Throughout Scripture we read about a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. But it is here where we truly see the hell that we have envisioned which is a fiery pit matched with torment that lasts eternally. Dante, who wrote Inferno, had his own ideas of what it looked like and he added a place called limbo which wasn’t quite as bad, but did have it’s negative implications. We don’t believe in limbo but it has made an impact that finds itself in many belief systems. Here is Botticelli’s rendition of Dante’s Inferno which is fairly well known.
The mention of a 1000 year time when Satan will be cast down and then will be let out because, “After that he must be let out for a little while,” reminds me of a statement that we would make in regards to our pets who have to be let out after a little while. But we do see that once Satan is let out he pretty quickly meets his demise.
The overarching theme to all of this is that God is the one who control’s Satan and Satan has no real decision making processes on his own. Our fear of Satan is somewhat unjustified because God ultimately has control over all things including, and especially, Satan.
I have said all along that my understanding of eternal life is both inclusive and exclusive. We see the inclusivity in John 3:16 when we read that God so loved the world. There is no distinction on the earth, God loves the entire world. The exclusivity comes in vs.15 of this chapter, and is found in other places as well, where we read that those who do not call upon the name of the Lord will be thrown into the lake of fire. Sounds pretty harsh, well, because it is pretty harsh. God loves all of us, but we absolutely need to respond to God.