The Judgments of God, on Babylon, conclude with the outpouring of the seven last plagues. The plagues are followed by the second coming of Christ, and the death of the wicked and the desolation of the earth. However, Satan and his angels are still alive – what happens to them? There is a prophecy in the Old Testament which tells us what the consequences of Satan’s rebellion against God will be:
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! 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: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. Isa. 14:12-20.
These verses contain God’s response to Satan’s pride, his rebellion and his evil. These prophesied judgments on Satan, are now carried out – after the second coming and the desolation of the earth.
The Earth Desolated
Before God created life on the earth, it was in a form of desolation – “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2). When Jesus returns, there will be huge earthquakes, the mountains will fall, the world is pummeled with giant hail stones and fires will burn uncontrollably – the world is devastated and all life is extinguished – the world returns to a lifeless desolated form. This desolation was prophesied in the Old Testament:
Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof…. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. Isa. 24:1, 3.
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. For thus hath the Lord said, the whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. Jer. 4:23-28.
Therefore, prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. Jer. 25:30-33.
There is a reference to God not ‘making a full end’ – this means that even though the world is reduced to rubble, God still has future plans to re-create the world anew. In the meantime, the desolated world becomes the home for Satan and his angels for 1000 years.
If we compare the prophecies about the desolation of the earth and those pertaining to Satan’s condemnation and judgment, we can see that there are similarities. For example, both the wicked and Satan are confined to the ‘pit.’ In the case of the wicked it is stated thus, “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down…” – “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light” – “the whole land shall be desolate.” In the case of Satan, it is stated thus, “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” The only difference between the two is that the wicked are confined in the pit by death. Satan and his angels are alive, but they are still confined – they are confined by circumstances. Another similarity between the wicked and Satan is that the desolation does not allow, for lamentation or funeral rites. In the case of the wicked it is stated thus, “and they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” In the case of Satan, it is stated thus, “But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch… Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial.” In the case of the wicked there is no one alive to bury them. In the case of Satan, he is a ‘dead man walking’ but God delays his death for a future time.
Satan has spent thousands of years holding his victims in prison. These incarcerations were not in literal prisons, they were spiritual prisons. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that these were not literal prisons, the incarcerations were real. This is why Jesus came to set the prisoners free (see Isa. 61:1; Lu. 4:17-19). Therefore, because Satan was the prison master, what he did to God’s creation, will now be done to him:
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… Rev. 20:1-3.
The angel who ‘binds’ Satan has the key to the bottomless pit. This means that he has the authority over the bottomless pit – he has the authority to unlock the bottomless pit and the authority to lock it again. In other words, the bottomless pit can function as a prison house. The ‘chain’ the angel uses to ‘bind’ Satan is not a literal chain, it is a chain of circumstances. The bottomless pit is the earth, desolated and returned to its original form of chaos. There is not a living part of the original creation there. This is where Satan is ‘bound’ – he is bound because he has nothing to do, and no one to do it to. He has to sit amidst his ruined kingdom and contemplate the result of his choices and the evil he has perpetrated:
Here is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years. Limited to the earth, he will not have access to other worlds to tempt and annoy those who have never fallen. It is this sense that he is bound: there are none remaining, upon whom he can exercise his power. He is wholly cut off from the work of deception and ruin which for so many centuries has been his sole delight… To God’s people the captivity of Satan will bring gladness and rejoicing. Ellen White, The Great Controversy, pp. 659, 660.
Satan has and will continue to construct a prison planet, for the incarceration of the world population and the eventual destruction of God’s people. This will be a prison without walls – a world-wide concentration camp – keeping track of every individual through surveillance technology. Satan will be largely successful in creating this dystopian nightmare, but it will only last for a short time. As a consequence of his actions, the tables will be reversed and the plans that he made for the world, will be heaped on him instead. But it will not be for a short time, it will be for 1000 years:
Satan Reaps What he Sowed
Satan has always wanted to destroy God’s people. The Bible contains a record of his many plans and plots and conspiracies and wars against God’s people. And God allowed Satan 1260 years to accomplish the destruction of God’ people – but he failed. One of the reasons why he failed, was because Jesus forewarned and advised His people how to escape the snares of Satan. Jesus said:
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. Matt. 10:23.
The Bible also contains a record of God’s people putting this advice into practice, including the fact, that God prepared places of refuge, in the wilderness parts of the earth, for the safety and sustenance of His people. As a result, the efforts of Satan and his minions failed. But Satan learnt his lessons. He realized that if he was going to win the great controversy, the only way He could do so was to kill all of God’s people:
As Satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will stir up the wicked to destroy God’s people in the time of trouble. And as he accused Jacob, he will urge his accusation against the people of God. He numbers the world as his subjects; but the little company who keep the commandments of God are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 618.
In spite of his best efforts, Satan could not eliminate God’s people during the 1260 years of papal supremacy. Therefore, in order to achieve his goal in the last days, he has to pursue a more effective strategy. Prophecy reveals what that strategy is. Because God’s people, in the past, could flee from one place to another, his new strategy is to create a ‘prison planet’ so that there is nowhere to flee to. This prison planet plan, is to be achieved through complex systems of surveillance, so that it would be possible to know where everyone is, and what they are doing, at all times. This creation is what John ‘wondered’ at, when he saw the woman on the beast in league with the kings of the earth, and the ten horns.
The Lake of Fire
One of the principles of God’s universe is ‘we reap what we sow.’ Therefore, what Satan intended for God’s people, God is now going to do to Satan. The judgment of God is: “because you (Satan), built a prison planet, in order to destroy My people, I will create a prison planet for you. Your imprisonment will last for 1000 years. At the end of the 1000 years, you will perish in the lake of fire.”
At the beginning of the 1000 years, Satan already knows how the1000 years will end. They end with his death and annihilation. This final outcome of Satan’s sin and rebellion, was prophesied thousands of years prior to the event. The prophet Ezekiel spoke about the demise of the ‘covering cherub’ – including God’s final solution to the mystery of iniquity:
I will destroy thee, O covering cherub – I will cast thee to the ground – I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee – and never shalt thou be any more. Eze. 28:16-19.
At the end of the 1000 years the wicked dead are resurrected. They are arraigned before God, the angels and the redeemed saints, to hear the result of the judgment and have their punishment pronounced ‘according to their works’ (see Rev. 20:12; 2 Cor. 11:15). At this point Ezekiel’s prophecy comes to pass. The ‘covering cherub’ who deceived the angels in heaven and the people on earth, is destroyed – “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone… (Rev. 20:10). And his evil angels with him (see 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6).
For thousands of years Satan has imprisoned the human race and held them captive in sin and corruption. But God through Isaiah prophesied that the day would come when all those who longed for freedom would be rescued (see Isa. 49:24-26). God promised that He would ‘contend’ (fight/confront/defeat) the jailor and take away the keys and unlock the doors of the prison house. In Old Testament times this way of escape pointed forward to the cross of Christ. Since the cross this way of escape has been pointing forward to the seconding coming of Christ and it ends with the destruction of the disposed and defeated jailor in the lake of fire.