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The Fall of Satan: A Biblical Investigation (II)
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The Fall of Satan: A Biblical Investigation (II)

By Ci Yi Luo—Taiwan 

Adapted from Holy Spirit Monthly—Issue 423

In part (I) of this article, we explained the origin of the names “Satan” and “devil,” and established a correct understanding of the God we worship. He is the one and only self-existing true God and the Creator of all things that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.

The Fall that occurred Between "the Creation of All Things” and “the Reconciliation of All Things to God”

In the first two chapters of Genesis, the beauty and goodness of God’s creation is repeated in the phrase: "God saw that it was good"1. After God created human beings and entrusted them with their mission, the Bible emphasizes that God “saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (Gen 1:31).

However, such goodness did not last; after our first ancestors disobeyed God, sin entered the world and death came to all men (Gen 3).

In Colossians 1:12–22, Paul briefly outlines the essential elements of God’s salvation. From the passage, we learn that God had not only "created all things," but that critically, Jesus, our Savior, "made peace" through His precious blood that was shed on the cross. His blood brought about salvation, through which “all things were reconciled to God”2. Reconciliation is effected through water baptism for the forgiveness of sins, enabling the redeemed to be holy. This brief but vital description of the redemption process clearly shows a “fall” and “salvation” between "the creation of all things” and “the reconciliation of all things to God.” Comparing “the creation of all things” and “the reconciliation of all things to God,” we can understand two important points: first, these two events occurred at different time periods; and second, the meaning of “all things” is not entirely identical within these different time periods.

The fall of God’s spiritual creation

Amongst “all things” that God made, there are both physical and spiritual beings. Satan is the fallen creature among the spiritual “things” that God created:

1. The Lord Jesus Christ’s Testimony

When the seventy whom Jesus had sent out returned from their preaching, Jesus took the opportunity to reveal a mystery of the spiritual realm to them. He told them: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Lk 10:18).

This testimony was from Jesus’ own knowledge as the Word made flesh. To have seen Satan falling from heaven transcends any human experience, but Jesus witnessed this process in His role as the Eternal One and revealed it to us. From Jesus’ statement —“Satan fall…from heaven”—we can deduce that Satan was one of the members of heaven. Falling out of heaven in the original text is  ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (ek toú ouranoú) which means that Satan originally belonged to the kingdom of God.

2. Apostle John’s Report

In addition to Jesus’ testimony, John also reported the cause of Satan’s fall: "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8). This verse marks the point in time when the devil started sinning, which is "from the beginning." It is important to note that "from the beginning" (ἀπἀρχῆς  - ap archís) is not the same as "in the beginning" (ἐν ἀρχῇ - en archē). The Gospel of John shares that “[i]n the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life…” (Jn 1:1–4) Although the two phrases sound similar, it is important to differentiate between the two.

In the Book of Revelation, the Lord Jesus revealed: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last" (Rev 21:6; 22:13). In the beginning, only God existed. His existence is unique, as no other being can be ranked equally with Him or indeed self-exist. "In the beginning," the Word was with God, and the true God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning, “all things” were created and were sinless. This is why God declares that these were “good” at their creation.

“From the beginning” is quite different; it refers to a time after the beginning when all was pure and blameless. It points to a time after sin entered the world. Furthermore, when John says that Satan “sinned,” he uses the term ἁμαρτάνει (hamartánei), which means “to sin and to continually sin.” Satan sinned and has continually sinned against God since that moment in time.

3. Peter and Jude’s Explanations

Peter and Jude also left us information about fallen angels in the spiritual world. Peter tells us that “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 Pet 2:4). Jude also explains this truth: “the angels who did not keep their proper domain…left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, for the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). If we compare these two passages, we receive a clear understanding of the fallen angel:


 Bible verse:

 2 Peter 2:4

 Jude 6

 Angel committing sin and

 its connotations:

 Even angels sinned

 The angels who did not keep

 their proper domain, but left

 their own abode

 Mortal sin:

 God did not spare them

 God has reserved in

 everlasting chains

 Being detained in a place prior to Judgment Day:

 Cast them down to hell and

 delivered them into chains

 of darkness

 Under darkness

 Final judgment:

 To be reserved for judgment

 For the judgment of

 the great day


From these two verses, we can see that the angels sinned because they "did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode.” In other words, they disobeyed God, as they failed to maintain their assigned positions as well as to fulfill their duties and responsibilities.

God does not spare a fallen angel. Jude received the revelation and used the expression "He has reserved in everlasting chains” to depict God’s punishment for mortal sins. While the fallen angels await Judgment Day, they will be reserved in everlasting chains in darkness, able to move around in the kingdom of darkness but having no opportunity to be reconciled with God. Before Judgment Day, "darkness" will be their only destiny—in other words, "hell" or the "dark pit." This "hell" or "dark pit" does not refer to the “hell” of eternal condemnation, the "lake of fire burning with brimstone" that will occur after the Judgment Day. Instead, it refers to a kingdom of darkness reserved for fallen angels.

This punishment occurred because Satan was “puffed up with pride” (1 Tim 3:6), and his trick tempted Eve to try to "be like God." These points triggered Satan’s ultimate downfall in the spiritual world.

4. Paul’s Warning

When explaining God’s creation, Paul said: "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:16). All things created by God are good, and it is important to understand that the “all things” He created include "principalities or powers."

In Ephesians 6:11–12, Paul warns the believers to “[p]ut on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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." From his words, we learn that “principalities” and “powers” have become equal to the rulers of darkness and the representation of evil that we, as believers, fight against.

“Principalities or powers” within the spiritual world—their origin and destruction

Information in the Bible provides insight into the origin and destruction of the “principalities or powers” within the spiritual world.

The “principalities or powers” within the spiritual world originated from God’s creation as we have seen in Colossians 1:16.

1. The “Principalities or Powers” Became the Believers’ Spiritual Enemies

The “principalities or powers” were part of the “all things” created by God, and were originally good. Later, however, they became the enemies of the redeemed believers, and were at par with the “rulers of the darkness of this age” and “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).

2. The Salvation of the Lord Jesus Prevailed over the “Principalities or Powers”

Because of our merciful Father’s great love for us, He was manifested in the flesh3. Through the cross, Jesus “disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2:15). Ephesians 1:21 states that after Jesus resurrected from the dead, He became "far above all principality, and power." This was only possible through His broken body and shed blood (Heb 10:20-22); His blood redeemed the church “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Eph 3:10). Therefore, in confidence and joy, Paul testifies that through Jesus’ blood and because of His intercession on our behalf to reconcile us to God, we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom 8:37–38).

3. The “Principalities or Powers” Were Destroyed

The opening of the Lord’s Prayer hopes for the name of our Father in heaven to be made holy, for His kingdom to come, and for His will to be done (Mt 6:9–10). We know that these will come to pass when Jesus’ revelation to John is fulfilled: "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Rev 20:10). Though worded differently, Paul declares that when the end comes, Jesus “[will] deliver(s) the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power” (1 Cor 15:24), which brings together the two passages from Matthew and from the Book of Revelation.


[To be continued…]


In the final installment of this article, we will examine the work of Satan and his limits, how Jesus has triumphed over Satan, and how evil will eventually be destroyed.





1  Gen 1:4, 12, 18, 21, 25

2  Rom 5:10, 11, 15; 2 Cor 5:20; Eph 2:16; Col 1:20

3  Jn 1:14; 1 Tim 3:16

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Author: Ci Yi Luo