Did Satan Fall From Heaven?

In the Seventh Day Adventist study guide series “DISCOVER,” the Adventists say the following under the heading “How to Understand the Bible”:  “Study the Bible verses by verse, chapter by chapter, and book by book.  As you read it, let the Bible speak for itself.  Since the Bible is a message from Jesus, it is not only true, but the test of all truth (Isaiah 8:20).  So we should never let any ‘religious’ belief or principles explain away any part of Scripture.  Trying to make the Bible fit into a preconceived idea will only cause us to ‘distort’ the Scriptures to our ‘own destruction.’ (2 Peter 3:16, KJV).”

Sadly, the Seventh Day Adventists have failed to follow their own teaching about how to understand the Bible.  When it comes to questions about the origin of Satan, they are NOT letting the Bible speak for itself.  Furthermore, they have repeatedly let their own religious beliefs explain away the Scripture, and they have distorted the Scriptures to their own destruction by trying to make the Bible fit into a preconceived idea – an idea first advocated among Adventists by none other than Ellen G. White.

Therefore, let’s let the Bible speak for itself and see if the CONTEXT of the Scriptures they use to prove the origin of Satan can be interpreted as they claim, or if they have distorted Scriptures to fit their own preconceived ideas.

The Visions of Ellen G. White

During the years 1848 through 1849, Ellen G. White claimed to have received a number of visions that were written out and later included in her first three books: Christian Experience and Views of Mrs. E.G. White, (which was printed in 1851; today available in Early Writings, pages 11-83); A Supplement to Experience and Views (printed in 1854; today in Early Writings, pages 85-127); and Spiritual Gifts, Volume 1; now in Early Writings, pages 133-295).  But, according to White, it was not until her 1858 vision that she was explicitly told that her earlier visions must be published in far greater detail.  

During March, 1858, Ellen G. White, now 30 years old, was accompanied by her husband while visiting a number of Adventist conferences in Ohio.  On March 14th, while attending a conference in the small community of Lovett’s Grove, Ohio, White claims to have received what was claimed to be her most significant vision. 

“I felt urged by the Spirit of the Lord to bear my testimony. As I was led to speak upon the coming of Christ, and the resurrection, and the cheering hope of the Christian, my soul triumphed in God; I drank in rich draughts of salvation. Heaven, sweet heaven, was the magnet to draw my soul upward, and I was wrapped in a vision of God’s glory. Many important matters were there revealed to me for the church.” (Life Sketches, pp. 161-162.)

While she lay for two hours on the floor, White claims to have received a broad, panoramic view of the entire “great controversy between Christ and Satan,” covering more than 7,000 years from the “fall of Lucifer” to the “close of the millennium.”

As the years passed, Ellen G. White claimed to receive additional information through visions as needed for her writing work, and slowly the books “Patriarchs and Prophets,” “Prophets and Kings,” “Desire of Ages,” “Acts of the Apostles,” and “The Great Controversy” were written, and then enlarged upon.

The Writings of Ellen G. White on the Origin of Satan from “The Great Controversy” and “The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets”

“Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and who stood highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Before his fall, Lucifer was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. ‘Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering. . . .Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.’ Ezekiel 28:12-15.  Lucifer might have remained in favor with God, beloved and honored by all the angelic host, exercising his noble powers to bless others and to glorify his Maker. But, says the prophet, ‘Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.’ Verse 17. Little by little, Lucifer came to indulge a desire for self-exaltation. ‘Thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God.’ ‘Thou hast said, . . . I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation….I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.’ Verse 6; Isaiah 14:13, 14. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of His creatures, it was Lucifer’s endeavor to win their service and homage to himself. And coveting the honor which the infinite Father had bestowed upon His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power which it was the prerogative of Christ alone to wield.  (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan – The Conflict of the Ages in the Christian Dispensation, Chapter 29 – The Origin of Evil, pp. 494-495)

“While there was no open outbreak, division of feeling imperceptibly grew up among the angels. There were some who looked with favor upon Lucifer’s insinuations against the government of God. Although they had heretofore been in perfect harmony with the order which God had established, they were now discontented and unhappy because they could not penetrate His unsearchable counsels; they were dissatisfied with His purpose in exalting Christ. These stood ready to second Lucifer’s demand for equal authority with the Son of God… A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his followers, was seeking to draw them back from the abyss of ruin into which they were about to plunge. But His mercy was misinterpreted. Lucifer pointed to the long-suffering of God as an evidence of his own superiority, an indication that the King of the universe would yet accede to his terms. If the angels would stand firmly with him, he declared, they could yet gain all that they desired. He persistently defended his own course, and fully committed himself to the great controversy against his Maker. Thus it was that Lucifer, “the light bearer,” the sharer of God’s glory, the attendant of His throne, by transgression became Satan, “the adversary” of God and holy beings and the destroyer of those whom Heaven had committed to his guidance and guardianship.” (Ellen G. White, The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets, Chapter 1: Why Was Sin Permitted?)

Seventh Day Adventist Position on the Origin of Satan Comes from Ellen G. White’s Alleged Visions and her Faulty Interpretation of Scripture

Ellen G. White made it clear to her followers that the details of the origin of Satan were revealed to her in the 1958 vision that served as the basis for The Great Controversy.  Therefore, the Seventh Day Adventist MUST interpret all passages of Scripture about Satan in the light of White’s prophecies.  In other words, White’s vision serves as the basis of understanding the meaning of these verses, and any interpretation of these verses that does not conform to White’s visions must of necessity be false.

Seventh Day Adventists REFUSE to follow their own teaching about how to understand the Bible.

1.  They do NOT let the Bible speak for itself.

2.  They repeatedly allow their own religious beliefs explain away the Scripture.

3.  They distort the Scriptures to their own destruction by forcing the Bible fit the preconceived ideas of Ellen G. White and her alleged visions.

Seventh Day Adventists claim to believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God.  They also claim that Ellen G. White was a divinely inspired prophetess and that her alleged visions were from God.  However, the alleged visions of Ellen G. White are contrary to what the Scriptures teach.  They can’t both be from God.

Therefore, Seventh Day Adventists are forced to interpret the Bible in keeping with Ellen G. White’s so-called visions, or admit she was a false prophet.  THEY HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE!

