The Origin of Satan

1. Revelation 12:1-10

In this chapter we find several important events revealed to us that John sees as God revealed them to him. One of the events is a war in heaven. Many feel there was actually a physical war that took place in heaven between Christ and Satan. If such a war had taken place, it would have been an important and decisive battle that would have been mentioned in the Bible long before the last book was written. Yet if a war was actually fought in heaven, it was not mentioned until approximately 97 AD. Doesn’t this sound strange?

Still, let us notice several things in this chapter. Verse 7 mentions a war that was fought in heaven. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels.” A casual reading of this verse seems to settle the matter once and for all, for it states very plainly a war was fought in heaven. Yet let us not be too hasty to come to conclusions.

Verse 1 contains a very interesting thought: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” This says there was a woman in heaven. Yet would we agree there was ever a literal woman in heaven clothed with a literal sun? It seems we would soon agree this would never have taken place.

Now, let’s notice verse three - “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” Here John sees a great red dragon in heaven, but has there ever been a red dragon in heaven? Again, I’m sure we would soon agree there was not.

I am sure the reader would agree the woman is symbolic and the red dragon is symbolic or that John is talking in symbolic terms. I would agree with you, but the point is this: If verses 1 and 3 are symbolic, how can verse 7 be literal? This is not consistent Bible reasoning and becomes very dangerous to the interpretation of this chapter. If verse 1 and 3 are symbolic, then verse 7 is symbolic of something that occurred on this earth, the same as the first two thoughts.

So with these few thoughts, we can see that perhaps there was not a war in heaven and verse 7 must refer to something else.

The book of Revelation is a book that is hard (but not impossible) to understand. When we study it, we have to determine just what language John is using, literal, symbolic, or prophetic. Let us go to some other Scriptures and see if there was war in heaven or not. We will return to the book of Revelation later in our study.

Many feel that Satan was a beautiful angel at one time, and because of his beauty he sinned and God cast him out of heaven. As we study the Scriptures, there is one thought we want to consider very seriously, and that is, can angels sin? If they can, then perhaps the general thinking is true: There was a war in heaven where God dwells. But, if we can show from the Scriptures that they cannot sin, then I hope the reader will be honest enough to restudy the subject with an open mind.

Let us examine some of the other Scriptures that are used to prove that Satan was a fallen angel. But may we think as we read and not read as we think. If we read as we think, then we will try and make the Scriptures fit the way we think, and this should never be done. But study with an open mind.

2. Isaiah 14:12

Here is perhaps the first Scripture that most will turn to prove that Satan was a fallen angel. “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.” As you read verses 13 and 14, you will notice that Lucifer exalts himself, saying, I will do this. I will do so and so. Here they say that Lucifer is Satan and has fallen from heaven.

Before we identify Lucifer, let us see if the Scriptures will not tell us. Now, verse 15: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Here it says that Lucifer (whoever he is) is going to be brought down to the sides of the pit but will not be put in the pit. If Lucifer is Satan, this verse is in direct contradiction to Revelation 20:3 that says that Satan was cast into the bottomless pit and shut up. But Lucifer was not to be put into the grave, only to the sides of it. In other words, he was to be brought as low as one could be brought and yet not die.

Even though we have found something important, let us go on to verse 16 for some more important clues to Lucifer. “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.”

This Scripture refers to a man. Please notice verse 4 and I believe we can see just whom God is referring to. “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased.” Here we can see who the man is, the king of Babylon. But which king? Babylon had more than one king. If you have a marginal reading in your Bible, you will notice that Lucifer (verse 12) means “day star” or morning star.

Early in the morning, there is a star that outshines all the other stars. We call it the morning or day star because it is brighter than the other stars, even though it is beginning to get light. In the Scriptures, it refers to a king of Babylon who outshone all the other kings. Who sat on the throne when Babylon was at the height of its power, glory, and splendor? Nebuchadnezzar, of course. He was Lucifer or the day star that outshone all the others who ever occupied the throne of Babylon.

