Glory at Abaddon’s Gates
Vicious flames probed menacingly, searching for a victim to sting with brutal delight. Light from the flames added eerie shadows that danced across a multitude writhing in indescribable agony.
Newcomers, hundreds by the hour, are singled out for special treatment from patrolling dark beings in this crucible of torment. Drawing out sorrow upon sorrow, one anguish ceases only to be replaced by another more terrible - this unending cesspool of excruciating turmoil with cries, moans and screams of painful torture mingle with cries of regret. These are the living dead, trapped in an inescapable abode of darkness and continual agony. Hearing their companions in death screaming in fear and pain, but unable to communicate with each other, desperate for relief and the respite of comfort, they grope in the darkness. Their souls are vexed with the sin that preceded them to this habitation of terror.
Lightning punctuates the pitch blackness at regular intervals illuminating briefly the only outstanding landmark, an ancient gateway. The word, ‘ABADDON’ is carved into the wall above the crude steel gates, preventing escape. The doors are held tightly closed with a huge padlock, which had been the prison's centre of attention since the beginning of time. Its surface bears the fingerprints, sweat and tears of despairing inmates as they clawed and pulled at the indestructible lock.
On either side of the gateway stand grotesque creatures with scales and horns protruding from their reptilian-like bodies. Agents of cruelty, their delightful ministry is to guard Hades gates. Intoxicated by the prisoners anguish, they mock all who try to break the lock. “There’s no escape!” Hideous laughter hisses from their mouths filled with discoloured, pointed teeth.
Above of the deafening cacophony, thunder could be heard in the distance. The strange rumble not perceived by the prisoners, their own pitiful sounds obscuring it, but detecting the new noise, the demons halted their cruel play to listen as the thunder grew in intensity. Straining to fathom the unexpected intrusion in the realms where they held gleeful mastery, their eyes narrowed in deep concentration. The sound was more than thunder, it was also a tearing, and in the midst of that, a roar could be distinguished.
A bright light quickly became a piercing brilliance, shrouding Hades in unapproachable light. Suddenly angels holding trumpets to their lips appeared in the sky above. As they blew, the roar could be heard above their blast. Another powerful angel loudly proclaimed, “Behold! The Incorruptible One, for whom the decay of death is impossible... THE SON OF GOD!” The gloomy sky fled away in a burst of His Light and The Son of God stood in all His majestic glory at Abaddon’s gates.
Every eye was riveted to Him in terror. The demons stood trembling, stupefied in His Presence. Unaccustomed to light, the prisoners tried to shield themselves from His blinding glory. As He spoke the demons were hurtled backwards. With blood-curdling screams they fled into the outer extremes of their dark domain. The keys of death and Hades fell from the hand of the ruling demon prince.
Standing in the burning Light of the Messiah, the prisoners suddenly realized that they were devoid of pain. Gathering the fallen keys, an angel placed them in the Son’s hands. Holding them high in the air for all to see, He proclaimed, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”* Preaching to the prisoners, Yeshua proclaimed the forgiveness of sin through His shed blood, “Believe in Me and secure a once only opportunity of escaping Hades. For when I rise from this place of death, these gates will be closed, never to be opened again.”
Striding to the lock, He plunged the keys into the opening. Instantly it snapped apart. An angel flung the lock into the abyss. Demons, driven with hatred for the maltreatment of their lock, followed its flight, grappling to retrieve it.
With a gesture of authority from the Messiah, the gates flung open. Victoriously, the Son led the way and angels escorted the released prisoners into the pleasures and delights prepared for them.
As the last of the prisoners departed, the seething demons returned quickly to close the gates, as the first in a new intake, a man called Judas Iscariot, had just arrived. The lock had been returned to Hades gates ... but the keys were now with the Son of God, forever.
1 Peter 3:19: “... through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison.”
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