The Scripture teaches that heaven is a literal, conscious place of physical perfection and spiritual bliss in the presence of God (Revelation 21:1-3) for all of those who are redeemed by Christ.
Mark 16:19 tells us that after Jesus had given the disciples instructions, “He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” There are two encounters by people in the book of Acts seeing and hearing from Jesus in heaven. The first is Stephen who, as he was dying, saw the heavens open and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-56). The second is Saul, who was blinded on the road to Damascus. A voice called out to him. When he questioned who the voice was, the Lord responded, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5).
We have assurance from the Bible that when we pass from this life, if we have believed and confessed in Christ for salvation, we will be united with the Lord and reunited with saved family and friends for eternity with the Lord. This causes us to grieve with hope and joy at the death of a loved one who was a saved believer in Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
Revelation 21:4 says that in heaven, “[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the rst things have passed away.” This is the hope that the salvation of the Lord brings.
For as wonderful as heaven sounds, we can be assured that hell is not. The nal consequence for any unredeemed sinner is eternal separation from God in hell (Luke 12:4-5, Revelation 20:15). The Scripture teaches that hell is a literal, conscious place of physical torment and spiritual agony (Luke 16:19-31).
In Matthew 25:41, speaking of the judgment of God on mankind’s sin, Jesus says, “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal re which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Hell was not originally created for or intended for humanity. However, because of our sin, Hebrews 10:26-27 says, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacri ce for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a re which will consume the adversaries.”
Though we sometimes are misled to believe that Satan is the ruler of hell, it is important to remember that God is the Lord of heaven and hell. Hell is the nal resting place of Satan when God calls all things into judgment and puts him away for eternity. Revelation 20:10 says, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of re . . . and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
It is very important for the believer and follower of Jesus Christ to understand who Satan, or the devil, is. He is not a mythical cartoon character with horns and a pitchfork. The Bible tells us that the devil is our adversary and that he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). In John 10:10, Jesus refers to Satan as a thief saying, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” In John 8:44, Christ says that the devil is the father of lies, a murderer, and that he does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.
Who, then, is the devil? In Luke 10:18 Jesus says to His disciples, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” The only accounts of anyone falling from heaven that we have in the Bible are found in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. In Ezekiel 28:12-14, we see the description about someone called, “The King of Tyre.” In this description there are many indicators that this king was not a mortal man. We see it said of this king, “You had the seal of perfection,” and “You were in Eden, the garden of God.” These verses show him as having been covered with every precious stone. Verse 14 says that he was “on the holy mountain of God.” Isaiah 14:12 refers to him as “star of the morning, son of the dawn.” Mankind is much more familiar with the Latin name for these terms— Lucifer.
In Ezekiel 28:15-16, we see that unrighteousness was found in him, that he was internally lled with violence, and that he ultimately sinned. In Isaiah 14:14, we nd record of him saying, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” We see here that the sin that lled Lucifer was the pride and idolatry of himself above God. Ezekiel 28:16 nishes with God saying, “Therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”
Satan’s sin caused him to be cast from heaven. There are many contradictory teachings as to where he is now. Some say that Satan is in and the ruler of hell. However, as we learned in our study of hell, this is not true.
So where is Satan now? The Bible is clear that he was cast down from the mountain of God, but this did not create the inability for Satan to come before God. We see an example of this in Job 1:6-7, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’” God’s response to Satan’s presence does not show alarm or surprise; it is a simple question. In Satan’s answer, we learn a little bit about where he is. Continuing in Job 1:7: “Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.’” This is obviously not an isolated case, as it happens again in Job 2:1-2. We learn here that Satan is in heaven at times and on the earth at times.
The Scripture does not end there with the reality of where Satan is. In the account of Jesus’ life, Matthew 4:1 shows us that Christ was led into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil.” In John 13:27, the Bible tells us that before Judas betrayed Christ into the hands of the Jewish leaders to be crucified, “Satan then entered into him.”
One of the most telling passages of where Satan is and what he is doing can be found in Revelation 12:10. Here, Satan is called the “accuser of our brethren” (or believers). It says that he “accuses them before our God day and night.”