We are going to continue in our studies on the devil in our bible study this week. Last week, we took a look at the misguided thought that Satan is God’s equal. It is impossible for the devil to be God’s equal when God created him to serve Him. We saw that Satan was an anointed cherub – the highest of the heavenly beings that God made (Ezek. 28:14) – and that God considered him to be perfect (Ezek. 28:15).
If you missed last week’s study, be sure to go over last week’s study – Origin of the Fallen Angel – before moving forward. This week, we are going to look at the fall of this heavenly being that the Lord considered to be perfect after he had made him. We must learn from the devil’s fall so that we don’t make the same error that he made because it can also lead to our fall. Our goal is to make it to heaven and dwell with the Lord eternally.
Satan’s Fall From Heaven
Scattered throughout scripture is the telling of Satan’s fall from heaven. So, let us understand right away that this is not a myth nor is it a fable. We are going to start off our study this week by taking a look at a statement that Jesus made about Satan’s fall from heaven.
For example, Jesus is recorded in scripture saying, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18).” Now, a question can arise from this statement from Jesus which is this – did Jesus literally see Satan fall from heaven like lightning? Let’s work to answer this question.
Jesus speaks of Satan’s fall from heaven
When Jesus made this statement, it came at the return of the seventy others as stated in scripture (Luke 10:1-12, 17-20). The others mentioned in this passage of scripture were followers (disciples) of Jesus that He sent out to minister in the cities. Prior to sending out these seventy, Jesus had sent out the twelve disciples to minister the gospel as well. Jesus had given the twelve the task to heal with the power and authority that He had given to them over all demons and disease (Luke 9:1-6). To the seventy, Jesus gave them the same task to heal the sick and proclaim that the kingdom of God had come near to the people (Luke 10:8-9).
When the seventy returned to Jesus after ministering, they came back filled with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name (Luke 10:17).” When the seventy said this to Jesus, He then responded that He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Now, when we read this statement from Jesus within this passage of scripture, it can honestly seem like a random statement. So, what did Jesus mean by this? Why did He bring this up and was He talking about Satan’s literal fall from heaven?
So, in the context of this scripture, I believe that Jesus was likening the casting out of the demons (evil spirits) to that of Satan’s fall from heaven. We know for a certainty that Satan did fall from heaven. As we saw in the book of Isaiah in last week’s study, the Lord spoke of Satan’s fall from heaven when He said, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (Is. 14:12)”
When Jesus tells us that Satan’s fall from heaven was like lightning, I believe that Satan’s fall was literally like lightning. When we think about how lightning strikes from a cloud, it is very swift. For our eyes to truly see all that takes place during a lightning strike, the strike has to be recorded by camera and then slowed down. Satan’s fall was swift, like lightning. The demons, when they were being cast out according to the name of Jesus, were falling swiftly, like lightning.
In the book of Revelation, when John saw the angel fall from heaven to go to the bottomless pit with the key that was given to him, John described it as a star falling from heaven (Rev. 9:1). So, again, in scripture we see where angels coming, or falling, to the earth are described to be like lightning or maybe a shooting star – it is very swift. The demons, we should also note, were the angels that fell with Satan from heaven; well dive more into that in a moment.
When did the devil fall from heaven
So, we know that Satan fell from heaven, but a question that can also arise from scripture is when did Satan fall from heaven. Scripture does give us indication as to when Satan fell from heaven so, before we get into the why the devil from heaven, I want to answer the question as to when he fell from heaven.
Now, if we look at scripture, we can draw a conclusion that Satan’s fall from heaven was certainly in a very distant past – ages ago. Satan’s fall from heaven had to occur before Adam and Eve were even dwelling in the garden of Eden. We can say this for a certainty because in the book of Genesis, the devil was present in the garden and he was already up to wickedness.
We are told in scripture that Satan spoke to and deceived Eve into eating from the forbidden tree, as a cunning serpent (Gen. 3:1). We know that Satan was the serpent because the Lord spoke to him in the garden and said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel (Gen. 3:15).” The Lord was already telling Satan of his looming defeat at the hands of His only begotten Son. So, Satan was clearly already in opposition against the Lord by that point in time which means that his fall from heaven had already occurred prior to his deceiving of Adam and Eve.
To further get a sense of when the devil fell from heaven, we can briefly take a look at the book of Job to help us with the timeline. In the book of Job, the Lord asks Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Or who stretched the line upon it (Job 38:4-5)?” The Lord was speaking to Job about laying the foundation for this world – His creation – and was asking where Job was
The Lord then asked and said to Job, “To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:6-7)?” The Lord was still speaking of laying the foundation of His creation to Job but take note of the mention of the “morning stars” and the “sons of God.”
The sons of God, as we noted in last week’s study, are angels – the heavenly beings that God made. We saw that the sons of God would report to the Lord and that Satan was one of them and was with them in our study last week (Job 1:6). The morning stars are considered to be a choir of angels. What we can note from these verses is that the heavenly beings were around and were rejoicing when God was laying the foundations of His creation.
What is significant about this point is that Satan could not have fallen at this point because scripture makes it clear that he fell to the earth. So, we have a frame of time established as to when Satan fell from heaven. This, we cannot say for certain, but I believe Satan fell to earth at a time after God created the heavens and earth, and possibly before God created man. However, it is also a possibility that Satan fell to the earth after God breathed the breath of life into Adam.