Passages Used By Seventh Day Adventists Regarding The Alleged Origin of Satan

Luke 10:18
“And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’”

This passage is connected with Isaiah 14:12 and Revelation 12:7-9 to support the doctrine that Satan was an angel who rebelled and was cast from heaven along with his followers after a great war with the forces of the God.

The Official SDA Position:

“As to Satan, or the devil, we hold the uniform teaching of the Word to be that he is definitely a personal being – the supreme adversary of God and man . . . He was, however, once an angel of light, the highest of the angels. He was named Lucifer, son of the morning (Isa. 14:12-14). But he fell from his high estate (Ezek. 28:13-18; Luke 10:18; John 8:44), and drew down with him a host of angels, first unto disaffection and then into open rebellion against God and His government . . .”  (Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: An Explanation of Certain Major Aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Belief, [Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Ass., 1957], pp. 618, 619.)

The Seventh Day Adventist Study Guide Series, “DISCOVER,” says this about the origin of Satan: “According to Jesus, where did the devil come from?  ‘I saw Satan fall like lightening FROM HEAVEN.’ – Luke 10:8.  How does the Bible further describe the devil’s fall from heaven?  ‘And there was WAR IN HEAVEN.  Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and THE DRAGON AND HIS ANGELS fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and the LOST THEIR PLACE IN HEAVEN.  That great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.’ – Revelation 12:7-9.”  (Does My Life Really Matter To God?, Discover Guide No. 3, [Los Angeles, CA: The Voice of Prophecy, 1995] pp. 8, 9)

“Where did the devil come from?  How did he get into heaven in the first place? ‘You were anointed as A GUARDIAN CHERUB, for so I ordained you.  You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  YOU WERE BLAMELESS IN YOUR WAYS from the day YOU WERE CREATED till WICKEDNESS WAS FOUND IN YOU.’— Ezekiel 28:14, 15.  According to the scripture, God did not create the devil, He created a perfect angel, and this angel gradually turned himself into the devil.  Satan actually began his career as one of heaven’s leading angels, standing next to God’s throne.”  (Does My Life Really Matter To God?, Discover Guide No. 3, [Los Angeles, CA: The Voice of Prophecy, 1995] p. 9)

Did Satan Actually Fall From Heaven?

It is generally argued that Satan was cast out of heaven PRIOR TO the events of Genesis 1-3, and that Jesus witnessed that event, or (as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim) that he was cast out of heaven IN 1914.  But this passage DOESN’T SAY EITHER.

Speaking about AD 30, Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”.  The passage DOES NOT SAY that Satan was LITERALLY in heaven OR that he LITEALLY fell from heaven. Jesus makes a comparison indicated by the simile “LIKE”.  (Simile: a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds usually formed with ‘like’ or ‘as’.)

Jesus is NOT saying as lightning falls from heaven so Satan LITERALLY fell from heaven.  He is making a comparison to the SWIFTNESS of the fall of Satan, saying it is AS lightning falling from heaven.  

Luke 10:18 In Other Versions

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (NIV)

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (KJV)

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven. (ASV)

Jesus answered them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Good News Translation)

What Is The Context of Luke Chapter 10?

The context of this section of Luke chapter 10 concerns the successes of the 70 disciples.

“Then the Seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’” (Luke 10:17)

The mission of the 70 disciples was two-fold: 

  • They were being sent to the same cities where the Lord was intending to go to prepare His way (Luke 10:1)
  • They were to heal the sick (Luke 10:9)

The success of the Seventy in casting out demons was seen by Jesus as the breaking of Satan’s power and his subjection to the authority of Jesus Christ.  Satan is subject to Jesus Christ and to the disciples of Jesus when they cast out demons in His name.  That’s the CONTEXT of this passage!

When Did This “Demise of Satan” Occur?

And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” (NASV)

And he said to them, ‘I was beholding the Adversary, as lightning from the heaven having fallen…’ (Young’s Literal Translation)

Robertson says, “As a flash of lightning out of heaven, quick and startling, so the victory of the Seventy over the demons, the agents of Satan, forecast his downfall and Jesus in vision pictured it as a flash of lightning.” (Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament)

Vincent says, “The verb (I saw) denotes calm, intent, continuous contemplation of an object which remains before the spectator. So John 1:14, “we beheld,” implying that Jesus’ stay upon earth, though brief, was such that his followers could calmly and leisurely contemplate his glory. Compare John 2:23: “they beheld his miracles,” thoughtfully and attentively. Here it denotes the rapt contemplation of a vision. The imperfect, was beholding, refers either to the time when the Seventy were sent forth, or to the time of the triumphs which they are here relating. “While you were expelling the subordinates, I was beholding the Master fall” (Godet)… “As lightning.  Describing vividly a dazzling brilliance suddenly quenched… Literally, “having fallen.” The aorist marks the instantaneous fall, like lightning.” (Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament)

Albert Barnes writes in his commentary, “‘Satan’ here denotes evidently the prince of the devils who had been cast out by the Seventy disciples, for the discourse was respecting their power over evil spirits. ‘Lightning’ is an image of ‘rapidity’ or ‘quickness.’ I saw Satan fall ‘quickly’ or rapidly-as quick as lightning. The phrase ‘from heaven’ is to be referred to the lightning, and does not mean that he saw ‘Satan’ fall ‘from heaven,’ but that he fell as quick as lightning from heaven or from the clouds. The whole expression then may mean, ‘I saw at your command devils immediately depart, as quick as the flash of lightning. I gave you this power-I saw it put forth-and I give also now, in addition to this, the power to tread on serpents…’” (Barnes’ Notes)

Walvoord and Zuck, in their Bible Knowledge Commentary write, “When the messengers came back, they were excited that even the demons had submitted to them in Jesus’ name. This was true because of the authority Jesus had given them. They had such authority because Satan’s power had been broken by Jesus. He answered them, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Jesus was not speaking of Satan being cast out at that precise moment, but that his power had been broken and that he was subject to Jesus’ authority.” (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures)