You may say, it says that he fell from heaven. And that is a good observation. Did you ever stop to consider that heaven has meanings other than the heavenly throne where God dwells?

Strong’s Concordance gives us this definition of heaven other than the heavenly throne, “from an unused root meaning to be lofty” (Strong’s H8064). If you look up the word lofty in your dictionary, you’ll find that it means “elevated; noble, sublime, grand.” In other words, Nebuchadnezzar had elevated himself to such an extent that he did not think anyone could dispose of him. Rather than giving God glory for all his achievements, he thought he had done it all himself. He began to think of himself as a god.

Let us consider some other Scriptures concerning Nebuchadnezzar and see if he was brought down to the pit or to the sides of the grave, as it were.

In chapter 4 of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and Daniel was called in to explain the dream to him. You remember that in Isaiah 14:13-14, Lucifer says I will do, and I will do so and so. Let us see if Nebuchadnezzar fits this description. Notice Daniel 4:30, after Daniel has explained the dream, Nebuchadnezzar says, “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty.” These are the same words that the prophet Isaiah speaks concerning Lucifer or the king of Babylon.

But let us go on. Isaiah said that he would be brought down to the side of the pit. Does this happen to Nebuchadnezzar?

Reading from Daniel 4:31 and on, you will notice that the kingdom was taken from Nebuchadnezzar and he was driven from men. His dwelling was with the beast of the field, and he did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, his hairs grew like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. He was this way for seven years (verse 32) and then his understanding was given back to him and he praised God.

Notice the latter part of verse 37: “…and those that walk in pride (or are lofty) he (God) is able to abase.” So we can see that Nebuchadnezzar did fall from heaven or from that lofty peak that he built for himself.

3. Job 1:6-8

Some feel that Satan had access to heaven or that for a time he could come and go to heaven at his will. But notice the wording in verse 7: “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.” What does “in it” refer to? It refers to the earth, not heaven.

Satan was simply stating that he could come and go on the earth as he willed, as the Scriptures say that he is the prince of this world (John 12:31), and another place it says that he is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). But Satan never had access to heaven. Psalms 5:4 tell us that evil cannot dwell where God is, so how could Satan have access to heaven where God dwells?

4. Luke 10:18

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Here is another Scripture that is used to prove that Satan fell from heaven or was cast out of heaven. Read the whole chapter and you will see that Jesus had sent the seventy out and told them to heal the sick and preach the kingdom of God. In verse 17, we find them returning and rejoicing that even the devils were subject unto them through Jesus’ name.

Then Jesus speaks of Satan falling. If you check with a Greek interlinear, you will find it written this way: “he said unto them; I beheld the adversary as lightning out of the heaven having fallen.” In other words, when the seventy commanded the devils to come out of the people, how long do you think it took the devils to come out, an hour, two hours, a day? No, just as quick as the lightning could flash across the heaven, Satan fell before the power of Jesus’ name and came out of his victims. Jesus is not stating that Satan was cast out of heaven but that he fell or came out of the people that quickly. Satan’s evil influence and control cannot match the holy divine power of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God.

5. Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4

Here it might seem that we have contradicted ourselves, for it does say here that angels have or did sin, and they are waiting for Judgment Day. Before I explain this, I would like to go on to some other Scriptures and come back to these two later. We are not trying to bypass them, for they will have to be explained before we can get a complete picture. But if we bring other Scriptures first, it will be easier for us to understand the angels that sinned.

6. Luke 20:34-36

As we said in the beginning, we want to see if the heavenly (holy) angels can sin. If they can, then Satan could be a fallen angel. But if they cannot sin, then it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Satan could not be a fallen angel.

Here in Luke 20, I believe we will find the answer to it all. Beginning with verse 27, you will notice that some Sadducees came to Jesus (the Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection) trying to trap Him, and they said that in Moses’ law, or that it was written in Moses’ law, that if a man dies childless, his brother should take his wife and so on. They said that seven had her to wife and they wanted to know whose wife she would be after the Resurrection. But Jesus says we do not marry after the Resurrection.

