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The Serpent's Destiny: An Eternity Of Regret Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2022 1:00 am

The Serpent's Destiny: An Eternity Of Regret Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 18, 2022 1:00 am

The ravages of Satan show up across time. But the devil’s doom is certain. He’s on death row, howling until he meets his destiny in the lake of fire. In this message from Revelation, we’re assured of the devil’s demise in three decisive stages. Let’s take an encouraging look at the end of the Accuser, Satan.  

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The ravages of Satan clutter the annals of time, but the devil's doom is certain. He's on death row, howling until his date with a lake of fire. Today, an encouraging look at the final end of Satan, the prince of liars. At long last, he'll get his due.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. We're in a series on God's devil, the incredible story of how Satan's rebellion serves God's purposes. Pastor Lutzer, will justice finally be served on the devil?

Dave, Milton was wrong. Milton said that Satan rebelled because he would prefer to be a king in hell rather than a servant in heaven. Live news for everyone who is listening, there are no kings in hell, and Satan is not king in hell. His doom is absolutely certain, as you have pointed out, and for all of eternity, he'll be able to contemplate the mess that he created, the bad decision that he made. I feel very deeply about a book I've written entitled God's Devil, the incredible story of how Satan's rebellion serves God's purposes. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours.

You can go to,, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm going to be giving you this info again at the end of this message. For now, listen carefully. Well, as you know, Satan, that old serpent, was defeated by Christ on the cross. Several messages ago, we emphasized that fact the serpent has been crushed. His head is indeed pushed into the dirt. But just like lightning and thunder happen simultaneously, and yet we do not hear the thunder until later, in the very same way, the cross of Jesus Christ represents that moment in which Satan was defeated.

We see the flash of lightning, but today we're going to talk about the role of thunder. We are going to emphasize the demise of the devil in three stages, and because we have a lot of material to cover, we're going to plunge right in. And I want you to take your Bibles and begin by turning to Revelation chapter 12. Revelation chapter 12 gives us the first stage of Satan's demise.

He is cast out of heaven. The context of Revelation chapter 12 is two great signs in heaven that John sees. And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars, and she was with child, and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

Who is this woman? This woman is the nation Israel. When we hear about the sun and the moon, we're reminded of the dream that Joseph had, and the 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of the nation Israel.

It was the nation who through Mary gave birth to Christ. But there's a second great sign. And another sign appeared in heaven, and behold a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems, and his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. This, incidentally, is the text that gives rise to the idea that one third of the demons, who were angels, of course, sided with Satan. One third of all of the angels decided to stand against God along with the serpent. The book of Revelation oftentimes gives us events like this without a time frame that can be easily discernible, and it will sweep across centuries and give us flashes of what has happened. And so it might well be that this was in the past when he rebelled against God. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth, he might devour the child.

The scene is deliberately grotesque. Here is a woman about to give child, and lo and behold, the dragon is there waiting to see if he can destroy the baby. And we think immediately of Herod, who was waiting, as it were, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem with the intention of killing him, one among many series of events that took place in an attempt to destroy Christ. But it says in verse five, she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all of the nations with a rod of iron, and her child was caught up to God and to his throne. God protected him. He died on the cross. He was buried, and then he was ascended into heaven.

And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God so that there she might be nourished for 1,260 days. And now John takes us very quickly to the Tribulation period, to the middle of the Tribulation period, when Israel continues to be preserved as a nation despite the persecutions of Satan. But now we have a war in heaven, which I take to be at the middle, I should say, of the Tribulation period.

Are you surprised that Satan is in heaven? There are some people who think that this passage happened when Jesus died on the cross, but we know that Satan has access to God in the book of Job, and historically I think it is much better to fit this in the middle of the Tribulation period. First of all, because after this you have the establishment of the kingdom, and as we shall see in a moment, once Satan is cast out, his fury is great because he knows his time is short. Very short.

Three and one half years to be exact. But let's pick up the text in verse seven. And there was war in heaven, and Michael and his angels were waging war with a dragon, and the dragon and his angels waged war. And they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. Their place in heaven was now no longer occupied because they were cast out. And the great dragon was thrown down, and the serpent of old, who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world, he was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him.

Fascinating passage. Remember it says in the book of Jude that Michael did not contend with Satan over the body of Moses, but said the Lord rebuke you. And the same Michael, who would not take Satan on in direct combat over the body of Moses, now is willing to wage war with him and cast him out of heaven, and his place becomes vacant.