According to Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, “As much of the force of this glorious statement depends on the nice shade of sense indicated by the imperfect tense in the original, it should be brought out in the translation: “I was beholding Satan as lightning falling from heaven”; that is, “I followed you on your mission, and watched its triumphs; while you were wondering at the subjection to you of devils in My name, a grander spectacle was opening to My view; sudden as the darting of lightning from heaven to earth, lo! Satan was beheld falling from heaven!” How remarkable is this, that by that law of association which connects a part with the whole, those feeble triumphs of the Seventy seem to have not only brought vividly before the Redeemer the whole ultimate result of His mission, but compressed it into a moment and quickened it into the rapidity of lightning! Note.—The word rendered “devils,” is always used for those spiritual agents employed in demoniacal possessions—never for the ordinary agency of Satan in rational men. When therefore the Seventy say, “the devils [demons] are subject to us,” and Jesus replies, “Mine eye was beholding Satan falling,” it is plain that He meant to raise their minds not only from the particular to the general, but from a very temporary form of satanic operation to the entire kingdom of evil. (See Jn 12:31; and compare Is 14:12).” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown, A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments)

Nelson writes, “This verse provides a commentary on what the disciples’ healing ministry meant. The reversal of the effects of sin and death, which Satan introduced through his deception in Gen. 3, are portrayed graphically as Satan falling from heaven. Jesus’ ministry and what grows out of it represents the defeat of Satan, sin, and death.” (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary)

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall. In the act of falling would be a fair translation. Jesus implied that the power of Satan was broken, and that the success of these disciples was an evidence of the victory.” (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

Luke 10:18 passage does not teach that Jesus witnessed the fall of Satan in some pre-creation event, nor that he witnessed the fall of Satan in connection with some event in the distant past (such as the flood).  Jesus beheld the breaking of Satan’s power at the time when the Seventy were casting out demons in the name of Jesus Christ.

This passage also does not teach that Jesus saw Satan fall from the literal heaven (the dwelling place of God).  Jesus is using a figure of speech in comparing the fall (or demise) of Satan’s power in demonic possession to the suddenness of a flash of lightning that falls from the sky (often called “heaven” in the Scriptures).

The apostle Paul wrote, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the HEAVENLY PLACES.” (Eph 6:12)

Paul said the “principalities,” the “powers,” the “rulers of the darkness of this age,” and “the spiritual hosts of wickedness” were in the “heavenly places” at the time he wrote this epistle.  Jesus told the Seventy upon their return that he witnessed Satan fall from heaven as a result of the disciples casting out demons in the Lord’s name and by his authority.  The “heavenly places” spoken of by Paul, and the “heaven” mentioned by the Lord obviously cannot be referring to “heaven” as the dwelling place of God.  The “principalities,” the “powers,” the “rulers of the darkness of this age,” and “the spiritual hosts of wickedness” would not have been in THOSE “heavenly places” at the time Jesus spoke to his disciples and Paul wrote to the Ephesians.  So Paul is apparently using the phrase in something other than in a literal sense. 

The casting out of demons by the Seventy marked the beginning of the ultimate demise of Satan’s power over mankind.  That’s what Jesus saw – Satan suddenly losing his position of power over mankind for the first time in the history of the world.  Satan had just lost the power to demonically possess people as he wished.  He was clearly subject to the authority of Jesus Christ, and to the disciples of Christ who were casting out demons and healing diseases in the name of, or by the specific authority of, Jesus Christ.  He will lose his ability to strike the fear from death in the hearts of mankind when Jesus is resurrected from the dead.  And he will eventually lose everything in the final judgment.  The events of Luke 10 mark the beginning of the end of Satan’s power.

2 Corinthians 11:14
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is TRANSFORMED into an angel of light”

The SDA Position:

“The unsaved are in the ‘power of Satan’ (Acts 26:18), and the wicked world lies in his evil embrace (1 John 5:19, R.S.V.). He has many subtle ‘devices’ (2 Cor. 2:11), even transforming himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11;14).” (Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, [Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assoc., 1957], p. 620)

Is there any truth to this position?  Absolutely not!  Satan is not an angel of light, nor has he ever been!  How can Satan be transformed into an angel of light when it is taught that he was transformed from an angel of light because of his rebellion?

In the context this section of 2 Corinthians 11, the apostle Paul speaks of “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:13)  There were NOT apostles of Christ, nor had they EVER been apostles of Christ.  However, because they were deceitful and wanted to deceive the people, they made themselves appear to others as if they were apostles of Christ.  In the same way Satan was NOT an angel of light, nor had EVER been an angel of light.  However, because he is deceitful and wanted to deceive people, he had made himself appear to others as if he were an angel of light (a mere illusion) – whether Satan literally or figuratively transformed himself into an angel of light, you decide.

However, there is nothing in these verses that say anything about Satan’s origin or that he fell from heaven as the result of some great rebellion.  All the passage says is that Satan appears as an angel of light to the world; he is transformed into an angel of light, but it is an illusion, it is not true, it is a deception!

Paul puts to rest the theory that Satan knows anything about “light” when he wrote, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against power, against the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12).

2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6:   

“For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment…”  (2 Peter 2:4)

“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.”  (Jude 6)

The Official Jehovah’s Witnesses Position (Similar to SDA):

“. . . before the flood of Noah’s day some of these spirit ‘sons of God’ materialized as men, that is, they left their place in heaven as spirit creatures and clothed themselves with fleshly bodies. And why? To enjoy human passions by marrying the good-looking daughters of men . . . When the global flood of Noah’s day destroyed all the wicked humans, the unfaithful angels dissolved their fleshly bodies and returned to the spirit realm. But they were not allowed to become part of God’s organization of holy angels again. Instead, they were confined in a debased condition of spiritual darkness. (2 Peter 2:4). Since the Flood, God has not permitted these demonic angels to materialize in the flesh as they did before then. Yet they can still exercise dangerous power over men and women. In fact, with the help of these demons Satan is ‘misleading the entire inhabited earth.’ (Revelation 12:9).”  (The Truth that leads to Eternal Life, [Brooklyn, New York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of N.Y. Inc., Int. Bible Students Ass., 1968], pp. 58, 59)

Five Assumptions Without Foundation:

1.   It is an unsubstantiated assumption to say the “angels who sinned” and the “angels who did not keep their proper domain” are Satan and his demons.  There is nothing in either of these verses that identifies who these “angels” were.

2.   It is an unsubstantiated assumption to say the events of which Peter and Jude speak occurred “before the flood of Noah’s day” or at some time prior to the creation of the world.

