Derek Prince - Satan Is Not In Hell Right Now
Excerpt from "Casting Down Strongholds"
Now let me point out that Satan’s headquarters, as stated here, are in the heavenlies. We have a lot of language in the church which speaks about Satan as if he were in hell. Hell is a place of confinement for wicked persons below the surface of the earth. My comment on that is: it would be nice if Satan were in hell, but he isn’t. He’s very much at large, he’s very active, and his kingdom is in the heavenlies. Most of you will then begin to say in your minds: “I thought Satan was cast out of heaven.” You’re perfectly right. He was. The key to understanding this is that there's more than one heaven. This is absolutely essential. Actually, in the first verse of the Bible it says: in the beginning God created the heavens, plural; the earth, singular. So right from the first verse of the Bible we have this revelation that heaven is plural.
Now there are two passages in the New Testament which bring this out very clearly. The first is 2 Corinthians 12:2–4 where Paul is talking about people he knew, who had had marvelous spiritual experiences. He talks about one particular person who was caught up from the earthly level into the heavenlies. He says he doesn’t know whether he was in his body or not. This is what he says: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows - how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which is not lawful for a man to utter. Paul says this fellow Christian he knew was caught up into the third heaven. He also says he was caught up into Paradise, which would seem to suggest that Paradise is in the third heaven. Since there he heard the words of God, the third heaven would apparently be the dwelling place of God.
Now I am a logician. I can’t escape from logic. One thing I am convinced of: if there is a third heaven there must be a first and a second. There never has been a third of anything without the first two. So that Scripture tells us there are at least three heavens. And, that’s what I believe. We have a phrase that people sometimes use when they're very happy, they say: I was in the seventh heaven. I don’t think that’s Scriptural. As a matter of fact, I think it’s probably taken from the Koran. So if you’re feeling very happy just tell people: I was on cloud nine. Because, the Bible reveals there are a lot of clouds in heaven. But my point is there are at least three heavens. Let me give you one other Scripture, Ephesians 4:10. Speaking about what happened to Jesus in death and resurrection, it says: He who descended into hell is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. So Paul says Jesus ascended far above all the heavens.
Now, I was a teacher of English as a second language in Africa and I learned there are certain pitfalls in the English language. Some of you may have struggled with them. And one is the use of the word 'all', because you can’t use it in certain situations. For instance, one of my students came to me one day and he said, “Please sir, all my parents have come to see me.” Well, I said, “I understand what you mean but you’ve got the wrong word because you can’t have more than two parents, and you can’t use the word 'all' of less than three persons.” So, when Paul says “above all the heavens” there must have been at least three heavens. I believe that’s what there are. I’ll offer you just my opinion, and I’m not claiming that this is necessarily Scriptural but it seems to me the third heaven, is the heaven of God’s dwelling place. It’s the holy heaven.
And remember that God dwells even above heaven, that’s stated in many places. Then the first heaven I would suggest could be the visible heaven that we see - the sun, the moon, and the stars. So in some way, there remains a second heaven which is never called the second heaven, which is somewhere between the visible heaven and the heaven of God’s being. Personally, I believe that’s where Satan’s kingdom is located. Let me just offer you this theory and maybe you’ll think I’m very naive. Ruth and I travel a lot by jet airplanes. And recently on the way from New Zealand to Singapore, we were flying at an altitude of 39,000 feet, which is a long, long way up. When I get that high I sometimes have the feeling I am above Satan’s kingdom. It’s like it’s easy to pray. You don’t have to fight your way through opposition. This may be completely my subjective impression. But somewhere or other between God and us is a hostile kingdom, which opposes us and seeks to hinder our prayers. And that’s why sometimes we have to pray through. You understand? It’s not that we’re praying out of the will of God, it’s not that God is unwilling to hear but we have to penetrate a hostile kingdom in the heavenlies to reach God.