Rev. 2:13).
We know that Satan dwells in the church through false doctrine. As we see in this verse, when the church is accepted by the world, something is wrong with the church. Under Constantine, the church was accepted. In fact, many of the clergy during that time were put on the state payroll. Christianity, which was once hounded and hunted, had now been accepted. But to be accepted, it had to depart from the Word of God, at least as a whole.
In the book of Revelation, when we come to the final church, Laodicea, we find that this church, which characterizes the last of the last days and the end of the church age, carries, in some measure, the characteristics of all the churches. So if Satan had a seat in the Pergamos church, he definitely has a seat in the Laodicean church.
Satan In The Lake Of Fire
Satan is not omniscient, or he would know how the Bible ends. Satan, the great deceiver, deceives even himself. He is absolutely convinced that he is going to win this thing, but God has not yet demonstrated all His power against Satan. That day, however, will come.
“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee” (Ezekiel 28:17).
This verse refers to the battle of Armageddon, when Satan will be totally defeated by the Lord at the second coming. At that time, John said, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Rev. 20:1-3). At the end of that time, exactly as stated, Satan will be loosed for “a little season.” Then the Scripture says: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).
So Satan’s final doom, along with all of his fallen angels and demon spirits, will be the lake of fire—and it will last forever and forever.