When Were Satan and His Angels Cast Out of Heaven?

The Speculated Origin of Satan, also known as Lucifer

There are two important passages in the Word of God concerning the origin and fall of Satan. The first passage relating to Satan’s fall is found in Ezekiel 28:12-19 where Ezekiel describes the creation and judgment of a vile and vicious non-human creature whose name we find out later to be Lucifer. The second passage relating to Satan’s fall is found in Isaiah 14:12-14 where the prophet Isaiah presents the origin and fall of Satan. (THE DOCTRINE OF SATAN, by H. L. Willmington, p. 21)

How Was Satan Cast From Heaven?

With reference to a “specific” time in history when Satan fell from Heaven, it must be stated that there is no clear revelation as to exactly when Satan fell, but here are limits to the possible time which we may deduce from biblical evidence. “. . . Based upon information gleaned from a comparison of Ezekiel 28:12-19 with Isaiah 14, Jude 6, and II Peter 2:4, and other passages, the following picture of Satan begins to emerge.

Satan was created as one of the host of angelic beings . . . an anointed cherub, i.e., the captain of the cherubic hosts. Sometime prior to the creation of the natural order, Satan became vain about his beauty and position, and his heart became rebellious against God.

Apparently, he was able to secure a considerable following among the angels, resulting in their expulsion from Heaven (Luke 10:18; II Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:4). Since that day, Satan devotes himself to opposing the work of God in every way possible and to attempting to destroy all of the good that God has created in the natural order. He (Satan) is allowed to continue this way for a period but will ultimately be confined to Hell for eternity” (Revelation 20:10). (THE CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE, p. 948)

Before or After Genesis?

If we assume that angels (including Satan) were part of the creation of Genesis 1:1, then their fall (including Satan’s) follows that point. However, it may be that angels were created prior to the creation of the heavens and the earth. In either case, angels (including Satan) were present when God “laid the foundation of the earth” and “set its measurements” (Job 38:4, 5), for it was then that the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7). This involved all the angels rejoicing with God. Satan and his angels fell, then, sometime after the original creation of the heavens and the earth.

It is certain that Satan had fallen before Genesis 3 where the temptation of Adam and Eve is recorded. He fell before man fell; but whether he fell before or after man’s creation, we cannot say for certain. (ANGELS ELECT AND EVIL, by C. Fred Dickason, p. 135)

Why – Pride Was the Cause

Satan’s fall was a direct result of his self-exaltation that was manifested in his pride, the first sin (I Timothy 3:6). Motivated by pride, Satan set out on an irrational course to seize for himself God’s authority over the universe (Isaiah 14:12-14). Some commentators believe that this revolt of Satan towards God occurred after the creation week, but before the fall of man (Genesis 1:31; 3:1-6).

It appears that the Devil became the prince of this world when he led man (Adam and Eve) to sins against God and thus brought the ruler of earth under his domination (Genesis 1:26:3:1-6; John 12:31; Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18). (PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, by Floyd H. Barackman, p. 176)

Satan has been judged by God for his sins, and will be further judged for his sins.

There are at least six judgments associated with Satan:

  1. He was barred from his original privileged position in Heaven (Ezekiel 28:16).
  2. Judgment for his temptation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14-15).
  3. At the cross of Calvary (John 12:31).
  4. Satan will be barred from Heaven during the tribulation period (Revelation 12:13).
  5. Satan will be confined to the abyss during the millennium (Revelation 20:2).
  6. At the conclusion of the millennium, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:10). (Excerpts from A SURVEY OF BIBLE DOCTRINE, by Charles C. Ryrie, p. 94)

The Bible gives reference that there are two occasions where Satan is cast out of Heaven; once with his angels, and once in the future. . . . Since the ultimate fall of Satan is actually yet in the future (Revelation 9:1) . . . Lucifer, himself, shall one day fall under the judgment of God. He, too, will be brought down to Hell in the final judgment of God [Revelation 20:10].

A study of the passage of Revelation 12:7, 8, reveals the beginning of the ultimate doom of Satan. In pre-time (before creation of time), Satan’s early fall was from the immediate presence of God to the second heaven (cf. Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-15; Ephesians 6:10-12). . . . Neither was there place found anymore in Heaven. The weaker the foe (Satan) will be permanently dislodged, never to regain access to Heaven.

Doubtless, Christ foresaw this in Luke 10:17-18. Satan’s forceful eviction from Heaven is a chief cause of the Great Tribulation (John 12:31). (LIBERTY BIBLE COMENTARY, Vol. I, p. 1325: Vol. II, pp. 821, 822)

The Fall of Satan (Isaiah 14)

The Verses that relate to Satan’s Fall go as follows:

  • I Will… Take Gods place
  • Ascend into heaven Acts 1:9-11
  • Exalt my throne Rev. 22:1
  • Govern heaven Isa. 2:1-4
  • Ascend above the heights Phil. 2:9
  • Be like the Most High Gen. 14:19, 22
  • “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell,
  • to the sides of the pit. “

Ascend into heaven

The ultimate desire of Satan was to take God’s place. Lucifer’s first attempt involved his ascent into the abode of God. The Bible identifies three heavens. The first heaven is the sky surrounding our planet, the atmosphere. The second heaven is the stellar heaven which is apparently the abode of angels. The third heaven is the dwelling place of God. When Lucifer determined to ascend into heaven, he sought to move into the third heaven, the dwelling place of God. Satan wanted to ascend above the position and place where he was created and assume the place of his Creator.

Exalt his throne

Satan sought authority over the other angels. Satan wanted to be exalted above the stars. The term “star” is often used in the Bible to identify angels (Rev. 1:20; 12:4). Some commentators believe Satan ruled the angels as an archangel along with Michael and Gabriel. If this were the case, Satan then sought to expand his sphere of authority over Michael and Gabriel and those angels they ruled. This would make Satan the ultimate authority in heaven, perhaps taking the place of God over the angels. If this trinity of archangels exited before the Fall, it may explain why a third of the angels fell with Satan (Rev. 12:4).

Govern heaven

Satan desired to “sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isa. 14:13). The phrase “mount of the congregation” is an expression relating to ruling in the kingdom of God (Isa. 2:1-4). Lucifer seemed to be saying, “I want a share in the kingdom.” The problem was he wanted God’s share. The “north side” is a term relating to God’s presence in Scripture (Ps. 75:6, 7). During the millennial reign of Christ, Christ will rule this earth from the north (Ps. 48:2).

Ascend above the heights

There can be no question that Satan was prepared to attempt a coup in heaven. His desire was not simply to get closer to God but to surpass God. “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds” (Isa. 14:14). Clouds are often used to refer to the glory of God. In fact, 100 of the 150 uses of the word “cloud” in the King James Version have to do with divine glory. Satan sought glory for himself that surpassed the glory of God. Paul revealed the ultimate desire of Satan when he wrote, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4).

Be like the Most High

When Abraham paid his tithes to Melchizedek, this priest “blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:19). “The Most High” (El Elyom) means the possessor of heaven and earth, exercising divine authority in both spheres. When Jesus appeared to his disciples in Galilee after his death, he said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). Satan sought the authority of God for himself. By becoming the most high, Satan would be the possessor of heaven and earth. By ascending into heaven, he would rule angels and ultimately enjoy a messianic rule.

This attempt to be like God is similar to Satan’s strategy today. All of Satan’s plans in the universe are counterfeit to God’s plans. One of the chief works of Satan today is imitating Christianity. He attempts to counterfeit all that God performs (see Chapter 36). The Christian needs to be certain he is not tricked into accepting a satanic counterfeit of God’s best for his life.

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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