3.   It is an unsubstantiated assumption to say the “angels” which sinned were actually heavenly spiritual beings. The Greek word “aggelos” which is translated “angel” means “messenger, agent” (according to Young’s Concordance), and is used of both human and divine messengers. It is used of humans in the following places: Matt. 11:10; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52; and James 2:25.

4.   It is an unsubstantiated assumption to say “sons of God” (prior to the flood) must refer to divine angels. (It refers to humans in Deut. 14:1, R.S.V.; Psa. 82:6, R.S.V.; Hosea 1:10; Luke 3:38; John 1:12; 1 John 3:1.)

5.   It is an unsubstantiated assumption to say evil power can still be exercised by the “angels that sinned” despite the fact that they are “reserved in everlasting chains”. (Why bother to chain these angels, if as the J.W. publication contends, they can still ‘exercise dangerous power over men and women’?)

However, even if these passages are speaking of actual heavenly spiritual beings, there is nothing in either of these verses that tells us who these angels were or when their fall occurred.  To say Peter and Jude are speaking of the devil and his angels, and of a past rebellion in heaven, is nothing more than a gross assumption – an assumption for which there is no Scriptural basis for arriving at that assumption. 

Revelation 12:7-9
“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 SDA Position:

“According to Jesus, where did the devil come from?  ‘I saw Satan fall like lightening FROM HEAVEN.’ – Luke 10:8.  How does the Bible further describe the devil’s fall from heaven?  ‘And there was WAR IN HEAVEN.  Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and THE DRAGON AND HIS ANGELS fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and the LOST THEIR PLACE IN HEAVEN.  That great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.’ – Revelation 12:7-9.”  (Does My Life Really Matter To God?, Seventh Day Adventist Discover Guide No. 3, [Los Angeles, CA: The Voice of Prophecy, 1995] pp. 8, 9)

The Jehovah’s Witnesses Position (Similar to SDA Position):

“In Eden, Satan used the serpent. And so the Bible identifies the Devil, or Satan, as ‘the original serpent,’ hence the one who really introduced rebellion and wickedness into the universe. – Revelation 12:9″.  (The Truth that leads to Eternal Life, [Brooklyn, New York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of N.Y., Inc., Int. Bible Students As., 1968, p. 57)

"Christ would then oust Satan from heaven (1914), the seat of government, hurling him down to the vicinity of the earth, in preparation for putting him completely out of action. In the heavens the grand announcement would then be made: 'Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.' But for the earth, what? 'Woe . . ., because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.' (Revelation 12:5, 7-10, 12)."  (Ibid., p. 83)

Should Revelation 12:7-9 be Interpreted Literal or Figurative?

Revelation chapter 12 is the chief text on which Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists build their doctrine that the devil is a fallen angel. Since the devil is associated with the serpent (vs. 9) they argue the devil used the serpent to bring about the fall of man (Gen. 3). It is further argued that the devil must be a fallen angel since his followers are called angels (vs. 9).

However, even the most zealous advocate of the "fallen-angel-turned-devil" theory is forced to admit the symbolic nature of other characters mentioned in this passage.  A seven-headed, ten-horned red dragon isn't the kind of description one would ordinarily associate with an angel - fallen or otherwise.

Facts About Revelation 12

There are several key facts about Revelation chapter 12 that must be remembered:

The devil of Revelation 12 is nowhere stated to be a fallen angel. Satan in the narrative is a red dragon, not a fallen angel.  If the red-dragon is symbolic of a fallen angel, then those who hold this view must offer substantiating proof that the symbol should be interpreted this way. Since the passage does not say Satan is a fallen angel, that view must therefore be INFERRED.

Those who believe Revelation chapter 12 teaches Satan was cast out of heaven before the creation of man face a serious problem.  Revelation was written about A.D. 96, and its contents are expressly stated to be about "things which must shortly take place" – sometime after A.D. 96 (Rev 1:1), because "the time is near." (Rev. 1:3).

Failure to distinguish the literal and the figurative is at the root of all arguments which lead some to conclude the devil of Revelation 12 in an angel. The following arguments indicate the dragon, the heavens and the war are all symbolic and are not to be taken literally:

  • The Devil this passage is a "great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth" (vs. 3, 4).  Is this a LITERAL description of the fallen-angel devil? (If the devil IS literal, then explain how he could LITERALLY cast one of the LITERAL stars to the LITERAL earth?)
  • If the dragon is FIGURATIVE, could heaven of vs. 7 also be figurative? (The answer will probably be, "No!").  What about the heaven of vs. 1?  Is it literal or figurative? (The reply must be "FIGURATIVE" since the woman is clothed with the sun and the moon is under her feet, which would be a literal impossibility). 
  • What about the heaven of verse 3?  Is the heaven of verse 3 the same heaven of verse 1 or a different heaven?  (Consistency demands that the answer again be "Same."  But if the answer is "Different", then it must be shown on what basis one decides between a LITERAL HEAVEN verses a FIGURATIVE (SYMBOLIC) HEAVEN. 
  • Assuming that the heaven of verse 3 is also FIGURATIVE, it only remains by the same reasoning to establish that the heaven of verse 7 is the same heaven, and therefore, is also FIGURATIVE.
  • Since the dragon and heaven are figurative, then the war (vs. 7) must also be figurative, since one cannot have a literal war when the locale and one of the combatants are figurative.

Jesus apparently didn’t believe the heavens to be the seat of angelic rebellion and subsequent war, since he taught his disciples to pray, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." (Matt. 6:10).

If Satan had access to heaven until 1914 as the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach, how did the devil manage to last so long since God is of "purer eyes than to behold evil"? (Hab. 1:13; Psa 5:4).

Furthermore, if the devil were an angel who rebelled against the will of God, what guarantee is there that believers who will be glorified with Christ and, "made equal unto the angels" (Luke 20:35, 36) will not also rise against the authority of God once they have tasted the blessings of immortality? Remember, the Greek word "aggelos" translated "angels" (vs. 7, 9), can refer to either human or divine angels. The word means "messenger, agent". (Young’s Analytical Concordance). Aggelos refers to human messengers or agents in the following passages: Matt. 11:10; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52; and James 2:25

The issue is this.  Does or does not this passage teach the existence of a fallen-angel devil? The answer is simply that there is no evidence whatsoever that John witnessed anything more than just a vision with a spiritual meaning, and NOT a literal event at a literal location with literal characters.

