- Religion and Philosophy
The Casting Down of Satan
The Casting Down of Satan
If asked when did Satan: one, fall from grace and second, when was he cast down to Earth, most Christians would probably answer that they occurred at the same time and it was before Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden. But is that truly the case? Can one determine when he fell from grace and when was he thrown down to the Earth? Did the two events happen concurrently or was there a significant span of time between the two events? Does the Bible, the written word of God, offer any insight into the matter and if so what answers does it provide.
While the answers to the above questions will not change the consequences of Satan’s actions it may shed light on some erroneous assumptions held by many Christians. To begin our quest we must first endeavor to learn what Satan’s role in God’s Kingdom was prior to his fall from grace; his position and his responsibilities. We can then attempt to answer the two central questions of this study; when did his fall from grace occur and when was he, along with the angels that rebelled with him, cast from Heaven to the earth?
In the Beginning
Although not definitively stated when God created the spirit realm it would appear that it was before he created Earth.
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
(Job 38:4-7 NKJV)
The terms ‘morning stars’ and ‘sons of God’ are referring to the angels. The comment in verse 4 about, God laying the ‘foundations of the earth’ is probably a reference to God separating the dry land from the sea. As the latter part of the passage indicates when God did this the angels were present (i.e. already existed). Also from the creation account in Genesis we know that Man was created after God separated the dry land from the sea.
What about Satan, was here there too? The answer, according to the Bible, is a definite yes. How does the word of God describe him?
12 …Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 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.15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created…
(Ezekiel 28:12-15 KJV)
Apparently he had quite an impressive position within the Kingdom of God. According to Ezekiel he was one of the two cherubim that covered the Throne of God with their wings. He was, as the Bible puts it,
…blameless… from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.
(Ezekiel 28:15 English Standard Version)
Also note that it says that he was in the Garden of Eden; from the passage it would seem that he had the right to be there. It does not indicate that he had snuck into the Garden of God. Before we continue looking to see if we can determine when he fell from grace we need to take a look into who the Garden of Eden was created for and a larger question, what was the purpose of the creation of man?
Purpose of the Garden of Eden
Many believe that man (i.e. mankind; man and woman) were created as replacements for the angels, those that had rebelled against God. That essentially they, the fallen angels, had blown their chance and God created mankind to fulfill their place in the Kingdom of God. Is that what the Bible says, that we are second tries by God? Was mankind created as replacements for the disobedient angels? The truth may surprise you.
As was shown above the spirit realm was created before mankind was and even before the Earth was. Does that mean they are of greater importance in God’s master plan? Were the angels created with the intent that they would be masters of Earth? A review of what the Bible says would cause one to say no.
Recall the account in Genesis;
And God said…and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth…And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
(Genesis 1:26, 28 KJV)
Notice that man was given dominion over everything on the Earth. While we are here at this point in Genesis we need to take a brief detour into what is meant where God says that man (again mankind) was created in his image.
Taken at face value this statement (Gen. 1: 26-27) that we were created in the image of God, one might argue that this means that God, a spirit being, has a head, two arms, two legs etc. Which begs the question, if this claim is correct, why are there two sexes? How could both sexes be an image of God? Others have advanced the theory that the statement means that we can think and reason and love as God does; it is in that way we are mirroring the image of God. But is that really what is meant?
Michael Heiser, an expert in ancient Hebrew, offers a more plausible explanation of this statement:
. . . When Scripture speaks of mankind being created in the image of God, what is meant is that mankind has been created to represent God on earth.
. . . God deliberately created mankind to rule the earth, and to accomplish this purpose, he created man as his own image - He made man his co-regent / representative ruler.
