|Volume 19 Number 2 February 2017||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
What should be the Christian’s response to or interaction with illegal immigrants? While Christians have the religious obligation to obey the laws of the land in which they live (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:17)—except when the law of God and the laws of men directly contradict each other (Acts 5:29), Christianity does not have a political preference. The harsh, iron-fisted Roman Empire dominated the Mediterranean world of the first century when the epistles of Romans and 1 Peter were penned. Primarily, the Gospel of Christ is about human redemption—not politics.
Whenever and wherever a Christian encounters a non-Christian, his first obligation is to acquaint him or her with the Gospel of Christ, whereby he or she has the opportunity to become a citizen of heaven itself. Subsequently, in the course of teaching beyond redemption, one will eventually teach such passages as Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:17, too.
The activism characteristic of either side of an immigration issue is not the focus of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remotely similar, perhaps, the apostle Paul noted that a first century runaway slave had been converted to Christianity during the absence from his master. Nevertheless, he was directed to return to his master (Philemon 10-19). Teach one the Gospel of Christ, and then teach him to do what is right, even if we personally disapprove of the legal circumstances, which themselves do not directly conflict with the Gospel of Christ.
Current Location of
Satan and Demons
Louis Rushmore, Editor
A reader posed the question, “Is there any verse that addresses the current location of Satan and demons?” Yes, we can reasonably discern from Scripture the current location of Satan and the demons.
An incident during the ministry of Jesus gives us the first clue to the current location of Satan, his evil angels and demons. “When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’” (Matthew 8:28-29 NKJV).
In the first century—parallel with the time miracles were occurring and revelation from God through the Holy Spirit was being received by mortal penmen (Mark 16:17-18, 20)—Satan and his minions, fallen angels and demons, were loose. They knew, however, that the time was coming when they would enter “the abyss,” and the demons of Matthew 8:28-29 (cf., Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39) pleaded with Jesus not to assign them to that destination ahead of the appointment time. “And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss” (Luke 8:31). The “abyss” refers to the “bottomless pit” of Revelation 20:1-3; it is comparable to the punitive side the Hadean realm—the abode of departed spirits awaiting Final Judgment and sentencing to Hell. “The demons asked Jesus not to send them out of the country; Luke says, ‘into the abyss,’ the place of evil spirits; their request seems to be to send them anywhere, anywhere but to perdition” (Boles).
Additional New Testament writers also address the location of Satan and his cohorts. “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [tartaroo, the deepest abyss of Hades] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). The rich man of Luke 16:19-31 was there, as would be all unrighteous souls who have passed into eternity and who await the end of time and Final Judgment.
And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." But Abraham said, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us." Then he said, “I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment." (Luke 16:23-28)
Satan, other fallen angels and demons, along with sinful men who have died, are in Hades. More specifically, they are in the chamber of Hades that the apostle Peter referred to in the Greek as tartaroo or tartarus, where they experience a foretaste of horrific hell. Also in Hades are the departed spirits of the righteous souls, although they are in a different chamber from the others, enjoying a foretaste of heaven.
Boles, H. Leo. A Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew. Gospel Advocate Commentaries. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company. Austin: Wordsearch, 2011.