Hailey – Commentary on Revelation

"…the seer is shown a vision of a great spiritual conflict in which Satan and his forces are cast down to the earth.  The dragon is no longer great or ferocious or apparently invincible; he is actually a defeated foe.  Then suddenly, Satan as a great red dragon is no longer slashing and sweeping stars to the ground; he becomes a warrior, leading an army in battle.  Michael, whose names means, “Who is like God?” stands as the dragon’s opponent.  He is named three times in the Book of Daniel as “one of the chief princes” (10:13); “the prince of Israel” (10:21), and the “great prince” (12:1), who stood for the people against their enemies, Persia and Greece.  He is called “the archangel” who contended with the devil over the body of Moses (Jude 9), and possibly is the archangel of 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

"The words of Albertus Pieters serve as a cautious reminder in interpreting this vision of the war in heaven (vv. 7-9)

'Let us firmly settle in our hearts, and stick to it consistently, that the Apocalypse is a book of spiritual cartoons, the pictures not in any case to be mistaken for the reality, no matter how vividly drawn.  As already pointed out, the rest of this chapter, concerning the Radiant Woman, the Red Dragon, and their adventures, is clearly seen by all interpreters to be symbolic, although they do not agree on what is symbolized.  Is it not, then, to introduce confusion into the interpretation to suppose that the apostle suddenly shifts from symbolism to reality when he tells of the war in heaven?' (pp. 172-173).

"Let us not think of an actual war in heaven, but of such a war seen in the vision, intended to teach some great spiritual truth.  In the conflict Satan is defeated and cast down from his high-handed control over men.  Some have thought that the scene looks back to a primeval war in which Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven and imprisoned in dungeons of darkness, but this does not agree with the context or consequences of verses 10-12."  (Homer Hailey, Revelation, An Introduction and Commentary, p. 273)

Ezekiel 28:12-15
"…Thus says the Lord GOD: 'You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.  You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.'"

The Official SDA Position:

"Where did the devil come from?  How did he get into heaven in the first place? 'You were anointed as A GUARDIAN CHERUB, for so I ordained you.  You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  YOU WERE BLAMELESS IN YOUR WAYS from the day YOU WERE CREATED till WICKEDNESS WAS FOUND IN YOU.'— Ezekiel 28:14, 15.  According to the scripture, God did not create the devil, He created a perfect angel, and this angel gradually turned himself into the devil.  Satan actually began his career as one of heaven’s leading angels, standing next to God’s throne."  (Does My Life Really Matter To God?, Seventh Day Adventist Discover Guide No. 3, [Los Angeles, CA: The Voice of Prophecy, 1995] p. 9)

“As to Satan, or the devil, we hold the uniform teaching of the Word to be that he is definitely a personal being – the supreme adversary of God and man . . . He was, however, once an angel of light, the highest of the angels. He was named Lucifer, son of the morning (Isa. 14:12-14). But he fell from his high estate (Ezek. 28:13-18; Luke 10:18; John 8:44), and drew down with him a host of angels, first unto disaffection and then into open rebellion against God and His government . . .”  (Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: An Explanation of Certain Major Aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Belief, [Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Ass., 1957], pp. 618, 619.)

The Entire Text of Ezekiel 28:1-19

Pride – The Sin of the King (Prince) of Tyre

The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 2 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas, ‘Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god 3 (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! 4 With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, And gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; 5 By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches),”

Judgment Against the King of Tyre

6′Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, 7 Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, the most terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and defile your splendor. 8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the midst of the seas. 9 “Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man, and not a god, in the hand of him who slays you. 10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of aliens; For I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD.’”

Lamentation for the King of Tyre

11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. 16 “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. 17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.  18 “You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.”‘”   NKJV

Background on Ezekiel’s Prophecy

Following the Babylonian conquest of Israel massive numbers of Israelites were taken captive and transported to Babylon.  Among them was Ezekiel who was taken captive at the age of 25 (597 BC).  Ten years later, the Babylonian armies laid siege to, and completely destroyed, the city of Jerusalem (597 BC). 

While in captivity, Ezekiel delivered a number of prophecies to the captives in Babylon.  First, Ezekiel told the captives that Jehovah was justified in permitting their captivity (the dominant theme of Ezekiel chapters 8-33). Rather than simply destroy the people of Israel as God had done with other nations who had committed similar sins, the Lord’s purpose was to correct his people through suffering.  Through the prophet Ezekiel, Jehovah affirmed that he was truly God, then confronted the people of Israel with their sins, and finally explained to them that God was allowing them to be punished by their enemies as a means of bringing his people to genuine sorrow and repentance.

Prophecies Against Nations That Were Happy to See Israel Fall

In addition to explaining the purpose behind the captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem, Ezekiel informed the people that the nations which had gloated over Jerusalem’s fall (Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre and Sidon, and Egypt) would eventually be judged by the Lord himself (chapters 25-32).  Finally, the Lord wanted his people to know that they would not remain captives forever.  God would restore the people to their land (33:1; 48:35).

Background on the Phoenician Empire

The kingdom of Tyre and its neighbor Sidon (20 miles away) were the principal cities of the once vast Phoenician empire that gathered its wealth by building fleets of ships that sailed the Mediterranean.  Their mastery of the sea helped establish Tyre and Sidon as the trade and commerce center of the ancient world of their day – trade and commerce that not only included the wealth of other nations, but also the trafficking in slaves.  While the main part of the city of Tyre was built on the coast, a small, well-defended island about one half mile off shore served as the home of some 40,000 inhabitants as well as the royalty of the Phoenicians.  The island was defended by high, strong walls which reached a height of 150 feet on the land side.

The religion of the Phoenicians was deeply rooted in the worship of Baal and the lewd and sensual worship of the goddess Astarte (Ashtaroth).  Only thirty-four years before the destruction of Jerusalem Josiah (king of the southern kingdom of Judah) attempted to bring about religious reform throughout the nation of Israel, and in the process denounced the false gods that the people and leaders of Tyre venerated and loved.  He even went so far as to slay the pagan priests who had been responsible for introducing these false religions through the region of Samaria (2 Kings 23:19-20).  The people of Tyre would have viewed the actions of Josiah as sacrilegious and abominable.  Therefore, it is no wonder they would see the death of Josiah in battle and the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the temple as acts of divine retribution from the hands of their gods.

