The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10
The previous verse detailed God’s protection of the camp of the saints and the beloved city when fire was brought down upon the attackers. With that completed, the attention is now brought to focus on the one who deceived them in the first place. John says, “The devil, who deceived them.”
The verb is a present participle. It rightly reads, “The devil, who is deceiving them.” The words are active and alive. They show that right up until the very end, the devil never stops deceiving the people. His nature never changes. It is reflective of Jesus’ words concerning him –
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44
Of this wicked entity, John says he “was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.” And the crowd goes wild! The one who has brought such calamity upon the people of the world, even since the earliest times, is chucked into the lake for an eternal swim in fire and brimstone. But he will not be alone. John reminds us that this is “where the beast and the false prophet are.” Their fate was noted in the previous chapter –
“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Revelation 19:20
Imagine! The beast and the false prophet have now been burning for a thousand years, and yet it notes that they are still there. With the devil now joining them, they will continue to suffer their deserved punishment forever. John says as much with the next words, “And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
This is the fate of any who will later be cast into the lake of fire. The idea of annihilationism is not to be found in Scripture. Those who are not granted access to God’s paradise through Christ will be cast into the lake of fire for their own eternal swim in punishment. That was noted earlier in chapter 14 –
“Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’” Revelation 14:9-11
This same truth will again be seen in the verses ahead.
Life application: The devil, who is the serpent and Satan, came on to the scene in Genesis chapter 3, the third chapter into the Bible. He now makes his eternal departure from the scene in the third chapter from the end of the Bible – the symmetry of the Bible is stunningly beautiful in so many ways. It bears both the fingerprints and the wisdom of God in all that it reveals to us.
The devil is the same evil character who deceived Adam and Eve at the very beginning. He is a cunning foe, and he has followed the same wicked path since the beginning. This must be noted because, if he was there at the beginning and he is there at the end of the millennium, then he is also present now.
This is what the Bible records concerning him, and therefore his cunning deceit is not to be underestimated. Only during the millennial reign of Christ, while he is bound in chains in the bottomless pit, will the world be free from his temptations. However, there will be an end to his wickedness, and this verse reveals that glorious day.
This is an important verse because it dispels false concepts of hell. It is not a place where sin is eventually purged from those in it so that they can be restored to God. It is also not a place of annihilation. Both of these concepts are proven false by the fact that it has been one thousand years since the beast and the false prophet were cast into it, and yet they are still there, receiving their just torment for their wicked actions.
Further, we see that their punishment will go on forever. There will be no end to it. Unfortunately, for all who reject Jesus Christ, the punishment will be the same. It is not something that anyone will think is fun when it comes. There will be no “getting together with old friends for parties” or any of the other crazy things people say about their end.
There are only two choices for fallen man: receive Jesus Christ and be reconciled to God through His cross or be forever separated from God. The latter involves following the beast, the false prophet, and Satan into the lake of fire. Now is the time to choose, and now is the day of salvation. Make the right choice while there is time. Call out to God through His offer of peace. Come to Him through JESUS.
Great and glorious Lord Jesus, please help us to learn to speak to others now about Your wonderful work. Help our words to be clear and right and in accord with Your word, so that others will be able to understand the glory of what You have done for us, and to be able to avoid the eternal punishment of the lake of fire. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.