The quintessential case of buyer's remorse has got to be Lucifer’s failed coup attempt in Heaven. After all, when you are placed in an absolutely perfect environment from the moment you are created, (Ezekiel 28:15) it is unforgivable to revolt against the Lord and exchange the glory and majesty of Heaven for the eternal torment and agony of “the lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 20:10).
Words alone cannot adequately convey this catastrophic error and the never-ending pain Satan has inflicted upon himself and all of his followers. And for what? Simply to indulge his pride as he chased his foolish dream to become the center of attention.
It is truly mind-boggling to consider the fact that a single fallen angel was able to convince thousands upon thousands of other angels in Heaven to follow him down the primrose path. These corrupted rebels were seduced by Lucifer and willingly participated in the reckless coup attempt. It was a horrible decision, to say the least. Lucifer had become convinced that he should start receiving worship and praise, rather than God getting all the glory and honor. The monumental consequences of his unrighteous rebellion and lust for power will extend forever.
Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven” (Luke 10:18). When a coup attempt fails, everyone who took part in the coup ends up paying a heavy price. Fallen angels (demons) now find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Demons are ensnared on one side by Jesus, the “Rock”, (1 Cor. 10:4) who “holds the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). Fallen angels realize that like their master, Satan, they too will be “thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” and “will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
Demons are hemmed in on the other side by their tyrannical master, who behaves like a mob boss or the leader of a drug cartel. Satan motivates his army of demons through fear, intimidation and punishment. If they do not carry out their spiritual assignments in an acceptable manner, they likely suffer significant retribution from their malevolent dictator, “the prince of demons” (Matthew 9:34).
Due to their outrageous rebellion in Heaven, Lucifer and his nefarious followers are permanently doomed. Demons are terrified of Jesus, but they are also scared to death to upset the vicious ruler of their spiritual cartel. And on top of those persistent fears, fallen angels are consumed with terror and trepidation over the endless suffering they will experience in the lake of fire. Meanwhile, God’s holy angels have nothing to fear, other than a healthy and holy fear of their Creator. These faithful angelic beings look forward with great joy to the fabulous future that awaits them throughout eternity.
Matthew the Apostle recorded a remarkable encounter one day when some horror-stricken demons revealed their deepest fear. “When Jesus arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tomb met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted, ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’” (Matthew 8:28-29). Demons fully realize that they will be tortured for eternity as a result of their sinful rebellion against God.
In the meantime, fallen angels devise wicked schemes in an effort to steer people away from the Messiah. Jesus described what will happen to everyone who rejects him: “The King will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41). Did you catch that? Hell was actually prepared for the devil and every demon. The only reason people go to Hell is due to their pride and their rebellion against God. Man’s sin results in a sentence of “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).
But unlike demons, human beings on earth today have an opportunity to repent and avoid being sent to Hell to pay for their sins. Jesus is the only way of escape and the only source of forgiveness (John 14:6). The Savior bore the punishment on the cross that you and I deserve to pay for our sins, (Isaiah 53:5 & Romans 3:25) as I explained in my CP op-ed: “When You Finally Realize You Deserve Hell.”
The Apostle Paul identified fallen angels as “the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). They are constantly scheming to oppose Christians, even though they have already lost the war. Thankfully, “Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities, and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15). The King of Kings defeated Satan and his demons once and for all by dying for our sins on the cross (1 Peter 3:18).
Fallen angels loathe Jesus because the Redeemer placed the nails in their eternal coffin. Demons truly are caught between a Rock and a hard place. If you realized “the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15) was your eventual destination, you too would be trembling in a perpetual state of panic.
Sadly, most people today who are on the path to Hell have no idea they are essentially standing on the edge of a volcano. If they die without Christ, they will spend eternity in “the fire that never goes out” (Mark 9:43) where “everyone will be salted with fire” (Mark 9:49). And even though this warning from Jesus is completely foreign to our natural way of thinking, the message is nevertheless true. You see, “It is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).
Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13,14). If you are not a follower of Christ, there is still time for you to get on the narrow road. “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). You don’t have to make the same mistake that got Lucifer and his demonic cohorts into so much hot water.
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.