The image of God then, refers to our unique status as human beings, rulers in God's stead, according to His own will. We are created AS his image - to function as he would were he administering His own affairs directly. Our abilities - unequally given to us in the providence of God are not THE image, but only a means to carrying out His expressed and often secret end. (pp. 9, 10, 11, "The Image of God in Scripture")
So we are not physical reproductions of God, but his physical representatives here on Earth. We were slated to administer the Kingdom of God here on Earth. This is confirmed by Psalm 8;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
(Psalm 8:4-8 KJV)
Although part of this is a prophecy about how the Messiah would come as a man it also clearly says that man was created to have dominion over the works of God’s hands (vs. 6) and not the angels. This point is reinforced in Paul’s writings.
He clearly says that we are destined to be co-rulers under Christ when he returns to Earth and reestablishes the Kingdom of God.
Know ye not that we shall judge angels?
(I Cor 6:3 KJV)
Paul expands on this point in his letter to the Hebrews. He is speaking of Christ and says;
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?...14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
(Heb. 1:4-5, 14 KJV)
The point here is Paul’s comment at the end; that the angels are ministering spirits. We are the heirs that he mentions and so it is unto us that the angels minister. Paul confirms this point a little later in his letter. Referring to the Psalm cited above he says;
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 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 the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
(Heb. 2:5-11 KJV)
Again, while the passage is talking about Christ and what he has achieved through his sinless life and death and that he has been crowned by God with glory and honor he also says that we are considered his brother. So it would appear that the God’s plan for man had always been for us to rule this planet and to be groomed to assume positions within the Kingdom of God, but the incident in the Garden of Eden necessitated a slight alteration.
Returning now to the question of the purpose of the Garden of Eden, we see in Genesis after completing his creation, detailed in Chapter 1, that at sometime God planted a garden eastward in Eden (Gen 2:8). The reason he created the garden and placed Adam there was for him to dress it and to keep it (vs. 15). So essentially Adam was entrusted with caring for the Garden that God had created, but there were some rules laid down. As most are aware God told Adam that he could freely eat of every tree of the garden (vs. 16) except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (vs. 17). It is possible that Adam and Eve’s mission as caretakers of the garden was somewhat of a proving ground for them; to see how well they would obey God.
The Bible does not say how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden before they sinned. It is probably safe to assume that they were there for sometime learning how to care for the garden and also developing a relationship with God. Probably God was schooling them in his ways but the Bible does not say exactly what happened during their time in the Garden of Eden. We just know that after an unknown length of time they stumbled and ever since then we have been denied that close personal relationship with God.
The Incident in the Garden
As we look into the incident in the Garden there are a few things we want to determine. First, was this when Satan’s fall from grace occurred and second, was this when he was banished from Heaven?
Before we look into those matters there is one other thing we need to investigate and that is the question about Satan and his appearance in the Garden. While Satan is not named in the Genesis account it is stated in Ezekiel that he was in the Garden (Ezek. 28:13). Also, as most are probably aware, Genesis says that it was a serpent that deceived Eve (Gen 3: 1-2, 4, 13-14) elsewhere in the Bible Satan is identified as being that serpent (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). So does this mean that he appeared to Eve as a talking snake? While that would appear to be the answer there is an alternative to that supposition.
The Hebrew word that is rendered as serpent is nachash; along with serpent there are other meanings. When used as a noun it can mean “one who practices divination” or “shining brass” and when used as an adjective it means “bright” or “brazen.” If the Hebrew word used in the Genesis account is an adjective, being used as a noun, then the proper translation of the verses in Genesis 3 would be “the bright one” or “the shining one.” This rendering is supported by Paul's statement that Satan can appear as an “angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14).
Another aspect of Satan’s nature is found in the passage in Ezekiel 28:16; it is said that Satan was filled with violence and sinned through his “widespread trade.” The Hebrew word in Ezekiel 28:16 is rekullatekha; it is a form of the noun rekulla, which means “merchandise” or “traffic.” However, rekulla is derived from the root word rakal, which means “to go about.” A closely-related derivative, rakil, means “slanderer.” In the New Testament, Satan is often called the “devil,” or diabolos in Greek. Not coincidentally, the literal meaning of diabolos and its variations is also “slanderer.” Notice how this neatly matches with the subtle tactics Satan used to deceive Eve;
And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 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.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
(Gen, 3:1-6 KJV)
He didn’t encourage Eve to disobey God; instead he caused Eve to doubt God’s words and in turn trust her own judgment and decide for herself what she would do. There is no indication of how long it took for Satan to deceive Eve, we just know it happened.
