It is commonly taught by many that the devil was a rebellious angel that God had to cast out of heaven. If you say something enough, people begin to believe it is actually scriptural, when in fact it is not! If you don’t believe me, will you be brave enough to simply read the scriptures with me, completely within their original context?
I don’t write this to be argumentative or to put anyone down for something they have always believed. I know many good Christians that believe the devil is an angel fallen from heaven. So this is written to sincerely help everyone to more carefully consider the scriptures in their original context.
When you do, you will have to come to the conclusion that all references to battles with Satan are spiritual ones, and not literal. And all references to fallen angels are referring to fallen ministers. The word “angel” translates to messenger in the original, and many of the references to angels in the Bible are referring to humans (but not all, as there are some angels that are from God’s heaven.)
One of the most commonly “out of context” quoted scriptures regarding Satan’s fall from heaven is the last one, which is found in the last book of the Bible: Revelation. Which begs the question right away: why tell what happened at the beginning of all earthly time, at the end, in the last of all written scripture, and in the last warning trumpet of the Revelation message? Is not the last trump for the final days?
Here is the scripture:
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” ~ Revelation 12:7-9
Ah! There it is! If we take this scripture literally and completely out of its original context, we have it!
But is it wise to do that?
Are we not warned in the most serious terms from this same book of Revelation to not add or take away from the fullness of scriptures!
Right before this scripture in Revelation 12, we are told that the dragon, representing the power of Satan, is ready to persecute and devour the child that was born of a woman: in heaven. If we take it literally, does it really make sense?
But wait there is more:
“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” ~ Revelation 12:6
So this woman that had a child born in heaven, is now fleeing down to earth, into the wilderness (unless we think there is a wilderness in heaven) and this all happens before Adam and Eve, who were supposed to be the parents of all the human race on earth. Because, according to the order of the scriptures in Revelation the 12th chapter, Michael does not fight and cast the devil out of heaven, until after all these things happen.
Is this already confusing? Wait, there is a whole bunch much more to this incredible story line of “the devil is a fallen angel.”
But let’s try to make the “story” work a little better by starting at the beginning, and addressing the scriptures in a Biblical historical timeline.
After the account of creation in Genesis, the first account we have of the devil’s existence is when he tempted Eve in the garden of Eden.
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” ~ Genesis 3:1
The first mention of the work of the tempter is showing him working through what God created. And this agrees with other scripture that states that it is God who created both good and evil. Even prior to the devil tempting Eve, Genesis shows us clearly that God created both good and evil for the purpose of placing a test before people to see if they would prove their love for him by obedience.
“And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil… …And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” ~ Genesis 2:9 &16-17
Next in the book of Job, we see Satan again as only having existence within the realm of God’s creation. In fact, we see that God sets the boundaries for Satan’s evil work, and the reason is again, to test the love that people have for the Lord.
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord , and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord , and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.” ~ Job 1:6-12
Note the context: the sons of God were presenting themselves before God. The children of God, including Job, are in prayer, presenting their requests before the Lord. Why? To ask from the Lord the things that only God can do for them. True sons of God recognize their subjection and dependence upon God. And so also Satan recognizes his subjection to God, so he is bringing also his request before God.
But note how Satan answers in the scripture above: by acknowledging himself to be completely subject to the Lord’s control. He must request permission to tempt Job. So he asks very respectfully of God’s full sovereignty, as if it is actually God doing the tempting. “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.”
But we know by the scriptures that God does not tempt any person.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” ~ James 1:13
So let us read on in Job further where another interaction with God reflects again Satan’s complete submission to the boundaries set by God.
“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” ~ Job 2:1-3
It is very enlightening in how God answers Satan. He answers in such a way that also reflects that only God has total control over what is allowed with his creation. And Satan is likewise totally subject in the same way. Man has more liberty to make his own choices without asking God, then Satan does. This actually agrees with Genesis where the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was created to give man a choice – not to give Satan a choice.