The Destruction of Tyre

However, the joy of Tyre soon gave way to feelings of fear and terror when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Phoenicia and laid siege to Tyre. That siege lasted thirteen years (585 BC – 572 BC).  It’s still debated as to whether or not Nebuchadnezzar ever conquered the island city.  However, when Alexander the Great rose to power, his armies took the island city (332 BC) after a seven-month siege. His victory came only after he built a half-mile long causeway out to the island.

Ezekiel Delivers the Message of God’s Judgment Against Tyre and Her King

During the period of the captivity in Babylon, Ezekiel delivered God’s pronouncement of judgment against Tyre (chapters 26-27).

Who is Ezekiel addressing in Ezekiel chapter 28?  The King of Tyre or Satan?

“The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre…” (vs. 1-2a)

The word “prince” is from the Hebrew nagiyd (naw-gheed’) from Strong’s No. 5057; or nagid (naw-gheed’); from Strong’s No. 5046.  This word signified “a commander (as occupying the front), civil, military or religious.”  This word is also translated “captain, chief, excellent thing, (chief) governor, leader, noble, prince, and (chief) ruler” in the KJV. (New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary)

According to Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, the noun is masculine, and is used to speak 1) of the kings of Israel: of Saul (1 Sam 9:16), of David (1 Sam 13:14; 25:30; 2 Sam 6:21; Isa 55:4), of Solomon (1 Chron 29:22; 10:1; 1 Kings 1:35), of Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:7), of Baasha (1 Kings 16:2); of Hezekiah ( 2 Kings 20:5).  2) of a foreign ruler or prince: (Ezek 28:2; Dan 9:25-26).  3) of a high official connected with the temple including the high priest: (Jer 20:1; Jer 29:26; 1 Chron 9:11; 2 Chron 31:13; 35:8; Neh 11:11; Dan 11:22).  4) of a ruler in other capacities: of a tribe (1 Chron 27:16; 2 Chron 19:11); of commander of Aaronite warriors (2 Chron 12:27); of the commander of a division of an army (1 Chron 13:1; 27:4; 2 Chron 11:11; 32:21); commander of temple-treasuries (1 Chron 26:24, compare 2 Chron 31:12).

The Prince of Ezekiel 28:

1.  Was A MAN and NOT a GOD!  ”Yet you are a man, and not a god…” (v. 2)

2.  Gained WEALTH by TRADE!  “By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches…”  (v. 5)

3.  NATIONS will be brought against him!  “Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, the most terrible of the nations…”  (v. 7)

4.  SWORDS will be drawn AGAINST HIM!  “they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and defile your splendor…”  (v. 7)

5.  WILL DIE!  “And you shall die the death of the slain…” (v. 8 )

6.  Will be A MAN, NOT A GOD in the hands of those who SLAY HIM!  “But you shall be a man, and not a god, in the hand of him who slays you.” (v. 9)

7.  Was the KING OF TYRE!  “Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre…’” (vs. 11-12)

8.  Became filled with violence and sinned through trading!  “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned…”  (v. 16)

9.  Will be CAST DOWN and LAID before KINGS! “I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.” (v. 17)

10. Shall be cast down and BE NO MORE FOREVER!  “And shall be no more forever.”  (v 19)

IS GOD SPEAKING TO A MAN OR SATAN?

ANSWER: A PRINCE, A KING, A MAN!  THE PRINCE OF TYRE – THE KING OF TYRE!

A Closer Look at the Sins of the King of Tyre:

The sin of the King of Tyre and of the people of Tyre was PRIDE (Ezek 27:3).  Consider the following:

1.  His heart was lifted up, which led him to say “I am a god.”  He made this claim openly.  He believed the city of Tyre was dependent upon him as the world is dependent on God that created it, and because of this, he felt he was not accountable to anyone.

2.  He was proud of his wisdom and his wealth.  He attributed the increase of his wealth to himself and not to the God, forgetting him who gave him power to get wealth.  He thought himself to be a wise man because he was rich.  His wealth led him to feel secure.

3.  Because he declared himself to be a god, he would die – just like every other man.

4.  Nations will be brought against him.

5.  The enemy will draw their swords against him, and will destroy everything in which he once prided himself.

6.  It will not be an honorable death.  He will be like one who died at sea in those days and was simply tossed overboard.  He will die just like the uncircumcised strangers that come against him.

What About Ezekiel 28:13-15?  Isn’t This Speaking About Satan?

The King of Tyre (a man) is the subject of verses 1-12, and 16-19.  So why wouldn’t he also be the subject of verses 13 through 15? 

Interpreting Ezekiel 28:13-15

“You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.  The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.” (v. 13)

  • The king of Tyre is metaphorically compared to Adam in the Garden of Eden.  Adam was able to enjoy the paradise of God to its fullest – every thing that is good for food or that is pleasant to the eyes.  Adam had exclusive rule over the garden of God.  But in the end, sin brought Adam down and caused him to lose it all.  The king of Tyre was like Adam in paradise, and will be like Adam in his fall.
  • The stones mentioned here are nine of the twelve stones found in the breastplate of the High Priest (Exod 28:17-20).  However, these stones are in a different order than those found on the breastplate.  There are two possible meanings here.  Some commentators see the mention of these stones as another reference to the grandeur of the paradise of God where gold and similar stones are mentioned (Gen 2:10-14).  Other commentators believe that in his arrogant pride, the king of Tyre portrayed himself as a divine spiritual leader of his people.  But not only was he just an ordinary man and not a god, he would also never be a true spiritual leader.  He would always be three precious gems short.
  • Instruments used in festivals and celebrations were prepared especially for the king of Tyre, and were ready on the day he ascended to his throne, or was created as king in the metaphorical sense.

“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.”  (v. 14)

  • The reference to cherub is to the cherubim who guarded the entrance to the garden of Eden, and whose outstretched wings covered the mercy-seat of the ark of the covenant.  In a metaphorical sense, the king of Tyre extended his protective cover to the territories under his rule.  In his role as king he was seen by his people much like a Messiah who had been anointed to rule over them.
  • The king of Tyre did not rise to power on his own strength or ability.  It is God who allows kingdoms to rise and fall.  It is God who establishes kingdoms and who brings them to an end. 
  • The island on which the king of Tyre reigned from his palace was viewed as a place of deity (much like a divine mountain).  And within his palace, the king of Tyre was surrounded by opulence – walking back and forth in the midst of precious stones that reflected a fiery brilliance. 

