Is Satan the master of hell?
Literature like Dante's Divine Comedy (specifically the first part of that epic poem, called Inferno) and Milton's Paradise Lost have shaped the contemporary conception of Satan and hell. They paint pictures of Satan as the master of hell, and his demons in charge of torturing people. The Bible, however, says that Satan and his demons, as well as those who follow Satan, will be cast into the lake of fire (hell) where they will all be tortured. Satan is not the master of hell; he is punished in hell (Revelation 20:7–15).
Satan and his demons are not currently residing in hell—they are roaming the earth and the heavens. Peter says that Satan "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). In the beginning of Job, Satan comes before God in the heavenly realms: "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 have you come?' Satan answered the LORD and said, 'From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it'" (Job 1:6–7). These pictures of Satan are not those of a powerful ruler, a master of hell, but rather a wanderer without a home.
The Bible clearly teaches that God has power over hell. In Revelation Jesus says, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades" (Revelation 1:17–18). Satan is not master of hell, but God is. Not only is God in control of hell, but God was the actual creator of hell—it's purpose is as a place of everlasting punishment for Satan and the demons (Matthew 25:41), and when God comes to judge the earth, he will cast them into hell forever. Revelation 20:10, 14–15 says, "and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever . . . Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Though hell is the "eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41), all those who refuse to put their faith in Jesus Christ will also be eternally condemned there (John 3:16–18).
Satan is not the master of hell; it is not his realm to control. Rather, hell was created by God as a place of everlasting torment for Satan and his demons; it is also the place of judgment for those who follow the ways of Satan and continue to rebel against God. Satan is not a being equal to God; he is a being created by God who rebelled against Him. God's power is infinite. Though He now waits with patience for more people to come to salvation in Jesus Christ, God will one day bring judgment on the earth and final judgment on Satan (2 Peter 3:8–10; Romans 16:20).
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