To further support the idea that Satan had not fallen from grace when this happened noticed how God reacted towards Satan when he discovered that Adam and Eve had taken of the forbidden fruit. When Eve told God that she had been deceived by the serpent (Gen. 3:13) God did not ask what he, Satan, was doing there or how had he gotten into the Garden; no his reaction was to place a curse upon him (vs. 14-15). God’s reaction would indicate that he, Satan, was allowed to be in the Garden as the previously cited passage from Ezekiel said.
It would appear that this is when Satan’s fall from grace occurred. Once more looking at the passage in Ezekiel we read that;
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God
(Ezek. 28:15-16 KJV)
Notice that it says when iniquity was found in Satan; certainly his act of deceiving Eve into disobeying a clear order from God fulfills this. Also in the passage it says that he sinned, one might ask what his sin was. Remember that the Bible says that sin is the transgression of God’s laws (I John 3:4). Christ himself tells us what sin Satan is guilty of;
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, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
(John 8:44 KJV)
One might be puzzled by Christ’s comment that Satan was a murderer ‘from the beginning’. John repeats this charge against him:
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
(I John 3:8 KJV)
How can this be if, according to Ezekiel, he was perfect the day he was created (Ezek. 28:15). The answer is that he was this way from the beginning of God’s plan regarding mankind. Which leads us into seeing if we can determine from God’s written word what happened to Satan; what caused him to fall from grace?
The Cause of Satan’s Fall
The Bible is quite clear as to the cause of Satan’s fall and that it was his pride. In Ezekiel we find this charge against him;
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness
(Ezek. 28:17 World English Bible)
That it was his pride is confirmed in Paul’s letter to Timothy;
not a new convert, lest being puffed up he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
(I Tim. 3:6)
While the Bible does not tell how Satan’s pride led to his fall from grace it does speak about the danger of pride and so we might allude that this is how Satan was affected (Ps. 73:6; Prov 11:2, 13:10, 16:18, 29:23; Mark 7:20-23). Remember that Man was created and was to have dominion over the Earth so it is quite possible that Satan, with his corrupted ego, decided that he would be better suited than Man to fill this position within the Kingdom of God. In his quest to disqualify Man from this position he did achieve his desire but he also disqualified himself and the angles that allied with him.
Also remember the curse that God placed on Satan in the garden when he discovered what he had done. The final part of it says;
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
(Gen. 3:15 KJV)
There has been an age long battle between the human race and Satan. As Paul said;
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(Eph. 5:12 KJV)
But as Paul also tells us that we, as brethren with Christ and children of God, in fulfillment of the curse, will defeat Satan;
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly
So we see that Satan’s fall from grace happened sometime after the creation of Man, but was he also cast from Heaven at that time?
Satan Cast Down
Many erroneously believe Satan’s fall from grace, his banishment from Heaven and his loss of power were concurrent. The Bible indicates it wasn’t; in fact there was a significant lapse of time between his fall from grace and his banishment from the Throne of God and that he still holds a position of power at this time.
We need to jump forward from the incident in the Garden of Eden to the Tower of Babel. Shortly after the Great Flood (Gen. 6:7-7:24) the people began to construct a great tower (vs. 11:2-4). God saw this and was dismayed by it (vs. 11:6-7) so he confused their language and caused them to be scattered across the face of the Earth (vs. 11:7-8). It is from this event that God separated the sons of Noah into nations;
These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
Later as Moses is saying farewell to the nation of Israel prior to his death he, referring to this incident, says;
Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you. 8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of men, He fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. 9 For the Lord’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage.