In verse 36, He says, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels.” Here Jesus states, when we come back the second time or after the Resurrection, we will not die again because we will be like the angels. Therefore the angels cannot sin, for the Scriptures say the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). If Satan were a fallen angel, he would have eternal life for angels cannot die. But the Scripture does say that Satan will be destroyed (Hebrews 2:14).

7. Hebrews 2:9

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by grace of God should taste death for every man.

Here we find that even Jesus had to be made lower than the angels so He could die. If angels could die, He would not have had to be lower than them. Can we now see that Satan could not be a fallen angel and that the angels cannot sin?

8. Revelation 2:1

Let us see if there are not different kinds of angels. Again, Strong’s Concordance gives us the definition of the word angel: “ANGEL: A messenger; especially an angel; by implication a pastor.” So here we see that a pastor or a minister is called an angel. Why? Because angel means a messenger and a minister is a messenger of God. But do we have Scripture to prove it? Turn to Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18, and notice that Christ tells John to write to the angels of these various churches.

Some have said perhaps there are angels, and that their duty is to watch over our churches. If that is so, where is the post office in heaven for John to send his letter so that the angel could receive it?

Also, wouldn’t this be going the long way around? Why would Christ want to go through John to give a message to a heavenly angel? Since heavenly angels abide in the presence of God, Christ could have told the angel directly instead of going through John.

Then again, where do we find in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation that a man ever tells a heavenly angel what to do? Never. It is always the heavenly angel that tells man what to do. Can you now see the angel that John was writing to could not be a heavenly angel but it was to the earthly angels or pastors of the seven churches? The ministers of each church were God’s messengers to the people. The word angel then can refer to man. There is much more we could cite (Acts 7:53, Hebrews 2:2, Galatians 3:19, 1 Timothy 5:21).

There is one more we might mention, in Malachi 2:7: “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” The priest was the messenger or angel of the LORD.

9. Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4

Now, let us go back and see if we can identify the angels who sinned. We found out that the heavenly angels cannot sin or die, so it could not be the heavenly angels. It would have to be the earthly angels or ministers. Are we left in doubt? As you read Jude 6, notice where these angels who sinned are kept. It says, “God hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Notice it does not say in darkness but under darkness. At this moment they are under something. If you will check now with 2 Peter 2:4, you will see what Jude means.

If God did not spare the angels (messengers) who sinned “but cast them down to hell (grave)”, they are now in the grave awaiting the judgment. Again these could not be the heavenly angels, for heavenly angels cannot die. These were the earthly angels (ministers that sinned and have died). They are awaiting the judgment.

We have yet further information. Please turn back to Jude and verse 6 again. It speaks of “the angels that kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation.” What do the words first estate mean? If you have a marginal reading in your Bible, you will notice it says “which kept not their principality.” Your dictionary will give you the definition of principality as “the condition of the principal.” Then if you looked up the word principal, you will find it means “the first one in authority.”

Now, we must ask a question; are the heavenly angels the first one in authority in heaven? Of course not, God is. But who is first in authority concerning the churches here? The pastor or minister is. That is why Paul wrote in Hebrews 13:17: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” That is why the minister is held responsible if he does not preach the true gospel because he is the messenger of God or the first one in authority.

We see now the Scriptures do agree and do not contradict one another.

We must put the Scriptures in their proper place for a true picture.

10. John 8:44

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth...” This Scripture seems to be very clear when it says that Satan never abode in the truth. If he was a fallen angel, then he did abide in the truth. But this says he never abode in the truth.

So Satan has always been evil. Apparently, he was created (Colossians 1:16) so you and I could have a choice. From the time of man’s creation, he could choose good or evil (Genesis 2nd and 3rd chapters). When we are told he never abode in the truth, now that is pretty hard to explain away.

11. Genesis 3:1, Revelation 20:2, 1 John 3:8

Genesis 3:1 says, “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?” And Revelation 20:2 describes the serpent as “the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan”. Finally, 1 John 3:8 says, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning...” So now we ask, from the beginning of what? From the time he was created. Can we make it any plainer than what the Scripture says?