What a victory. And of course Satan is absolutely furious. And it says that they overcame him, verse 11, because of the blood of the lamb that is now the saints that are on the earth, and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life unto death. For this reason rejoice, oh heavens, and you who dwell in them, woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down having a great wrath knowing that he has only a short time. Satan is cast out of heaven, and he is now confined to the earth. Now if we had time we'd go into Revelation chapter 13 and see that this is Satan's great attempt to set up a rival kingdom, and God gives him much authority and much ability to do so. We would find in chapter 13 that he sets up a system that is to mimic God. The dragon becomes like unto God the Father.

Then you have Antichrist. Notice in the last part of verse 2 of chapter 13, and the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. The dragon represents God the Father, this beast represents Antichrist, and then in the book of Revelation 13, right here in the passage, you have another beast and he plays the role of the Holy Spirit. It becomes his responsibility to get the world to worship the dragon and the beast. Just as the Holy Spirit of God does not have attention directed to himself but gets people to believe in Christ in the very same way now, Satan has set up his unholy trinity, and there is a beast that does the work of the Holy Spirit. He calls fire down from heaven, he does miracles, and all the world marvels at the beast. If you want to see Satan's finest hour, it is in chapter 13 verse 7, and it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him, and all who dwell upon the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of the life of the lamb who was slain. Awesome.

Mind-boggling. But Satan's first roll of thunder is when he is cast out of heaven and confined to the earth. Now there's a second stage in his demise, and for this we turn to Revelation chapter 20. Revelation chapter 20.

Now let us keep this straight in our minds. If our understanding of the future is correct, there is going to be a rapture. We are going to be taken to heaven in a moment of time.

Just boom. And that rapture could happen at any moment. After that, you have a seven-year period of tribulation in which there are people who believe in Jesus Christ because there is a special gospel that is preached, the gospel of God's grace, I should say special messengers, the 144,000 that proclaim the gospel throughout the earth, and there are people during the tribulation period who come to faith in Christ. And then of course you have the battle of Armageddon during that three and one-half years that ends the last three and one-half years, and Satan is ruling through the Antichrist and all of the world seems to be worshiping him, and it is at that time that Jesus Christ appears at the Mount of Olives. And his appearance is listed in the 19th chapter of the book of Revelation. For lack of time I will not read it except to say that he comes, as it were, riding on a horse, verse 15, and from his mouth comes a sharp sword so that with it he may smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, and he treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God the Almighty, and on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And it is then that something else happens. Jesus now establishes the kingdom that the Old Testament prophets predicted. Isaiah had talked about a time when the law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Jeremiah talked about a time when there would be righteousness that would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, and into that kingdom there are born people. Now I need to say that first of all, all those who enter the kingdom are believers, but they have children that grow up in rebellion, but I'm ahead of the story. Satan during this kingdom that lasts for a thousand years is cast into the abyss.

Notice what it says. And I saw an angel, now we're in chapter 20, and I saw an angel coming down from heaven having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand, and he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, there he is again, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years and threw him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him so that he should not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were completed. After these things he must be released for a short time. In Luke chapter 8 verse 31 when Jesus is dealing with that man, the man who had demons, and the demons are speaking to Christ, you remember one of the things they say is do not cast us into the abyss. Do not torment us before our time. And Jesus actually gave them their request. But here I want you to notice that finally Satan and his demons are in the abyss.

They are bound with a chain, as it were, and they are there for a thousand years. Now I need to pause and tell you that there are some people who believe that this is the era of the kingdom. Years ago people used to sing songs like this, I love thy kingdom Lord, the church of thine abode. And there is a well-known counselor who says in one of his books that because this is the era of the kingdom, the church is the kingdom age, and Satan is bound, you can be sure that if a person comes to you with a problem you know in advance it is not demonic because Satan is bound during this era. I think that's very bad theology. And if it is true that Satan is bound today, he must have a mighty long chain because I think he can get even to the city of Chicago, as some of you may know. But this is the kingdom era, and Satan is bound, and the reason that God is doing it, he is proving one more time the basic sinfulness of human nature. Because even though all those who go into the millennial kingdom are believers, over that thousand year period they have children who grow up in rebellion. Because it says in verse 7 of Revelation 20, and when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and he will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war.

And the number of them is like the sand along the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and that is Jerusalem, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. The Gog and Magog that is spoken of here is not the same Gog and Magog that is spoken of in the book of Ezekiel chapter 37 and 38. That's a different time and that's a different place. But after a thousand years, Satan is loosed, and now he has his final assault on God.

It is really only a mini assault, a small one. But he is loosed and he deceives people once again. And people rebel against God for the final time.