Could it be because Satan had no choice? Because he was created for only one purpose: to test the people to see if they really are going to be true and faithful to God?
This all seems to reflect the notion that Satan was one of the things God created when he created the earth, for the purpose of administering temptation.
But wait, that does not agree with the “story” people have been told. So instead, let’s go to the next scripture to see what it tells us.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” ~ Isaiah 14:12-15
Ahhh, there it is! Lucifer, the angel that lifted himself up and had to be brought down!
Sorry – there are so many problems with that “story” because it is totally out of context.
First, right within the very scripture where they claim it tells the “Satan fell from heaven – story” there is something very contrary. If Satan fell before Adam and Eve, how could Satan weaken the nations prior to his fall? The nations did not exist yet?
Second, if I just read the very next scripture, it plainly tells us that Lucifer is a man and not a heavenly angel.
“They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms” ~ Isaiah 14:16
Thirdly, if you read the whole 14th chapter of Isaiah it plainly states (starting at verse 4) that the words about Lucifer are actually part of the proverb against the King of Babylon.
“That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say….” ~ Isaiah 14:4
This proverb against the King of Babylon is part of a full prophesy against the nation of Babylon starting at the 13th chapter and ending in the 14th chapter.
OK this is not helping at all with the “story of Satan falling from heaven”. So let’s go to the next scripture please!
Ezekiel the 28th chapter.
I’m sorry, but why people want to claim this chapter for proof that the devil is a fallen angel, is a great mystery in and of itself. It is so obviously wrong that it should be very embarrassing!
First let’s read the second verse of the chapter.
“Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God” ~ Ezekiel 28:2
And again let’s read verse 9:
“Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.” ~ Ezekiel 28:9
You can read everything before, after, and between: to see if it indicates anything else. Finally in the verses 12 thru 19 there is a lamintation brought against the King of Tyrus which again shows how self-exalted this man became, and how because of this, God did bring him low.
This style of language is also used by Jesus against a whole city in judgement.
“And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” ~ Matthew 11:23
So we see that God will bring every proud person, city, and country, down low to show them that they are nothing. In Daniel, the King of Babylon admitted this himself, after the Lord had humbled him to the level of a beast. These are his own words:
“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” ~ Daniel 4:37
Let’s now go to the New Testament to find a scripture to justify the old “devil in heaven story”.
“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” ~ Luke 10:18
There it is! These are the words directly from the Lord Jesus! But does this scripture stand totally by itself, as if it should be put in a separate book all by itself? Of course not! Because Jesus was making a spiritual statement in relation to a very spiritual event: people being delivered from the power of Satan!
Jesus had just sent 70 of his disciples out to preach the gospel and to deliver people from Satan’s control. Let’s read the scripture in its original context:
“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” ~ Luke 10:17-20
When they said that in Jesus’ name the devils were subject to them, Jesus replied he saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. This can only be interpreted spiritually. Otherwise you have to conclude that Satan was in God’s heaven when Jesus was on earth, which is a crazy notion for a multitude of reasons!
But if you interpret it spiritually, you realize heaven is heaven because God is there. And the hearts of men and women belong to God, and not to Satan! The throne of our heart’s love belongs to God.
The kingdom of God is a heavenly condition that also spiritually exists on earth right now. It is the place where Jesus is worshipped as King from the hearts of his people.
- “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” ~ Luke 17:20-21
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” ~ Ephesians 1:3
It is now a heavenly place because the power of Satan has been removed from the heart. God is now in our hearts, in the same way he was before Adam and Eve fell in the garden. God created us so he could live in our hearts. The devil stole that heavenly place when he successfully tempted us to sin. But by the mercy shown us through Christ, we can have Satan fall from our hearts, so God can have control again! This is the true spiritual story that the scriptures tell!
“And you hath he quickened , who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” ~ Ephesians 2:1-6
This is why when the disciples preached the kingdom of God, Satan was removed from the hearts of people. So Jesus replied to this fact by saying:
“…I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” ~ Luke 10:18
Are you starting to see the true spiritual story, as told by Jesus and the scriptures?