12. Isaiah 45:7

Now, we are always asked the question, you mean that God would actually create something evil? God surely would not do such a thing. Remember, my friend, the Scriptures say that God’s ways are not our ways, so let us see if God created evil. Turn to this Scripture and see what it says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” So we find that God did create evil.

You might ask why God created the devil. Why didn’t God create the world without any evil in it? If God had done that, then you and I would have to serve God, we would have no choice. God wanted a people who would serve Him, without reservation, because He is God and our creator. What choice have you made? Are you serving God by dedicating your life to Him or are you living in sin?

13. Revelation 12th Chapter

Here we are back at our beginning. John says there was a war in heaven and that Satan was cast out. If there was no physical war in heaven (as we normally think of heaven), what does John mean? By seeing the man-child born in heaven and the great red dragon in heaven, he must have meant something else. The word heaven in the phrase war in heaven, should not be misconstrued to mean the physical heaven where God is with His holy angels. Since the dragon is a power on earth and the woman represents the church on earth, this conflict is also on the earth.

Just as the first part of the picture uses symbols (natural objects that reveal spiritual meanings), the phrase war in heaven is symbolic and should be considered in the same light. Revelation 1:10 says, or John says, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day.” In other words, John saw this happening in the heavenly realm of this earth. It was revealed to him in a vision, and it was a vision of events that took place on earth. If you would check closely, you will notice that John sees many things in heaven that take place on earth.

So what events is he speaking about in Chapter 12? They are events that concern the church. John begins even before the man-child was born. Then he tells us of the birth of the man-child, and how the dragon tried to destroy Him at birth. He tells us of the war that took place, how the church had to go into the wilderness, how God preserved the church, and that Satan is still making war on those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

But you may ask when this did war take place, for it says that Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels? In Daniel 12:1-2, you will see that the name Michael refers to Christ, for the second verse speaks of the Resurrection. So the war took place when Christ was here on earth. Satan has always tried to destroy the plan of salvation; the final battle took place when Christ was here. If Satan could have destroyed Christ and His messengers, he would have destroyed salvation for everyone.

But Satan failed; therefore, his warfare is not directly against God anymore, for salvation is sure now. Jesus died and rose again and we are assured of salvation through Him. Satan knows his only chance now is to deceive the people, and he was cast into the earth for verse 10 says, “...Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ...”

Compare this with John 12:31: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” There is another thought perhaps you have not stopped to consider. If Satan was a fallen angel, then when you and I get into the kingdom, one of us could fall, sin, and start this warfare all over again! Do you want to live in an eternal kingdom where you will still be tempted to sin? No, I want to be free from all temptation in a kingdom where no sin exists.

14. Ezekiel 28:14-15

There is one Scripture that was missed in the study and to make it complete we might go back and explain it also. Here is another Scripture some say refers to Satan and it tells us that Satan fell because of His beauty. But it could not refer to Satan for reasons we have already stated. What does God refer to in the Scripture?

If you will notice in verse 12, God refers to the king of Tyrus and the city and kingdom that he built. If you have a biblical dictionary or a good history reference book, it will tell you the city of Tyrus was a very beautiful city, so beautiful that it was called the Garden of Eden. It was also very wealthy. History bears this out but Ezekiel 26-28 discusses what made it wealthy. The city was situated in the channel where it governed the ship traffic, and ships had to pay heavily to pass through. The king at one time was very friendly with King David and even to his son Solomon after David died. If you would check 1 Kings 5, you will see that he even helped to build — or sent material to help Solomon build — the temple.

So the kingdom was perfect at one time. But we find that only eighty-four years later, it had become wicked with idolatry and worship of Baal: Jezebel came from this Tyrus (1 Kings 16:29-31). So Tyrus was perfect in beauty until iniquity was found in it. Then history tells us that it was destroyed. Of course, we know who destroyed it. God did.

Material from the book Answers to Your Bible Questions by Wesley Walker.

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Answers to Your Bible Questions