“You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”  (v. 15)

  • The “perfection” of the king of Tyre speaks of his success and prosperity that he achieved from the time he rose to power and assumed the throne.  God had given him the wisdom and intellect to lead his kingdom to greatness.  But like many whom God has blessed, the king of Tyre abused God’s gifts in ways to fulfill his own selfish desires.  His own iniquity brought about his fall.

Make no mistake about it.  The kingdom of Tyre and it’s King is the subject of Ezekiel chapters 26, 27 and 28.  Why would God speak to the people of Tyre and to their king in 73 of the 76 verses of Ezekiel chapters 26, 27 and 28, and in the middle of chapter 28 suddenly shift the conversation to speak to Satan for only three verses, then immediately go back to speaking to the king of Tyre?

Verses 13 through 15 of Ezekiel chapter 28 MUST BE KEPT IN THE CONTEXT of ALL THREE CHAPTERS. 

Isaiah 14:12-14
“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.’”

The Official SDA Position:

“As to Satan, or the devil, we hold the uniform teaching of the Word to be that he is definitely a personal being – the supreme adversary of God and man . . . He was, however, once an angel of light, the highest of the angels. He was named Lucifer, son of the morning (Isa. 14:12-14). But he fell from his high estate (Ezek. 28:13-18; Luke 10:18; John 8:44), and drew down with him a host of angels, first unto disaffection and then into open rebellion against God and His government . . .”  (Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: An Explanation of Certain Major Aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Belief, [Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Ass., 1957], pp. 618, 619.)

The Entire Text of Isaiah 14:1-32

Mercy on Jacob

For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. 2 Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors.

Fall of the King of Babylon

It shall come to pass in the day the LORD gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, 4 that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, The golden city ceased! 5 The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of the rulers; 6 He who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, He who ruled the nations in anger, Is persecuted and no one hinders. 7 The whole earth is at rest and quiet; They break forth into singing. 8 Indeed the cypress trees rejoice over you, And the cedars of Lebanon, Saying, ‘Since you were cut down, No woodsman has come up against us.’  9 “Hell from beneath is excited about you, To meet you at your coming; It stirs up the dead for you, All the chief ones of the earth; It has raised up from their thrones All the kings of the nations. 10 They all shall speak and say to you: ‘Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us? 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, And the sound of your stringed instruments; The maggot is spread under you, And worms cover you.’

The Fall of Lucifer

“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! 13 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; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.  16 “Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, 17 Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’  18 “All the kings of the nations, All of them, sleep in glory, Everyone in his own house; 19 But you are cast out of your grave Like an abominable branch, Like the garment of those who are slain, Thrust through with a sword, Who go down to the stones of the pit, Like a corpse trodden underfoot. 20 You will not be joined with them in burial, Because you have destroyed your land And slain your people. The brood of evildoers shall never be named. 21 Prepare slaughter for his children Because of the iniquity of their fathers, Lest they rise up and possess the land, And fill the face of the world with cities.”

Babylon Destroyed

“For I will rise up against them, “says the LORD of hosts, “And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, And offspring and posterity, “says the LORD. 23 “I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, And marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction, ” says the LORD of hosts.

Assyria Destroyed

The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand:  25 That I will break the Assyrian in My land, And on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, And his burden removed from their shoulders. 26 This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. 27 For the LORD of hosts has purposed, And who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, And who will turn it back?”

Philistia Destroyed

This is the burden which came in the year that King Ahaz died. 29 “Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia, Because the rod that struck you is broken; For out of the serpent’s roots will come forth a viper, And its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent. 30 The firstborn of the poor will feed, And the needy will lie down in safety; I will kill your roots with famine, And it will slay your remnant. 31 Wail, O gate! Cry, O city! All you of Philistia are dissolved; For smoke will come from the north, And no one will be alone in his appointed times.” 32 What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD has founded Zion, And the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.

Who is Being Addressed in this Passage?

When we put these verses in context, it’s simple to see whom God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, is addressing.  The Scriptures say, “That you will take up this proverb against the KING OF BABYLON…” (Ver. 4)

God is speaking about and to, “the King of Babylon,” not Lucifer, not Satan, not a cherub (cf. Ezekiel 28). And God tells us the end of this man’s reign:

“Your pomp is brought down to Sheol [Satan never died or was put in sheol (literally “a grave”)], and the sound of your stringed instruments [harps or lutes]: the maggot is spread under you [can maggots eat a spirit body], and worms cover you” (Ver. 11).

What about Isaiah 14:12-23?  This is clearly speaking about Lucifer.

Who or What is Lucifer?

Many contend that God stops speaking of the King of Babylon in verse 11 and begins speaking of the origin of Satan (Lucifer) in verses 12-23.

But what would the end of the King of Babylon have to do with the beginning of Satan? Absolutely nothing!  But let’s look further.

“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!” (v. 12)

Notice that in verse 4 God says to take up this proverb against the “king of Babylon.” This proverb begins in verse 9 after all the “trees” (different people which feared the king), are at rest because of the king’s demise.  Let’s see if the “Lucifer theory” fits into these verses without distorting the prophecy of Isaiah:

“Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. They all shall speak and say to you: ‘Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us? Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your stringed instruments; the maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you.’ How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” (Isa 14:9-12)

How is it that Isaiah is speaking about and to the king of Babylon one moment and suddenly shifts to begin speaking to “Lucifer?” Is there a break in the subject matter here, or could it be that Isaiah is STILL speaking about and to the king of Babylon by referring to him as “Lucifer?” Could it be that “Lucifer” is a proper name for Satan? Is “Lucifer” even a proper name? Is it even a noun? Is “Lucifer” an English word, or is there a Hebrew word that can be translated “Lucifer?”

The Origin of the Word “LUCIFER”

From the American Heritage College Dictionary: Lucifer n. 1. The archangel cast from heaven for leading the revolt of the angels; Satan. < OE, morning star, Lucifer < Latin Lucifer < lucifer, light-bringer: lux, luc-, light” (page 821).

The very next word under “Lucifer” is, luciferase n. An enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin.”