(Deut. 2:7 RSV)
Many translations incorrectly render the phrase “sons of God” as “children of Israel”. Recall that the phrase ‘sons of God’ refer to spirit beings; in other words angels. That God separated the people into nations based on the number of spirit beings is supported by the Book of Jasher;
And they built the tower and the city, and they did this thing daily until many days and years were elapsed. 32 And God said to the seventy angels who stood foremost before him, to those who were near to him, saying, Come let us descend and confuse their tongues, that one man shall not understand the language of his neighbor, and they did so unto them.
An ancient Targum rendering of the passage in Deuteronomy supports this idea that the nations were created based on the number of spirit beings;
When the Most High made allotment of the world unto the nations which proceeded from the sons of Noach, in the separation of the writings and languages of the children of men at the time of the division, He cast the lot among the seventy angels, the princes of the nations with whom is the revelation to oversee the city, even at that time He established the limits of the nations
While Satan is not named as part of these seventy angels elsewhere in the Bible his position is mentioned;
But when the Pharisees heard it they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; 26 and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?"
(Matthew 12:24-26 RSV)
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
(II Cor. 4:3 NKJV)
"I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me."
(John 14:30 NKJV)
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish."
(Luke 4:5 NKJV)
So we clearly see that Satan is king of this world; if he originally held this position is uncertain, but would seem likely. His position as ruler was probably temporary, until Man proved himself worthy of replacing him. We do know that Christ has proven he is worthy of replacing him and shall at his second coming.
Our final point, when was Satan banned from the throne of God? Was it concurrent with his fall from grace? The answer is no; he had access to the Throne of God for a significant length of time after his fall from grace. Throughout the Bible we find references to Satan coming before the very Throne of God;
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
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… 1 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
(Job 1:6-7; 2:1)
Notice that when Satan ‘presented’ himself that God did not demand to know what he was doing there, it would seem that he, Satan, was still allowed access. It would also seem that Satan had a role similar to a modern day prosecutor;
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"
(Zech. 3:1 NIV)
It would seem that he held this position until he was cast down to Earth and it is possible he still holds this position. So when was he cast down to Earth? According to the Bible he was cast down to Earth after Christ ascended into Heaven;
1 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:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 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.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6 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.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 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.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
(Rev. 12:1-17 KJV)
It is obvious that the child mentioned above is Christ and in other writings of John we see him refer to the Church as a lady so we can know that the lady mentioned in the above vision is the Church. Notice that it wasn’t until Christ was taken up to the Throne of God before Satan was cast down to the earth and banished from Heaven.
So we have seen that all along God’s intent was for Man to rule the Earth, but acting as his representative here, enforcing his laws. We have seen that due to his puffed up ego Satan desired to replace Man as ruler and deceived Man into disobeying God. Granted he barred us from assuming our position within God’s Kingdom but this a temporary set back. Through the sinless life and death of Christ our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled unto God, thus reestablishing the intended relationship.
Although we have seen that Satan has been banished from Heaven and his time is short, we must also recognize that he is still a very dangerous being and seeks to destroy all the children of God. We are warned to be wary and always on guard. But we also know that God will protect and assist us as long as we trust and follow him. Yes, Satan is a very dangerous being, seeking our fall but we need also remember that it is only through our own actions and decisions that our name can be removed from the Book of Life.
 There are numerous differing renderings of the word; KJV renders it as merchandise, the Darby rendition has it as traffic, and the Basic English Version renders it as trading.
 SATAN, THE ADVERSARY OF MANKIND; Bryan Huie, April 7, 2009
 While the Book of Jasher is not in the Bible it is mentioned twice in the OT; Jos. 10:13; II Sam. 1:18
 Targum -- Any of several Aramaic explanatory translations or paraphrasing of the Hebrew Scriptures.; Answers.com
 Other scriptures also inform us that he is also the ruler of the fallen angels; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:9
 2 John 1:1,5)