The devil’s war in heaven
So, potentially, some time before mankind was established, Satan fell from heaven to earth. The next question I feel we must answer in this study is how did Satan fall from heaven?
In the book of Revelation, we are told of a war that took place in heaven that we can dive into. Revelation 12:7-9, we are told, “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
The war that is discussed in this passage of scripture is a war that took place in a time frame that was after God created the heavens and earth, and before man was well established in the world. This war took place before Satan deceived Adam and Eve in the garden. We can note that this war was between the angels that were faithful to the Lord, and Satan and the angels that followed him in rebelling against God.
Satan fought against the archangel Michael and his forces and he was defeated. Yes, he was the anointed cherub – the highest of the heavenly beings – yet he could not prevail against Michael and his forces. Satan was defeated by the Lord and he was cast to the earth. Again, this is not a fable or myth because scripture is true. Satan’s fall from heaven is spoken of in multiple places in scripture – we have already referred to Jesus talking about the devil’s fall.
In Jude, we can also find another statement about Satan’s fall from heaven. In Jude 6 we will read, “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.” The focus of this particular verse is more so about the angels that fell from heaven with Satan. We are told that the angels left their abode and their proper domain – this meaning heaven.
As we saw in last week’s study, the proper domain for Satan and the angels that followed him was heaven. God created the heavenly beings for the purpose of serving Him in the heavenly kingdom. When they rebelled against the Lord, God would not allow them to remain in His home. So, God cast them away and they all fell to the earth – they left their proper domain for a world that was not intended for them.
Satan became the great deceiver and adversary of mankind that roams to and fro in our world like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8). Those angels that followed Satan and fell to the earth became fallen angels – better known as demons. Like Satan, the fallen angels are rebellious against the Lord and they are wicked and evil like their father, the devil. No, Satan did not create these fallen angels in the sense like how God made the angels but he gave birth to their sin just as he gives birth to those of us that fall and dwell in sin today. Satan is the father of the wickedness that lives and breeds in our world today (John 8:44).
Satan’s Great Sin
So, the final question that I want us to look into in our study this week is “why?” Why did this being that God said was perfect choose to rebel and stand in opposition of the Lord? What went wrong with the devil that led to his fall from heaven? To answer this question, I want to focus your attention on Isaiah 14:12-14. We are going to focus more on Isaiah 14 in our study next week, but for this week, these few verses will suffice.
We read in Isaiah, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” Now, we need to understand what the devil has said and committed in his heart.
The devil’s pride
As the anointed cherub – the highest of the heavenly beings – Satan tended to the throne; he was the anointed cherub that covered (Ezek. 28:14). Now, some believe this to mean that Satan was God’s assistant, but let’s make it clear that God did not need an assistant. I also mentioned last week that cherubs were guards and so, we could consider that Satan guarded the throne of God, but again, God does not require a guard. Yet, with these things said, Satan had the highest position among the heavenly beings.
What we can gather from scripture is that Satan became very prideful; he thought very highly of himself. With how high he thought of himself, the devil believed that he would be like the Most High – be like God. So, the devil was raising himself above the position of servant to being equal/greater than God. Now, what led to Satan thinking this way is speculation, but what is clear to us is that Satan’s pride is what led to his fall. This is why scripture often warns us of being overly prideful and how pride leads to destruction (Prov. 16:18).
So, according to scripture, we see that it was the devil’s pride that led to his fall. His pride set him in opposition against the Lord. The devil never turned away from his opposition against God which meant he was fully committed to stand in opposition against God. What this meant is that the devil was fully committed to sin and would not repent. This is what sin is – fully committed to opposing God and not repenting. Pride is a very dangerous sin and it is what blocks many people from turning to the Lord today. So, we must be very careful when it comes to pride.
Speculation of why Satan rebelled
Now, to speculate just a bit as to what led the devil to think this way and fully rebel against God. I believe that when God began to lay the foundations for the world and for mankind, that it upset the devil. Where the other heavenly beings rejoiced at God laying the foundation of His creation, I don’t believe Satan rejoiced all that much. I believe that the Lord always intended on creating the heavens, earth, and mankind and the angels were one of the first steps in God’s creation process.
As we saw in last week’s lesson, the angels were to have a role of ministering to mankind (serving mankind) about the Lord. Now, the angels, like us, have free will – they are not zombies. Of his free will, I believe Satan was happy to serve the Lord, but the idea of serving mankind, I don’t believe, was something the devil desired to do. (This is part of the reason why the devil antagonizes mankind as much as he does.) I believe that this led to Satan having his own thoughts towards how he would do things; he believed that he could do things better than God.
This thought, I believe, led Satan to finding and gathering other angels that likely did not want to serve mankind as well, to his cause. This is what led to the war in heaven and to Satan’s fall from heaven. So, the devil’s pride in believing he knew better and could be better than God led to his fall and also the fall of the angels that followed him. This is the birth of the devil as we know him today. I do want to state again that this last section is purely my speculation that I have speculated based on my studying scripture.
I hope that you enjoyed this week’s study and that you will return for next week’s study. Next week, we are going to continue in our studying of the devil. We have seen the devil’s origin and his fall from heaven. In our study week, we are going to take a look at the sealed defeat of Satan and how that sealed defeat motivates the devil today. So certainly be sure to return for next week’s study!