But there is one last part of the “old story people tell” that we have not addressed yet. The devil’s angels. This is important because Satan actually does have an army of evil spirits that do evil work – in people. The scriptures prove this to be true.
- “For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.” ~ Mark 5:8-12
- “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” ~ Matthew 12:43-45
- “And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils” ~ Luke 8:2
So we see that the devil has an army of evil spirits. Now these spirits tempt and control people.
But Satan also has messengers who speak his message of lies to deceive people. Those with a spiritual message are often called angels in the scriptures, even though they were also described as men. Even in Revelation, this is identified many times.
“The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks” ~ Revelation 1:20 – 2:1
Here at the beginning of Revelation, the angels of the seven churches are sent a physical letter. It is delivered as a physical letter because these angels are human beings that have a responsibility for delivering a message to the local congregation.
That they are human messengers (angels) is explicitly stated later in Revelation.
- “And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.” ~ Revelation 21:17
- “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” ~ Revelation 22:8-9
So God has his Holy Spirit that works through his holy human angel messengers to deliver the truth of the gospel. And Satan has his evil spirits that work through his evil human angel messengers to deliver a lying message of falsehood.
“And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord , and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him , and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.” ~ 1 Kings 22:21-23
We see here, and in other places in scripture, that God will allow a lying spirit to deceive those who choose to love evil.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:11
Note: in the scripture 1 Kings 22:21-23 above, again we see that the evil spirits are subject to the boundaries set by God. The scriptures never show that Satan has power over God. That is why Jesus said “I have all power in heaven and in earth.”
So understanding that evil spirits work through human messenger/angels, we can now read the following scriptures in their correct context.
- “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” ~ Jude 1:6
- “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” ~ 2 Peter 2:4
These angel/messengers made a choice to sin. In order to sin, there must be the ability to choose between right and wrong. That power was given to humans in the garden of Eden when God placed there the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and gave them direction to not eat of it. They made the wrong choice, of their own will, following the temptation from Satan to do so.
Notice that these messengers are kept in chains of darkness where they are reserved until the final judgement. When people reject the truth concerning the gospel, God will give them over to the full power of Satan to believe a lie, and be lost. This especially happens when they get lifted up in their heart and become a god to themselves and others. There is no hope for you once God gives you over to believe a lie.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let , until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him , whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12
Finally, there are some other scriptures that some people claim represent angels who fell from heaven and then married earthly women and had children by them. You really have to stretch it to come to this conclusion, but some do.
It all surrounds the expression “sons of God” that they take to mean “angels fallen from heaven”. But this expression is clearly intended in scripture to identify people who are spiritual children of God, or that were at one time spiritual children of God. People who have had a right relationship with God at some point in their life.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” ~ 1 John 3:1
So when we are saved, we become a son of God and can be called a “son of God”.
In Job, as we have already covered, when the true “sons of God” came before the Lord in prayer with their requests, Satan also came before the Lord with his request.
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” ~ Job 1:6
So now, let us read in Genesis, in the days of Noah, how that the sons of God did not present their request before the Lord when seeking a wife, but instead made their own choice, without asking for the Lord’s direction.
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” ~ Genesis 6:1-2
This making choices without God’s direction led to a whole generation making bad choices according to their own imaginations: so God would have to destroy the earth with a flood.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” ~ Genesis 6:5-8
So to summarize this lengthy, but complete article, we would say: God is sovereign over all his creation, including the devil. The devil can only do what he is given permission to do, and God has given him permission to lie and to twist the scriptures.
He allows the devil to do this to see if you really care enough about God to verify the truth that he has preserved for you in the Gospel. And to see if you will fully obey the truth in the gospel. For one of the devils oldest lies is, “you don’t have fully obey. A little sin never really hurt anyone.”
The devil wants you to exalt him, and yourself, to the level of God. Then you will believe you can also make your own decisions about what is good, and what is evil.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” ~ Genesis 3:4-5