And the word that follows “luciferase” in this same dictionary is: ” luciferin n. A chemical substance present in the cells of bioluminescent organisms, such as fireflies that produce a bluish-green light when oxidized. [Latin Lucifer, light-bringing; see LUCIFER + -IN.]” (page. 821).

Lucifer is the ‘chemical bioluminescence’ in the cells of FIREFLIES! But what do fireflies have to do with the King of Babylon or Satan the devil? Absolutely nothing! Then how did we get this Latin word “lucifer” as part of Isa. 14:12, in so many English Bibles?

First, just who was it that fell from heaven, and does the phrase “fallen from heaven” prove that this person had to have been in God’s throne room, in order for him to “fall from heaven” therefore proving that this must be a spirit being only? There answer is absolutely not. Jesus said: “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down [from heaven] to Hades.” (Luke 10:15).

If we take this passage as literal as some would like to take Isaiah 14, we would have a whole city (Capernaum) being brought down from heaven and being cast into Hades (their grave).  Is that what Jesus was saying?  Obviously not!  The entire context of Luke 10:13-16 speaks of cities that had seen the mighty works of Jesus and yet refused to believe them, thus rejecting Jesus and Him who sent Jesus (God the Father). Jesus even names the cities: Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. 

The same thing would happen to the city of Capernaum happened to the king of Babylon whose “pomp is brought down to Sheol (the grave).” (Isaiah 14:11)

Luke 10:15 and Isaiah 14:11 are parallel thoughts.

What is the Hebrew word found in the manuscripts that the translators turned into the Latin word Lucifer? According Strong’s Concordance, we find: “Lucifer (lu’sif-ur) {1} Title applied to king of Babylon.”  Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon says: “…noun masculine appellative shining one, epithet of king of Babylon, …Isa. 14:12 how art thou fallen, shinning one, son of dawn! i.e. star of the morning. (compare Assyrian epithet of (Venus a) morning-star Isa. 57:60.”

The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 14:12, according to Strong’s number: 1966 which is “heylel, (hay-lale’); from OT:1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning-star:”  The root word from which heylel is taken is “halal (haw-lal’); a primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify…” In the King James Version of the Bible, this word is used the following ways according to Strong:  “(make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool (-ish, -ly), glory, give [light], be (make, feignself) mad (against), give in marriage, [sing, be worthy of] praise, rage, renowned, shine.”

The word “Lucifer” appears no other place in Scripture – just Isaiah 14:12.  Nowhere in the Scriptures is Satan ever spoken of as having once been a light-bringing perfect angel? However, the Scriptures do say; 

“For Satan himself TRANSFORMS himself into an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)

As we’ve seen earlier, Satan is NOT an angel of light, nor do the Scriptures indicate that he ever has been.  In the context this section of 2 Corinthians 11, the apostle Paul speaks of “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:13)  There were NOT apostles of Christ, nor had they EVER been apostles of Christ.  However, because they were deceitful and wanted to deceive the people, they made themselves appear to others as if they were apostles of Christ.  In the same way Satan was NOT an angel of light, nor had EVER been an angel of light.  However, because he is deceitful and wanted to deceive people, he had made himself appear to others as if he were an angel of light (a mere illusion) – whether Satan literally or figuratively transformed himself into an angel of light, you decide.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  (Eph. 6:12)  According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the “heavenly places” mentioned here by Paul literally means: “…the lower heavens, or the heaven of the clouds, Eph 6:12 (compare William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, 3 volumes) American edition, under the word Air).”  The word is not speaking of the dwelling place of God, but rather the unseen world around us.

So what is heylel or halal of Isaiah 14:12? Here’s the problem.  Lucifer is the Latin Vulgate translation of the word “xosphoruos” in the Septuagint, which is a Greek version of the Hebrew “heylel” of Isaiah 14:12, which the King James translators then translated into the English word, “Lucifer.”

The Latin and the Greek word in Isaiah14:12 mean “bright shiner” or “shining one.” However, Isaiah14:12 was not written in Latin or Greek, but in Hebrew. “Lucifer” is not a Hebrew word, nor is it an English translation of a Hebrew word. Lucifer is Latin, and is related to a group of English words derived from Latin words, including: lucid, luciferin and luciferose – all of which suggest brightness or shining. Likewise xosphoros in the Greek was translated into the English words fluorescence and phosphorescence.

Keil & Delitzsch in their Commentary on the Old Testament say this of Isaiah 14:12: “‘How art thou fallen from the sky, thou star of light, sun of the dawn, hurled down to the earth, thou that didst throw down nations from above?’” heeyleel (OT:1966) is here the morning star (from hâlal, to shine, resolved from hillel…)  …Lucifer, as a name given to the devil, was derived from this passage, which the fathers (and lately Stier) interpreted, without any warrant whatever, as relating to the apostasy and punishment of the angelic leaders. The appellation is a perfectly appropriate one for the king of Babel… (Note: …a retrospective glance is now cast at the self-deification of the king of Babylon, in which he was the antitype of the devil and the type of antichrist (Dan 11:36; 2 Thess 2:4), and which had met with its reward.”

Babylon, the greatest kingdom of nations in the history of the world in the days of Isaiah was COMING DOWN TO THE GRAVE!  Just like Capernaum, Babylon was EXALTED TO HEAVEN, but is being brought down to HELL (the grave of death and destruction).

Why?  Isaiah gives us the reason in the verses that follow:

“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.’” (Isa. 12:13-14)

This language should not surprise us considering that the Babylon Isaiah spoke of was related to the people of Babel who boasted, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves.” (Gen. 11:4).

However, Isaiah says Babylon will fall.  “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol [the grave], to the lowest depths of the Pit [cistern, hole, dungeon, or crypt].” (Isa. 14:15)

Consider the next two verses.  “Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’”

Notice carefully that the king of Babylon (Lucifer – star of light, sun of the dawn) is nothing more than a “MAN who made the earth tremble…”  Just like the rulers of nations before him who thought that they were “gods” represented in the stars of heaven, and who exalted themselves and their throne to heaven, and who also made the earth tremble, shook kingdoms, and destroyed cities, the king of Babylon will be brought down.  Isaiah chapter 12 is not speaking of the fall of Satan at all, but rather the fall of a pompous king who died in infamy without even a proper burial.