After this, there is no longer any rebellion. And the battle is put down. Evidently, Satan gathers in the city of Jerusalem, the city of the saints, the Bible says here, because what he wants to do is to dethrone Christ. Christ has been reigning for a thousand years, he has been fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies, he is ruling the nations with a rod of iron, and now Satan wants to have one more attempt to try to dethrone him.

And of course, it doesn't work. If the first stage of Satan's demise is to be thrown into heaven so that his place there becomes vacant and he is confined to earth, then the second stage most assuredly is that he is confined to the abyss for a thousand years and he is sealed there and he cannot deceive the nations during that third period. Now we come to the final moment, and this is most important. He is thrown into the lake of fire. Verse 10, Revelation chapter 20 verse 10, and the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever, and thus endeth the career of the serpent. What I'd like to do as we come to the end of this series of messages, as we have followed the career of the devil and his wiles against us and his defeat at the cross and his original rebellion and what it is that he wants from you and me, what we'd like to do is to look at this text of scripture to see with as much clarity as we can as human beings what it is like to be in the lake of fire. And to do that I would like to give you five characteristics of that lake of fire or hell.

I'm using the term interchangeably so that we might know where that old serpent eventually ends up and all those who have followed him. First of all, I want you to notice that this place, this lake of fire, is created by God. It is a place created by God. In Matthew chapter 25 verses 41 and following, Jesus Christ is talking about the wicked in the day of judgment and he says, they will be cast into the lake of fire, now get this, prepared for the devil and his angels. Who is it that prepares this lake of fire? But God.

God is the creator. And I'm fascinated by the tense of the verb there in Matthew chapter 25 because no one is in the lake of fire yet today. People who die without Jesus Christ are in a place called Hades which has no relationship to the concept of purgatory, but they are there, but no one is in the lake of fire. And yet Jesus said that they will be in the place which has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I want to remind you today that as we have been stressing in this series, if it is true that the devil is God's devil, and he is, then it is also true that hell is God's hell. He is the one who prepared it and created it, and I want you to know that because God is sovereign, there is no such thing as thinking that there is a chamber in the universe over which he has abandoned his sovereignty. God still rules, I shall say it, God still rules even in hell, because in hell, which is a place of justice as we shall see in a moment, who is it that makes sure that the justice is properly meted out? Into whose hands does that fall but the hands of God? God rules in the heavens above, and if there is any ruler in hell today, it is God.

He even rules in the hell below. Well, my friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. If you needed some encouragement today, I trust that those last words have done just that, reminding us of the absolute sovereignty of God.

And if you belong to Jesus Christ, you are in God's hands, and you are in God's hands for all of eternity. You know, the reason I wrote the book God's Devil is to show God's sovereignty, to birth faith in people's heart, to show that when it comes to spiritual warfare, we can pray with faith because we are on the winning side. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to

Now if I said that too quickly, I hope that you have an opportunity to get a pencil., or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book God's Devil, and remember the subtitle, The Incredible Story of How Satan's Rebellion Serves God's Purposes.

For a gift of any amount, go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. And our question for you, Pastor Lutzer, is about physical healings. Are they still in operation today?

A Running to Win listener wants your perspective. He writes, Healing ministries say that their power and authority comes from the apostles. Others say these powers to heal ended with the apostles.

I can't find in the Bible where either view is supported. If these powers and abilities are no longer given to people within the church, where does it say in the Bible that healings and miracles have ended? Well, the fact is that there is no one verse in the Bible that says that miracles and healings have ended. However, we do have some indications that they were really taking place during the days of the apostles. And it is interesting that after the time of the apostles, they really did die away. For example, in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 12, Paul says that he was able to do the signs of an apostle. It seems as if God granted to the apostles the ability to do signs and wonders as the church was being begun so that people would understand that actually the era of the Jewish community had been set aside and now God was moving to the Gentiles. Jesus himself did many signs and wonders to encourage the faith of those who doubted whether or not he was the Messiah. But I cannot find any categorical statement that says that healings and miracles don't occur.

I just know that they are very rare. So that's my answer. There's much more that could be said, but I think that that will be enough for today. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. For some time now, we've been learning about God's devil and the many ways the devil seeks to destroy those who believe in Jesus. For all the crimes Satan has perpetrated, a simple death sentence is just not enough. No, God's plan for the devil involves unlimited torment in a lake of fire that will never go out. Next time on Running to Win, a sobering look at the ultimate punishment for rebellion against a holy God. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-03 13:09:14 / 2023-06-03 13:18:03 / 9

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